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Preface_5_Incredible_Years

Preface_5_Incredible_Years

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Published by dlavery

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Published by: dlavery on Apr 14, 2011
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11/08/2013

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Preface:FiveIncredibleYears
“Thankyouforfiveincredibleyears.”—Placardattheendof‘AlltheTimeintheWorld’,thefinalepisodeof
Alias
‘Incredible”isanincrediblyambiguousword.Theproducersoftherecentlydeceased
Alias
,anABCtelevisionspydramathatendeditsfive‐year,never‐quite‐successful‐in‐the‐ratingsruninMay2006,were,ofcourse,thinkingoftheOxfordEnglishDictionary’s(informal)seconddefinition—“extraordinarilygood”—whentheypostedtheirnowobligatorytip‐of‐the‐hat‐to‐the‐fansclosingtitle.Thefinalesofpopulartelevisionseries—ofa
M*A*S*H
or
Seinfeld 
or
Friends
—oftenengender“culturalspectacles”(Morreale2003),andtheendingsofmostlong‐runningepisodicseries,withtheirpermanentclosureofcomplexnarratives,ordinarilyresultinatleastanattendantsenseofthedramatic.But
Alias
returntotheairon19ings,
1
resultedinlittlefanfare,andtheairingofthe104thand105thepisodeson22May2006wentvirtuallyunnoticed.AsColinMahan(2006)wouldnotethedayaftertheend,“
Alias
lefttheairforeverlastnight,butaudiencesdeniedknowingitexisted.Insteadofgivingtheshowanormalsend‐off,ABCmovedthefinaletoMondayandpitteditagainsttheseasonfinalesof24andTV’snumber‐onesitcom,TwoandaHalfMen.EvenSydneyBristowcouldn’tgetoutofthatkindoffix.”Recappingthefinalepisodeof
Alias
ontheever‐snideTelevisionWithoutPity.comwebsite,“Erin”wouldseemtohavebeenrevertingtotheoriginalmeaningof“incredible”:“impossibleorhardtobelieve.”Snidelyobservant,ErindescribesthesetupforasequenceinwhichfiveyearsofRambaldimythology(andathirty‐yearquestbycriminalmastermindArvinSloane)comestoaclimax:Mongolia.Somebodygetmeasherpaandaflagonofyak’smilkandgetmethehelloutofhere.AtalargeencampmentinthemiddleofPalmDesert,Sloane
 
1
In Season Four,
Alias
had been paired on US television with fellow Bad Robotproduction, the phenomenonally successful
Lost,
resulting in an upturn in its ratings. InSeason Five, ABC perversely severed the two J.J. Abrams series, and
Alias' 
rating dipped.
 
The Collected Works of David Lavery 2
arrivesinaHumvee.HegetsoutandmeetswithamanspeakingRussian.Themansayshethinksthey’ve“foundit,”andSloanewalkswithhimintoabunkerthathastheRambaldieyesymbol<O>onit.Butthenherincredulitygetsthebestofherandshelosesit:Well,that[aRambaldisymbolinMongolia]can’tbegood.Ormaybeit’sawesome.Anythingthatmovesthisplotalongisfinebyme.Thecloserwearetothismessendingthebetter.Oh,what?LikeYOUdon’tfeelthesame?Please.EventheACTORSthinkthisshowshould’veended,like,twoseasonsago.AndtheyactuallyLOVEit.AndJaybramsCLEARLYthoughtitshouldhaveendedagesagobecauseheleftbackwhenshitstillmadesense,andhe’sbarelyreturnedlongenoughtohaveapieceofcheesecakedowninthedamncommissary.Thisshitisover,dudes.OVER.(myitalics)
 
The Collected Works of David Lavery 3
Welltheshit(aka
Alias
’nolongercrediblewriting
2
)mayhavebeen“over”(aka“outstayeditswelcome,”“continueditsnarrativetoolong,”“didn’tknowwhentoquit”),buttheepisodewasnot.Muchhadalreadytranspired:SydneyrappelledoffaskyscraperinapretendSydney,managing,incredibly,tosnapphotosofTheTwelveonthewaydown!(andperhapsinspiringtheleapoffaithofEthanHunt(TomCruise)inarealShanghaiinJaybrams’
MissionImpossibleIII
);MarshallFlickman’srevealingphotoshootinaBangkoksauna;MarshallandRachel’skidnapping;dizzyingplanet‐hopstoRome,Ixtopia,London,MountSubasio,etc.thatmadeeven
24
’sinstantaneouscrisscrossingofLosAngelesseemlanguid;thedestructionofAPO(andagoodportionofdowntownLA)byaSarkplantedexplosion;numerousflashbackstoSyd’schildhood;Peyton’sUzi‐in‐eachhandslaughterofTheTwelve(orwasittheCircleoftheBlackThorn?).
3
Andmuchwasyettocome.Thesatellites(“stars”)hadnotyetfallenfromthesky;theplannedlaunch(byIrinaDerevko)ofstolenRussianICBMstowardLondonandWashingtonhadnotyetbeenactivated(andthenprevented).JackhadnotyetbeenshotinthechestbySloaneorSloanegunneddownbySydney,norhadVaughnshotSarkintheleg,orRachelrevealedthesecret(snakes)togettinganswersoutofPeyton.Sloanehadnotyetbecomeimmortal.Sydneyhadnotbattled‐to‐the‐deathwithhermother.Irinahadnot,likeallgoodmoviesupervillains,plummetedtoher
 
2
It is the writers that Television Without Pity's exasperated critic, by the endincapable of suspending her disbelief, cannot forgive:After more commercials (yay!), Irina finally opens up the case and fondlesdles TheSphere. 'So that's it,' says Syd, entering the room.' That’s The Horizon, isn't it?' Well,sure, Syd. It's The Horizon. Except that The Horizon that Irina stole back in 'MaternalInstinct' seemed to be about the size of a book and about as flat, so unless The Horizonstarted out deflated and had to be inflated in order to receive the Red Juice of Rambaldi,I'd say that the writers had NO IDEA what The Horizon was supposed to be and had tojust retrofit it into this plot line previous episodes wouldn't be totally moot. Also?Rambaldi ‘s really fond of spheres because there was already a Sphere of Life back inSeason Four and now there's another Sphere that may have been a Horizon but only if it's made of beach ball material and, and, honestly? I could give two fucks becauseobviously the writers don't.
3
I trust I am not alone in detecting similarities between final episodes of 
Alias
andWarner Brothers'
Angel,
2004's ‘Not Fade Away'. After all, Jeffrey Bell, co-author and directorof the
Angel 
finale had become an executive producer
on Alias,
and Drew Goddard, co-authorof 'All the Time in the World,' had been story editor on
Angel's
last season. And, of course,Amy Acker appeared in both: as
Angel's
Illyria and
Alias' 
Peyton.

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