Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S04E20 – The Descent

In the twentieth episode of the fourth season of Alias, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS SHOW. Intrigued? Then its time for Mark to watch Alias. 

Holy shit, WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING ON THIS SHOW. Y’all… okay, hold up, let me talk about all the other stuff that happened before that ending, despite that I just want to yell about that. 

The Reveal

You know, for a show that has so many repetitive motifs and themes, I gotta say: Alias still keeps getting me. I know that’s partially because they’ve done such a good job folding Nadia into the narrative of the show, so I actually care about her. Last season had a character (Lauren) who betrayed someone they claimed to have loved (Vaughn), and technically, this is the same story. Technically, I say, because there’s still a lot here that doesn’t feel the same. Lauren’s deception appeared on screen for a much longer time, but Elena’s lasted much, much longer. And for what purpose? Well, this is the closest we’ve gotten to an answer as to what the Rambaldi endgame is. Apparently, it can cause the apocalypse??? Which Elena absolutely wants to do??? WHY????

Oh gods, I don’t know. But it was worth betraying Nadia. And shooting Dixon in the back. AND KILLING COUNTLESS OTHER PEOPLE. She orchestrated everything, too: Arvin Clone. Bill Vaughn’s fake journal. THE COVENANT ITSELF. Her betrayal affects pretty much everyone, y’all. THIS IS SO FUCKED UP.

The Past

And it is because of this that we finally get to see what happened a year prior when Arvin and Nadia disappeared to track down the last Rambaldi artifact that he needed. It’s vital that this episode happens after the events in “In Dreams…” because it’s a reminder of just how awful he is. Granted, I don’t the audience necessarily needed that reminder? WE KNOW. HE’S TERRIBLE. But the past year, he has insisted he has changed, that he wants to change further. That what he did was wrong, but he is worth a second chance. And in the case of Nadia, his rejection of his Rambaldi obsession was necessary because… well, all we knew is that Nadia had said he got real bad there towards the end. But what did that mean? How did this quest for Rambaldi’s grand design nearly break up the two of them?

WELL, NOW WE KNOW. Holy shit, like… I shouldn’t be surprised? I REALLY SHOULD NOT. Arvin has had a history of turning on those close to him to get what he wants, but y’all, he knew of Nadia for…what? A few weeks at that point? He grew close to her AFTER DRUGGING HER (which will always leave me feeling suspect about their relationship), and then when she wouldn’t do what he asked, he turned on her and viciously insulted her. That’s not even addressing the fact that once she touched the Rambaldi Sphere, she got a glimpse of the horrific power of Rambaldi’s endgame, and Arvin didn’t even care. HE LITERALLY TOLD HER THAT HE DIDN’T NEED HER. I just!!! 

The Present

Now, I see two possible explanations for Arvin’s betrayal in “The Descent.” The more logical of them is that once he got close to the possibility of assembling Rambaldi’s endgame device, and he just lost it. He couldn’t resist the temptation, so he double-crossed Sydney and handed himself over to Elena just so he could be on that team. The flashback certainly supports the notion that Arvin becomes irrational once he gets anywhere near Rambaldi, and given how gross he is in general, it’s not like that theory is bogus. 

However, I can also see this as some sort of last-ditch effort to redeem himself, to actually try to clean up the mess that he’s made. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I could see him drugging Sydney as some sort of misguided notion that he had to do all of this on his own. If Arvin wasn’t lying in recent episodes, then maybe his warning to Dixon, just before Dixon is shot by Elena, is also a clue. What if he really does know the only way to stop all of this? What if he’s positioning himself as close to Elena as possible because of this? It’s.. again, it’s a bit of a stretch, but not impossible. And maybe Arvin Sloane is actually going to do something right for once.

The Truth

I GENUINELY DON’T GET HOW IRINA DEREVKO CAN BE ALIVE AT THIS POINT. Oh, I certainly pointed out that we never saw her die on screen, and we never saw a dead body, so I knew this was always a possibility. BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THIS IS THE REALITY WE’RE GETTING. Jack shot her, so he doesn’t know that she’s alive. How was her death faked? Or did she just survive the shooting when Jack thought she hadn’t? I’m guessing that Elena has kept Irina around as leverage or for information. Oh god, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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