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ALIAS

CONSCIOUS


EPISODE NO. 53
Season 3, episode 09
Series 309
1st release: 11/30/03
2nd release:
Last update: 11/30/03


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REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 1 by Adriane Saunders
LINKS



REGULAR CAST
Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall
Melissa George (Lauren Reed)
Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss)
David Anders as Mr. Sark
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow



GUEST CAST
David Croninberg (Dr. Brezzel)
Kurt Fuller (Lindsey)
Erica Leehrsen (Kaya)
Mark Brahmall (Lazarey)
Gerard O'Donnell (Agent Scrimm)
Daniel E. Smith (Steven Dixon)
Tristan Hays (Robin Dixon)
Dan Warner (Agent Reims)
Susan Han (EMT)
Sarah K. Peterson (Young Sydney)
Boris Hamilton (Customer)



CREDITS
Written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec
Directed by Ken Olin



Broadcast on ABC, 9-10pm, Sunday nights.

TV GUIDE PROMO

The boards are gonna be lit up after this fever dream of an episode. Syd and Jack and Jack's seriously floopy sun hat follow some deciphered coordinates into the desert and uncover a metal box with Lazarey's hand in it. Turns out, Syd didn't kill him after all. Dix gets arrested by the NSC under suspicion of conspiracy, but really, Head's just got a hard-on for him. Oh, not like that! David Cronenberg shows up and essentially just creeps everyone out while eating "facon" and looking oddly like Bradley Cooper's older and weirder uncle. Syd submits to Creepy Cronenberg's "memory retrieval treatment," and she goes through an extended dream sequence, complete with tangential birthday cake moments and a possibly imaginary fight between Syd and, um, Syd. Syd almost dies, for, like, the NINTH time and then wakes up and kisses Vaughn. Oh, YES SHE DOES. Except she thinks it's a dream when it's not. Hee. Head bribes Sloane into setting up a hit on Sydney. What are the goods on Sloane? We have no idea, except that Head hands Sloane a piece of paper that says either, "I'm onto your endgame" or "Auntie Em's alive!" and Sloane's face looks like a gray piece of hardened oatmeal. Syd (and the collective viewing audience) get one step closer to figuring out just where Syd was during The Lost Years, but we go to black just as we step over the threshold to enlightenment. Okay, seriously? Alias: The Musical is SO not far away. TWoP

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM -- La da di da da da da. You know, watching Mama Cass sing the hell out of that song would probably have been a hell of a lot more enlightening than this episode. Yeah, it kicked all sorts of ass, but, um, we were kind of promised a hint as to where in the hell Syd was during the Lost Years and all we got was this lousy Door With "47" Printed On It t-shirt. All Regina knows is, Syd let David Cronenberg mess with her subconscious and that's really not something anyone should do without the assistance of some really good acid and a capable trip fairy. TWoP




SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser

Scenes from previous episodes, culminating with Sydney's rescue from Camp Williams. Later, Sydney wakes up on a cot in a warehouse. She goes into the next room, where Jack, Vaughn, Sloane and Lauren are meeting around a table. Sydney joins them. She says she feels better and she owes them all -- even Sloane -- a thank you. Vaughn says they are all at this point fugitives, but they are working on a plan to frame the Covenant for extracting Sydney. Jack says they have translated the real coordinates on the code sheet Sydney was shown and are going to that place in the desert to see what's there. He asks Sydney where she sent Lindsey with the false coordinates she gave him. She says it must have been somewhere in the Simi Valley.

Lindsey's men converge on a liquor store in the Simi Valley. They later radio Lindsey that they must have been played.

Jack and Sydney follow the real coordinates. Sydney can't believe that Jack involved Sloane. She says she still doesn't trust him. Jack tells her about Sloane taking a bullet for him.

Dixon is playing ball in a park with his kids when two FBI agents approach and put him under arrest for conspiracy.

Jack and Sydney unearth a box. When they open it, they are shocked to see that it holds a severed human hand with a tattoo on it.

Act I

Sloane identifies the tattoo as signifying membership in the Society of Rambaldi. They then discuss plans to avoid being taken into custody for breaking Sydney out of Camp Williams. Sloane is to confirm to Lindsey that the Covenant is responsible. Lauren says that it must appear that she was taken, too. To this end, she must appear beaten up. She wants Sydney to do it. Sydney agrees. She gives Lauren one good slug to the jaw and says that was for turning her over to Lindsey. Then she offers her a hand up and says this is for helping to rescue her.

Lindsey visits Dixon in his cell. He wants to know where Sydney is and who broke her out. Dixon says that arresting him in front of his children has sealed Lindsey's fate as far as he's concerned. An aide rushes in to report that Lauren has been thrown from a van in front of hq. Lindsey goes to his office where Lauren is waiting. Her face is badly bruised. She tells Lindsey that the Covenant wants the Rambaldi device in exchange for Sydney. Lindsey is skeptical of the whole thing but agrees.

Jack thanks Vaughn for helping him. He says that he used to think that Vaughn didn't have much of a spine. Vaughn asks if that has changed at all. Jack says no, but then he and Vaughn sort of smile at each other.

Jack, Sydney and Vaughn visit a Dr. Brezzel, who specializes in memory retrieval. The door is answered by a young woman dressed in only a shirt. Dr. Brezzel emerges from another room, apparently in the midst of getting dressed himself. He introduces the young woman as Kaya, one of his students, who likes to hug people. Sydney, Jack and Vaughn exchange several raised eyebrow looks as they talk to these two, but they realize that they have few other options, so they stay. Dr. Brezzel explains that he taps into a dream state to access hidden memories.

Sydney is hooked to a monitor. Dr. Brezzel tells her to access her last memory -- that of being knocked unconscious in her apartment. He tells her to be prepared to encounter traumatic memories, which will seem very real to her. Then he administers a drug cocktail and counts backward from 10. Sydney is asleep.

Act II

Sydney awakens in an ambulance, beaten and bloody. Vaughn is with her. He tells her that Will is alive and that Francie was a double. Sydney says she knew that. She sees that Vaughn is not wearing a ring and asks if he's married. He laughs and says no, he thought they would go to Santa Barbara first. Sydney: "I thought you gave up on me." They kiss. When they part, it's Sloane instead of Vaughn. Sydney screams and tries to jump out of the ambulance.

Dr. Brezzel interrupts Sydney's dream and tells her to go back to her apartment. She does, and relives shooting Allison. Then she collapses. In her dream state, she is standing looking down at her own body.

Dr. Brezzel tells Jack and Vaughn that even though Sydney was unconscious on that day, her mind should have still been able to receive impressions from her other senses.

In Sydney's dream, she sees people taking her body away. She can't see their faces. They put her in a van. Then the dream shifts and Sydney is a little girl in a park. It's her birthday. As she cuts her birthday cake, she is suddenly grown again. She looks down and she is cutting off a man's hand. It's Lazarey. Dr. Brezzel interrupts again to tell her to focus. She sees herself taken out of the van and down a long corridor to a room marked "47". Before she can enter the room, she hears someone calling her name. She turns and it's Lauren. She follows her. Suddenly Lauren attacks her and throws her against a wall. Then she begins suffocating Sydney. On the table, Sydney chokes and goes into cardiac arrest. Dr. Brezzel gives her epinephrine and gets the shock cart.

Act III

Sydney wakes up to find Vaughn at her bedside. She sits up and kisses him. He says they can't do this. Sydney: "Give me a break. It's just a dream." But Vaughn says no, it's not. Sydney realizes she is out of the dream state.

Sydney tells of dreaming about cutting off Lazarey's hand. Jack says Marshall thinks the owner of the hand was alive as recently as four months ago. Sydney also mentions dreaming of Lauren strangling her. Vaughn says that must have been a dream. Sydney says she needs to go back into the dream state. Kaya is impressed with her bravery.

Dr. Brezzel puts Sydney under again. He tells her to focus on her last memory.

Sloane meets with Lindsey. He confirms that the Covenant is holding Sydney. Lindsey says he wants Sloane to use his contacts to insure that Sydney is killed by a sniper during the exchange. Lindsey tells Sloane that he knows what Sloane's endgame is and gives him an envelope with "proof". Sloane looks at the contents with a grim expression. Lindsey says he will contact him with the details.

Act IV

Marshall confirms that the hand belonged to Lazarey. Lauren calls Jack and tells him this proves that Sydney didn't kill Lazarey. Therefore, Lindsey has nothing on her after all.

Sydney is in a car with Dixon. They get out and see Weiss and Marshall playing poker. Sydney tells them she's looking for the building. They tell her to check the kitchen. She meets Lauren again. Lauren tells her she shouldn't be there. They fight again, and suddenly Sydney is fighting herself. Her alter ego tells her to leave. They fight some more, and then Sydney gets a gun and shoots herself. Then she goes to find the room marked "47." When she gets there, she opens the door and sees something that stuns her so much that all she can say is "Oh, my god."



COMMENTARY 1

This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Heart failure kills Syd in this episode. She dies after Vaughan’s wife Lauren strangles her in a dream, a lucid dream. Lucid dreaming is the technique Syd uses to attempt recall of her lost two years. What her conscious mind cannot remember, her unconsious knows. In theory, at least.

Drugs, a mildly whacky neuro-researcher, support from father Jack, fellow agents Vaughan and Lauren, and even her nemesis Sloane, provide Syd backup for the process. But the process kills her.

Syd mainlines at one point, only to be revived with fibulators, adrenaline to her heart, and a kiss from Vaughan. That last, the kiss, was a mistake. Syd thought she was still asleep, dreaming, and could make the dream whatever she chose. Surprise, surprise. Syd is awake and alive, after her brief death, and Vaughan is someone else's husband.

PLOT:

In this episode, the Covenant is framed for Syd's extraction (last week). A trade is arranged with Lindsey: Syd for (previously Sloane's) Rimbaldi device. Lindsey OK's the trade, but coerces Sloane to have Syd assassinated afterwards. DNA from a severed hand, tested by Marshall, turns out to be Lasarey's, but only four months old. Ergo, Syd could not have killed Lasarey last year. For her protection, Lauren gets bashed in the face by Syd. Lauren suffocates Syd in plastic sheeting. Dreaming again, Syd flips and kicks and finally shoots her doppleganger, her darkside. This gains her access to Room 47, where her not-dream-body-but-real self was taken two years back, bloody and unconscious. An "oh my god" is Syd's reaction to what she sees. Mouth open. Stunned.

PRODUCTION:

Not stunned but alert, describes my own reaction. I wonder what will happen next. A big smile for the dip into dream realities and overlaps, and the simplicity and restraint exhibited in the portrayal. Kudos to Director Olin, Photography Director Thorin Jr. and Editor Windell. These forays into Syd's unconscious could easily have been over the top, or so collage-like as to be incomprehensible.

In Lucid Dreaming--the process explored in this episode--images and actions are far more volatile and organic, the colors more vivid. But, this is televsion afterall, not a tap into cosmic consciousness! So thanks for simplicity and restraint from the production. The dream sequences work well. These dips into Syd's unconscious are not just interesting and thought provoking, but straightforward and believable. Well done.

The episode stands as "all of a piece", but not only the dream sequences elicit a smile or two from me. The highlights which follow do likewise.

HIGHLIGHTS:

1--More humor: More pithy and memorable one-liners from Jack pepper this episode than ever before. He cracked me up throughout the episode. An example is his telling Vaughan, "I used to think you didn't have much of a spine." Vaughan then asks, "And has that assessment changed at all?" "No," Jack replies, deadpan but eyes twinkling. When Kazzel's student Kaya says, "I was in a tangent once," Jack responds with "How nice for you." Deadpan. Victor Garber is a master of droll.

2--More punch: Lauren elects Syd to give her the beating needed to fool Lindsey. Lauren starts to say, "I know how difficult this must be," to Syd. Not much though, for Syd levels her with a punch almost before Lauren gets the words out. "That's for turning me into Lindsey," she says, then offers her hand to Lauren in thanks for breaking her out. In the lucid dream sequence we see Lauren a tower of strength, lifting Syd bodily against a wall. Syd's feet dangle. These women must have had fun doing these scenes. I much enjoy their interactions, always well played and entirely convincing.

3--More surprise: In a dream Syd turns into herself, her lookalike dressed in black, her darkside. A pizzazzy and engaging fight to the death ensues between the two. Syd fights herself. White beats black, shoots her dead. Then, Syd turns away to open the doors labelled 47. A blinding white light spills outward. Syd whispers, "Oh my god," as she "looks inside". Appropriate, that.



LINKS:






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