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Feature: Alias

What’s My Name Again?

Alias, changes in store…

Season 2 will be here soon, so we take a look at the story so far…

If there was one genre show to watch last season – well, we say genre, it was pretty much in a class by itself – it was Alias. As Channel 4’s screenings reach the final phase and viewers wait with bated breath for the second season to start on Sky 1, it seems the time is right for a recap of what’s been going on so far, where things were left, and who is who.

At the start of the first season, it all seemed so simple for Miss Sydney Bristow. She was studying at college, she had a nice little career in spying for government agency SD-6 on the side, and she seemed to be excelling at both parts of her life. Her tranquillity was shattered by the death of her fiancé, who she had told of her double life.

Seeking to discover how such a horrific event could happen, Sydney made a discovery: her work for SD-6 was, in fact, solely for that organization, and not, as she’d believed, for the CIA. Wanting payback, the real CIA offered her the chance to go undercover as a double agent, working from the inside to destroy SD-6, its many branches across the world and, ultimately, The Alliance, a consortium of powerful people trying to gain a stranglehold on all underhand and dirty dealings, bringing profit to themselves.

There was one more key player in this drama, however: Jack Bristow, Sydney’s estranged father. Syd would deal with her father as an inside contact with the CIA, a trusted agent for SD-6 who is also secretly working against them.

Alias has always been about family, whether by blood or by friendship. During the first season, Sydney’s relationships were tested to the limit. She saw her friend Will haunted by a desire to reveal SD-6’s existence to the world, her boss, Sloane, become overnight the most hateful man she’s ever known, and she discovered a new side to her father that she never expected. These key aspects are continued into Season Two and built upon, while the ongoing narrative and the end of episode cliff-hangers that became so integral are toned down a little in order to better give new viewers the chance to join in the action from any point.

Last year, Sydney was forced to accept her father in a working relationship, and learnt more about his qualities as a father. She found him lacking, with Jack’s past decisions returning to haunt him and Sydney questioning that he did what was best for her. The knowledge that her mother could still be alive sent Sydney on a quest to prove this theory, partially to go against her father’s warnings of how dangerous finding her mother, a former KGB operative who married Jack to steal his secrets, could be. In the end, Sydney was reunited with her mother, but under the less than ideal circumstances of Syd being held captive and tortured.

by Paul Spragg

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Photo © ABC Inc.
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #89
February 2003
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