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'Alias' nostalgia react: So much spy stuff in the season 1 finale

This week, I watched episode 22 of Alias. It’s been a whole season, and it feels a little like the end of summer camp. When I started watching Alias, I was really excited. I had heard great things from other TV lovers and thought I was in for the ride of my life, or at least a really good ride.

I’ll admit there were times when the fun lagged, when I wanted to write home and beg my mom to come pick me up, or at least to send some decent snacks to power me through. But by the end, I had really come around. Alias and I feel like old friends now. If Green Day’s “Good Riddance” were playing, it would actually be like the end of summer camp.

But season 1 of Alias didn’t end with campfire songs or sentimental ’90s songs. It ended with murder, torture, love, loss, intrigue, and suspense—exactly like a show about a spy should. Really. All of those things. Don’t believe me? I’ll break it down. You know I love lists.

Murder: Sloane manages to get a stay of execution for his wife, Emily, after she figured out his “secret” role as the leader of SD-6. She’s been sick with cancer for years and, at the time her hit is ordered, doctors are giving her a week to live. Then, in a miraculous recovery, Emily goes into remission; now the Alliance wants her dead again. Sloane has to kill her to secure his spot in their leadership. He goes with poison, wine, and some giving-it-all-away tears as she drinks it.

Torture: Will Tippin has been poking his nose where it doesn’t belong for a full 22 episodes now, and it’s finally really caught up to him. He might have thought it caught up to him last week, when he was captured by enemy spies and almost shot during Sydney’s daring rescue, but he was wrong. At the end of last week’s episode, he was shot. This week picks up with him being dragged off to a torture chamber to be broken and used as really gross, bloody bait for Jack and Sydney.

Love: Being on the brink of death makes most people really chatty about love. For spies, it just makes them take reckless risks for each other that speak volumes. Risky acts in the (silent) name of love include: Dixon giving Syd the courtesy of asking her what she’s up to before turning her obviously-a-mole butt in to SD-6, Jack going against the CIA to help Sydney rescue Will, Vaughn going against the CIA to help Sydney rescue Will, and Will hugging Jack and getting blood all over his nice suit after he’s rescued.

Loss: SD-6 and the CIA have both lost key Rambaldi artifacts to Khasinau, thanks to the Bristows. Will has lost his good looks (at least until the bruising goes down). Sloane has lost the love of his life. Syndey seems to have lost Vaughn (but I seriously doubt that, mostly because I remember seeing him in marketing for the show for more than a year). These guys are a big bunch of losers.

Intrigue: Everything about the Rambaldi prophecy and artifacts is intriguing, but especially the giant weapon (we think?) Khasinau has built based on the Rambadli designs. He’s built it, but doesn’t know how it works or what it does (he needs the artifacts Jack and Sydney steal to figure that part out). Also, it seems to be a giant, scary red golf ball made of water. This is me, intrigued.

Suspense: It has been obvious since the show’s soapiest turn that Sydney’s mother is still alive, and we’ve learned through little hints and outright, solved clues that she was in the spy game when she was younger and is probably still a force to be reckoned with. The very last moments of the season 1 finale, however, finally bring Syndey face-to-face with her for the first time in almost 30 years, when she’s introduced as “The Man,” the leader of the organization Khasinau and Mr. Sark have been working for all along. I haven’t been truly surprised by Alias many times during this experience, and I don’t know that it would be fair to call this “truly” surprising (we knew Syd’s mom was coming back in a big way sooner or later), but I didn’t see this coming. I expected the quest to find her mother to be Sydney’s driving force going into season 2, so this reveal turned my expectations for the future of the show upside down.

My Alias viewing experience has been a fun ride, and I’m glad I didn’t tap out during the slow arcs. From what I hear, season 2 is even better … but Alias and I are going to take a little break. When we rekindle our tryst, I fully expect things to move faster (because I’m a binger by nature), but there was definitely something to be said for taking things slow this time around.

Goodbye for now, Alias. It’s been real.

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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