Thursday, November 10, 2005

Episode 5.6 "Solo"

First, I just want to say a little thank you to all who enjoy the blog. I love writing and I love Alias and it only seemed right to merge the two. All of your comments and praise is wonderful! Spread the word. Post the address on message boards and tell your friends. Let's keep it going! Now...

YAHOO! YAHOO! Yahoo! That’s all I have to say. Well, aside from BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO. We are rolling with the best of Alias ladies and gentleman, and it all started last night with “Solo.” Let’s get at it….

Open on a typical, single family home in suburbia. Mom, dad, son and daughter are nestled around the television watching football. Classic. Then, in the shadows, they are taken captive. Rachel’s family is whisked away to a government facility, where she must spill the beans about her European past time; espionage. Unlike Sydney, Rachel is awarded the luxury of telling her family what she does for a living, before they are placed in witness protection. So, the Gibson family is kickin' it in Wisconsin with our favorite reporter friend. (Oh, I miss Will Tippin.)

Sloane meets with Dean for the first time as a double agent for APO and The Shed. Dean has the strong hold, he has the winning hand. He knows Sloane will do whatever he can to save his daughter. Dean’s first request; find Janos Vak, a weapons designer. Vak, a smarmy Hungarian, has designed a targeting software system. Dean wants it, so does APO. Enter Renee. Just for a butt-kicking moment.

Rachel: Woman of the Hour
Codename: Oracle. What can a codename tell us about Rachel? Hmmm. Well, as defined by Webster’s dictionary, an oracle is a shrine at which inquiries are made of a particular deity through the means of divination. In English, an oracle is like a god’s magic eight ball. It is also defined as the agency by which the inquiry is answered, such as a priest. How this relates to our mousy Rachel, not sure, but the writers picked the name for a reason. Let’s wait and see.

Finally, Rachel is in training. With Grace. She asks for advice, he tells her to fight dirty. Ain’t that how it always is ladies? They are setting us up folks; a vulnerable girl, her life spinning out of control, saved by the strong, handsome man with experience. Sound familiar? Oh, love a la Sydney and Vaughn. Can we talk about the sexual tension?! Cut it with a knife!

So, Rachel is tasked on her first mission: to assist Marshall on op-tech, while Syd and Dixon go old school to steal a secured PDA with information on Vak. Rachel slips up, running instead of fighting, but that doesn’t stop Jack from assigning Rachel to an even more dangerous mission. She is to fly solo; seduce Vak and get the software. Clad in a red wig, a sexy dress and a tube of Marshall’s lethal lipstick, Rachel goes in and…comes out alive. She ain’t no Sydney Bristow, but she did pretty damn good, even as she comes face to face with her ex-best friend. Peyton and Rachel have a nice heart to heart about liking each other, while Peyton holds a gun to Rachel’s chest. Two clicks from a tad hokie, Peyton is willing to put personal ahead of professional for about a split second, before Rachel pulls the brush aka ice pick on her. Is Peyton not Rachel’s Anna Espinoza? Love it, love it!

I like Rachel. She plays vulnerable very good, but does it with a fierce determination. She is insecure, but adamant about bringing down Dean and assisting Sydney in tracking down the people that killed Vaughn.

(Glowing and gorgeous by the way.)
I was shocked to learn that our little Miss Bitter from season 4 wrote a letter of recommendation for the man that killed her fiancĂ© and her friend. Alas, I suppose it is Sydney’s way of helping her sister. Sydney knows Sloane will do whatever it takes to save Nadia.

Let’s all take a moment of silence for Vaughn. Sydney is missing her man. She is dipping into single mother mode, coming to the realization that she will be raising a baby on her own. She can’t physically participate in the Vak mission, but like Vaughn did back in Sydney’s double agent days, she leads Rachel on a successful mission. Sydney and Rachel’s work together will be vital in bringing down Dean, as was Sydney and Vaughn’s work in bringing down SD-6. There are many reflective moments in this episode, where Sydney speaks about and remembers Vaughn. It was his voice that kept her going and as we see in the final scene, it still is.

Vaughn this and Vaughn that. Sydney talked about him so much, I expected him to walk into a scene in his leather jacket with his gelled hair. I suppose I didn’t realize how much Sydney relied on Vaughn during her years at SD-6. I suppose I hadn’t calculated all the instances where he saved her life over comms, aside from saving her life physically on missions. This brought forth a very tangible break between Sydney and Vaughn’s personal and professional lives. Maybe for the first time, I was able to see Sydney and Vaughn as two separate people, not as a CIA unit and not as an intimate couple. I was able to see where they merged as one. Two became one together, and now those two are separated, leaving one (and a half) behind. This, of course, is the very core of Alias.

When Sydney is rocking softly in the baby store, she smiles at a man and his daughter. When asked by the clerk if her husband has been helpful, instead of telling the woman she is a widow, she says, “He’s been great. He wishes he could do more.” Man, does he! He’s off somewhere in hiding while his fiancĂ©, nearly 6 months preggo with their child, is traipsing around the world looking for his “killers.” But, as he said on the tape, in the heartbreaking final scene, they are in this together, and I have no doubt, after last nights episode, that Vaughn will be back.

Sloane and Mean Dean (Celebrity Death Match Part 1)
Nothing like one smarmy guy meeting with another about advanced weapons to launch us back into the world of Alias. Sloane doesn’t like his role as Dean’s mole in APO. He doesn’t like it one bit, and he tells Dean so by refusing to give him the weapon. Dean fires back however. He may hold the secret to Nadia’s recovery. Speaking of Nadia, how nice was it to see the beautiful Mia Maestro? Even in hospital garb and bad florescent lighting she looked wonderful. I look forward to seeing her again, in future episodes, as Sloane’s story progresses. We will continue to see him and Dean butt heads as both struggle to fulfill their end-games.

Oh, I live for callbacks, and there were many.

-The spork! Marshall and the spork. Love it.

-Lethal lipstick. Remember Nadia and the lethal lips when she came to work for APO?

-Sydney has doubts about Rachel going into the field. Jack says, “This is the same as you being sent back into SD-6.” Sydney replies, “It’s not, I had Vaughn.” She did have Vaughn and Rachel will have Sydney.

-Rewind back to season 2: Sydney acquires Server 47 intel by boarding a plane. The only way she could get on the plane? Pose as a high priced hooker! Hello! Rachel makes her way onto the oil rig posing as a hooker! Sydney got the shrimp-eater and Rachel got the champagne-chugger with a thing for baby talk.

So, what did you think? Are you with me on the YAHOO's and the BRAVO's? Did you catch anything I've forgotten? Any insight, theories? Bring it on!!


Anonymous said...

I love your analyses, sometimes I think this is the ONE place I can go to get the insight I want. Just a few quick comments. Rachels codename, Oracle, I thought that perhaps they gave it to her in regards to her insight into Dean and The Shed. Also, the hooker bit -- Syd was a hooker on SEVERAL occasions, not just to get into Server 47, for example, S3E1, to stop that Russian guy's car and steal the microchip. But as for the rest I totally agree. Keep it up, I look forward to reading more :).

M said...

Speaking of "Oracles"... I bet that Sloan is the one to kill Dean... the parrallelism of Dean's threatening Nadia to get what he wants and Sloan's threatening the congresswoman's daughter to do the same did not elude me. Sloan was never someone to mess with... he is feared globally... why does Dean, a relative unknown in the evil inner circles, think he can manipulate one of the world's foremost evil geniuses? I predict that Dean is going to die a horrible, miserable death at the hands of Sloan.

Freelancer said...

First, I have to say that I enjoy reading your blog and the intellectual insight into the show. I used to take the script so literally and after reading through your posts I know now to look deeper into everything mentioned on the show.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who took Vaughn's comment of "we're in this together" as more than a previous conversation. It only strengthened my opinion that Vaughn is still alive.

I also think Dean's days are numbered. The "relationship" between him and Sloane is tense and only based on an unasked favor from Dean. Sloane has the resources to eliminate Dean and I'm sure we'll see him use those soon.

Kiki said...

Yes, I loved the Sloane and Dean scenes, especially the last one. Ron Rifkin clenches his jaw and his eys grow sad. He was pissed! And ean doesn't seem to have a problem threatening one of the most evil and powerful men in the world. I think Sloane is going to pull one over and not only save Nadia, but help Sydney.
But, I also think he has something up his sleeve...with Jack.

srg-alias said...

GS, I COULDN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE, THAT EPISODE WAS SO FRIGGIN AWESOME AND I CAN'T HELP TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT GOT ME SO EXCITED AND REVVED UP!!! That episode was one of the best I've seen in a long time, and I've been pretty happy w/ s5 overall. There were so many great points, great turmoil with Sloane dealing w/ his duplicity, good comedy between Syd and Rachel (you're dad's kinda scary :) ), awesome action with Rachel and Peyton (still having fun?), and tender moments with Syd at the baby store and at home. I seriously loved that episode, and seeing Nadia for not even 30 seconds just brought tears to my eyes, it was so good to see her! I just can't say enough about Solo, was just an excellent episode.

I think M's point about Sloane being the one to kill Dean is a good theory. Remember what happend to the last guy who tried to blackmail Sloane (Lindsey)? Yeah, uhhuh. :)

So many more clues about Vaughn being alive. I mean why would Syd want the baby to recognize Vaughn's voice if it wasn't going to be hearing him after it's born? :) Also, the "wishes he could do more" quote like GS said, I'm sure he does hidden away in some cave. Man I think I'm gonna watch that episode again tonight, so much fun! I love this show. :)

Kiki said...

Hi SRG. I knew for sure you would love last nights eppy. As I watched and then rewatched with a friend, I was thinking, man, SRG is dying right now! The Syd moments were awesome. The are keeping Vaughn in our thoughts, and dream or no dream, when the eppy with Vaughn airs, I am going to be bawling!

M said...

Did anyone catch the fact that Sloan was wearing three wedding rings.... obviously one was his, and one was probably Emily's... what about the third one? Following GS's Rule of Three, I think this could be pretty significant... (can somebody take a look and see if I'm being completely crazy? I watched it a few times to make sure!)

AgtBecky13 said...

Next week's episode looks so good too. Rachel will get some revenge and she will kick some butt. I'm not saying more in case some do not read spoilers. Go see the preview on AOL.

P.S. This is my first time here and I'm not sure I understand what a Blog is, so let's hope my post is ok.

Dignan said...

Great episode...
About the code name Oracle- Oracle is also a software company that creates programs to manage/ store information. Pretty right on for the character.

About the tape in the last scene... what was said exactly in it? Was it an old recording or perhaps a new one? I missed what it said...

Kiki said...

You did great. I am the blog-master, if you will. I post articles about Alias, plot and characters and you are welcome to comment or post questions. It's really a place to discuss the literary side of Alias. Thanks for stopping in.

srg-alias said...

LOL, that's too funny GS, you certainly know my taste! :) I was loving it, rooting for Rachel, laughing at the many funny lines (do you know what a spork is?) :) and tearing up at the tender moments, FANTASTIC!! Next week's does look good too. Welcome agtBecky, thanks for not putting any spoilers, I know I'm not the only one who tries to avoid them. :) M - interesting about the 3 rings...I'm pretty sure that Sloane's wedding ring was a dual band though, anyone else remember?

Andrew said...

They showed that ring(s) so many times, that I couldn't help but notice it.

I'm pretty sure we've never seen that before, because it sure did stand out on his hand.

Add that to the mystery of why he drinks water incessantly, and we just have more questions about Arvin Sloane.

BTW, I loved that episode way more than I thought I would. After "Out of the Box," I was interested way more in the Prophet 5 storyline and disappointed that the episode would be about Rachel, but it exceeded my low expectations by a long shot.

They gave Rachel a personal stake in taking down the Shed with what happened to her family. Without that scene, it wouldn't have felt right seeing her out there more.

I also loved how they kept it focused on Sydney and how she's going through this all rather than only focusing on Rachel's takedown of the Shed.

As each episode airs, we're getting closer and closer to having the Prophet 5 storyline and the weird science there merging with the Shed, Rachel, and Sloane's loyalty.

Thanks for the great blog! This is definitely a must-check site.

AgtBecky13 said...

Thank you guys for welcoming me. I was tired of the negative stuff on the ABC forum and I heard this site was good. How do you put a picture next to your name when you post (like M has a shark)? I did include a picture but you can only see it when I click on my profile. Thanks and long life to this site!

AgtBecky13 said...

Ok. The picture worked this time... Sorry, beginner's mistake. LOL. Go Rachel!

Kiki said...

Oh Becky, you have a Rchel pic, cool! I love Rachel and I am so sick of the negative Rachel stuff on the boards. I think she is going to be great for Sydney. I can't wait for them to be fighting side by side.

srg-alias said...

here here GS and Becky, go Rachel!! :)

AgtBecky13 said...

Yes GS and SRG. Rachel Nichols is great! I used to watched her on the Inside and this girl can act. Her character was a FBI profiler who was kidnapped and abused as a child. Her character was multi-dimensionnal. Very hard to play this kind of character because she felt different emotions (I used to be in theater). That's why I get mad when the boards bash her for no reason. You can like her or not but to say she's a bad actress is wrong. On Alias, she is showing alot of different sides too and that's tough to play. Also, It's hard to be the new female lead because JG is well established and she has alot of fans. She deserves a chance!

srg-alias said...

I totally agree w/ you Becky, I think she's doing a great job with the part. She's playing vaulnerable and nervous very well, you really believe that that was her first mission and she was worried she wouldn't pull it off. I also appreciate good acting and can recognize it when it's starting me right in the face. I'm also sick of the negativity of the boards, this blog is my safe haven. :)

uncle111 said...

Man I feel out of place right now. I thought it was an ok episode, but was not really imnpressed. I didn't think it was a bad episode at all, just nothing special. I don't know if I'm used to it being more intense and more overtly Rambaldi/Prophet5 oriented, or if I have just become more intense about the show since the end of last season. I used to just watch it, enjoy it and didn't really analyze it that much. But they got the Rambaldi element so ramped up, and with Vaughn's interrupted revelation at the end of last season, I began combing through all the episodes looking for clues as to what exactly was going on under the surface. And now I guess I'm looking for block buster action and revelation every episode.
Now, having said that, I really like the tension between Sloane and Dean. I think we will end up seeing a Dean skin rug on Sloane's living room floor someday. I liked Tom's advice to Rachel about fighting. That's real world. Jack's out of place, or last night he was a little off to the side. (Jack needs his own spin-off someday.) Someone made the suggestion that Sloane has told him about Dean and they are using the situation to find out who the bad guys are in the government, or at least that's the pretense Sloane is using to formulate another self-serving scheme.
I still haven't warmed to Rachel.

My hopes for a better time next week are based on this line from the previews, "Then hit him again."

queenmab75 said...

I was all prepared to hate this episode, because I didn't like the thought of Racheal taking Sydney's place. But I really liked it! I'm so glad they're having Racheal be out of her element and unsure of herself, rather than being a super agent right away. I've read on other boards where they say the fight between Peyton and Racheal was poorly acted. I disagree, I thought it was hilarious (whether intentional or not) and found myself rooting for Racheal to kick butt!

uncle111 said...

One thing they are going to have problems with in fight scenes is that Rachel is not as athletic as JG is. They will have to do more with stunt doubles to make it look good than they have to with Jennifer. Jennifer's background as a dancer helps her with those kinds of scenes because the fighting is mostly a matter of footwork. Doesn't mean it can't be done, it will just be trickier. This may be why they had Tom tell her to cut the "spinning kung-fu crap." If she takes a more straight on approach like what they teach Navy Seals it not be as showy, but it will be easier for her to do and be more realistic.

Robetron said...

I just wanted to mention this because I think it was the best scene in the episode, but it is getting overlooked.

Renee Reanne thrashing the bad-guys was one of the coolest scenes we have had in a long time. She took out all of those guys with a Jet Li kind of smoothness.

I have not been her biggest fan, but she certainly can get the job done. She has my vote for "Best in Show"

lisa said...

Yay spork...I mean, yay, Rachel!

I love reading this blog. There is a lot of thought and insight about the show, the theories and the hidden messages. And I'm overjoyed that Alias has gone back to its roots; by the end of "Solo," I felt so complete.

Oh, just to backtrack, I thought Katya's codename was Black Sparrow, not just Sparrow. But still a bird, nonetheless, and I suppose there aren't any black sparrows in nature...

spyfriend said...

As I was watching "Solo"(again) I noticed in the last scene when Syd was listening to the tape-when they did a sweep of the room there was a candle in the window.(The kind that's always used in movies when they say "leave a candle burning in the window".) Anyone else notice and do we think it's significant?

Kiki said...

Good catch Spyfriend. Candles left burning in the window, it's a signal to welcome someone home. Nice work! We are just finding more and more clues that Vaughn will return.

birdietwoshoes said...

First of all, loved this episode. Seeing Rachel in action, even though she was a little unsure of herself, was great. Loved the Marshall/Spork comment. Loved when Rachel punched Grace. Caught the "Wishes he could do more" comment right away. Hmm... Loved the fight scene with Rachel and Peyton. Wondering about Sloane's ring(s). Now, was it one ring, just with 3... rings? Or was it 3 on top of one another? I'm sure GS or SRG has gone back to other seasons to see what kind of ring Sloane was wearing and can answer that question. :) And lastly, the tape recording Syd was playing to SpyBaby. Why would she be playing a recording of a "dead" man??? I think he's totally alive. Question for you all: Did the recording sound like it was from an old mission, or that it somehow could have been recent? Sounded old to me, but... nothing that jogged my memory as far as a mission. However, I've only seen the other seasons once.

Can't wait till next episode!

uncle111 said...

Have you seen the publicity pictures for Episode 9? They show Jack and Renee "raiding" some place and inside they find what looks like a secure hideout with a...nursery. Does Syd take off to meet Vaughn and have the baby? Or is the baby kidnapped and Jack and Renee are trying to find it?