At the beginning of season three of "Alias," Sydney Bristow is supposedly "back from the dead" after two years of being gone, with many changes having taken place while she was away, and she is re-instated to CIA work almost immediately. I found this quite implausible, as I'd imagine the intelligence community would have at least a few pointed questions for her about her whereabouts for the last two years, which she can't remember at all.
This is one example of a number of problems that plagued this season of "Alias." The problem with season three isn't suspense or action -- there's still plenty of both to be had here. However, in an effort to keep it moving the writers seem to have overlooked a few gaping plot holes right off the bat, and this occurs several times through the story.
Mind you, there are some truly standout episodes in this season too. The danger of the Alliance has been replaced by a new, more sinister organization: the Covenant. Rambaldi artifacts continue to play a major part, and get more and more complex as the story progresses. Both Sydney and Vaughn go through some pretty significant character changes for this season, and where some found this a letdown, I found it refreshing, especially in Vaughn's case. Michael Vaughn was a character who was languishing in the world of being the eternal "boy scout," and finally in this season we start seeing a different side of him peeking out.
The special effects of the series are definitely getting better, and the situations (and the costumes!) Sydney gets herself into are just as outlandish as ever. This has always been part of the fun in this show, and they definitely keep that aspect going here.
The surprising guest stars continue to crop up as well, including Djimon Hounsou of "Gladiator" fame, Vivica A. Fox, and a repeat appearance of Quentin Tarantino reprising his role from the first season. Meanwhile the tried and true folks, such as Ron Rifkin, Victor Garber, and the impressive Jennifer Garner continue to light up the screen. This season I have developed a real liking for Jack Bristow, Victor Garber's character, and was glad to see that Greg Grunberg got more screen time as Eric Weiss, perhaps the most geuninely likable character in the show.
All in all, this third season of "Alias" suffers a bit because the writers are overreaching a tad. There are a few times when the story seems to get out of control and the resulting effects on the characters are, to be kind, implausible. I would have liked to have seen more of the tight, carefully-written aspects of the first two seasons. But despite this, "Alias" is still the most addictive show on television these days, and I look forward to the fourth season (starts in January!) anxiously. In the commentary on the third season discs, Abrams says that the developments in the third season will have a larger effect on the story as a whole, and suggests that seeming inconsistencies will be explained. The man has definitely earned enough of my respect that I feel I can trust him to make good on that promise.
Just keep it rolling, that's all I ask.
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Rich Stoehr (GlassIsland)
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't). People … more
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The third season ofAliasfound super spy Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) waking up in Hong Kong with a monster hangover and two years in the future with nary a memory. What's worse, her world has been turned upside-down with the evil Sloane (Ron Rifkin) now a world-famous humanitarian and philanthropist, and, even worse, her true love Vaughn (Michael Vartan) married to a seemingly great gal. Nice way to go back to work, eh? After coming up with one heck of a cliffhanger inseason 2,Aliasproceeded a bit aimlessly through these 22 episodes, and as a result, the parts were truly greater than the whole. With Lena Olin no longer around as Syd's duplicitous mother, and the addition of admirable yet bland Melissa George as Vaughn's wife Lauren, Garner found herself for the first time without a compelling female foil to play off of. By dividing its focus equally between the quest for the enigmatic Rambaldi device, Syd and Vaughn's now-contentious relationship, and the uncovering of Syd's missing years,Aliaslost a little of its power without a larger story arc. The loss of regular cast members Merrin Dungey (Francie/Alison) and Bradley Cooper (Will)--both of whom do make great guest appearances--also divest the show of the personal life that kept Sydney human and approachable. Still, Garner is stellar as always, the plot twists come fast and furious, and secret identities are revealed. This season does have a great panorama of guest actors including Ricky Gervais, Justin Theroux, ...