Four reasons why ''Alias'' is back in business -- Why the ratings for Jennifer Garner's show are up again
Alias, Jennifer Garner
Credit: Alias: Vivian Zink
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Four reasons why ”Alias” is back in business

Alias‘ ratings are up, but die-hard fans of the ABC spy series (airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m.) have been griping about its identity crisis. Until now. Just when it seemed to turn into a procedural drag, Alias masterminds have pulled a fast one over the last few weeks, with plot moves that’ll satisfy neophytes and devotees alike.

Vaughn goes rogue
The droopy-dog agent (Michael Vartan) finally got some edge with his off-the-grid mission. Extra points for the revelation in the April 13 episode that his turn to the dark side was for naught: His dad isn’t secretly alive. (Let’s save the dead-character-revival allotment for Lena Olin as Sydney’s duplicitous mom.)

Jack goes mutant
Spy Daddy Jack (Victor Garber) needed to soften up, and saving daughter Syd (Jennifer Garner) by exposing himself to nuclear radiation — thus acquiring a genetic mutation — did the trick.

Marshall gets some action
Going to Cuba to dig up a buried-alive Syd, Marshall (Kevin Weisman) gave the show two gifts: more humor and a return to hiding the day job from a loved one, in this case his wife. Which got us thinking. . .Syd needs a friend on the outside again. Our suggestion: a rotating cast of Craigslist roommates.

A second Sloane appears!
How great is Joel Grey as an impostor version of Ron Rifkin’s reformed bad guy, Arvin Sloane? The same beady eyes. The same hollow cheeks. The same nihilism. Turns out he’s the one screwing with everyone’s lives, to which we say, ”Screw on, sir!” It was the biggest Oh. My. God. of the season. So far.

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