Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S05E03 – The Shed

In the third episode of the fifth season of Alias, Arvin tracks down a cure, and Sydney has a disturbing interaction with a stranger. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias. 


Arvin Slone

He’s trying, isn’t it? I suppose that’s all I could ask of the show at this point, though I must admit I still distrust everything he does. Yes, he came through last season, and he didn’t try to escape after things went awry in “The Shed.” He is giving the appearance that he wants to make amends for what he’s done, and that includes his pursuit of a possible cure for Nadia. If there’s anything here that comes across as genuine, it’s his interest in his daughter. I do believe he’d do pretty much anything to find a cure for her condition. 

Which is why the end result of his attempt is just so tragic, y’all. In the end, Nadia is the one who suffers. At the same time, I can’t blame Alexander for duping Sloane and then threatening to kill him. SLOANE IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER’S DAUGHTER. It’s heartbreaking, though, that Nadia exists as collateral damage from all of this. But can I be mad at Alexander for lying? It’s not like he withheld a cure; there simply isn’t one. He just wanted to torment Sloane with the possibility, to give him hope just to snatch it away. I do need the writers to find a cure for Nadia because I deeply miss her. (Plus, the show’s getting pretty white this season.)

Rachel Gibson

HI, WHAT THE FUCK, HOW DOES THE SAME STORY AS SEASON ONE STILL DESTROY ME SO COMPLETELY? I mentioned in the video for “The Shed” that Alias is cyclical in nature, that many of the conflicts and themes repeat frequently within the narrative. We’ve had parallels to Sydney’s dual life before, but this specific one hurts in an entirely different way. That is in part due to Jennifer Garner’s masterful portrayal of Sydney, who recognizes herself and her old fears in Rachel. 

Unlike Sydney, though, Rachel is guided through this nightmare by someone who has been through the exact same thing. (Which made me think about who guided Sydney through hers… oh gods, it was Vaughn, EVERYTHING HURTS ALL OVER AGAIN.) There’s that unreal moment when Sydney pieces together Rachel’s story and recognizes it as her own. You can actually see the exact moment when Sydney’s heart breaks for this woman, you know? So Sydney offers Rachel something she needed to survive this scenario: kindness. Respect. Sympathy. Her whole demeanor changes, and all the rough edges of Sydney’s persona are gone. It’s so important! She has to be this force of stability for Rachel because nothing in Rachel’s life is stable anymore. It’s all fallen apart. 

Rachel Nichols plays off of Garner’s nurturing portrayal by highlighting Gibson’s shock and terror. Y’all, I know I say this about the show pretty frequently, but this was STRESSFUL. Her heist mission was already terrifying because Gordon Dean was involved, but SURPRISE. Rachel works with Peyton, the ruthless operative who is one of the only few who knew Dean’s true intentions. The presence of the two of them made this downright unbearable, particularly during the sequence where Rachel had to hand-off the credit card drive to Sydney. I KNEW PEYTON SUSPECTED SOMETHING, EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE.

Even though Rachel survives this interaction, there’s some powerful imagery at the end of “The Shed.” Much like the world that had been constructed for her by Gordon Dean, The Shed is nothing but rubble. Dean murdered everyone who worked for him in one act because it was better that than risk anyone getting caught. It’s one of the most brutal acts on the entire show! That’s what Rachel has to deal with in the coming episodes: she was disposable to someone who manipulated her by telling her that she was worthy.

Seriously, these opening three episodes were INTENSE, friends. Could this season please give me a break??? Also, I tried, I swear, but I just can’t get into Agent Grace yet. Nothing seems compelling about him! PLEASE BRING BACK NADIA, I MISS HER.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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