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'Alias' nostalgia react: The clip show (oh, and Sydney's mom is alive)

Season 1 | Episode 17 | “Q&A” | Aired March 17, 2002

My biggest takeaway from the 17th episode of Alias’ first season is that the producers really must have gone over budget a few times—or they’ve planned something huge leading up to the finale.

Why? Because this episode, “Q&A,” was a clip show. In case you don’t know, a clip show is an episode of television comprised mostly of, you guessed it, clips from previous episodes. I have to admit: It’s been a while since I’ve seen a clip show and it was a little jarring. I don’t know if they’ve actually become less common or if I’ve just stopped watching the kinds of shows that implement clip shows (usually sitcoms, I think—although I admittedly have no research to back that up). Whatever the case, the Alias clip show was exactly what most clips shows are: Fine. Adequate. A little boring.

Alias’ take on the concept involves Sydney being interviewed by the FBI about her involvement with SD-6 and the CIA. As fun as it is to see John Locke from Lost call Sydney out on the bad decisions and lapses in judgment that have been bothering me all season, the show offers very little in the way of new information—until the end, at least.

Alias didn’t go all-in with the clip-show format. Cut in between Sydney’s interview (and the obligatory flashbacks to things the audience has already seen … because that’s the definition of a clip show) is a secondary plot in which Vaughn and Jack Bristow plot to prove that Sydney is not the woman from the Rambaldi prophecy. According to another prophecy by Rambaldi, that same woman will never in her lifetime see Mt. Subasio in Italy. Since the FBI can’t put enough faith in one part of the prophecy to hold Syd indefinitely and completely ignore another part, Jack and Vaughn decide that if they can just get Sydney to Italy to see that damn mountain, they can prove she’s not the woman from the prophecy and get the FBI to let her go.

Alias Q&A

Of course, they have to break her out first. There’s not really any “letting go” in their version of events. They intercept Sydney when she’s being transported to a safe house and arrange for a jet to take her to Italy. Unfortunately, they don’t take her all the way to the airport. They drop her off, in disguise, at a random car and she gets to go it alone. The FBI is really, really invested in getting her back, though, and the police are soon on her tail, pretty much out of nowhere. Rather than be captured, she drives her car into the Pacific and lives underwater for 10 minutes, breathing the air from her car tire. I don’t know how sound the science of that plan is (a quick google shows that Mythbusters busted it), but suspending disbelief is part of the implicit agreement you enter into when you watch Alias.

The big reveal (only reveal? Only thing that really happens or matters?) is that Sydney’s mother is alive. At least, Sydney is pretty sure she is. When she was breathing from that tire underwater, she just knew that’s how her mother faked her own death. It’s probably true because I’ve been sure Syd’s mom must still be alive for a while now, but it’s an odd revelation to have and an odd time to have it. Sydney’s mom is being set up as the REAL Rambaldi woman, though, so there’s that.

I can’t wait for another real episode.

If you want to see what Sydney and Jack are up to now, watch our Alias reunion video:

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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