Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S01E22 – Almost Thirty Years

In the twenty-second and final episode of the first season of Alias, I barely believe this show is happening to me. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias

Trigger Warning: For torture.

Why is this show doing this to me??? I AM A GOOD PERSON.

Will

This finale is dense, complicated, scary, and then it’s just COMPLETELY UNFAIR, but let’s start with the tragedy of Will. Will, who wanted to do right by Sydney and find out who killed her fiancé. Will, who pursued the truth even though it was confusing and bewildering. Will, who abandoned his story once he finally realized that it would have hurt the people he cared for. Will, who risked his own life to provide Sydney with closure.

And Will, who was a pawn for Jack, who got tortured all because he knew a phrase. It tears me up just to think about it, y’all. He got tortured for nothing. Jack gave him a means to bring his whistleblower out in the open, but he never thought through the ramifications of that. And what does that mean for Will? He has no idea that Haladki was exposed as the mole in the CIA (and executed by Jack for it, which I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT EXPECT). He’s tortured, and in the end, there’s Jack, who made the trade for his life. When Will stood there, blood running down his face, I couldn’t tell what his reaction was going to be? Was he furious at Jack for putting him through this? No. He was grateful that someone came to rescue him. WHICH KIND OF BROKE MY HEART. There’s a theme across this episode that deals with the concept of friendship and professionalism, namely in that Jack doesn’t seem to understand why Sydney was so devoted to saving Will. Does Jack have any friends? Or does he view people as a means to an end? In this episode, that’s what Will feels like to me: a means to an end for Jack.

It’s an interesting place to leave Will’s character, too. He knows a lot of the truth, but not nearly enough of it. So does that mean they’re gonna read Will in? Or just hide him? I could see either option unfolding. Oh god, what about Francie???

Dixon

YEP, IT WAS PRECISELY AS HEARTBREAKING AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE, Y’ALL. Just… oh, Dixon. I understood why Sydney didn’t reveal everything. She used her friendship with Dixon to get him to back off for the moment, but y’all, it’s inevitable now. How long can Dixon just accept the excuse that what Sydney is working on is classified? After catching Sydney in multiple lies, it’s not like he has a whole lot of trust in her, you know? He has some because they have history, and that’s what Sydney is banking on.

But that well is gonna run dry, y’all. OH GOD. I have a prediction for season 2. I’M SAVING IT FOR TOMORROW.

Emily

WELL, I DIDN’T EXPECT THAT. Of course, as soon as Sloane told his wife about SD-6, I should have realized that was the beginning of the end. He wanted her to know the truth before she died. I admit that I didn’t quite understand her reaction, though… well, it’s complicated. I found the scene where Sloane came clean to be powerful because we heard none of the words; all we saw was Emily’s reaction. It’s a masterfully crafted sequence, and both actors knocked it out of the park.

But without knowing what Arvin Sloane said, I couldn’t understand why Emily made reference to her husband having to make a difficult choice. Now, we don’t really know the full story of how SD-6 came to be, so I don’t know what that “choice” is. However, is it really out of the realm of possibility that Sloane lied to his wife again? Is it possible he crafted a story that isn’t quite the truth? WILL WE EVER KNOW??? Y’all, we didn’t watch Emily die, but she’s dead, right?

The Circumference

The science fiction elements of Alias are a welcome surprise, and while I want to know what the fuck the Circumference actually is—a battery???—I found “Almost Thirty Years” to be as compelling as it was because it was grounded in such intense emotions. This script examines one of the key internal conflicts we’ve seen over the span of season one. How important is one’s job? Is it more important than maintaining friendships? Relationships? Partnerships? What’s the cost of being a spy? We’ve already seen that in all of these characters to varying degrees, and I’d argue that it plays a huge part in the characterization of Sydney in “Rendezvous.” Here, it’s Vaughn who makes a choice based heavily on his emotional response to the situation. His father was a company man, loyal to the CIA to a fault. So much so that Vaughn argues that his father died because of that devotion.

I love it, then, that this is about defying orders and questioning authority in order to do what’s right. Here, that’s saving Will from Khasinau’s men. It’s about Vaughn going above the CIA to place a human life above an order. Vaughn is long past the point where he’s not attached to Sydney. IT’S INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS. But his deliberate betrayal of Devlin felt like a moment where he was prepared to jump in the deep end. And now I feel slight evil for typing that, but HE’S FINE, RIGHT? He has to be okay, right???

No one is okay, though, because this is FUCKED UP. Dixon is distrustful; Will has been traumatized; Vaughn may have DROWNED after Sydney destroyed that giant Circumference; and Sydney herself… y’all. Y’ALL. WHAT A CLIFFHANGER. Khasinau isn’t The Man! IT’S SYDNEY’S MOTHER. WHAT THE FUCK, SHE’S BEEN MANIPULATING EVERYONE THIS ENTIRE TIME. I 100% DID NOT EXPECT THIS, I’M SO GLAD THAT THERE ISN’T A HUGE BREAK FOR ME UNTIL I GET TO SEASON 2, I COULDNT’ STAND THIS.

Y’all, this season was spectacular. I’m so excited for more!

The video for “Almost Thirty Years” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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