Thursday, April 11, 2013

Alias: Echoes (4.8)

In some ways, Alias' recent detour to standalone city has only made episodes like this one a lot punchier. With Nadia in particular, the last seven episodes have slowly formed the groundwork of her relationship with Sydney, both as agents as well as sisters. Through Weiss, too, Nadia has become a more integral member of the Alias cast, somebody important enough to have her own love interest, along with all the screwy familial intrigue that truly makes you a legit part of the ensemble. Echoes is a neat reminder of the Alias of yesteryear, not only because it marks the return of two major antagonists from seasons past, but also because it seems to grant validation to much of this season's storytelling, things finally coming to a head just when everybody seems sort of happy.

As strong as this season has been, something missing of late has been Milo Rambaldi, particularly the 'sisters at war' prophecy that played out at the end of last year. But the time given to Syd and Nadia's burgeoning tightness allows for greater emotional complexity this week, Nadia swimming in a river of denial when it comes to the prophecy she saw in a gooey-green vision last season, as well as Sydney struggling to tell her sister of the fate that seems to befalling them.

Sydney herself has always been at a crossroads with Rambaldi, familiar with the deep connection she has with his work, but also rejecting of some of his wilder theories. There's an element of going through the motions here, particularly when she chastises Sloane for the millionth time (though the "endless pit of confusion" line could read as fun fan-service), but the story at least allows some emotional material for the character to navigate around.

Anna Espinosa has the showier of the two returns this week, Sark kept largely on the backburner until that fourth act cliffhanger, and Gina Torres' unsurprisingly adds a snarky, underhand vitriol to her performance. She and Sydney have a brilliant fight sequence in a classy boutique, and the script discovers strong elements to play around with when it comes to their shared history. When Anna speaks of Sydney's life, and how everyone she loves tends to wind up dead, it has an effect that far outweighs any similar proclamations from this season's villains. Here's a woman with a deep dislike for Sydney Bristow, and polluting her name to those nearest to her can't help but feel natural.

Echoes cycles through so much Alias familiarity that it sometimes resembles a greatest hits episode, full of break-in's, undercover hooker gigs and catfights, but the show runs through it all with so much carefully sculpted confidence that you can overlook some of the generic plotting. It's ultimately just a lot of fun, the cliffhanger ending creating a neat pull of momentum for next week. B+

Guest stars
David Anders (Julian Sark); Gina Torres (Anna Espinosa); Sebastian Roche (Willem Karg); Morgan Sheppard (Milo Sabine); Nick Jaine (Dr. Maneesha Jain)
Writers Josh Applebaum, André Nemec Director Daniel Attias

1 comment:

  1. Im so happy man you returned to do another Alias recap!!! Keep doing em and ill keep reading em :)