In the seventeenth episode of the second season of Alias, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias.
Trigger Warning: For consent issues.
I admire when an episode of a television show can seamlessly weave a single theme throughout every plot in a script, and “A Dark Turn” absolutely pulls that off. Here, the show examines a longstanding theme with MAXIMUM DEVASTATION, and y’all… WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???
I’ll start with the smaller plot and work my way up, but “A Dark Turn” deals with trust and loyalty. Unbeknownst to Will, his trust of Francie has contributed to a horrible state of affairs. It’s not Will’s fault, of course, and given that Francie is a double, it’s not like Will has any reason to suspect what’s being done to him. The show doesn’t address the really unnerving violation of consent yet, though we don’t have any confirmation that Will and Francie have done anything besides make out and sleep in the same bed. Regardless, that doesn’t negate that she is HYPNOTIZING HIM WHILE HE IS ASLEEP so that she can steal state secrets from him.
So how the hell is this discovery going to work? Can the show even keep this Francie double around after she’s discovered? What role would she play then?
Initially, I was suspicious of the last minute introduction of Yager and the threat that Vaughn has been lying for months. That last-minute nature confused me. Why hadn’t there been a single sign of this supposed treachery this whole season? Like Sydney, this just seemed incomprehensible. Why would a character as loyal and good as Vaughn do something so terrible? There’s the obvious parallel with Irina here, one that Yager himself references. Irina is disarming and easy to like, and that’s one of the main techniques she used to deceive those around her. So, why is it impossible that Vaughn is the same way? Isn’t that what manipulative people do?
And then, to my horror, this episode went to a TERRIBLE place, first by having Sydney confront Vaughn at the CIA field office, ONLY TO DISCOVER THAT HE WAS PLANNING TO GIVE HER A KEY TO HIS APARTMENT. That’s the danger of this type of cynicism: once Yager introduces the idea into Sydney’s head that Vaughn is lying, she can’t ignore the quiet doubt that grows within her. She analyzes Vaughn’s actions with this in mind, and IT HORRIBLY BACKFIRES. So that’s why she refused to copy Vaughn’s hard drive for Yager, and I get it! I get that she rejected this line of thinking and the way it poisoned her view of Vaughn.
Which meant that her discovery of Vaughn in that bar made this EVEN WORSE. I really enjoy that the reveal that Vaughn was contacting all the people Yager accused him of contacting develops his character. It reveals a new side of him, y’all. This entire time, he’s encouraged Sydney to work with Irina, all while privately vetting her every move out of custody. He couldn’t bear the thought that she was still deceiving any of them. AND HE THOUGHT SHE WAS CLEAN. WHICH DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME.
Knowing the endgame of “A Dark Place” doesn’t help me unravel this mystery. STRAIGHT UP. I don’t understand how this was orchestrated. Will’s nonconsensual hypnosis could have revealed some of these details, and maybe that’s how they figured out the CIA was in on this. But how could they know that Irina had not turned? That she’d steal the Rambaldi manuscript for Sloane? Perhaps she lied to Jack about her obsession with it?
AND THAT’S REALLY THE QUESTION, ISN’T IT??? What was Irina lying about in this episode? This season??? Was she telling her daughter goodbye because she knew she was going to betray her? Was this part of some other scheme? Did she really want to thank Jack for raising Sydney or was that part of a manipulation?
I imagine the next episode will deal with the fallout from this, and that’s definitely going to include Jack’s despair over being fooled again. I just… what the fuck is this show! Why does it keep doing this to me!
The video for “A Dark Place” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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