Friday, June 10, 2005

Alias - 4x22 "Before the Flood"

Oh yeah, I have a TV blog.

Kind of hard to be motivated when the season finale of Alias was so contrived. The big twist for the Empty Signifier (né Von)? The semi-reveal and the subsequent deus ex machina which left us all hanging on the cliff were both exceptionally artificial that the twist was of little organic consequence. With this lack of organic consequence, the twist falls flat. The twist could have occurred at the end of any episode since it didn't really have a whole lot of thematic relation to the rest of the episode.

More than just the end, the entirety of the finale was disjointed. Tainted water transforming people into zombies? (This new Rambaldi technology was based on BEES, without which you couldn't spell BORING.) Nadia irreversibly turning into a zombie? Except it's reversible!

This episode actually had the unenviable task of following up the magnificent two-episode tag team of "The Descent" (4x20) and "Search and Rescue" (4x21), both of which perfectly embodied the thematic preoccupations of the entire series. Compulsive repetition (e.g. the Big Red Ball) risks falling into redundancy, but pathological character doubling (e.g. the Irina-clone) often results in the off-the-wall absurdity that makes Alias its most compelling. Explicit character doubling (see also the Sloane Clone) usually comes across as more honest and inspired, as opposed to the more implicit doubling wherein Nadia re-traces Syd's character arcs. If doubling is implicit, it appears to be a product of unimaginative writing, whereas explicit doubling evokes a metatextual self-consciousness that lets the viewer know that Alias is deliberately breaking rules of story-telling.

Lee Wang, M.A.

Indie rating: Bardo Pond - "Do the Flood"

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