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On TV Today's Date:

original air-date: 03-21-04


Be Kind. Rewind: Sloane hooked up with Dr. Barnett and Vaughn took Sark into custody after a little highflying adventure.

Everyone knows that there are good episodes and bad episodes. These are usually the ones that get the most attention, the ones that get people talking about their respective goodness or badness.

But there are also mediocre episodes. These shows rarely get as much notice and are forgotten by the time the next new episode airs. Most of the time when someone asks me what I thought of one of these episodes, all I can really say is "eh." Not very eloquent, but that is the feeling that an episode like "Taken" inspires.

One of the problems with an episode like this one is that there were some ok things about it, so you can't completely rant and rave about how much it sucked. Another problem is that these things that kind of worked don't really overrule the things that didn't. In the end, you are basically left with tons of questions and an unsatisfied feeling.

The questioning part isn't all that bad really, since a show like Alias is supposed to keep you wondering what's going to happen next. This episode left viewers with many questions, such as why the hell didn't Vaughn stay with Sark until he was in safely in CIA custody? Ok, well that was just an annoying nitpick that the writers should have dealt with better, but "Taken" does force us to deal with even more interesting questions.

For instance, what is Irina's name doing on a Rambaldi artifact? This "revelation" comes about at a time when rumors are running rampant about the possibility of Lena Olin returning to the series sometime near the end of this season. Could the box bearing her character's name be a clue to viewers that Spy Mommy might actually grace us with her presence once more? Unfortunately, we'll just have to wait and see.

Another question that's worthy of some pondering is what's the deal with Senator Reed? His relationship with Lauren doesn't seem all that loving and his lack of interest in helping Dixon makes the viewer wonder if maybe he has some dealings with the Covenant as well. We've never learned how Lauren got involved with the group and if the way Sydney got involved with spying is any indication, it could be possible that treason just happens to run in the family.

The one question that was more unsettling than it was interesting was what was the deal with Lauren in this episode? One minute she's being a devious double agent and the next she seems to have some real reservations about what she's doing to Dixon. What is going on here? Just a few weeks ago she was prepared to kill her husband and now she suddenly has a heart? Please! It's completely understandable that they don't want to put Lauren into some clear-cut category, but this ambiguity is more jolting for the viewer than it is helpful in developing the character.

One of the better aspects of this episode is that it gives Carl Lumbly a chance to shine. He is always really good at the emotional stuff and what better way to get a grown man to cry than kidnapping his children? Seriously though, Lumbly always manages to make dramatic scenes involving his character into something great to watch.

Slightly less enjoyable were the action scenes in this episode. The building with the bomb, the scene with Syd trying to get into the government facility, the part where Spy Girl has a heart attack collar around her neck; all of these scenes were supposed to be suspenseful, but there were just too many of them. They tried to make every scene so action packed that they couldn't actually work and add something to the episode rather than being distracting and detracting from it.

In the end, "Taken" is not the kind of episode that can stand on its own. It gives us some ideas about what we can expect to happen next, but other than that, again, the only thing that can be said is "eh."

Rebecca Sparling

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