There’s No Daddy Like SpyDaddy

People don’t talk about Jack Bristow enough.

victor garber exasperated

I know, Jack. I know.

The man is one of TV’s definitive badasses. He’s stiff and brittle and broken and pretty much over everybody else because everybody else is incompetent. He doesn’t really do relationships. But if you hurt his daughter, he will bury you.

Sydney is Jack’s only moral absolute. If you help her, you’re good; if you hurt her, you’re bad. Simple. Stay on the right side of that line and he’ll begrudingly protect you; cross it and you’ll never wear a hat again. Jack Bristow will frame a man for a crime he didn’t commit if it spares his daughter’s life, and he doesn’t even care if you judge him for it. Look how much he doesn’t care.

nice shot jack bristow

The lengths Jack will go to for Sydney are terrifying, but there’s still something so exciting about a man whose single purpose is to keep his daughter safe, no matter the cost. He’s dangerous and unpredictable, but he’s also one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever loved. Jack doesn’t know how to express his feelings. Emotions are a weakness in his business, and he’s out of practice at being a dad. So instead of trying to talk to Sydney or take her out to dinner or do normal dad things, he just darts around in the shadows standing up for her. He’s like a big gruff teddy bear.

When Jack stands with Sydney at her fiance’s grave and reveals that he’s CIA, she wants to know how she can believe him. He’s got a long history of not being present in her life, and he did just show up out of nowhere with a gun to tell her that he doesn’t sell airplane parts and that her entire life is a lie. How can she know that what he’s telling her is the truth? Jack takes a second.

“I guess we’ll just have to learn to trust each other.”

Alias had me in that moment. How could I not come back next week? I had to watch them learn to trust each other. The whole remainder of the series is about him answering that question and earning that trust. Sydney and Jack Bristow are the center. He trusts her when she doesn’t trust herself. He holds her hand and takes her out to dinner. He also breaks her out of federal custody more than once. You know, dad stuff. So happy Father’s Day, SpyDaddy. I’d break the rules with you with you any day.

jack sydney hug

2 comments

  1. I love this so much my heart feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest.

    The relationship between Jack and Sydney was always the heart of Alias. Yes, Sydney and Vaughn’s romance was a huge part of why I tuned in, and I continue to be obsessed with Irina’s relationships with everyone on the show. But the real foundation of the show—the thing that made it mean something beyond just being an exciting show with a great female lead—was Syd and Jack’s relationship. The enduing love story of Alias is the love between a father and his daughter, and that’s such a rare thing for any TV show but especially for an “action/suspense” show.

    I just rewatched the pilot last night, and I think my favorite shot is the shot of Jack watching Sydney from the car after Danny’s funeral. It says so much about who Jack Bristow is: He tries to be detached and unemotional because of his work, but when it comes to Sydney he can’t help but watch over her—even if it can only be from afar. He doesn’t know how to be a part of her life at that point—and he knows he wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms should he try—but he still wants to be as near to her in her time of need as he can be.

    Basically, I am drowning in a puddle of SpyDaddy feelings right now, and I blame you for that. 😉

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