Mark Watches ‘Alias’: S05E15 – No Hard Feelings

In the fifteenth episode of the fifth season of Alias, I continued to be stressed out by this show. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Alias. 

This was a ride, friends, and I am so glad that I’m on it. 

Tom Grace

I do want to spend most of this review talking about how much I enjoyed “No Hard Feelings,” so let me get this out of the way first: wow, this plot STINKS. I know I’m being harsh on Tom Grace, but it’s so hard to care about his character and his big secret. The show spent a long, long time hiding it from us, and then we learn about his past not by experiencing it, but by having his character just tell us what happened. I criticize this as someone who LITERALLY USED THIS SAME TECHNIQUE TWICE IN TWO DIFFERENT BOOKS. It’s not even a flashback because we never see Tom’s wife’s death on screen; it’s only related to the audience through dialogue. The same goes for Tom’s “past” working a job with Korman. What exactly did he do before he was CIA? Was he even CIA then? See, I can’t actually tell, and so I’m left feeling confused by Tom’s motivation. Which makes Rachel’s treatment of Tom so confusing! How the fuck does she know that Tom is a good person!!!!! She barely knows him!!!! Does she know something the audience doesn’t? Could she share it with us? 

And because none of this happens on screen, it’s hard to connect with any of it. As we head into the finale, I still feel like I don’t know anything significant about this character. Tom misses his wife, who was mistakenly killed when he was the target. But that’s not an actual characterization, y’all. It’s just a story, and it feels lifeless. Like, when Tom blew up Korman for killing his wife, I didn’t flinch. I didn’t feel anything except for a vague concern that maybe Tom shouldn’t commit murder? Otherwise, I couldn’t muster up anything stronger than, “Well… that happened.” 

Hopefully, there’s not much of him in this finale. 

The Rose

I AM TRASH FOR MYSTERIES AND CONSPIRACIES AND I AM SURE NONE OF YOU ARE SURPRISED THAT I LOVED LOST AS MUCH AS I DID WHEN IT WAS AIRING. It’s actually really fascinating to get LOST vibes from Alias because I can see these quiet similarities between the two, sometimes in the story or in the production of Alias. Throw me a vague mystery—particularly one with fantasy or sci-fi implications—and I will watch your show or read your book until I find out what the fuck it is. I can’t help it, y’all. It does me in every time. I have watched some terrible television because a mystery grabbed me. That being said, I kinda can’t believe I’m so invested in Rambaldi all over again. I figured that thread had been resolved last season, and I was a bit wary when it was revived in season five. But there’s a key element here that makes it so compelling: it’s a story about fate, destiny, and free will. (Hello, major theme of LOST, how are you?) 

Sydney’s presence here, alongside Sark, is entertaining because she’s playing such a cool alias. (She is Sydney pretending to be Anna who is pretending to be Sydney.) The same tension exists, too: Will Sark figure out that she is not who she says she is? Or will he buy the production? HE DOES, COMPLETELY, AND IT IS DEEPLY SATISFYING TO WATCH. It’s also stressful? Because this is Alias? And it doesn’t care about me? Once Sark revealed what Sydney was going to have to do, I knew this episode was truly going to take me on journey. The Rose, this mystical Rambaldi item, was hidden in an old-as-hell prison? And we had no idea what it was or what Sydney would have to do to get it? SWEET, HERE WE GO.

I love the twist that The Rose was a person, not a thing, and I’m also going to fully believe that somehow, The Rose actually met Rambaldi. Right? Look, we know Rambaldi did some wild shit (you can quote me on that, totally accurate depiction of his character and legacy btw), and I wouldn’t put it past him that he helped someone stay alive that long. I mean, the Rose said that Rambaldi told him “himself,” sooooooooooooo…. I’m gonna just believe it. 

So what is that amulet? What the hell is it to be used for? All we know is that Arvin nearly killed Sydney for it, and now he has it, and Prophet Five has nothing. NOTHING. Do they even know that Arvin escaped with the final Rambaldi item? Oh, this finale is going to be pure chaos, isn’t it? LET’S TO, I’M READY. (Not actually.) And before I go: I just want to say that seeing Vaughn and Sydney in bed with Isabelle was A Lot. Y’all: one of those characters is supposed to be dead. The other is supposed to be a double. And yet, they both managed to find one another, and they’re home. THEY DID IT.

The video for “No Hard Feelings” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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