Alias: Authorized Personnel Only
Sydney Bristow is back...and it's about time.
After enduring a third season that was, at best, sub-par, Alias
returns to form with a two-hour episode that seems to not be pushing the reset button but instead returning Alias
to the roots of what made it fun in the first season. Honestly, ever since they took down SD6 so Syd and Vaughn could hook up, the show hasn't been the same. But with "Authorized Personnel Only" the show returns to form with an episode that somehow manages to jettison all the baggage from last season while firmly re-establishing some of the fun and breakneck frenzy of pacing that made the first season such a wonder to behold. And let me be the first to say--thank you J.J. Abrams for just wrapping up the Rimbaldi plotline off screen. I think that was a huge albatross around the series' neck last season--it was a good idea to start with, but it got out of hand quickly. Kind of like the later conspirarcy episodes of The X-Files
turned out to be. Thankfully, Abrams recognized this and has resolved it. And what an interesting way to do it--Sloane uses what he found to buy his way into the CIA and to run this new covert ops group.
It's ironic that my main criticism from season one does crop up here. In season one, they could never have Jack's character and his relationship with Syd stay consistent from week to week. One week, he's a good guy, next week he's a bad guy. And here with a two hour episode he goes from bad guy to good guy. I've also go to love how Abrams dealt with the cliffhanger from last year and tying that into how Syd reacts to her father. I figured the giant secret Syd discovered was more of the spy training school we've seen in flashbacks or that somehow Jack had manipulated Syd even more to become uber-agent. Instead, we find out that Jack executed Syd's mother...but he had a pretty good reason. Irina apparently decided Syd was too dangerous and put out a contract on her life. Of course, the show doesn't answer why Irina did this. I found myself wondering if it tied into the prophecies that were so key to seasons two and three--did Irina want to stop something and decided to take Syd out? Also, this seems inconsistent with the relationship between Syd and her mom that had developed. Remember that last year, Syd could contact her mom as needed and there seemed to be some bond there. I am hoping as the year progresses, we find out just why Irina felt like she had to take Syd out. Also, I doubt that Irina is really dead--should Lena Olin suddenly decide to return to the show, I'd bet Irina can come back.
I also have to love how Syd is becoming her father. In the end, she keeps the truth of who killed their mother from Nadia. That's one of those--I'm becoming my father type of moments. You just have to love it. And I think it'll be fun to watch the two half-sisters going out on missions together.
But my favorite scenes were those with Marshall. The scene where he's brought into APO, thinking he's downloaded maps to his X-Box on company time, was an absolute riot.
Also, one more thing. Watching the first few scenes with Angela Bassett's new director, I was having flashbacks to the later seasons of The X-Files
and AD Kirsh. (Season six after the X-Files close and Mulder and Scully are re-assigned...yet again!) I figured here we had a new director who was gonna be a hard-nose on Syd, like Kersh was on Mulder and Scully. Too bad that didn't happen cause I kind of liked that element AD Kirsh brought to the last few years of The X-Files
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/06/2005 08:05:00 AM