Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S05E16 – Reprisal

In the sixteenth and penultimate episode of the fifth season of Alias, Arvin Sloane is truly the worst. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias. 

Trigger Warning: For torture.

Holy shit, Arvin. HOLY SHIT, WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS.

We know why. We really do. And in terms of building up an antagonist for five whole seasons, Alias has given us the context to understand how Arvin could get to this point. How could he truly turn on everyone he’s ever known, on everyone who ever cared for him, even if it was only for a second? Of course, “Reprisal” reminds us that at best, the people in Arvin’s life tolerated him. Jack is about the only person who tried to see him as a friend. He destroyed practically every person’s life with whom he came into contact with, and even as he sought redemption, he couldn’t let go of his most terrible flaw:

In the end, Arvin Sloane only cares about himself. 

He’s claimed to care about others, like Sydney and Nadia. But look what he did to Sydney for years while claiming he loved and cared for her. You can’t claim to love someone while actively contributing to their suffering. The LITERAL FIRST EPISODE OF THIS WHOLE SHOW showed us that Arvin was willing to harm Sydney out of his misguided sense of love. He had Danny murdered! He lied and deceived Sydney for years into working for a criminal organization. He pursued Rambaldi’s promise at great expense of others, and now, when he had a chance to do something real and meaningful, he chose Rambaldi over everything else. He murdered his daughter and then tried to justify it. (I’M GLAD NADIA CAME BACK TO TORMENT HIM AGAIN, WE NEED MORE OF THIS IN THE FINALE.) He betrayed Prophet Five and APO to guarantee his success, and at the last second, he sends Sydney plunging to an unknown fate so he can get Rambaldi’s final secret. It is 100% within our understanding of who this man is as a character, y’all. This is what he does. Everyone else only exists for his own use and his own gain, right up until the end. 

It’s a suspenseful and upsetting journey to that end, for the record. The first half of the series finale of Alias doesn’t set up the last part; it moves the story forward at a lightning pace. The opening  gives us a voiceover to lead us into the ultimate showdown, to remind us that Sydney’s life has always been full of secrets. So there’s an emotional value in this team eliminating secrets, in exposing the identities of the twelve leaders of Prophet Five. Sydney wants to bring about a definitive end to this, to take down Prophet Five and Arvin, but not just to save the world. She wants to take out the last thing that’s preventing her and Vaughn from having a normal life. 

That hangs over the event of “Reprisal,” and it’s why we see scenes of normality disrupted by Arvin’s machinations. Marshall is kidnapped while checking on his child; Rachel is taken while trying to connect with Tom. These moments of connection are ruined by Arvin, someone who has struggled to connect with anyone over the course of the whole show. And it’s because of the connections these characters have made that they’re able to withstand Arvin’s torture or devise a plan to be rescued while exposing Arvin’s plan. Marshall’s “secret” language with Carrie is instrumental in this!

All Arvin can do is destroy, though. APO is gone. Prophet Five have been wiped out. Tom Grace, in the ONLY INTERESTING THING HE’S EVER DONE, sacrifices his life to buy time for APO to be evacuated. Arvin wanted to wipe everyone out so that he was left alone to solve Rambaldi’s final puzzle. I imagine that he’s not going to share it with Peyton or Sark, and I fully expect them to die in the finale. Why would he? This is his “destiny,” so to speak, and they’re just a means to an end. So, is this going to be worth it? Will Arvin get what he always wanted??? I somehow doubt it, but I also don’t even know what that amulet does. Well, we’ve only got one episode left, so I figure we’re getting the answers soon. I NEED THEM, Y’ALL. And I really hope Arvin loss in the end. HE HAS TO.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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