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After Six
original air-date: 02-15-04

Be Kind. Rewind: Jack was told to kill Sloane, Syd and Vaughn shared a near-death kiss, and Lauren stepped up her evil actions for the Covenant against the CIA.

I’m a TV junkie. I freely admit it and embrace it, no matter how nerdy it may make me appear. And, despite the perks that being an addict affords me, such as dozens of VHS tapes and DVDs immediately available for my viewing pleasure or tons of useless knowledge about all of my favorite shows and their characters, there are certain pitfalls to my obsession. For example, there is a certain sinking feeling that every truly obsessed fan gets in his or her stomach after they watch an awesome episode of their favorite show, only to learn that the damn network isn’t going to give you another fix for three weeks! Denial is the first response, followed by the grave knowledge that you will be going through serious withdrawal during this time period.

Of course, this is exactly what I’m experiencing after watching this week’s episode “After Six.” What does ABC need to bump Alias for? I mean, who watches the Oscars anyway?

My petty ranting aside, “After Six” is the best episode we’ve seen in a long time and that is largely due to the fact that villains with actual personalities, rather than the nameless Russian or Korean generals we’re used to, have returned to the show.

Who in their right mind would have thought that watching Sark and Lauren on an international killing spree would not only be entertaining, but far more interesting than watching whatever it was that Sydney and Vaughn were up to? I sure as heck didn’t, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much chemistry these two baddies have. Melissa George’s Lauren is far more amusing when she’s being an evil, scheming murderess than when she’s pretending to play house with Vaughn. Throw her together with the ever-smirking Sark, add a plan to become higher ups in the Covenant and you’ve got a hell of a good time.

Personally, I’m willing to give up on Syd and Vaughn right now and urge J.J. Abrams to devote more screen time to this sexy and twisted relationship. There’s no longing looks or woeful subtext between these two; with Sark and Lauren it’s all about lust and backstabbing, and there’s nothing more fun than that.

Though SpyGirl and Boyscout are still the main focus of the show, their pining for each other was, thankfully, kept to a minimum by the need for an actual plot to take place.

The best scene of the entire episode happens when Marshall tries to get the pair through a series of death traps (created by useless guest star Vivica A. Fox) while simultaneously getting Weiss ordained so he can marry pregnant girlfriend Carrie before she is rushed off to have their baby. Few shows could mix comedy and suspense this well, but the writers and director made this look like a walk in the park…minus the land mines of course.

Ms. Fox might not have made much of an impression on viewers, but bringing Quentin Tarantino back as Cole, who is now “the man in front of the man” at the Covenant, was a stroke of genius. Tarantino’s character is just wacky enough to be funny and just scary enough to be believable as a cold-blooded killer. Again, allowing villains to have not only names, but also character seems to make all the difference when it comes to watch-ability. Hopefully, he’ll hang around for a few episodes now that he seems to be in charge of Lauren and Sark’s actions within the mysterious organization.

Sloane’s storyline was confusing and not really worth trying to figure out. He has a big secret, one that plagues him and drives him to inject himself with some weird looking green drug. Like this is something all that original. All bad guys turned good guys are troubled in some way or another, so what sets Sloane apart from the rest of them?

Whatever his big secret is, it will most likely be revealed when the next new episode airs, which is about 20 days, 21 hours and 9 minutes from time that this review was written. Not that I’m counting or anything.

Rebecca Sparling

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