Alias Episode 1:2 Scared vs. in Control April 30, 2007Posted by lindamc in alias, attitude, Female Power, gender, imagery, La Femme Nikita, the state, tv.
I found these two episodes of Alias very interesting in terms of the depiction of Sydney. Sometimes when she is at her work she looks scared and lost (much like Nikita) that she is fumbling to figure out what to do. While other times, she seems very much in control and confident: when she tells the men that are pulling her teeth as torture to “biteme.” This cycle occurs again and again, (when she is having a flashback to buying guns in the middle east and the guy that is selling them shoots his comrade when one gun doesn’t work: she looks scared (turning her head and wincing even though I’m sure she’s seen people shot on numerous occasions: she has even probably shot a few herself) and then in control with a tough face spewing Arabic. On another occasion, before she gets caught and her teeth pulled with the red hair, she is being shot at from over the counter (very Femme Nikita) and looks terrified and lost, there is another shot shortly after that where she clutches what she stole to her chest and hides behind a part of the lab tables looking completely terrified, but then stands up to declare: Over here boys, in a voice that reeks of control and arrogance. I found these scenes as direct evidence that the produceers and directors of the show are making sure the audience knows that she is a woman (that and the costumes that she wears). She has to be afraid and show her fear in order for the audience to connect with her, and so they recognize that she could die on any episode: she is a woman and prone to fear and irrational mistakes (like telling her boyfriend about her job).
Another moment that allows me to see more about the directors intent with sydney’s character occur when she challenges the CIA agent in the Blood donation truck with “Forgive me for being forthright or female” where the audience is supposed to respond: “Oh no she did-n’t! Damn!” …but then the CIA agent shows his power and the rest of the male power at the CIA (in these first two episodes we are introduced to no other strong females) by showing her that she has no idea what she is working with. This moment knocks her off her high horse, and help us to accept her as working in a man’s world for many different men.