Nomad (nomadicwriter) wrote in the_retelling,
Nomad
nomadicwriter
the_retelling

5x06 Solo

1. Yay, the previouslies give us a reprise of Sloane's, "Hello Gordon," moment from last week. This continues to crack me up.

2. "We're kind of a weird family. We actually like each other." Yup. That would definitely be weird to Sydney of all people.

3. "Let me say this again. I will not hurt those people." Oh, Sloane. Get down with your bad self. Dean fails the one rule of Alias that always ends in creatively plotted bloodshed: never, ever try to blackmail Sloane into hurting people he cares about.

But also, it is kinda interesting that Sloane extends his protection to Rachel, who I'm not sure he's even met by this point in canon. He's adopted all of APO as his people instead of just the ones that he personally cares about, which is a pretty important new moral line for him to have drawn.

4. Sloane's delivery of, "Are we finished?" is again a thing of beauty. It's just so, 'Whatever'. He has so much contempt for these people. And badass blue sunglasses. I guess the first thing he did when he got out of prison was go clothes shopping.

5. "What would your colleagues do if they knew you answered to me... that you were betraying them on a daily basis?" / "The same thing I hope to do to you someday." Heh.

6. Interesting shot with Sloane watching the random extras at APO. It's a nice, subtle way to suggest that he's thinking of Nadia.

7. Assistant Director? That's pretty good for having just returned from prison. Also, Jack is totally talking him up at this meeting, and it's really kind of sweet in a bizarre way. Sloane's expression when he cuts him off with, "Thank you, Jack," is utterly hilarious. They're being so openly friendly with each other in this run of episodes. I love it to death.

8. Aw, Sloane. Unable to bring himself to go and see Nadia. And Sydney looks genuinely touched by his confession. It's so weird yet awesome to see the way they interact since the s4 finale.

9. Thanks, caption people, for telling us Marseilles is in France. My school geography education was pretty appalling, but that one, I already knew.

10. Special Guest Star Mia Maestro! Yay!

11. "You win?" / "Of course. Mostly. Why? What did you hear?" Hee. I like Grace and Rachel together.

12. The whirly camera in this briefing scene amuses me, mostly because I watched all the director's extras on my Stargate DVDs where they were forever bitching about the difficulty of trying to find something new and interesting to do with scenes set round a briefing table.

Also, apropos of nothing, Jack is looking particularly good in this scene.

13. Yay, a Syd and Dixon partnership bonding moment. And Grace feeling all left out. He continues to remind me an insane amount of Charlie Sheen.

14. "Ours... is a forbidden love!" Hee. You know, though I miss Weiss a lot and maybe even Vaughn a teensy bit, I am totally not sorry that their absence has got Dixon back in the field where he belongs.

15. And heh. Sydney once again makes great use of her pregnancy for field work.

16. "Do you know what a spork is?" Ha! Awesome callback, and reminder of one of my favourite Jack Bristow moments of all time.

17. Rachel's APO call sign is Oracle. Much cooler than Mockingbird. Somebody at APO has fun coming up with all of these.

18. And Rachel's response to being caught out is... run! Heh.

19. "If by okay you mean freaked and embarrassed... yeah, I'm great." Quite impressively, the show has made me like the two new characters best when they're interacting with each other rather than any of our established favourites. (Although that said, I do really like the Grace/Jack interaction. Um. Not like that. ...Um. Wait. Actually, I would totally be willing to read Grace/Jack 'like that' if somebody wrote it.)

20. "What about your husband?" Wow, way to be inappropriate, baby store lady.

21. Oh, that's a bad cover, Dean. Like anybody believes Sloane takes his suits in to be altered at some random shop?

22. The other solution to sending Rachel in too soon is, of course, to send in Grace in drag. ...Works for me.

23. "This is no different than when you were sent back into SD-6." Um, sorry, Jack, I'm not quite seeing the parallel here. This is not about Rachel facing her old coworkers, it's about the fact that she's not ready to be a field agent. Now, three weeks ago when Rachel was sent back into the Shed to hack their computers, that was like Syd going back into SD-6.

24. Hee. I love Rachel's face at the spring-loaded ice pick. Just in case!

25. This is a nifty shot with Gordon Dean reflected in the tinted window and then it rolling down to reveal Sloane.

26. "Show her the professional courtesy of putting a bullet in her head." Dean finally gets a good line where he actually sounds menacing. Of course, it helps that here he's not playing against Sloane, who just makes him look pathetic without even trying.

27. Wow, Rachel is certainly... tarted up. Is that look actually more trashy than anything they've ever put Sydney in, or does Syd just carry it off with more self-confidence?

Also, I love this song; "I Like the Way".

28. And I love the fact that Rachel can answer, "Who was the sluttiest girl in your high school?" instantly. ...So does Syd. Hee.

29. I also love the Syd-Rachel mentor/handler relationship. Apparently I love everything today. I am full of love.

30. "Raymandy. A beautiful name." Hee.

31. Rachel is cool, Peyton is badass, and that guard is... not very good at guarding. Doesn't it defeat the object of having a guard if he'll open the lock for the first person to threaten him? That door would have been a whole lot more secure if he wasn't even there. ...And Peyton shoots him anyway. Badassedness.

32. Is Grace flying the helicopter there? Neat.

33. "My God, you're–" / "Not dead?" / "I was going to say 'evil'." Heh.

34. Yay, hairbrush ice pick! It's been ages since we've had a properly fun Marshall gadget.

35. "You bitch!" Hee. She sounds so indignant.

36. Dixon with a machine gun! Oh, this episode has everything.

37. "You don't get to have it." I love you, Sloane. His delivery there is so dad. 'No, you can't borrow the car, because you didn't tidy your room.' He is so completely unintimidated by anyone.

38. "Your father's kind of scary." / "Tell me about it." Heeee. You said it, Syd.

39. Nadia! Sloane and Nadia. Aww. Just seeing him slowly touch her hand makes me all weebly. PS, Ron Rifkin, have I told you lately you're fantastic?

40. If the guy doing the taped voice-over is doing a Vaughn impersonation, he's not quite pulling it off. It almost sounds right for a minute, then... not so much. Couldn't they just have ripped some dialogue off the soundtrack of an earlier episode? That said, sweet scene.

+++

Well, that was an extremely fun episode, but it still didn't actually advance the arc at all, except for I guess a bit with Rachel's personal development. And what's with the sad lack of Jack in these latest few episodes? What we're getting is good stuff, but the wasted opportunities are frustrating. Did they still not know at this point they were dropping down to seventeen episodes?
Tags: 5x06 - solo, discussion post
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I agree with the Rachel and Tom interactions.
On thinking about it, they would have somewhat of a bond to begin with. They are the newbies, and newbies tend to stick together. I loved how Tom has come to her rescue several times, plus he helped her with her fighting and gave her somewhat of a pep talk.

I agree that the so-called recording of Vaughn's voice didn't really sound like him. They should have either used a recording of one of the missions during Season 1 and 2 (that we would have recognized) or gotten Vartan to phone in some dialogue; he could have been anywhere in the world to do that.
Yeah, considering Vartan comes back to guest in a few episodes' time, you'd think he'd have been up for reading a few lines over the phone. I guess they didn't want to have to pay him for the work. But I can't see why there would have been any problem grabbing a bit of dialogue from the early years - there must have been comms conversations that would fit the scene, and it would have been a nice treat for the long-term viewers who remembered the original episode. Definitely a missed opportunity there.
These S5 eps are such a mixed bag. On the one hand, great character moments and fun aliases and general good times; on the other, no advancement of the plot whatsoever.

Rachel is a really charming character and I love what they did with her. It would have been so easy to screw her up and in other fandoms she would have been pilloried. Is Alias fandom just nicer?
I would unabashedly love these episodes if they'd come in season three or four. But here, the happy fun times are a bit tainted by the hindsight that the series ending arc has some major flaws that could all have been very easily improved by taking an extra episode or two to set up plot developments. (I think both Sloane accidentally killing Nadia with his obsession and Irina choosing Rambaldi over her daughters are plausibly in-character on paper, but the execution is painfully rushed and clumsy - and the most frustrating thing is that they had time to do it better. The first eight episodes of this season could have been compressed down to about three without losing any plot.)

I don't know that Alias fandom is nicer - they weren't exactly kind to Lauren, heh - but I do wonder if a large percentage of the bitterest contingent jumped ship after the season five opener. I think a lot of the ones who stuck it out were the kind of die-hard fans who were more willing to give new characters a chance. And credit where it's due, I thought the show did an excellent job of setting up all the newbies and making them interesting and likeable without shoving them too much in the viewers' faces. (Less charitably, it probably also helped that with Vaughn, Weiss and Will gone and Sark not guesting until later there was no one around for people to go psycho about Rachel potentially being shipped with.)