Part deux of blogger Paul's series, sure to stir up some tasty discussion, enjoy! -SRG
Now this is quite a conundrum. Of all of the character shifts that happened in ALIAS, it seems the one most people had the hardest time swallowing was Irina turning into a completely horrible person. Throughout season 2 and her brief appearance in season 4, we see Irina as a conflicted person. In Season 2, we see her battling with previous choices, fighting between her obsession with Rambaldi and love for her daughter, a character who we never really see as trustworthy, but deep down who we believe really loves Sydney. In season 4, we see an almost reformed and trustworthy Irina, one who helps Jack and Sydney, and even agrees to come back into custody without flinching. An Irina who seems to be working in the best interests of Sydney by telling Vaughn to reveal his activities, and an Irina who has garnered enough trust for Jack to let her disappear again. And then POW, by season 5, she kidnaps her own daughter, betrays her in the bank, and then tries to kill her at the end! Now while I think most of us had a hard time swallowing this, I do believe (after my mulling) that this isn't as much of a stretch as we may have previously thought.
There is no doubt about it that Irina is a manipulative person with no loyalties. After all, who DIDN'T she betray? She betrayed Jack and Sydney on multiple occasions. She skillfully manipulated Sydney's desire to have a mother, toyed with her emotions by pleading guilty at her trial, and then betrayed her trust when she disappeared with Rambaldi's research on the human heart. Even though Irina makes some heartfelt speeches, she clearly puts Sydney in second place. She seems to be interested in giving Sydney many opportunities to get out of the spy trade, but was this out of love for Sydney or a desire to have Sydney out of the way???
Even in Season 4, when Irina seems to be a wonderful and reformed person, can we really believe this? While I do honestly believe Irina loved Sydney and then Nadia, it was clear that neither were as important to her as power and her own twisted beliefs. It could easily be argued that Irina manipulated Jack, Sydney, and Nadia at the end of season 4 for two major reasons: first to get revenge against Elena, and second to stop Elena from destroying the world that Irina one day hoped to rule! We can see some love for Sydney and Nadia; for example her telling Vaughn to reveal his activities. However, it makes perfect sense that the only way Irina could have known about those activities was if she were involved in what he was investigating! Even this may not have been as selfless as we initially believe. By telling Vaughn to reveal his activities, she would effectively be involving Sydney in what Vaughn was doing.
I did feel the whole "nuking all the cities to profit from the reconstruction" was a little over the top. And it DID seem that we saw a whole new Irina. But I think we can see throughout the series a woman who put Rambaldi and her own power and the dream of everlasting life ahead of her love for Sydney, and manipulated everyone to get her own way. Throughout the series, she had something to gain by appearing to be on their side, and honestly, she probably did love Sydney enough to try to get her out of the way. But at the end, there was no reason to continue to manipulate Sydney. She had the choice between everlasting life and power and her daughter, and I don't think the fact that she turned on Sydney there is quite as shocking as it may have initially seemed.
What do you think?