Monday, June 10, 2013

Alias: Nightingale (4.14)

Alias has been many things over the years, but 1970s-style conspiracy thriller isn't one of them. Until now, anyway. Nightingale is more about the tease than anything else, events building to a variety of cliffhangers instead of anything concrete or defined, but it's an episode heavily reminiscent of espionage dramas of the past -- conflict created via characters going in over their heads, all the while unaware that people they know are secretly orchestrating their own dueling agendas. It's a different kind of episode, but one that feels welcome after a season of smaller, albeit entertaining, stories.

Vaughn himself is still a problem, though, Michael Vartan far and away the least interesting actor on the show and rarely successful at anchoring his own stories -- but the writers have lately done a great job of pulling various other cast members into the search for his father... or at least orbiting around the search for Bill Vaughn. We're still stranded in vagueness most of the time, but the illusive involvement of both Jack and Sloane (their partnership in general already intriguing) creates immediate propulsion, at least in terms of narrative.

What's specifically interesting here is the idea of lies being piled on top of each other, and characters never being totally honest about their intentions. Jack and Sloane are in pursuit of Elena Derevko, Syd and Vaughn have gone rogue, Jack's keeping his potential radiation poisoning a secret from those who care about him, and so forth. The show is creating a tangled web of deceit for all of these protagonists to operate within, and while it's nothing new for Alias, it should create significant sparkage in the future.

There's little to entirely grasp onto this week, but the sewing of seeds in itself is enough to keep your attention. What the show needs, however, is some kind of tangible threat right now. Bill Vaughn, in particular, still feels more like a concept than an actual person, and the continued mystery of whether he's actually alive or not (and the introduction of a dead agent who could have easily taken his place all those years ago only furthers that) has flip-flopped a little too long. But the season at least feels like it has a sense of purpose at this point, which is cool. B

Guest stars
Michael Kenneth Williams (Roberts); Robin Sachs (Hans Dietrich); Elya Baskin (Dr. Josef Vlachko)
Writer Breen Frazier Director Lawrence Trilling


  1. Hey, Max. I'm so glad you are posting reviews again! I would love to comment them, but I'm really out of time lately. As soon as I have some time though, I’ll share some of my thoughts on those episodes. ;)

    Love your writing.

  2. That's totally cool, no problem! Thanks for your continued comments, Lamounier.

  3. Nightingale is my second favorite episode, my first fave is Another Mister Sloane. Alias is an awesome show, I actually think Alias never got bad, okay it slightly drop in quality with the stories that they were a little bit repetitive but it never go horribly bad and come on there are worst shows today it is so rare to find a good television show nowadays. I hope one day J.J Abrams picks up this amazing series.