Alias: Season 2 (2002 - 2003)

SEASON:

Season 2
Alias

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89%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 9

96%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 27

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 29, 2002

Resolving the cliffhanger established at the end of season one, season two of Alias begins with college student-cum-secret agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) coming face to face with her presumed-dead mother, KGB agent Irina Derevko (Lena Olin, making her first appearance as a series regular). But the reunion is far from a happy one: Exposed as the master criminal whom Sydney has been tracking for months, the surly Irina displays decidedly non-maternal instincts by shooting her daughter in the arm and dashing off to parts unknown. Meanwhile, Syd's friend Will has published his exposé of the covert espionage agency SD-6, making him a marked man -- but not if Syd's father, Jack (Victor Garber), can protect Will from any and all assailants. And can it be that Syd's CIA contact, Vaughn (Michael Vartan), is really dead?

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Air date: Oct 6, 2002

Irina (Lena Olin) turns herself in to the CIA, insisting that her main purpose in life is "Defeating Arvin Sloane. SD-6. The Alliance." She also offers to help track down "The Bible," the elusive operations manual for the evil cartel which she formerly headed. But her ex-husband, Jack (Victor Garber), and daughter, Sydney (Jennifer Garner), are extremely skeptical about Irina's sincerity, even after she provides Sydney with the safety measures needed to retrieve a computer disk used by Irina to blackmail other secret agents into complicity -- an assignment given to Sydney by the sinister Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), as yet unaware of Irina's surrender.

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Air date: Oct 13, 2002

Now that Sark (new series regular David Anders) is in charge of the cartel formerly headed by Sydney's mother, Irina (Lena Olin), he launches a Russian satellite spy camera that will help him corrupt the world's security systems. It is up to Sydney (Jennifer Garner) to tap into the images projected by that camera, thereby enabling her to locate a Rambaldi-designed music box containing valuable scientific equations. Though Irina insists she wants to help Sydney in her mission, Irina's ex-husband, Jack (Victor Garber), warns that the woman can still not be trusted -- and by the episode's end, it looks like Jack may be right. Elsewhere, investigative journalist Will (Bradley Cooper) finally meets Syd's CIA contact, Vaughn (Michael Vartan), and sinister SD-6 chieftain Sloane (Ron Rifkin) begins to suspect that his wife, Emily, isn't dead.

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Air date: Oct 20, 2002

Defying the wishes of her father, Jack (Victor Garber), Sydney (Jennifer Garner) insists upon pumping her KGB-agent mother, Irina (Lena Olin), for information necessary to topple SD-6 -- and, incidentally, to allow Syd to quit the spy game for good. On other fronts, a rattled Sloane (Ron Rifkin), convinced that he has seen his wife (whom he was ordered to kill) alive and well, sends Dixon (Carl Lumbly) to investigate; the Rambaldi music box containing the vital numerical equation is now secreted at Sark's (David Anders) Falkland Islands retreat; a clue to the location of "The Bible" containing information on Irina's former cartel has been traced to a Moscow military library, which Sydney must infiltrate; and Will's ongoing exposé of SD-6 is aided by drug-addled conspiracy theorist Rebecca Martinez (Marisol Nichols). And topping things off, Vaughn (Michael Vartan) comes face to face with his father's murderer.

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Air date: Nov 3, 2002

Now convinced that Jack (Victor Garber) was telling the truth about her mother Irina's treachery, Sydney (Jennifer Garner) is warned by Vaughn (Michael Vartan) that even Jack can't be trusted. With this in mind, the rest of the episode -- involving Sydney's efforts to stop the activities of a vice cartel called the Triad in Budapest -- takes on several extra layers of significance. Upon discovering that the Triad is training children to be enemy sleeper agents, Sydney is shocked to learn the identity of the person who thought up this insidious method of indoctrination in the first place. "The Indicator" was originally scheduled to air on October 26, 2002.

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Air date: Nov 10, 2002

Pleading guilty to her crimes, Syd's mother, Irina (Lena Olin), is sentenced to death. Though there is little love lost between mother and daughter, Syd (Jennifer Garner) nonetheless tries to prevent her mother's execution by writing a letter to CIA director Devlin (James Handy), revealing her father Jack's (Victor Garber) involvement in Project Christmas, an insidious method of indoctrinating future secret agents at an early age -- and one for which Jack used the young Syd as a guinea pig. Meanwhile, Sloane (Ron Rifkin) comes closer to a reunion with his "dead" wife, Emily; and Vaughn (Michael Vartan) is shocked upon discerning the contents of Khasinau's so-called Red Ball. This episode was originally scheduled to air on November 3, 2002.

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Air date: Nov 17, 2002

Infected with the virus unleashed by Irina's successor Sark (David Anders), Vaughn (Michael Vartan) has but a few days to live. In order to find an antidote for the virus, Sydney (Jennifer Garner) is forced to place her trust in the highly unreliable Irina (Lena Olin). Ultimately, Syd finds herself at the deserted Paldinski nuclear-sub training base in Estonia, where she is confronted by Sark. With surprising expansiveness, Sark offers to spare Sydney and give her the antidote -- but only if Sloane (Ron Rifkin) is delivered into the hands of assassins.

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Air date: Dec 1, 2002

In the first episode of a two-part story, Sydney's perennial nemesis Sark (David Anders) has ostensibly mended his ways and joined the staff of SD-6. Sark's former confederate Irina (Lena Olin) suspects that he is up to no good -- and she turns out to be right on target when Sark delivers the highly volatile Uzbek communication codes into the hands of insurgents. Inasmuch as these codes have the capability of activating half a dozen nuclear warheads, Irina is in a position to negotiate a 48-hour release from CIA custody so that she, her daughter, Sydney (Jennifer Garner), and her ex-husband, Jack (Victor Garber), can head to Pakistan in the guise of vacation tourists. Upon arrival, this "happy family" begins to track down the codes, their efforts compromised by Syd and Jack's inability to thoroughly trust Irina. Meanwhile back in the U.S.A., Will (Bradley Cooper) is astonished by the CIA's indifference to his findings concerning Project Christmas.

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Air date: Dec 8, 2002

In the conclusion of a two-part story, Sydney (Jennifer Garner), her father, Jack (Victor Garber), and her mother, Irina (Lena Olin), are still in Pakistan, still searching for the code that will enable a group of rebels to activate half a dozen nuclear warheads. Despite Irina's protestations of good intentions, Syd and Jack still doubt her sincerity. Sure enough, Irina reverts to type by handing her family over to her villainous former ally Gerard Cuvee (Derek de Lint) -- but is this betrayal all that it appears to be? And back in the U.S., Sloane (Ron Rifkin) is blackmailed by an unknown party regarding his role in the attempted assassination of his wife, Emily.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2002

Sydney (Jennifer Garner) is forced to work side by side with former enemy Sark (David Anders) on their latest SD-6 mission: to steal a vital component of the Echelon Satellite System, which keeps the nation alerted to security threats. Syd's countermission on behalf of the CIA is to destroy the component's hard-drive so that it cannot be used by SD-6; even so, the information must be retained somehow -- and thus, the photographic memory of computer wonk Marshall Flinkman (Kevin Weisman) come into play. Alas, the mild-mannered Marshall is hardly the most competent of spies, and his first mission goes disastrously awry. Faye Dunaway makes her first series appearance as Ariana Kane, head of Alliance counterintelligence, who will stop at nothing to find out who is blackmailing Sloane (Ron Rifkin).

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Alias: Season 2 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Alias Season 2

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (5)

The result was an hour of TV storytelling that felt as risky and exhilarating as jumping out of a plane, which Sydney does.

Oct 10, 2018 | Full Review…

"Phase One," in many ways, defines my love of television, its narrative possibilities, and the belief that it's worth loving more than is probably healthy.

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

What sets Alias apart? For one thing, there's writer J.J. Abrams (Felicity), who knows how to surprise you without making you feel as if you've been duped.

Jan 26, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

What at first seemed like a casting gimmick has turned out to be a genre-bending coup: The Spy From the Dysfunctional Family.

Nov 22, 2017 | Full Review…

Kudos to Abrams, then, for realising this and having the balls to turn the entire show on its head halfway through season two.

Oct 18, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

My problem with Alias from the start was that it's too derivative of other series with mythological story arcs; that its supposed surprises were actually pretty predictable.

Feb 27, 2020 | Full Review…

I can't remember the last time a mid-season episode shook up a show's world order in this way. It was utterly thrilling.

Oct 10, 2018 | Full Review…

The streamlining of Alias could have meant the dumbing-down of one of the most brain-teasing shows on TV. It didn't. Alias version 2.0 capitalized on the post-September 11 world order.

Jul 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Alias threw down the gauntlet in its season two episode "Phase One."

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Alias: Season 2

  • Nov 15, 2018
    Season 2 of Alias takes the show to a whole new level with even more shocking twists and turns that completely reinvents the series. When Sydney's mother turns herself over to the CIA and begins to cooperate, Sydney starts to connect with her and begins to question everything that she thought she knew; meanwhile Stark and Sloane form a new alliance and continue to search for Rambaldi artifacts. Terry O'Quinn and Lena Olin join the cast and deliver incredibly strong performances; especially Olin, who does an excellence job at playing Sydney's mother, and makes her a complex and captivating villain. Also, the writers do an extraordinary job at constructing the story arcs and creating mystery and suspense. Additionally, a number of big-name guest starts make appearances; including Faye Dunaway, Rutger Hauer, Ethan Hawke, Olivia D'Abo, Christian Slater, Danny Trejo, and David Carradine. And the game-changing season finale leaves audiences on the edge of their seats. Extremely ambitious, Season 2 of Alias is full of compelling drama and thrilling action.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 24, 2020
    It's added mythology and strong character growth continues to make Alias a treat.
  • May 24, 2020
    I miss Syds school and friend relationship from season 1 and I hate how unfortunate Will and Frans life becomes in season 2. I love how disciplined Syd and Vaughn were about not acting on their feelingS for one another until they put an end to SD-6. Once Phase one is complete post Alliance the storyline falls apart and they don't develop the storyline as well as they did in season 1 and Sloane plans and obsession with rambaldi really doesn't make sense. I like the ideal of parental connection also that we get a chance to see Irina. I think they make Syd really emotional in this season when it comes to her parents I would have thought sense she essentially raised herself that she would kept them at arm length not getting all attached or trusting. I did not like the disguises I'm this season the were culturally incentive for brown facing and cultural appropriation is never ok

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