In the second episode of the second season of Alias, Irina’s surrender has surprising ramifications. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias.
Y’all, I’m so HYPED over this season. I guess I really didn’t consider just how much Irina would mess things up, but that’s GOT to be her intention. Her surrender to the CIA is mystifying and bizarre, and from an outsider’s perspective, it looks exactly like the sort of chaos I would want to cause in an organization I was opposed to.
But before I jump into the complicated characterization and power plays at work in “Trust Me,” I want to focus on the idea of chaos. Alias still feels like the same show I started last season, but it’s focus has shifted so dramatically in a number of unexpected ways. It’s not a recent development, but this season has already established that due the events of season one, Francie and Will are close friends. There is still romantic chemistry and tension between him and Sydney, sure, but it isn’t what we see in Vaughn’s interactions with her. Rather, Will and Francie are shown to have a friendship INDEPENDENT of Sydney. Would I like it to be given more screen time? Sure! But I don’t know how well a domestic, platonic friend pairing over the formation of a restaurant would fit within the greater point of this show. But, at the very least, I appreciate that this exists, that Francie was disappointed in Will but immediately ready to support him. The same goes for the reverse; once Will sees that Francie is struggling with permits and licenses for her restaurant, he offers himself up to help. Granted, it’s not like he’s giving up a job for it, but it still matters!
It’s a different take on the theme of loyalty, something that this show and its writers are deeply interested in exploring. The other main plots within “Trust Me” address the theme head-on, first by examining if there is any way Irina’s victims can feel loyalty to her, then by having Sydney lash out at Kendall for doubting her loyalty to the CIA. The show makes emotional and visual references to the tropes found in The Silence of the Lambs by having both Vaughn and Sydney visit Irina. Though she’s not a horror-movie-slasher or a psychological-thriller-murderer, you still get that same sense of fear and terrified Interest that was established by Hannibal Lecter’s interactions with Clarice Starling. Is it the same? No. But there’s a spiritual connection because both Vaughn and Sydney had their lives ruined by this one woman. They’re compelled to talk to her because of an unsympathetic, ruthless superior, and they both find Irina irredeemably unsettling.
And how could they not? It seems deeply obvious that Irina is playing some sort of game here. Vaughn recognizes it, and that’s why he volunteers himself first before Sydney, despite that he’ll be meeting the woman who brutally assassinated his father. He thinks he can protect her, right? So he throws himself on that grenade first, and OH LORD, it’s so creepy! I thought she was just going to ignore him until they brought in Sydney, BUT THEN SHE HAD TO SAY THAT HE LOOKED JUST LIKE HIS FATHER AND THIS WAS NOT OKAY AT ALL.
Sydney’s first visit, while brief, felt like another power play, a chance for Irina to get under her daughter’s skin, and for what? To test her? To keep her off-guard? To see if she was at all like her mother? That fire drill “gift” certainly felt like a test!!! So did she fail it? Pass it? WHO FUCKING KNOWS?!?!?
That’s why I loved that scene where Sydney set the ground rules with Irina. It may have been calculated, but it was necessary. In that moment, Sydney establishes that this wasn’t going to be a cat-and-mouse game, that they weren’t going to entertain some dreamy attempt to reconcile their differences. This was Business. A job. A necessity. NOTHING MORE. Now, I don’t exactly trust Irina one bit, and I still suspect she’s got some ulterior motive here. But y’all. I WAS SO PROUD OF SYDNEY. She doesn’t want redemption; she wants REVENGE.
The video for “Trust Me” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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