Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh, Our Pro...

Aside from being a super-spy, trained in hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship and bomb diffusion, all the while holding a Master’s in Education, Sydney Bristow is the ultra protagonist. For those of you not familiar with the term, a protagonist is the central character of a story, often times the hero or heroine. In Sydney’s line of business, she comes up against main foil characters or antagonists. Antagonists represent or create obstacles for the protagonist, and Sydney has come up against many, many antagonists.

As you know, I’ve spoken of Alias as an onion, and how the core of the Alias onion is conflict. It is the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist that creates this conflict. One of Sydney’s number one antagonists is K-Directorate Agent Ana Espinoza. Born in Russia, raised in Cuba, (the last of the Cold War babies) Ana is trained in wet-work and close range hits. Ana has been Sydney’s enemy since her SD-6 days, constantly keeping Sydney from reaching her goals and completing her missions. They have had some of best action sequences, duking it out over high-demand Rambaldi artifacts, racing to stay one step ahead of each other. We see Ana reappear in season 4 as a loyal Rambaldi follower. She kidnaps Nadia, brands her with the Order of Rambaldi <0> and uses her as bate to force Sydney into completing a hit for her. Despite years of all out physical battles and her best efforts, Ana Espinoza was duped by Sark and finally captured. What role she will play in the future is as predictable as her behavior.

Who is your favorite Alias antagonist? How would you categorize Irina Derevko? Is she an antagonist? Aside from Sydney, who would you view as protagonist?

11 comments:

srg-alias said...

that's a great summary girlscout, but Ana was actually captured last season. In the 2-episode story w/ her and Sark, it ended w/ Sark trapping Ana and shouting to Sydney that he was "a man of his word". Syd and Ana had a good fight after that, but Syd won and arrested her. I wonder if we'll see her again this season?

I would say one of the best antagonists would be Sloane. After what he did to Syd by killing her fiancee, best friend, and lying to her for 7 years, you loathed the very sight of him, yet he always seems to convince people that he's "changed" and not evil anymore. There's always the question of whether that's true, and the obvious torment he causes Syd.

Kiki said...

Good call SRG Alias. I totally forgot about that!! Right, he locked her out of the elevator. Shoot!

srg-alias said...

hehe, it's ok, I only know the details because I just rewatched the episode on TNT last week. :) Wish they would have released the s4 DVDs before s5 started, but ah well. I'm sure I'll know them by heart just like s1-3 soon enough. ;-)

jenn256 said...

I would say my favorite Alias antagonist would have to be Sark. I think he has been a huge problem for her for a very long time. He seems to define the term you used for an antagonist. He has helped and worked for almost every enemy Syd has ever come in contact with, Sloane, Lauren, Lauren's mom, McKenas Cole, Ana Espinoza....the list goes on and on. Which is what makes him such a character.

As far as Irina, she fits slightly into both categories. She has often been the heroine, helping Jack and Syd. But she has been an antagonist for Syd also, however; her motivations are not always clear. What is we are not sure if the antagonist creates obsticles and problems for the protaongist on purpose? If not then are they actually considered an antagonist (or just a bad mom?) :) Just wondered if you, HelloSark would have any thoughts on that? What would the correct literary term for her be?

Kiki said...

Very good points Jenn. I am in the process of researching a specific term for characters like Irina. I, too, see her as both an antagonist and protagonist. In Sydney's mind she's a hero and in Jack's she's not. I am off to library to find some more literary and TV books. I will have an article posted tomorrow dealing more on this.

For sure, Irina hasn't been the best mother and I don't think she set out to be Sydney's antagonist. I think she is though, even if she didn't mean to be. She has kept Sydney from doing her job, but also helped to end SD-6. Hmmm.

slingshot said...

I’m going to say that I think the best by far antagonist would be Rambaldi himself. If you think about it...where have all her enemies come from?...him. Syd was the chosen one, believed to be the rebirth of rambaldi...she was forced to visit a mountain to prove otherwise. He brought out the passenger, Nadia, another obstacle for Syd to face, having the prophecy be that they would fight each other and one would not make it. Ana was working toward recovering artifacts, and especially with Auntie Helena, she was head of the covenant, trying to capture Rambaldi's artifacts to create an endgame. No matter what you think of, the last four years she was faced with things all stemming from him. Therefore he is the ultimate antagonist...yes Sark, Ana, Lauren, and the like are great antagonists, but Rambaldi is one gianormous one!

slingshot said...

One point I forgot, the covenant was reposible for her being gone for two years, and loosing vaughn to lauren, forcing her to have one hell of a terrible year, all leading back to Rambaldi!

steph_bristow said...

i love anna's character! the fights between her and syd were always awesome! they played off of each other well and it was fun to watch! i do agree with you though, slingshot. what is alias? it's pretty much based on this prophet called rambaldi and all of the pawns in his endgame. if there were no rambaldi there would really be no conflict for syd and company. i mean, they'd have the usual CIA stuff to deal with but it wouldn't be the same. does that make any sense? oh well, just my thoughts!

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amy said...

lets see...as far as other protagonists i think one of the reasons this show is so awesome and we are so attached to syd is because from the beginning she is really the stand-out protagonist and you almost couldn't classify anyone else as one because of all the spying, lying, betraying, and suspense....even vaughn has proven to not be all up-front (though i would want to call him a protagonist!)

sloane of course always keeps us on our toes and who doesn't love sark....

lauren was a pretty well developed antagonist...starts out easy to hate, then they slowly make you think she might be ok, then the big reveal....her evil just kept getting worse with an underlying tension...like did she really hesitate when killing her dad because of some inner conflict? when vaughn had her hanging up there from the chains we saw more of this seemingly compassionate and victimized lauren - only to have elena free her and expose that it was all false...

amy said...

i meant katya - darn those derevko sisters always getting me confused!!!