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'Alias' nostalgia recap: Spy vs. spy

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Parity” | Aired Oct 14, 2001

It took Alias a solid two episodes just to establish all of the exposition. That means this was officially game on. I feel like I’m actually seeing what the show is going to be on a weekly basis. I hope that involves a lot more Gina Torres, who guest-stars as super-badass she-spy Anna Espinosa, who also happens to be Sydney’s arch-nemesis. She is amazing.

The case of the week involves an artifact that even the characters openly admit is ridiculous (something I really appreciate about the writing): a 500-year-old sketch with some binary code scribbled on the back by Rambaldi, described as an unbelievable cross between da Vinci and Nostradamus. SD-6 isn’t the only organization after the doodle; the CIA also wants it, as does a third mega-spy operation called K-Directorate. It’s worth all of the convoluted backstory just to get to Anna, a no-mercy spy out to taunt Sydney a bit as she beats her to the artifact.

Anna is ruthless and sassy, and even though she doesn’t entirely beat Sydney, you get the distinct impression that she would if the writing staff were being 100 percent honest. The mission results in Sydney getting the case they were after and Anna walking away with the key that opens it, forcing them to play nice long enough to meet up and open the box together (and end things on a cliffhanger—we don’t know what’s in the box, but we know it makes Sydney go all anime eyes and say, “Oh my God”). I can only hope that Anna become a (frequently, please frequently) recurring character. In the interest of not spoiling everything for myself, I’m resisting the urge to check her episode count on Wikipedia. It’s very difficult, but I’m going to try not to cheat.

Speaking of not cheating, I’m also resisting the urge to read up on how Sydney’s love life plays out. I’ve already predicted (I’m not bragging about this—it was painfully obvious and not an impressive guess by any means) that Hot Teacher from Never Been Kissed and/or Moppet-y early-aughts Bradley Cooper will vie for Syd’s affections. I’m not surprised that I was right, but I’m a little intrigued by how quickly the show went there with both of them.

mv 2

Hot Teacher AKA Michael Vartan AKA Sydney’s handler (and then ex-handler and then handler again—ALL IN THIS EPISODE), Michael Vaughn, doth protest too much when called out on his oh-so-obvious feelings for Sydney by a colleague. I’m not an expert in espionage, but I would think that maybe this alone should be reason enough to keep him fired as her handler, no matter what kind of fit Sydney throws. To paraphrase their conversation:

Colleague: You are so in love with that spy girl you’re not handling anymore!
Michael V.: so am not! Like, no way! Not at all! (*EVERY WORD DRIPPING WITH LOVE AND FEELS*)
Colleague: *Incredulous look*
Michael V.: I’m just worried about her because she might die at the hands of Gina Torres Anna Espinosa, ultra-badass super spy. (*STILL DRIPPING WITH LOVE AND FEELS*)

– Scene –


Meanwhile, early-aughts Brad (character name: Will Tipton) is getting way more action that Michael V., who is left whining and trying too hard not to love Sydney whilst hanging out in a CIA office. After a dinner party, Sydney is rambling on about how much she loves bingeing on ice cream when she drinks tequila, which must be more romantic than it sounds because she and moppet Brad end up kissing. She kisses him, for the record (which is good because otherwise we’d have to hate him a little for making a move approximately eight days after her fiancé’s murder). They both seem to regret the whole thing pretty quickly (tequila, man), and we’ll have to wait until next week to find out how they deal with this awkwardness (and by “next week,” of course, I mean “next time I have a free moment and a Wi-Fi connection,” because Netflix).

love this guy

Finally, on an unrelated note, as much as I love Anna and all the love drama, this guy is easily the highlight of the series. He’s hapless and adorable and he talks way too much, even for a normal person (and way too much for a spy). I really hope he doesn’t die, because he feels a little expendable. Again, I’m resisting the urge to Google.

What do you think of Anna and Syd’s rivalry? Are you shipping Sydney and Michael or Sydney and Will? Sound off in the comments!

Alias 0n Netflix

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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