Alias 2: For Once the Creators are Smarter than the Audience
Phil Davetas
1/24/2004 3:26:01 PM

If you haven’t seen Season One, you would need to in order to fully follow through with many of the intricate characters and plot lines. Where we last left everyone, Vaughn was drowning in an indoor flood while Sydney escaped only to be captured by the all-around bad-ass mother, Irina Derevko. Season Two opens right where we left off and the show hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. Each episode is loaded with the same scale and complexity that rivals any movie today. The advantage the series has is that it’s got 22 episodes to develop complicated relationships and stories that a two-hour flick can’t handle, and yet each season is not enough to pack it all in.

While answering tens of questions from both Season One and Two, more keep coming up for Season Three. We still haven’t found what exactly that Milo Rambaldi gizmo is used for even though we keep finding out more about it; but it is being used. SD-6’s director, Sloane, is going through some dark changes even though he was the bad guy in Season One anyway. The persistent reporter, Will Tippin, is back and his life is in a shambles after helping the CIA in Season One. Francie, Sydney’s best friend, goes through some twisted changes turning this season on its head. The show makes some dark maneuvers throughout and is probably one of the most graphically violent shows on network TV.

As far as special features go, it’s once again loaded with stuff. You have your deleted scenes and costume and make-up design featurettes, TV spots, blooper reels, commentaries--but what’s cool is the interviews with Kevin & Bean from their LA-based radio morning show. They talk to the show’s creator J. J. Abrams, Victor Garber, Kevin Weisman and Jennifer Garner. While listening to the Kevin & Bean show you know they love their Alias, Buffy and Powderpuff Girls. Although their show is much more lively on-air than excerpted, it’s cool to hear the interviews on the DVD. The last really cool thing is a 45-minute documentary on the filming of the Season’s final episode. It could give some insight to some fledgling TV directors out there. As usual, with a cast like this the commentaries are fun and educational, but there are two commentaries, Phase One and The Telling, that insert alternate takes while the episodes are running. The alternate takes are a bit lame, but better something than nothing.

Alias is probably the smartest show on TV today, but I hear the ratings might be hurting. I think because people can't understand it. But at least for once the creators are smarter than the audience.

Alias: The Complete Second Season
NR, 2002-2003, 961 min. (6 Disks), Buena Vista Home Video.

Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan, Bradley Cooper, Merrin Dungey, Carl Lumbly, David Anders, Kevin Weisman, Victor Garber, Lena Olin, Terry O’Quinn, Greg Grunberg, Faye Dunaway, Ric Young, Rutger Hauer, Angus Scrimm, Ethan Hawke, Olivia D’Abo, Christian Slater, Richard Lewis, Danny Trejo, David Carradine, Created by J. J. Abrams.

Special Features:

The Making of The Telling, The Look of Alias, Deleted Scenes With an Introduction from Series Creator J. J. Abrams, Season 2 Blooper Reel, KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Radio Show Interviews, Alias TV Spots, The Making of Alias the Video Game, Alias ScriptScanner: The Telling (DVD-ROM).

Surprise, More Spies, Assassinations and Conspiracies:

Swordfish, No Way Out, Spy Game, La Femme Nikita, Black Sunday, Assassins, F/X, F/X 2, Bad Company, The Package, Conspiracy Theory, The Manchurian Candidate, Point of No Return, The Silencer, ffolkes, The Tailor of Panama, Eye of the Needle, The Bourne Identity, The Saint, The Avengers, Get Smart!, MacGyver, True Lies, The Art of War, I-Spy, Eye of the Beholder, John Woo’s The Killer, xXx, Mission: Impossible, M:I-2, Enemy of the State, Spies Like Us, Undercover Blues, Hackers, WarGames, The Peacemaker, X-Files, Company Business…

Episode List:

The Enemy Walks In
Written by J. J. Abrams and Directed by Ken Olin
Geography count: Cap Ferrat (France), Port of Barcelona. Picking up right where we left in last season’s cliffie, Sydney finally meets The Man. And all the shit that broke out last season is hitting the fan this time around.

Trust Me
Written by John Eisendrath and Directed by Craig Zisk
London, Rabat, Helsinki. Sydney’s gotta break into her mommy’s vault to steal a porno disk of the powers that be. Sloane joins the ranks of the Alliance of the 12.

Written by Alex Kurtzman-Counter & Robert Orci and Directed by Daniel Attias
Sri Lanka, Siberia. Sydney tries to foil one of Sark’s satellites. Will meets Vaughn.

Dead Drop
Written by Jesse Alexander and Directed by Guy Norman Bee
Moscow, Madagascar. Will meets at one of his druggie meetings. Meanwhile, Sloane is getting teased by the ghost of his dead wife.

The Indicator
Written by Jeff Pinkner and Directed by Ken Olin
Vienna, Budapest, Buenos Aires. So, who was really behind that shitstorm in Madagascar? Was it her badass mother or was it her daddy-o?

Written by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman-Counter and Directed by Perry Lang
Geneva, Washington DC. After Sydney finds out what her daddy did to her, mommy’s been transferred and ordered to death by the US government. Will Tippin needs a job. Can the CIA help? And the ghost of Emily continues to haunt Sloane. Jack is about ready to go to prison for jacking up Irina’s loyalty. Or you can call it the “Blister in the Sun” episode.

The Counteragent
Written by John Eisendrath and Directed by Daniel Attias
Paldiski (Estonia), Tokyo. Now that Vaughn’s hopped up on the Rambaldi disease, Sydney (with mommy’s help) have to find the cure. Sloane’s position in the Alliance is a threat and creating problems at SD-6.

Passage, Part I
Written by Debra J. Fisher & Erica Messer and Directed by Ken Olin
Uzbekistan, New Delhi. Time to chill at the ‘Stan—Uzbekistan that is. Now that Sark’s on board with SD-6 where does his loyalty lie? Vaughn fires Will because he’s too damn good at his job. Meanwhile, Sydney, mommy and daddy take a family trip to disarm a nuclear warhead or two. You know, the usual stuff.

Passage, Part II
Written by Crystal Nix Hines and Directed by Ken Olin
Srinagar. Well, the Bristows are still looking for those damn nukes. Will mommy betray daddy and the kid?

The Abduction
Written by Alex Kurtzman-Counter & Robert Orci and Directed by Nelson McCormick
Paris, London. Sark and Sydney are forced to work together on a mission for SD-6. Guest starring a nasty-looking Faye Dunaway. Looks like Will is on his way to joining the CIA. Looks like Sloane is sending Marshall into the field.

A Higher Echelon
Written by John Eisendrath and Directed by Guy Norman Bee
Ho Chi Minh City, Mexico City. A rescue mission is scheduled to save Marshall from the evil Tooth Fairy. You know, the guy the yanked out Sydney’s teeth in Season One. Will’s got himself a job as a CIA analyst.

The Getaway
Written by Jeff Pinkner and Directed by Lawrence Trilling
Nice, The Philippines. Sydney and Vaughn finally go out on a date and SD-6 is eavesdropping. Daddy is being cornered by Sloane’s investigator, Kane (the skanky Faye Dunaway).

Phase One
Written by J. J. Abrams and Directed by Jack Bender
The post-Super Bowl show with JGar in lingerie. Looks like we’re going airborne to access SD-6’s missing server—number 47 of course. With Sloane out of the picture a new SD-6 director is assigned in the form of über drunkard, Rutger Hauer. Sydney and daddy-o’s covers are blown. Could this been the end of SD-6 or for the Bristows?

Special Feature: Commentary with J. J. Abrams, Jennifer Garner, Jack Bender, Greg Grunberg, Michael Vartan and Victor Garber.

Double Agent
Written by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman-Counter and Directed by Ken Olin
Berlin, Cayo Concha, Poland. There’s a machine that can alter physical features a la Face/Off. Now there are two Ethan Hawkes in the world. I guess that means he can make more movies. I wonder if one’s a better actor than the other.

A Free Agent
Written by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman-Counter and Directed by Alex Kurtzman-Counter
Mojave, Switzerland. It’s graduation day for Sydney and she’s thinking about quitting the CIA. In another part of the world, Sark has Christian Slater’s wife and child gleaming the cube. No wonder he does such much drugs. Now that the Alliance is destroyed, what’s gonna happen to Dixon and Marshall?

Written by John Eisendrath and Directed by Craig Zisk
Kandahar, Mexico City. Get ready to do the neutron dance.

A Dark Turn
Written by Jesse Alexander and Directed by Ken Olin
Bangkok, Hong Kong, Panama. Looks like that non-comedian, Richard Lewis, wants Sydney to spy on Vaughn—post or pre-coitus is not yet specified. And it’s Basic Instinct Blue in Bangkok for mommy and daddy for some killing and chilling. Looks like the evil Francie his milking Will for intel in his sleep. I wonder if that works for exams as well.

Special Feature: Commentary with Ken Olin, John Eisendrath, Jesse Alexander and Jeff Pinkner.

Truth Takes Time
Written by J. R. Orci and Directed by Nelson McCormick
Tuscany, Stuttgart, Florence. The hunt for mommy begins. Emily tracks down the CIA and wants to cooperate with Sydney. One of the mothers is gonna die. Guess which one.

Written by Sean Gerace and Directed by Perry Lang
Moscow, Spain. Sydney plots a super secret rescue mission to take the pump out of the volume or is it gonna be talking to the wind? Sloane finds out that Dixon killed his wife. An eye for and eye calling.

Written by Jeff Pinkner and Directed by Lawrence Trilling
Panama City, Guadalajara, Nepal, Cartagena. Looks like the NSA has come in again to step on the CIA’s toes to figure out more on the Rambaldi mystery. This time the prophecy states they gotta dig out some old dude’s heart. And it looks like Marshall is about to bang him up some beaver over sushi. But then Sloane hikes over to a Nepalese mountain to check out Kill Bill.

Second Double
Written by Crystal Nix Hines and Directed by Ken Olin
Berlin, Marseilles. Will is accused of being the double that’s leaking intel to Sloane and everyone in the US intelligence community is hunting him down. Sydney and Vaughn fly off to find a server farm that includes the exact DNA structure of the second double which could expose the evil Francie.

Special Feature: Commentary with Ken Olin, Bradley Cooper, Carl Lumbly and Terry O’Quinn.

The Telling
Written & Directed by J. J. Abrams
Zurich, Stockholm, Mexico City. Looks like those whacky Rambaldi pieces are about to be put together. This is the last one of the season, so that means: bodies, bodies, bodies, blood, torture, explosions, double-crosses, mind games, diversions, globe-trotting, FX galore, new wave clubs and of course the season cliffie.

Special Feature: Commentary with J. J. Abrams, Merrin Dungey, Ron Rifkin, Ken Olin and Kevin Weisman.

Bad Robot.


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