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original air-date: 02-23-05

Be Kind. Rewind: Sloane and Syd butted heads, but eventually came to an icy compromise regarding their working relationship. Also, Spy Girl and Sis had some fun while working together.

Rambaldi. Anna Espinoza. Mr. Sark. With names like these you’d think that "Echoes" was an episode from season one. But just when we thought that Abrams and company had ditched the mythology as well as a few fun characters, they suddenly reappear just as quickly as they had been cast aside.

The question is, is this merely a February sweeps tactic to get old viewers who were upset with the lack of family drama and mythology to tune in again, or is this a shift back to some of the more complex storylines of seasons 2 and 3?

The answer to that question remains to be seen. However, the transition from the stand alone episodes that we’ve become familiar with since Alias started back up again in January to an episode filled with Rambaldi references was a bit jarring, even for seasoned viewers.

There are a lot of new fans out there that are just becoming familiar with the Alias world this season, and throwing Rambaldi and all of the crap that goes along with him at this point seems a little questionable. Obviously, anyone who watched the show over the past few years did not expect Abrams to abandon the storyline altogether because there had been so much put into it beforehand. But, to give us an episode like this in the middle of a rebuilding season, with very little leading up to it, is a little unsatisfying.

While I agree that they had to go back to it sometime, I think that they could have eased into it a bit more, instead of hitting viewers over the head with everything all at once.

Another questionable aspect of the episode is Anna’s involvement with this offshoot of the Covenant, the Cadmus Revolutionary Front (CRF). I can’t recall Anna ever being mentioned in connection with the Rambaldi followers, but it may be that I have ignored my season 1 DVDs for too long and they could do with some dusting off.

My feeling that this episode is misplaced in the structure of the season doesn’t mean that I didn’t think that it was well done. There were a lot of great moments in "Echoes" that deserve to be mentioned. The first being that the lovely and talented Gina Torres is always a pleasure to watch, and her fight in the boutique with Sydney was hysterical, especially with the soft music playing in the background as they clawed at one another.

Another great thing about the episode is that Sark is back. Why he left in the first place, other than the going to jail part, I will never understand and will continue to be mad at the series producers about until David Anders is a full-time cast member again. Alas, who knows if that will ever happen?

Regardless, watching Sark verbally spar with Vaughn and then get punched in the face was something that I now realize I’ve missed. How can one not love hearing the man say utterly terrible things to Boy Scout in that clipped British accent with a smirk on his face? He’s without a doubt one of the most fun villains to ever appear on TV and he should be brought back, damn it.

Okay, so enough gushing over Sark, and on with the review. I suppose that I will have to mention something about this whole Rambaldi prophecy pertaining to Sydney and Nadia fighting over some object and one of them dying. My response is 1) we’ve heard this all before and 2) it must mean Nadia doesn’t die next week because Syd wasn’t the one that shot her.

Rambaldi stuff is always hard to follow, even for someone who is a veteran fan, so any newbies out there must have been all sorts of confused. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of Rambaldi and all the mythology, it does, after all, make the story more complex, but the problem I have with it is that the show always seems to fall back on it to either create some new drama or to explain away something that doesn’t quite fit. Hopefully, resurrecting this aspect of the show is not an attempt to do any of this, but who knows? Next week, maybe we’ll learn what Anna’s connections are to the CRF, what Sark wants in return for his cooperation, and what that guy told Nadia right before he died. As always there are no guarantees and they like to leave us hanging.

I’ll end by saying, again, that I love Nadia and Weiss, that they are adorable and this causes me to fear for both of their lives. I mean, someone’s gotta die sometime soon or it just wouldn’t be Alias, now would it?

Rebecca Sparling

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