Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S05E04 – Mockingbird

In the fourth episode of the fifth season of Alias, Sydney and Rachel face the wrath of Gordon Dean; Arvin faces his crimes. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias. 


Thomas Grace

I feel no shame in saying that I am downright bored by this new character. The only defining feature I can think of to describe him is that… he… stands around? He can do some things? Like shoot a gun? And run really fast? And drive fast? And he always looks slightly lost in every fucking scene that he is in. It’s like his character just wandered into an Alias script and he is just so desperate to find out what’s going on, but he’ll just go with the flow anyway. It’s particularly hard to find anything to enjoy in him when the other new major character, Rachel, is so compelling. In comparison, he stinks. What the hell is this show doing with him? 

Arvin Sloane

His trial—or, rather, his final hearing—snuck up on me, and then when it was happening, I got this feeling that washed over me: this was truly a long, long time coming. After this one person had enacted so much horror on the world, someone was finally making him answer for what he’d done. And the man in charge of that hearing (whose name slipped by me; I can’t remember it!) does not pull any punches. He is brutal in recounting exactly what Arvin has done and why it was all so heinous. Thus, it was easy to believe that Alias was going to go to an unexpected place: Arvin would end up in prison for the rest of his life. Oh, I was sure there’d be some clever scheme to get him sprung from prison, but I was convinced that it was going to happen once it was put on the table. 

I should have known.

I can’t imagine what it is that Gordon’s man offered Arvin, but I can believe that Arvin would, in the end, choose to save himself rather than give himself up. It’s so perfectly in line with his character. Devastating, too, because HE WAS SO CLOSE TO TAKING REAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HE’S DONE. Of course, I have to admit that this is complicated by his motivation to save Nadia. That certainly factors in to that, so perhaps it’s more circumstantial that he’s saved himself. In that case, he’d do anything to save Nadia, even if that means aligning himself with someone who is perhaps EVEN MORE EVIL THAN HE IS. 

Oh, Arvin, what have you DONE.


I generally get a kick out of in media res as a storytelling device, and the ridiculous nature of Sydney’s predicament—stuck hundreds of feet in the air in a car while Gordon orders her to return Mockingbird—is just the sort of thing that makes in media res a solid story choice. By the end of this episode, I don’t know that we actually needed it. This would have been a stronger episode without it, especially since Gordon realizes after the Cayman Islands heist that Rachel is still alive. Pacing wise, it’s just confusing to have to loop to that moment when there was plenty of tension prior to this. 

I guess that’s also because I genuinely find Rachel to be an interesting character. She’s skilled and talented in ways other than Sydney is, so I didn’t feel like Alias was repeating itself. Because of that, Rachel is so much more terrified about her predicament than Sydney was, which means we get one of the BEST THINGS OF THIS SEASON SO FAR: Sydney teaching Rachel how to disappear into an Alias. Y’all, I love it, even if it is really upsetting. Seriously, Rachel has to go back to the place where all her friends/coworkers died, and she goes there knowing that part of the reason they’re dead is because of her. Even if Sydney tells Rachel not to blame herself, she still does. She can’t help it! In that room, she imagines everyone she knew glaring at her, and it’s a devastating manifestation of her guilt. 

But she gets it done, y’all. She thrives. And I know the comparison is repetitive at this point, but Rachel has done more to feel like a part of the team—even though she technically isn’t!!!—than Thomas has. UGH I WANT MORE MISSIONS WITH HER AND HER EXPERTISE AND SHE’S SO GREAT. At the same time, how damning is that ending! Until Gordon is taken out, and possibly even beyond that, Rachel’s life will never be the same. So she kinda has to be a part of team??? Wow, everything is still messed up.


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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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