On Alias

Daddy Knows Best

By Catharine Tunnacliffe

Aliasis a family show. By that I do not mean that it should expect an endorsement from the American Family Association anytime soon, nor that its scenes of violence, set to a pounding soundtrack, are appropriate for all ages. What it does mean is that family and family relationships lie at the heart of the show, something which makes Alias almost unique in the TV landscape.

As Alias has progressed, family has supplied the majority of the drama. New characters were introduced, but the writers kept it in the family. Sydney Bristow had to contend with Irina, the mother she thought was dead; she also grappled with her new half-sister, Nadia. Jack Bristow had to deal with his long-lost sister-in-law, Katya, in addition to confronting Irina. Michael Vaughn was still haunted by the death of his father, a murder that connects him to Irina and possibly to Nadia, while his wife, Lauren, was revealed to have been leading a double life. Dixon was lucky enough to enjoy a stable family life free from the kinds of betrayals that characterize other characters’ marriages, but this proved too good to be true. And even more minor characters like Marshall struggled with family issues–in his case, becoming a parent.

Not to be left out, the villains also had their own parents to contend with: Sloane had long hinted at a paternal connection to Sydney, and continues to act as though he’s related to her. Season three featured a double patricide, as Lauren agreed  …

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