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HERC Reviews ALIAS 1.7!!

Published at: Nov. 25, 2001, 7:35 a.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!

Alias 1.7 FAQ

What’s it called?

“Color Blind.”

Who’s responsible?

Teleplay credited to Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” “Jack of All Trades”).

What does TV Guide say?

“Syd uncovers a shocking truth about Danny's murder while trying to break Shepard (John Hannah) out of the K-Directorate's asylum; Sloane comes to the realization that not all of his agents are on the up-and-up; Charlie gives Francie a Thanksgiving she'll never forget; and Will (Bradley Cooper) hits the deadest end of all in his search for Kate Jones. ”

What is TV Guide not telling us?

TV Guide lies to you again. Syd uncovers that shocking truth about her fiance’s murder after she breaks Shepard out of K-Directorate’s asylum.

The big surprise?

This installment is loaded with surprises. The first is that there’s a revamp of the weekly recap – it now employs black & white mugshots of Syd (the comely double-agent protagonist), Jack (Syd’s double-agent dad), Sloane (the evil head of the evil SD-6 agency that employs Syd), and Vaughn (Syd’s liaison at the real CIA).

So Sydney does escape the K-Directorate asylum?

Yes, but not before K-Directorate can recapture her, strip her, stick her in a vat of dirty water and run an enormous amount of electrical current through her brain.`

Ew! Syd gets tortured again this week?

She does. K-directorate wants the information locked away in Shepard’s Manchurian Candidate-like brain - and they think Syd’s already got it.

Does Syd have Shepard’s info?

She does not.

What does Shepard know that’s so important?

Shepard, in Manchurian Zombie mode, assassinated a guy named Gareth Perkashov before Shepard checked himself into that grungy Romanian mental instituion. Syd’s mission is to find out where Perkashov’s body is.

Why is the location of Perkashov’s body so important?

Perkashov’s DNA sequence is the key to decrypting an all-important FTL communique.

What’s so important about the FTL communique?

We – and SD-6 - learn this week that the message provides the location of another Milo Rambaldi artifact in Tunisia.

Ah. Um, I came in late. Who’s Milo Rambaldi again?

Milo Rambaldi is one of the coolest things about “Alias.” A long-dead 15th century seer described as half-DaVinci, half-Nostradamus, Rambaldi was dismissed by his contemporaries as a lunatic. Though he died before the discovery of the New World, Rambaldi left behind schematics for cellular phones, as well as a lot of impressive-looking devices that haven’t been invented yet. That creepy-looking device Syd stole in the pilot was based on Rambaldi’s prophecies.

How long till Syd finally escapes the asylum?

Second act.

What’s up with Vaughn?

There’s a great scene early on tonight in which Jack meets Vaughn for the first time. (That’s right: they’ve never met before.) Vaughn (correctly) believes Syd has run into asylum trouble, and wants to coordinate an extraction with Jack that would likely expose Syd’s mission to bring down SD-6. Jack rejects this; he believes Syd’s revenge against SD-6 is the only thing that “gets her up in the morning.” Jack is also pretty pissed about Vaughn giving his file to Syd.

Is Syd still pissed at Jack?

They make up this week, resolving one of the lamest storylines this almost completely non-lame series has proffered to date. (This shortcoming will be belabored in a bit.)

What’s going on with SD-6 and Sloane?

Vaughn mentions the 3-percent chunk the CIA virus was able to grab from SD-6’s files is turning out to be a goldmine. Sloane lies to Marshall (the twitchy SD-6 tech guy who discovered the virus last week) about the CIA virus being “a security section drill.”

What’s up with Will?

Before the opening credits stop, Will discovers Eloise Kurtz (a.k.a. Kate Jones), who lied about having an affair with Syd’s fiance, was just found shot to death in Echo Park. Also? Will gets the go-ahead to do his first piece on the mystery surrounding Danny and Eloise. Also also? Will brings a date to Syd’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Is it Will’s underage hottie intern Jenny?

It’s Will’s underage hottie intern Jenny. But Will isn’t the only member of Syd’s inner circle to take a big step on the personal front.

Something big happens with Francie?

Something big happens with Francie.

What’s good?

They way they keep reminding us that inside supergirl Syd there’s a vulnerable kid. The way we’re given no advance clue as to when Syd might escape. The way everything seems to be tying into Rambaldi after all. The cool Pretenders song that accompanies Syd’s escape.

What’s not so good?

Jack reveals to Syd this week that he was cleared of any collaboration with the KGB decades ago. Syd and Jack make up. So why couldn’t Jack reveal this earlier? What was all that about Syd “not having clearance”? Why was Syd so quick to not to trust Jack last week? Estrangement aside, hasn’t Jack proven himself a good guy time and time again already?

How does it end, spoiler boy?

Oddly, without Syd in immediate and dire jeopardy! We learn Syd’s about to race her deadly and evil K-Directorate counterpart, Anna Espinosa, to recover the new Rambaldi artifact. Vaughn reveals an important new wrinkle in his personal life. And Sloane reveals he’ll be employing McCullough (the neural-tech guy played by Angus Scrimm) to find the mole or moles within SD-6).

Herc’s rating for “Alias” 1.7?

***1/2

The Hercules T. Strong Rating System:

  • ***** better than we deserve
  • **** better than most motion pictures
  • *** actually worth your valuable time
  • ** as horrible as most stuff on TV
  • * makes you quietly pray for bulletins

I warn you not to defy me!!

I am – Hercules!!





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Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 25, 2001, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Should Have Been Taping 'Em!

    by Malcolm_Brass

    Uh, X-what?!! I've been watching ALIAS since the first episode and just now realized that I should have been putting these down on video, just in case they pull another 2 week no-show! Man, I wish I was rich so I could buy one of those recordable DVD machines for THIS!!!

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Alias

    by Funkaboo

    I do love this show. We actually tape Alias and The Practice every week because my fiance really likes Law and Order: CI and UC: Undercover. The cool thing is that we usually don't get around to watching the Alias tape till Saturday or Sunday so we don't have to wait so long between cliffhanger endings. :-) My one complaint about the show, I found as I watched the tape yesterday, is that this thing with Syd and her father is getting old. She came off as extremely whiny last week and by now shouldnt' she be used to things not being exactly what they seem on the surface. Like her father said, for someone so smart she sure jumps to conclusions so easily. I really wanted to slap her and tell her to shut up already. I don't care how they rap it up tonight I'm just glad they do so they can get on to all the other things that make this show great. Very curious to see what goes down between her and Vaughn, Will and jailbait and his investigation into Danny's death, K-Directorate agent Anna, etc. I must say though that the scenes between Syd and Francie when discussing Francie's boyfriend, Syd's father, etc. are all a little "too Felicity" for me. If you've ever watched Felicity you'll know what I mean. All the worrying and stressing and complaining while some funky music plays in the back and even though they're alone, the characters feel compelled to whisper. Annoying.

  • Alias was supposed to be on last week in Boston, but for some fuckin' it wasn't. Fuckin affiliates...Anyway, can someone explain why this happened? Herc...any help here? Thanx. I am SushiX.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Alias was pre-empted last week by Saving Pvt. Ryan

    by Spam Gamgee

    I thought my Replay had burped. Ticked me off until I realized it wasn't really on.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 4:16 p.m. CST

    YEAH! I am quite addicted to this show......and happily, I migh

    by Smugbug

    Wow, it amazes me how the writers are able to employ so many issues, loose ends in one ep and then be able to keep them all in line and be able to deal with them with such a exciting degree in the followng ep. And this is above the ongoing issues as well as all the "super spy" stuff. Wow. Just a fun, fun exciting, compelling show. And it is. Jennifer Garner has been doing such a slam bang job as Syd and the rest of the cast have been right up there, too. I'm hoping after reading this that they finally do end the whole Syd/Jack thang - it has been the one thing about this show that I haven't liked, it kinda drags. Who woulda ever thought that ABC still had it in 'em to allow a for a show like this? Thank god, they did.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Why this Show isn't in the Top ten is beyond me! Alias is th

    by MentallyMariah

    It's the only show I look forward too! Last season was Survivor, I am tired of that show, Alias, I hope stays around for a long time! I hope Wil gets written off the show soon! He annoys big time!

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Did you know that Dixon(Charles Lumbly).......

    by parnellbc

    Was undercover as an INS(Immigration&Naturalization Services) operative in the X-Files season 4,3rd episode 'Teliko'. I was watching my new box set of s4 and imediatly recognized him. The somewhat ironic thing is his characters name. On Alias we know he is MARCUS Dixon, on X-Files he was MARCUS Duff. Just a bit of fun trivia I thought I'd throw out. Hope its not a rehash of info.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Answer for SushiX

    by Darth Tater

    Channel Five, our local ABC affiliate, likes to do this to piss us off. The second half of the last season of Lois and Clark was preempted with Boston Pops every week. I don't get it, I never have, they're the only local station that does this but oh well, what can I say. Whenever this does happen though just set your VCR to 12:05 when they show whatever was preempted.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Further Answer to SushiX

    by JamesEnsor

    The 8:30 PM EST Sunday night NFL football game is broadcast on both ESPN nationally, and in the local market of the game on the ABC (synergy here, Disney owns both ESPN and ABC) affiliate, to appease any local fans who may not have cable TV. For this reason, and for the ratings and demographic bump for the night, the ABC affiliate, WCVB, broadcast The Practice before the game, the Patriots/Rams game, the local news, and finally Alias. This is the last Sunday night football game that will be broadcast locally on WCVB this season.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Enigma

    by Funkaboo

    I know what Felicity is about, I actually watch it. Why do I watch it? Cause on Wednesday nights my best friend's husband has a class and she is as into Dawson's Creek and Felicity as I am into Buffy and Angel. It used to be our Tuesday and Wednesday night rituals to watch those shows together (now add Monday since Buffy moved to UPN and Angel to Monday nights). 1. Felicity is not the nicest character on tv. If she were so nice she wouldn't have just screwed Noel on the rooftop. 2. She is whiny, "I don't know what to do. Why is Ben acting like that? Why do I continue to string Noel along even after I gave him some on the roof? Do I really belong in this art class?" Yada yada yada. Oh, and don't forget all that is said in a whisper. The only two people on that show that are not annoying and don't feel the need to whisper all the time are the couple that just got married. The guy with one nut and his wiccan wife. Oh, and Javier.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 8:09 p.m. CST

    Enigma & Funkabo: Felicity is annoying. But so is Ally McBeal,

    by Smugbug

    These people complain, whine and are extremely neurotic. Okay, I guess the characters of Roswell have good reason to be that way, with the government and aliens and all. But I've watched one ep of Felicity and Dawson Creek and a couple of Ally McBeals and all I have to say is: If I was as whiney as these characters I would NEVER have gotten to where I have today. I enjoy Alias because Syd has friends who have lives in the "average" world - they aren't spies. But here's Syd, almost getting killed during a mission and her friends think she's on some "banking" trip. And there's Buffy , Angel and CSI - the only other shows I watch (okay, okay I also watch Iron Chef whenever I can). I haven't detected any whining on these shows and the characters are ones where I can safely spend one hour with free from neurosis. Thank god! Okay, so I haven't watch "upteen" eps of Felicity, Dawson and Roswell. But after one ep, I had absolutely no want to watch more. None. Zippo. (with apologies to all who watch Felicity, Roswell, Ally and Dawson on a weekly basis, sorry if I offended you in anyway. Have a nice day).

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 8:23 p.m. CST

    I'm just saying..

    by Funkaboo

    You can definitely tell that someone with ties to Felicity has a hand in Alias and the only time that is apparent is when Alias turns into a soap opera, like I said before any scene with Syd and Francie talking about their problems. The same sappy music plays in the back and they feel the need to whisper even though they are home alone on the couch. Who does that? Show of hands of those who whisper to their friends for no good reason. I didn't think so. Not a big deal, hey like I said, I'm actually guilty of giving that show an hour of my life one night a week. I was one of those people completely devastated by Felicity's "winter hiatus" last year. That said, I can recognize cornballness (if it's such a word) when I see it. Alias has dabbled in it but overall, it's a kickass show. Good move having one of Felicity's good characters (one nut) on Alias (as Vaughn's CIA coworker).

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Rory Gilmore is 'nicer' than Felicity!

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    So there! I don't expect that ANYONE, including theenigma, can effectively counter this truth! ;^)

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Disappearing posts?

    by xaz3qrten

    I posted to this talkback and it seems to have disappeared. It was the first post and now it's gone. Is this common here?

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Maybe it's me...

    by FargoUT

    I am a huge addict of this show. My entire week revolves around Sunday night. But I have been noticing a decline in the action directing. This episode, which could have had a great escape scene, was really lackluster. Next week sounds great, due in part to the impending Anna vs. Sydney showdown. They are great enemies! I hope next week's direction goes for a little less melodrama and more high-tension action. Call me a typical male, but that's what differentiates this show from all the others. Let's get back to the heart-pounding action of the first four episodes. Nothing so far has topped Sydney's faceoff with Anna when they were both after the briefcase in the skyscraper. Although, from the look of the "next week" clips, it looks to be truly exciting. I can't wait for next Sunday. This was definitely one of the lesser episodes.

  • Nov. 25, 2001, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Speaking of music...

    by Funkaboo

    I was meaning to post this on the Buffy talkback...did anyone notice the very cheesy 80's detective tv show music that was playing on Buffy last week - in the scene in which she goes to the museum to check out the frozen guard. If you have it on tape, check it out.

  • Nov. 27, 2001, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Rimbaldi

    by Spoons

    I gotta disagree with Herc on the whole Rimbaldi thing. I think it's incredibly lame. Way too 'Hudson Hawk.' I hope that storyline fades quitely into the background.

  • Nov. 27, 2001, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Good episode, not great ...

    by CuttingRoomFloor

    I wish they'd tone down the inter-personal stuff. It only gets in the way of the intrigue and the action. You now you're in trouble with Alias when the SAPPY music begins to play, another 5-10 minutes of your life wasted. However, the Pretenders music did kick ass! Let's get Chrissy Hynde to do a guest shot, yeah!

  • Nov. 27, 2001, 2:55 p.m. CST

    To SushiX

    by sabrefox

    Alias was pre-empted by a Patriots game I believe, but it DID show later on that night, at midnight. It was in the TV Guide, but I don't think I would have known of the time change unless my Tivo told me.