Alias: season five

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“And they all lived happily ever after. Except for the ones who didn’t.”

Our once-favourite TV show walks off into the sunset – literally – and we are confirmed in our belief that it is very, very hard to keep interest in a series going past the third season. Especially if you’re creator JJ Abrams, who was missing, presumably making the very Alias-like Mission Impossible III; he didn’t even return to write or direct the season finale. It was, on the whole, a credible stab at trying up loose ends: Rambaldi, the question of whether Sloan was good or evil, Syd’s relationship with her mother, and the real identity of Vaughan, about to be revealed at the end of season four, when he and Sidney were in a car-wreck. This led into the main arc of the series, a hunt for ‘Prophet 5’, a shadowy organization intent on the usual things shadowy organizations want. As opposed to, say, the Alliance, the Covenant, K-Directorate, SD-6, etc…

There was also Garner’s pregnancy, which was written into the show, but obviously interfered hugely with any action sequences. Gone were the days when every episode would include Sydney running; in the first half of the series, we were lucky to see her in any kind of motion at all. As an alternate, we got Rachel, in a similar position to that once occupied by Sydney – believing she worked for the government, but actually not; she got sent on assignments in Syd’s place. With Vaughan also out of action for most of the series, another new agent, Thomas Grace, joined the team, but the kindest thing you could say about either was that they were forgettable. The aim was, presumably, to have them replacing S+V, but with the show ending, they became irrelevant.

Rather more successful was Renée Rienne (Élodie Bouchez), an interestingly ambivalent freelancer who straddled the line between working with Sydney and opposing her. We were also pleased to see the return of Anna Espinoza, a classic enemy from early on who, in an unsubtly rehashed plotline, gets turned into Bad Sydney. Enthusiasm for the show wasn’t helped by a long hiatus after Thanksgiving, but things rebounded as the show galloped towards its conclusion where the bad guys largely got their come-uppance. We’re sorry to see the show end – it leaves primetime TV without an action-heroine show – and there will be a little void in our lives as a result. But we’ll always have the DVDs of Series 1+2.

Star: Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber, Ron Rifkin

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