Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S04E18 – Mirage

In the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of Alias, MY HEART. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of unreality/hallucinations

Ha ha ha, we’re all fine? Everything is fine.

Sophia/Elena

I truly don’t get it. So, Elena has been surveilling these sisters for a long time. Now, I am going to assume she just needed to keep tabs on them and nothing else, and that would imply that after all these years, she finally has a reason to start her endgame. A big motivation for this plot, then, is that mystery: Why did Elena leave these people alone for so long? Why did she suddenly appear in Nadia’s and Sydney’s life, worm her way into it, and start ruining everything? Why is this weapon important to her??? WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE PLANNING?

I am now bracing myself for the inevitable heartbreak. Much like Irina, Lauren, and Arvin, Sophia fits in with the overarching theme of deception within Alias, and she’s the kind of character who pushes forward the emotional growth of other characters through her deeds. I am certain that Nadia’s eventual realization of Sophia’s plan is going to DESTROY HER. But what will that look like? Will Nadia become cynical after realizing how much of her life was a construction for someone else? Will she be able to trust others? I don’t know! But this is going to be a pivotal moment in her life, and I AM SCARED. 

Another Life

But the bulk of “Mirage” is devoted to a plot that initially felt unsure to me. Jack’s decline as a result of his exposure to radiation in “Nightingale” certainly comes to a head here, but I didn’t know how the show could deal with something so irreversible as radiation poisoning. He was just gonna die, right? How could there be any other option?

I imagine that Dr. Liddell’s presence will provide Jack with some state-of-the-art, untested treatment to heal him, but that’s almost beside the point. There’s a much more important element to “Mirage,” and I can admit that it is absurd. The very idea that the team would use Jack’s radiation poisoning hallucinations in order to get him to believe that he’s actually in 1981 is… a lot. It’s a LOT. And until Sydney actually walked into that re-creation of her house from 1981, I wasn’t sure this would work. 

Yet from that point on, “Mirage” manages to give the audience one of the most important scenes of the whole show: the closest imitation of what Jack was like before his and his daughter’s lives fell apart because of Irina Derevko. This glimpse is, as referenced in the title, a mirage. It is not the same thing, and recent events definitely affect how Jack reacts. But this portrait of the suburban life of a spy is compelling because it’s almost like we see another path, another world where Jack quit his job with the CIA so he could actually spend time with his daughter and his wife. Of course, that never would have worked; Irina would have convinced him to stay because she needed him to stay. But in the present time, Sydney gets to watch her father struggle with this reality and choose her. She gets to watch his unabashed love for her. And for moment, she doesn’t doubt Jack’s love for her. 

I suppose it’s even more heartbreaking knowing that this is just a facsimile of reality. The truth is that they all got in this situation because Jack lied about his health and hid his treatment from everyone. He’ll have to reckon with that alongside everyone else. (Especially Sydney.) But for a moment, Sydney gets something that’s part reality, part fantasy. AND OH LORD, DOES IT HURT.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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