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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The second part of this two-part story opens slowly with Sydney going
to Argentina to see her half sister Nadia. Here she learns that in
order to get to the man she is after she must first get to Tamazaki,
his underling who believes himself to be a modern samurai.
Unfortunately nobody knows where Tamazaki is either. In order to
contact him the group steal an historic samurai sword from a museum in
London knowing that as soon as word is out that they have it Tamazaki
will try to acquire it from them. They set up a beating in Brazil but
something goes wrong; he recognises Sydney and captures her before her
back up can get to her. To is now a race against time to get to her
before Tamazaki kills her. While torturing her he tells her that he
recognised her because he had been hired to kill her earlier but the
contract had been cancelled when the person who hired him was killed.
In order to find Sydney Nadia is called in, as she knows more about
Tamazaki and his operations. She rescues Sydney and in the ensuing
fight Sydney learns who wanted her dead; it was Irina Derevko
mother! This does at least explain why her father had Irina killed;
although as we weren't shown her getting killed I wouldn't bet on her
being dead; Alias does like its surprise plot twists.
This was a pretty good episode although when she fled the museum in London I thought she must have time travelled as the police car her father rescued her in looked and sounded like something from the 1970s! The theft scene itself was pretty good and there was a nice fight at the end of the episode. The highlights of the episode for me though were having both Marshall and Nadia join APO. It is too soon to say just how good Nadia will be but Marshall is always great providing plenty of comic relief that stops the series taking itself too seriously.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sydney officially "quits" the CIA and joins a new top-secret black-ops division of the agency looking for a fresh start....which she is not going to get, as her new team members are all familiar figures from her CIA days: Jack, Vaughn, Dixon, and a little later, Marshall. And Sloane is also invited to the reunion party - actually, he is the host of the party: he has been assigned to lead the group! This new and improved SD-6 is called APO, aka Authorized Personnel Only. And they get their first mission right away: stop a Russian nuclear scientist from selling a highly dangerous chemical, and capture the intended buyer, who turns out to be a wanted terrorist and part-time hit-man (well played by Rick Yune). Much like the Pilot, and unlike the other two season premieres, "Authorized Personnel Only" is a two-parter that begins with a strange flashforward instead of picking up exactly from where the previous season had left off. And also like the Pilot, it almost feels like a movie thanks to its extended length. Although this is the 4th season, the series creators keep coming up with new ideas (a fight on a speeding train and another one in a butcher warehouse) and settings (the APO headquarters, which are much lighter in color than those of CIA and SD-6). This is a gripping season opener that both sets up the season and tells a new tale. Some random observations: 1) Mia Maestro added to the main cast = Yeah! 2) David Anders removed from the main cast = Boo!, but at least we are informed that he is still in CIA custody, 3) Sydney's new code name - Phoenix - is much cooler than her old one - Mountaineer, 4) Marshall continues to be comedy gold, 5) Whatever happened to the Covenant? Or to The Sphere Of Life? Sloane just surrendered it to the US government? We'll see. I also have to admit that the fact that the man APO is hunting also happens to be the man who had been hired to kill Sydney is a preposterous coincidence, but we've learned to live with those in "Alias". *** out of 4.
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