Thanks to Jennifer for this great article!
Home: (noun) a place where a person or animal can find refuge and safety or live in security. (Courtesy of Encarta Dictionary)
In my previous essay, I mentioned the phone conversation Dixon had with his wife in which she asked when he would be home. He had just learned that SD-6 was part of the Alliance and that by helping Sydney as he had, SD-6 would be raided and he would be taken into custody as a traitor to the very country he had been risking his life to save. As Dixon’s wife was unaware of his true work, asking when he would be home was an innocent question. In his current state of mind, Dixon answered that he did not know. This was a poignant moment. As Dixon’s world was crumbling around him, he had lost his home, his purpose, his truth. By having learned what he believed to be true – what he risked his life for every day – was all a lie - he had lost his refuge.
In season3, Sydney learns that during her missing two years she went by the name Julia Thorne. During a mission in which she dons the alias again in order to plant a tracking device, she is required to “kill” Vaughn in order to prove herself. When Vaughn is found and brought to the hospital, he has a dream- he wakes up to see Sydney in his room. The first question he asks is where he is. In the dream Sydney tells him he’s home. It’s important to know that this is a dream – a conversation Vaughn is having in his own mind. Although the question is logical and completely understandable, the answer is telling to his true feelings. In the real world, many people would answer any number of other ways; the hospital, Los Angeles, etc. By having Sydney use the word “home,” we see that Vaughn feels that Syd is his refuge, where he feels safe and secure. The scene’s real climax is when the dream Sydney stabs him for betraying her but this small, seemingly common dialogue speaks volume on Vaughn’s real feelings.
Both of these examples show the genius behind the writing on Alias. Simple, everyday conversations, that we have all had, show the characters as real people, living real lives as best they can. But, if we look at those simple, everyday conversations and really pay attention to what they are saying, we see that life is really never that simple.
Are there any other scenes in which the writers used the concept of home to show the true feelings of a character? Can you think of other conversations that seem simple but hide a deeper truth?
Oooh, I got one! The scene when Lauren wakes up to find Vaughn looking at his father's watch. She asks what time it is and Vaughn laughs, because the watch is broken. To Lauren, the watch is simply broken. But no, no, no my blonde British nemesis! To the audience, Vaughn and Sydney, the stopping of the watch means the day Vaughn met Sydney. It means the 2 whole years it took for Vaughn and Sydney to get together, to confess their feelings, to bring down SD-6 and be together. Nothhing about all that is simple my friend! Oh, the hidden meaning! Love it! ~Girlscout