Friday, January 25, 2013

Alias: Hourglass (3.19)

There's something about putting Jack and Sloane together that brings out the best in character-driven drama on this show. Both characters have this elaborate history full of deceit and betrayal, and have recently been granted additional layers of intrigue with the revelation of Sloane's affair with Irina. It's still hard to entirely trust Sloane, despite his pleas of wanting to meet the daughter he never knew, but he seems to have a greater handle on Irina's powers of seduction, confronting Jack over how much she has affected him for the worse. But while it originally looks like Sloane is occupying the moral high ground (shocking, right?), it still winds up being Jack who holds all the cards, sending Sloane to his death only for it to be revealed as a lengthy ruse.

Jack despises Sloane, ever more now with the knowledge that he intruded on the family he once had, but he at least recognizes his usefulness, keeping him alive for reasons unknown. Sydney also folds heavily into the drama this week, sure that her father is being vindictive instead of being aware of the bigger picture, using Sloane's execution as a way to exorcise his own feelings towards him. There's a lot to love about Sydney, too, how she abandons protocol and shoots her way through a mission, purely to rush back to the CIA and confront her father, or at least try and delay the execution. It's Alias returning to that theme of family complexity, Sloane occupying the role of surrogate father, whether Sydney likes it or not.

Lauren is also used pretty well this week, the show settling into post-reveal territory with the cast actively using their knowledge of Lauren's Covenant allegiances to their own advantage. Despite years of seeing the exact same story repeated over and over again on 24, I still have a place in my heart for a secret mole arc, so seeing Vaughn discreetly hunt around Lauren's family home and Marshall try his hardest to appear nonchalant near Lauren herself was all kinds of fun.

Alias is still swimming in a sea of uncertainty, particularly with all the vague references to the Trust and the Hourglass device and the Il Dire machine and now the Passenger (this week identified as Sydney's sister), but Hourglass at least pulsates with excitement from an action stand-point, while simultaneously crafting some interesting character work that feels like the Alias of old. B+

Guest stars
Peggy Lipton (Olivia Reed); Glenn Morshower (Marlon Bell); David Carradine (Conrad); Patricia Wettig (Dr. Judy Barnett)
Writers Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec Director Ken Olin


  1. You know, finally the show gave Sydney something to think about other than Vaughn. Finally.

    I love the concept of Sydney having a sister, and I love the idea of Sloane having a daughter, but I sure as hell don't love the fact that they are the same girl. It's just too convoluted, and since the show played with the idea that Sloane could be Sydney's father (God forbid), that means Irina either cheated Jack twice (the first time around Sydney's conception, the other at Nadia's conception) or had a long affair with Sloane. And that's just SO WRONG! I cannot see Irina with Sloane. Urgh.

    Ok, there's a thing I really love about this situation, and it's the fact that Sydney sees herself in the position of trying to save Sloane's life. It's a marvelous twist that leads to one of the best sequences of the entire show. Also, like you said, Sloane and Jack together really sparkle.

    On another note, I can't avoid thinking that Alias was strongly influenced by Buffy (other than the obvious influence of being a show with an ass-kicking female lead). Here are the evidences: one girl is Buffy Anne Summers. The other is Sydney Anne Bristow (BAS and SAB, and the same middle name). Both are "the chosen one". And both gained a sister midway through the series. (And there's more to come on future seasons.)

    P.S.: Sorry for posting and deleting comments. English is not my first language, and even though I always read what I wrote before posting, sometimes I only catch mistakes afterwards. ;)

  2. Yeah, I don't entirely buy that Irina would engage in an affair with Sloane purely because she wanted to. That's just ugh. But I try to ignore the issues there because of how strong the story itself is.

    And I loved what you wrote about the Buffy connections. I hadn't actually acknowledged Syd's middle name, or the story similarities with the sister and the Rambaldi thing. It's always neat to spot little links like that.

    And absolutely no problem about the deleted comments. I never would have guessed that you were foreign based on your writing, it's entirely legit. And then I look at how entirely ignorant I am of any other language and it just makes me incredibly embarrassed, heh.

    Thanks, Lamounier.

  3. Damn, I was in the middle of writing this comment and the page reinitiated. Great... Ok, let's go again.

    No need to feel embarrassed. Speaking English is pretty much a requirement if you wanna have a decent career around here (I'm Brazilian). Besides, it's the language my favorite characters speak. You should try and learn a new language, though. Just look at how cool Sydney is with all her language skills.

  4. Haha! You're absolutely correct! I can't at all become all international and cool like Sydney Bristow speaking just one language! But, in all seriousness, it's something I really want to do. Spanish of course, along with French, probably. Some day...