After the last few episodes of high emotion for Sydney and Vaughn, this episode starts out a little slow. The first real impact isn’t until Sydney is talking with Jack, Kendall, and Vaughn about her mother asking to be released for 48 hours to stop Sloane, but she refuses to say more than that. Sydney has unfortunately fallen for her mother’s manipulation and believes that if they let her go, that she won’t double cross them. Vaughn sides with Sydney to an extent when asked what his opinion is, but only goes as far as to say that so far all of the Intel she has provided has been correct. Kendall ultimately makes the decision that Sydney will continue with her SD-6 mission and Irina will stay put. After Kendall and Jack leave, Vaughn tells her what her counter mission will be. They share a small smile, but Sydney is still upset about Vaughn dating Alice, and she can’t handle being around Vaughn very much, so she tells him that she has to pack and walks away. As Vaughn watches her walk away, you can see how torn he is. His feelings for her have only grown, and you can tell that he regrets his decision to move on, even if it was what was best at the time. But he hates knowing that he has hurt Sydney, even if it was unintentional, and he wants to fix it, but can’t.
While Sydney is on her SD-6 mission, Will and Vaughn meet in a parking garage. Will tells Vaughn that Sydney did tell him about Project Christmas and that Sydney told him about what Vaughn’s theory is about the Russian’s recruiting from the U.S. Vaughn interrupts him, but Will keeps going telling Vaughn that he thinks that he may have found something that proves his theory. Vaughn is surprised, that is not what he had expected to hear. Will tells him what he found and that in 1982 five million children were given the test with the KGB questions on it. Vaughn is happy to hear that Will was able to find something and that his theory wasn’t completely out there, but he has to give out bad news. He tells Will that He didn’t think that Devlin would’ve minded him doing the research, but he did and Vaughn was told to let Will go. Will tells Vaughn that he will keep looking into it and find out who the kids were; that Devlin can’t ignore that. But Vaughn tells him that since Will is a reporter, Devlin thinks that he is trained to report it, and therefore a security risk. Will is very cool about it, he isn’t happy, but he tells Vaughn not to worry about it. Vaughn gives him an envelope and tells him that’s what he owes him and that there is $700 in it. Will opens the envelope and takes out $200 and tells him that he only expects to get paid for the time that he worked. Vaughn is now feeling even worse, he likes Will, even if he is the competition for Sydney, and now he has not only had to let him go, but he is letting Sydney down again by not being able to help her friend like he wanted to.
When Will arrives back at home, he is now crashing at Sydney’s place until he can afford his own. He sees Sydney and can tell she is upset. When he finally gets her to admit what is wrong and she tells him that she is working with Sark, he is not happy that Sark is in LA, let alone that Sydney has to work with him. He tells Sydney that he’s jealous that she at least gets to do something about it. She then asks how his work with Vaughn is going, and after a moment, he tells her that Vaughn sort of fired him. She is shocked so it’s not surprising to see that Sydney and Vaughn are in the storage unit for the next scene.
With the news of Vaughn firing Will fresh on her mind Sydney asks Vaughn if the CIA is really just going to ignore everything that Will found out for them. But luckily Vaughn was able to give her some good news. He tells her that once Devlin found out that five million first graders took the standardized test that may have been doctored by the KGB, Devlin became interested and sent Will’s research to the FBI to continue looking into it. He tells her that it was the second time that Will has come through for them and that he wishes that there was more that he could do for him, and that Will is a really good guy. Sydney thanks him and starts to walk away.
As Sydney is walking away, Vaughn calls her back and stares at her and swallows hard. Then he looks down, you can tell he is gearing up for something big for him. Then he tells her about his watch; “This watch belonged to my father. It’s broken now… but it used to keep perfect time. “(He pauses and looks at Sydney before continuing) “And when he gave it to me, he said, ‘You can set your heart by this watch.’ ” He looks up again and nods at her. She looks almost like she is holding her breath waiting for him to finish. Once again, since he is talking about her father, the one person who means the most to him, along with herself, that he takes it very serious, so she does as well. But after another moment, he goes on, “It stopped October 1st… The day we met.” He stops with this and doesn’t say anymore, but he looks intently at her and she just stares at him a little shocked that he is admitting this much to her. She wants it to be real, but she can’t quite take it all in. Once she is about to say something though, both of their beepers go off stopping her before she can begin. They both look at their beepers; Vaughn looks back up and is very frustrated when he tells her that it is Kendall. He wanted this conversation to be able to last a little longer. He looks back down frustrated, and then looks at Sydney still waiting for a response. She looks at him for a few moments and tells than looks down, I think it is at his watch, but we can’t see what she is looking at, but it is in his direction. Then she looks up at Vaughn and smile, she nods and tells him; “Me too…” Vaughn did it, he’s back in Sydney’s good graces, at least as much as he can be. He hasn’t told her that he loves her, but he might as well have. To me what I hear in the subtext of his words is that, his father’s words and opinions meant the world to him. And when a watch his father told him his heart could be set to stops the same day that he meets this incredible woman, it can’t be a coincidence. As far as Vaughn is concerned, the watch stopping was his father’s way of telling him that this person he just met is now what he should set his heart by. For Sydney, she was not quite in the same place emotionally when they met, but when she tells him, me too, she is telling him that ever since meeting him, he has been her anchor and now her heart is set by him as well.
When they reach the Rotunda to find out what Kendall wanted they find out that the codes that Sydney was sent to retrieve on her SD-6 mission based off of Sark’s Intel, turned out to be nuclear launch codes for six nuclear bombs that disappeared six months ago. Irina claims that before SD-6 acquired and then sent out the codes, she was going to go and disarm them since she knew how to get in the facility, but her offer is off the table now. Sydney tells her that now that she is responsible for handing SD-6 nuclear codes, she will be part of the team that goes to recover them, and help from her would be good, if trying to protect Sydney really was her ultimate goal. Irina agrees to help, and it is finally decided that the team going to disarm the weapons will be Sydney, Jack, and Irina. The first family vacation in years should be fun. To keep track of Irina, she is given a necklace that contains a tracker inside of it. Besides the tracker though it also contains C-4 and that Jack has a remote trigger for the C-4, so if he suspects any double cross, he will detonate it, and blow her head off. After all isn’t that what your ex is for? Vaughn and Kendall explain the details of the mission to the Bristow family. And then Vaughn turns to Sydney as everyone is walking out of Irina’s cell and tells her that he will talk with her once she reaches the CIA contact in Kashmir. But as he looks at her, you can tell he is not a huge fan of the plan that is going into effect, and that he will be worried about her the entire time that she is gone.
On the airplane, while Sydney is prepping their gear, Irina starts up a conversation by telling Sydney that Vaughn has trouble sleeping while Sydney is in the field. She is shocked that her mother wants to talk about this of all things and she responds by telling her that she doubts that Vaughn told her that. Irina tells her that he didn’t have to, she can see it in his eyes, and that she sees it in Sydney’s as well. And to give credit where it is deserved after what she observed while helping them recover the antidote in the last week and then finally seeing them together now, she is right. I just said it and I had actually forgotten about this particular conversation. But Sydney tells Irina that they are only co-workers. Irina wonders out loud why Sydney is so willing to take risks for her country, but not the same for her own happiness. Jack then tells her that she hardly has any right to hand out relationship advice. Irina tells him that Sydney is smart and strong, but not happy. Sydney is incredibly ready for this conversation to be over. She’s never experienced the parental guidance on relationships and it is not to her liking. But Jack and Irina continue to argue over relationships and what they know about Sydney. Finally Sydney has had enough, and she tells Irina to stop baiting Jack and for Jack to stop being such an easy target. That they are going to have to be traveling together for the next two days and they can’t spend it arguing over inconsequential things. Both Jack and Irina stop somewhat shocked that their daughter had to tell them to stop being so immature.
Will set up another meeting with Vaughn, and honestly with how worried about Sydney he is, I think Vaughn welcomed the distraction. But Will tells him that with the exception of him, Jack, and Sydney everyone he knows thinks he is a lying junkie, and when he was helping Vaughn he felt useful again, that he was making a contribution. So he hands Vaughn a magazine, Vaughn wonders what it is. Will tells him that he doesn’t expect to be paid, but he found the names of 40 children who got a perfect score on the test that included the questions from the KGB. Vaughn is shocked that he was able to get the information, and asks how he got it when the FBI has been looking into for the same amount of time, and haven’t found a single name. Will explains where he got his info and that the FBI isn’t finding any names because the test from 1982 is missing. The scene essentially ended there, but I think that it is important to see that Sydney’s favorite men, are getting along and that they have a friendly relationship. They both love Sydney, and know that they are each other’s competition, but they respect each other and it means a lot to Sydney. Plus Vaughn is happy to help Will, when he knows that it earns him brownie points with Sydney.
As the episode ends, we see Jack, Sydney, Irina, and their local contact ambushed. After their contact is killed, they are able to escape by using the necklace being used as Irina’s tracker being flung at the truck holding their supplies, which has more explosives, but also their other needed equipment, where some of their captors have gathered to inspect what they have just acquired. After the captors are all dead, the three Bristow’s start walking towards the nearest town that they will be able to get supplies and contact the CIA.
- Items that I found noteworthy…
- It is over Thanksgiving that the Bristow family vacation takes place. So it has been over a year now that Sydney has known Vaughn and has been working with him.