Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alias: Fait Accompli (5.7)

Even with an influx of new characters, a show can only be sustained by its story, and whether or not it has anything particularly fresh or interesting to say. Rachel, Renée and Tom are all being smoothed into the show's foundations with considerable finesse, picking up the leg work vacated by the pregnant Syd and working well alongside the long-standing cast members. Tyrees Allen and Amy Acker are similarly charismatic actors doing strong work with a perpetually vague criminal subplot. But Fait Accompli exposes how little creative juice is honestly left in Alias, leaving its writers to merely cover old ground, even if it's populated by new players.

A lot of this episode feels like a greatest hits hour. There's an exchange of goods at a race-track, Dixon dressed in some incongruous ethnic ensemble, Sydney assuming a cartoonish, comedic secret identity while undercover (I kind of miss the days when they just had her dress in a tight leather outfit), Sloane again coming to APO with the truth about his recent evilness, hoping to use it for their long-term benefit. It's just a very plot-heavy episode, but with every new juncture of the script feeling like a rehashed version of events we've already seen. The show seems to be saying, "yeah, we know this is all a little familiar", both by the reappearance of Professor Choi in the episode's teaser sequence and later Syd noticing the parallels between Prophet Five and the Alliance, but constantly acknowledging narrative repetition doesn't mean it's somehow fine.

This is Andi Bushell's first script for the show, and maybe she was a fan before she was hired and she's encountering the problems that lie with writing for a show that you've watched for years. Like how the work winds up feeling like fan-fiction instead of just another chapter of a serialized story. I don't want to lay the blame at her feet, but this week's events seem to be so important to the season and where it will seemingly go from here -- Gordon Dean is taken out before we get to the real bones of his character, and the arrival of Angus Macfadyen's boss-man puts Sloane in the exact same position he was in just two episodes ago. Kelly Peyton's promotion is intriguing, and both the LSD scene and Jack later helping Syd build a crib are fun, but this is Alias generally slowing down whatever momentum the year previously had, exhuming old gimmicks instead of pushing forward. C-

Guest stars Mia Maestro (Nadia Santos); Angus Macfadyen (Joseph Ehrmann); Amy Acker (Kelly Peyton); Tyrees Allen (Gordon Dean); Jay Huguley (Dr. Peter Marks); Keone Young (Professor Choi)
Writer Andi Bushell Director Richard Coad


  1. Can I just say what a gorgeous pregnant woman Jennifer Garner turned into? Man, she was absolutely beautiful. Great screen shot there, max.

    So... Gordon Dean. Poor introduction, frustrating demise. When he first appeared, he was infiltrated in the CIA. Only he was dead, and APO missed it (how?), but his cover was eventually blown, so who cares anyway? Oh, I do, I like my stories to make sense. And now he has been killed off, because (1) he could only talk some vague shit about Prophet Five and (2) he needs to be replaced by a better villain. (1) is bad, (2) is good.

    While I still enjoy the conspiracy flavor of Prophet Five, it’s impossible not to be frustrated by its vagueness. I do like the parallels between Prophet Five and the Alliance, I just wished there was more to Prophet Five than a very vague plot.

    The shovel moment was nice, though. And the crib scene is the kind of scene you have to surrender yourself to. Too damn sweet.

  2. It's almost like the show was trying to replicate the Alliance with Prophet Five, only they weren't confident enough with it to actually do anything. Resulting in an antagonist threat that's just permanently flat and vague.

    And agreed about the screencap, thanks! Thought it was all Bond-like and cool hehe.