The Regularly Scheduled TV Show Blog

Friday, September 30, 2005

Alias 5.01, Smallville 5.01: Information Overload meets Fortress of Solitude

The premiere of the Thursday shows where spies and superheroes abound. The Thursday season premiered with a spy eating for two and a superhero not so super anymore.

The season premiere of Alias was one of the more anticipated premieres I was looking forward to. The season finale ended with Vaughn, implicitly telling Sydney he was a bad guy right before their car gets sideswiped by an SUV. The season premiere starts off at the scene of the accident with an EMT looking over Sydney and an unconscious Vaughn being wheeled off into an ambulance. The medic tries starts to give Sydney a shot when she notices that the radio talk was very much in military operations lingo and that the medic is carrying a gun. Sydney escapes into a nearby field, kills her attackers, but is too late as she sees Vaughn being airlifted out by a helicopter. This concludes the intro of the show, but I was very surprised to see a lack of Alias' trademark circular A-L-I-A-S thingy after the introductory segment finished. I guess they needed to cut time out of the show, or are officially killing their name credit for something similar to Lost, a simple Alias name tag.

After the initial ordeal, Sydney is at a hospital when she an agent comes in to interrogate Sydney about what she did and did not know about Vaughn, as he is under investigation by the federal government. Sydney never tells the investigator about what Vaughn said prior to the accident, and starts the snowball of covering for Vaughn that will continue throughout the episode. A cut to Vaughn shows him also being interrogated, but by his kidnappers, we also learn his actual name which is... something Frenchy I totally forgot it, but I remember it was very Frenchy, but even though he reveals his real name no one uses it. His kidnappers want him to translate a coded message and they play with his dislocated shoulder, until they threaten to go down the hall and cut Sydney's ring figure in order to get him to talk. Of course, Sydney escaped but Vaughn doesn't know that! So, yea, he says he needs someone to set his shoulder so he can write the message, after his shoulder is set he does his spy moves on them and gets free and finds out Sydney escaped when he threatens a guy with a pencil to his eye, pretty funny really because you can actually see the guy's eyeball looking at the pencil in fear as he spills the beans. Vaughn gets free and calls Sydney to ask her to bring him his father's watch, must be something special about that watch, and she reluctantly agrees.

The lead investigator knows Sydney was talking to Vaughn and pushes her to tell him where he is at; she lies and leaves to go meet Vaughn. After meeting up with Vaughn, Sydney pushes Vaughn for "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", no she didn't say it like that because that would have been absolutely horrid writing, but I wanted you to think she did with the quotations, so did it work? Vaughn explains that his father was still alive, and in hiding, and that he has been secretly working with a known criminal, Renee "The Raven" Rienne, credited for murdering CIA operatives as well as other dastardly things. They arrive at a dirty little building and meet a person who worked with Vaughn's father to get more information on why or where his father is located. He tells them about a project called "Prophecy 5”, which they worked on years ago for a private organization. Their job was to decipher a single page of code from a book. After deciphering the code, the organization was slowly knocking off everyone that worked on the project, that’s when he and Vaughn's father went into hiding. In order to find out more about "Prophecy 5" and thus about Vaughn's father, he needs to get the full book to decipher and not just a single page.

After the commercial break, we see Sydney and Vaughn entering a house party where the book is located at. They create a diversion by slipping a glass of champagne that is juiced up with something onto the waiter's plate. A random guy grabs it, drinks it, and BAM he gets knocked out and everyone crowds around him creating the diversion. It must suck being the random guy that gets screwed over by spies, fuck spies. We'll Sydney is off to the electrical control center of the house and Vaughn goes to the safe where the book is located. Sydney calls Marcus back at APO (the center of their operations) to help her figure out how to kill the power to the safe, while Vaughn gets interrupted by the daughter of the house. Oddly, Vaughn and the 20-something girl know each, it appears that he's been there often and is actually a partner to the man who owns the house. There must be a wealth of storylines and episodes that the writers can rehash because of Vaughn's double life. Vaughn gets the girl to leave, opens the safe and grabs the book. Unfortunately, the girl comes back and sees him holding the book and pulls the alarm, but this is the electronic age so alarms are pulled anymore, rather she pushed the alarm button. During their escape, Sydney gets a call from the hospital where she was being treated after the car accident. It appears that she is pregnant and it was quite creative to inform her during an escape scene. She arrives at the edge of the cliff and appears stunned; Vaughn arrives and notices her state of confusion. He asks if everything is alright, she exclaims that she is pregnant, and Vaughn grabs her and parachutes off the cliff.

Back at the USA, the encryption of Vaughn's computer is broken and they find out he is in Italy. Meanwhile, Vaughn and Sydney wait for their contact to give him the book to decipher, he arrives and Vaughn goes out to meet him and give him the text. As they transfer the book, Vaughn's kidnappers and the investigator show up and put ALOT of bullets into the contact and into Vaughn, grab the book and jet. Sydney comes to the side of Vaughn; seriously the guy just got shot 11 times in the chest he's got to be dead. I was extremely surprised to see that they could kill off one of their main characters so easily. It shocked my reality of Alias that no one is safe and anyone could be killed.

Nope, after the commercial break we see Sydney in the hospital waiting to see how Vaughn's surgery goes. Her father comes to comfort her, in his way, only after Sydney tells him of her pregnancy. Sydney sits by Vaughn's side right before he crashes and it appears they can't save him. Seriously, after 11 bullets in the chest he HAD to be dead, but he wasn't and now he dies, so he HAS to be alive. They had him stay alive for 7 minutes in order to kill him off again? Yea right, faked death is Alias' specialty; more people in Alias have come back from the dead than in all the zombie movies put together. Hyperbole, the easy way out. The show kicks into a "4 months later" jump as Sydney walks into an English pub. She sits down and has a conversation with the bartender, who happens to be Renee "the Raven" Rienne, and it looks like in next weeks episode we can expect them to be doing missions together in order to find the "killers" of Vaughn. The season premiere was a massive amount of information, but it felt way too rushed. Nothing was truly explained and plot lines were never fleshed out in the traditional Alias style. The show contained two episodes worth of plot lines in a single episode. I'm assuming this will let writers use further episodes to explain the things that occurred in the season premiere. I guess I'll have to wait until next week to actually be satisfied, much like the recent Lost episode, except not having any new information, this Alias episode contained lots of tiny tidbits of information.

Boy, oh Boy, the Smallville season finale was something special, not really. The only great thing about it was the final scene, with Clark Kent in the middle of snow with the crystal of knowledge as he throws it into the air. Anyone, who has seen the Superman movies, knows that this is the scene where his fortress of solitude is created. True enough, in the beginning of the season premiere, Clark Kent gets his fortress of solitude. He goes into it and starts playing with those little crystals that give him information while talking to his biological father, Jor-El. Back in Smallville, Lana Lang watches at the giant spacecraft that landed during the meteor storm opens and two Kryptonians step out, yup these guys are dressed just as badly as their movie counter-parts. The cavalry, cops, shows up and get owned pretty badly by the two super powered baddies. They go about in search of Kal-El, Superman aka Clark Kent, in order for him to join them in creating a new world order.

Meanwhile, back in the artic, Chloe awakens, I guess she got teleported also with Clark, and notices the rather large ice palace and begins her trek into it. Once inside, she sees Clark in a semi-trance/portal being filled with Kryptonian knowledge, when she succumbs to the cold. She calls out to Clark who comes to her aid; their conversation finally shows Clark how much Chloe already knows about his powers. Clark asks Jor-El if he can leave the fortress, Jor-El grants his wish but only if he returns by sunset. Clark goes supersonic with Chloe to an Alaskan hospital where she can be treated, and she tells him to go back to Smallville in order to help his folks.

At the Kent farm, Jonathan Kent looks for his wipe in the rubble of their house when Lois Lane arrives in order to help him look. They find her under a cabinet and take her to the Smallville hospital. Our dear old fashion impaired friends arrive and drops a laser eye bomb to stir things up. They reach Jonathan Kent, give him a neck stretch, and toss him across the room, all in hopes of locating Kal-El. Lana shows up and says she will show them where they can find Kal-el, she plans to take them to the vault in Lex's house, where large amounts of Kryptonite is stored, in order to stop them. Her plan fails as they do get weakened, but are able to close the vault door and award Lana a super powered backhand for her efforts.

Clark soon arrives after getting the 411 on Lana and the evil duo from Lois, when he is approached with an offer he can't refuse. They offer him the power to rule the world if he joins them, or they toss him through a portal into limbo where he can't stop them. Clark, of course, refuses and they open the portal that starts to suck him in. He breaks the floor and tries to hang on. He is able to propel himself out of the vortex area of the portal and knocks the other two into it instead. The portal closes and a picture of the evil duo flies out the window? Yea, I don't know about that one either. Clark notices the sun is going to set soon, but instead helps Lana out instead of rushing back to his fortress of solitude. While removing the glass from her hair he cuts himself right after the sun has set, say goodbye to your powers Clark. Jor-El, I guess punishes him for his ineptitude to keep an appointment by removing Clark's powers. My bet is that the only way he gets his powers back is by going by foot back to his fortress, which would totally suck for a guy who has been running supersonic all his life. The final scene of the episode shows the spacecraft in a Lex laboratory, as a black goo is dripping from it and reforms into a person. Remember there were three baddies from the movie, I guess this guy was just a little bit late, but he does in fact make number three.


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