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'Alias' nostalgia react: Finally, Bradley Cooper goes superspy (kind of)

Season 1 | Episode 14 | “The Coup” | Aired Feb 24, 2002

Finally! Will Tippin has really gone Junior Secret Agent on us, and it’s about time. I’ve been dying to see where his investigation into SD-6 would take him, and this week, I got a little (a very little, but still) satisfaction. David McNeil has sent his daughter away to safety and he’s ready to talk. (Although I kind of wonder if he’s on the up-and-up or if he’s really a plant of some kind. Alias has me suspicious of every character.)

But first, he needs Will to break into a computer where he used to work and retrieve a list of everyone who used the software he knew he needed to track when he went to prison. Will sets up a bogus interview with the CEO of the company, then excuses himself to the bathroom, breaks into the conveniently bathroom-adjacent computer lab, and downloads the program from a computer that appears to be running on DOS even though it’s the 21st century.

I worry that Will is maybe being set up for something, but I’m so happy to finally see some real progress in his storyline that I don’t even care. And as a journalist, I have to note how impressed I am by his ability to schedule a sit down with the CEO of a major company so quickly.

What’s Sydney doing while Will is getting his superspy on? She’s partying in Vegas—for work. She and Dixon are on assignment to retrieve a ring (which Dixon gets to win in a high-stakes poker game while posing as a dreadlocked member of the Jamaican government—it’s amazing). This means posing as a Vegas dancer and breaking into some of the most secure computers in the world to manipulate the casino’s facial recognition software.

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I think this is my favorite disguise Dixon has worn so far (but it’s not even close to my favorite for Sydney, for whom dressing like a Vegas showgirl is boring). The SD-6 case takes a backseat to Sydney’s personal life this week because Francie and Charlie go to Vegas too, and almost run into Syd when she’s undercover.

This is pretty much all Sydney’s fault for admitting that she was going to Vegas in the first place. She’s supposed to be going for “the bank,” and Francie immediately wants to come along. Sydney should have anticipated this because any time you mention Vegas to anyone who lives in Los Angeles, they want to make a weekend trip out it. Sydney tries to talk Francie into waiting a week so they can all go when she doesn’t have to work, but Francie ends up ignoring this, probably because Sydney works every single weekend; if they waited for a weekend she was actually free, Francie would never, ever go to Vegas again.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t warn Syd, who realizes what’s happening when she spots Francie and Charlie across the casino whilst dressed as a showgirl when she’s supposed to be on a work trip for the bank.

Adding to Sydney’s personal struggles is the fact that, at the beginning of the episode, she runs into a woman who claims to have had an affair with Charlie. Actually, she just claims to have dated him and for it to have ended badly—it’s news to her that their fling was an affair. Sydney was planning to break the very bad news to Francie after her Vegas trip, but when she spots the happy (and very engaged) couple heading into a quickie wedding chapel, she abandons Dixon (temporarily) to go break it up.

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She doesn’t tell Francie; she just pulls Charlie aside and threatens to tell if he doesn’t, warning him not to go through with the wedding unless Francie knows the whole truth. While I applaud her saving Francie (whom I love) from a lot of heartbreak, I kind of hate that Sydney left Dixon hanging, even though he technically gave her the okay to do it. After all, the worst-case scenario for Francie is a divorce. The worst-case scenario for Dixon is death.

Charlie stops the wedding, but he doesn’t tell Francie the real reason why, presumably because no one wants to break up on a vacation (oh, and because he’s a coward). So when Sydney tells her the truth post-Vegas, it’s a whole thing, and there’s a lot of screaming and crying (all from Francie, who doesn’t want to believe it’s true). Then, after Charlie admits the truth, there’s a lot of less-screamy crying (also from Francie, who is now heartbroken).

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After two weeks with “The Box,” it was refreshing to get away from the hardcore Sydney spying stories and to get a little more personal. If only the personal stories hadn’t been kind of devastating.

Oh, who am I kidding? The devastation was worth it for the chance to see Dixon get the cool disguise for once.

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Is Will getting himself into epic trouble? What did you think of the Vegas mission? Discuss in the comments!

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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