Season 5 Episode 13

30 Seconds

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM May 03, 2006 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

Write A Review
out of 10
274 votes
  • Overall, this episode was an impressive progression of the key plot threads and character development. Now that Rambaldi has been let out of his network-imposed cage, the season arc has context.

    Now that the shackles are off and the writers can make reference to Rambaldi and the existing four seasons of established series mythology again, the plot circumstances seem a lot less annoying. That might also be a side effect of the pacing required to end the series with five less episodes than anticipated. There’s definitely some evidence of compressed storytelling, but the ability to deliver consequences on characters that might otherwise be left to live another day gives this final arc a shot of adrenaline.

    So the basic elements of the story are as follows: Prophet Five has let other groups, including Sloane’s organization, work on other Rambaldi advancements and plans while quietly preparing to bring about his most important work. Indeed, it is important enough that the other works over the years appear to fit within the scope of this final legacy. Inherent to this final endgame is the infamous “Page 47”, which now happens to contain a secret message that pertains to the woman in the drawing.

    The episode also takes the long-dragging subplot of a cure for Nadia and finally gives it an ending. The connection between Rambaldi and the cure was beyond obvious, though the characters were never allowed to mention it previously. The fact that Nadia is revived is interesting enough; what’s far better is how Nadia’s restoration essentially precipitates events that drive Sloane back into his Rambaldi obsession.

    Sloane would not have gotten there alone, which is what makes this so easy to appreciate. Sloane’s reversion may be faster than one would have preferred, but it is completely logical. Nadia awakens and Sloane has every intention of focusing on her recovery and this latest chance at a new life. But the path to the cure gave Jack and the others a reason to suspect him, and in turn, that led to their decision to tempt him with the possibility of a hidden message within the Rambaldi artifact.

    Without that trigger, would Sloane have reverted? Most indications are that Sloane was content to leave his obsession with Rambaldi in the past, locked away as a private matter of faith. Jack’s gambit was like handing crack to an addict; Sloane might have resisted, but it was highly unlikely. Events unfolded in tragic fashion from there. Sloane still tried his best to keep Nadia and Rambaldi separate, but in the end, he had to choose. That moment at the fireplace was smartly telegraphed, yet its brutal conclusion was still unexpected.

    It does, however, serve the purpose of driving the characters into the necessary roles in a very short time frame. Sloane may not have intended Nadia’s death, but it happened just the same, and now everyone has a reason to hate him for fresh reasons. Sloane has a psychological reason to justify his return to old ways by designating Nadia as another “necessary sacrifice for his faith”.

    Unlike a recent episode of “24”, where a previously central character was left in a coma for half the season, came out of the coma, and then died in one of the most useless plot “twists” of recent memory, Nadia’s survival following “After the Flood” served an actual purpose. Sloane was constantly looking for a cure for Nadia’s condition, and she was the symbol of every reason why he had abandoned his obsession for Rambaldi. Her death was at least partially metaphorical, as it represented the death of Sloane’s attempt at redemption.

    In a way, this is an unfortunate turn for Sloane. He was a character that was so far from a chance at redemption that just a hint of it was a promising direction for the series to take. Every time he slipped, despite his regrets, it was the chance at a powerful character moment. This takes his character back into “classic” territory, but it also renders his character somewhat two-dimensional. Again, that might be the only possible result of the compressed timeframe, since there’s no time for complex character shading.

    This episode does rectify one of the biggest mistakes of the season. Rene was never as impressive or sexy as the producers seemed to believe (note her ghastly turn as a seductive blonde in this episode), and her accent often through off the rhythm of key scenes. As soon as Rene reminded the audience that Sydney was the only person she could trust, it was clear that she was going to be victimized by Anna. (Ironically, Rene didn’t seem to know the truth about Vaughn, so Sydney was lying to her the whole time!) The writers get points for eliminating an annoying character so early in the final arc.

    Because Nadia had to be active and engaging for the entire episode, to serve the needs of the plot, the writers were forced to take liberties. If Nadia wasn’t acting normal and on her feet, how else could Jack and Sydney re-establish quick bonds with her, so Sloane’s actions could have the necessary impact? And Nadia had to be confronting Sloane to force his choice.

    Yet how could anyone left in a coma for nearly a year get up and walk around as though she were just in APO the day before? Even worse, why would anyone let a person who was placed in an induced coma for suffering a strange ailment that made them insanely violent touch a kid barely over a month old, less than 24 hours after miraculously being cured? The characters act as though Nadia’s cure should be trusted, even though they’ve seen a “cure” that left Nadia reverting to her psychosis within minutes and without warning!

    Nadia’s ultra-rapid recovery and the characters’ treatment of her is the primary weakness of the story, but it’s necessary to get the plot moving in the proscribed timeframe. It’s the perfect example of how the network’s lack of good faith had a direct impact on the writing. As it is, there may be too much left to unravel in a rational manner.
  • Perhaps one of the best Alias episodes ever. (Spoilers!)

    It has finally happened. The greatest setup for Alias has happened. Sloane finally turns back to his evil self, by killing Nadia and returning to Rambaldi. Anna taking over Sydney's body is another great transition that builts up overwhelming suspense.

    One thing that bothered me was the product placement. Product placement isn't something new in television, but the way Alias handles it is just too obvious. When you add dialogue that promotes the product, it just gets annoying. In case you missed it: when Jack and Nadia are in the car, Nadia mentions that Jack "finally got the Ford Hybrid." Next we see a shot of the Hybrid logo on the back of the car. This isn't the first time they've promoted ford either. They also had Sydney scream "The F-150" to Vaughn during a chase.

    It might be just me, and I might be lame for saying it, but Sloane's inevitable return to evil is reminiscent of Anakin's fall to the Dark Side in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Sloane's final speech is similar to that of Anakin's pledge of allegience to Darth Sidious. Either way, you get quite the same chill down your spine.

    Disregarding the product placement, after years of average story and plot twists, Alias gears up to go out with a bang.
  • Arvin Sloane is born again...

    Arvin Sloane has been born again. The VERY long awaited return of the evil side of Arvin Sloane has finnaly come back in this episode. If there was one flaw I would give Alias, it would be having Arvin Sloane be a good guy for as long as he has been. Some might say he was never a good guy - but compared to seasons 1+2, he was a good guy through 3,4 and most of 5. In the end of this show, Arvin will have been good more then bad - no matter what.

    I loved the ending when Arvins voiceover was heard as everyone struggled to figure out what was going on with Anna and how she knew everything that she knew. The beginning (like most episodes of S5) started off kind of slow and then got really big towards the end of the episode. Nadia getting urdered after being in a coma for the first 12 episodes of this season almost made me laugh, but I didnt.

    In the end - this episode was very good. Arvin Sloane is back and better then ever as he prepares to go on his final journey.
  • Transitional - SPOILERS

    The past four episodes have been exciting and revealing, and eventually the fun had to stop for a transitional episode that sets up the final four hours. "30 Seconds" has two deaths that are extremely surprising, yet the first two-thirds drags. The production team fails to have appropriate pacing for most of the episode and it drags. Time constraits may be a primary reason for this slow pacing to set up story, though six commercial breaks don't help matters either. The final fifteen minutes redeem the entire hour... though I am willing to give the episode another chance when viewing it on DVD. Without advertisements the character moments can shine - though there are enough in the program already *Hybrid* cough. Each character shines during the hour, and Nadia is given an appropriate exit that is worlds better than a la Dawn of the Dead. The only concern heading into the final hours is the Sydney's double storyline. This feels rehashed, and Project Helix was barely mentioned in the past batch of episodes.

    Writing: 7/10
    Acting: 9/10
    Direction: 8/10
    Overall: 8/10

    - Nadia dies by being stabbed by a glass table - much the same as the glass shards hitting her and Sloane in "The Descent" in season 4.
  • Can Alias season 5 get any better? This episode is amazing, with Nadia back for a full episode.

    Ok, so here we go again. This particular episode did deal a lot with character development, mostly centered around Sloane. The page Anna demanded was Rambaldi's page 47, the creepy page with Sydneys face on it, we don't know why they want it yet, but we did find out that there is a hidden message under it. And who doesn't love Nadia back in the show? We have missed her for a while, and here she is. When she was suspicious of her father, she couldn't find enough proof, so she decided to give him another chance. This resulted in Nadia's inevitable death. Also, we learn Sloane has ultimatley chosen the dark road as his destiny now that he has betrayed and killed the ones he loved.

    Wow, thats all I can say. These episodes keep getting better, and more intense, I can't wait to see more.
  • A strong episode. It was nice to have Mia Maestro back.

    It was nice to have Nadia back this episode. The scene with her and Jack riding in the car spying on Sloane was fun. "I see you finally bought the Ford Hybrid" was a reference back to episode 4.10 when Jack discussed thinking about buying one. I'm beginning to believe the theory that Nadia is Jack's real daughter. When Jack said to her "Sloane isn't your only family" it seemed like he genuinely meant it and it seems Jack has grown close to Nadia. Also in the season four season finale Irina also hinted to Jack that Nadia might be his daughter. The real question though is will we ever know with the series final two episodes away.

    I don't know if it was just me but Mia Maestro's acting seemed to have improved since the last time we saw her. Maybe working on 'Poseidon' helped her. In her final scene after she discovered Page 47 in Sloane's office her pain and disappointment seemed very raw and real. Ron Rifkin actually brought the scene down for me, which is strange because usually he's on top of things. The scene still worked out fine though. I admit, it looked a little unbelievable that Sloane pushing Nadia out of the way sent her flying back into that glass table but it still worked out good. I'm very happy Sloane is bad again even though it did bring the death of Nadia. It wouldn't be the end of Alias and all things Rimbaldi if Sloane didn't return to his Rimbaldi obsessive evil self.

    And evil Sydney kills her first victim. The way she brutally sliced Renee's throat was shocking and I can't remember the last Alias episode where we had where two important characters died(if there ever was one). I predict as we get closer to the finale more blood will be shed. I hope we get some sort of happy ending for Sydney though.

    All in All it was a strong episode and I enjoyed having Mia Maestro back for the short time she was with us again.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - Vaughn didn't make an appearance in this episode.

    -30 seconds references to the amount of time Nadia had to be dead for in between when Sloane stopped her heart and gave her the antidote/special Rimbaldi medicine.
    -Two deaths in Alias followed by two deaths in Lost. Considering both shows are produced by many of the same people that's a mighty big coincidence.

    -I am in mourning for Renee. While her character didn't provide a lot to the story she certainly was entertaining.

    -Marshall:"...Oh I see, it's a secret."

    Final Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.

    - Tim Bronx
  • Alias TV The Complete Series Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 DVD sets

  • Sloane awakens Nadia from her coma.

    This episode is one of the best episodes ever. It was so dramatic. It was very entertaining to watch. I cannot believe Nadia and Renee died. I knew there were going to be several deaths before the series ended, but I was so shocked to see Renee die, in this episode anyway. It was so good. I was on the edge of my seat. This episode was very entertaining. I loved watching this episode so much. This episode is a fine example and it is the reason I watch this show. This episode is definately a series classic. It is the perfect intallment.
  • O.K. so eveyone's looking for Anna, Sloane reverts to his Rambaldi obsession, and Renee' is taken out by Anna (as Sydney)

    Did anyone notice in the scene where Nadia throws page 47 into the fire that when the Rambaldi symbol appears, it frames the necklace around the figure on the page? You can see it on slo-mo replay. Bet it is a key to the end-game (maybe even the "horizon"?
    And who IS she? We already know it isn't Syd. Not Irina either. That leaves... Anna E. (as Syd) or...?????
  • Didn\'t see that coming!!!!!

    What an episode people!!!! filled with thrill, these writers know what they are doing for sure. I love the unexpected, and after a long time of average Alias comes the awosome Alias that hooked us from the beginning. That bastard Sloooaaaaane!!! God I wished I could grab his throat and twist it myself.. and Two Sydneys is overwhelming don\'t you think, but great for a twist. Killing Nadia was the heartbreaking :\"\"( we\'ve been waiting for her, why did she dieee :\"( I wish there was another way out. But with Alias everyone comes to life again hehe. Great episode, can\'t wait the nest week to see what\'ll happen!!!
  • Awesome episode

    One of the top episodes of Alias has ever shown. Alot of stuff happened in this episode. Arvine Sloane accidentally killing Nadia to assume his quest and obsession with Rambaldi's work, Renee getting killed by Anna who she thinks was Sydney, etc. Anyways, in that episode, despite the death of Nadia, it was great seeing Nadia back again. It was also great seeing Arvin Sloan's commitment to his Rambaldi's question and that he's willing to betray his very loved ones. The only flaw part of the episode was that it sort of lacked some Amy Acker, but other than that, everything was great. And oh yeah one more thing, Renee and Thomas were great together!
  • building to the big ending

    well, all the players are assembling onto the board for the final dance. Sydney and anns/sydney, sloane is evil again, vaughn is alive, sark is (probably) on his way back, will was around, and Rimbaldi is front and center again. ah....Alias, you delight me so!
    The show is being very clever about bringing us full circle, and the story is tense.
    Killing Nadia pushed Sloane back over to the dark side, and the hot french chick was killed by fake sydney. we are fulling in the ride up the rollar coaster hill for the big last screaming ride on the adventure known as Alias.
  • This is what u call unexpected plot twists...for better or worse

    ok to begin with I would have liked to have seen more Reene through out the season or perhaps they could have done her better justice instead of (spoilers alert) just killing her off like that I thought she was a strong and beutiful charater, now same goes for Nadia with out going into to much detail she (spoilers) she dies too,or should i say gets killed :(.. the woman just woken up from her coma barly had time to meet her nice and get some quality time in with sister sidney.... it was a shock and yea it was sad they will be missed two strong charaters who were beutiful and had there part in the soap life of sidney , personaly hey could have had a better send off. but good episode very shocking to say the least didn't see it comming ,now with 3 more new shows left ,whats left and how will it all end or should I say who will it end for? ....
  • WOW!! What a rollercoaster ride of plot twists and prophecies!

    Alias' final episodes are really shaping to be the best in the series.

    This episode was amazing simply enough said. Even though I don't like Monica Breen & Allison Schapker's writing that much they did an awesome job on this episode.

    It was exactly like the Alias of old and I loved every minute of it. I don't want to give anything away but this episode will make you very sad.

    I just can't wait for the series finale but I don't want Alias to end.
  • What An Episode! So much, so good, so fast...but I\'m not entirely satisfied.

    Overall this was a fantastic episode, the twists and turns were great (though in retrospect not that surprising). The death of Mia Maestro\'s character, Nadia while entirely essential in its catalysis of Sloane\'s reversion to his evil older self, leaves the show slightly bereft of some aesthetic pleasure (though there is enough left to compensate). Renée Rien on te he other hand should not have been killed off...her character had hardly developed and it seems that she was only killed to add some weight to Sloane\'s soliloquy at the end.

    Moreover the Anna Espinosa-Sydney clone has somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for this part of the story. Gina Torres was sublime in her portrayal of the character and her appearance elevated the show - the scenes between Anna and Sydney in \"There\'s Only One Sydney Bristow\" were outstanding, the clone isn\'t much of a replacement. As another reviewer commented, this may have been essential due to the shorter length of this final series. That said, this is Alias we\'re talking about, anything could happen...I may just get to see more exciting scenes between the two arch-nemeses after all.

    Don\'t get me wrong this is still a very good episode, I just expect more from Alias. All in all, a superb episode (with a little bit of lazy writing).
  • Not as good as I had hoped

    I think that the reason why I was so disappointed with this episode, is because I had waited for it to download(4 days) and then it wasnt as good as the previous three had been. The other 12 episodes in the seaosn so far have be brilliant, and yet I felt let down by this one. Although it was good when *SPOLIER* when Anna (as Sydney)stabbed Renne (sorry I cant spell) and then Nadia died. Now we know that there is onyl one death left to come in the few episodes that are left of this brilliant show. "Alias" is brilliant, and yet I was kinda let down by this episode.

    I hope the rest are better.
  • The long expected twist

    We got nadia back, at least for a while. This was an exciting episode, plus an important one on the main history, but there are a number of things that really buged me.

    I understand Nadia\'s killing as an important catalist for Sloan to \"follow his path\", we saw that before with Emily\'s death, but Reneé\'s was completely unnecesary, plus she is supposed to be top of the line, how the hell did she not realize Sidney was wearing different clothes? The whole operation was a big fiasco, I mean, let\'s be a little consistent, operation a lot harder and with far fewer resources go well.

    Again, the whole cloning bussiness is getting old, come on, at least they could try original ideas.

    And how about Vaughn? We saw him two episodes ago, and apart for like 4 words on last one, nothing.

    Last but not least, I must insist, Sark should be back
  • Hello when is Vaughn coming back

    Anna as Sydney is very annoying. Renee and Nadia getting killed was stupid. Nadia good kill her but Renee was interesting. And who could not predict Sloan would go back to Rambaldi. Jack should have put a bullet in his brain years ago. Not enough Dixon and Marshall for my taste.