After five seasons, ‘Alias’ is coming to an end. Fellow ‘Alias’ fan and CB Graphic Artist Matt Sinopoli and myself decided it was necessary to compile a list of best and worst moments in the Series. So much has happened since the show first aired that this task proved to be slightly more difficult than we’d anticipated. How many people have been cloned? How many presumably dead characters have resurfaced? Which episodes were the best?
After a fair bit of deliberating, this is what we came up with. To start, here are our favorite episodes:
Truth Be Told – The Series Premiere. This episode was such a brilliant introduction to the series. We are introduced to Sydney the girl and Sydney the spy as well as the people involved in both sides of her life. On top of that they manage to add on a twist (her finding out the truth about SD-6), show her becoming a double agent and in the final moment, that one added twist is revealed (that Jack is also a double agent). This episode was almost like a movie with a little “to be continued” credit at the very end. The perfect beginning to what would be an outstanding season.
Rendezvous – The episode when Will finds out the truth about Sydney. After a whole season of Will unknowingly coming closer and closer to Syd’s big secret, Will finally sees her “other side” when she rescues him as he’s about to be interrogated. The look on his face and the noise he makes as he realizes the pink-haired angel who’s just rescued him is in fact, his best friend is pretty priceless. Add to that the look on his face as she does the flying kick of death to save him when they’re escaping and this is easily one of the best episodes of the series.
Passage: Part 1 and 2 – One of many two-parters that popped up in the first two seasons, Passage parts 1 and 2 were great not only for their action-packedness, but also because we got to see Sydney, Jack and Irena on a mission together. Irena is temporarily released from CIA custody to help Jack and Sydney on a mission. The sexual tension between Jack and Irena was out of control. They relieved most of it by bickering. Seeing the Bristow family in action was one of the most memorable events in the season.
Phase 1 - The infamous Super Bowl Episode – The episode that begins with Syd posing in lingerie for a rather unpleasant looking man on a 747. The show ends with Sydney and Vaughn kissing while the rest of the CIA cleans-house in the freshly raided SD-6 headquarters. I’d say it was the best episode of the series. Unfortunately, it was also arguably the peak of the series. After SD-6 was taken down, many believe the show was all down hill from there, myself included.
Remnants – The Return of Will! (for one episode anyway). Sydney needs Will to help her remember where this metal cube thingy is so she pulls him out of hiding. After convincing Will that she’s really herself, there is a teary reunion. At a break in the mission they end up drinking and mulling over their pathetic love lives. All that talking and drinking leads to making out and eventually sleeping together. It's a memorable episode for a few other reasons. Will and Syd go undercover as rock stars. Both sport punkish outfits, British accents and amusingly arrogant personalities. This episode also marks the return of Evil-Francie. Will fights her and eventually pushes her own knife into her chest, dedicating the act to the real Francie. She is then left to bleed to death. In the end, Will returns to Wisconsin.
Crossings – The episode where Sydney and Vaughn almost get executed. This is the one where they finally both admit they still love each other. All the Syd/Vaughn haters probably won't appreciate this episode, but we like it. It doesn’t end well for the couple though, as Vaughn returns and hugs Lauren and Syd gives a very sad hug to her father. I just love the “we’ll find each other… we always find each other” line that Syd gives Vaughn just before they walk out to be executed.
Welcome to Liberty Village – The episode where Sydney and Vaughn go undercover as Russian spies. They get pose as Russians training to pose as Americans. The whole thing seems way too cold war to be realistic but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. There is a pretty great action sequence that takes place in a fake car dealership. In the end, an EMP weapon knocks out the power in the village and a helicopter crashes on the house. Cheesy special effects, but an enjoyable episode regardless.
Search and Rescue – The episode where Sydney, Nadia and Jack rescue Irina. It starts with us getting to see Jack pop a cap in his ex-wife. We learn later of course that this wasn’t the real Irina that Jack killed but the fact that he thought it was her was reason enough for the real Irina to punch Jack in the face shortly after her daughters rescued her. Once again, seeing the family all together on a mission gave us the warm and fuzzies which was a rare thing for season 4.
S.O.S – The episode where Sydney and Peyton face-off on the ship. We loved this episode for quite a few reasons. There’s a decent fight between Peyton and Sydney. Marshall gets to be in the field and as usual, is hilarious, especially when he claims to crack the CIA code on the monument. And of course, there’s Jack shooting CIA Director Davenport after learning he’s a mole.
No Hard Feelings – The episode where we finally get to see what page 47 was all about. Aside from that, this episode marked the return of Sark (Mmm, Sark). Sydney gets her hands on a sort of Pandora’s potion that Rambaldi wanted her to find but of course, Sloane steals it. The episode ends with a mushy moment with Vaughn, Sydney, and the baby cuddling together.
So that concludes our favorite episodes of the series. Now on to the other best-of/worst-of lists.
Best fight – Sydney and Evil-Francie at the end of season 2. There’s a part of it when Sydney crams Francie’s head through a cabinet door then Francie shoves Sydney’s head through a glass plate. It's just fun to watch. Honorable mentions go to the Sydney/Anna Espinoza fights and the Sydney/Lauren fight at the end of season 3 which involved a shovel at one point.
Best Guest Appearance – Quentin Tarantino in season 1. He and his people raid SD-6 and attempt to steal something Rambaldi-ish from Sloane’s vault. The mission eventually fails but Tarantino was just a lot of fun in those episodes. Honorable mentions go to David Carradine (the monk on the mountain-top) and Ricky Gervais in season 3.
Best Villain – this one was a tie - we decided to give it to Sark and Irina Derevko. Both are somewhat mysterious. Sark seems driven mostly by money but also power and prestige. He was evil enough to torture his own father to get information out of him. He seems to have a way with finding his place in whatever evil scheme happens to be trendy that year. Irina’s agendas are a lot harder to follow. You never really know where she’s coming from but she has proven many times that she has a deep affection for her daughter, even when they’re on opposite sides of the mission.
Honorable mention goes to Dr. Zhang Lee. I like to refer to him as “the dentist”. He was the one who pulled out Sydney’s tooth in the Pilot episode. We see him again at the season finale of that year when he tortures Will. Will ends up putting Dr. Lee in a wheel chair after stabbing him with a needle full of Dr. Lee’s favorite truth serum. It’s one of the best Will moments of the series. Dr. Lee resurfaces in Season 2 when he kidnaps Marshall. The last we see of Dr. Lee is in season 3 when Vaughn leaves him crying after he poured acid over Dr. Lee’s legs. Gross Vaughn but not entirely undeserved.
Best Jack Bristow Moment – there were a lot of fantastic Jack Bristow moments in the series but the one that we chose as “best” was in season 1. Jack finds out that the CIA agent Haladki is a mole for Khasinau and brings him to some warehouse or something. Jack first crushes Haladki’s hand in a vice grip then questions him. When Jack confirms that Haladki has put Sydney’s cover (and thus, her life) in danger, he promptly shoots the worm in the head. Nice one, Jack!
Worst on-going plot – Rambaldi. I feel as though the Rambaldi thing should’ve been temporary. In season 1 and 2 I was actually expecting that part of the show to be resolved eventually but it just kept going and going. It's as though all of the bad guys in the universe are after Rambaldi stuff.
Most Overdone Plot Scenario - Cloning. How many people were cloned? There was Evil-Francie, Evil-Ethan Hawke and then of course, Evil Sydney. Not to mention Lauren somehow getting hold of a Sydney mask that was so believable, even Vaughn fell for it. It didn’t take long for Sydney to have a Lauren mask made so she could fool Sark into giving up information. I’d say the cloning and doubling stuff was a bit overdone.
Most unnecessary character – Nadia. Sorry to the people who liked her. I have nothing against her as an actress but on the show, she was just annoying and in the way. Season 4 might have been a lot better without her there.
What could’ve brought the show back from its slump – If they gave Sydney a normal life again. Part of what we loved about seasons 1 and 2 was Sydney’s double life. She had work and then she had home. She had friends outside of her job and a life. After Francie was killed and SD-6 was taken down, there was no double life anymore. There was just work and the personal relationships she carried on there. It took some of the fun out of the show.
Most Unlikely Plot Scenario – Sloane is made head of the black-ops division of the CIA. What kind of government agency puts an evil villain in charge??
Most recent bit of useless Alias trivia: “Sydney and I were never in Cartagena” – this is the line that Vaughn uses to let evil-sydney/anna know that he was on to her the whole time. The truth is, he and Syd were in Cartagena. Remember in season 2, the episode after Dixon’s wife was killed? Dixon is holding the C-4 and screaming at the guard to tell him where something is as the clock on the bomb counts down? Vaughn and Sydney were both there for that… that was Cartagena. Does it matter? No. But we noticed it and thought we’d share.
There are some characters that we felt it was necessary to pay homage to:
Jack Bristow – he once said he looks at scenarios more strategically than emotionally. This is true, but he is not without a heart. He genuinely loves his daughter and has proven it repeatedly. He can be a bit cold an unaffectionate at times but its almost as though he’s hardened himself so that he can be a good agent. It takes effort for him to soften up and go into dad-mode but he’s managed it more than a few times.
Marshall – aside from being a genius, Marshall is good at his job because he cares about the mission and about the agents. He wants them to be safe and successful so he does a good job. Marshall has often been the comic relief of the show. Any 'Alias' fan knows that when Marshall’s asked to go on a mission, something funny is going to happen. Marshall is always pretty wired up so watching him attempt to be incognito is hilarious. Constantly surrounded by super-cool CIA people and bad guys, Marshall stands out like a sore thumb, but he’s part of the team and you can’t not love him.
Rene – in Matt’s own words, “She is like Season 1 Sydney only she actually kills people and throws knives at their faces”. Rene’s character was great though somewhat underdeveloped. It would’ve been nice for Syd to have had a crazy French colleague back in season 4 (instead of a boring half-sister) that we could’ve gotten to know better. RIP Rene.
Peyton – We love Amy Acker! It would have been nice if Peyton had been around a bit more but all the same, she’s so much fun to watch that we won't waste any time complaining about her. Peyton is like an American female version of Sark. She’s without a shred of morality. There is no right or wrong for that little lady. That’s what we like in a villain. None of that Sloane-type moral crisis. She doesn’t question the morality of her actions or try to justify her motives with some higher-power-mission like Sloane.
And with that, TV Blend salute’s Alias for giving us 5 great years of spies, plot twists and lot and lots of wigs. Farewell Sydney Bristow and friends!
Please feel free to share some of your favorite Alias moments and characters with us here or in the Boob Tube forum.