In the fourteenth episode of the fifth season of Alias, I HAVE RARELY FELT SO HAPPY AND VICTORIOUS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias.
Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of consent.
I YELLED, I AM NOT EVEN REMOTELY ASHAMED FOR IT, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT HAPPENED LIKE THIS. Y’all, this episode is so stressful, and upsetting, and unfair, and yet I can’t deny that it was a blast. I 100% expected that Anna Espinoza would survive because… well, wasn’t she instrumental to Rambaldi’s endgame??? Wasn’t that the whole point of her? OH MY GOD, I AM EVEN LESS PREPARED FOR THE END OF THIS SHOW NOW.
Let me back up, despite that I just want to dance around my apartment because of that ending, which might very well hold the most potential of any twist this season. Before we talk about Sydney, Vaughn, and Anna, we have to talk about Arvin Sloane. I’m still mad about Nadia, and I would prefer that she remain on the show as a living character, but I also found a lot to enjoy in her presence here. And that’s what it is: a spectral presence, akin to a vengeful ghost who exists solely to torment Arvin over his choices. I am certain that the man’s guilty conscience has manifested her, and I’m perfectly fine with that explanation, too. Either way, the show has found a way to actively criticize Arvin, to remind him of the horrible price he’s paid to remain on his path towards Rambaldi’s endgame. To remind him of the price other people paid for him to find success. To remind him that no matter what he does, he can’t ever have acted with the best interests of the world in mind. He only cares about himself.
I’m hoping, then, that his offering at the end of this episode doesn’t work. First of all, there’s another reason for it: he’s trying to reach out to Sark. So, the act isn’t pure. He might want to make peace, but come on. This is Arvin we’re talking about. There’s always an ulterior motive with him. I WANT NADIA TO HAUNT HIM FOR THE REST OF THE SERIES, JUST CONSTANTLY GETTING UNDER HIS SKIN. I’m also guessing that Arvin is trying to find a way to complete Rambaldi’s prophecy without Prophet Five, and he needs Sark for that. WE SHALL SEE.
So, that leaves me with ONE OF THE MOST STRESSFUL PLOTS IN THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN SHOW. It’s not like I haven’t experienced doubles or body swaps, which often tread in some of the tropes that appear here. Despite that, “I See Dead People” still manages to feel fresh and exciting without doing some of the more disgusting things that I usually see in episodes like this. For example: how often do we see a story like this where sex comes into play, and how often is consent not addressed in any meaningful way? Granted, Vaughn does kiss Anna, believing she is Sydney, but that’s about the worst in terms of this trope.
Instead, the show threatens us with possibility: Exactly how far will Anna get, in the body of Sydney? What will she gain access to? And at what point will Vaughn become disposable to Anna, once she gets what she needs? Y’all, I WAS SO AFFECTED BY THIS. On one level, it’s just a good suspense tactic. Every moment Anna was with Vaughn was unbearable because I didn’t know if she could pull it off; I didn’t know if Vaughn would pick up on an inconsistency; I didn’t know if this was going to turn into a tragedy. But it’s even more horrific because this is not the reunion I wanted. This is not how I saw Sydney and Vaughn finally getting to be in the same room again. I was upset! Enraged! Anna stole this very important moment, and VAUGHN DIDN’T EVEN KNOW! THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF A PERSONAL ATTACK!
Friends, I am just so pleased with how this is resolved. As I said before, I was 100% certain that Anna was needed for Rambaldi’s endgame. They were going to make Page 47 come true by using Sydney’s double. It made so much sense to me! So when Sydney finally found Vaughn and then shot Anna in the head, I was genuinely, truly shocked. (And let’s appreciate that, too, because that moment fulfilled what Vaughn said in “The Horizon”: they will always find one another. I’M SO EMOTIONAL.) The reunion I wanted unfolds on the screen, I was filled with joy, and then the writers fuck me up again: SYDNEY IS GOING BACK UNDERCOVER AS HER BEST ALIAS YET. She’s Anna as Sydney, and now there’s the best-placed mole EVER inside Prophet Five. The sheer potential of this is un-fucking-believable, and I simply cannot wait to see what the show is going to do with it.
I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.
The video for “I See Dead People” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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