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Monday, May 24, 2004

Alias Season Three Finale
While watching the season finale of Alias last evening, the thing that struck me was how similiar the third season of Buffy and Alias were--even to the point that the season finales followed a similar pattern. In both seasons, we had a new female character introduced who turns out to be a traitor--in the case of Faith though, it's more of a case of power corrupting where as Lauren was just plain evil from the first time she came on screen. Also, in the season finales of each show, we had a huge battle that has been building all year between the protagonist and the female character who turns out to be a villain. Of course, on Buffy, this fight between Buffy and Faith had some resonnance to it and was actually emotionally engaged because of what was at stake (no pun intended) for not only the episode for where the plotlines as a whole were going. Plus, that battle was just beautifully choreographed and a marvel to watch. Whereas the Alias fight just felt like--well, you've wanted Syd and Lauren to go toe to toe since Lauren first appeared on screen, so let's give the audience what it wants.

No, what I really want is that show that I enjoyed the first season or so. The one that was all about a woman fighting to do what's right and the delicate balance of weighing her professional life with her personal one. But the show has gone so far off that original concept to the point that I think everyone at the CIA works 24/7 on the off chance something dramatic happens. Also, there must only be about six total workers there since Syd and Vaughn go on every stinking mission. As for this whole Rimbaldi thing--I think it was a fun way to tie together the first season or so by giving Syd a compelling motive to compete with SD6 but now it's just descending into a late in the series X-Files like mess of convoluted plots and no real direction. Syd's step-sister who just one episode ago hated Sloan for doing all those horrible things to her and making her write out these words, suddenly decides after one speech by Slaone in the safehouse that maybe he's not so bad and she really did like being shot up with the Rimbaldi fluid and being a human printer. And oh yeah--to quote Salah from Raiders of the Lost Ark--"They're looking in the wrong place." Meanwhile, Vaughn has lost it in his attempts to take our Lauren, to the point that he gets out of a hospital bed with a punctured lung and flies halfway across the world in about five minutes (seriously...they must have the same planes, copters and cars that 24 does because damn he got there fast...can you say plot contrivance anyone??!)) to save Syd at a dramatic time and kill Lauren. Oh yeah and Laruen, by the way has a secret that she reveals to Syd during the big fight and her dying words are the number of a safety deposit box that contains all the secrets. Well, not really all the secrets. It's just another chance to churn up the whole Jack vs. Syd thing. Apparently since Jack has been kind of decent for two or three episodes, we have to be reminded that--hey, he really isn't that nice a guy because he had something horrible done to Syd. We're not sure what, but it sure did make Syd cry. (In a related note, Jennifer Garner's tear ducts deserve an honorary Emmy for as much crying as she's done on the show. Not since Demi Moore in Ghost has crying been to raised to a new artform.) Of course, we don't find out what Jack did to Syd, but he shows up in time to tell he she wasn't supposed to know. This makes about plotpoint one million and four she's not supposed to know but Syd has found out. If Sadaam had used the CIA of this show to hide the WMD, we'd've found them by now and President Bush would be smelling like roses and totally vindicated for invading Iraq.

The question that most of you are asking is--why do I keep watching? I keep watching, hoping there's a glimmer of hope for this show. It was entertaining as heck in an escapist way when it started. And I fully accepted the extreme plot twists from the left and right becuase that was part of the fun. But now I think they're running out of ideas. Season three has been a disappointment--from the denouncement of what happend to Syd those two years to just an overall sense of going through the motions. We all knew that Sloane hadn't gone good and yet they drug out that plotline longer than needed. The season finale did a decent job of wrapping up some plots and trying to generate some interest for next season. But with their long gap between now and the next new episode, I hope they make the writers sit in a room and map out a direction for the show and have the beginning, middle and end of the season set for season four before it all gets started. Otherwise we'll end up with the same convoluted mess that was season three.

Oh and who else expected Lena Olin to make a cameo at the end as the one behind all of this and now Jack? That would have been a GREAT moment and one to keep the buzz going all summer long.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/24/2004 10:04:00 AM | |
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