In the mess of the now destroyed SD-6 offices, Sydney is just standing in the middle looking around at all of what used to be her life. I’m sure contemplating on all the evil that has gone down there, but also looking back at the good times that she did have there with Dixon, who may never speak to her again and other co-workers. Vaughn walks in, and looks around and smiles once he sees her, she is the reason that he came. He walks up to her and tell her that he heard she was there. She turns around and she is grinning ear to ear, it’s that smile that she has always hidden from Vaughn, but showed us once in the second season opener when Vaughn was talking of going to dinner in Barcelona. She tells him that she couldn’t sleep, at the mention of sleep Vaughn does have a little smirk, he’s already thinking ahead of himself, but she goes on to tell him that she was afraid that she would wake up and find out that it was all a dream. She also tells him that she went for a run to clear her mind and she ended up there. She does ask if he’s heard any news on Dixon or Marshall, and she is told that they will be in debrief for a while, but meanwhile Sloane has been added to Interpol’s most wanted list. Then she takes a look at him, smiles swallows and then looks down, always a sign of approaching an unwanted subject for both of them. And she says, “About last night…” and she is immediately interrupted by Vaughn asking if she is going to bring up Alice. She tells him that she knows it’s complicated, and he cuts her off again telling her that they aren’t together anymore. You can see her relax at once, but she does ask since when, and he tells her that it’s been since that morning, but that they’ve been over for a long time. Let’s be honest for a moment though, watching the way Vaughn is with Sydney compared to how he was with Alice, it was pretty obvious that the moment he was allowed to be with Sydney, any other relationship would be over. Sydney is nodding her head in enthusiasm over this point. And once he finishes, he smiles back at her. It is a great moment, although not overly memorable in the scheme of all of their great moments over five years, but Sydney’s lack of control of her smile is almost contagious. Sydney just stands there thinking and smiling for a moment before she tells him that she’s been thinking that she can finally enter the CIA through the front door. Vaughn is quick to catch this train of thought and tells her that even better; he can give her a ride. His smile here is pretty contagious as well, but he’s never had control over his facial emotions when it comes to Sydney so we get to see his smile fairly often. But they are both excited at the concept of them being able to go to work together.
One thing that should be noted here, although they worked around it pretty well, this episode was made before Phase One, so many of the scenes that are within the CIA Rotunda and on missions Sydney and Vaughn had been on their date, but had not had the SD-6 smooch as Michael Vartan referred to it in a DVD commentary. They had taken some scene out of this episode to place in the Phase One episode and replaced them with new Sydney/Vaughn moments after the kiss. For instance the whole story line of Will and Francie making out was supposed to be in this episode, as well as the audience discovering that Francie had been doubled. So if some scenes seem lacking in the expected response or chemistry that is why.
Back at Sydney’s apartment the doorbell rings, and Sydney answers it only to find that it is Vaughn, whom she was expecting. He asks her if she is ready to go, she is, but she invites him in anyway so she can get her stuff. He comments on her apartment, and she tells him that she is thinking of getting a new couch, but she isn’t sure. He takes a few looks around and then a comment about this is where she lives. I’m sure he’s imagined this moment many times, and he is relishing being in her home. She takes a look around as well and tells him yep, I love here. He tells her that he loves it. Then she grabs her things and tells him that she is ready. Then we get another kiss. Is it their second kiss, or just the second kiss that we get to see? But while they are kissing, he backs up a bit, ends the kiss, and tells her that they should go, right now. You can totally see that he is thinking like a man and knows where a longer kiss in her house will lead to, and they have a mission to get to. Before they leave, Evil Francie enters the room and says hey. Sydney tells Evil Francie that this is Michael from the bank. Vaughn tells her that it is nice to meet her, Evil Francie says that it’s nice to put a face with the name, and he agrees. This whole time Sydney is standing behind Vaughn pointing at him, smiling and mouthing this is him very excitedly. She is definitely expecting a better response to Vaughn from Francie. When Vaughn looks at Sydney she stops and tells him that they should get to their plane. And Evil Francie asks about her going on another business trip, Sydney makes up a banking trip and says that it is just overnight. Once Vaughn and Evil Francie begin the pleasantries of meeting each other and saying to goodbye already, Sydney is giving Evil Francie some looks like what has gotten into you, as well as a look when she leaves of what do you think. But still does not get the expected response from Evil Francie.
Now just a heads up, the whole Evil Francie storyline is one that is so unbelievable to me that it really brings down my overall liking of the second season. I’ve never really been a huge fan of the Francie character in general, but her being doubled was an aspect that I could never swallow. How can you show what a good spy Sydney is throughout the entire series thus far and let her be fooled by Evil Francie. This story line just makes both Sydney and Will look like idiots. They don’t take notice to how Francie now where’s her makeup differently, doesn’t catch on to some of the things that they are talking about, and isn’t as relaxed and fun as she used to be. Also the one clue that they didn’t give leading up to Francie being doubled is when did Evil Francie learn her likes and dislikes? Did the Evil Francie date Charlie at some point and ask him everything he knew about his ex? On a side note of this particular rant, I read that this is actually the reason that Bradley Cooper left the show, because he didn’t believe in the storyline, as well as his fans didn’t like seeing him not being smart enough to see it. I’m not sure if it is true, but I read it in some Alias themed article. I hope I can contain my editorial rants on this subject to right here, but I may find another time where I can’t take it anymore. So sorry!
The mission that Sydney and Vaughn are sent on was due to the international coverage of a CIA agent that they apparently knew being dropped off on a corner in Berlin tied up in C-4, then eventually being blown up. They were sent in to recover her partner who was assumed to be captured. Sydney and Vaughn did go over the mission details on the flight, and it was the first time that we see Sydney and Vaughn in the CIA plane alone, but not much happened. Once on their mission, the most exciting thing for their relationship was that Sydney knew that if she acted a certain way, being sexy and basically having her bikini top off before entering the changing tent, would bring their target to the tent as well. So she entered the tent barely covering her front, and I can guess that since the target walked in and Vaughn was right at the entrance, Vaughn may have seen a little to get him excited, but we can only guess there. They worked together on the mission, but acted pretty normal for what they would’ve done pre-kissing. They recovered the missing agent and were able to get him back on the plane as well as recovering the Intel on project Helix which the two agents were investigating before. Even on the plane with Agent Lennox, the missing agent, they were very careful about staying professional. The most exciting thing there was once again was Vaughn wanted to know if she was okay after having to fight her way out.
After returning home Sydney and Vaughn were present for part of his debrief and psych evaluation. We learned that the Dr. Markovic that was in charge of Project Helix was working for someone else, although that person is unknown. He wanted to know if they knew anything about how his partner Emma was compromised, they didn’t. At the end of the debrief agent Lennox is asked if there was anything else that they should know and that was that they were engaged. Upon hearing that they were engaged, Vaughn did have a concerned look and looked toward Sydney. I can imagine that he was trying not to think of losing Sydney. Seeing one agent lose his partner who was also his fiancé isn’t easy, but seeing it having just kissed your own partner is a whole other experience I can imagine.
Agent Weiss and the new recruit are analyzing the footage of Emma blowing up and find an anomaly in the footage, so they start working on that. Vaughn does consult Weiss about how odd it was that Emma was very good at sending in reports of anything unusual, but on the day that Lennox was captured, nothing was sent in, and she didn’t send in any reports of his being missing, he thinks that this is odd behavior and that there might be something there. And since the opening sequence we did see Emma begin to send in report that Agent Lennox had been doubled and that it was agent Lennox, or a look alike that knocked her out, I’m pretty sure Vaughn is right.
Having shared the situation of losing a fiancé, Sydney went to check on agent Lennox at the safe house and found him drinking heavily, which is probably understandable. She tells him that even though they are trained to compartmentalize their feelings, she still deals with the death of Danny, but that she would rather feel that than not feel anything and tries to prove her point by taking away the bottle form him. As she does this, he takes her face in his hands and starts kissing her, but she just stays stiff and doesn’t kiss back. Finally he relents and apologizes. It is at this point that other agents come in to the safe house and call out for both of them. They instruct agent Lennox to get up against the wall, but he knocks both of them down and tells Sydney to go, as she is leaving she knocks him down and the other agents are able to restrain him. All Sydney wants at this point is to find out what is going on.
In the Rotunda, it is explained to her, Project Helix is a next generation gene therapy, where a patients face and body are reshaped to identically resemble someone else. Then Jack tells her that Agent Lennox was the first test subject to be doubled. Dr. Markovic was the first subject to undergo the therapy, so they are not sure if they rescued Agent Lennox or Dr. Markovic. Sydney doesn’t believe that they have the wrong person and fights for it. But then Vaughn tells her that even though it sounds insane, the footage that Weiss and the new recruit found tells a different story. Then he shows her the tape of a man that facial recognition recognizes as agent Lennox detonating the bomb that blew up Emma. We find out that the project is designed so that terrorists could possibly just have a procedure done and they would no longer be themselves, making it impossible to be tracked down for their crimes. We find out that the only way to tell apart the real person from the double is with an ocular scan that was built in to tell them apart. A little while later they perform the ocular scan and agent Lennox is who he says he is.
Agent Lennox and Sydney end up going on a mission together to download the data off of Project Helix and then destroy it, once they are in the system, Lennox finds out that he was not the only one who was doubled. Sydney wants to know who else was doubled, but the computer doesn’t have the info on the second double. Insert my screaming at the TV saying that it was Francie. But as he is saying this the screen turns to Evil Francie planting a bug inside of Sydney’s TV in her bedroom.
Back at the CIA a call is routed to Vaughn, and it is a man claiming to be Lennox and telling Vaughn and the team that he’s been doubled and that Sydney is with Dr. Markovic. They are hesitant to believe him, but he tells them that the ocular scan was misinformation that was purposely fed to them. He just escaped a few hours ago and that he is in Poland where he tracked to prototype to. Vaughn is not too happy to hear that Sydney may be alone with the actual double, either way, she will soon be with both of them, and so he works out the coms so that only she can hear him and tells her what is going on. She is instructed to get them both secured and they will figure it out once they are both in custody. So she secures the first and then corners the other. While she is working to secure the second one, the first has escaped. The three of them chase through the train yard and then end up in a standoff with the guns. Finally having already set the explosives, she tells them both to keep their guns up and sets hers down. She gets the detonator ready and tells Dr. Markovic that he better like his face because he will have it for a long time, she knew that the real Lennox wouldn’t care if the lab was blown up, but the imposter wouldn’t want her to blow it up. So the real Lennox would shot the other if the imposter tried to stop her and it worked.
Back in LA, Sydney takes a sip of wine while Vaughn watches her longingly, and keeps watching her as she is making dinner. They are in very close quarters in the kitchen and you can see the desire in Vaughn’s eyes as she passes by him and only smiles. He is content, but definitely has other thoughts in his mind besides dinner. She has him taste test what she is making and he likes it, but after she has set down the spoon, and is checking on whatever is in the oven, he is done watching, and he takes her arm and places it around him and he wraps himself around her, and they begin kissing, and he is caressing her hips. They pull away for a moment and he tells her that she is so beautiful, she responds by telling him that dinner is ready. He tells her that she does have an oven and they can reheat. She uses her foot to close the oven, and then next we know they are on her bed. I won’t go much further, but it is a pretty good love scene for having aired on network primetime, especially for a channel owned by Disney. I will say that Vaughn kissing Sydney on her stomach is one of my favorite parts. But seeing the longing and built up psychical frustrations between the two makes for an exotic night.
The big downside to all of this happening is that we do find out that Francie is in the other room watching the whole thing go down. And what is with the look she is giving the TV? What is she going to do with a tape of them sleeping together? Send it on to Sloane? Come on really. Sorry, not raging on the Evil Francie story may prove harder than I thought.