While on one level Prelude could appear a functional, necessary episode of Alias, it is quite stealthily both a well constructed and quite important piece, in terms of Season Three and the larger context of the show.
The word ‘prelude’ brings immediate connotations to mind, particularly in the world of music where it is frequently a means to describe the introductory opening or movement in an opera or concert or, more specifically in terms of a dictionary definition, an action that serves to introduce another event of greater importance. The first six episodes have, in that sense, served as the prelude to Prelude itself, and by default Season Three itself. J. R. Orci’s script deliberately tethers Sydney’s ongoing arc back to The Two, back to Succession, back to seeds in the very opening episodes in order to further make the point: the events of Prelude have been inevitable since the very beginning.
Prelude also continues to demonstrate how Alias has moved away from the structure that defined it across particularly the first season and a half, whereby Sydney would likely travel to at least two global locations as part of a mission in shorter bursts.
Prelude frames the first half of the episode around the Beijing mission, allows Syd one of the more protracted and technically adept fight scenes in the series, and then allows the back half of the hour to be devoted to a series of falling dominoes, revelations clicking together, and characters having to make immediate changes to their situation as the impending status quo for the next four episodes—one of Alias’ more tightly constricted and dense story arcs—stitches itself together. Prelude is the perfect title for an episode which is about payoff that informs bigger, concentrated narrative developments to come, at the expense—at points—of Alias’ house style.
Unexpectedly, it is also an hour packed with allusions, character development that foreshadows plot mechanics to come further down the line, and takes the strongest cue from its primary TV inspiration perhaps yet.Continue reading “ALIAS 3×07: ‘Prelude’ (TV Review)”