After going to hell and back and retrieving the enigmatic Mueller device, a new pathway emerges, one that’ll take Sydney and her colleagues to discover unspoken, deadly secrets of Milo Rambaldi, his insanely accurate prophecies along with esoteric cults and terrorist cells that are sworn to protect or exploit them. What’s made the prophecies of this visionary renaissance philosopher so relevant to the modern age, and why are they entangled with Sydney’s life? Does it have to do with the sense of predestination that flows through Sydney’s indicative dreams/visions as discussed earlier? Do the artifacts, prophecies, and Rambadi’s grand plan above all dictate Sydney’s destiny and diminish her freewill the same way Jacob’s plan in LOST did with Alpert, Locke or Linus?
- The Mueller device, recognized by its flooding-gravity-defying red water sphere, is a pretty curious object in itself as it tends to reappear in different sizes, under different circumstances throughout the series, each time marking a turning point in the overall scheme. In the Season 1 finale, it marks the moment where Sydney reunites with her long-lost presumed-dead mother, Irina, in 4.16 its enticing aura helps brings out the repressed evil instincts in Arvin Sloane and reestablishes him as the villainous ‘pilgrim’ of the story, same way the island’s powers in LOST (the Frozen Donkey Wheel, The Cabin, etc.) led Benjamin Linus to carry out heinous acts in the name of Jacob. Finally a gigantic version of the red ball looms over Sovogda, turning citizens into enraged zombies, and marking end times through Rambaldi’s endgame in the appropriately titled “Before the flood”. Does this mesmerizing device symbolically represent the higher power which moves the pieces around the show’s chessboard of destiny (MacGuffin powers aside…) ?
- Strangely enough, though not surprisingly, the gigantic Mueller device in 4.22 does look exactly like a red eye in the sky overseeing and ‘judging’ all. In fact it pretty much takes the form of Rambaldi’s famous eye symbol <o> which sets apart the members of The Magnific order and the artifacts, resembles the horseshoe-like armature (eyelids?!) that encapsulates the sphere or the floor of the white mini-chamber where Syd’s scanned in red light everyday when entering SD-6; the same one which literally appears in a millisecond in the opening credits and has since represented the show itself . Is the red zombifying eye in the sky a fictional descendant of the eye of providence/Horus, rooted in Illuminati symbolism along with conspiracy theories of mind control and such? While Alias doesn’t necessarily venture deep into that stuff, it indirectly brings up obscure historical subjects from time to time.
- Well, for one thing, The Alliance of Twelve and similar esoteric cults and secret organizations mentioned in the series don’t fall far from your typical ‘New World Order’ conspiracy theories regarding secret societies, but then again such indications have become an established part of the today’s media culture through artistic revitalization and on the flip-side, repetition, that they’re mostly just there to represent the ‘mystique’ of it and nothing else. Anyway, what do these out-of-context references (intentional or otherwise) signify in terms of the show’s main themes? Do The Alliance, Magnific order of Rambaldi and the prophecies, on a grand scale encapsulate all the things that ‘make up’ what one might call destiny or fate? Did Jack Bristow, by systematically raising Sydney through Project Christmas to become a spy, accidentally set the stage for darker things to come? In other words, was Jack (or Irina) responsible for sealing Sydney’s destiny? Was it Arvin or all the mighty work of Master Rambaldi’s prophecies? Did it all end up shaping the destiny which required Jack’s ultimate sacrifice in order to be dispelled (in a similar fashion to Jack Shephard)? I guess it’s no wonder that like most LOST or Fringe characters, Syd too ended up growing with daddy issues.
- We get a hint of the technical material Syd handles in this episode with the harmless-looking Hieroglyph translations (listen to the episode’s commentary) which mostly revolve around the core concept of ‘writing’; one which could be extended to include manuscripts, documents, etc. Throughout the show Sydney and co. come across manuscripts, encrypted messages and scriptures that speak of doom, dismay and a destiny to be fulfilled, such as the often misinterpreted Page 47. Similarly in Fringe, we’ve got scrolls of the ‘futuristic’ First people depicting prophecies to be fulfilled involving Olivia and Peter. One thing remains consistent in all of these prophecies and that is the concept of time.
- Looking at the names of some of the episodes, this might make more sense on a superficial level (Time Will Tell, Almost 30 Years, Hourglass, All The Time in The World, etc) Time is what the likes of Sloane need to pursue and exploit the dark powers of hidden artifacts. It is what gives the characters the chance to end up on the good or evil side of the chessboard. For Sydney (and us, the viewers) it happens to be that way as well; the truth about Jack, Irina, Rambaldi’s endgame and all the things that make up her fate are unveiled before her watchful eyes as she grows to be strong-willed and fearless. In other words, as Irina’s decrypted message reads, “Truth takes time”.