Enough with the flashbacks! Jessica Shaw acidly notes that 41 minutes were spent rehashing old stuff. But the rest of the episode was a trip
Alias, Jennifer Garner
Credit: Alias: Ron Tom/ABC
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Enough with the flashbacks!

The first two-thirds of last night’s episode were the television equivalent of Jennifer Lopez doing a remix of her greatest hits after recording only two albums: sort of innovative, definitely entertaining, but it ultimately leaves you wondering, Why did they bother? In other words, did we really need a complete series recap when ”Alias” isn’t even a year old yet? Okay, I guess we should be welcoming those newcomers who need SD-6 and CIA spelled out for them. But if I hear the line ”I was working for the very enemy I thought I was fighting” incorporated into one more episode, I’m going to scream.

You almost got the sense that ABC execs gave series creator J.J. Abrams a call to tell him that ratings numbers were steadily going up and could he do something that would bring in viewers too intimidated to try the show this late into the season. There’s simply no way an episode like this would have been planned. The flashbacks to Daniel? The montage of Sydney is all her different costumes on SD-6 missions? I can watch ABC Family if I want to see those re-runs.

Okay, enough ranting. It’s only out of love, people, that I get this upset. It’s not like I ever would have flipped the channel, but it would have been nice to get some new information before 41 minutes into the episode. At least I knew something was coming after that first scene of Sydney — dressed like a Boca Raton housewife — Thelma and Louise-ing her car into the Pacific Ocean.

But before we get to those brilliant last 20 minutes (which, admit it, kind of redeemed the episode), the interrogation room must be discussed for a moment. The evil Ed Harris lookalike leading the FBI questioning wasn’t so much scary as he was annoying. How could Sydney think an agency of the U.S. government would kill seemingly innocent people? What was that, propaganda for the Bush administration? I half expected the actors to burst out laughing after that line. If those are the guys working for the government, it’s a shocker more people in Alias-land don’t work for renegade intelligence groups.

In terms of the big escape, how much do we love the Jack and Vaughn team? Okay, Vaughn came off a little he-won’t-tell-me-anything whiny, but Jack more than made up for it with that parking lot confession he pulled out of Haladki. (By the way, great CIA agent to give up secrets info after two seconds with a gun in his neck. Um, learn much in basic training?). Haladki is turning out to be a real pain. He must be stopped — maybe even killed — if for no other reason than actor Joey Slotnick used to star on ”The Single Guy.” Bonus brilliance points to J.J. Abrams for having Francie and Will watching the high-speed-chase on TV. It’s soooo L.A. to be riveted by any car chase that happens to be caught on camera.

As for that final father-daughter scene by the docks, how genius is it that the mother is still alive? Granted, we sort of knew that would happen all along, but for the teacher-KGB-mom to be the subject of the Rambaldi prophecy is storyline perfection. Hopefully they won’t have the whole arc wrapped up by the season finale. The search for Mommie Dearest and the prevention of the Rambaldi prophecy from coming true should take us through at least another half a season. Just one problem: How come I’m getting a bad feeling that some cheesy actress like Victoria Principal is going to be cast as Syd’s mom?

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