original air-date: 10-12-03
Kind. Rewind: Sark is out and working with The Covenant,
Vaughn's back on the job, and Mrs. Vaughn is the new NSC liaison
to the CIA.
a new character on an established TV series, especially a
character that will be hanging around for a while, can be
a difficult process. The audience is familiar with characters
that they've been watching week after week for the past couple
of years, and throwing someone new into the mix is a risk.
will love the character and completely embrace the newbie
while others will hate him or her, and wonder why the writers
decided to create this worthless person and effectively ruin
their beloved show. Okay, so maybe all audiences don't respond
with such extreme emotions to fictional characters (it's possible
that it's just this fan), but the introduction of a character
does leave the audience with a number of questions and feelings
about what this new presence means for their favorite show.
the case on Alias with the introduction of Vaughn's
wife and NSC liaison, Lauren Reed, played by Melissa George.
Though Reed was introduced in the previous episode, "Reunion"
is the first chance that we have to see Mrs. Vaughn in action.
The episode begins with a satellite falling from the sky in
Russia. A former Russian colonel named Oransky is the culprit
and the CIA learns that he's working with the recently freed
Mr. Sark. Sydney feels that capturing Sark should be the Agency's
main priority, but Lauren disagrees. She feels that tracking
Sark's movements will be useful in helping the CIA to learn
more about the Covenant.
where things get messy. Sydney and Lauren regarded each other
with a sort of strained politeness for about the first five
minutes of the episode, but as soon as the two disagree it
becomes a full-blown bitch fest.
a CIA briefing room might not seem like the best place to
have it out with your ex-boyfriend's new wife, the scene itself
is not completely absurd. Sydney has lost everything, her
friends, her boyfriend: everything. All she really has to
hold onto is her job, a job that she happens to kick ass at.
Now, bring in Lauren, who is not only the wife of the man
that Sydney loved, but also someone who is trying to tell
her how to do her job and you're going to have one pissed
between Vaughn's old flame and his new love works in this
episode. Granted, watching the three of them exchange looks
of longing, jealousy, and regret for the rest of the season
will most likely become tiresome, but for now it serves its
purpose. And it's not just Sydney's reaction that is understandable;
Lauren's feelings are completely justifiable as well. It's
not Lauren's fault that Sydney lost two years or that Vaughn
chose her to move on with, so she's obviously not going to
hold Syd in the highest regard when she starts a catfight
in the middle of a meeting.
the audience can see where both women are coming from, that
doesn't mean that they're going to like Reed all that much.
She's still very much a threat to Sydney, who as the main
character most fans sympathize with. Lauren is the one overseeing
the investigation into Lazarey's murder, and she comes very
close to learning the truth when Marshall tries to reconstruct
the image of the killer from a surveillance video. Thankfully,
Jack is up to his old tricks again, all of them illegal of
course, and he prevents them from positively identifying Syd
as the murderer.
surprisingly, Weiss has become the voice of reason in the
midst of this muddled love-triangle. He's now Syd's main confidante,
as seen by them sharing shots of tequila, but he's not letting
her fester in her own self-pity. He tells her that Lauren's
a good person and that Syd should give her a chance. Through
Weiss we also learn some background information about the
new Mrs. Vaughn. Apparently she met Vaughn while working on
the case involving Irina's disappearance and she's the daughter
of a senator from Virginia.
extremely interesting considering Reed has a very noticeable
Australian accent courtesy of actress George's hailing from
the land down under. How a Virginian senator's daughter acquires
such an accent I can't be sure, but hopefully the writers
will clear this up as the character becomes more fleshed out.
back to Weiss, Sydney couldn't have a better friend at the
moment. Not only is he non-judgmental and attentive, he bought
her a copy of Alice in Wonderland very much like one
that she lost when her apartment burned down. If there was
ever an appropriate moment to go "Awwww!" while
watching show, this would be it.
"mission of the week" seems to take a back seat
in this episode. Syd and Vaughn go undercover to prevent Sark
from getting his hands on a device that would bring down even
more satellites and in nixing this plan almost get blown up.
In those scenes it was almost like watching an episode from
the previous season. The suspense was there, the nail biting
excitement was there, but it doesn't last.
ends with the successful completion of the mission and Syd
saying a polite goodnight to the Vaughns. This is a reminder
that this show isn't what it used to be, and it's still too
early to tell whether or not that's a good thing.
this show is pretty inventive and J.J. Abrams is willing to
take the basic concept an turn it on its ear from time to
time, there was still a formula that was used during the first
two seasons that we aren't seeing this year. During years
one and two, Syd would go off on some crazy adventure and
most episodes would end in some sort of cliffhanger that would
force us viewers to tune in the following week to see what
would happen next.
that the writers felt that the new direction the show has
taken wouldn't allow the old way of doing things to continue,
but in doing so they've lost the feelings of surprise and
suspense that had viewers excitedly sitting on pins and needles
until the next new episode.
However, this is only the third episode in a season that seems
to be very much about rebuilding, so it may be too soon to
say that the thrill is gone. It's also too early to tell whether
or not the addition of Lauren Reed will be an asset to the
spy drama or if it will shift the focus from concerns of national
security and terrorist organizations to bitter battles between
Spy Girl and wifey for Vaughn's attentions and affections.
sake of the show, let's hope that the latter does not occur.