Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who's Bad?

This question was posed by Uncle 111 inside one of the comments. I thought I would post for all to answer:

Criminals are usually very selfish. So, what made the bad Rambaldi seekers like Elena's people, DiSantis, etc., willing to die for the cause when their dying would mean they would be left out of whatever the endgame was? What was in it for them? They couldn't really believe they were sacrificing for the good of mankind. Evil people don't think that way and all of their actions show they were evil.

My thoughts:

In television, we tend to see super villains (Sloane, Elena , Irina etc.) with rather incompetent and insecure sidekicks. The villain is the "alpha dog" with all the control, all the power. The sidekicks however, are easily manipulated and usually hold the villain up on a pedestal. Sidekicks tend to be lacking in the parental area and latch on to the villain as a mentor, a teacher, someone who can help them. Elena rendered great power, how she was able to obtain this power, we will never know- but she used the world of Rambaldi to coax people into performing certain tasks. Elena's sidekick, the man with the thick framed glasses, found that by doing Elena a service, he was serving a higher power, he had a purpose. He probably felt like he didn't have a purpose before and Elena gave him one. Like DiSantis- I don't think Elena's sidekick planned to sacrifice himself for the cause. I believe they both felt they would be with the project until the end. I am sure Gordon Dean, Ivan Curtis and the others didn't plan on death either.

As for those who did sacrifice themselves- the Irina double for instance, we have to assume that massive brainwashing and manipulation took place in order for these followers to feel that their death would contribute to the plan- to the endgame. What strikes me as odd is that these people chose to die, when the endgame turned out to be eternal life. Suck don't it?

Ohh, what about Sark? Where does he fall in this?


Robetron said...

I say, had Sydney not interupted the process by taking the sphere out of position, much greater and additional power would have been available, maybe even the power to raise faithful martyrs from the dead.

"Rambaldi believed that through technology, one may know God."

It's blasphemous, but that is how Rambaldi was presented.

juliansark1 said...


First time posting. I am not so sure that the bad guys knew or thought they were evil..Rambaldi's prophecy made it sound like by wiping out the violence in the world, by getting rid of the bad things about the human race, we would be able to start again with 'peace'. I think Sloan and others believed that they were doing the world and mankind a favor. Not Irina, though, seems like she was in it for the money, according to the finale. Did NOT see that coming.


Kiki said...

Good point Julian- if they didn't know they were doing evil, then they wouldn't really fit the "evil" mold.

Kiki said...

And welcome Julian! Nice to have a new posters!!

Tammy said...

I think juliansark1 is right too. I thought of this as they truly were delusional in thinking that what they were doing was right and for the greater good. Anyone in their right mind would have thought these people were evil... however, they were not in their right minds! They were quite out of their minds if you ask me!

They were willing to sacrifice even to death because they truly believed in the cause they were working for...

uncle111 said...

Actually, evil people tend to know what they are doing goes against what everyone else thinks is good, and they have to kill their consience in order to kill innocent people, steal from others, etc. They do these things either out of hatred, for the thrill, or just for profit. The kinds of people we saw working for Elena, et al, were such people, with maybe a few true believer exceptions.
One who stands out as a good example of what I'm getting at is DiSantis. He was willing to do bad things to others for the sake of his goal, but then he was prepared to die so the goal could be reached, without him. In him we see a man who we assume knew exactly what the plan was, but was at peace with not profiting from it himself if that was what was necessary. He must have believed he would get something out of it after death, but I have trouble believing he thought all the killing was for God or mankind. If he did then the only thing we can relate that to in modern times is Islamic fanatics and other terrorists who believe killing is for God or mankind. And then we are back to them being really, really bad guys who believe some reward awaits them for their sacrifice. Maybe as GS suggested they believed they would be made immortal by the survivors once the endgame was achieved. Was there a Rambaldi writing that told them they would?

Sark, however, just wanted to come out on the winning side. Purely in it for the money. Maybe more evil than the rest.

uncle111 said...

Sorry, it was robetron who suggested the ressurection for the martyrs.

jenn256 said...

and we need to remember that all of the main players in this- Irina, Sloane, Elena, P5 were all searching for the Rambaldi answers for over 30 years. These people are obsessive in the truest form of the word, and obviously none of them intended to die, they thought they would be there when the final Rambaldi piece was put together. Why did all of these people think THEY were the one chosen to fulfill Rambaldi's prophecy?

As far as other seekers, etc. Elena's people, DiSantis, etc. I think they just wanted to be part of whatever it was they were told would change the world. And who knows what they were told about the work they were doing, it may have been another Sydney and Rachel senario- "you are doing work to save the world and fulfilling Rambaldi's prophecy anyone who gets in your way needs to be killed" sort of thing.

Here's an unrelated question that I've been thinking about- Did Elena know about the Horizon, and that it meant eternal life, or did she think that the Mueller device was the final piece of the puzzle? If she was such a big follower as well, why did everyone else know about it and not her? And how did BV come to know her and trust her with Nadia also, I never got that.

jenn256 said...

who exactly knew that the final piece of the puzzle meant immortality? And when did they figure it out? Sloane and Irina didn't always know, but did P5 know that's what the Horizon was when the genetic codes were broken by BV and the gang? It doesn't seem to me that a lot of these people may have known of Sloane didn't know.

lhaaheim said...

What about people like Allison Doren, who gave up their identity for the cause, what was their selfish motivation? Furthermore what about the women who faked as Irina, did she know she was going to be killed? I got the feeling that she was a willing sacrifice. I don’t think they were brainwashed or heavily manipulated, so either they had a selfish motivation or they really believed in what they were doing. In Ana Espinosa’s case her selfish motivation was revenge against Syd so the others must have had some reason to act the way they did. They must have gotten something out of it.

Sark is a business man and just wanted to be on the winning team. His statement to Vaughn in the finale really summed up his existence and actions in this whole Rambaldi mess. Sark is just in it for the money, the power, the sense of belonging to something greater then yourself, and for a sense of control over his destiny. I think Sark was deprived of this when he was growing up and instead of pursuing these things in a good manner he choose to pursue them in a criminal way. The reason Sark stayed around so long and survived is because he’s a great gopher, even when he disagrees with his master’s plans he will still follow through on them. He’s reliable and even better his loyalties are flexible so he pretty much listens to whoever he has to at that point in time, be it Sloane, Irina, Syd or Vaughn.

lhaaheim said...

Good point Robby, Sloane may have been able to do even more if Syd had not intervened. However it seems like Rambaldi meant for her to intervene at some level.

What happened to the sphere anyway? Where did it go? Is it in some DSR facility where it will likely be stolen because they don't seem to be able to hold onto anything? Or they will move it and it will be stolen in transport. Things are always stolen when moved; it’s like a TV rule or something.

About whether or not the followers thought they were doing evil: It's possible that they all believed in what they were doing and saw no wrong in it. However a lot of them have had moments of doubt were they question their actions and a part of them felt what they were doing was wrong. For example, Evil Francie crying when she stabbed Will, Sloane talking to ghostly Nadia and Irina's continued efforts to push Syd away from everything to spare her the fight that eventually would come.

However there is a level of "faith" involved as Uncle and Robby have suggested that I too find similar to the beliefs of Islamic fundamentalists. However unless mentally insane and incapable of reason people know when they are doing something wrong. Even when they believe it is right. You can be told all of your life that killing people is okay but I'm certain that once that person actually does it they will see the error of their ways at some level. It is far more natural to be good then to be bad, even though it’s easier to do the latter.

uncle111 said...

This looks almost too wierd, but think of the Alias potential this has:

I'm going to pose another Alias question in a few minutes.

Kiki said...

That pilot looks ridiculous!!! I thought Syd and the team looked funny in their Svogda outfits.

uncle111 said...

How many times did Irina try to get Syd out of the spy business, and why?
The two that are easiest to spot were:
1- Saving Syd's baby and later telling her that she would have to choose between being a spy and being a mom, because you can't do both.
2- When she was in CIA custody and she told Syd that if she didn't leave CIA so she could still see her that she would refuse to see Syd.

What other things that happened can you think of that fit as Irina trying to get Syd to retire and get her out of the way?

uncle111 said...

GS- It looks very Sci-fi/comic bookish, but very ominous if we saw several dozen flying at one time.

lhaaheim said...


Helping Sloane takedown SD6 and the Alliance, freeing Syd from her double agent life; (Irina should have told Sloane not to contact her afterwards though).

Suggesting that Vaughn tell Syd the truth about his past and P5. She could have had a hand in "killing" him.

She brought up Syd's happiness several times and how it wasn't a priority and that it should be. For example the argument she had with Jack about Syd on the family nuke vacation. Talking to Syd about her obvious love for Vaughn etc.

Her efforts to help the CIA take out people like P5, The Alliance and Elena, so Syd could go and have a happy life. However we know now that was all in an effort to further her own agenda, even though they did help Syd indirectly.

Despite her continued efforts I wonder if Irina really thought she would be successful in getting Syd out of the CIA. At the beginning of season 4 Syd wanted to join a new black ops group and work for her country, and she didn't have personal motivation like Sloane or her two missing years to compel her. And even at the end Syd is not out of the spy business and will most likely be involved for the rest of her life. Syd is an agent and always will be. Why did Irina not see that? Or was that just wishful thinking on Irina’s part because she knew at some level that things would come down to a struggle between them.

mommer said...

I think that people can be so committed to a cause that they justify their actions to achieve their goal. It's not that they don't know that murder is wrong - but rather that they rationalize and justify it as necessary to realize a "greater good." Some of them are that way because they passionately believe, and others are "brainwashed" to follow.

Human beings know instinctively that murder is wrong - that's why it's universally understood as evil in all cultures. I also think that people can be evil and not think they're evil. We humans are capable of incredible self-deception and conscience suppression. I think people like Sloane fall into this catagory. People like Sark are more amoral - they just hook up with whatever side will benefit them the most at the time and don't seem to have any morality. Irina is perhaps the most complex - she seems to know what she's doing is evil and consciously chooses it, but at the same time she has a kind of love for her daughter.

Robetron said...

Interesting take, Mommer. You made me think about the great similarity between the good-guy and the bad-guy.

We should in mind that even our "heroes" of the show kill occasionally without a single blip on the conscience radar. Although, we know that the people they kill are "bad guys" and usually have no serious part to play in the saga; yet, in real life, they are human beings with a mother, a father, maybe a family of thier own. How can they take that life without a second thought? I'm sure they deal with it by rationalizing: "We are the good guys," but that wouldn't make the taking of life any easier.

Most people who are forced into a situation where it is kill or be killed are usually affected by that for the rest of their life. Yes, they had to kill the "bad-guy" or many other innoccent might die.

By what right do they make such a decision? By the authority of the government that delegates thier authority to individuals, who are sometimes faced with tough choices. Sometimes, they are forced to kill for the "greater good." Sound familiar?

The difference between a "good guy" and a "bad guy" is not whether they rationalize their actions, but whether thier actions are justified by moral authority.

In other words, the rhetoric is the same for the good guy and the bad guy, but the distinction is in the accuracy of the application of that rhetoric. A person risking thier life, sacrificing it if necessary, to save other people from harm is a righteous action. Putting other people in harm's way in order to increase one's own power, no matter how well-intentioned, is not a righteous action. No rhetoric of acting "for the greater good" justifies anything, unless it is morally true.

Who decides what is morally true? Individuals have no right to impose thier own ideas of morality on anyone else. The majority in a society has no more right to do it than the individual. 'Might' doesn't make 'right' and a majority or government may be morally wrong, being that they are made up of individuals in the first place.

There MUST be morality in the world directing the actions of individuals. We cannot have "every man doing that which is right in his own eyes." That means chaos, disorder, and a world full of Arvin Sloanes. Therefore we conclude that individuals, and governments must answer to a higher power that has a right to impose moral law.

If there is no God, then there is no higher power that has a right to impose morality; indeed, there is no morality. Without God, chaos and Arvin Sloane is exactly what the world is.

We all admit that there are things that are morally wrong everywhere in the world. In doing so, we admit the existance of God. There is your difference bewteen the "good guy" and the "bad guy." The "good guy" is acting with authority from God. The "bad guy" simply claims that authority, but is wrong.

Sorry if this is too "preachy" for some of you, but it is where the subject matter led me. I might have withheld, but there are a few other blogs on top and I didn't think it would matter at this point.


mommer said...

Robby, I totally agree with you and I'm so glad you added your comment. I think we have to remember that TV shows often make us participate in "a willing suspension of disbelief." People in the real world cannot help being effected by killing another human being for the rest of their life unless they are totally deprived and without a conscience.

I think there is also a distinction to be made between murder and killing. Like in the Ten Commandments, it really says, "Thou shalt not murder." In other words, "take the life of an innocent human being." Christianity makes a distinction between killing someone who has committed a horrendous crime and an innocent person who has done nothing to deserve death. Of course, the person doing the killing must have the authority – we just can't take matters into our own hands.

This is getting a bit far from Alias though. But I think it gives us some explanation for why Jack's death is tragic & Sloane's is justified.

Also, what you said about belief in God made me think about how in order for someone to be evil they must have done something wrong. And that means they broke some kind of law - even if it's "natural law" rather than laws of a particular government. And where do those ideas of right and wrong come from? From the ultimate Law-Giver: God. That's why we humans instinctively know right from wrong. God's law is written on our hearts.

Robetron said...

Off topic note:

God's laws can only be "written on the heart" when the knowledge and true application of those laws as they are revealed in the Bible is taught, learned, and habitually practiced. Instinct is what drives animals and criminals to seek the Alpha-position of power.

I wrote a lot more, but decided that this is not the place for a philosophical discussion of how morality is implimented in society, or why why our society is so filled with violence. I deleted it all and started over, trying to be as concise as possible.

lhaaheim said...

Preach on Robby!!! Wonderful insight and very eloquent wording! I completely agree that it comes down to the moral authority and what each individual believes is directed from that or if you believe one exists at all.

However even though we don’t see it I do think the agents were affected by the act of killing someone even when defending themselves or in pursuit of someone “bad”. The scene that comes to mind is when Syd and Noah are breaking into a building and they use tranquilizer guns, Syd complements his aim and Noah says that it’s much easier to shoot someone with a tranquillizer instead of a real gun.

Mommer and Robby, you are both right (at least in my opinion) that God is the giver of our natural and moral laws.