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ALIAS

DOPPELGANGER


EPISODE NO. 05
Season 1, episode 05
Series 105
1st release: 10/28/01
2nd release: 02/03/02
Production number: E634
Last update: 08/09/03


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


REGULAR CAST
Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Merrin Dungey as Francie
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Bradley Cooper as Will

GUEST CAST
Tom Everett (Kelvin)
Norbert Weisser (Schiller)
Lori Heuring (Eloise Kurtz)
Maurice Chasse (Jacqnoud)
Greg Grunburg (Agent Weiss)
Kevin E. West (CIA Officer Logan)
Yvonne Farrow (Diana Dixon)
Robert Bailey, Jr. (Dixon's son)
Subash Kundanmal (Dhiren Patel)
Pablo Santos (Boy)
Kenneth Ivan (UCO host)
Jeff Chase (Bodyguard)
Clint Lilley (Patel's bodyguard)
Tristan Mays (Dixon's daughter)
Kevin Mitnick (Agent Burnett)

CREDITS
Written by Daniel Arkin
Directed by Ken Olin

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




TV GUIDE PROMO

A CIA computer expert works with Bristow and Vaughn to bring down organization SD-6.

The questionable identity of a biotech engineer stokes Sloane's suspicions about Sydney. ExciteTV

Vaughn helps Syd pull a fast one on the SD-6 after she's sent to abduct a German engineer working on biochemical vaccines. But when a glitch triggers Sloane's eye, Jack is forced to step in and display his darkest side to protect his daughter's cover. Meanwhile, Will comes face-to-face with the woman Danny was booked to fly with the day he died. Tvguide.com


SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser

Scenes from last week's episode, culminating with Sydney seeing the ambassador Dhiren Patel having a bomb implanted into his chest. Suddenly Sydney is grabbed from behind. It is Swari's bodyguard, who had recognized her in Morocco. He knocks her out and drags her body down a long basement corridor towards a roaring furnace. When she comes to, he wants to know who sent her, or he will throw her into the fire. Sydney manages to stab him with her pen and escapes down the corridor. She tries to find an exit while being pursued and shot at by several guards. Finally she gets into a chute of some sort and slides down out of their range. Unfortunately, she loses her grip and plunges down the chute into the darkness. She wakes up at the bottom of the chute, which empties out into an open field, and realizes that it's the next day. She gets on a bus and calls Dixon, telling him to find Patel and meet her behind the auditorium.

The UCO conference is just starting. Dixon finds Patel waiting to give the keynote address and knocks him out. Outside, Sydney steals an ambulance and meets Dixon at the rear entrance. Dixon begins to extract the explosive. Suddenly they see Swari approaching in a car. They know the bomb is on a wireless remote, but he will have to be within range to set it off. Sydney jumps into the driver's seat of the ambulance and takes off. They career around corners and through roadblocks, staying just far enough ahead of Swari's car, as Dixon works to extract the surgically implanted bomb. He pulls the device out of Patel's chest just as Swari gets close enough to detonate. Dixon throws the bomb out the back of the ambulance, and Swari's car goes up in flames as the bomb goes off.

When Sydney makes her report, Vaughn can hardly believe that they pulled off the bomb extraction under those circumstances. As Sydney is about to leave, Vaughn gives her a copy of her father's file, saying it may answer some of her questions about him.

Act I

Sydney and Francie meet at the library. Francie has decided they will have a Halloween party. On their way out, they see Will. He says he is there researching a story about SAT scores.

Sloane briefs Sydney and Dixon on the Hensel Corporation, a German chemical firm. A man named Schiller, who works for Hensel, has offered to trade a vaccine they have been working on for passage to the US. The vaccine is to counteract biological warfare. Naturally, Hensel will not willingly let him leave the country. Sydney and Dixon are to find and id Schiller (the only picture they have of him is 20 years old) and get him and the vaccine out of Germany. Marshall gives them a special card with which they can override any computer's security. With it, they can get the formula for the vaccine from Hensel's computers.

Dixon says he will come to the Halloween party when Sydney invites him. They meet Jack, so Dixon leaves him and Sydney alone. Jack says he's very busy, so they shouldn't make any plans. Sydney says she wasn't going to pursue it any further.

Sydney meets Vaughn, who introduces her to CIA agent Paul Kelvin, who says he's a friend of Sydney's father. Kelvin is to be switched with Schiller in Berlin. When Kelvin leaves, Sydney tells Vaughn she wants to tell Dixon the whole story. He says absolutely not. If Dixon knows about SD-6, it could put Sydney's life in danger. And if he doesn't, then they would be making him a double agent without it being his decision. Sydney reluctantly agrees not to tell him.

Act II

In Berlin, Sydney gets into Hensel posing as a tech consultant. She finds Schiller and they copy the files on the vaccine. She radios Dixon that someone might be following her, so she wants to change the pick-up point. Dixon says okay. He pumps a gas into the complex and knocks everyone out while Sydney and Schiller escape. Sydney goes through the parking garage, leaving Schiller with the CIA and picking up Kelvin in his place. They get into a van with Dixon and drive away.

Back in LA, Will confesses to Francie that he is still investigating Danny's flight to Hong Kong on the night of his death. He can't locate Kate Jones, who was also booked on the flight and was to be seated next to Danny on the plane. Francie says he should drop it as Syd asked him to.

At the CIA safehouse, Schiller will not believe that he should give the info he has to Vaughn because he's not sure who the real CIA is anymore. He wants to be taken to Langley. Meanwhile, the computer info has given the CIA a back door into SD-6's computers.

At SD-6, Sloane is satisfied with the bogus info on the vaccine that Kelvin has given him. Sloane then wants to know the location of the plant where the prototypes of the inhalers used to administer the vaccine are being made. Kelvin doesn't have this information, so he stalls, and Sloane gets suspicious. He goes to Dixon and questions him about why Sydney changed the pick-up point during the mission. Dixon defends Sydney, telling Sloane that if Sydney said she was being followed, she was being followed. Sloane is still not quite satisfied.

At the Halloween party, Dixon takes Sydney aside and tells her that Sloane questioned him. He wants to know if there's anything he should know. Sydney hesitates, but says no. Dixon tells her that "Schiller" won't give up the location of the plant.

Act III

Will tells Francie he is taking her advice about dropping the investigation, so she should take his and call Charlie. She finally takes the phone. Then Will's cell phone rings, and the person on the other end identifies herself as Kate Jones. She says yes, she knew Daniel Hecht.

Sydney goes to Vaughn and says they need the info from Schiller or both she and Kelvin are in trouble. She goes in and talks to Schiller and finally gets him to tell her the location of the plant. She takes this info to her father because she knows Sloane is still suspicious of her. Jack says that must be why Sloane has been trying to reach him.

Sloane tells Jack he wants to get some info from "Schiller". Jack goes to the room where Kelvin is being kept. Kelvin recognizes him, but Jack slams him up against the wall before he can say anything. Jack knows the room is bugged, so he beats up Kelvin. He whispers the info Kelvin needs to reveal and says he has to hurt him to "get the information". He breaks Kelvin's arm, and Kelvin chokes out that the plant is in Badenweiler.

Act IV

Sydney and Dixon are to go to Badenweiler to get the inhalers and blow up the plant there. Sydney's countermission is to switch the inhalers with a CIA team that will already be inside the building. Dixon will set a bomb to be remote detonated, but Sydney will disable it after he leaves. Sydney asks Vaughn about some missing pages in her father's file. Vaughn says he doesn't know about them, except that it had something to do with the code number 332L and an FBI agent. Sydney wonders if the FBI suspected Jack of selling secrets.

Will discovers that Kate Jones was booked on another flight, this time to Sao Paulo (which was one of Sydney's missions). His informant tracks down Kate Jones's social security number for him.

In Badenweiler, Sydney and Dixon get into the plant. Dixon goes to set up the bomb while Sydney gets the inhaler prototypes. She meets the CIA team, which is led by a man who knows Vaughn. He says Vaughn likes her and, more than that, respects her. They switch the prototypes. The CIA team says they will be another 10 minutes or so.

Will meets with a woman who says she is Kate Jones. She tells him that she and Danny were having an affair. Will says there's just one problem with her story. Her social security number is the number of a woman who died in 1973. The woman doesn't know what to say and gets up and leaves with Will calling after her, "Who are you?"

Sydney disengages the detonator of the bomb and gets out of the plant. She meets Dixon. He tries to detonate the bomb, but his remote won't work. Sydney says they have to leave, that security will be arriving any minute. Dixon says, no, he has a secondary detonator. Inside the building, we see the CIA team ready to wrap up their operation. Dixon pushes the button on the detonator before Sydney can figure out a way to stop him, and she watches in horror as the whole building goes up in flames.



COMMENTARY

This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Episode 5 starts with a bang, and ends with a bang, literally, but, in between, there is less consistency and punch than in previous episodes.

The first bang is physical, Syd getting punched in the face, after being caught in the act of spying, by a guard. The last bang is emotional, Syd getting punched in the gut, appalled that SD-6 Dixon manages to blow up a building with CIA agents inside, despite her efforts to abort that plan.

In between, though there are moments of Alias "signature" razzle dazzle, breathtaking pacing and characterization, the script this week did more to confuse than engage me.

Something is missing, tight direction perhaps, but clarity for sure--and some believability.

The car chase at the start, for example, struck me as preposterous. Here is Syd frantically screeching a stolen ambulance round corners, with Dixon in the back, wildly flinging side to side. Still he manages to "operate", and remove a bomb from Patel's chest. Yeah, right.

Even the characters have a problem with that. Afterwards, Vaughan asks Syd, "Did he [Dixon] really do that?" Why are they rehashing just happened events? There is no time for that in this show.

And, something about the scripting or pacing of Episode 5 makes me feel I am not watching Alias, but CNN. Lots of talking heads. Too many people standing around talking, and too long winded, for my interest. The emotions or interconnections between characters are kind of flat, all the same tone.

Even the camera angles have too little variation or contrast, very unlike the more usual imaginative "look" to Alias. "Straight on" seems the favored "look" this week. Another reason Episode 5 looks less like Alias, and more like CNN.

There are exceptions, of course, to the "flat" tone, like Syd's conversation with her father in the hall, and his forestalling any further dinner invitations from her, "until things slow down." When Syd says, "I wasn't going to pursue it," the emotion shows in her restraint.

And, I enjoyed the humor of Syd's surprise at CIA Vaughan being the one who comes up with a "brilliant" computer scam to access SD-6 files, by piggy backing SD-6 own technology.

SD-6 Marshall's latest gadget is a business card that holds a transitor to fool computers into allowing total access, no passwords required. What fun! Is such a gadget possible?

From high tech to low tech, another cleverness that deserves a nod is Will's extricating himself from a telephone call by sputtering and cutting himself off, as if he was on a cell phone. Simple and effective. A trick to remember.

And, the plot this week, "cut out" on me a few times. I had to rerun the episode a second time to pick up all the threads of who and what. That is a first. The previous four episodes were easy to follow, even though lots happens.

What especially confused me first time through are all the gray haired men in suits. Who is who? And why? On the rerun I realized two, at least, of these gray haired men in suits are supposed to look alike. CIA agent Kelvin is playing "stand in" for Schiller, the German biotech engineer.

Lots of double agents this time. Who knows what is not always clear. Add to that--in this episode--lots of lies. In fact, double agent or not, there is lots of "double speak".

When Dixon warns Syd of Sloan's suspicions, he asks, "Is there something I should know?" Syd lies to him, and says, "No". Will, of course, lies to Syd as to why he is on campus. S.A.T. research is not the reason. And later he lies to Francie about "giving up the Kate Jones thing," just as a "Kate Jones" returns his call.

In Badenweiler Dixon asks Syd, "Is everyone out of the building?" And, she says, "Yes," with a nod, knowing full well CIA agents are still inside. Then, Dixon blows up the building. But, she could hardly have told him the truth. Some are double agents, some are not.

The montage or overlaps of plot where the information about the biotech plant location is relayed from Schiller--after being convinced by Syd--to Kelvin, via Syd's father--pretending to be an inquisitor, not a message bringer--while beating up Kelvin for show. Sloan is watching--and listening.

Poor Kelvin had to have his arm broken to complete the subtrafuge. That hurt. The sound alone hurt. But Sloan is convinced. And all these overlapping interactions fit perfectly, and the whole sequence is flawless, clear and to the point. This part did not require two viewings to figure out. Well done.

Also well done is coming up with another "Kate Jones" to block Will's inquiries into Danny's (Syd's fiancee's) death. That is an end run. I was only expecting Will to find out Syd uses the name as an "alias". That SD-6 might cover an agent's tracks--and fake ID's--with a "plant" eluded me, until now.

Though, I am just guessing SD-6 will prove to be responsible. All we get in this episode is Will, having checked up on a social security number, saying, "Kate Jones, You died in 1973. Who are you?"

For that we "tune in next week". I know "cliffhangers" have been done before in television, but there is something rather irrisistable about a show that never ends, and, like Alias, keeps going on and on.

And, that is good, for Alias is much more often delivered with a "bang", than a "whimper".



SAYS WHO

From the 10-15-01 ZENtertainment: "Guest starring on the Oct 28th and Nov 4th episodes will be Lori Heuring, actress in the movies The In Crowd" and David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive as well as #64 on Maxim's Hot 100 list. At the other end of the spectrum, the Oct 28th episode will also feature super-hacker Kevin Mitnick as a CIA agent working with Sidney. Since a condition of Mitnick's parole is that he can't touch a computer, and the producers had to assure the parole officer that he was only using prop computers during filming of the show".

From the 10-12-01 ZENtertainment: "Notorious computer hacker Kevin Mitnick stars as a CIA computer expert in the show's October 28th episode, Lori Heuring (The In Crowd) plays an actress on two upcoming episodes (10/28 & 11/4)".



LINKS:

Official Episode Guide




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