Well well well, one word for to sum up "The Hourglass":
Ok, I spent too much time mucking around with the html there, so I'll get to substantive stuff.
But first: On the rooftop scene with Syd, Von and Jack, the youngsters wore sunglasses (Syd, being the ultimate fashion maven on the show now that Sloane's stuck with prison duds, had on some très chic shades), while Jack went au naturel, as it were. Which is to say: the kids need help looking cool, Jack just is.
I hope they bring in a real hottie for Sydster because this Melissa George is no longer interesting to look at ever since she tamed her eyebrows.
Then again, Jack types in ALL CAPS. Someone get him some sunglasses.
But hold that thought; his seemingly vicious and cold, "Salud!" to Sloane when he toasted was vintage (hah! geddit, vintage!!?) Jack. He returns to the annals of cool.
Beginning now, I will address more serious issues, so if you want a larf, I suggest you click here.
An acting moment (defined loosely in this case as a scene that calls for one or more of its actors to be particularly emotive) needs to be earned, and so when Sloane made the first of his appeals to Jack early in the episode, the effect on me as a viewer was negligible because there had been insufficient emotional setup. Compare this scene with Sloane's last words (and also, to the dialogue-muted scene where he confessed to Emily his involvement in SD-6 in season 1) -- the audience had been prepped -- marinated, if you will -- finally aware of the immediacy of the stakes involved.
The most stunning sequence in Alias history was Sydney in Robocop mode/Sloane execution (almost a coda!) -- magnificently rendered. However, I wasn't terribly keen on the Deftones being used as the background music if only because they usually aren't BIG and EPIC enough (they usually dwell in grimier climes). "Weight" by Isis (right click>"Save target as...") would've been my choice -- clean and HUGE. (Who am I kidding... silly indie boy.)
When Sloane was strapped down on the lethal injection table, the obvious visual echo was to crucifixion (especially since other depictions of lethal injection that I've seen have the arms simply at the sides, rather than spread outwards), reinforced by his word choice; he tells the witnesses to his execution that they must surely believe that "this is as it should be," roughly paraphrasing Jesus's, "It is accomplished." Strangely enough, I almost want to read Sloane's words as the completion of a plot arc (in a way, it's the conclusion to "Sloane in jail") which signals the coming of a new storyline (involving the Passenger (which function incidentally I'm not sure about)), which evokes the whole concept of prophecy and Rambaldi (stray thought: any relation to Rimbauld?).
Add to that the direction and editing: the use of superimposed double-images of the witnesses -- of those present, two have some sort of double-life or double-intent in the offing: Lauren, and Jack (who played that he wanted to see Sloane dead but had a contingencyy plan -- yet again). However, unless the Aaron The Secret Service Guy From 24 has some hidden agenda, there's a slight problem with the double images.
The running source of tension between Syd and Jack in the episode was over his decision not to reveal the results of his investigation about the Trust in order to save Sloane, thematically running along the lines of:
Jack: I found no evidence.
Syd: Sloane should die, but not for something he didn't do.
So withheld evidence (i.e. an absence of evidence) serving as the basis for an irrevocable (I shall use the word loosely here because I am discussing Alias after all) course of action do you see?
That the full consequences of the wrong choice were ultimately averted by such an entertainingly hackneyed resolution ("Here is special antidote to bring back life!") underscores the insolubility of the current situation, that in order to extricate oneself from it, the only answer is to rely on deus ex machina, the arbitrary and whimsical stroke of the writer.
In other words, not in this reality pal.