Irina Derevko is here to stay, at least for now. Kendall is back and he now an assistant director over a joint task force. Jack tells Sydney that Irina will be held in a building downtown where the headquarters of a new joint taskforce is now located. Sydney is just baffled that the CIA is willing to work with her after what she has done. She is just really happy that Irina isn’t her problem.
Back at the storage unit, Sydney tells Vaughn that Sloane has just returned from his meeting with the Alliance and has been made a full partner. She is suspects that with how soon after Emily’s death he was made partner that he must have had something to do with her death. Vaughn tries to lighten the mood, telling her that Sloane killing his wife wouldn’t surprise him, followed by, him eating his wife wouldn’t surprise him. Sydney doesn’t take the bait; but she does tell him what SD-6 does and doesn’t know about her mother and her operation. As well as what her next mission is, and her tells her that they will have a counter mission for her before she leaves. As they are getting up to go, you can see the switch between the two of them go from professional to personal as they smile at each other. Sydney asks him how Weiss is doing. Vaughn tells her that he’s still in the hospital, but the doctors say that he’s going to be okay, but until then he has to feed Weiss’s fish. Vaughn gets a phone call, when he hangs up he tells Sydney that it was Kendall and that he’s here. They have a quick discussion about how Sydney doesn’t trust him, he arrested her. But Vaughn tells her that they have to hear him out and that he is in control of operations now. Kendall comes into their meeting place and Vaughn immediately questions if he got approval from Devlin. Vaughn knows how much Sydney hates this man and he wants to make it hard on him. Kendall tells them that Irina is willing to cooperate, however she won’t hand over any of the Intel and she has made it clear that she will only give Intel to Sydney. Sydney flat out tells him that he’s out of luck then. Kendall starts to object telling her that she will have to comply, this angers Vaughn and Vaughn tells Kendall that he can’t force her to do anything, which Kendall replies, that’s exactly what I can do. Sydney interrupts and asks if they are through, Kendall tells her that it is a matter of national security; Vaughn interrupts him and tells Sydney that they are through, and she leaves. Can I mention how awesome it is to see Vaughn stand up to his superiors to defend and protect Sydney? After Sydney leaves, Kendall tells Vaughn that he knows all about Vaughn’s participation in breaking Sydney out of the FBI’s custody, he goes on to tell him that he needs to convince Sydney to talk to her mother or face charges of obstruction of justice and harboring a fugitive. Vaughn quips back with; “I guess it’s two for one day on blackmail.” You can see how torn Vaughn is, he does not want to have to convince Sydney to talk to her mother. But he also doesn’t want to go to jail and hates Kendall for making him do this.
Sydney and Vaughn are back in the Storage garage and without Kendall luckily. Vaughn gives her a necklace that will make it so the CIA can hear everything that she and Dixon are saying, and then he asks her to go radio silent with Dixon as soon as she can so that they can talk. She calls it call waiting for spies and they both smile and laugh a little. He goes on about the details of the counter mission and what Sloane may want with the disk that she is going after. He pauses, and tells her that another option is for her to ask her mother what is on the disk. She immediately knows where the source is coming from and tells him that Kendall must really be putting on the pressure for him to ask her to do that. He tells her that she has been trained for it, and she reminds her that her mother and Sloane are completely different and will expel different emotions. He tells her that he understands, and that he would, never force her to do it, but he also knows that she wants to destroy SD-6 more than anything, and if her mother can help, why not use her. Sydney tells him, that she can’t and that she won’t. She tells him that maybe he would be able to shut down those emotions with her, but she can’t. She tells him that she will speak with him while on the mission.
Vaughn goes back to the new command center for the CIA and tells Kendall that he spoke with Sydney and she is not going to budge. Kendall finds it unacceptable. Vaughn goes on to tell him all the reasons that he should not force her to talk to her, including being abandoned as a child, and being shot at point blank range; all by this woman who is supposed to be her mother. Kendall tells him that’s he’s well aware of Sydney’s story as well as Vaughn’s. Kendall points to a monitor and we see Irina walking in her cell, and tells Vaughn that 48 hours ago that woman was pure evil and that now that she is in their custody, there is a small chance that she can be helpful. Vaughn looks at the monitor and pauses for a moment and then tells Kendall that when she was done with his father, they could only identify him by his dental records. Kendall acknowledges that, and tells Vaughn what organizations Irina’s hands were in, and tells him that they need to get to that information. Vaughn thinks for a moment, going back to what Sydney told him about maybe Vaughn being able to hold back those emotions, but she couldn’t. So he asks Kendall if he is able to get her to talk will he refrain from asking Sydney to do so anymore, Kendall tells him that he can’t make that promise. As Kendall leaves, you can see Vaughn thinking about if he will be able to go and visit Irina himself and try to get any info form her.
Vaughn decided that he would go and see Irina, you can see on his face that he is not looking forward to it, but he is determined. When he gets closer to her cell he lets the guard know that he wants to be alone with her. So the guard stays back, and he approaches her window. She stares him down, he looks at her for a moment and then looks down and tells her about the Intel that they are looking for. She doesn’t respond, but just continues to stare at him. He clarifies and tells her that he was asking her a question and then asks if she is familiar with the item. She remains silent and continues to stare at him, so he tells her that he knows that she wants to see her daughter, but that it is never going to happen unless she knows that Irina is cooperating. And then continues with telling her that she needs to give Sydney a reason to see her. Irina immediately catches the fact that Vaughn refers to Sydney as Sydney and not as agent Bristow, and tells him that it’s interesting. He tells Irina that agent Bristow is currently on a mission to recover the disk and if there is anything that she should know. Irina tells Vaughn that if he wants to protect Sydney to tell her to pull the fire alarm next to the safe before she opens it. She won’t go into more detail so he walks away, and as he’s walking away she tells Vaughn, “You look just like him.” Vaughn is not happy about hearing that he look like his father from his father’s killer, you can see him trying to control his emotions as he walks off.
Vaughn walks back into the command center and tells an operative that he needs to speak with Sydney, he is told that she hasn’t gone radio silent yet, and if they talk to her, Dixon will be able to hear as well. Vaughn tells her that if she opens the safe, she will trigger the alarm. Back with Sydney on her mission, she almost has the safe cracked so she goes radio silent with Dixon and Vaughn is able to talk with her. Vaughn tells her about the fire alarm being a failsafe. But she wonders where the Intel came from. Before Vaughn can reply, Kendall tells her that it came from her mother. Vaughn tells her that he thinks that it could be for real. Sydney asks if they spoke with her father about it, and we see a flashback of Vaughns with Jack yelling at him that it Irina is not a viable source and that he is not to discuss this with Sydney. Vaughn tells Sydney that he doesn’t think that her father can see clearly here. Sydney asks if Vaughn can, he tells her that he is trying. Kendall orders her to pull the alarm, and Vaughn tells her that if it were him, he would do it. She almost pulls it, but changes her mind at the last moment, she doesn’t hear any alarms, and tells them so. But then the alarms go off, and she tells Dixon that she has triggered and alarm. Sydney is able to get away, and calls her CIA contact to meet with her, but Dixon arrives at the same time, so the trade wasn’t able to be made. You can see how upset Sydney is with herself for not listening to Vaughn’s advice.
When she is back in LA, she meets with Vaughn and tells him that she wants to meet with her mother. She hates her mother, but after getting good Intel from her, she realizes that if she can help bring down SD-6 what she feels is irrelevant. Vaughn warns her that he’s not so sure. Sydney questions this, and wonders if it’s about her father. He admits that he has a point. She reminds him that he said that her father can’t see clearly when it comes to her mother. Vaughn tells Sydney that Irina has some kind of an agenda. Sydney tells him that she screwed up, if she had listened they would have the disk right now, and that all she knows is that her mother offered good Intel and she didn’t take it and now SD-6 has the disk, and it is all her fault. Vaughn tells her that he knows he is the one that told her that she should go see her mother, that she could be unemotional about it. He goes on telling her that he thought that he could do it, go see her and be as cold as she is, He tells her that it’s hard to explain what it feels like, but sitting across from her knowing what she has done to his family, to his father. He realized that she is Sydney’s mother, her mother, how can Sydney not be emotional about that. She tells him that if he is worried about her, he doesn’t need to be.
Vaughn and Sydney meet after Sydney makes the decision to meet with her mother, after Jack explicitly tells her not to see her. Vaughn goes thru the instructions on how Sydney will be able to covertly enter the new headquarters for their taskforce, which is where they are keeping her mother. Nothing really happens between the two of them, but it is interesting to see how far she has to go to keep her cover in place to enter the CIA now. At least she can enter now though; it will be nice to see Sydney is Vaughn environment more now. I like the new high tech command center.
Sydney enters the area that visitors are able to communicate with Irina while she is in her cell, Irina looks at her and can immediately tell that she didn’t pull the alarm and says as much. Sydney doesn’t respond to it, but Irina g=comes closer and tells her that she wouldn’t have pulled the alarm either. Sydney tells her that they need to know who and what is on the disk. Irina responds with asking about Sydney’s shoulder, Sydney stays stonewalled emotionally and says, “The disk.” Irina tells her about a man on the disk, and that is who SD-6 is going to go after. They should to. Sydney tells her that she needs more info, Irina retorts back that no, she wants more. But that Sydney is just going to have to trust her. Sydney asks why she would ever do that. Irina simply responds, “Because I’m your mother.” Sydney is able to stay composed while she is leaving the cell area, but once she is alone, she breaks down and starts crying. I think that she realizes that Vaughn was right; it is going to be harder than she imagined keeping emotions out of the picture when speaking with her mother. It is the same thing that Vaughn experienced. Irina is very manipulative and she knows exactly what to say and when to say it to push the buttons that she wants to push.
At the command center with Kendall and Vaughn as well as some other operatives, Sydney relays the Intel, they go over what SD-6 is looking for, and then Kendall looks at Sydney and Vaughn and tells them, you’re going to Helsinki. Sydney just looks at Vaughn puzzled; Vaughn just gives her a slight smile and tells her that Kendall has a great bedside manner, huh.
In Helsinki, Sydney is in an Alias and Vaughn is sitting at the bar over coms with her, watching her back. When she is on the balcony getting ready to repel down to the floor where the camera they are to steal is, Vaughn sees Sloane, and tells Sydney. She is surprised that Sloane would come himself, they debate over aborting the mission, and then Sydney tells him that they are going for it. But as she is getting ready she has a problem with her equipment, and Vaughn watches as Sloane goes towards where she is, he tells her to hurry, but when he sees that it is getting too close for his comfort, he trips a waiter and makes him spill his tray full of drinks, which distracts Sloane long enough for him to turn around and Sydney is able to fix her equipment, on her way over the building, she thanks Vaughn. You can see the concern on Vaughns face as he realizes how close Sydney is to being discovered. Sydney gets to the floor that she needs and breaks through the window, just as she enters, Sloane comes back in the bar and goes to the elevators. Vaughn warns Sydney that Sloane is coming towards her. She gets the camera and tells Vaughn to meet her at the extraction point, as she enters a hallway the elevator is opening though; she manages to climb on top of a ledge in the wall and watch as Sloane enters the room that she was just in. Once he is inside, she gets down and goes back out the window and repels down to where Vaughn is waiting with the car, and they take off.
Looking forward, I’m hoping that I can contain my need to describe everything that happens when Sydney and Vaughn are on a mission together, as it is going to become a lot more frequent, and now they will be able to have more moments together. I realize that I can’t breakdown every moment that they are together, as not everything pertains to their relationship. But I included this one, because we will now see Sydney and Vaughn becoming partners within the CIA. He’s not only her handler now, but also her partner, something that he is just fine with. When we have seen Vaughn watching Sydney over satellite or other forms of communication while she is on a mission, or just seeing him in general when he knows that Sydney is on a mission, you can see that he is apprehensive about it. He likes being able to have her back. From day one he has had a very protective streak when it comes to Sydney; we have seen it when he fights with his superiors for the first time, when he is telling her to be safe, and how he is almost always asking if she is alright. He wants to protect her from anything and everything that he possibly can. It’s one aspect of his character that really draws me in.
When Sydney returns from Helsinki, she has a similar attitude of what she had in the pilot when she made up her mind to go back to SD-6 and then go to the real CIA. She walks into the new command center still in her Alias, hands over the camera to Kendall and tells him that they are working on the same side and it’s time that he started acting like it. On her way out, another agent stopped her to say that they had a briefing with her mother for two hours and her mother didn’t utter a single word. Sydney apologizes but tells her that she is really tired and wants to go home. Then the agent tells her that her mother did say one thing, and that was asking if someone would pass on her congratulations to Sydney and tell her that she is proud of her. Sydney stops in her tracks and turns around and goes to see Irina. Continuing in her bad ass attitude, she approaches her mother and tells her; “Let's get something clear. You are not my mother. My mother was Laura Bristow. Laura Bristow died in a car accident twenty-one years ago. You are a traitor and a prisoner of the United States government.” Upon hearing this Irina rolls her eyes and turns her head away. But Sydney continues; “Look at me! We will interact only when necessary. You will address me as Agent Bristow and answer only the questions I ask. There will be no personal anecdotes, no comments about my job performance, no condolences or congratulations. Do you understand me?” She even questions her again after getting no response is she understands. Irina finally responds with; “yes agent Bristow” But the smile that Irina had when Sydney left was actually a little creepy. Irina sees that Sydney is very much like herself, and that she will be able to manipulate her.
I think Sydney grew up a little in this episode, she grows in almost every episode, but there was a lot in this one. Sydney has realized another truth and so in a way it had to parallel the pilot episode. She knows who she is and she knows who her mother is, she realizes that she will have to deal with another person that has betrayed her, and have to do it on a regular basis. But she has now put Sloane and her mother into the same category, one that she will deal with to meet her final goal. Sydney is determined and nothing is going to get in her way. But this time, in comparison to the pilot, she knows who her allies are and who she will be able to turn to when she can’t do it on her own. And when it comes right down to it, Vaughn will now always fill that position in her mind. Yes she has grown to trust her father, but as she said in the last episode regarding Vaughn; “For a long time, he was the only person I could trust, I think that still may be the case.”