Monday, October 10, 2005

The Role of Irina

We are first introduced to Sydney’s mother as the soft-smiling, brunette in old family photos, hugging her daughter and lovingly gazing at her husband. Laura Bristow is perceived as a caring mother and dutiful CIA wife, killed tragically in a car accident. As Sydney, we cling to tiny bits and pieces of Mrs. Bristow, in order to better understand Sydney’s rocky relationship with Jack and to shed light on Sydney’s educational motivation. It had never occurred to us, as it had not Sydney, that her mother, the woman she so highly idolized, would be revealed as an enemy of the state.

While investigating her father’s past, Sydney stumbles on an incomplete FBI report involving her father and an Agent Colldar. It seems Jack was being investigated as a possible double agent for the Russian KGB. This is seemingly confirmed when Sydney finds encoded KGB orders hidden on the pages of her mother’s old books; books given to her by Jack. As Sydney and Vaughn battle with whether or not to turn Jack in as the KGB agent that murdered 12 CIA operatives, including Vaughn’s father, Jack lets go of the truth. The truth is that the KGB agent was actually Laura Bristow aka Irina Derevko.

Sydney is devastated by the news that her perfect mother was really a Russian Intelligence Officer, sent to the United States to seduce and marry a CIA agent. Sydney is determined to find her mother, who survived and possibly even orchestrated the car crash in order to disappear. Only one man can leader Sydney to her mother, “The Man” Alexander Kassinau.

Irina Derevko has been one of Alias’ most intriguing and profound characters. Her unknown allegiances and her careful choice of words have not only persuaded Sydney of her goodness, but the audience as well. Irina spent most of season 2 behind bars, deceiving the CIA and using her daughter’s trust to gain access to a Rambaldi manuscript. She then hatches an elaborate plan to be extracted, leaving her daughter in shock. Irina has escaped death more than once, lied to foreign governments and been a fugitive for nearly 30 years, but that doesn’t stop Sydney from learning as much as she can, and forging a relationship with the mother she never knew.

The relationship between Sydney and Irina is difficult to decipher. They battle between trusting each other too much and not trusting each other enough. Sydney is in constant clash with Jack in regards to her meetings with Irina, because Jack knows Sydney is blinded by the true genuine feelings her mother has for her. Despite deceiving the CIA, Irina wishes to protect Sydney and ultimately Nadia, from the fate of Rambaldi and the endgame that could claim both of their lives.

The last we see of Irina is in the mysterious ending of season 4. She assists APO in bringing down her sister and Covenant leader, Elena Derevko and then she leaves with a tender goodbye. How will Irina fit into this season’s whirlwind plot? What is her roll in Prophet Five? What does she know about Vaughn’s investigation and the death of Bill Vaughn? Will she return to help Sydney find the men that “killed” her fiancé or will Irina be out for her own benefit? How will SpyMommy handle the SpyBaby news? And will the Bristow family ever find peace?

9 comments:

birdietwoshoes said...

Irina is my absolute favorite Alias character. I love the relationship between Syd and her mom. Even though Irina betrayed the CIA and ultimately Sydney, her reunion with Syd and Nadia last season were very touching. All summer I pondered Irina's words to Vaughn: "You're not as covert as you think." I'm still wondering what her role will be in this season. I hope and pray JJ brings her back in. Maybe she can explain some of the mystery of Vaughn to Syd, since she obviously knows something. What are people's thoughts on her return? Has anyone heard anything??

srg-alias said...

I haven't heard anything about her return and what significance she has to the story and prophet 5, then again I've been purposefully ignoring spoiler threads because I LOVE being surprised. :) Irena is an incredible character potrayed by and excellent actress, no one other than Leno Olin could ever play her. She comes across as incredibly smart, tender to Sydney and disarming to everyone. I'm very curious how she knew about Vaughn's activities while no one else (including Jack) had a clue. Because it seems that prophet 5 has to do w/ Rambaldi, and Irena is so heavily connected to that story, that she will be important as the story unfolds. How that will happen is something I'm looking forward to discovering throughout the season.

srg-alias said...

one other thing, I love her interactions with Jack, their chemistry is very evident and the fact that they both love each other even after all the betrayal and lies comes through. I'm hoping to see more of that chemistry/connection between the two of them this season!

jenn256 said...

I am so glad you did an entry about this most fascinating character. I am quite sure that if Irina didn't at least have a major hand in Prophet 5, she at least knew something about it. I am wondering if that is why she didn;t kill Vaughn, besides the fact I don't think she could do that to her daughter. I think she wanted Vaughn to keep investigating with his CIA contacts to possibly find out things about it she couldn't. Vaughn must have known that Irina knew though after their conversation at the end of last season. WHy wouldn't he have asked her about it? If she is woring on the P5 project I don't think she would have had him "killed". She was there when Vaughn proposed, and one of the last things she told Syd was that she would not be there on her wedding day, but would be in spirit.

I think the always intersting relationship between the Bristow family will take on a whole new dimension this season with a BRistow grandbaby on the way. As I had posted on another thread, I'm not quite sure Syd will ask or take any parenting advice from her own parents. These are the people who have lied to her all of her life, whether doing so for her own benefit or not. They were in her own words, "absent" when she was growing up. Where does this leave a strained mother/daughter relationship when the daughter is having a daughter of her own?

Kiki said...

Yes, as I've said, I think Irina will play a huge role in this Porphet Five business and for sure shed some light on Vaughn's investigation. Also, I think there will be some great stuff between Syd and her mom, especially since Syd will be a mom herself. And I think we will come to see the Jack before Irina's betrayl, a loving dad.

jenn256 said...

Does anhyone have any thoughts on whether P5 is referring to an actual person or just medical information regarding a particular illness or condition (cryogenics?)since we know the page Lehman and Bill Vaughn decyphered was talking about genetics and amino acids. Maybe more of a prophecy than an actual prophet?

Kiki said...

Good point. We know Rambaldi was interested in genetics. And this whole story on cryogenics is just too perfect for Nadia and her situation. It has been said in many of the episode descriptions that Sloane will make an un-holy deal of some sort in order to save Nadia. Will he make a deal with the Prophet Fiver's to help him cure his daughter? Or at least freeze her until there is a cure? Hmm. I might have to take this to the boards.

steph_bristow said...

i love irina!! who doesn't?? it was such a touching moment in the season 4 finale between her and syd! i really hope she's back for some episodes this season. alias wouldn't be complete without a visit from irina coming to see her grandchild! plus, it's obvious she's got some sort of knowledge about prophet 5, i mean she's the one who told vaughn to come clean with syd. wonder what she knows...if not everything??

amy said...

not to be appearance-focused here but i have to mention her ARMS! she has the best arms ever - my inspiration!!! (: