Sunday, July 6, 2014

Alias: S.O.S. (5.10)

S.O.S. appears to be an example of the show having to come up with less eventful episodes in light of Jennifer Garner's pregnancy, since it's another hour heavy on Syd being pretty stationary and sedate, while everybody else buzzes around her to fill time. It's also another episode that seems to stagger its way towards a cliffhanger ending. Like The Horizon last week, here we have a lot of pretty boring stuff that leads to a sort of bland climactic revelation. I think I'm ready for that baby to arrive.

It honestly shouldn't be all that surprising that Sydney's unborn child seems to have some kind of mystical involvement with whatever Prophet Five is after. As much as everybody behind-the-scenes was quick to back away from the Rambaldi saga, Prophet Five in a lot of ways feels like more of the same, from its operatives hidden within the CIA, to the centuries-old conspiracy used to maintain its secrets. Like the drawing of Syd on page 47 back in season one, here we have a vague sci-fi element introduced in relation to the Bristow line -- Sydney kidnapped and operated on to actually protect her baby, rather than cause it harm. It's generic as hell, not only for Alias but for action/fantasy series in general, but at least saves the episode from being a total wash.

In terms of setting up future stories, S.O.S. also launches a little arc for Tom Grace, here revealed to be embarking on what seems to be a solo mission to avenge the death of his wife. Balthazar Getty is a fine actor, but it admittedly feels a little late in the day to explore a new character like this, unless his own personal one-named MacGuffin (a shady villain known as 'The Cardinal') is somehow linked to the larger Prophet Five arc... I forget where all of this goes.

You can see why S.O.S. was paired with Maternal Instinct as a two-hour 'event', since this is another underwhelming transitional episode, one with barely enough plot to sustain the forty minute runtime including credits and the 'Previously on...' at the top of the show. Blah. C-

Guest stars Elodie Bouchez (Renée Rienne); Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss); John Aylward (Jeffrey Davenport); Cate Cohen (Tour Guide); James Handy (Arthur Devlin); Kathe Mazur (Dr. Lynn)
Writer J.R. Orci Director Karen Gaviola

1 comment:

  1. The first time I watched this episode, I was soooo nervous. What the hell were they doing to Sydney and her baby, I kept wondering. Man, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire hour. Aside of Sydney in peril, there was a lot to like: the mission on the CIA headquarters was so much fun, and you have to love Jack Effing Bristow going all badass to protect his daughter. Now that was an element of the series I never became tired of watching.

    But, while I wouldn’t grade this one as low as you have, I agree that it’s filler material. Seriously, the entire episode happened because Sydney’s message got compromised. And that was it. That was the reason of existence of “S.O.S.”. It’s a shame, because this is the first episode produced after Jennifer Garner’s maternity license, and instead of the hour being devoted to having Sydney give birth do the baby as quickly as possible (because, you know, we miss Garner kicking ass), they devote it to stalling.

    In fact, the first time I watched “S.O.S.” (and in Brazil there was no two-hour event) I knew the name of the following episode was “Maternal Instinct”, so I spend the entire hour thinking Prophet Five would take Sydney’s baby away and a very angry Sydney would rescue her baby on “Maternal Instinct”. So I was disappointed at the end when it was revealed that everything was fine. It’s even more disappointing on a rewatch when you already know the mystical interest on Sydney’s baby will go absolutely nowhere, like a lot of season five’s plot threads. It's not a spoiler if it didn't happen, right? :)

    Tom's storyline looked promising, but, oh boy, was it boring later on.