In the fourth episode of the fourth season of Alias, WHY DON’T YOU BREAK MY HEART A LITTLE MORE, THANKS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of trauma
Hahaha, wow, what are feelings???
There is not a plot in this whole damn episode that doesn’t make me sad. It was so intense, but not upfront. It’s a quiet examination of complicity, of guilt and regret, of longing and desire, and
But I want to start with Nadia, who struggles with the reality that she is know amidst people who have spent time with someone she never got the chance to know. Look, on a purely superficial level, I can understand this conflict because I’m adopted. And I get that this isn’t the same thing at all, but I still found it relatable. I only met my biological mother once, and I’ve never been able to find out who my father was. All I have is a name, not even any photos. And when everything is so distant, so removed, you have to rely on other people to begin to construct a portrait of who they were. That’s exactly what Nadia does throughout “Ice.” She starts with a single photo, the first personal one she’s ever seen. (Hey, was anyone else particularly crushed by the reveal that Nadia had only seen Irina through official government files? Ha ha ha, just me? OKAY.) And as she cycles through the various people who knew Irina, she discovers that Irina is very, very different to each person. It was fascinating to watch these characters give Nadia their version of her mother, which varied from cold disinterest to the same sort of longing that Nadia felt. (At least from Sydney, that is.) She was a distant stranger to Sloane after she left, and she represent much of what Jack despised.
So… can we believe what Jack tells her at the end? My inclination is not to, given that he has already massively manipulated her so as to provide a false sense of closure. Of course, it’s possible that the story he tells Nadia to comfort her is real, but does that even matter? Once she finds out the truth, I still believe this will dramatically change her understanding of everything else she knows. Oh, Jack, you should have just told her the truth from the start!
Vaughn and MacLane
I do appreciate storytelling of a serial nature that doesn’t ignore the emotional and mental ramifications of what came before. In many ways, Vaughn has been distant since the season three finale, and I totally get why he hasn’t just jumped into a relationship with Sydney. However, Vaughn’s time trying to get MacLane to turn against her brother unearths THE BIGGEST HEARTBREAK OF ALL. Did I expect this??? NO, not at ALL, despite that there’s such an incredible and gut-wrenching parallel between these two characters. Both of them killed someone because of what they believed in, and no matter what they tell themselves, guilt still surges through their soul. That guilt might present itself differently, and it certainly looks different to these two characters, but it’s there, and it is exactly what Vaughn latches on to as he tries to flip MacLane to help him.
Look, y’all, that scene at the pub is just… it’s exquisite. Brilliantly written and acted, it’s just so raw, so entirely intimate that I felt as if I shouldn’t be watching it. You can see the fear on MacLane’s face as Vaughn talks to her, but then that same fear crosses over Vaughn’s face, and he just let go. Knowing that the others were listening to him, he refused to stop. He made that connection with MacLane, and he told the truth while doing so. IT’S JUST SO CRUSHING, OKAY. I know I already used that adjective before, but it’s true! IT REALLY HURTS. The weight of Vaughn’s trauma over killing Lauren comes crashing down on him, and to make matters worse, he doesn’t save MacLane. Like??? Who allowed this episode to be so sad??? MacLane is murdered BY HER OWN BROTHER, just after she makes the decision to turn against him, and I just… I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t. Not even for the affection at the end of “Ice,” either. THESE CHARACTERS ARE TOO MUCH, OKAY.
I just want to end this by establishing that the first death in the episode is truly one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen, and it is all your fault.
The video for “Ice” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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