Friday, February 17, 2006

Poisonous Parenting by Jenn256

This Friday article was written by blogger and guest writer Jenn256.

Since the beginning of Alias we have been introduced to many parent/child relationships. But it seems that none of them are healthy relationships to say the least. As a matter of fact, it seems that the maternal and paternal roles filled by these characters would be enough to make even Dr.Phil run for the hills. But why is this? Let’s look at some examples shall we?

Sydney and Jack
Sydney and Irina
Nadia and Irina
Nadia and Sloane
Michael Vaughn and Bill Vaughn
Lauren and Olivia and Senator Reed

It doesn’t seem that any of these parents will ever be contenders for parent of the year. Even Vaughn expressed concerns when Sydney first broke the news of their impending bundle of joy. He knew what it was like growing up with the lies told to “protect the ones you love” when you are a CIA operative. Sydney knows this all to well. She grew up thinking her dad worked exporting airplane parts and her mother was a mild mannered school teacher who died in a terrible car accident. Nadia never knew the real truth about her parents (thanks to Elena). Vaughn grew up thinking his dad was a great CIA officer killed in the line of duty, only to find out as an adult that Bill Vaughn had been working on some secret project and had his name changed to protect him at 18 months old. And how long had Lauren’s mother, Olivia Reed been working with the Covenant before she found out? And Olivia had obviously been lying to Senator Reed about her meeting with Covenant members over the years.

When Sydney found out the truth about Jack and Irina she was very angry about being lied to by her father, someone who she thought she could trust. But didn’t she do the same thing to protect Francie, Will and Danny when she joined the CIA? Will she be forced to do the same thing when baby Bristow-Vaughn gets old enough? Will she see as her baby gets older that perhaps Jack really did do the right thing in keeping her shielded from the truth?

At what point will Syd tell Baby Bristow-Vaughn that her mommy and daddy are two of the best CIA agents in the world and have killed a lot of people to save the world? Oh and by the way, so have Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Nadia. And before you were born Aunt Nadia was in a coma because Grandma’s sister tried to end the world in an apocalyptic game with a giant red ball that hovered over Russia, but luckily Grandma’s other sister who was in prison at the time for trying to kill Mommy helped Grandpa to find the evil sister. Let’s hope Syd gives her the little talk before Career Day! Is this really the way Sydney will want Baby BV to grow up? All of the examples given above have grown up with lying as a second nature to their children, or the children to the parents as they grew up (Lauren and Senator Reed). Sydney has always been so willing to be truthful and honest, but does there come a point when lying is better, easier and safer for the children involved?

So what do you think? Is lying to those you love a pre-requisite for the CIA job? Will Syd lie to the baby about her and Vaughn’s past to keep her safe, even though that’s what she hated Jack for?

All I have to say is, "I don't sell airplane parts, I never sold airplane parts!"
Great article Jenn. Thoughts? Ideas?


uncle111 said...

Great article Jenn. I don't think I've seen one before that charts the lies and resulting screwed up relationships of the characters this well, and nicely concise, too.

I don't think most children should be burdened with the "grownup" dynamics of life too early in life. They are much better able to handle the full thing after they have aquired some degree of maturity.

So, I'd say very small doses of reality along the way and once her stomache is fully developed they can feed her the full course meal of poop from the spy world. (Of course, the Alias spy world has a lot more evil in concentrated form, so baby may be 90 before she can eat. And then it may kill her.)

Kiki said...

I agree Uncle. If little Syd had known the reason why her father was gone all the time and why he wasn't there when she was growing up, perhaps her relationship with Jack might have been more understanding. And Jack using Porject Christmas was at first a slap in the face, but necessary to protect Syd from things not just as a child, but as an adult.

I think it's important for Syd to explain to her child that her job is complicated, that she is saving people and protecting the world they live in. I don't think Rambaldi needs to be a topic of discussion. But maybe when the baby is older Syd can turn it into a bedtime story!

jenn256 said...

Yes I believe there isn't enough money in the world to pay for that shrink bill!!

But I do think you are right Uncle, small doses of the truth would be better than Syd finding out everything she ever knew about her parents was a lie. I just think it's an interesting predicament for Syd to be in. After she has this baby and walks in Jacks shoes for a little while, her opinion of her father may change.

Robetron said...

Lest we all forget, the main reason Syd is doing what she is doing is because as long as she has enemies, the baby will never be safe. It is my expectation that Syd will be forced to fake her death and get out of the spy-biz as soon as possible. This will mean a complete change of identity. (Maybe she'll go hang out with Will in Wisconsin.)

My point being: by the time the child will be able to understand sentences, Syd should have nothing to reveal. She must be determined to break the pattern her parents have propagated. She may be free enough in the child's future to tell the stories, but in the ALIAS world, the less you know about it all, the safer you are. To protect the child, she and Vaughn will probably decide to keep the past behind them.

That's what I would do.


jenn256 said...

I suppose Robetron, that will depend on what Syd decides to do in the final episode. As we have discussed, will she stay with the agency and do the job she was programmed to do, the only thing she knows-and the thing that will keep her and baby safe? Or run and always be looking over her shoulder. Either way, if she keeps the truth secret, then what will she say down the road when the baby find sout the truth, which always happens? She will have been no better than Jack. This job unknowingly led her to a place where her life becomes lies.

Kiki said...

True Jenn. I agree. I think Syd hates the idea of looking voer her shoulder, of not truly being safe. She will stay, to rid the world of the baby and to protect her family and her baby. Syd can't move on, not if Jack stays with the agency...who will save him!!??

Robetron said...

You are assuming that Syd cannot do anything else, despite the fact that she has repeatedly expressed a desire to be "out."

You are assuming that she will need to be "looking over her shoulder." If the whole story is resolved by the end of the series, anyone who might be a threat might be out of the way, or no longer interested in her.

You are assuming that the reason why Syd was hurt by Jack's lies was due to the lie itself, when in reality, it was due to the way it affect her. Without forcing the child through anything like Project Christmas, and having no unusual repercusions for keeping the past unrevealed, there is no reason why the child would be hurt by it. Whether the child finds out about their past or not, if they have been out of the spy-biz for 10 to 20 years, there is no reason for there to be any hard feelings.


jenn256 said...

yes that's true Robetron, and wouldn't it be kind of cool to find out your parents and grandparents were once Superspies! Oh, the cool stories they could tell, after she's older of course.

amy said...

very interesting thoughts all - i love the article. i definitely think syd has expressed numerous times over the years a wanting to get out, to stop lying to those she loves - and i do think that however it ends it wouldn't be with her looking over her shoulder and unsafe! march is right around the corner so we should have our answers very soon!!!!

Angela said...

One guiding philosophy I've noticed among Alias parents--and characters--is this: "I'm willing to hurt you in order to avoid hurting you even worse."

Example: all through season one, Jack allowed Syd to be angry at him because he was trying to protect her from the truth about SD-6. And about her mother.

Ex: Irina shooting Syd in the shoulder in order to avoid having to kill her.

Ex: (well, this one isn't parental): Syd stabbing Vaughn in the gut so he wouldn't be shot in the head.

There are dozens of other examples that I can't think of off the top of my head--including, perhaps, Irina's allowing Jack and Syd to think her dead rather than having their worlds rocked by learning she was a CIA spy . . . and of course, the "protected party" always finds out the truth, anyway.

If Syd plays true to form, she is likely to tell her child enough to hurt, but not enough to mortally wound . . . metaphorically, anyway.


RUDY said...

Sounds just about right. Sydney is a kind person. But you just know that she'll try her best no to disrrupted her child's innocence. Now, I don't think that she'll lie, but I do think that she'll color the truth and reveal little by little true details of her and VM's past until one day her child knows the complete truth.

srg-alias said...

Great article Jenn! Wouldn't it be great if somehow the series could end with Syd (and hopefully Vaughn) raising the little tyke while she follows her original dream from season one of being a teacher? I mean she has her graduate degree in it, so she's definitely qualified. She went through hell balancing school and "her job at the bank" (aka SD-6) so she could graduate, it would be nice to see her accomplish getting out of the CIA and leading a "normal" life. She could tell the spy nighttime stories as the baby gets older. ;-)