Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S01E17 – Q and A

In the seventeenth episode of the first season of Alias, Sydney is questioned by the FBI. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias

I don’t think it’s all that controversial to suggest that much of “Q and A” is a clip episode. Indeed, it works very well as a jumping-in point of the series. But at times, it manages to achieve more than that. If I had a nitpick anything, “Q and A” increasingly relied on clips of past episodes to achieve its end, and those clips felt like they were getting longer and longer. I don’t think that was needed, even for new viewers who happened to have caught this episode. There was a whole stretch in the second half that dragged a bit too much for my tastes because of it.

But I found myself fascinated by the way this episode re-contextualized what we’d already seen. Through Special Officer Kendall (played by Terry O’Quinn!!!), the show finds away to address some of the more absurd elements of its premise. AND I LOVE IT SO VERY MUCH. He’s an outsider, and his information all came to him from documents, files, and other testimonies. Thus, his interrogation of Sydney forces her to  acknowledge the apparent disparities between fact and fiction. Of course, to her, this is all fiction. But Kendall makes note out of a number of incidents. How come Sydney, who is incredibly smart, was so thoroughly tricked by SD-6? (Which allows her to respond that she is hardly the only person. Practically everyone there believes what they were told.) How come Jack allowed his daughter to remain at SD-6, despite that he knew the truth? Why did she choose to stay in school? If her mother was a traitor, isn’t it fair to ask if the rest of the family is, too?

And these questions hit a nerve in Sydney because… shit, look how much she’s been through! (Shout-out to that montage after Kendall asked her how often SD-6 sends her on missions.) She believes she is on the right side. She believes that she’s doing good. And above all, she fiercely wants to believe that she’s not being controlled by other forces, whether that’s the determinism of Rambaldi’s prophecy or her mother’s genes. The implications of this prophecy are distressing on a personal level, too, since Sydney would never dream of destroying the world. But that’s the big, “What if?” It hangs over Sydney throughout this episode, and you could argue that it is one of the reasons she lashes out. (Truly, it’s not the only one. She was handcuffed to a chair and interrogated for hours. TOTALLY VALID REASON TO LASH OUT.) She’s frightened that this Rambaldi prophecy is right. And what would that mean? That she can’t control her future? If Rambaldi’s other prophecies came true, does that mean hers will? That’s a horrifying thing to have dangling in your future, right?

Which makes the final scene of “Q and A” so deeply uncomfortable. Now, I am not sure it is possible to use the air in a tire to survive underwater, but I’m just gonna accept it because WHY NOT. I understand now why Sydney was initially sat in the car, not moving, while it filled with water. She was having an epiphany: her mother also died after her car plunged into a body of water. Except Sydney survived it. It wasn’t that hard. Thus, it’s possible that since they never found the body, Sydney’s mother survived. (I actually didn’t realize they hadn’t found a body. THIS IS A HUGE REVEAL.) And if that’s the case… y’all, this blows this wide open. If Rambaldi is right, the prophecy could be about Sydney’s mom. BUT IT ALSO COULD STILL BE ABOUT HER. I didn’t realize until the episode was over that events prevented her from seeing Mt. Sabacio, so she still technically qualified as the person in the prophecy.

I still can’t believe what this show has turned into, y’all. WHAT THE HELL.

The video for “Q and A” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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