So close to Dead!Von -- so so close! I was half expecting Weiss to ask Von if he saw who nicked him, only for Von to reply, "I was stabbed in the back, how was I supposed to see who did it?" Then of course he goes ahead and identifies who it was that got him. Superb!
(Von was a puss to back out of killing Lauren with that crowbar. For 5 seconds, I was thinking he'd grown a backbone and gone 'ardcore like.)
(Isabella Rossellini had a thankless cameo -- one scene and she gets shot, she didn't even rate as a plot device, more like a bug on a windshield. For shame, JJ!)
Here's some more Von-caused griping: Sydney deciding out of the blue to kill Lauren because of what she did to Von was poorly developed and seemed horribly out of character. At the least, though, it gave her the chance to remind us that yes, she really is a good spy (for once!) by disarming Katya.
Finally, the "cliffhanger"/"revelation" that had Jack revealed as having done something nefarious to Syd in her childhood (e.g. sign her up for some spy thing while she was but a kiddie) is nothing new to fans with any sort of memory (i.e. Project Xmas anyone?), so in that way I feel cheated. (Reminds me to write a (yet another) entry about Alias and its amnesiac brand of aestheticized formula.)
Still, I did enjoy the episode. It doesn't stack up against the other highlights of this season, nor is it a blow-my-mind finale, but it did entertain. Marshall was at his funniest in a long time, Von showed the first traces of a spine since season 1, and Jack's reasoning for helping Von with his silly revenge game so that the man Syd "loves" won't turn out like bitter old dad -- there's good stuff, especially how Nadia somehow was conscious for part of her Rambaldi sessions and wrote down spurious information. How savvy, and how like a chip off the old block!
edited to add: the 23rd was the night of the concert by The World's Greatest Rock Band Sleater-Kinney. Oh no, what was I to do? If I went, then I would miss watching the broadcast of Alias live, but I ♥♥♥ Sleater-Kinney (who put on a tremendous live show)! Suffice it to say, I went to the concert and taped Alias, and this decision was the right one.