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All Episodes Talk: Super Spies

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

We just watched the first two episodes of this show on Netflix and loved it. We're still making our way through another show and right now, we're too busy for more than one, 1 hour show a night, but as soon as things free up, we'll start watching this one regularly, as well as the other. 

My initial thoughts were:  It looks like Jennifer Gardner was perfect for the lead role and I love Victor Garber, so it has that going for it at the very least. 

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Well, like most I suspect, I am a refugee from TWOP and I can't seem to let go of this show. So you'll be seeing me here fairly regularly. Shannon L. feel free to express your thoughts as you watch the episodes, I'll vicariously watch them (again) through you, if you don't mind. And of course, I'll keep you spoiler free!

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TWOP refugee, too.  I love this show.  I only own 4 tv series, and this is one of them. The first three season were beyond awesome. There are parts of Season 5 I prefer to forget, and have cones so for the most part.  Passages 1 and 2 are among my favorite episodes.

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There are parts of Season 5 I prefer to forget

I've come to expect that with most shows.  I don't recall ever seeing a show that was consistenty great from beginning to end, but rarely do I give up on one once I'm dedicated to it.  I'm looking forward to this one. 

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It's an amazing show Shannon L., one that you will not soon forget. Just don't watch the finale.  You will be much happier.   Alias probably had the most OMG cliffhangers at the end of each season, and I still love so many things about the show.  I do watch old episodes, just not the finale.

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Alias probably had the most OMG cliffhangers at the end of each season,

During the 1st season, every episode seemingly ended in a cliff hanger. It would be so hard to watch this on Netflix without bingeing. I remember a few vividly even this day: the Russians shooting Syd whilst she hung from a rope, or when she and Anna Espinosa open the suitcase and go OMG, and I was like "what? Tell me, what's in the suitcase?" but only credits to answer back.

Edited by Boundary.
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I'm also a TWOP refugee who discovered the site because of Alias. I love Spy Daddy, he's probably my favourite male character of all time. Rewatching the entire show for the third time on Netflix, Jack is the most complex and most well rounded character on the show. He's deeply flawed but he is also shown to be caring person who loves his daughter fiercely. Victor Garber is magic.

Unpopularly, I love Lauren Reed. I've always been luke-warm about the Sydney/Vaughn relationship because Vaughn is about as exciting as drying paint. Lauren for a brief millisecond made him interesting. Also, I ship Lauren/Sark more than I probably should. I really hated the vitriol thrown towards Melissa George because her character dared to come "between" Syd/Vaughn. People were vicious towards her which only made me love her more.

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Unpopularly, I love Lauren Reed. I've always been luke-warm about the Sydney/Vaughn relationship because Vaughn is about as exciting as drying paint. Lauren for a brief millisecond made him interesting. Also, I ship Lauren/Sark more than I probably should. I really hated the vitriol thrown towards Melissa George because her character dared to come "between" Syd/Vaughn. People were vicious towards her which only made me love her more.

I didn't hate the idea of Lauren Reed but I certainly hated the execution of the character.  I would have had no problem with the idea that she was a double agent who was deliberately sent into Vaughn's life to seduce and marry him had that been the original concept of her character.  Alias was never shy in sharing with the viewers the secrets and conflicted motivations of the characters - we always knew that Sloane didn't work for the CIA.  We knew, from very early on, that Laura Bristow was really a deeply embedded Soviet spy.  We knew that Will Tippin was, idiotically, investigating Danny's death.  What we didn't know, and what was often so delicious and delightful, was how those secrets and conflicts would be revealed to the rest of the characters and what the fall-out of their choices would be.  With Lauren, we were presented with "she's wonderful, she is not grey, she just came along when Vaughn was vulnerable" and it was very clear that the writers, especially JJ Abrams, thought the viewers would accept, maybe even love the character.  When it became obvious that the show's fans were not and would not warm to Lauren Reed, or Melissa George's portrayal of her (that accent had to be the worst!), all of a sudden, TPTB shifted and suddenly she was turned into an almost cartoonish villain.  Had she been introduced with even shades of grey, had it seemed, at any point in the first half of the season, that she might potentially be playing Vaughn or been in league with Sark & Irina or Sloane, then I wouldn't have felt like we fans were being appeased by the show.  And that's ultimately what it felt like.  There was nothing subtle about Lauren Reed. 

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Totally agree with HighQueenEB, even though I never hated the character. The U-turn was jarring, and never seemed earned. Similarly, I never really believed her and Sark could shoot their way up the Covenant food chain, it just seemed so unprofessional and ultimately doomed to failure.  

But the major problem with Lauren in particular and the 3rd season in general was that, after JJ Abrams left full time show-running, most ideas never seemed to hang on together coherently. Syd's missing years were restored abruptly; as stated Lauren shifted gears out of nowhere; the Covenant (I'm sure originally meant to have been Irina and Sloane's organisation) was shifted to Elena and their plan of rebirthing Rambaldi through Sydney - pretty much a Sloane-sque idea - suddenly dropped; I'm sure Nadia's parentage was switched too; and most disappointing of all (to me anyway) the whole SAB47 project was dropped like a hot potato. So we went from a show with too many ideas to a streamlined episodic season 4, with an appropriately sterilised operations centre. Together with the fudged timeline, it made one of my most prized pastimes, detailed speculating, redundant. 

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(that accent had to be the worst!)

 

I'm not sure what you mean by this?  Was it the fact that she had an accent, when she was supposed to be the daughter of a US Senator, or the accent itself?  Melissa George does a great American accent, but the accent she used on Alias was her own Australian one.  I suppose the reason they had her use her own accent, was to indicate an elite upraising, but I think they should have told her to speak 'American'.  

I just didn't get the chemistry thing with Sydney Vaughn myself, so Melissa George's character didn't bother me.  I thought Vartan had great chemistry with the actress who played the nurse in 'Ice', so it wasn't the acting that was the problem.  i don't know if the writers really thought through the idea of Lauren. It would probably have worked better if they had made her a casualty somewhere along the way, rather than another agent.

I think if JJ Abrams had stayed more involved, I would have gotten my Jack/Irina moment.  

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That was an English accent, not Australian. Now, there are many English people in Australia, but there's a difference when it comes to accents.

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Well, it was George's attempt at an English accent but I distinctly recall at the time many fans called it the Omni-Accent because it sometimes sounded Australian, other times it sounded English, and at other times it sounded like neither, and it most certainly wasn't American or Canadian.  I haven't watched season 3 in years but nothing about her accent made any sense to viewers at the time, especially ones who were familiar with George's work prior to Alias.  As someone pointed out, she was capable of a perfectly fine American accent. 

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Wasn't her father a diplomat? We could fan wank  that her accent was confused as a result of her moving around quite a bit. Or that it was a put on, as a covert agent. Would that work?

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Yes, at some point on the show, she explained to someone about her weird accent how she moved around as a kid or something. It still didn't make any sense. It shifted constantly.

I did not like Lauren because of the ship thing, but she was very boring. I don't think Melissa George was as strong as the other actors on the show. I think it was difficult for new characters coming onto this show in the first place; the cast seemed very tight knit. I think my favourite core group was from S2. I didn't care for fake or real Francie. Lauren was also cliche after they made her evil. I just found her attempts to be bad laughable, and I didn't care for the Sark/Lauren hookup either. Then again, I didn't care for any of Sark's ships on the show.

I loved Sark. I loved SpyDaddy, Sydney and early Irina. I think I consistently liked SpyDaddy and Sark the most through the show since the writers ruined Irina. I liked to hate Sloane too. In any case, I did not find Sark had chemistry with anyone except the couple of times with Sydney and that one scene with Irina. Then again, Lena Olin had chemistry with everyone.

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That was an English accent, not Australian. Now, there are many English people in Australia, but there's a difference when it comes to accents.

Well, it was George's attempt at an English accent but I distinctly recall at the time many fans called it the Omni-Accent because it sometimes sounded Australian, other times it sounded English, and at other times it sounded like neither, and it most certainly wasn't American or Canadian.  I haven't watched season 3 in years but nothing about her accent made any sense to viewers at the time, especially ones who were familiar with George's work prior to Alias.  As someone pointed out, she was capable of a perfectly fine American accent. 

I am English and it definitely was not an English accent, as the other poster pointed out it was some strange Omni-accent, which just made me more annoyed and irritated with the character.

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Especially when compared to David Anders who had a decent crack at the English accent.

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How I'd rank each season of Alias, from favorite to least favorite:

 

1. Season 2

2. Season 1

3. Season 4

4. Season 5

5. Season 3

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Season 2

Season 1

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

 

 

I will says there is a big space between Season 1 to Season 3/4 and Season 5 wouldn't exist if I had my way!

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Season 5 wouldn't exist if I had my way!

 

I feel that way about season 3. After the awesomeness of season 2, to fall so low as we did in season 3...still upset about that, even after all this time!

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You can tell by my name what a big fan of Alias I was. I watched it the day it premiered, 69 minutes commercial free sponsored by Nokia. Yes.

 

My ranking:

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3A

Season 4

Season 5

Season 3B

 

In rewatches I'm taken by how well put together the first half of season 3 actually was (and everything about Jennifer's acting was on point). The second half was pure garbage. Season 4 is better in order at least, it's horrible ABC originally aired it OUT of order.

 

Meanwhile season 5, I love Rachel Nichols now on Continuum. She's developed so much as an actress and every interview she gives she credits Alias and Jennifer Garner so strongly in that development, things like how Jennifer Garner taught her when you're the lead of the show you're captain of the ship and how your mood trickles down to everyone and that she learned to emulate her now that she's a lead.

 

Also, it gave me my first glimpse of Amy Acker as a crazed villain (I have no idea what she was on Buffy/Angel, never watched either), and I just really loved the character of Kelly Peyton. Nowadays when I see her as Root on Person of Interest, it takes me back to her Peyton days.

 

Peyton: You shoulda given me the disk

Rachel:.You were gonna kill me anyway

Peyton: Yeah but I would have felt really bad about it...Now, it's gonna be fun."

 

Also, the Sydney vs. Francinator fight in The Telling is just as epic to watch many years later.

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See, the first half of season 3 was...ok. Definitely much better than the second half. The problem is, I was rewatching it too, and you could tell they were making it up as they went along with regards to the missing 2 years. It seemed like they were just throwing out random clues which never added up, and used that a mixture of audience frustration and network interferance to just dump it all and give us Full Disclosure and just move on the missing 2 years.

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I thought the first 2 season of this show were about as perfect as a TV show could ever hope to be. Then things sort of went down hill. My mom watched this too and always had a little notebook nearby so she could write down questions about what was going on and call me after the episode aired! Good times.

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I watched a few clips of 24 the other day and I thought that Alias had a similar vibe in terms of how the episodes tied together. Not with the real-time format but in the first 2 seasons, each episode tied very closely into the next via cliff hanger, a new mystery, etc. That is partly why I find it very hard to stop watching once I start. Apart from it being an excellent show.

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And 24 has successfully come back. I've always thought of 24 as Alias' sibling: they came out together and pretty much changed the tv landscape with their season long myth arcs, which is now the norm. I understand it's under different circumstances but Alias could come back as well. But if Jennifer, Victor, Ron, Michael etc can't do it, understandably, then Bad Robot can set another series in the same universe, ala Marvel, right? Right?

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And 24 has successfully come back. I've always thought of 24 as Alias' sibling: they came out together and pretty much changed the tv landscape with their season long myth arcs, which is now the norm. I understand it's under different circumstances but Alias could come back as well. But if Jennifer, Victor, Ron, Michael etc can't do it, understandably, then Bad Robot can set another series in the same universe, ala Marvel, right? Right?

 

Syd & Vaughn did have Spy Kid! 

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Not for me. There is no Alias without Jack Bristow. Let alone the wigs!

 

Alias has decent character development that 24 doesn't really have, since they tend to die after one or two seasons (days). And Jack Bauer is really just a vehicle that drives the action, not a real character to me. Any character could do it. Jason Bourne comes to mind for example.

 

While Alias, they made those characters their own and defined this show. To me, there is no Alias without Sloane, Sydney, Jack, and Irina.

Edited by supposebly.
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I'd be happy if they bring Jack back from the dead because he really was one of the BAMF on TV.

 

Hey everyone, if you have a nifty title for this thread which is an "All Episodes Talk" or "Small Talk", please let me know. Suggestions welcome. Feel free to also open character threads as well.

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While Alias, they made those characters their own and defined this show. To me, there is no Alias without Sloane, Sydney, Jack, and Irina.

 

Understandable reaction, which I also shared until a couple of years ago or so. But after so many years, I want my show (or some version of it) back! I know Michael Vartan ruled it out, Jennifer Garner won't do it without JJ Abrams, who's way too busy right now. And other cast members are understandably cautious or sceptical or have moved on. Mainly because of what you've stated - Alias was a character show - so without Syd or Jack or Irina it is a hard sell to many fans. But, in addition to the characters, it also created a fascinating fictional world.

 

As I've stated, Marvel has shown that multiple series can exist in the same universe. And the Alias universe was rich: the Alliance, The Covenant, K Directorate, Prophet 5, The Triad, etc. as well as all that Rambaldi spawned. So many ways or characters you could explore. It could involve the Spy Kids and/or Dixon; or maybe go back in time to focus on Sark or the Derevkos or even Anna Espinosa. I really don't know. But there was a lot that was left unexplored because the focus was rightly on Sydney and she can still have a large off-screen presence. If overseen by one of the Alias veterans, under JJ's Bad Robot, it could work. I know I'd watch.

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Two of them.  Isabelle and Jack as the new generation of spies.

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Having happy flashbacks to Jennifer Garner's prime since Daredevil (2003) is currently on TNT. (That is prime physical shape, not the best movie of course.) She was having such fun in those days, doing her own stunts whenever possible. Also, I loved her Elektra hair for this movie. Funny that was the year she went back to Alias and had really short hair.

 

Edit: She even got to do her trademark tears.

 

Oh and I'd forgotten about all the Evanescence music in this movie.

Edited by Aliasscape.
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Lena Olin is listed to be in "Welcome to Sweden", which premiers on Thursday.

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Lena Olin is listed to be in "Welcome to Sweden", which premiers on Thursday.

 

I watched the first episode. Olin does not look any older than she did on Alias. Her character is a lot different too. It's really nice to hear her speak Swedish as well as English on the show.

 

Alias was at its best when Lena was on the show.

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I thought the first 2 season of this show were about as perfect as a TV show could ever hope to be. Then things sort of went down hill.

 

I've rewatched the first two seasons and found them to be just as compelling and binge-watchable as they were the first time around (I did see the first season on DVD, while DVRing the second, and my ex and I lost plenty of sleep marathoning). I don't need to see the rest again, but the energy (and constant cliffhangers) of S1 and 2 will draw me back in. 

 

Among other things, I think the later seasons suffered from both the writers not actually knowing where they were taking the Rambaldi mythology, and J.J. Abrams's attention turning first to Lost, then movies.

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Having happy flashbacks to Jennifer Garner's prime since Daredevil (2003) is currently on TNT. (That is prime physical shape, not the best movie of course.) 

 

Daredevil was not the best of movies, of course, but I do have a fondness to Elektra (2005).

 

The weirdest thing happened, I found my stash of old Alias magazines. I didn't even know that I kept them, I should sell them at a comic con. How many of you bought those?

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The weirdest thing happened, I found my stash of old Alias magazines. I didn't even know that I kept them, I should sell them at a comic con. How many of you bought those?

 

I have all of the magazines, few of the books and other pieces of merchandise.

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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Merrin Dungey has to have one of the most distinctive voices on television.  I was watching Rizzoli and Isles and had to leave the room.  I heard that familiar voice, and knew right away it had to be her.  Sure enough, it was.

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I am watching the show for the first time, having just started bingeing on my housemates DVDs. I am currently a few episodes into the second season.

 

I am trying to remain relatively spoiler free (for as much as you can with a show that is 13 years old). The funny thing is a year or so back I randomly watched the fifth season premiere (in one of those too lazy to change the channel moments) only to realise now that it contains some pretty heavyrific character spoilers! LOL, I guess you cannot win them all!

 

I gotta confess I am so far fairly ambivalent. Don't get me wrong, it isn't like I hate it. I just am unsure about it if that makes sense. I realise one of my problems is that I am looking at the show through 2014 eyes instead of 2001 eyes and by that I mean in a way I am comparing it to the era of 'Homeland' and 'Covert Affairs' when I shouldn't be. I guess I should be looking more say "Millennium" or "Relic Hunter" or heck, even "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". However, reading and talking with people about it, and finding people who share my views (especially with all the WTF? moments I have seen so far) will make the watching that much more fun!

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I think Alias was ahead of its time.  TV was littered with a lot of reality shows and most scripted drama (apart from obnoxious crime procedurals) was having a tough time finding an audience.  It really laid the groundwork for a show like Lost, which then turned scripted drama back into something in which the networks were willing to invest.  I was re-watching the first season last month and what threw me the most was the technology because the iPhone, iPads and familiar touchscreen technology was years away at that point.

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Oh my gosh! They killed Francie! The B****ards! ;-)

Actually as callous as it sounds (as I liked the character), it made sense as the show had turned into a workplace drama and there was simply no room for a Rhoda anymore.

I'm a little suprised how fast the SD-6 storyline has wrapped up however, but maybe that is a by-product of the binge watching. Still here one episode, gone the next...

My housemate has said the show has peaked at this point, buy I'm willing to at least keep watching it into the third season just to see if my Rimbaldi theories are correct.

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As I recall from watching it live, I also thought the SD-6 storyline wrapped up really, really quickly.  I missed it; after that I mostly watched the show for the performances and not the plotlines, which became more tangled and ridiculous to me.

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But not wrapping SD-6 would've meant Syd was either very lucky or mildly incompetent or both and that Sloane was wildly incompetent. JJ Abrams had good reasons to wrap it up but the void left was rather huge.

 

The standards on tv have risen but Alias opened the door that the likes Homeland are walking through.

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But I think bringing down SD-6 left them with a huge void. It seems to me that they brought it down, but they didn't know what would fill in the gap. (JJ Abrams also left around this time or soon after, I think). Storylines got so wild that I couldn't follow it if I missed an episode or two. I still don't even know how Irena fit in and what the finale proved. The first season though was amazing! And the pilot was epic.

Edited by glow.
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Those episodes though, with Faye Dunaway, just before SD-6 went down? Amazing. That character she played was my favorite guest role.

I liked Lauren. I felt bad for her in the beginning when Syd came back and I enjoyed watching Melissa George, and even listening to her omni-accent (I found it odd, too, but nice to listen to. It might help that I'm neither Australian, American or British but Scandinavian). I'm not a shipper of any kind so she wasn't "in the way" in that respect.

That she then did a 180 and became super evil did ring false, and I understand people's feeling about her, but even then I just enjoyed watching her do evil things instead. I wasn't super sad wen she died or anything but I didn't mind her or season 3 as a whole.

The stand alone format of early season 4 was worse and the show felt brighter from that point on for some reason. Both story wise and visually (kind of like when The X-Files moved production from Vancouver to LA. Did that happen here too?), and not in a good way. Nadia was fine but pretty boring. It got better when the intricate stories appeared again later on. And season 5, for the most part, I liked. Expectations were lower but I was entertained. Liked Rachel and Kelly Peyton a lot and then Anna came back and Nadia fell through a table and, yeah, fun.

But then

Spy Daddy died

and that was bullshit.

ETA: About Francie, it was a real testament to Merrin Dungey that I felt so torn up about her death. Francie was pretty much a so-so character (at least in terms of development) but Merrin made her pop. I was always pleased to see her even if she didn't do much of anything for a season and a half. Then she made Fralison so great and after The Telling they just wasted her. It never made much sense to me. In that episode when she died she just popped up, got stabbed, died. She should've stayed longer as a foil for Syd. Maybe not through the whole series but certainly longer than she did. The fight scene in The Telling ranks as one of, if not the, best I've ever seen.

Edited by joelene.
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Those episodes though, with Faye Dunaway, just before SD-6 went down? Amazing. That character she played was my favorite guest role.

 

This. Many times over.

 

Watching them live was awesome, each episode cranked up the pressure and you could feel everything coming to a head, even the simple things. Syd and Vaughn finally decided to go on a date, which was stupid but oh so cute. Spy Daddy's cover fell under the worst threat. Francie, Sloane's relationship with the Alliance, Syd and Dixon's friendship, etc. Even Syd and Spy Daddy thawing towards Irina felt threatening, somehow. Everything was coming to a head, in a way it does for a (well made) series finale. We don't tend to remember them often but those episodes leading up to the fall of the Alliance were quite golden.

Edited by Boundary.
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But then Spy Daddy died and that was bullshit.

 

 

Hopefully Robert did not see this. I agree 100% with this sentiment.  The writers all cried and felt it was the right thing to do.  Perhaps they should have talked to the fans. That scene still galls.

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Hopefully Robert did not see this. I agree 100% with this sentiment.  The writers all cried and felt it was the right thing to do.  Perhaps they should have talked to the fans. That scene still galls.

In my world, he isn't dead.  He's down there with Sloane, in that damned cave, watching his every move, his every attempt to free himself.  And eventually, when they re-boot the series, with Syd & Vaughn's kids as the protagonists, it'll be to stop Sloane permanently, with Dixon still in charge of the CIA, Marshall still head of tech, Sark running the modern-day version of the Alliance/the Man/the Covenant, and SpyDaddy will be there to guide his grandkids through it all.

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I love it when I see Alias cast members in other roles.  In this case, I decided to watch West Wing again.  There was Merrin Dungey in episode 2.  So, as I think about it, I remember how upset I was when they 'killed' her.

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I started a rewatch from the beginning in tandem with a friend of mine who had never seen the show. I remembered most of the key plot points (even after, what, ten years?). The most fun I've been having is noticing the actors that have since made a name for themselves in one way or another. Like Sarah Shahi showing up in season 1. I had no idea she was even in this. I was like hey, it's Shaw!

Francie really had no interesting plot line though. Everybody else had a horse in the spy race but her plots were opening a restaurant and a cheating boyfriend. Which spawned an amusing string of texts between me and my fellow watcher friend.

Friend: Thank God that chick's boy friend wasn't screwing that blonde girl. That would have been devastating.

Me: Omg! The boyfriend proposed! My life is complete!

Friend: OMG! SPOILERS! now that I know, I have nothing to look forward to... Ruined the whole thing, jeez.

As for season 5, I ended up liking it on its own merits. It gets a bum rap (and I also truly hated the finale) but I think it otherwise did pretty well, considering how many new cast members there were to digest. They did a good job integrating them (and jettisoning the one that wasn’t working, the Renee Rienne character). I particularly enjoyed Rachel Nichols and Amy Acker, whose roles here ended up being interesting preludes for the ones they’re currently playing on their respective shows, Continuum and Person of Interest.

Edited by kariyaki.
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