1. Guys, if you suspect moles everywhere and Sloane recently bugged your offices, is it really sensible to discuss your plans while walking down a hallway? Could you maybe... shut some doors or something? Just a thought.
2. "I need a good cry now and again." Hee. Aw, Marshall.
3. I must take a moment here to give the appropriate props to the performance of Syd playing Anna playing Syd. It's pretty well done.
4. "Sloane's here." Sydney just told Vaughn last episode that she was going to infiltrate Prophet 5 because Sloane was with them. They even reshowed it in the previouslies. Why is she suddenly surprised to see him? That said, I like the detail that she loses her 'Anna' delivery for a moment there and just sounds like herself.
5. It's kind of tragic really that because Syd's impersonating Anna, she only gets to see the front that Sloane would put up for Anna, cementing the impression that he's unaffected by Nadia's death. If she'd seen him as herself, she would probably have believed any remorse he showed was feigned, but it still would have left a different impression than this seeming indifference.
This whole arc of tragedy is playing out really neatly and clicking together quite convincingly, actually - which makes it all the more criminal that they screwed up the event that was supposed to kick it off so badly.
6. Also, another nicely ironic touch is that because of the level of compassion Syd grew for Sloane in the intervening years, she's now in a position to actually hurt him with it; in the s1/s2 years, it would never have occurred to her to use the news of her own supposed death to wound him, because she wouldn't have believed he would care.
7. Um, Syd, way to forget Anna's supposed to be a Rambaldi fanatic with all your sceptical questioning there. ...And Sloane's just called you on it, see? He may be nuts, but he's still perceptive.
8. Aw. You know, possibly the most emotionally affecting thing about this arc so far is the idea that it's turned Marshall into a cynic about the people he works with. He doesn't automatically believe they can trust Grace just because they think they know him. Marshall needs a hug.
9. "Where are you?" / "Right now? In your kitchen, playing with Isabelle." Least expected answer from Jack Bristow ever, Y/Y? Awesome. "Apparently I'm funny." AWW.
10. Dixon greets Vaughn with, "You're shorter than I remember." Heh.
11. Ah, good old sodium morphate. The Alias death-faking solution of choice. How many times have they done this now?
12. "Or else he manufactured a very elaborate scheme to postpone your wedding to his daughter." Hee! Well, if anyone would...
13. This whole Vaughn-Dixon scene is great, actually. We should have had more of Dixon interacting with Vaughn and Weiss. Another opportunity squashed thanks to Dixon's restrictive role as Director in season three.
14. Of course, this is the hazard of pretending to have killed yourself - other people want to kill you in revenge for it. Ah, Alias people, you have your own very special set of relationship problems.
15. "You smell nice." Almost sweet, yet vaguely creepy if you stop and think about the fact she's presumably wearing Anna's perfume, Vaughn. Still, the callback to early days of handler-agent meetings is neat.
16. David Anders looks so much older here than he did in the baby-faced s1 days. We've basically seen him grow to full adulthood over the course of the series.
17. This Grace and Rachel subplot, while I have grown fond of both of them, seems out of place this close to the big finale. I feel they'd have been better served using the time for a more closely related subplot: Jack's not doing anything much this ep, so they could have used him for some setup for Irina's eventual role in the finale. Even if they couldn't get Lena Olin, they could have tied in some mention of her, laid a few hints that she was up to something.
18. Sigh. Vaughn calls Marshall by his callsign "Merlin", but Marshall just cheerfully calls him "Vaughn". Which one of these people is, A, in the field, and B, supposed to be pretending to be dead?
19. "The beautiful man is dying!" Hee! Ah, poor Italian prisoner guy, all your 'hot new cellmate' fantasies so quickly quashed.
20. And... back to Grace and Rachel. Yup. Definitely out of place. Feels like this subplot should have been earlier - like, say, in "30 Seconds", instead of having the Sloane kills Nadia ending shoved into the same episode as she wakes up.
21. Yay, Sark kicking ass! We don't get to see him doing that very often, he's usually the one getting smacked around, so nice to see some evidence of badassery from him.
22. Hands up those who think 'The Rose' is actually Rambaldi? _o/ At the very least, it's implied that he's an immortal compatriot of Rambaldi's. And if Rambaldi was executed the way Sloane gets 'executed' at the end of the series, then it could very well be him.
23. Hands-on strangling. Oh boy, Sloane's mad. This is the only time we see him deliberately choose to kill somebody with his bare hands while he's still in his right mind. (As much as he is at this stage in proceedings, anyway.) Most of the time he seems to prefer shooting people if he needs them dead, but this time it's personal.
24. I think Sloane realises the truth as soon as Sydney says, "I don't die that easily." Borne out by the fact that he then just leaves, with no further attempt to do her any harm.
25. I'm not particularly emotionally invested in the Syd/Vaughn, but this scene of them together with Isabelle is adorable.
26. And Sloane on the phone. Echoes of a similar call in, "A Free Agent". He just can't resist making contact. And then they do the dramatic cut thing there, which just leaves me wondering how the rest of that call progressed. Did she hang up? Chat for a while? I bet Sloane asked after Isabelle. You know he would.
Another largely good ep, though Grace and Rachel's part felt a bit jammed in. And there was something of a sad lack of Jack.
Next week, part one of the finale!