Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spy Crash Course 101

By srg-alias aka SReneeG
Though many fans complained this season about Rachel "taking Syd's place" on missions, I've really enjoyed the insight we've gotten on how Syd became so good at what she does. When Rachel comes on board at APO she's a complete novice when it comes to field work, but we see her confidence grow as she's coached along by superspy Syd. On two ocassions we've been able to see Syd explain how her mind works on a mission.

In episode 5.04 Mockingbird, Rachel has her first encounter with a difficult situation when she has to go back to the bombed out Shed to dig through her coworkers remains for extremely valuable data. We see how nervous and disgusted she is at the thought of this, but Syd gives her the basic suck-it-up peptalk by saying "I have to do unpleasant tasks all the time - and the best way to do it is to become someone else." She goes on to say "I’m not Sydney Bristow, you’re not Rachel Gibson - we’re Czech Intelligence, Terrorism Unit...Nothing in there can rattle us because we see this type of thing every day." Rachel keeps repeating that last bit to convince herself that it's true so they can get the job done.

On her first alone mission in 5.06 Solo, Rachel has to portray a prostitute, which for our little straight-laced computer genious is quite a stretch. Feeling completely lost, she askes Syd "What am I gonna say to him?" Again we get to see how Syd gets into an alias when she says "Well, it isn’t what you’d say. Remember, you’re playing a character. It’s what she would say" and goes on to instruct Rachel to channel the attitude of the highschool tramp that stole her junior prom date.

Relating a character to a real person that she's known in the past or compartmentalizing how she would react vs. the character she's playing helps Syd and Rachel pull off convincing rolls, and in the end, successful missions. When season 1 started we already knew that Syd was the best of the best, but I think it's really interesting seeing her help develop those skills in a new agent. Yeah I definitly miss Syd kicking butt (hopefully we'll see more of that before the end), but for now I still get a kick out of finding out the process of how she got so good and how Syd (and Jen Garner for that matter) is so believable as all her aliases.


AgtBecky13 said...

I agree that it's so much fun to see how hard it is to become and agent. Of course, big fan of Rachel Nichols and I think she is doing a terrific job.

RUDY said...

Wow! Great writing. You've got me convinced that Rachel isn't as bad as I thought she was. Guess I'll have to rewatch the eppies and see her in a new light and try to come up with a better image of her.

srg-alias said...

Thanks Rudy! Seriously thank you...writing isn't my strong point so I'm excited to think you got something useful out of it. :) We all know there's a lot of physical training that goes into being a good agent, but it's cool to see the process of the mental training too.

jenn256 said...

I love that the writers sort of came full circle with Syd. When the story started we knew how she was recruited, but never knew really anything else, especially her thoughts and emotions about what she was doing. They told us a whole story about Syd, but through another character. Brilliant writing and storyline development!

srg-alias said...

nice Jenn, I like thinking of it as a full circle, good point!

uncle111 said...

Sorry to be negative here, but I don't know if I will ever warm to Rachel. I don't know if it is the actress or if the character doesn't fit in for me. I don't see APO putting someone with such little training and experience into the missions they do.