Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S05E17 – All The Time In The World

In the final episode of Alias, I’m happy. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Alias.

This isn’t a perfect finale, and the show dropped the ball in a few areas, but in terms of the emotional effect, “All The Time In The World” did what I needed it to do. Let’s chat!

Rambaldi

Look, I swear that I don’t need everything answered, and I actually love stories that leave things up for interpretation. Audience speculation and theorizing is A VITAL PART OF MY LIFE. At the same time, this episode’s script has some truly odd choices in it. Why the hell don’t we get to see what happened in that cavern with Arvin? I get that he felt Sydney hadn’t earned it, but what about the audience? Why was it necessary for him to go there? As far as I can tell, there was nothing in the cave that led him to The Horizon. He got the Sphere from Irina Derevko, and apparently, that’s all that he needed for Rambaldi’s final device, the one that would achieve the impossible: immortality. So… was that scene in the cavern completely unnecessary? If Rambaldi was able to figure out the secret to immortality, why didn’t he use it himself? How was he ever able to figure out all of this stuff? I suppose that’s one of the major things that the writers left up to the audience, but both of these details bothered me from a continuity perspective, the former more than the latter. Does it matter int he end? Somewhat. Alias hinged itself on Rambaldi as this grand mystery, but then only resolved certain parts of his story. 

For example: what would you say was his general goal? Just developing ridiculous shit? Global genocide? World peace? Achieving immortality? Puzzles? Because there’s no single thread here, despite that Rambaldi-obsessed groups like Prophet Five always made it seem like there was. It’s just chaos, and I would have appreciated even the slightest hint that there was some end goal Rambaldi sought through all his absurd works.

Motivation

Unfortunately, I see the same problem with another aspect of the plot: why the hell did Irina and Arvin orchestrate to destroy the defense satellites? We are told that it was a means to profit off of the massive reconstruction the world would need after those missiles were launched. It’s basically hinted that the missile strike would probably be the first of many as nations overreacted and fired their own in retaliation. But… money? That’s it? I don’t see what power that would grant these people aside from the financial gain of making money off human misery and suffering. Even more confusing, it became clear during “All The Time In The World” that what both of these characters wanted was immortality. So… what’s with blowing up the world? You just wanted to be the only two people who were still alive? I just feel like the missile plot was added to for tension, which I bought because I thought it was leading to a bigger revelation. 

Yeah, I don’t get it. I feel like this would have been more fulfilling if the missile threat had some meaning beyond, “Make money!!!” The immortality stuff, though? 100% BELIEVABLE, especially for Sloane. RUN WITH THAT. 

Endgame

Where this episode just totally kills is (sometimes literally) is in the emotional beats. There are so many of them that are necessary and incredible and shocking, and they help resolve five seasons worth of struggles and conflicts. Not for everyone, mind you. I still feel like Dixon got the short end of the stick in season five and in the show in general. WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO. (Well, I’m gonna complain about it.) But holy shit, of course Arvin wanted immortality. In his mind, what better way to achieve everything he ever wanted if he literally cannot die ever? I’m curious how long before the events of this finale did he figure out what Rambaldi had accomplished, because y’all, that would also help explain why he was willing to just fuck over everyone and everything. He knew he’d live forever. It certainly helps me understand why he didn’t hesitate to shoot Jack. He was going to outlive him anyway, right? 

Thus, the writers still allow us the satisfaction of watching Sydney shoot Arvin to death. If anyone had to do it, I’m glad it was her. Plus, it makes Arvin’s “demise” even more poetic. After Arvin is revived by The Horizon, he thinks he has won. He believed so wholly that he’d gotten what he wanted that Jack’s sacrifice drives home the ironic tragedy of his life. Oh, he’s going to live forever; he’s just going to do so buried deep under rubble in a place where no one will ever find him. IT’S WHAT HE DESERVES, I AM SO HAPPY WITH THIS ENDING, Y’ALL. And Irina’s ending is a direct parallel to this, since her excess and greed—the very same thing that motivated her to manipulate Jack, to turn on Sydney in the end—is what causes her fall. SEE WHAT I DID THERE. (Couldn’t resist.) The two final antagonists are victims of their own philosophy, and I LOVE IT.

All The Time In The World

I joke a lot about characters in stressful, intense shows needed vacations, so I admit that I’m biased to enjoy the final scene of Alias. And while Dixon’s appearance helps us understand that, from time to time, Sydney and Vaughn do return to the world of espionage, the bigger reveal is that they did it. They escaped. They have found a way to exist in the world without risking their lives every single day, and it’s the kind of ending I wanted for them. The emotional resonance of them living on the beach is the cherry on top, y’all, as is their second child, Jack. They get to be happy.

That’s all I could ask for.

So, tomorrow! There will be a massive Q&A party for the whole series, so COME PREPARED. After that, we’ll be starting Yuri On Ice, season 1 on Monday, June 11!!! Thank you for this journey, friends. 

The video for “All The Time In The World” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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