Thursday, March 23, 2006

Who Raised Sydney Bristow?

Her mother died when she was 6 years old. Her father, for her own protection, subjected her to various mind games and programming, as he fought battles of depression and denial over the death and betrayal of his wife. Sydney Bristow was subsequently raised by a nanny, a woman we never see, hear about or know. The sweet and innocent girl that blossomed into a strong, intelligent woman with high morals and values, was, as it seems, raised by a ghost. Though we have no hard facts about this mysterious parental figure, we can, through Sydney’s character and personality, piece together the type of person this woman was and how she raised Sydney.

We understand from day one that Sydney is a very trusting and honest individual. We know this is not something she learned from Jack or Irina. Her caretaker had to have instilled this almost naïve sense of trust and must have protected her from the rumors and lies surrounding her parents. Sydney has stated several times that her parents were never around when she was growing up, she never had anyone to disappoint. I find that hard to believe. Sydney has always been one looking for validation, approval. If not, she would have dropped out of school along time ago. She was doing what she thought her mother would have wanted her to do. She works hard and expects results, which is something I think was enforced while she was growing up. Her father enforced it with Project Christmas. He wanted Sydney to be able to uphold torture, both physical and psychological. He wanted results and he got them in the form a super-spy daughter.

Even in the absence of her parents, Sydney never complains about an unhappy childhood. In fact, in many of her dreams, when we meet little Sydney, she seems happy. At her birthday party in the park, her friends are there, as well as her father. She has many old pictures of she and her mother, smiling and hugging. She was obviously a much loved child, and in her mother’s absence and her father’s imprisonment, the love must have been carried over by whoever was watching over her.

It had occurred to me, after the revelation that Sophia was Elena, that perhaps Sydney too was raised by someone close to her, that perhaps Irina had sent someone in to take care of Sydney, to watch her and perhaps even groom her for the work she would do later in life. If Nadia is in fact the Passenger, and several Rambaldi followers and doctors were sent to protect her, why wouldn’t the same to be true for Sydney, the Chosen One?

Whoever was brought in to take care of Sydney, we can all agree that they raised a well-rounded woman. Determination, strength, self-worth, honesty, and trust are just a few of the traits we learn from our parents, from those who are around as at an impressionable age. These traits will no doubt be part of little Bristow-Vaughn’s life.

What are your thoughts on Sydney’s caregiver? Who do you think raised Sydney? Why do you suppose we never hear Sydney talk about this person? For a show so based on loyalty and family- how could the writers exclude such an important person?


jenn256 said...
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jenn256 said...

After Irina left and Jack returned from his year and jail and went back to the CIA, I am sure there must have been someone there to take care of Sydney all of the time. We have learned that this job they have involves long nights, leaving for days at a time for dangerous jobs, endless hours at the office; so who would Jack have trusted enough to leave his daughter with? Remember his trust in women was just destoyed by the betrayal of his wife. And I am sure that before Irina planned her "death" and return to Russia, she would have made sure that Sydney would be well taken care of in her absence. I think we have all agreed that although her motives at first seem sinister, she always in the long run has Sydney's best in mind. But who could this person have been? Who would Jack have trusted to help him "raise" his daughter?

I would love to have had more time for the writers to delve into this storyline a little more. As well as we have gotten to know Sydney over the last 5 years, I think it would have been great to meet, and maybe even have Sydney reunite with the woman who instilled such wonderful values and traits in her.

Kiki said...

Perhaps it was Emily. Sydney was not aware that Sloane and Emily has known her parents until Sloane told her in season 1. Perhaps the connection she felt with Emily later, as her employers wife, is a rekindled connection from her past. Jack would have trusted Emily and so would Irina. Sydney always thought of her as a mother. And we could be overlooking this- but Sydney very well could have rasied herself.

jenn256 said...

I thought about Emily also, but wouldn't she have remembered growing up with her. After all, Irina dies when Sydney was six, at that age she would be old enough to draw from memories. Sydney and Emily always had a great connection and Sydney mentioned at Emily's funeral that she always though of her as a mother, but that was all she said about it.

I suppose she could have raised herself, although it seems dangerous for the subject of the Rambaldi prophecy to be left alone. Did Irina know about this when she left her? I can't remember.

Kiki said...

That's another thing. Irina had to know her daughters were part of the prophecy, that would be why Elena would have been after Nadia.
And also, we don't know if Sydney's memories are real or fabricated. She could have been made to forget her childhood, or her childhood could have been replaced with false memories. Emily knew about SD-6 and she knew what Sydney was doing, and that would by why Emily would have never said anything to her able raising her. I think Emily knew more than she lead us to believe. Emily is back for a episode, maybe we will get some answers.

Angela said...

One of the most moving scenes in all of Alias is when Jack appears before a tribunal to answer for setting the explosives at the house in Madagascar where Irinia kept her "Bible." When pressed as to why he confessed, he said it was because he had come to know that Sydney considered herself a mistake, but that she was the most important thing in his life.

And at one point in this moving speech, he says something about the little girl who "raised herself." I'm sure she had a nanny, but there's something more sad about a little girl left to herself . . . and that also explains a lot about Syd's self-sufficiency.


Kiki said...

Nice Angie! I remember the speech, but forgot that part. I love that scene! Jack is so true, it's his one moment of complete honesty. I think it's hard for Sydney to trust him because of the all the secrets and lies, but I think when it comes to her, Jack is always true.
She did raise herself. Think of other characters who have, Matilda from the Dahl book. She raised herself even with horrible parents. She was sweet and kind and smart.

RUDY said...

Even though Syd raised herself as a sweet and kind person, anyone can still see that she has a little Jack in her. Granted that it's not much, but the amount she does have just adds to the spy superhero she is.

* Great article GS!

Kiki said...

Thanks Rudy and I agree. She is so much like Jack, that is why they always but heads. They want to protect the ones they love, they want to protect each other. Its part of what makes the show amazing!
There will never be another show on TV that is as complex in relationships, complex in storylines, that melts your heart, fires you up, is action packed and dramatic. RIP Alias!

uncle111 said...

Excellent article, G/S!! Excellent!

Ready for a hand grenade? What if the nanny was Vaughn's mother?

Kiki said...

WOW Uncle, nice twist! I am telling you, we should all get together and write for TV, it would be the most gripping show on TV! I love it!
So Sydney and Vaughn would have known each other as kids. And perhaps it was all part of some plot, some cult,some scheme. Maybe Vaughn didn't tell Sydney the whole truth about his past. And they needed to be together because they would create this baby- hmm, very Rambaldi!

uncle111 said...

I do think they should hire us as consultants. Their job at Alias could be so much easier and they could get serious ratings for a fraction of the cash they are already spending.

srg-alias said...

oh I love reading everyone's responses :) good article and great ideas guys!