Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Episode 5.16 "Reprisal"

This is part one of my finale recap:

Her voice over was cinematic- the flashed photos of dead agents and civilians killed while investigating Prophet 5 was a visual masterpiece and very representative of Sydney’s own struggle with terrorist groups over the years. Prophet 5, over the span of thirty years, has infiltrated thousands of government agencies in order to make a massive world power play for money and power. We watch as APO does what they do best- weave in and out of situations with skill and improv. They work as a team to idenitify their targets and then the fight begins.

Trifecta of Profecta
Sloane, Sark and Peyton form a strategic alliance, once they have acquired the amulet. Together they form Profit 3, a group set on financial take-over and global economic domination. I thought it all came down to faith, but I suppose, what it really comes down to is money and power.

Sloane informs Sark and Kelly that P5 won't hesitate to eliminate them now that their assignments are complete. It is no surprise that Sark takes the offer to save his skin and Kelly Peyton isn’t far behind- as Sark is part of the alliance package. *Wink* Oh, steamy glares from Little Miss Muffet. Um, yeah, Sark looked good- real good.

I loved that this trio formed for their own purpose. It was very classic Alias for this loyal-less villains to create their own powerful group. With their new found power, they kidnap Marshall and Rachel to hack in and find a secret Rambaldi cavern. Simultaneously, Sloane sets in motion a plan to destroy all his obstacles- P5, APO and Sydney Bristow.

The Taken
Grace stops in on Rachel to talk to her about his wife- which leads to all we had hoped from the beginning- that Grace and Rachel would be the next spy couple. They lay one on each other and then in embarrassment, Grace slips away. Enter Sark. He knocks on the door and snatches Rachel. I found the whole scene rather awkward. I was confused about whether or not Grace was aware that Sark was coming and exactly what his intensions were by visiting Rachel. I did love Rachel shyness and what seemed to a school girl crush on a somewhat broken man.

Arvin uses Mitchell as a lure to kidnap Marshal and WELCOME BACK CARRIE!How proud am I of Marshall and Rachel? How outstanding was their stand against Sloane and the gang? And WOW, the return of Carrie Foreman! I love, love that Carrie Foreman! Jack and Sydney let her in on Marshall’s secret and together they track Marshall and Rachel to Mexico.

When Marshall and Rachel refuse to assist Sloane- Sloane's subconscious and/or Nadia’s ghost makes him see that he may in fact need help in persuading them. He interrupts Sydney and Isabelle on an outing. I NEARLY DIED! If Sloane even put a hand on Isabelle I was going to lose it! But he merely hands Sydney the phone and forces her to convince Marshall to help. Call to classic Alias- Sydney slips Marshall a code. I love me some spy stuff!

Later, while rescuing Marshall and Rachel, Sydney and Vaughn learn the location of the cavern- Mt. Subasio- the very mountain that proved the prophecy wrong.

Mt. Subasio with a Mad Man
At the icy mountain cavern (which was filmed on the poorest green screen ever- but I suspended my disbelief), juxtaposed with Sark’s actions and the Kelly Peyton’s mission- Sydney winds her way around numerous frozen corridors- the music builds and then she…STUMBLES UPON SANTAS WORKSHIP! Just kidding, it was Sloane and his old man necklace. Sloane isn’t surprised to see her. In fact, he says, “I knew you would come.” He speaks to Sydney about his intentions. Sloane reveals that Sydney once lived with him and Emily and that they had done their best to comfort her once her mother died. They covered her room with shelves of stuffed animals and one morning when Arvin woke Sydney her stuffed animals were all over the floor. She said that they were drowning and that she had to save them. This scene was juxtaposed with Marshall’s return to APO and then Sloane states that he has always wondered when Sydney would learn that she couldn’t save everyone.

Parallel to this scene- Sark rigs APO and the train station for a massive explosion and Kelly makes the trek to Zurich to kill the 12.

I want to say- I love Kelly Peyton, even if her character is one dimensional and underdeveloped. I love that she is the one to pull the guns on P5, the very group that made her. It is a testament to her evil inner-workings and her lack of loyalty. She houses many of the same qualities as Irina. However, I did find the deaths of the 12 very troublesome for the plot. All season the writers have been building up the mystery and danger of P5. The groups ability to infiltrate governments undetected and their connections to powerful people made them terrifying enemies. I was disappointed by their deaths and that we learned nothing about how they acquired their power and what their Rambaldi-related intentions were.

Back at the rock-Sloane raises the amulet into the seeping sunlight in the cavern and tells Sydney, “Sydney, you are not allowed to see this” before shooting the ice out from under her. Sydney tumbles down a dark cavern.

Meanwhile, in LA, Grace and team struggle to get civilians and officials out of the subway. Grace comes across the bomb on one of the subway cars. He and Dixon decide that Grace will stay and defuse the bomb. There, on the track, Grace decides to sacrifice himself. WHAT? Get the hell out of there!! Are you kidding me!!?? We know Grace was harboring guilt and regret about the death of his wife, but he had plenty of time to get out of there!! In the episode we also learned about his feelings for Rachel. I was not surprised by Grace’s death, but I was surprised at the circumstances of his death. He said his goodbye to Rachel and then took a seat as the train and the tunnels around it collapsed. Goodbye Grace.

Grace’s death, too, seemed anticlimactic. His role in breech on the CIA and his connections with the Cardinal left me begging to know more. If he truly cared about Rachel and wanted a relationship with her, as he stated on comms, why would be sit down and allow himself to be blown up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?
While Sydney lies dying in the frozen cavern, she has several flashbacks revealing bits about her past. A small Sydney sits at her desk in school, and she is having a hard time drawing a picture of what she wants to be.
She also flashes to the night her mother died and we were able to see Jack’s hurt and Sydney’s scared expression as she realized that her life would be changing.

I loved the flashbacks. They were very revealing about Sydney’s psyche and her relationship with her father and her professional mind set. She was expected, even as a small girl, to be strong, to save her father.

As this is happening, Vaughn repels down the cavern to save Sydney with the little love and CPR. Oh, Vaughn, always there when needed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first hour. I felt it was a solid hour of set up for what could only be a stellar ending, even if it was rather slow moving. I felt it held very much the core of Alias- but at the same, I felt it developed more questions. I will get to these questions in the second half of my recap.

Sorry that it has taken me so long to post. I believe much of my disappointment comes from the last hour of the show. So, now I am diving into that.
Stay tuned….


RUDY said...

I was rather disappointed that Kelly took out the 12 members and their protection with two guns and didn't move from her spot. I would have thought, too, that it would have taken more to kill them. After all, they have been secretive, protective and evil for 30 years. Evil doesn't just die -- look at Sloane.

pkrm said...

Love it GirlScout! I too was thrilled with the return of Carrie! I was so hoping we would see her again!

I love how confident Marshall and Rachel have gotten. From terrified little people to being able to withstand torture based on principle!

I believe Prophet 5 has been after the Horizon and immortality. They acquired their power, and with the Horizon, they would never have had to lose it. I wasn't surprised at all to see Sloane have them killed off. He did it to the Alliance, he did it to Prophet 5. In any case, I believe they were doomed from the beginning. If Sloane hadn't had them killed, Irina would have. Irina wouldn't have allowed them to obtain their goal, she wanted everything for herself.

I don't think Tom had enough time to get out, and he knew it. Even so, I would have died trying.

Love LOVE LOVED the flashbacks, especially Sydney telling Jack about her new job at Credit Dauphine!


Desiree said...

That was a great recap GS. Just thought I would say that my hubby thought the icey mountain scene was a flashback to Superman's place back in the 80's. That was supercheesy.And yet...I chose to overlook it as well. The things we do to enjoy something we love(sniff)

lhaaheim said...

Great recap GS! As usual you break things down so well! I always love your article titles and paragraph titles. They are so smart! I too loved the intro; it was a great way to start!!!

I too am confused about Tom and whether he or not he had anything to do with Sark kidnapping Rachel. When I was watching it I actually thought he went to the bathroom or something and not out the door. Rachel’s shyness and affection for Tom, a classic example of a tortured man was lovely and just like her. She is a lot like Syd in many ways, including her choices in men and I am content that her character stayed that way throughout season five.

Having Carrie come back was pure genius! They should have had her there all along! I am so proud of Rachel for standing up to them and my gosh Marshall is awesome!!! He had a great night, from his funny steam room moment to his sexy bedroom talk and then his “tolerated” line to Sloane! Marshall was incredible!!! Go Marshall! Go Marshall!

lhaaheim said...

Oh when Sloane showed up at Syd’s car I almost lost it! I was so afraid he would hurt Izzy and I would have been so pissed if he had touched her. It even really annoyed me when he looked at her and waved his fingers! I said this before but that man has no boundaries!!! However all the secret code talk made up for that, I just love it when they get sneaky!!! Saw the Mt. Subasio thing coming, it was a little obvious but it makes sense.

Icy mount Subasio was definitely all green screens but it looked better then I thought it would, at least it wasn’t as bad as that river scene in Paris with Renee and Tom. And it didn’t affect my viewing experience so I’m actually glad they did it because I liked that scene.

Santa’s workshop! LOL! That’s too funny! I loved that Sloane was happy to see Syd, he’s so twisted but I was wishing the whole time she would just shoot him and hope that Vaughn would save her if things caved in, which he eventually did anyway. I especially wanted Sloane dead when he started mentioning the stuff animals, manipulating her with that memory; that was cruel! He really was able to get to her and the whole time I was thinking Syd snap out of it, what would Vaughn say, what would Jack say, they believe in you! Um I have a question though, was Syd’s time with Sloane mentioned anywhere else on Alias?

Robetron said...

Yeah, GS, I'm with ya on everything except Tom. He kept spraying the C-O2 in order to buy more time for the people to get out of the station. He needed at least a minute to get out, but he kept spraying, and spraying, buying 20 seconds each time, until finally he go the report that everyone was. Too bad it left him with only a few seconds to escape himself. He knew he would never escape a bomb of that size, so, rather than running like a mad-man, he decided to use his time to say goodbye.

Yes, we all could have use more development of his character and continuing plots, but, like many, many other things, there just wasn't time.

lhaaheim said...

I loved Peyton and her mini-Irina qualities and I can live with her being one dimensional. I too was like “well there goes P5, that was quick” yet just like when the Alliance fell the story didn’t stop and we all moved on pretty fast to getting Sloane and trying to get rid of him. It just happened a heck of a lot faster in the finale and there wasn’t time for lots of closure on everything.

I was so scared that not everyone would get out of APO alive, I was so worried that they would all die and that’s when I started swearing off Sark because his actions took things very far for him and it was obvious he wasn’t too keen on doing it but wasn’t strong enough to resist the power pull. Sark our gopher business man stayed the same and there is some comfort in that.

Tom and everything about him is the one glaring thing keeping me from being perfectly happy about this episode. Why the heck was he there and why the heck did he talk to Rachel if he was just going to die!?! That would just cause her more pain! Maybe Tom was simply not strong enough to deal with anything and decided to just let things end.

Lisa said...

Oooh, can't wait to read your second half of the post!

And I loved Carrie too! Amanda Foreman did a great comeback, ~sigh. It made me wish Eric Weiss (aka Greg Grunberg) would have came back too...I don't remember if he ever came to Nadia's funeral, let alone shed tears...I have to look again.

Plus, you should definitely include the whole Peyton torture thing:

Syd: We know that you've been conditioned to withstand torture, but we have something you don't have...

...we have your former best friend...

Rachel: And I know what you're afraid of.

lhaaheim said...

The flashbacks were great and I think they were a wonderful way for us to gain some closure on Syd and Jack’s stories however they took at lot of time away from everyone else. Again I think the central problem is a lack of time. Compared to the second half the first was much slower but it felt like classic Alias. I’m repeating myself but even if they had more time I wonder if Alias is simply too good to have a finale, just too good to end! And maybe the reason why the second half fell flat for some people is because the first set things up too well. Alias is just too good for it’s own good.

To a silly jingle tune: “When you’re in need and just can’t breathe, when all around you goes dark and cold, don’t fret or flee just wait and see, it’s Vaughn to the rescue!!!”. Vaughn, such the promise keeper! Taking care of Syd! I love how Sloane thought he was dead until he saw him; he never took into account that he may still be alive.

No need to apologize GS, take as long as you need this was a great recap!

lhaaheim said...

Rudy- P5 was not Sloane evil to me, they were more money evil and it reminded we of what Syd said on the plane about people being special or legends etc. They died just as easily as anyone else. Only Syd and Sloane really fall into that legend category. Peyton did take them out rather quickly though and I was quite surprised by it.

Paul- You are right, 12 people could not have shared that power and no way were Sloane and Irina going to give it up. It was meant for one person not an organization.

Also good point Paul and Robby, Tom did not have enough time to get out, that bomb was huge and at best he would have been crushed and if still alive would have suffered and died horribly before anyone could have gotten to him. Instead he said a tearful goodbye to Rachel. He's not Syd, Vaughn, or Jack after all; he was just an agent a wonderful agent but not the see death in the face kind and conquers it nonetheless.

Lisa- I missed Weiss too! It was odd not having him there for the finale and I don't think he was at Nadia's funeral. We needed more Weiss this season, like another minute would have done it.

Eliza said...

What can I say? I love Alias...but I was a little disappointed. I think I was just expecting too much. Maybe all the blogging and conspiracy theory creating led me to expect too much....but this finale did not have all the twists I thought it would. I was nearly heartbroken (okay, not reall..it's just tv) but I was bothered about Irina's ending. I've concluded that she does love her daughter...just as Sloane loved Nadia...but she let her obsession drive her...and clearly, overrule any love she had for anybody. I was totally expectin Irina to be a good guy...well, in her own way of course. I was mad at jack for not jus tthrowing the dynamite down there...I mean, why kill yourself too? But most of all, I was bothered about Irina. I was expecting a MAJOR twist...but no, she was just evil. Also, what the heck, I totally thought they would resolve the Cardinal issue or even reveal more about Peyton. They didn't come full circle with the plots as they usually do...it was a little sad for me...to say goodbye, and feel a little unsatisfied. but, I love Alias!

lhaaheim said...

That is so true freelancer, they failed to go full circle, something they’ve always done in the past. We needed just a little bit more closure, a little bit more time. *sigh* Nonetheless I still liked the finale and loved parts of it. If only they had more time...

birdietwoshoes said...

Well said, freelancer. You took the words right out of my mouth. Exactly what I was thinking about both Irina and Jack. But I won't let my disappointment with the finale cause me to dislike Alias as a whole.

As for the episode "Reprisal" I laughed out loud at Marshall when he said to Rachel (after she kicked that guy's butt) "That was Empire Strikes Back cool!"

lisa said...

Then should really triple the bonus material on this season's DVD collection when it comes out! :P

Well, yeah, true for freelancer84 for pointing out that Jack could've saved his own life by throwing the dynamite down there, but since it was the end, it made it more poignant to have Jack confront Sloane and kick his butt one final time. I think Jack liked it that way, you know. I really wished Jack stayed alive for Syd, but at the same time, I also enjoyed that final face-off. ::sniff::

But these CIA agents should know that once they knew what they were getting into, one would think that the team would strap on some bullet-proof gear...but noooooo. That's what keeps kicking in my head, you know...that no matter how dangerous their missions were, I didn't really see too many bullet-proof gear (except this memorable part in Season 1 when Dix and Syd were excavating the Rambaldi book in Chile and Ana managed to find them and she shot Dix).

It's just odd, that's all.

lhaaheim said...

Just thought of something, it was brought up before that Alias can be compared to current events and that Sloane cold be compared to Islamic fundamentalists. And I just realized something; I am so happy that Sloane and Irina are just plain monstrous evil! All they wanted all along was just power and world domination, to spread their beliefs across the world and force their will on everyone not because it was for the greater good but because they wanted control. It didn't have much to do with faith in Ramabaldi and ultimately he was just a tool that they used. It was all about greed! As a person of faith I love the fact that their true motivation was power and not a bi-product of their faith.

Eliza said...

it's funny I find myself re-watching scenes from the finale...hoping and hoping Irina grabs Syd's hand and ditches the funky Rambaldi ball....alas.

mommer said...

lhaaheim, I'm not sure that Sloane and Irina had the same motivation. It seems to me that Irina was the power behind the scenes the whole time - manipulating and striving for ultimate power. She was obsessed with Rambaldi, no one could deny that, but more as a means to an end - world domination. Sloane, on the other hand, really believed that Rambaldi and his work would lead to immortality and ultimate peace. He just believed that the end justified the means - any means - and he paid the price for his choices. I'm reminded of the phrase, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

uncle111 said...

I blogged a lot while watching Alias' last night. I was pretty wound up and it took me a long time to get to sleep. The main reason for that was that I kept going over all the doors they left open to future Alias things- books, movie, even TV. I'll list the open doors in a minute.

First, let me state that the reason they didn't give us what we were looking for is two fold. 1)- They are people doing a job and the reality is that their true duty to us is to keep us as an audience as long as they can to keep ratings for the network so they can keep the show on the air so they can keep making money. They may care about a few other things in addition, but once they knew the show was ending their priorities changed. They had to. People who work all day making donuts are not usually the biggest fans of donuts. Or a better analogy- those who make hot dogs. We see only the finished product. We are more intrigued with the story than they are.
notice things they don't, or that they hope we won't notice. Alias was sort of a real world for us, with people we wanted to know and be friends with.
I'm sure that for them it was often just one more high pressure deadline.
So, in reality, we know more about the story that was broadcast than they do. Regardless of what their intent with the storyline was, we know the story as broadcast better than they do. So, they probably didn't even know what a lot of our questions are.

2)- They may just have left the questions unanswered for a reason, They may want to keep their options open for future Alias productions. And frankly I'm glad they didn't answer everything. If they had, it would be dead, all wrapped up, with nothing left to think or wonder about. So much of what held our attention was , "what does that mean...what's going to happen now...etc." well, we still wonder and we will every time we rewatch the DVD's. Our fun little Alias world is not what it used to be and we are left with finding a way to live with that. One way to hang on to it is to keep wondering about things. Obviously we would prefer it stay on the air exciting us every week as it has for 5 years. I'm sad it won't. So what do we do? I for one will try to fill in the blanks and round it all out, and do it while creating new adventures for the friends we came to love so much.

Here is how I would answer some of the questions I've seen asked that came out of last night's episode:
Rambaldi's endgame was to find a way to live forever. What we call the Mueller device was unenlightened fanatics' attempt to fulfill what little they knew of Rambaldi's plan. Sloane came the closest. When he and Syd were in the snow cave near Mt.Subasio and the light shone on the amulet, it broadcast a star chart of the location of Rambaldi's tomb. That map is what Rambaldi referred to as his sky- the stars of the night sky over his tomb.
When Sloane shot the floor out from under Syd he prevented her from seeing the beauty of Rambaldi's sky while she was behind Mt. Subasio. She did not see the sky (while) behind Mt. Subasio. She is still the Chosen One.

Once at Rambaldi's tomb in Mongolia Sloane placed the Horizon onto Rambaldi's monument, or grave, which caused a small red ball, the true Rambaldi small red ball, to materialize and produce the fluid of immortality. (Why he couldn't have done that himself 500 years ago I don't
know- I guess timing was important- Conrad once told Sloane about Emily's death that certain things had to occur first for Sloane to understand what was to come.) Sloane was going to partake of the fluid. I assume he was going to use it to also bring Rambaldi back using his live DNA, or Rambaldi's consciousness (in the Sphere of Life) would come into Sloane and possess him, thus bringing Rambaldi back and making him immortal. If that was not his plan then he and Irina (after she partook of the fluid, which was filing the Horizon) were going to become the immortal rulers of the world, after bringing down the great western powers of the US and England.
If this is the "greatest power" of the Chosen One prophecy, then is Irina the Chosen One and Syd the Passenger since they do great battle over the Horizon, the 0 in Rambaldi's physical <0> in which only one survives?

Here are some of the doors I see they left open:
1)- Characters who are still alive- Katya, Peyton, Sark, Cuvee(?), Cole, Syd, Vaughn, Will, Dixon, Rachel, Marshall, Isabelle
2)- Characters that could come back- Sloane (the evil genius who is now immortal and may now be insane; Jack(?), who's DNA must have mixed with Rambaldi's immortality fluid in the explosion; Rambaldi; Irina(?), who may have been exposed to the immortality fluid when they both hit the bottom; Rambaldi's artifacts and writings, and any yet to be discovered Rambaldi prophecies.

The open doors are also open doors to hope. I'm still so conflicted inside about all of this and knowing there will not, as far as we know, be any new episodes in the future. It is nice to know, though, that there are still possibilities.

lhaaheim said...

Oh Uncle I agree the writers are human and all but I think they loved the show and wanted it to end well and did the best they could within the time they had. They’ve spent years on this show, lots of hours and I’m sure they wanted their work to be good and remembered as so. I’m sure they had things happening in their personal lives, finding new jobs etc. but they still had a job to do and I think they knew that.

Oh Uncle great explanation of the amulet and the sky behind Mt. Subasio, it totally makes sense to me now! You forgot baby Jack though, I would love a spin-off about him!

lhaaheim said...

You know what has not been mentioned yet in this topic, how cool it was for the episode to start in Sydney! I just loved that and her short lived stint as a waitress was fun. Poor Debbie! Plus it was so classic when she jumped off the building and air walked down and some how still got a picture of the P5 person. That in combination with her voice over was great!!!

Lisa said...

Oh, while watching Alias again for the second time today on the ABC.com website, I noticed something funny with this snapshot. Could anyone guess what's in the background?

Here's my link of the screenshot I saved:


A little early on the coincidences, but it's a nice headstart to begin remembering how awesome this particular episode was.

Lisa said...

The direct link for the lazy. :)

Lisa said...

oops. that didn't work. just copy and past the link from the previous post.

lhaaheim said...

Sorry lisa but I don't know what you're getting at. Please explain :-)

birdietwoshoes said...

Oh, I see it Lisa. The.. piece of art or whatever it is on the shelf in the back has the Rambaldi sign on it. :)

srg-alias said...

yeah I see it too, for anyone who tried to look the link is: