As the episode opens we see that Sydney and Irina are in a gun fight in a hallway, and then when Irina is climbing up a ladder, Sydney is able to corner her and shoots her. The next thing that we see is Sydney leaning over someone on the ground and Vaughn is rushing to her talking into his coms saying that they need a medic that a woman is down. Vaughn and Dixon both look down at Sydney who is visibly upset and crying over the woman.
We are then taken back to LA and it is five days earlier. Sydney and Vaughn are walking together in the Rotunda and Vaughn tells her that they are probably going to keep him in debrief for a while, Sydney reassures him and tells him that he’ll be okay. He looks at her and tells her that if she never sees him again, it was fun. She tells him to shut up. They reach a group of men who approach Vaughn and tell him that Mr. Yeager would like to, and Vaughn interrupts saying talk to me, yeah I know. He nods at the man, and looks a little apprehensive and then the man takes Vaughn’s badge to make it clear that Vaughn is definitely in trouble. Seeing this Sydney becomes a little more apprehensive herself. Vaughn and Sydney look at each other one last time with muted smiles and Vaughn walks off with the men.
After watching Vaughn walk off, she goes and talks to Jack and tells him that she wants to talk to him about Vaughn, Jack tells her that he knows he’s under investigation, she then tells him that he was investing Irina and that he wasn’t committing treason. But right now, Jack has something else on his mind. He tells Sydney that the mission in Panama didn’t go as planned, and she asks what happened, and asks if her mom is okay. Jack tells her that her mother betrayed them, and that she betrayed the CIA. Also telling her that Irina’s meeting with Sloane was staged and Sloane was securing her escape. Sydney doesn’t believe what she is hearing ad tells him that he doesn’t know that, that maybe Sloane set up the meet to abduct her. Then Jack tells Sydney that before Irina left she swapped out the pages in the Rambaldi manuscript, and left them with a fake. Sydney is in shock. But Jack keeps going, telling her that now Irina and Sloane have the original and that it was very much planned.
A devastated Sydney goes to her mother’s deserted cell and later Dixon joins her. He tells her that he is sorry for what happened. He goes on saying that there is a briefing on how they plan to capture Sloane and her mother, but that she is not obligated to go. She is quiet for a moment and then shows him the earring that belonged to Irina and to Irina’s mother, and she tells him that a note from Irina was left and Irina wanted Sydney to have them. Sydney tells him that when Jack had begun to tell the story of what happened in Panama, she had this vision that her mother was killed and that she had died proving herself to be honest and good for her word. Dixon tells her that no one can be blamed for trusting their own mother. Sydney gets a very cold look in her eye and tells him that she wishes she had died.
A quick note about the conversation that Sloane and Irina have on the plane; Sloane brings up the fact that Emily misses the people that she had to leave behind when they faked her death. But she especially misses Sydney, at this you can see Irina’s mood changing. Sloane goes on to say that she must know that he and Emily thought of Sydney as their own, before Sloane can go on Irina asks Sark to excuse them, she does not want Sark to be part of this discussion. Once Sark is gone, Irina leans in and tells Sloane that he is never to talk to her about his love for Sydney again. Irina is not a good mother, but at least she makes it clear that she at least cares for her enough to tell Sloane that he needs to quit his little love obsession with Sydney and quit thinking of her as his own. By the way other things that they said in this conversation are clues to what we find out about the two of them in season three.
In the briefing room, Sydney finds out that due to Jacks history and knowledge concerning Sloane and Irina, Langley has made him director of the task force. Jack tells the group that the tracking device that is placed in Irina has a passive transmitter that they can activate at any time. Marshall speaks up and tells Jack that the device he placed in there was not passive, then Jack tells them that he took out the original tracker in case she was swept for bugs and placed the passive transmitter without her knowledge.
Back at the CIA, Sydney is taking out some of her frustrations in the fire range practice area. And she is hitting her target in the same position each time, she seems very determined. Vaughn walks up behind her, surprising her and tells her that she has nice grouping with her shots. She is very happy to see him, says hay and immediately moves in for a kiss. She asked him what happened and he tells her that they downgraded his security clearance, but only temporarily until counter intelligence clears him officially. The good news was that Jack convinced the committee to keep Vaughn field rated. Hearing this she assumes that he has heard about her mother, and he tells her yes. Sydney tells Vaughn that he was right to investigate her; she says this as she hangs another target sheet up and sends it down the line to be shot at again. Just talking about Irina is upsetting Sydney, and Vaughn can tell. He goes to tell her something and she interrupts him, telling him that it’s the truth and that she doesn’t blame him, she really blames herself for being so naïve about Irina. Vaughn looks at her, and he has that look like I better prep myself for her to get mad, but I am going to say it anyway. Then he tells her what he actually was starting to say when she interrupted him. He says that he doesn’t think that she should be part of the taskforce, he pauses and waits for her to respond, but when she doesn’t he goes on. He says that she knows how he feels about Irina Derevko, but that no one should have to hunt down their own mother no matter what the circumstances are. Sydney finally looks up at him, although a little timidly and tells him that she was never her mother. Vaughn looks at her and asks her if she really wants to believe that. Sydney tells him not to start condescending her again. Vaughn tells her that isn’t what he is doing and she knows it. He tells her that if she ends up cornering Irina and she hesitates for even one second it could cost Sydney her life. We now see Vaughn’s true reasons coming out, he wants to protect Sydney. It is always his ultimate goal. Sydney thinks about this for a moment, then puts on her eye and ear protection and positions her gun, and then tells Vaughn that she won’t hesitate and starts firing her weapon. Vaughn looks at her still concerned, but knows that he won’t win this one, she is going to go.
On board a cargo plane Vaughn and Sydney brief the tactical unit on what the mission entails. I find it to be an interesting dynamic; you can see that their relationship while still new is one where they don’t have to show it off. They are comfortable enough with each other to be able to separate work and personal. So when they are leading a group, they stay professional the whole time. Once in Stuttgart where they have tracked Irina to, Sydney tells Jack over coms that they are close and asks if he knows anything about the location. He tells her that they are at a biotech company, which is an equivalent to the human genome project. Vaughn catches on pretty quickly and says that Sloane and Derevko getting their hands on genetic research can’t be a good thing.
He finds the tracker in her chest and she says Jack’s name as if it were a curse word. Sark prepares the AED machine that is in the first aid kit and pulls out the heart paddles and prepares to shock Irina to kill the transmitter. Once he shocks her, Marshall tells Jack and Kendall that they lost Irina’s signal. With the lost signal Jack gives the order for Sydney and Vaughn’s team to move in. Sydney gives instructions to the team; while she is doing this Vaughn is sitting quietly in the corner. You can tell that he is thinking about what could happen to Sydney while inside. Because no matter what happens he knows that Sydney will be affected whether she wants to admit it or not; if she has to shoot her mother she’ll feel guilty, if she doesn’t shoot her mother she’ll feel guilty, and then of course what if her mother shoots her again like in Taipei. These thoughts can only intensify his hatred towards Irina, he already hates her for killing his father and now what she is doing to her own daughter, and his girlfriend makes it even worse.
Sark knocks out Dixon very quickly and then Sark and Vaughn fight on the staircase. They both lose their guns at one point, and Vaughn falls down the stairs, before Vaughn can recover Sark recovers his gun and aims it at Vaughn and ends up shooting him in the chest. Vaughn falls forward and Sark walks closer to Vaughn getting ready for his kill shot when his gun is shot out of his hand. He looks up and sees Sydney right above him, and he runs. She runs to Vaughn and gets him sitting up, and unzips his coat and shows us that Vaughn was wearing a bulletproof vest. She is very relieved that he is okay. She leans in and holds him, she kisses his forehead and asks if he is okay. He tells her that he is, she holds him for another moment and then kisses him a few times on the check and neck and then helps him up.
We see that there is 36 seconds left on the bomb, and then we see Sydney and Vaughn running through the hallway, Vaughn asks where Irina is and Sydney tells him that she has to be there somewhere. Out of nowhere Irina calls out Sydney’s name. Sydney and Vaughn turn around and see Irina a ways down the hallway. So they start chasing after her, Vaughn is holding the door to outside where Irina has fled to. Then we see that the timer has only 4 seconds left and Sydney and Vaughn start running after Irina again only to have the building explode behind them. Once Vaughn realizes what is happening, out of instinct he gets closer to Sydney and puts his hand on her back and guides her to a wall they can hide behind and he puts himself between Sydney and any falling pieces. I love seeing how protective Vaughn is of Sydney, so when I see it, I will always point it out.
Once safe from the CIA, Irina calls Sloane to warn him that she was tracked and that he may have been compromised, so they agree to meet at the airfield. When Emily boards the plane she is starting to get irritated with Sloane since he wouldn’t tell her why they had to leave their home again and why she is only now finding out that he owns a plane. Then to top things off, Irina shows herself, which only confuses Emily even more. Emily and Irina hug and Emily starts calling her Laura and saying that she thought she was dead. But Irina interrupted her and told her that Arvin will tell her everything. They argue a little bit, Sloane tells her that one of the things he is looking for is a way that she can live cancer free, she gets upset and tells him that she is cancer free, and he responds with for all time.
At Francie’s restaurant Evil Francie and Will are having a double date with Sydney and Vaughn. Sydney tells a story about Francie in High School and asks Francie what the name of the one guy was and Evil Francie of course doesn’t know so she plays like she can’t remember which Sydney finds very odd. Then to make the situation even weirder, Evil Francie tells Vaughn that she went shopping the other day and found something that reminded her of him and gives him a gift. Vaughn is more than a little shocked and Sydney is suspicious and asks if she really bought Vaughn a present. Evil Francie asks her why not, and Will pipes in that it is the weirdest thing of all time. She tries to play if off and tells them that she just saw something and it reminded her of Vaughn. Sydney is really suspicious and is giving Evil Francie the evil eye. Sydney recovers a little and tells Evil Francie that she’s making her looking bad since Sydney still hasn’t bought him anything. Vaughn is still wondering what is happening, but plays it cool. Evil Francie explains that Sydney told her that he is always wearing suits, and then Vaughn opens the box to find a new tie. Vaughn thanks her and tells her that it’s very sweet. There is an awkward silence as everyone processes what just happened, and nobody is overly happy about it either. But Sydney and Vaughn’s beepers save the awkwardness and Sydney tells Will and Francie that they have to go.
At the Rotunda Jack is sitting with an unnamed agent when Sydney and Vaughn approach him. Sydney asks what is going on and Jack tells her that he needs to see this and indicates towards the computer. Vaughn asks what it is, Jack tells them it is from the consulate in Florence last night. They all look at the screen and see Emily walking through the lobby. Sydney just stares at the screen in shock and finally states and questions at the same time, she’s alive. Emily had walked through the doors and told them who she was and who she was married to, told them she wants to cooperate with the CIA, but will only talk to Sydney. Sydney looks to Vaughn for support and he just back at her blankly, he obviously has no clue what to do or say here.
In Florence Sydney and Emily have a little chat about Sloane, finally Emily tells Sydney that she will help bring Sloane into custody, but Sydney has to promise her that he will not get the death penalty. She wants it in writing before she will tell her where he is. Back at the Rotunda Kendall is not too happy about the idea of making a deal with Emily. He thinks that she is trying to pull one over on them like Irina had. Vaughn tells Kendall that Sydney trusts Emily, Kendall fights it some more and then Jack points something else out, then Kendall frustrated says that ultimately it’s Jacks decision anyway and walks off. Jack tells Vaughn to go to Florence with Dixon and he will have Sydney set up the deal, and that a tactical plan will be ready for them when they land. Then we see a small moment that I have missed in the past, but made me happy. I am sure that even if Jack doesn’t know the full scope of things he knows that Vaughn and Sydney are spending time together away from work at the very least. And while Jack thinks that Vaughn is needed, he doesn’t always approve of him, so to see Jack pat Vaughn on the shoulder and in essence tell him go be with Sydney and you protect her there, is nice to see that simple act of approval.
Emily is wearing a wire while she waits for Sloane to come home, she is really nervous and keeps talking to Sydney. Sydney is outside directing the tactical team and giving them instructions. Sloane finds Emily and tells her that he is giving it all up, and that all that matters is the two of them. Emily is begging him to stop talking and is crying, and then she opens up her shirt to show him the wire she is wearing. She takes off the wire and Sydney tells Vaughn that they have lost the signal, so they need to go. Emily tells Sloane that the CIA is here, and Sloane wants to know if Emily will be coming with him. Once one of the guards passes a certain point Sydney tells the team to go. Sloane, Emily and Irina go through a hidden tunnel in the kitchen, Sydney follows and tells Vaughn where it leads and tells him to follow it on the outside. It is at this point that we are brought back to the opening scene of the fire fight between Irina and Sydney. When Sydney did shoot Irina she got her shoulder and Irina dropped the disk that had the genetic database on it. We see Sloane and Emily running towards the helicopter that Sark is in to extract them, and then Irina gets up and runs towards it as well. Then we see Dixon aiming his sniper rifle at Sloane, but as he fires the helicopter flew over him, he looks through the scope again and we see him upset. Then we watch Sloane holding on to Emily and Irina comes and gets him and guides him to the helicopter. We see that the woman that Sydney was crying over at the beginning was Emily and not Irina.
Back in LA Sydney is lying in bed and she looks so sad, then we hear Vaughn say her name. He is lying next to her and is gently rubbing her shoulder in comfort. He asks her if she is okay, and she tells him that she doesn’t want to talk, at least not now. But she grabs Vaughn’s hand and wraps his arms around her and he cuddles in closer to her and kisses her on the back of her neck. I love seeing these moments when Vaughn is content with just being with her and being her support. He knows that she trusts few people and being that person that is there when she can’t be strong anymore is important to both of them.They then sit up and start to look for where the sound is coming from. She opens up a jewelry box next to her bed, and picks up the earrings, they are beeping. Vaughn wonders what it is and she tells him they are her mother’s earrings. She looks at Vaughn and says that she thought they were checked, he tells her that they were. Then he figures out that they are repeating a pattern, it is Morse code. They work out what it is saying and it reads. Truth Takes Time.