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Cult | News | Alias | 21 July 2004

Review: Alias - Hourglass

Can evil Sloane escape execution?

Gripping and wonderful and a rotten cheat. This week Sloane is put to death in a masterstroke of plotting. Alias is at its best when it unseats the audience, leaving them stranded and uncertain. What better move than to remove the show's supreme villain, just when we're beginning to like him?

Of course, it's all lies and tricks, and he's alive at the end. I felt conned. All that emotional involvement wasted - it's like watching an episode of Star Trek Voyager, or that week of 24 when they wasted half an hour trying to convince us that Jack Bauer was going to sacrifice himself.

There's a lot of great stuff leading up to the execution, but it all seems to come from a different episode. There's a magnificent desert chase after David Carradine's super monk, who gets an amazing fight scene with Sark, and the black comedy of Lauren and Vaughn going for relationship counselling just after Vaughn's found out that Lauren really is an evil spy.

There's also the hide-behind-the-cushions tension of Vaughn's visit to Lauren's mum's house, along with the embarrassment of poor old Syd having to listen to Vaughn and Lauren make out. It's all good, gripping, fun - but blends oddly with the very sincere scenes of Sloane's execution. No-one appears that concerned, not even "trained psychologist" Dr Barrett, who doesn't even mention the fact that her lover is about to die by lethal injection.

By the end of it, Lauren's finally realised that everyone at work knows she's the mole. They're behaving so unsubtly, I'm surprised they're not leaving notes on her desk.

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