By guest writer srg-alias
Her life reads like a Shakespearian play with all its ups, downs and final tragic ending. The funny thing is my first introduction to Merrin Dungey was through evil Francie. I started watching Alias in the 3rd season, and the first episode I ever saw was Remnants which brought back both Will and Allison Doren (aka Evil Francie). My first impression of “Francie” was a cold, heartless villain who evidently had once been Syd’s best friend. Of course I was completely sucked in by the show and ended up renting all the season 1 and 2 DVDs on my two week Christmas vacation to get caught up. Seeing Francie as the supportive friend and roommate of Syd was so weird for me at first after knowing her as Allison, but I came to love her the way most Alias fans probably did. She was the best friend we wish we could all have…supportive, sensitive and caring. Francie and Syd’s interactions with each other were so realistic and they helped one another through some very hard times.
In the pilot episode Francie was instantly likable, crying in happiness for her friend’s engagement and saying how happy Syd’s mom would have been for her. The “aw” factor increased even more when Charlie proposed to her over Thanksgiving dinner. Things were going well for our favorite best friend up until Syd found out that Charlie cheated on Fran. Her heart was broken, the engagement called off, and she ends up joining Syd in mourning the death of what she thought would be a lifelong relationship.
Instead of wallowing in her grief, Francie used the opportunity to make some positive changes in her life. Throughout the last half of season 1 and early season 2 we see all the work she puts into starting her own business. We find out her determination paid off when she informs Will that her restaurant is actually making a profit. Not only is that going well, but Fran and Will also discover chemistry between them with a congratulatory kiss. Again, she seems to have so much going for her, but by the end of that same episode we see Allison for the first time…right after she put a bullet in Francie’s head. Now I have to step back and give the writers kudos here because it takes A LOT of guts to kill off such a beloved character, but I can imagine how incredibly shocked and in denial the fans must have been upon seeing that.
What’s sad is that Francie never knew about Syd’s real profession, so she had even less of an idea of why someone would kill her than Danny. Tragic still was since Allison took her place as the double, no one even knew Francie was dead. There was no mourning, no funeral, nothing giving tribute to this wonderful woman and friend who died so senselessly. Even when Syd comes back from her two missing years and the knowledge of Francie dying is fresh in her mind we never see her shed a tear. Of course we all know that Allison and Francie are really played by the same person, but Merrin’s excellent acting keeps me from associating the two, I see them as completely different people. Some think evil Francie might return before the end, but even if she does that will never bring back the real Francie.