RIP Jack Bristow

Today’s challenge is hard. Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Honestly, the only thing I can think of that isn’t incredibly depressing are my favorite characters on TV shows I used to love. I know this blog is supposed to be about my journey into grad school and becoming a PathA, but as my Lab Management instructor likes to tell us — go have a life. Don’t make studying your life. Go out, do something, watch a movie, catch a game, anything but this. So I’ve been taking his advice. I have many TV shows that I follow, but since it’s the summer, there aren’t many shows left for me to watch except 24 (SO excited this came back) and So You Think You Can Dance. So, I’m going to take my instructor’s advice right now and write about things not related to the program. (I mean, come on, the previous entry was pretty heavy and emotional — for me, anyhow.) Maybe I’ll do this every once in a while, maybe once a week or every other week. I’ll eventually run out of TV shows, but whatever, it’ll be fun while it lasts. I think I’ll call it RIP TV. It’ll be a category and tag so everyone can access it right away.

So, I have this habit of really falling in love with characters… only for them to die. Or never return for whatever reason the actor left the show. I mean look at what happened with House and Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy) leaving, or NCIS with Cote de Pablo (Ziva). Those broke my heart. I’ll eventually write posts about those shows, but the first one I want to talk about is Alias.

I don’t know how many people out there are familiar with Alias, but it was one of JJ Abrams’ first television shows (the other being Felicity I believe). It aired on ABC from 2001-2006 I believe, so I grew up with this show all throughout high school and into my first year in college. Yes, I’m dating myself, whatever. This was one of my very first hardcore TV fandoms. (I was into anime before that like Gundam Wing, which I am still a HUGE fan of today — that’ll be for another post.) I was on message forums and the like, speculating, flailing over spoilers and whatever happened in each episode. I was one of the biggest Jack Bristow (played by Victor Garber, who is still fantastic to this day) fans ever. No joke. We made a website and everything, it was ridiculous. (The site no longer exists, btw.) In fact, I got one of my favorite high school teachers hooked onto this show. She was my computer teacher, and for our web design project, we had to create a website on anything. I chose Alias and then got her hooked. It was the best freaking site ever, but this wasn’t related to the Jack Bristow site. So, huge, die hard Alias fan right here.

Before I go crazy, let me give you a brief summary. Alias is about Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner aka the person I want to be when I grow up), a grad student at UCLA working on her Masters degree in literature I think and she’s also a spy. Works for this secret branch of the government called SD-6 — or so she thinks. She realizes that they’re actually the enemy and ends up being a double agent for the CIA with her estranged father, Jack Bristow. Together, they try and take down SD-6 while working out the kinks in their relationship.

Boom. Not bad right? I have this thing for spies, hence 24 love. (I know I need to get on Blacklist and I will eventually, and probably Homeland.) Anyway, Jack is like this uber spy and would do anything and everything to save his daughter. And in the finale, he does sacrifice himself for her. It was so heart breaking. I knew it would happen because all my favorite characters die, but a part of me died with him too. I honestly have not watched the finale since it aired. I actually did a re-watch of the series a while back and stopped before the finale because I could not bear watching Jack die again. Ridiculous, I know. That’s the kind of impact he and this show had on my life.

It taught me a lot. Sydney is still one of the most bad ass female characters that existed on TV. She had a screwed up family, her best friend was killed, her other best friend got put into witness protection — her life was seriously screwed up, but she survived it all and had a happy ending (just not with the character I wanted haha). She and Jack repaired their relationship and it was so fascinating to watch. That was my real reason for watching the show, the father/daughter dynamic, not the romance (although Jack/Irina was quite the show), but the family bonding. There was a lot of love despite all the crazy things that happened. There were a lot of strong and intelligent characters too. It gave me confidence and hope that maybe one day I could be like that. I could stand up for myself and be confident in myself even as the world caved down around me. Plus, it was about spies.

Even if Jack Bristow wasn’t a real character, I still miss him. He was a force to be reckoned with. He wasn’t the perfect or the best dad by any means, but he definitely tried his best and gave all that he had left to his daughter. If that doesn’t say enough, I don’t know what will. RIP Jack. Maybe one day I will watch the series again, including the finale, and be able to be strong about it.

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