Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S05E11 – Maternal Instincts

In the eleventh episode of the fifth season of Alias, I am done with all of you. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias. 

I don’t even know what to say, y’all. You did this to me. YOU DID THIS TO ME. 


Okay, let’s start here because it’s about the easiest thing to address. (This episode is an emotional mess, y’all. I WILL NOT RECOVER.) I am on to you, Arvin Sloane! ON. TO. YOU. He wasn’t trying to protect the team; he just got Rachel to delete evidence of his complicity in Prophet Five’s nonsense. Oh, he’s gonna get caught. I bet Rachel will remember that login name, and she’ll use it later. PLEASE, RACHEL. DO IT. I just need him to pay for all of this, STOP ALIGNING YOURSELF WITH HORRIBLE PEOPLE. 


While I wouldn’t say that there’s any big character moment between these two, I did like that we got to see them work together. They hadn’t met before this, had they? Which means their only mission together is THIS, so at least they got to have some fun??? GOOD FOR THEM, THEY DESERVE IT. I’m sure none of you will be surprised at me pointing out that, once again, Dixon is sorely underused this season. I get the sense that the writers are keeping him around because… I don’t know. The cast would be all white without him? Because of nostalgia? He doesn’t really affect the plot aside from bits here and there, and his only vital moments are emotional exchanges with Sydney. Which I love! But I want the show to develop him beyond being the support for Sydney and nothing else. What happened with his relationship with Director Chase? Is he ever gonna get his own story again?

Family Reunion

Truthfully, there’s not much to comment on in “Maternal Instincts” that isn’t connected to the appearance of Irina Derevko. Indeed, this takes up the majority of the plot. AS IT SHOULD. From her surprise appearance in Sydney’s home until she disappears from that Vancouver bank, this episode is about the thorny, complicated relationship that she has with Sydney. It’s why she was so easily trusted at the start, despite that she actually orchestrated Sydney’s kidnap and was instrumental in the emergency surgery being done. At the end of the last season, it felt like she was an “ally,” or at least as close as someone like her could be. They all parted on good terms after stopping that Mueller device in Sovogda. So, I’m right there with Sydney: WHY??? Why would Irina ever work with a group like this? 

As much as she reveals as Sydney’s mother, Irina never addresses this. Sydney might want the world to be simpler, and “The Horizon” certainly confirmed that. But Irina’s involvement has to make some sense to HER, right? Given that we still don’t know what the Horizon is and why Irina wants it, I can’t even hazard a guess as to what Prophet Five’s endgame is. The name doesn’t help either. It’s so VAGUE. What does the Horizon DO???? 

But let’s get to Irina’s honesty. She might lie and obfuscate a lot in this episode, but she’s finally honest about one thing: how she truly feels about being a mother. In general, I’d say this is a heartbreaking episode. Sydney discovers her mom has betrayed her, and then she goes into labor while ON a mission. The birth scene is just… fuck, y’all. I CRIED, I DON’T CARE, THAT HIT ME SO HARD AND I WILL NOT RECOVER. (Despite the ending, too. More on that.) The tragedy here is so deep, y’all, because just before Irina helps Sydney deliver her daughter (!!!!! A DAUGHTER OH MY GOD), she admits that she made a choice long ago. She could have been a mother, or she could have been a spy, but she couldn’t fathom being both.

So she chose being a spy. 

It doesn’t mean there isn’t love and affection between these characters, but it’s a sign of Irina’s true loyalty. It’s to herself. Even if she has helped out Sydney—such as in “Before The Flood”—there was mostly likely an ulterior, selfish motive for her doing so. So how can Irina work with Prophet Five in any way? Well, that’s the answer. That’s how she can do it. Sydney is her daughter second. Irina is a mother second. And can you imagine how hard that is to hear just in a general? In this situation, though, it’s a damning indictment. Syndey is about to become the very thing Irina refused to be: a spy and a mother. 

Oh, this fucked me up so much.



YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I AM SO HAPPY. I literally teared up because this was so beautiful to me.



Once the elation and the shock wore off, I started theorizing. I only came up with one: Vaughn faked his death in order to throw off Prophet Five. Which… I get? Only sorta? Because then I think about how much misery he put Sydney through—none of which is negated by this reveal, by the way!—and it doesn’t seem worth it? My god, THIS WHOLE SEASON UP TO THIS POINT HAS BEEN ABOUT GRIEF. I have been so sad! EVERYTHING HURTS.

In the end, though… y’all, I’m so glad he’s alive. I missed Michael Vaughn so much.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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