I will tell you right from the start that I have a love hate relationship with this episode. It is a fantastic episode, but really, out of all the season Finale’s of Alias, I think that this is the one that has the biggest impact on the overall relationship. Yes the whole will Vaughn live last season was a big one, season three not so much, season four ending with them in a car crash and finding out that Vaughn’s name isn’t Vaughn is pretty big too, but overall, the cliffhanger in this episode is the one with the most effect on the two of them personally. I have been working myself up for the past 4 hours preparing to write this. I know that the way I write these will have me in a complete emotional breakdown by the end purely because I try and get in there heads to see what the characters are thinking and there is so much to process in this episode. But I guess the best way is to actually dive right in and stop procrastinating it.
The episode begins with Sydney beating herself up over what happened in Marseille with Irina. Vaughn is trying to convince her that there was nothing that she could’ve done to stop her. But Sydney is mad that Irina knows that Will is innocent and can prove it and now Irina wants Sydney to do her a favor to free Will. Sydney has absolutely no desire to help Irina and she questions whether she can even trust a single word that she says. Vaughn tells her that if she keeps second guessing herself she is just going to drive herself crazy. But Sydney is only concerned with Will right now, she’s hoping that she’ll turn on her phone and find a voicemail from him. Vaughn is concerned for Will as well, but he’s more concerned with how Sydney is handling it.
In another story line that I will include only because it adds some humor to the episode and it’s also another romance. Marshall and Carrie did go out and have sushi, and Marshall is very excited to tell Weiss about his date as well as ask advice. Apparently at the end of the date, Marshall got a little nervous and started sweating profusely, and so he didn’t go in for the traditional kiss goodnight. Weiss starts to give him some dating advice, but Marshall gets distracted by an alert on his computer. So Weiss is still talking and Marshall is checking out his alert, prints something and runs off while Weiss is still talking.
Marshall ran straight to Vaughn and Sydney who are still talking at Sydney’s desk and he tells them that they are receiving Intel on a top secret server from a source from outside the building. Sydney asks who is sending the signal and is told that it is her mother.
Sydney goes to Kendall to tell him about the upload and before she can continue he tells her that he just left her a message. Obviously he’s still on another train of thought. But Sydney tells him that they received the DNA strain of the second double and that as soon as Will is located that they compare this DNA to his.
The scene then goes to a shady motel and you hear Evil Francie asking Will what else they know, and continues to ask Will if Sydney told him what the CIA knows, or Jack? Will immediately catches what she just said and tells her that he didn’t say that Jack was involved. Evil Francie knows she screwed up, but manipulates him and tells him that of course he did, he just must not remember. Why does Will have to be so vulnerable at this point, I understand that he is stressed, but he should’ve figured it out right there and then. But he does fall for it and tells her he is losing his mind. He tells her that the CIA doesn’t know anything and that’s the problem. Evil Francie then goes into the bathroom and puts some poison on her ring and then gets into the bed with Will, they start making out and Evil Francie is about to stick the ring into Will’s neck when the door is broken down by some agents, and they both sit up and are taken in.
We see Will go through a few medical tests and then Sydney goes into his cell and tells him that they received a file with the DNA strain of the person who was doubled and his DNA didn’t match. Also there was no Provacillium in his blood so he has been cleared. Will is ecstatic and keeps thanking Sydney, and then asks about Francie. They had Evil Francie in custody, and cleared her. At this point why don’t they run an ocular scan, blood and DNA test on everyone that is close to Sydney or had access to her? But that would be too easy. Evil Francie is at home and is fine. Will admitted to Sydney that the things that he said to her over the phone weren’t true and that out of everyone, he trusts her the most. He asks about the DNA strain and if there was a name attached, it was A.G. Doren.
Now that Will has been cleared, not everything is perfect, but Sydney can at least relax a little. So she and Vaughn play some hockey. She tells Vaughn that it is so nice to breathe again now that Will has been cleared. Vaughn immediately takes this chance to move the subject off of Will; I think he still knows that if he screws up, Sydney will end up with Will, something he doesn’t like to think about. So he tells her that Santa Barbara is a nice place to breathe, and wonders if she has ever been there. She tells him sure, that she loves it there, especially the zoo and the giraffe with the crooked neck. Vaughn tells her that he means the beach, the Biltmore, the food. Then he asks if she has ever been to La Super Rica. She looks at him and nods her head no. He looks at her and tells her, okay, we’re going this weekend. She simply responds; “Yeah, come on, as if we could go. There’ll be some emergency, some…” And right on cue a cell phone rings, and she says see and they both smile. Sydney has both of their phones and looks at them and tells Vaughn that it is his. Vaughn sighs and rolls his eyes and answers. We hear him tell Weiss I assume that practice is over and he wants to know why. He then tells him that it wasn’t going to be him; Vaughn has no desire to leave Sydney to go back to work right now. Apparently another agent, Mark is sick and Vaughn has to go in, but he does get upset with Weiss and finally agrees to go in and tells him goodbye. Vaughn tells Sydney that he has to go in, and Sydney tells him that she is going to stay and practice so that she can kick his ass next time. They both laugh, then Vaughn tells her to not forget about Santa Barbara, she just tells him someday. Then they kiss and he skates off showing off his mad skating skills of course though.
Once Vaughn is gone Sydney is playing around on the ice and then she stops and you can tell that something has her worried. So she slowly lifts her head and becomes defensive, she turns her head and Irina is standing on the other end of the rink. They share some words Sydney gets mad and ends up on the floor of the ice. Irina tells her how and why she turned herself in and how she had Sark become partners with Sloane. They show past scenes that followed her plan. Irina tells Sydney that after she had gotten the CIA to let her get on the computer systems she gathered information on where the CIA was storing their Rambaldi artifacts and Sloane raided that facility, those artifacts are all being held in a warehouse in Zurich that Irina has instructed Sydney to go raid. She also tells Sydney how she hated leaving her when it was time for her escape because she did love Sydney and Jack and that part was never part of her con over them, that she will always be Sydney’s mother no matter the circumstance. Sydney doesn’t buy it. But then to make sure that Irina isn’t followed she says that she hates to do it, but then she knocks Sydney out while she escapes.
Sark and Evil Francie meet up in some warehouse so that Sark can give her more Provacillium, Sark then starts to talk to her, calling her Allison. So Evil Francie is actually called Allison, but she will always be Evil Francie to me. But Sark tells her that they are unable to reverse the process since the lab was destroyed. She is upset that she will have to stay like Francie forever, but he tells her that they are working on it and that they will get her back and then they make out.
In a briefing that involved most of the major cast members as well as Kendall and Brandon from the NSA they talk about Irina’s Intel and if it is valid, which they admit it has to be somewhat since she was right about the NSA raid. Vaughn brings up the point that if she is bluffing about the items being there why she would show up in person, it was pretty risky. Kendall tells them to go to Zurich and see what they do or do not have there and that Marshall should go to verify the items. Weiss is instructed to go get Will out of his cell. When Jack tells Marshall he is going to Zurich, he makes an obvious play at bringing Carrie or Miss Bowman along since she would be useful since she is NSA. Jack knows what this is about and he isn’t completely uncaring for Marshall, so he throws him a bone and allows Carrie to go along with him.
Weiss goes into Will’s cell and tells him that they are done with him and that he will be taking him to the safe house. Will has already started looking into this whole A.G. Doren thing, he is sure he has heard the name before so he asks if there is a computer there that he can use. Weiss tells him that there is and next we see them at a desk working. Will asks if he can access his files from there and Weiss tells him sure, stands up and starts logging onto another area and asks Will for his password, Will is silent and Weiss looks at him waiting, finally embarrassed he tells him that the password is Sydney. Weiss just says “Oh” he plays it really cool considering that this guy he barely knows who lives with Sydney and his girlfriend, who is Sydney’s best friend has Sydney’s name as his password, I wonder if Weiss will tell his best friend Vaughn this news. But they are guys, do guys gossip about little tidbits like that? Will found A.G. Doren, she is Allison Georgia Doren, she was part of the group that the KGB trained for Project Christmas. Will has to explain what Project Christmas is to Weiss since Weiss was still in the hospital for that story line. Will tells Weiss that Allison Doren supposedly had died in a car accident, now Will is really curious.
Jack and Brandon go to the NSA facility to get the Di Regno heart; they don’t believe that the NSA is such a safe place now. Meanwhile the team reaches the warehouse in Zurich only to find that the crates are filled with assorted odd items like a waffle iron and a radio. Sydney tells Kendall that it was a setup and that nothing is there. He immediately calls for Jack, thinking that transferring the heart may not have been the best move. Which is correct, the caravan that Brandon and Jack are a part of is attacked and Brandon is killed. Jack is surrounded, and taken hostage. Not a good moment for the CIA right now.
Back at the CIA, they are once again in a briefing, Kendall tells them that Irina Derevko has struck again, that with her Intel they sent in their best agents and with help from a bomb squad they are now in control of two dozen rusted kitchen appliances. He goes on to tell them that simultaneously they had a caravan that was attacked and along with the Di Regno heart, jack Bristow is missing. You can see the concern for Sydney on Vaughn and how Sydney is barely holding it together right now. Sydney wants to know what the next move is. Kendall tells them that they are going to scour every source of Intel that can and they will move on it. Sydney can no longer hold herself together, and she stands up and walks out of the room. Vaughn watches her carefully, you can see that he wants to go with her to comfort her, but he can’t right now, which only upsets him.
Jack is being held by Sloane in a warehouse somewhere. Sloane tells him that he is constructing all of Rambaldi’s 47 pieces together to form what Rambaldi referred to as Il Dire, or the telling. Sloane tells Jack that a change is coming, something that even he couldn’t imagine.
Back at the CIA everyone is doing their part, Vaughn is on the phone speaking French to someone, Weiss is on another phone speaking German, and Carrie and Marshall are looking through the computers. But no one is having any luck. Marshall does ask if Carrie was close to Brandon, she tells Marshall that she actually hated him and that’s why she feels so bad. She leans over and kisses Marshall on the check and tells him that he’s sweet for asking though.
In another area Will is still looking into Allison Doren to find out more about her. This is the part of the episode that they don’t expect us to really remember too much at the end of the episode let alone next season after they have torn apart our emotions with the ending. Weiss approaches Will and asks how it’s going. He shows Weiss a picture of a little girl who is a young Allison. Will had called her parents posing as someone from the transportation department, and found out that there was a fire on the bus and her burns were so severe that they were never able to identify the body. I know it doesn’t seem like much, it’s not supposed to seem like much. But it is a huge clue! (By the way in case you were wondering, it took me a lot of restraint not to type out the words for finding a clue on Blue’s Clues when I started this paragraph, sadly they are stuck in my head though)
At Sydney’s desk she is working on her computer, and her cell phone rings, it is Irina. Irina immediately starts telling her that she didn’t know that Sloane was going to switch the crates. Sydney just wants to know where she is. Sydney is a little pissed to say the least. Irina just keeps talking about how Sloane must have known that she was going to betray him and that she doesn’t know where Sloane is, but Sark does. Irina goes on to tell Sydney that it doesn’t have to be her, but the CIA need to go to this club in Stockholm because Sark will be there the next night at 10pm. Sydney wonders how stupid her mother thinks that she is to think that Sydney is going to believe her again. Irina just tells Sydney that ultimately she is going to do whatever she wants because that is what free will is all about and then hangs up.
Sydney just sits and stares at the phone for a few moments; Vaughn comes and sits next to her and tells her that he’s got nothing, and wonders if she has anything. She thinks for a moment longer, and then tells Vaughn that they are going to Sweden.
In an ultra-swanky club Sydney and Vaughn are dressed for a night out and Vaughn being the utmost gentlemen at all times allows her to enter first with his hand on her back. I love seeing these little things that shows what a great boyfriend he would be. They make their way to some seats and have a drink while they look around for Sark. Vaughn makes the comment that everyone is blonde in the club, and that he keep thinking that he sees him. Sydney then makes the remark, that he’s not there as expected. Vaughn tells Sydney that her dad is going to be okay, he knows what she is really thinking of and is trying to hide her anxiety of. I mean it is the third time this season that Jack has been held captive by a bad guy. Sydney tells Vaughn that she knows Jack will be fine. She sees that Vaughn is worried about her and so she distracts him with the only positive thing that he has been talking about. She asks him; ”When this is over, how do we go on vacation?” This perks him up a bit and tells her; ”Well, I was thinking about this… And I was thinking that we have to stop talking about it and just book the hotel, just do it.” She tells him that he’s right and they need to start thinking more positively. They both start talking about how they are going to go to Santa Barbara, they are going, and they are just going. This makes Vaughn insanely happy, and seeing how he is gazing at her I wonder if the story he tells in season four is true. Does he have other plans for Santa Barbara? I mean he has been pushing it pretty hard this week, and in his mind he has a full plan, the beach, the Biltmore, the food…
The mood changes immediately when Vaughn spots Sark. Sydney is actually a little upset that he is there, and Vaughn sees how flustered he is. Vaughn is excited, he gets to show some payback for being shot at a few weeks ago, but calms his smile down when he sees Sydney upset and confused with her mother. But she tells him that it’s nothing and let’s move in on Sark. They both pull out there weapons and tell Sark and the person he is meeting to freeze. But Vaughn gets his payback, once they are secured Vaughn is aiming his gun at Sark, but takes hold of the back of Sark’s head and slams it down on to the glass and immediately pulls him back up showing off the now broken nose. Then Vaughn tells him; “See? When I have a gun trained on you, I don’t just pull the trigger.” Sark actually tells him thank you, because after their last run in, I’m sure Sark is not happy about a situation where Vaughn has the upper hand. But Vaughn does repeat the head slam into the table immediately after getting his thanks and tells Sark “You’re Welcome.” Sydney asks Sark who seems to be in a bit of pain, where her father is. Sark tells her it’s not a problem because his loyalties are flexible. He tells them that Sloane and Jack are in Mexico City. Sydney and Vaughn look at each other wondering if they should believe him or not. I love seeing Vaughn beat up on Sark though. I think that Vaughn also likes to torture Sark more than anyone else he has encountered.
It turns out that they believed Sark’s Intel because we see Sydney and Vaughn walk thru the doors of a lobby in Mexico City and they look like they could belong in the Matrix movie. Very sleek and in black, and all business, they get into the elevator they know that they are here to save Jack first and foremost. Sydney tells Kendall where they are and then we see that Sark is now in the cell at the command center and is telling Kendall information about the location including how to disarm the security. Kendall relays the information to Sydney and Vaughn and we see that Sark gave the correct information. Vaughn relays over coms that the security is now down and the rest of the team can enter the building. Dixon finds Jack and says into his coms to tell agent Bristow I have her father. Sydney and Vaughn end up getting into a fire fight with Sloane’s body guards and Sloane manages to escape, then Irina comes out from behind the bodyguards, shots both bodyguards and tells Sydney and Vaughn to go after Sloane. Initially Sydney isn’t sure what is going on or what she should do, but quickly looks at Vaughn and tells him you get Sloane and they both run off in separate directions.
Sydney ends up on the roof with Irina, but Irina is on the ledge getting ready to jump. Sydney tells her that she has shot her before and will do it again, but also get off the ledge. Irina tells her that Sloane believes that he has been chosen to realize the word of Rambaldi, but Sydney has also been chosen that Sydney is the one in the prophecy not Irina; also Sydney will be the only one who will be able to stop Sloane. Sydney tells her to get down, but Irina tells Sydney Good luck and that she loves her, and then falls off the ledge. Sydney is in shock and runs to the ledge only to see that Irina is attached to a cord and that she is shooting out the windows as she goes down, and ends up escaping thru another floor.
Back at Sydney’s apartment Will is at home trying to relax, but has brought his research home with him to keep investigating Allison Doren, When Allison herself walks in. She pulls out the ice cream that she got for him and he leaves to go get an aspirin. Once he is out of the room she starts looking into his paperwork and finds that he knows about Allison Doren. Not something she is happy to find out about. In the bathroom Will is looking for aspirin, and can’t find any right off, so he opens Francie’s bag and finds a bottle of Provacillium and then it finally hits him. Everything comes together for him, Francie is gone and Allison is in the next room. Meanwhile Allison knows that since he knows about Allison she has no choice, but to kill him. Will calls Sydney and gets her voicemail, he leaves her a message; ”Sydney, it’s me listen. This is going to sound insane, but I just found Provacillium in the bathroom, and I think that… I think that uh… Okay, just think about it. I think that the double is Fran….” He hears a sound and calls out to Fran, she is hiding behind a corner and strangles him when she gets the chance. They struggle for a bit, and they talk about how she is Allison, but in the end Allison ends up stabbing Will and he struggles with his breath and falls to the ground, and oddly Allison is sobbing as he falls.
Not too long after Sydney Vaughn pull up to her apartment, Sydney starts to go over all the bad stuff that happened, and before she gets too far, Vaughn looks at her takes her chin in his hands and has her look at him and he smiles and tells her, another day. She smiles then he smiles again and they kiss. Then he tells her, “So I did it.” She asks him what; “Booked the hotel.” She can’t believe it, but he confirms that he did and she asks Santa Barbara? He replies by telling her “Three nights starting tonight. I mean, it was probably the greatest phone call I ever made.” They kiss and she calls him a genius. He tells her that after his debrief he’ll be back to pick her up. She walks to her door and watches him drive away.
I told you that this episode would leave me emotionally drained; I am just sitting here thinking that this is their time that they will have together for a while. I am almost crying thinking about how both of them must have felt, (if they were real people, yes I know they aren’t real) during the scene at the end. Thinking about what Vaughn is going to find when he does come back to pick her up. Thinking about how many emotions Sydney must have felt once she did wake up in the van and saw what was taking place. At least their last moments were good moments.
In Sydney’s apartment Sydney tries to relax for a few minutes and she has a fairly normal conversation with Evil Francie/Allison about their day. Sydney sits down and picks up her phone and calls her voicemail. She has two messages; the first is the one that Kendall mentioned in the beginning of the episode. Which makes me wonder how often does she listen to her messages, with that message being left before she left and came back from Zurich, Sweden, and Mexico City. Sydney had asked Evil Francie/Allison where Will was and was told he had he do something, after hearing that, Will’s message immediately begins. Sydney freezes for a moment when she realizes what Will is telling her, she looks at Evil Francie and things are adding up for her as well. (How weird she had been acting, especially when meeting Vaughn for the first time, the bugs, not remembering her old boyfriends name, just to name a few. Sydney ponders how to approach the situation and then gets a spoonful of ice cream and offers it to her, and she takes it. Sydney tells her that she has to change and she’ll be back, but Sydney gets to her bedroom and goes for her gun. Allison appears at the door and has her own gun and tells Sydney; “I just remembered, Francie doesn’t like coffee ice cream.” With that the fighting begins. They fight all over the house, including the bathroom where Allison had stashed Will in the bathtub, and eventually end up in back in Sydney’s room and Sydney is beaten up pretty good, as well as Allison. Sydney shoots her three times and then passes out.
The next thing we see is Sydney lying on the ground in an alley. She gets up and has a hard time walking; she looks around and sees that she is in Hong Kong. She finds a payphone and calls into a CIA number, gives her ID number, and asks to speak with Kendall, but her voice is really raspy like she hasn’t talked in a while. She tells him that She just woke up in Hong Kong, and she doesn’t know how long she’s been there or how she got there. Kendall is silent for a few moments, long enough for him to check to see if he is still there. Finally he tells her to get to a safe house nearby, and then he asks her if she remembers how to get there. (Clue in his question to her!) She tells him that of course she does. He tells her that he will make sure that they are expecting her and they end the call.
At the safe house Sydney is led through the hallway and into a room, where she is told to wait, no one will answer any of her questions. She is getting very anxious about what is going on. While she is waiting for her contact to arrive she finds that she has a scar on her stomach that she has never had before and it is well healed which has to lead to more questions for her. She hears the door open, and Vaughn walks through the door, and he looks like he is about to collapse himself. He can’t believe what he is seeing. (By the way how do you like the Question mark that JJ Abrams drew on the door frame?)
Sydney runs to him and hugs him tight, he is exactly what she needs right now. She really is scared because she has no idea what is going on. He hugs her back but is very hesitant, although there when looking at his face as he hugs Sydney you can see how pained he is, but at the same time there is a moment of finally being able to breathe again. She tells him that they doubled Francie and he tells her that he knows. She asks him what happened to Will and Francie and if they are dead. You can tell that she is waiting for him to stop her firing questions and kiss her like he normally would, but he isn’t. I think that even with how scared Sydney is, Vaughn is having a much harder time dealing with this moment. He wants so much to take her in his arms and kiss her and tell her everything is going to be alright, but he knows that he can’t and it is killing him. She even goes in for a kiss but before she can he tells her that Will’s okay, and she pulls back to ask how. (I told my husband that I would likely be crying by the time I finished this episode and I was right.) Vaughn doesn’t even know how he should begin; he begins to say something and then sees the bed and tells her to sit down.
She sits down on the bed, and then he sits across from her, not next to her and she looks at him and gets even more scared, he looks back at her and just stares. He can’t believe that he is with her again, I am sure he is thinking of their last moment, and all that has happened since. Finally Sydney looks up and says Vaughn? He looks at her for another few moments and then finally says, “We thought you were dead.” Sydney just stares at him in disbelief and is completely speechless at this revelation, and you can see the tears forming in her eyes. She finally understands why Vaughn is acting so strange though. Vaughn is still gathering his thoughts during this and then tells her; “They asked me to come back to… To explain.” You can how hard this must be for Vaughn. He loved/loves Sydney so much and he has grieved over her for so long, I feel so bad for him. But Sydney asks; “Come back from what? What are you talking about?” The longer this goes on the more scared she is getting. And seeing Sydney being so vulnerable is just making it harder for Vaughn. He puts his hand over his face as he usually does when he is stressed and doesn’t want to show his emotions. But that made things a little harder, because once he puts his hand down, shakes his head, and takes a deep breath to explain, Sydney notices something. She says; “Vaughn… Why are you wearing that ring?” Vaughn looks at his ring and realizes that he showed it to her without thinking. He shakes his head and then says; “Syd…Since that night… You were missing… You’ve been missing for almost two years.” While he is saying this, he is having such a hard time, he takes several moments to stop and shake his head in disbelief or to try and stop his own tears. With that we see Sydney just stare at Vaughn wondering what is really going on and trying to process what she has just heard. That is how they left us for Season Two.
Once again I have to say that out of any Sydney/Vaughn moment, this is one that will truly define their relationship and how it will go forward. Seeing how they deal with Vaughn being married to another woman is probably a bigger obstacle than SD-6 was. But they will find each other again, they always do.
****MASSIVE SPOILERS AND A LOT OF SPECUALTION***
Looking at the big picture of the whole series and what they find out throughout the next few seasons, I am positive that Vaughn was going to propose in Santa Barbara. I don’t say that just because of the liberty village scene either. One Jack allowed Vaughn to be the one that spread Sydney’s ashes at her funeral, so I think he was informed of this decision. I don’t know when that talk took place, but it did. I know this because Jack is surprised that Vaughn is married when Sydney tells him while he is in jail after she wakes up remembering nothing. He thought that Vaughn would’ve taken a while longer to get over Sydney; which is why he is so upset and calls Vaughn all those names. Vaughn even makes the comment in season three that Jack is starting to like him again, so Jack did have to like him at one point and Vaughn had a to know of this fondness which is another reason that I believe that a talk was had asking for his blessing. It also makes Jack’s almost refusal of a blessing for Vaughn to marry Sydney at the end of the fourth season make more sense. It can almost be interpreted as you asked me once and you betrayed her, how do I know you won’t do it again. - Just as a side note, when I say I know this, I actually really don't but I like to think that after watching the series and truly looking at every move they make I like to think that I do know this insider information.