Alias, “Page 47”

Will the Pill’s not-so-excellent adventures.

By Sarah Kuhn
March 05, 2002

Apparently, the Alias writers decided that it’s time to start inflicting torture on the audience rather than Sydney or one of the other hapless SD-6ers, as this week’s episode is all about Will the Pill. Personally, I’d rather have my teeth yanked out whilst wearing an unbecoming cherry-red wig than watch more endless scenes of Pill-inspired antics, but that’s just me. Of course, the ep also seems to bring Pill’s annoying “storyline” to a close, or at least a turning point, which maybe means less of him in the upcoming episodes. We can only hope.

Anyway, as you will recall, Pill is getting closer and closer to The Truth behind SD-6, or so he would like to think. Sloane and his Sloane-a-teers find out about Pill’s shady visits to Jailhouse Guy (played by Ken Olin, who also directed this episode), and ponder whether or not Pill should be eliminated. Daddy Bristow, knowing that Pill is a friend of Sydney’s, tries to persuade Sloane to let Pill live. Ah, that Daddy B. – self-sacrificing to the bitter end, even if it means one of the tertiary characters is taking away from his screen time! Instead, Daddy B. initiates a plan to scare Pill, which basically involves kidnapping him, beating him up, and telling him that his nearest and dearest will be killed if he doesn’t back off the SD-6 beat.

Through it all, Pill is actually semi-sympathetic at times – he doesn’t try to play the swaggering, belligerent would-be hero or crusading journalist or whatever, he gets appropriately scared and backs off the story. Of course, we should probably remember that this is after Pill falsely raised Jailhouse Guy’s hopes of freedom and sent JG’s daughter into hiding. So actually, Pill still isn’t that sympathetic at all. Oh, well, I tried. Also in this episode, he’s a total ass to his assistant Jenny – you know, the one he’s been sleeping with. Jenny, bless her soul, kicks him to the curb and tells him to shove it. I mean, not in so many words, but still – go, Jenny!

Meanwhile, everyone else is obsessed with something called the Rambaldi Book, which Syd and Dixon snitch for SD-6. Syd takes pictures of the book for Vaughn, but one mysterious page shows up blank. Thus, Syd has to bust into the safe at Sloane’s pad to gain access to the book and plant a bug in Sloane’s home office. She does this by exploiting her friendship with Sloane’s sickly wife, Emily (played by Amy Irving, looking very lovely these days).

Um, Emi-who? Since when is Syd bestest buddies with the Sloane Missus? This part pretty much screams “Clunky Plot Device!” as well as “Somewhat Famous Guest Star!” Oh, well. It’s interesting to see that mean ol’ Sloane is married to such a saint, as Emily seems to have not one bad quality to speak of. She invites Syd over to dinner, despite the fact that Syd pretty much ditched Emily after Emily got sick. She ails prettily, despite the fact that she may be dying. She tearily praises Pill’s article, despite the fact that it probably sucks. They really should consider making Emily The Man or something, just to make up for all this goodness.

Anyway, I’m sorry to say that this one is a slight clunker, focusing on the not-so-interesting pieces of the Alias puzzle, and giving Sydney a lame, Gilligan’s Island bimbo costume to boot. Gotta give props to Jenny and Daddy B., but that’s about it.

Still, even the most average of Alias episodes has to have a good cliffhanger, and this one at least delivers on that front: turns out, once dusted with some kind of magical ink, that mysterious page of the Rambaldi Book contains…a creepy drawing of Sydney! In addition to be surprising, this is just plain weird, like some loony piece of the X-Files mythology. Still, I like it…it twists us around in a different way than the umpteen million “Will Sydney die???” cliffhangers have.

Now, if only this were the end of the Pill sub-plot…but somehow I don’t think I’m that lucky.