Thursday, January 03, 2008

You Took Away My Choices

Ah, Alias. I love you.

Do you remember the moment? That moment, after Sydney returned from discovering the 12 new weapons and she learned that she herself was involved in Project Christmas? The very project her mother had been investigating, thus earning the trust of Jack Bristow.

I love that moment. Sydney wakes suddenly from her hypnosis and she races to meet Jack. It's pouring down rain, Jack is unaware of her knowledge and then she lays into him about taking away her choices in life! Man, classic! Project Christmas seems to be a perfect plot propeller. We know Evil Francie was subjected to it as Alison Doran and hell, even Vaughn could have been a mini-spy soldier. However, I wasn't really cuddly with the fact that Sydney didn't make her own choice to be a spy. It seemed like such an independent decision, an independence that is so very much Sydney and that independence seemed to be dashed when she, and we, discovered it was a lie. Bummer.

She looks a little pissed. Hahaha!

PS. I am happy to announce that we have another Let's Talk Alias spy-baby on the way. Our very first and very loyal bloggie, Sarafu, is preggo with baby #3. Her son Asher was our very first spy-baby. Congrats to Sara and her family and I'm crossing my fingers for a little pink bundle!


bristowva said...

I love that scene after she confronts Jack and then goes to the CIA office (ahhh, can't remember the name!) soaking wet looking totally miserable. And into whose arms does she melt into? Vaughn! Makes me smile every time...

Kendrah said...

The Rotunda. I love the Rotunda.

srg-alias said...

Congrats Sarafu!

Watching this eppy and the one where Will is hypnotized to relive his capture by Sark always makes me wonder if that type of hypnosis is real, can people actually relive events from their past like that? That's my deep thought for the day...

BREEZER said...

I love that scene! Ah, the pouring rain, the turtle neck jumper, and Joni Mitchell -- INCREDIBLE.

Yes, Project Christmas trained Sydney to be a spy, but I don't think that it can be related back to being the reason Sydney entered the spy world.

I mean, just because she was subjected to the project, it didn't mean that she was always going to be a spy. Jack mentioned that his intention was to recruit Sydney into the CIA after she graduated, but of course, as we all know, Sloane got to her first.

Sydney DID choose to become a spy. Remember the flashback scene in S5 where Sydney is telling Sloane that this -- being a spy -- is what she is meant to do. It's in her blood...?

When she started at SD-6, she had no idea of Project Christmas, let alone that she was subjected to it. The decision to start this life for herself was her own.

Anyway, I am so glad that we have something fresh from you, GS. I have missed this blog immensly!

Can't wait for another post... ;)


Page48 said...

This is a brilliant scene from 2.05. I love the way Vaughn is just fidgeting with his jacket and looking kinda self-conscious like maybe he's been looking at girls on the internet. As always with "Alias", the musical selection for this scene was chosen with great care and sensitivity. The people involved with this show LOVED their craft.

Some of the series' best scenes involve Sydney at or near the breaking point and reaching out to the boys in her life (sometimes Will, sometimes Vaughn). Another shining example is 4.01 with Cat Stevens' "The Wind".

Professionally, Sydney showed up with her A-game every day and she had the benefit of an expert support system, but her personal life was a tragedy. Abandoned by her mother and estranged from her father, Syd's relationships were built on layer upon layer of lies and one by one, they crashed and burned around her. She was like the guy on the "Ed Sullivan Show" spinning plates, trying to keep them from falling to the floor.

Sydney felt that Jack took away her choices, but Sydney took away Danny's choices, she took away Will and Francie's choices. The Sydney that these people knew was a character that Syd was playing in order to have some semblance of a real life. Sure, she loved them and would risk her life for them without a second thought, but she never gave them the choice to decide for themselves whether to enter into this life and death dance with her. She made those choices herself, and in one way or another, it cost each of them dearly. Will was lucky to survive, Francie and Danny weren't so fortunate.

At the end of the day, it appears as though the only successful relationships Sydney can have are with people who are part of the game, people with whom she doesn't have to construct a parallel universe in order to allow her to fit in. People like Vaughn.

uncle111 said...

Well put.
Also, 4.01 is one of my favorite scenes. There is so much there- things in her personal life closing in on her, the dissappointment, the loneliness, Vaughn shows up, she tries to pull it together, she breaks. Her acting in that scene ranks with the best that has ever been done by anyone.

Page48 said...

Jen's acting from the neck up is very convincing. She can radiate with the gorgeous smile, complete with dimples and perfect teeth, but she's one of the best when turning on the water works is required. 4.01, as you say, Uncle, ranks way up there. Her facial intensity during her meeting with Dixon in "Phase One" is also a tour de force, IMO.

In 4.01, the way she is able to call on that kind of emotion and alternate between strength and weakness in the space of a few seconds, including the very effective throat clearing, is pretty special.

Syd, I just want you to know I'm here for ya, baby. Page is here for you.

Kendrah said...

I love when she tells Dixon the truth about SD-6. I love at the end, he drives away and she leans over the front of the car like she's going to be sick. That was acting perfection. Love it!

srg-alias said...

I hear ya page and Kendrah, absolutely love that scene in Phase One. You just know that she hates the position she's putting Dixon in and what he must think of her, but she has no other choice to keep her father alive.

Bonkers said...

You guys are totally making me sad. I'm getting ready to travel for my company's annual conference and thinking that the last time I went to one was right before the season 4 opener. I was sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio watching 4.01. Now, here I am traveling again with no new episode to look forward to.

You guys have any memorable places you watched a season opener or finale from?

srg-alias said...

aww, sorry bonkers. :( I started watching Alias in the midst of season 3 (I think the first eppy I ever saw was the one w/ Will and Allison/Francie), so the only season openers I saw were 4 and 5, but one of the most memorable scenes for me was when Lauren was revealed as Covenant by assassinating Lazaray (sp?). I remember sitting on my couch in my first apartment (after college) and my jaw just dropping!

Kendrah said...

I remember laying on the floor in the basement at my friend Elyse's house. It was hot and the door was open and we were watching season 2 on DVD. I had never seen it before and she was addicted, sitting around hot and bored and preggo. We got hooked and we watched the series finale together 2 years later!

Lisa said...

I remember watching the season finale of season One (in real time- no dvd!) and it also happened to be my brithday, and also just before we moved across the country. my friends made me a cake that said "good bye Lisa and Sydney" ha!

Robetron said...

I remember that I (as well as most of the country) was still reeling from the emotional tremmors felt from 9-11-2001.

(I guess it was because I saw the Towers fall in real time, as it happened why I was so unsettled... I didn't see the depth of disturbation in my compatriots and roommates at the time.)

Anyway, I was coming home in Pensacola from a long day spent preaching in Alabama, and I was exhausted, mentally drained. I flipped on the TV hoping to veg-out for a little while, when I saw the ad for what would air "at 8 -eastern, on ABC."

I thought, 'I remember seeing this ad eariler this week, but I never immagined I would catch the premire... Cool! That never happens.' The show started with the pretty, but paniced face and red hair being heald under water, and I wondered if I had missed the first half or something, but no. The sunny September evening was the premire of ALIAS and I have been an adict ever since.


uncle111 said...

I remember seeing commercials for Alias for weeks and then tuning in to the series opener. Oh yeah, I was hooked. I taped every episode, watched as many as I could real time, and then watched the tapes at least twice before the next one episode aired. What I liked- the action, the Rambaldi mystery, the tech, the relationships, the serial nature of the show. I especially loved the Jack/Syd/Irina relationships, Syd's personal trials, super spy Jack, and the constant stream of shocks ans surprises.

I remember early on thinking JG looked too skeletal in the face, but that as time passed it seemed to fill out and she became incredible looking. And there were moments, as in 4.01, but many other and earlier episodes where I thought, "this JG is actually an VERY good actress!"

I loved and hated the cliff hanger finales. There always left you going "Wow! No way!!" and then you had to wait months to find out what was going on. The one that drove me to the boards was, of course, the S4 car crash finale. I'll never forget that one.

And then the horribly botched S5. Well, you know how obcessed I became at figuring out an appropriate Alias fix that would also bring back our favorite characters. That did take some of the edge off my sense of loss, but I still miss my Alias, terribly, and the more time passes the more I fear it is gone forever.

Page48 said...

Jen looked alarmingly thin in some of the early season promo pics. In "Truth Be Told", she also looked very young. The clothes she wore whilst taking care of business in the parking garage, and then spinning around and hollering "Daddy?" also contribute to her youthful schoolgirl appearance.

I never taped it, but I would often watch part of it again the next hour if I missed a bit of dialogue or if some part of the plot went over my head.

And, I absolutely outlawed bathroom breaks while "Alias" was on.

Page48 said...

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles kicks off Sunday night on FOX with a 2nd eppie on Monday night. Will it be worthwhile? Who knows, but with the lack of new programming these days, I'm sure I'll find time to squeeze it into my schedule.

uncle111 said...

Hey Page 48-
I just had a customer in the store who has a son who works in LA. He has a small production company and also worked on a number of Alias episodes as an extra. His son told him that JG was not only beautiful, but a very nice person. She always talked to him and he wanted to, but could never get up the courage to ask her out.
I don't care how unlikely she would agree, if I had been him I could have found the umph to ask.

Page48 said...

Uncle, dude's gotta be kicking himself knowing he wimped out and then she went and settled for a slob like Ben. Nothing out of the ordinary about Ben (or his career), although he seems affable enough.

All a woman needs to succeed in life is looks. If she has the looks AND an extraordinary career with an 8 digit annual income, a lowly extra (with or without a small production company) has roughly the same chance of reeling her in as Borat has of becoming the next President of the United States.

Jen, in the few personal appearances of her that I've seen, strikes me as being as lovable as we imagine she is, but my guess is that extra-boy, by asking Jen out, would have had nothing more to look forward to than a courteous, dimple-filled brush-off. Probably the most amazingly spiritual brush-off he would ever experience in his life, but a brush-off never-the-less.

On the other hand, if Kid Rock can get a date...

uncle111 said...

I know what the outcome would be, but at least you'd have the brush off and the knowledge that you didn't fail to try.

Page48 said...

Hope springs eternal for the upcoming Terminator spinoff:
Sarah Connor Preview

Robetron said...

Just watched the first of the new Terminator series.

I have to say, it was not too bad at all. Sara Connor was a little softer and less psycho than the movie version, but enough like her to buy into the premise of the story arch. I never would have imagined they would fix the problem of being trapped between the movies in the first episode. I am a little impressed. I think I will watch and see if it turns out well, overall. It doesn't give me a thrill like ALIAS did at the premire, but it could still be worth watching. What does everyone else think?

Like someone said earlier, with so little on TV these days, its nice to have an above average show once a week.

Anyone know if the writer's strike is over or not?

uncle111 said...

I only got to see the last approx. 1/3, and I haven't seen T3, but I liked what I saw. Certainly better than BW. At the end I was thinking, "Yes, I'll be back." No pun intended.

uncle111 said...

Where's Page 48?

Page48 said...

I did the nasty and downloaded the pilot last summer after that rash of (intentionally) leaked pilots. Looks like no changes were made.

I agree with Uncle's comment that it is better than BW. BW never once achieved the level of tension/danger/action available in the first 5 minutes of this show, even though it was a dream sequence. The pity is that BW never attempted same.

I'm disappointed that they split the debut into back-to-back nights. I remember the days when 2 hour season debuts were commonplace. I gather it will now assume the 9:00 p.m. Monday slot. If the writers' strike ever ends, we'll have "Heroes", "24", and TTSCC all on Monday night.

So far, I think this show has debuted nicely. Let's see if they can keep it interesting. As Robetron said, no "Alias" thrill ride, but still decent sci-fi/action entertainment, and we haven't had much of that lately.

Closing thoughts: I didn't recognize that the actor playing John was Zack from Season One of "Heroes". How quickly we forget.

I also never noticed until recently that the Terminator in T3 was none other than Painkiller Jane herself. She certainly endured a lot of pain in T3.

Page48 said...

BTW, and completely OT, if you're looking for a movie that won't make you squirm if Grandma is in the room, keep "The Great Debaters" in mind.

Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, and a kid named Denzel Whitaker (go figure). Oprah bankrolled it and you know going in that it's gonna end on a feel-good note, but it's an excellent "family values" type of movie and I think you'll be glad you watched it (or your money cheerfully refunded).

Imagine how they managed to make a movie about blacks with a 90% black cast and not a single motherf----- bomb dropped in the whole movie. Just imagine that. And they said it couldn't be done.

Robetron said...

I didn't recognize "Zach," but I did recognize the female Termonator/ Guardian-ator as Crystal from the second season of The Unit.

Small world.


Page48 said...

The female Terminator is also from a short lived, but highly acclaimed (except among the executives at FOX) sci-fi series called "Firefly", which also starred Gina Torres aka Ana Espinoza.

Antonio said...

I'm rewatching Alias for the 3rd time, and what a coincidence, I just watched that episode! oh, how i miss my Sydney...

uncle111 said...

Hmm, no comments on the 2nd part of the SC season opener.

Page48 said...

Well, I think it comes as no surprise the SC 1.2 looked like it was done for about 1/2 the cost of 1.1. Wow 'em with the pilot and hope they come back.

I think it will always be a challenge for FOX to deliver what we've come to expect from the Terminator franchise. If you're going to do Terminator on the cheap, then you're going to have to tell a compelling story to make up for the lack of explosions and car-chase-carnage. I think it's too early to judge, really.

A few things I liked:

1) Cameron (the good T) mimicking (learning) the mannerisms of the gangsta-trash girl leaning up against the car.

2) Sarah tossing Cameron out the window on to the car below, knowing that she would re-boot by the time Sarah and John reached ground level. Did anyone think that Cameron wouldn't require a reboot at some point in this episode?

3) Cameron shooting Enrique (I think that was his name) in the back, because she knew Sarah wouldn't do it. It was clearly not acceptable from Sarah's point of view to shoot him, but at the end we find out that Enrique sold Sarah out and Cameron, although her judgment was flawed, gave him what he deserved.

I find it interesting that Cameron lets Sarah do the driving. Ahnold would settle that issue in short order with a curt "I'll Drive".

This episode didn't have much suspense or high-tech gadgetry going for it, nothing like the bank vault scene in the pilot. I'll be back for more to see if they can spin a decent yarn. It's not like it has any competition. But, frankly, I'd rather be watching a 2nd season of "Burn Notice" (if you call a dozen episodes a "season")

uncle111 said...

I remember thinking E2 wasn't as good as E1, and I thought throwing Cameron out the window and her shooting E in the back and why were both good. At the end I thought that if all we see is one narrow running escape after another then this isn't going to hold my interest long. It made me realize that even though Alias was serialized there was always some kind of resolution in each episode and a least a little change of purpose and action with each episode. SC is going to be hard pressed to come up with that needed dynamic.

Page48 said...

Uncle, agreed. A low-tech John-on-the-run theme won't sustain the series for very long.

uncle111 said...

PS- I'm waiting for Burn also, and Heros, and Jericho.

Page48 said...

Whilst it may be some time before I see "Cloverfield", it's not surprising to note that people are already emerging from theaters pissed off with the shaky camera nonsense.

This from

"I saw "Cloverfield" last night, or at least tried to see "Cloverfield" last night. I have no clue what went through director Matt Reeves' mind when he decided to forget how difficult it was to watch "Blair Witch Project" on the big screen with all the camera shaking and movement. I am all for the whole first-person experience in a monster movie, but I think the camera techniques utilized in "Battlestar Galactica" could've created a much better experience than soundtrack-less monstrosity that I couldn't even watch more than 30 minutes of before running from the theater motion sick. Hell, my head is still spinning."

Epiphany said...

Hi everyone,

New to this blogsite ... I'm a
brokenhearted Alias fan who has never really recovered from it going off the air. Have all 5 seasons, all the books, all the mags and even a few action figures.
Every episode brings back specific memories ... sigh ... I really loved all the characters ... even the evil ones! I think Sloan was the most complicated television villian of all times.
Oh ... how I miss Vaughn and Syd "flirting" during the first season and a half ... and Syd trying to keep her identity secret from Sloan - was there ever better writing on TV than the first two seasons? I think not.

Bonkers said...

Welcome Epiphany!

You have a found the home for "Alias Addicts Who Refuse to Let Our Series Die". While we may discuss other shows every now and then, the 5 or 6 of us here always come back to Alias.

I agree wholheartedly about Season 1 and 2. I always thought Season 3 was given the short end of the stick by the network since it was broken up by repeats and specials. That is until season 4 and 5 came along. then I learned what "short end of the stick" really meant. "Dumb this show down to get more rating from the lowest common denometer" and "that didn't work just cancel it".

On Terminator, I loved the call out to James by naming the Terminator Cameron. She's got the dead stare down but doesn't seem nearly as scary as the previous versions. I agree that e1 was far superior but I'll continue to watch. I think the writer's strike is going to be a good thing for many shows. Less competition will give them a foot in the door.

Page48 said...

Just caught my first TV spot for "Eli Stone". No Victor Garber sighting, though. George Michael, yes, but VG? Not so much.

Someone at the office saw "Cloverfield" on the weekend and hated it, mostly due to the Blair Witchy treatment. Still, I think I will judge for myself.

Watching SCC as we speak. Couple things bothering me:
1) in 1.2, John visits Mom's ex 10 years down the road, and it doesn't seem to register with the guy that John looks exactly the same as he did the day they ran out on him
2) Cameron seemed perfectly natural in high school in the pilot but has trouble "blending in" at her new school in 1.3 . What up with that?

Bonkers said...

Page, I had the same questions. No one seems to wonder why they haven't aged. And Cameron not fitting in bugs me. Thinking we wouldn't catch that, considering that episode was only last week, makes me wonder what other continuity will be lost.

Here's a question regarding the computer in the closet. If it's destroyed will all terminators disapear because they were never created, or only the bad ones? I would think they all would which means that Cameron would cease to exist rendering the show over. How long can they search for the right person before we get tired of the same old/same old.

And what was with the teenage jumper?

Page48 said...

I didn't understand anything about the jumper girl, Bonkers. What was her problem?

I read a story on the internet yesterday about Lena Headey taking a lot of flak about her "body-type". In other words, she hasn't logged as many hours in the gym as Linda Hamilton did when she played SC. WHATEVER!

I see Jen's movie "Juno" garnered several Oscar nominations, including best picture. No love for Jen herself, though. And no love whatsoever for "The Kingdom". I'm still not tempted to watch "Juno". It's all about subject matter I suppose.

Other notes: "Lost" kicks off next week. That's gonna seem like some serious breath of fresh air in the midst of a brutal TV season. And, last but not least, Jack Bauer is outta jail and, presumably, behind the wheel.

srg-alias said...

yay for Lost returning! Don't forget about our other fun blog at
where pre-premiere excitement is already brewing.

I know it's completely off topic, but I'm still quite shocked about Heath Ledger's death, I couldn't believe it when I saw the headline around 5pm yesterday. A very sad loss for the industry... :(

uncle111 said...

Has anyone gone back to the early days of this blog and read the posts? The final season of Alias were magical days on ABC's board and on this blog. Go back and look at what we were saying then.

Page48 said...

I have occasionally gone back to read old posts. I find it amazing to read something that I wrote as if the words were new to me. I notice we've lost a number of players along the way.

My nostalgic impulse also leads me to revisit ABC's "Alias" website from time to time. A moment frozen in time that looks to me as if it's just begging for new content, particularly the episode guide.

uncle111 said...

Page 48-
I got a little overly nostalgic today when I was alone at work and was looking at some old ABC posts we archived over on the Zephyr Ave. site. It was just magic and now it's like we've been abandoned.

Page48 said...

Shaky camera syndrome is spreading like a California brush fire.

Taken to the extreme, it's causing queasy movie-goers to lose their lunch on the sidewalks outside of movie theaters after 10 minutes of "Cloverfield".

In less dramatic fashion, those of us north of the 49th are being introduced to a new tax-payer subsidized weekly drama called "The Border", which features, you guessed it, shaky camera syndrome.

I guess if you can't be good, be shaky.

uncle111 said...

Page 48,
I remember when they played with that on Alias early in S5. I made some harsh remarks about it on ABC Alias board at the time. If you are going to use it you have to use it very sparingly. If you make it your "look" it ruins the view and makes you look stupid or uncreative.

Page48 said...

I keep seeing Joss Whedon's name pop up as a sci-fi genius type.

I've never seen "Angel" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Firefly", but the raves over the latter series finally convinced me to watch "Serenity", a 2005 film version of the extremely short-lived 2002 series.

The movie features a number of familiar faces:

Gina Torres ("Alias")
Summer Glau ("Sarah Connor Chronicles")
Adam Baldwin ("Chuck")
Ron Glass ("Barney Miller")

In short, I thought it was a hoot. Space travel, touches of humour, a moral purpose, spinning leg kicks, even elements of "I Am Legend". No need to have seen the series in order to follow the movie, a brief narrative at the beginning gives you all you need to know. Highly believable? Nope. Entertaining? I thought so.

And it's got that guy from "Barney Miller"...but he sure looks old.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have seen the Buffy movie that spawned the series, but I never watched an eppie of the series.