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On TV Today's Date:

original air-date: 01-18-04

Be Kind. Rewind: Kendall revealed the truth about Syd's missing time, SpyGirl learned that she willingly went under a procedure to wipe her memory because she wanted to forget about the Covenant taking her eggs to fulfill Rambaldi's prophecy, and we learned that Lauren is really working for the enemy.

Turning a character over to the dark side can be tricky business. The switch has to be believable; the character's actions cannot become so very outrageous that the shift seems like a desperate ploy created by the writers to spice the show up a bit. Fortunately for the writers of Alias, they never allowed us to get to know Lauren well enough for us to think that it wasn't possible for her to become a baddie.

All that we really knew about her was that she was the bitchy devoted wife of Agent Vaughn and an NSC higher up thanks to daddy dearest. There wasn't more to the character than those few simple facts.

Many fans (this one included) found her boring and annoying and little more than poorly constructed plot device created to drive a wedge between the show's star-crossed lovers. So, while having her working for the enemy isn't all that big a shock and doesn't exactly cause any of us to go into shock, it is a good thing for this character, as well as the actress portraying her, Melissa George.

In "Crossings," George got to do more than just look pretty and be concerned for BoyScout. Now that we know that she's up to no good, every look, every word, that comes out of her mouth seems to be full of double meaning. The coolness with which she regarded the possible death of her husband was harsh, yet great to watch. Her motivations for being a part of the Covenant are still unknown to us, but if the writers play their cards right, they could draw this storyline out for a while and manage to make it interesting while doing so.

Of course, the plot thread is one that we are familiar with (it just smacks of Jack and Irina), and they will have to find a way to make it distinctive, but in the meantime they should concentrate on allowing George to have as much fun as possible with this new aspect of her role. If all goes well, watching Lauren try to undermine the CIA's plans could be almost as exciting as watching evil Francie sneaking around Syd's apartment last season.

Unfortunately, "Crossings" was not without its fair share of problems. Consider this a plea to the writers and producers of the show: Please stop doing the flashforward, flashback thing at the beginning of episodes. We understand that it is an editing trick used to grab the viewers' attention right away and then hold it for the next 55 minutes. This is all well and good, but you've used it far too many times on this show for us to consider this creative or original. Do us a favor and find another way to hold our attention, one that doesn't involve watching the same scene twice.

Isabella Rossellini was the big name guest star in this episode, but as Irina's sister she was really just a poor substitute for what fans really want, the incredible Lena Olin to return to the series. Ending the episode with the awkward kiss between Katya and Jack was also a lame attempt at giving Spy Daddy a possible love interest. The chemistry between Olin and Garber was electrifying and not something that can be recreated with another actress, no matter how hard the writers try.

Hopefully, they will use Rossellini sparingly and make a deal with Olin to return sometime during sweeps, something that was hinted at when Katya told Sloane to back off Irina. Spy Mommy is up to something, and hopefully we'll get to see just what that is sometime soon.

And then there's the thing that everyone will be talking about after watching this episode: the much anticipated, overly hyped kiss between Sydney and Vaughn. Of course, fans of the couple most likely swoon, but for those of us concerned with more than the romantic angle of the show, the entire scene was flat and without any real emotion. Having the two argue for a good chunk of the episode, then make up and make out because they realize they might die is just a little pathetic. We know that they aren't going to die, and we also know that this changes nothing between the two of them. Vaughn will chalk it up to a near death experience and remain faithful to wifey, Sydney will go cry in a corner somewhere, and there will be lots more angst for everyone.

Overall, this episode did not impress and was only a slight step up from last week's, which was a complete and utter disaster. But seeing Sydney holding a knife to Sark's manhood sort of made up for some of the more sucky parts. Well, at least I thought it was funny.

Rebecca Sparling

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