Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S01E18 – Masquerade

In the eighteenth episode of the first season of Alias, Sydney discovers that someone she dated is undercover on a mission. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias

I liked this one! I don’t think it’s the strongest episode this season, but it’s a solid exploration of the further complications of the Rambaldi manuscript, of loyalty, of living a double life. It’s a set-up for the tear down, and now, I’m just waiting for the fall.

BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY THIS ENDS WELL. The introduction of Noah isn’t nearly as annoying as it sounds on paper, and I say that because I tend not to like that whole trope of a romantic relationship being derailed by an old flame. It’s mostly for personal reasons, since I had this happen to me twice—twice!!!—in my twenties. And it sucks! There’s nothing quite like watching someone who has more history and more understanding of a person sweep said person away from you. How do you compete with that? How do you deal with the feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt that crop up because of it? IS ANYONE SURPRISED THAT I DEEPLY RELATE TO DOLLY PARTON’S “JOLENE”? Because none of you should be, I am a deeply bitter person.

Now, we don’t see much of Vaughn’s reaction to Noah’s arrival aside from a few tiny facial expressions when he breeches the topic with her. I am guessing that if this is gonna be explored further (and it sure as hell seems necessary, after that final scene), it’ll be in the next episode. But for the time being, it was satisfying to watch because of when Noah showed up in her life again. Sydney is determined to find her mother after getting confirmation that she actually survived her accident. That reveal spills out into practically every facet of “Masquerade,” and I’d argue that this episode is more about interpersonal conflict than moving the plot forward. The story exists to get these people to interact with one another.

Peter Berg and Jennifer Garner do a fine job showing us that there once was chemistry between these two people. Their history is obvious, and then we watch as that chemistry returns again. But how risky is this? Can you have a romantic relationship while working in a job like this? Look, I’m sure some people can manage this with people outside of the job. Dixon and Sloane both seem to have relatively happy marriages. However, Sydney and Noah parted on VOLATILE TERMS, given that he just DISAPPEARED when he got transferred. So, there’s residual bitterness and anger here, and oh boy, does that ever just slide away once these two get sent on a dangerous mission together. Oh, it’s so trope-y, y’all, and I CAN’T HELP BUT ENJOY IT. They used to be lovers!!! They parted on bad terms!!! But some danger has made them rekindle their feelings so they have really irresponsible sex AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME. Seriously, that’s my main bit of evidence that agents shouldn’t develop relationships. YOU WILL MAKE TERRIBLE DECISIONS.

Amidst this is Sydney’s contentious relationship with her father. As I said on video, I keep getting close to liking Jack, and then he has to go and be a complete fucking jerk AGAIN. I truly understand why he is upset with Sydney’s pursuit of her mother! That woman must have broken Jack’s heart, and I’m sure he’s got a lot of resentment towards her. Sydney risks dredging all of this up if her mother is alive! On top of that, Jack expresses concern that Sydney is going to find nothing but disappointment, which is a fair concern, but… look. I agree with Sloane (I HATE THAT I AM TYPING THAT) that Sydney is an adult who has to make her own decisions. Plus, her relationship with her mother is different! What might disappoint Jack could be rewarding for Sydney. That being said, I fully expect this to be a disaster. OKAY. It can’t end well.

The same goes for Sydney’s mistake. Y’all, she left evidence that she lied in one of her coat pockets. It’s such an amateur mistake, but also: SHE’S BEEN SO TIRED LATELY. Plus, it’s not like she expected this could happen. My worry is that both Francie and Will have recent history with being lied to. Will in particular is very nosy and very curious. This detail does not add up to the story that Sydney told them, and it’s all gonna unravel soon. I FEEL LIKE THIS IS GONNA HAPPEN. And I’m worried what that will mean for these characters! Do they accept Sydney? What if the means by which they learn the truth is terrible? I’M AFRAID.

The video for “Masquerade” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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