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TV/Media Commentary and Societal Insights. With a Beard.
Note: This article contains some massive spoilers from season 2 of Alias. Read at your own risk if you haven’t seen the show.
Serious drama is a really hard thing to pull off. That sounds kind of dumb, because drama’s really the baseline for every coherent story you’ll ever tell–even comedies usually have some pseudo-dramatic throughline to make us care about what we’re laughing at. But doing pure, unadulturated, opening-your-heart-and-ripping-it-out dramatic shockers is really really hard. Plot twists go wrong when it feels like they’re twists for the sake of twists, carry no emotional weight, or have been so carefully mapped out that you can predict them, prepare for them, and thus feel no emotional gut-punch that should have been the whole point. Millions have attempted a “Luke, I am your father,” but more fail than succeed. Talking about the history of big plot twists would be a huge endeavor, and it’s not something I have any intention of doing, but I’d like to look at a very massive dramatic twist in one particular show, Alias.