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On TV Today's Date:

Welcome To Liberty Village
original air-date: 01-26-05

Be Kind. Rewind: Vaughn sorta-kinda started to get over the whole killing his wife thing, Syd asked him to spend the night, and Nadia continues to try to learn more about the mother she never knew.

Holy Nicole Kidman! In this episode, Syd and Vaughn got Stepfordized in order to infiltrate a Russian group called The October Contingent that had its hands on an electromagnetic weapon. Posing as a terrorist Russian couple, Spy girl and boy are sent to a facility where prospects learn how to become American suburbanites in a fake neighborhood that bears an eerie resemblance to Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lane.
Trainees are later sent to the US where they seamlessly blend in and carry out acts of terrorism right under our government’s nose… the irony of this is just too much.

And while most would think that posing as a blissfully married couple might seem like an easy task for our two lovebirds, it seems that Syd and Vaughn’s relationship has a few intimacy issues that need to be worked on. As if being called boring by Weiss and Nadia weren’t enough, their Russian guide to American life says that they seem cold and unfeeling towards each other.

I couldn’t get over how hysterical all this talk was, because it’s just so very true. As I’ve said before, the whole Syd/Vaughn thing can be tiresome at times and it’s just so nice to see the writers acknowledge this for once. Weiss couldn’t have been more right when he said that their relationship lacks spontaneity and excitement. And the Russian guy, Tom, calling them cold was spot on, because, let’s face it, there really isn’t any spark between these two.

However, even a cynic like myself, who thinks that it’s time to let this relationship go the way of Dawson and Joey and just die already, has to admit that watching these two play house was entertaining. However, this may be due to the fact that they were placed in an outrageous situation thanks to the October Contingent.

I mean, how can you not have fun watching Syd and Vaughn fight to the death with another possible trainee couple in the middle of fake car dealership, especially when the dealer tells them that the winners becomes a member of Liberty Village and gets a new convertible while the losers…well, die? That’s just good, clean, old-fashioned fun right there.

But, I will give Spy Girl and Boy Scout a little bit of a break and admit that it was cute when Vaughn told the fake car dealer the story of their fake engagement, which Vaughn had really planned for Sydney three years ago before she went missing and all that crap. And, I also found that I couldn’t even roll my eyes at the end when they decided (orders be damned!) to take their plane on a detour to France for dinner on the way back from Russia. This move by the writers was just plain smart and surprisingly sweet, and not in the way that makes your teeth hurt either.

Of course, Syd and Vaughn were not the only focus of the episode. It seems that there is something afoot and that both Jack and Sloane, as usual, are in on it. Jack seems to get awful flustered when he realizes that the Russian government is now looking for Irina and when he tells this to Sloane, the commander and chief says that they will have to move up their timetable.

What is this you say? Could it be that there is another conspiracy involving Spy Mommy be in the works? Is she really dead? Does this give hope to all those Lena Olin fans out there that she might actually return to the show? If I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath, but it does look like there is something awfully sneaky going on and it might just be the kind of twist that fans who find this self-contained episodes formula a little too nice and neat for their tastes.

Again, I found myself enjoying this episode, maybe more than I should have, but come on! There was a gunfight in a car dealership! There was a weapon in a pie tin! That’s just zany and funny, people.

One note of criticism before I go though, what is up with Dixon? First we demote his character from his position of power and now he is simply left to meander through the backdrop, being given the occasional line here or there? Dixon is the man, so please give the terrific Carl Lumbly something to do other than pretend to be a crackhead Jamaican or a nearly mute workhorse for Sloane. Both the actor and the character deserve better material than this.

Rebecca Sparling

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