Friday, May 23, 2008

Update - Alias Finales: Season 5

Ok folks, we're down to our last Alias finale (sniff). Over this fabulously long weekend watch the last two episodes of season 5, then follow up by watching the season 1 pilot eppy for good measure. Check back next week for some good discussion, the last thread was awesome!

- Update - We've already got some great posts on this thread so I'm just going to keep it going and not make a new post for the series finale. Please post your thoughts and opinions on the last two episodes of Alias and the pilot here!


uncle111 said...

S5E16/17- WOW!! Where to begin?
First- I kept wanting to back the assignment up a few episodes because after they came back from the break and Syd was back in action, the action and storyline movement was faster than at anytime in the series. And they were dealing with the core mysteries and personal issues, mainly because they had to wrap things up.

Viewing this 2 years after, I was struck by several things. Again, these episodes are so action packed and full of big themes that is is hard to focus on a few details to comment on as in previous assignments. And, maybe it's that most of my viewing of Alias has been on small color sets at work, or even just listening while making jewelry, but watching the final two episodes at home, uninterrupted, on an HDTV, these episodes look like a movie- I'm serious. I hope that before they bring out the Blu-ray version they do a little editing at the breaks for commercials so that the episodes throughout the series have movie quality transitions. It would be a smart move as that would be an extra reason to buy the new DVD sets.

If this was the first time I had seen these I'm sure I would have a harder time ignoring the rewriting of Alias history that took place, and Jack dying, etc. But as time goes on I just ignore their cheap ways of tying up loose ends and see Jack's death as the valiant sacrifice of himself for his daughter. (But then in my world that wasn't really Jack who died anyway. But if it was, way to go Jack!) And, the bitter sweet courage of tortured Tom, who sacrificed himself to give people time to exit APO and the doomed subway while asking to speak to Rachel so he could tell her that if there had been more time he would have asked her out. Then Rachel's bitter sweet reply that she would have said yes.

These are all things that stand out now as great Alias, but back then were agonizing events of a series that was ending too soon in a 17 episode season. I have watched all of S5 for this assignment and think it is one of the best seasons. But this time I was not agonizing over the shortness of time left for my favorite show ever, worrying about how they were going to solve all the mysteries, feeling like they were wasting precious time and cutting too many corners. (I was glad when I watched that episode to reconfirm that was Renee was wearing the jacket I bought when she was killed.)

Several things that stood out to me this time as classic literary symbolism-
Irina on the shattering glass falling to her death because she could not give up reaching for the Horizon and it's promise of immortality and it's mirroring Sloane's lustful grasping for the Sphere of Life, is like a classic Greek myth.
Sloane's death, falling back into the immortality fluid in a cruciform, covered in the symbolic blood of his savior, Rambaldi, and then resurrecting immortal, is packed with unmistakable Christian symbolism.

Even with the greatness these episodes are filled with, still the overriding feeling at the end is one of sadness. Sadness because the series is over and we now can see Syd and the gang only in the way we see departed loved ones in pictures and home movies. Sadness over things that could have been, but never will be. Sadness in knowing that the longer they go without making a comeback on TV or movie format the less likelihood that they ever will because they have "moved on" and the actors will have aged beyond having believable action left in them. (Though even in the show it was difficult to watch VG run without shaking my head:)

Regardless of all our problems with the show ending and what they did to it in ending it, S5 and the final episodes are classic, maybe the best Alias. They were filled with all the themes we knew as Alias, and in classic Alias style they twisted us and turned us inside out.

I'll post more when I rewatch S1 opener.

uncle111 said...

In line with some comments from the previous topic, I'm watching MI-2, copyright 2000 (the year before Alias aired), and the first 15 minutes have a very Alias feel to them.

Page48 said...

This 2-parter redefines "suspension of disbelief".

Contradictions abound. Turns out Sark is a pussycat who doesn't want anyone to get hurt (although he's okay with blowing up half of L.A.), and yet we've seen him leave an impressive body count over the years, with some of his victims not going out painlessly.

Irina is a wild-ass maniac for the first time since her debut in Season 2. Oh, sure, she's whacked a few hundred people along the way, but she drew the line at family, until 5.17. Now she's pretty much had it up to here with Sydney, and Syd's gotta go, she's just not working out.

Syd herself, was way out of character when she K.O'd Debbie the waitress and gave her that pretty cold apology. Not like anything we've ever seen from Syd until the finale.

This is what happens when a story has to be rushed to conclusion. Shortcuts and alterations become necessary. The network and the writers have agreed on a final ETA for "Lost", so that they can work toward a suitable (hopefully) conclusion, but "Alias" did not rate that kind of respect from the PTB, and we're stuck with what we got, "4.77 incredible years".

Tom and Rachel weren't core "Alias" , but I understand the need for them to be added to the cast, and for my money, they blended in nicely. I think most people were quite keen to find out what "The Cardinal" was all about, although we were dead-ended on that storyline.

Tom's final scene was touching enough and I understand Uncle's appreciation of the emotional goodbye (without actually saying 'goodbye'). But I'll always be troubled by his surrender. He didn't go down with a fight. He had 60 seconds to get out and maybe have a life with Rachel, but he spent 62 (yup, I timed it) seconds chatting with Jack and then Rachel instead of running like hell. He wasn't spraying the mechanism with nitro during that final minute, otherwise I could cut the guy some slack. He was sitting on his ass. Sydney would not be sitting on her ass, would she?

It's easy to find fault, and I remember reading some scathing fan reviews at the time, and I couldn't disagree with many of their observations, but at the end of the day, we just have to be grateful for the best of "Alias" and try to forgive the worst.

To be fair to the finale, it had it's moments. I loved the way Sloane understood the relationship between Syd and Marshall, knowing that with a simple phone call, Sydney could get Marshall to do something that Sloane could not persuade him to do with torture, even though Sloane knew there would be trickery involved. I loved the fact that they gave Marshall one more chance to hug Syd, and Syd one more chance to save Marshall. Those 2 adored each other.

Jack and Syd's farewell was amazing. Jack tells her it's just a scratch, and Syd, knowing that that is supreme understatement, if not outright bullshit, cracks that beautiful smile for just a second. And, of course, Jack making it to his feet so that Syd's final image of him would not be one of resigned defeat but of death defying courage. That was a thing of beauty. The fact that Jack was gratuitously "written out" for simple emotional effect is another matter, and I still cling to the notion that since neither the show nor the ABC website listed Jack as deceased, that he is indeed bouncing little Jack on his knee these days.

It was spine-tingling to see the word "Sydney" in Alias-font for the only time in the series. Sure it was gimmicky, but saving it for the end was a very classy move. Having Dixon utter the words "truth be told" in the final moments of the series was a wink to faithful viewers. You could tell there was an effort being made.

Bottom line: it was what it was, and it's all we're likely to get.

In the regret category:
-no Weiss and no Will

In the WTF category:
-in the middle of the end of the world as we know it, Syd essentially tells Rachel to take the rest of the day off
-how is it possible that Syd was not splashed with Rambaldi juice (at least a few drops) when she snatched the Horizon (try recreating that scene in your lab and see if you don't get some spray)
-how is it possible that a steel-framed window couldn't support Irina's evenly distributed weight (would that glass survive the pressure of a spring shower???)
-how is it possible that Vaughn let the mass-murdering Sark go free?

Page48 said...

Uncle, one extremely obvious connection btw. "Alias" and MI-2 is the use of the mask and voice modulator to impersonate someone else. Or was that MI-1??

The success of movies like the Bournes or MI's (all of which I watch every chance I get) are why I think a big-screen "Alias" has the potential to rock. However, if viewers didn't support the show in sufficient numbers, how many would support a movie?

uncle111 said...

I know that MI-2 has the mask and voice mod. There is also music in various parts of MI-2 that sounds like Alias.

uncle111 said...

Sark not wanting anyone to get hurt. I think that is just a line he used with Vaughn. Con-men, which is part of what Sark is, will say whatever they think will get the listener's sympathy.

Irina- In reality she was always maniacal. But, what did she really have to gain from nuking cities? Another cheap ending storyline.

Syd- yeah, that did seem a little cold for Syd.

Lost- I gave up on it's endless backstories and never ending mysteries and stopped watching a long time ago.

I didn't care for Tom or Rachel at first, or for will for that matter, but I miss them all now. Tom's death was something he chose. I saw it as him just being tired by and of life. He had his revenge on his wife's killer and that is what kept him going for years. She died because of what he was. He finally laid her to rest and it was now time for him to join her. Syd has Vaughn and Isabelle to live for. She would have pushed through, even if she would have been fried by the explosion in trying.

Jack and Syd's farewell- I tear up thinking about it, let alone watching it. And when Jack stands up in his Herculean attempt to give Syd the strength and courage to go on, to show that he was going to be okay so that she could focus on stopping Irina, even my wife who didn't watch Alias cries. It was courage and strength of mythic proportions. (And besides, even though Jack would have done that if he had been there, that wasn't the real Jack. It was his Helix double, remember?)

The beach ending was not satisfying for me. It just had the feel of "Our getting to see what happens next is over- we get left out, forever," even though we know there is so much more that could be done. Do you remember on ABC Alias board all the talk that Isabelle could be the next Syd, and maybe the real Chosen One since she too would have the DNA? I think they were playing on that when they had her put together the Project Christmas puzzle. Their way of saying, it doesn't end here. Yeah, but we don't get to see it.

Yes to yout wtf's. And not only should Syd have gotten splashed, but how about Irina when she and the Horizon hit the floor together? Well, let's see- I think she did get splashed. I think I read somewhere that she came back to life somewhile later.

Page48 said...

Yup, Irina nuking cities was ridiculous. Jack said Sloane wanted to profit from the reconstruction, but I had trouble swallowing that one, too. I never got the impression that cash was Sloane's great motivator. He could always swindle someone out of a fortune in bonds if he needed spending money. He was very resourceful that way.

As for Irina, was her whole life of espionage about trashing cities just to fund her retirement? I'm not so sure. If nuking cities was just a power play, how much more power did she need than being in possession of the Horizon? As warped as Sloane and Irina were, their ambitions were always loftier than flattening a Wal-Mart.

Tom was a man with a burden for sure, BUT he had a fresh case of the hots for Rachel and if he's anything like most guys (me, me), a fresh case of the hots is something to LIVE for. And he did tell her that he wished there was more time. After all he would have asked her out. Maybe he should have done that first, and then decided on his course of action (or inaction). Anyway, dramatic effect and all that.

I did not like the beach ending, either. A feel-good exercise in "closure" that none of us wanted. I would have preferred something far more sinister, hinting that there may someday be more story to tell. Maybe not an unfair cliffhanger, but at least an open door to an "Alias" future in some form.

Joss Whedon, creator of "Firefly" and Buffy, actually penned graphic novels (comic books?) to continue his own series after they came to an end on the small screen. Obviously, he felt there was more story to tell, and set out to tell it. Would that JJ might feel that kind of devotion to Syd and Co.

Yeah, I remember all the chat about Isabelle being the next spychick and I think that's what they intended viewers to conclude, but, as you say, we don't get to see it.

Page48 said...

Much more to follow on "Truth Be Told", but I want to get this bit of "Alias" trivia down before I forget. First words ever heard from Sydney Bristow...not in English. First words ever heard from Marcus Dixon...not in English. Never noticed that before.

Page48 said...

“Who do you work for, you pretty little girl?”

It’s stunningly, awesomely beautiful. It is the standard by which all pilot episodes, before and after, must be measured. It is a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10. Truth be told, it may be the best single episode of television that I’ve ever seen.

The contrast between 1.1 and 5.17 is like the difference between night and day. TBT is fresh and new, brimming with confidence and blue-sky potential. Syd and Vaughn are baby-faced kids. Even Dixon and Jack look young. The soundtrack is gorgeous, unlike 5.16-5.17. I can’t even remember if they had a soundtrack and I just watched them earlier today. TBT is young love, it’s infatuation, it’s heart skipping a beat, it’s “I only wanta be with you”, it’s the girl of your dreams.

TBT is surprisingly funny in places, places where you wouldn’t expect humour, like Sydney calling Francie from the parking garage. It’s gut-wrenchingly poignant, like when Syd tells Will she’s getting married. Will is gutted, it’s like he’s been Tasered. I’ve been there, I know how much he didn’t want to ever hear those words. But Will is a standup guy and he pulls it together and does his best to be gracious and supportive. I think Syd gets it. I know Syd gets it because I can see how hard it is for her to tell him.

How about Syd changing the message on her machine? Did you not want to be there with her to get her through that? Reminds me of later on when she called in to cancel Vaughn’s magazine subscription.

Every time I watch this episode, I see something new. How about at Danny’s funeral? Did you see the tear dripping off of Syd’s chin? OMG, how amazing is that? I can't wait to see that on Blu-Ray. And, it’s one of the very few times that Syd wears ear rings when she's not under cover.

We find out early on that Syd has a feisty smart-ass mouth. The way she plays with Suit & Glasses is priceless. EM ETIB, I love it.

One thing I find surprising is that Dixon never expresses any kind of outrage over Danny’s murder. It’s like he’s completely indoctrinated into the SD-6 mentality.

We’ve all spoken before about the movie-like quality of “Alias” and TBT is a prime example. That scene with Jack walking away from Syd at the cemetery is perhaps the most beautifully photographed scene in the whole series. Hazy sunshine, palm trees, trench-coated spy walking back to his black limo. Oh man, I love that scene. Even prior to that, when the camera turns all the way around Syd to reveal Jack standing behind her.

Of the musical background for the entire series, TBT contains the top 2 songs that I think of when I think of “Alias”. First and foremost, of course is Sinead O’Connor’s “No Man’s Woman” with the iconic image of Syd with flaming red hair. The great thing about this song is that it accompanies 3 or even 4 great scenes. Syd striding into Sloane’s office, walking right by a stunned Dixon is amazing. But even more, I think I like the shot of her walking in the street, among ordinary American citizens, people who are completely unaware of their indebtedness to her, wearing her skin tight black sweater showcasing those beautifully sculpted shoulders and arms, with her red hair and swollen mouth, with the swagger of a woman who knows what she can and must do.

The other song that stands out is the one which plays at the cemetery. As often as I look it up, I can never remember the artist or the title, but I can hear the music in my head any time I want to. The scene with Jack and Syd at the cemetery is perfect. Syd’s hair blowing around in the strong breeze, her youthful face staring into the great unknown as she puts the phone Jack gave her next to her ear and says “Hello”. What a classic ending to a classic piece of TV history!

I want these characters back in my life. Like Uncle said, we’re forced now to look back at them like loved ones lost, and that’s just hard to accept.

Jennifer Garner appeared in a grand total of 3 episodes of JJ’s “Felicity”. Legend has it that Sydney was conceived with Keri Russell in mind and yet it was JG who landed the job, IMO a far far better gig than the role of Felicity herself.

On a September evening in 2001, just days after the worst terrorist attack in North American history, a star was born, and her name was Sydney Bristow. Five incredible years later, she was gone.

And, truth be told, it was our loss.

uncle111 said...

Good review. I wonder how many times we've said here that S1/E1 was probably the best episode on TV ever.
One of the things I also like was Jack saving Syd, racing through the parking garage and iceing the guy following them while spinning the car. And then when he says to Syd,'I don't sell airplane parts! I never sold airplane parts."

I loved all the scenes you talked about. There just isn't anything in this episode to not like. But the graveyard scene is one of the best ever. And Syd looks so fresh, new and young that you feel like a teenager getting a crush.

"It’s stunningly, awesomely beautiful. It is the standard by which all pilot episodes, before and after, must be measured. It is a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10. Truth be told, it may be the best single episode of television that I’ve ever seen." Hard to say it any better.

ilovealias4ever said...

Page, your review made me cry.

That was just stunningly beautiful -- much like the pilot itself.

I really don't know how a show so incredible could have ever finished.

You just did ALIAS so much justice there, it's pretty unbelievable that the best show on TV is no longer here...

Thanks for sharing that with us. Your input/ reviews always give us some great insight -- always so fantastically written.

I just love the way you describe things. It's a real treasure to have you on this blog :)

*goes to shed more tears*

Page48 said...

Thanks, ilovealias4ever. Beer is the ultimate cure for writer's block.

srg-alias said...

Page: "As warped as Sloane and Irina were, their ambitions were always loftier than flattening a Wal-Mart." lol, well said.

I was also disappointed with what seemed like the unnecessary death of Tom, but I think he was too guilt-ridden with his wife's murder to set that aside for his new "hots for Rachel" feelings. That burden would always be there for him and would infect whoever he got close to.

My take on the ending scene w/ Izzy putting together the Project Christmas puzzle, then bashing it down was that she has the skills to be the next spychick, but she has a choice in the matter and chooses not to bring attention to it or go that direction (no "mommy mommy look what I did!!")

I agree with many other things you guys pointed out, it's nice to read Uncle's take on S5 two years out from the debut and its more positive impression. All in all we do have to be grateful for the Alias we do have and rewatch over, and over, and over...

More to come on TBT :)

Page48 said...

Re: "Fringe"

Kristin's seen it!

In fact she tossed the word "super" around.

Another encouraging line under her heading "Is It Good?":

"Have you seen the Alias pilot? How about the Lost pilot? Did you think those were OK? If yes, you'll like this. It is of equivalent quality, if perhaps a bit less grandiose than the Lost pilot. Still, the story structure of Fringe feels perfect."

One other comment that caused me to drool on my new jeans appears under her heading "Crossover":

"In terms of series style, theme and structure, there's a lot of Alias and X-Files at work here, but there's also a fun little Lost shout-out. Look for it in one of the FBI scenes."

Oh, Kristin, you're lighting up all my "Alias" buttons, but I'll be the judge of whether it's as good as TBT or not. I could more easily make that determination IF YOU'D SEND ME A FREAKING COPY!!

uncle111 said...

I guess we just won't know till we see it...or several episodes.

uncle111 said...

I just watched National Treasure II. Very good movie. And of course I loved the several references to Page 47!! It seemed to me near the end when he and the President go off alone to talk about Page 47 that they might have been using Page 47 as a set up for a NT3. What do you think?

Page48 said...

They were very mysterious about the contents of Page 47, except to say that the info contained was (if memory serves) "life altering", so I think they certainly gave themselves the option to take that route for Volume III.

Anyone up for "National Treasure 3: The Chosen One"?

uncle111 said...

Anyone up for "National Treasure: The Chosen One"?

uncle111 said...

I just went back and checked the commentary during the parts with 47in it. The director address 47 twice. The first time he is going to tell us why it's significant, but as he gets to it it sounds like someone is rubbing something across his mic while he's peaking. Jon Voight, who is with him during the commentary reacts with great pleasure and astonishment with no mic problem.
The second mention of it in the commentary- the director addresses talk about 47 being a set up for a NT3 and says no. But then he says".. It is (then garbled mic trouble again) fourth movie." More posative reaction from Voight.

uncle111 said...

Obviously everyone has too much to do right now, but when you get a minute and want to look into the fascinating subject of 47, try this:

Page48 said...

See, that's what I love about Wikipedia. Answers for the truly obsessed, for free.

Debut of "Fringe" postponed from August 26th to September 9th...bummer.

Season 2 of "Burn Notice" kicks off on July 10th. Can't believe it's almost a year since I started watching BN.

Big day for Jen up here in the rainy north. "Mr. Magoo", "13 Going On 30" and "Daredevil" all playing on the tube on this June 7th. Not Jen at her finest, but Jen nevertheless.

uncle111 said...

That's a lot of Jen today! I actually liked 13. I have come to believe that's closer to the real Jen than Syd is. Haven't seen McGoo. I keep forgetting she's in it.
Can't wait for Burn. I know a lot of people who watch it.
Right now I'm trying fill jewelry and UNCLE gun orders and have S5 playing while I work.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember my password, but I am not anonymous, I have been here before..kelhat is my name! :)

Page, I, too, love your words about of the finest episodes of any show ever. I haven't been on the blog in awhile...makes me a little sad to think about our show being gone. Summer always brings about the rewatching of Alias, start to finish. I never get tired of it, never fast-forward, it always seems fresh. You mentioned the music in TBT...the music in all the episodes was always spot-on and perfectly fitting for the scene. I love my Alias CD's that girlscout made! :) In the cemetery scene, the band singing is Vertical Horizon...they are also the band used at the beginning when we see Syd and Danny walking across campus. Same band, but very different songs for very different scenes.

Page48 said...

Oh, that line forms on the right, babe, now that Kelhat's back in town.

Robetron said...

I have not been able to participate in the re-watch of season openers and finales, but I have been reliving it vicariously through you all. I picture every scene; hear every tune, and every line of dialog; and, feel every emotion of the scenes just as if I had watched them, especially the Pilot episode. You all are right; that episode was absolutely inspired. If ever TV has been flawless, it was in those aired minutes.

How sad that a bunch of stuffed-suit, TV exec's could not recognize the genious, or that the creators, writers, and producers could not hold it all together to force them to see it.

I think they tried too hard to surprise the viewers. Sometimes it's okay to give the viewers wha tthey are expecting to see after a couple of years of providing information. Turning everything on its head every new season was not necessary, but because they were able to do it successfully twice, it's like they felt compelled to do it for S-4 and S-5. (Well, S-5 was out of necessity, but to be honest, I would have waited a year or so for the fifth season if jen's pregnancy was getting in the way of the story.)

Enough recriminations, though. When I visualize the scenes of TBT, I fall in love with the show all over again. I have seen S-1probably close to ten times, and I fear that it will get to where I do not pay as close attention to it as I want to, so I am going to hold off a bit longer with watching it again, but I don't know how long I can stand it.

Especially as long as I keep coming back here to chat with other Alias fans and read the fond remembrances of great TV gone by.

God's peace to you all.


Anonymous said...

I have a question. Completely unrelated to this post but it has been bothering me. In the season 1 episode "Time Will Tell," when Jack is talking to Sydney at SD-6, he mentions that only 5 people know the truth about SD-6. Now, don't you think he would have mentioned that to the CIA, because we see Vaughn questioning frequently the true allegiance of Agent Dixon. Wouldn't Jack know the five people that know the truth and be able to tell the CIA that Dixon is not one of them.

finkles2000 said...

Late to the game, again, on my part. I haven't seen the finale yet (although I know what happens), but I did want to add something to Page48's post about Keri Russell/Felicity/Alias.

Being a big ole Felicity freak (I was into it way before I came to Alias), I have all the DVDs, and although I haven't seen them in a while, one of the extras was a Museum of Television and Radio discussion with JJ, Keri Russell, and Jen Garner (I think it was a Felicity/Alias combo interview).

Anyway, JJ said in this interview that it was kind of difficult coming up with plots and story-lines for Season 4 of Felicity, before the season actually started. And he thought that it would be cool if Felicity was a spy; if they had an episode or two about how she spent her summer break as a spy. And that's how the idea for Alias came about - a student who's also a spy. I don't think Keri Russell was ever considered for the part of Sydney, especially since the first season of Alias coincided with the final season of Felicity.

In season 1, I can definitely see some similarities between the two shows. The friendships between Sydney, Will, and Francie feel much like Felicity, especially in the Thanksgiving episode. And her interactions with college professors are similar. Even the scenes with the CIA psych, Dr. Barnett bring to mind Felicity's scenes with her (mandated) school counselor.

After season 1, though, the similarities are few and far between, save for Greg Grunberg (Weiss), who was a regular on Felicity, as well as Amanda Foreman (Marshall's baby mama). Kevin Weissman (Marshall) even had a tiny part on Felicity as one of Amanda Foreman's character's friends. Earl was his name, I believe.

I have to say that the best two pilot episodes ever are the ones from Felicity and Alias. Both completely set the tone for each series.

Interesting bit of trivia: Robert Benedict played Brodien in the first and last episodes of Season 4 (the guy whose ear was pierced by Sydney). He was also a semi-regular on Felicity when it aired. His character's name on Felicity? Richard Coad, who in real life was a co-producer on Alias.

finkles2000 said...

Ooookkkay. So, it's been a long time since I saw the last episode(s). So, hopefully I'll remember everything.

As the season wore on, and we saw less and less of Rachel, I have to say I was disappointed. I know that she was only brought in because JG was preggers, so that the audience could see some girl-kick-ass action, but I really, really liked Rachel. The "Bob" and "Solo" episodes were some of my favorites ever. Not because Sydney wasn't there - I love me some Bristow! - but because Rachel was thrown into those situations, and she was SO unlike Sydney that they made for some great episodes. I know that once Syd came back full-force that it made sense for Rachel to drop back into the background, and there were (unfortunately) a limited number of episodes left.

But it would have been nice to see these two undercover together, like the season 4 episode where Nadia and Syd go undercover together ("Detente," maybe?). I love when Nadia's all, "I own those, bitch!" Could have made for some fun stuff.

I loved the Sydney clone, and using Anna Espinosa as her double was darn cool. Why didn't they think of that before? I loved seeing an evil Sydney, and I bet JG had a lot of fun doing that.

I will admit: I would have totally watched, and totally loved, another season of Alias with Rachel as the main character. I would have been very sad that Sydney would not have been involved (but you know she'd be back for a story-arc), but I think it really could have worked.

Again, I was completely confused about the whole Vaughn-being-alive thing. It wasn't obvious to me at all, and having the reveal in that repressed-memory episode just made it even more confusing.

I never fully understood why Elodie Bouchez was in the opening credits. Even in the beginning of the series, where she was featured more heavily, she really didn't seem to be on screen all that much.

Finally, the finales. The opening sequence to "Reprisal" honestly gave me chills, with Sydney's voice-over. My roommate came in shortly after that, and I had to turn it off, because I wanted to watch it when I had absolutely no interruptions. I liked that Rachel and Marshall had to work together - that part was great. And even though Marshall is my least favorite character (I know, I know, everybody loves him! But he bugs me.), I totally respected his sense of honor and actions toward Sloane.

The death of Tom bothered me more than I thought it would. It would have been great to have more episodes to explore his relationship with Rachel. I think what bothered me the most was that Tom was such a tragic character, whose tragedy was never really explained. The whole "Cardinal" thing was just dropped outright, one of the casualties of a season with 5 or 6 less episodes than normal. And that was a shame. His heroics in the subway, and his conversation with Rachel, were very touching.

Loved loved loved Kelly Peyton. She and Sark seemed to be of the same ilk, although Kelly was a bit more ruthless. I loved when Rachel was like, "You were going to kill me anyway!" and Kelly's reply was, "Yeah, but I would have felt bad about it!" ("Solo" episode). She was fun and sassy evil, and I was completely let down by the way her character was treated in the last episode (snakes? seriously?). But I'm glad that she wasn't killed, per se. I would have liked to have hoped that, if the fates allowed and ABC was all, "You know what? Even though we aired a finale, let's bring back some of the characters!", that Kelly would be one of the Big Bads.

finkles2000 said...

Sorry - this is so long!

And now to Sark. I think I read on here that someone thought Sark's personality in this episode wasn't up to his usual self. Like his, "I'm a businessman" line. I have to say, I thought he was par for the course this season. I've always thought of Sark as a bit of a weenie. Which is not to say that I didn't like him as a character - because I completely did. Wasn't it in season two where Vaughn shoved him down on a glass coffee table and he said something like, "Okay, I can change alliances."? He's never had the backbone of say, Irina, Sloane, Kelly, or even the delicious Lauren. Again, thought he was par for the course.

And Irina. I gotta say the same thing about her. Throughout the entire series, no matter how loving she was to Sydney and/or Jack, she had clear intentions: Rambaldi. I knew that she loved Sydney, and maybe even Jack, but she didn't love them enough to bring her back from the brink of her power hunger. I'd like to think that in Irina's mind, she figured she had brought so much pain to these people's lives that she didn't deserve their love in return. And because of that, perhaps it made it easier for be so callous and cruel to them. I don't know. I was glad that she said that she loved Sydney in the finale, because I honestly think that she did. But let us not forget that both Jack and Sydney were orders to Irina - she didn't meet Jack and fall in love with him in a conventional way; she was trained to preserve an identity. Even in season 4, when she lingered behind to give smoochies to Jack and Sydney, it was only because she hadn't actually reached her full endgame. I think. In my opinion, at least. In the end, I thought Irina was true to herself and her goals - she loved Sydney, but she was incapable of loving enough, and allowing herself to be loved enough in return, to ultimately save herself.

Jack's death was very hard for me. I can't really say much else about it.


finkles2000 said...

t was nice to see Francie again, even if it was for only literally 15 seconds. I think they could have done more to honor the legacy of Francie, with perhaps a longer flashback or something. I often think back to how much the series had changed since season one, when Sydney was trying desperately to have a life outside work, and when she had actual friends. There's something a little sad about that, I think; as if Sydney had just given up on the idea that she could have real friends and a real life outside work.

As far as the flash-forward goes, I have to say, I'm not a fan of those. It completely alters the canon for everything that can come between the last episode and the flash-forward. This show couldn't be farther removed from Alias, but when Will & Grace aired their last episode, I was so angry. I mean, Will & Grace don't talk for 18 freaking years?!?! No way. And now, they can't do another episode or TV movie until that time, because the canon has been set. Not that they would anyway, but it ruins the idea and hope.

That said, this flash-forward was tolerable. I liked that they mentioned that Rachel was still with the CIA and that Dixon is Deputy Director. And the idea that Syd could possibly be toying with the idea of coming back. The thing with Isabelle and the Project Christmas toy bothered me a bit because I wondered why they'd have it in the first place. I wouldn't want to think Sydney would want that in her house. But I can rationalize this in some way by thinking that maybe she held on to it as some reminder of Jack. But still, that doesn't hold all the water for me.

All in all, the finale was, for the most part, satisfying. The build-up came so fast and hard - the last third of Season 5 was a freaking tornado - and it seemed a bit rushed, but it was thoroughly entertaining and seemed a worthy end to the series. My only big gripe is that JJ Abrams didn't come back to write or direct the last two episodes. Was he working on MI:3 at this time? I can't remember. But I would like to think that he'd want to be involved in some way, and it makes me a bit sad that he wasn't.

While seasons 2 & 3 are constantly battling it out for my favorite season, and 1 comes in a close third, I really enjoyed season 5. Immensely, even. I'm sure I'll purchase the DVD set before I buy season 4, at any rate. (And has anyone seen the new DVD cases? They're great! They pack all the DVDs in a standard-sized DVD case so you can fit them into a rack or something. I love them. But there are no episode-synopsis inserts).