Monday, April 10, 2006

Episode Recap 5.06 "Solo"

Good Morning! Here is the previously posted episode recap article for 5.06 "Solo." Enjoy!

PS. The countdown is in single digits my friends! We are almost there!!

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 HourCodename: 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.
Sydney (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.
VaughnVaughn 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.

Callbacks: 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!!


srg-alias said...

man I love this episode, there were so many good parts to it and I loved Rachel's performance throughout. Like I've said before I love the insight we get on how Syd's mind works when she's explaining to Rachel how to get into character. Fun stuff!!

Kiki said...

Me too! Loved Rachel in this. I thought it was funny how Sydney had to get on a plane as a prostitute to bring down SD-6, and Rachel did the same on the oil well, to bring down Dean. Super. And thanks SRG for the comment on the new banner. I thought it would be nice to honor the Sydney's from all seasons.

Andrew said...

As fun as it was for character development, I found this episode along with 5.08, "Bob," to break up the continuity with the main Prophet 5 storyline.
I really enjoyed the few moments where Syd reminisced and a tiny bit of P-5 was revealed.
It seems like we got in a pattern where every other episode was Rachel-focused instead of Prophet 5-focused. We had great plot-advancing episodes like 5.07, but with Solo and Bob, the storyline stayed still. This would have worked really well if the show hadn't been cancelled and the order for the season cut back from 22 to 17. If we'd had a full season, I guess this episode wouldn't have bothered me so much.

Am I totally off base here?

Kiki said...

I agree. I think the writers believed the season would go longer an they needed to build up Rachel to take over for Syd. But with the cancellation, they had to change course and bring it back to Syd- to the central storyline.

srg-alias said...

I totally see your point andrew. It was a very fun episode, but not very plot revealing (Bob even more so).