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On TV Today's Date:

The Awful Truth
original air-date: 01-12-05

Be Kind. Rewind: All our favorite spies became Black Ops agents under the direction of Sloane, we learned that Jack offed Irina because she had a contract out on Syd’s life, and Nadia swore revenge against the person responsible for her mother’s death.

On the surface, there’s nothing all that extraordinary about "The Awful Truth." It wasn’t one of those episodes with an amazing plot twist that left viewers sitting with their mouths open wide in shock and drool forming at the corners of their lips. It didn’t have any major revelation about a character or really exciting stunt or even all that many funny lines. However, Alias fans should be pleased with this installment because it proved that J.J. Abrams and his staff can still do a stand alone episode and do it well.

After surviving the tangled web we so lovingly refer to as Season 3, the writers needed to prove to the viewers that they could take a step back from the mythology of the show and produce an hour of television that was basically self-contained, flowed well, and still kept the major plot threads of the story moving forward.

Though there were attempts to do just that last season, they failed because we were so deeply immersed in the Rambaldi/Covenant/love triangle stuff that any effort to tell a story that could stand on its own was overshadowed by all the other plot points the writers were dealing with.

What it basically comes down to is this, "The Awful Truth" was a satisfying episode because we had a villain, the good guys used all kinds of crazy gadgets to stop the villain’s evil plan, and villain dies at the end.

I know what you’re thinking. This is Alias; it’s never that simple. And, to some extent, you’re right.

Yeah, sure, there was stuff involving Jack’s murderous deception and Nadia’s messed up family history, but that stuff was kept to a minimum. The focus was where it should have been, on the case that they were dealing with this week.

Sleazy arms dealer Bishop was the perfect villain for such an episode and, apparently, the perfect scapegoat for Jack to blame Irina’s death on so Nadia wouldn’t take kick his ass.

Speaking of SpySis, anyone else finding it a little odd that the CIA, especially a Black Ops division, would take on an agent from another country? Not sure that the real CIA would do this, but considering the state of the real institution and the people in charge of it, who knows what kind of stuff they allow to take place?

The great thing about this episode was that everything came together nicely; the Jack’s scheme, Nadia’s adjustment to life in LA, and Weiss becoming a part of the team by being captured by Bishop’s henchmen all fit in perfectly with this week’s case.

Even Marshall telling Vaughn to shut up while trying to locate Sydney was not only appropriate, but also funny as hell, especially when he tried to apologize and Vaughn said, “No, that was good.”

Even though there was nothing all that exciting about the episode, considering that this is the second installment of a new season that is trying to rebuild the show, it shows us that the writers are staying on course and bringing us quality hours of TV without making the viewers’ heads spin with too much information.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to think that we Alias viewers are a pretty smart crowd and can decipher the mythology stuff fairly well, but it’s nice to view a straightforward episode like "The Awful Truth" that doesn’t include all of that from time to time.

Of course, next week there’s more confusing family stuff coming our way, so who knows when we’ll next see another episode like this one?

Rebecca Sparling

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