Tuesday, August 20, 2013

S3 E1 – The Two

Based off of where we left off at the end of season two, we know that right off the beginning of season three is going to be a big moment for Sydney and Vaughn. I think that before we completely delve into what happens in the opening scene we need to look at where each of them is at emotionally.

Sydney has just woken up in Hong Kong, and as far as she knows, at least with her memories is that the previous night, she went into her apartment to pack for a much need vacation to Santa Barbara with Vaughn, only to find the real second double being her best friend Francie. So she is not only dealing with the fact that something is obviously wrong since she has no idea how she got to Hong Kong or how long she has been there. She wasn’t there for Vaughn to pick up for their vacation. And the knowledge that the real Francie is probably dead and she saw Will in the bathtub, and assumes that he is also dead. All of those thoughts are running through her head before Vaughn even enters the room. Then when Vaughn isn’t acting normal towards her and he keeps looking at her like she isn’t real, it only scares her more, not to mention that odd scar on her stomach. So before Vaughn even told her that they thought that she was dead, and that it has been two years, she is already in a very bad emotional state.
Vaughn has just spent the majority of the last two years I would assume (if I hadn’t seen future episodes) mourning Sydney, and he finally has moved on. Although with the connection that he and Sydney had, I’m not sure he could ever go a day without thinking about her. Especially when you look at how much he still thinks of his father. If my assumptions are correct that vacation was to ask Sydney to be his wife and he was never able to take her and tell her all the things he’s been saving up for just the right moment, away from the CIA. Going back to find her dead must’ve been one of the worst moments of his life. So the past two years have not been the best for him, but he has found a way to try and move on. So one day getting a call out of the blue telling him that Sydney is alive and being asked to go pick her up from Hong Kong, I can just imagine all the things that had to be going through his head on that plane ride and then to finally see her again after all that time. Only to know that he has now made himself unable to be with her again, and Vaughn being the ever perfect gentleman, even though he wants to do nothing more than hold and kiss Sydney, he knows that he can’t. He has to go back to the position he had in the beginning, he has to play it as professional as he possibly can an act as a handler in this moment.

So this is where we begin, our two characters both being emotionally torn in a thousand directions. Sydney has seen the ring on Vaughn’s finger and has been told that they thought she had been dead, and that it has been almost two years since that night when they were supposed to leave for Santa Barbara. Sydney has just learned of her being presumed dead for the last two years. So Vaughn begins with telling her what happened. He tells her that there had been a fire at her apartment and then we see the scene of her apartment when he was there. Dixon is walking through the apartment and then we see Vaughn sitting on the floor of the burned house dressed ready for the vacation of his dreams and crying. He tells her that Will survived and then tries to go on, and says, “But you….” and there is a long pause as he tries to explain what happened, but is remembering what he was going through and you can tell he doesn’t want to relive that moment, but he finally goes on, “They found remains… DNA… it was a match. You were dead.” The screen goes in for a closer look at Vaughn at the scene of the fire and he isn’t holding himself together at all, he’s not even trying to. He is full on bawling as close to Sydney’s remains as they allowed him to be. Then we see him look at her at the current time and tell her again, “You were dead.” You can tell that he is about to break down again in front of her, just remembering that night. Then we see Sydney just stare at him and then look at his hand and finally states and you got married, she is barely holding it together. He hates to tell her, but he does tell her that he did. She is about to cry, but she tries not to by attempting a smile at him.

Trying to change the topic he goes on to tell her that why he was sent, he says,” They asked me to come to Hong Kong, the agency thought it would be best if… you were reintroduced by someone from your life before.” She smiles at him and then you can see the questions building in her mind. She tells him that they could’ve sent her father, I’m sure that with her new knowledge as much as she wants to be with Vaughn, him moving on just hurts too much, and right now after that news she needs her dad. She starts listing off the reasons why her father could’ve come, he’s CIA, he’s form her life before, and she is essentially asking Vaughn why he didn’t come, but all he tells her is that he can’t answer that, because he chose not to stay with the CIA after she had died. She can’t believe that he’s not with the agency any longer, and he tells her that he’s a teacher now.
She stands up and tells him, “This is going to take me a while…” he tells her that the agency wants him to bring her back, and that she can imagine the type of investigation that is being started. He stands up and smiles and just looks at her almost exactly how he used to look at her back when SD-6 was still in place and that was the obstacle keeping them apart, the big difference now is that he still loves her, and he knows that he created the obstacle that will keep them apart this time. She tells him, “Hell of a way to wake up.” As she says this she almost smiles, and then asks how much time she has before she has to go. He looks away from her to look at his watch and begins to tell her what the agency wants of her. Before we know it, Sydney has grabbed the lamp that she was standing next to and swings it at Vaughn knocking him to the ground, she then takes the lamps cord and wraps it around Vaughns neck, now keep in mind her last memory is of killing someone who doubled themselves to look like her best friend. She say’s to Vaughn; “I don’t know who the hell you are, but you are not Vaughn, you son of a bitch! Tell me who the hell you’re working for! Is it Sloane? Tell me you’re working for Sloane! “ The door to the room opens, and men are shouting at her, so she punches Vaughn, hard enough to knock him to the floor, and starts to fight the men that are coming through the door. Vaughn does get up, but she immediately kicks him back down to the ground and then she starts running.
The one thing that stands out to me watching this scene is watching Vaughn during the whole interaction. Even as she is beating him up, he struggles to get free, but we know that Vaughn is pretty bad ass and he could fight her back if he wanted to.  But you can tell that he knows what she is thinking, and only tries to free himself, but never in a way that he would hurt Sydney.  He realizes that she is already hurting right now and a good part of it is because of his actions.  While I can’t blame him for moving on, Sydney does and he does as well to a degree.  When he stood up after being knocked down before she kicked him, you could tell that it was not his intention to hurt her or to fight back, but only to try and hold her and try and convince her that he was Vaughn.  Ever since that first meeting, Sydney became a part of him, and anytime that he had to hurt her he would avoid.  His main goal in life is still to protect Sydney, even if now he will have to protect her from herself.
While she is running away she ends up fighting and knocking down two other men before she is hit with a tranquillizer dart.  Now I don’t know if she pulled it out before it could take its full effect, but when we have seen the CIA use the tranquillizer darts in the past the people almost immediately go down, but Sydney has enough time to turn around and see that it was Vaughn who shot her.  You can see that it isn’t something that he wanted to do, but knew that he had to do.  Once she is shot she looks at him and I think she finally realizes that it is him, the way that he is looking at her proves it to me.  She just looks at him and begs him saying “Don’t…. don’t” I think she is actually begging for him not to take pity on her; because we know Sydney and the last thing that she ever wants is pity or for someone to try and protect her.  But she is feeling the full effects of the tranquillizer now and is falling, but Vaughn is there to catch her as she falls.  He just holds her in his arms as she falls and you can see exactly how much pain Vaughn is in as well.  After she is knocked out, he sits in the alley with her head in his arms and enfolds himself around her. 
Once again his need to protect Sydney overcoming any responsibility that he may currently have.  He sits likes this for a few moments while on screen and I would guess that they stayed that way until Vaughn was able to fully grasp everything that was going on and to have his own private moment with Sydney that no one knew about.  One that he could have since he was alone and Sydney would not remember anything.  In one shot you even see him kiss the top of her head.  I wonder if in that moment he told her all the things that he wanted to tell her, that he never had the chance to.  Did he tell her that he loved her and that he was sorry?  Did he tell her about the last two years from his perspective?  I think that whatever happened between the time that she collapsed and the time he took her out of the alley and to whatever extraction means he had, were important moments for Vaughn.  Those would be the moments that even though he was now married; he could be with Sydney again and be able to finally get some closure with her.  As I type this I fear that some might interpret this incorrectly.  I am talking purely of moments that Vaughn would do, and Vaughn would never, and I mean never take advantage of Sydney inappropriately.  This was just a final moment for them to be alone before the investigations of her missing two years begin and before his wife gets involved in having his ex-girlfriend back. 
Now the rest of the episode doesn’t really have much relationship related stuff so I will hopefully be able to stay away from most of it.  We do find out that Dixon now the director of the task force that is based in the rotunda. Also that Will is in Witness protection.  And Weiss seems to be the main field agent, doing most of the stuff that Vaughn and Sydney did before.  She does ask about Jack and says that she wants to see him, but everyone is avoiding that subject, and she wants to know why.  Finally Dixon tells her that Jack has been in prison for almost a year and that they are not allowing any visitors.

This episode does show that Weiss is going to be the one that will make up the friend presence in Sydney’s life.  Considering that she has lost her boyfriend, father, and her two best friends in what seems to be one night as far as she is concerned, she needs to have someone from her past to be there for her.  It does put Weiss in an interesting position of being best friends now with Sydney and Vaughn.  For him trying to balance that, it can’t be easy.
We see the proof of Weiss being the friend for her when he is staying at the hospital with her when she has no one else.  Sydney wakes up and tells him that she thinks that she may know where she was.  With this information she is taken back to the command center.  She sees Marshall for the first time, as well as a pregnant Carrie and Marshall admits that he is the father, although not married.  But Weiss takes her to Dixon and the NSC liaison Robert Lindsay.( Right from the start I could tell that I was not going to like Lindsay, which for me was really weird, because as I have mentioned before the only other show that I share an obsession with is Psych and in Psych Kurt Fuller who plays Lindsay is one of my favorite characters, Woody.)  Lindsay and Dixon tell Sydney that they are going on the raid with or without Sydney, but if she has memories of this location she would be helpful in the field.  Sydney, even though she is in a vulnerable spot right now, tells them that she thinks that she would be helpful in the field, even though Dixon thinks it may be too soon, but she won’t consider helping them unless she is able to see her father immediately.  Lindsay agrees to let her go see him, but only this one time, and he isn’t doing it happily.
So Weiss drives her to the prison where Jack is being held and she waits in a room with a glass area enclosed within it.   Jack is led into the enclosed area and they see each other for the first time.  Jack tells Sydney that he was placed in jail because he became obsessed with finding out who was responsible for her death and in his quest he asked for help from the one person he thought he could trust regarding the situation and it was Irina.  Since she was number six on the CIA’s most wanted list and the NSC found out that he was working with her, they questioned his allegiance to the country and Robert Lindsay among others in the NSC wanted to make an example of him and so they put him in solitary confinement.  Someone had told Jack that Sydney had had a memory of being held in Paris, but when he said that Sydney turned on her anti listening watch that Marshall gave her.  She told her dad that she actually doesn’t remember anything, but she actually read Dixon and Weiss’s lips in the hospital room, she only said it to get leverage to be able to see Jack, but know she has to go on this mission.  Sydney then breaks down and tells him, almost crying; “Dad, I don’t know if I can explain what it’s like waking up and having everything be different. My friends are gone. I have no job, I have no home, and Vaughn’s married, and you’re in prison.”   Upon hearing this about Vaughn, Jack immediately stops her and asks “Vaughn’s what?”  And Sydney can’t hold back the tears and tells Jack that he got married. Jack tells Sydney; “Michael Vaughn is just a boy who was never good enough for you anyway.  This is not how Jack felt about Vaughn during the second season, Jack knew that Vaughn was critical for Sydney getting through all that she went through and seemed almost grateful for him at some moments.  So refer to my rant from the end of Season two and the rant that I am placing at the end of this episode for more explanation.  But Jack continues to tell Sydney that his investigation into her death ended up being even more disturbing than he initially thought that it would be, and so she needs to get back in the good graces of the CIA and continue his investigation.  Sydney tells him that she isn’t sure she can do this without him, but he reassures her that she can.  She asks what was so disturbing and he tells her that he knew she was alive. But before he could go on, their 90 seconds are up, but then he tells her that he loves her.
So Sydney goes on the mission with Weiss and it was something of a failed mission since everyone on the mission besides Weiss and Sydney were killed. Weiss barely making it out of there, because the man that was about to kill him saw Sydney approaching and before she even raises her gun he runs off.  Sydney tells Weiss that it is all her fault having the team dead, telling Weiss that she needed to regain the CIA’s trust so she lied about having a memory.  Weiss tells her that the mission would’ve taken place with or without her, and she saved his life. Sydney tells Weiss that she can’t go home empty handed, she has to come back with results otherwise Lindsay will pull her clearance and she won’t be able to help her father. She asks Weiss for a contact, someone that isn’t with the CIA, but someone who could help her track down the man that was about to kill Weiss so she can get her leverage to get her father out of prison.  Weiss tells her that she won’t like his answer, but to go see Sloane.  Weiss tells Sydney that Sloane brokered a pardon with the CIA after she died, and he is now a consultant for the CIA, as well as running a world health organization.
Sydney goes and sees Sloane and he already had the file of the person she was looking for, since he was expecting her. He suspects that she is working to get Jack free, and he says some other really creepy stuff about loving her as if she was his own daughter. And after this, she throws him onto the desk, and threatens him with a letter opener, asking him where she has been the last two years and that she knows he has something to do with it.  But he shows her proof of his “Redemption” and she backs off.  She works with another one of her old contacts and finds where this man is, blows up his car and those inside of it, and retrieves the chip that she has been looking for.
When Sydney goes back to the CIA, it is a definite parallel to the pilot episode when she walks back into SD-6 with the Mueller device, in the pilot when she walked back in it was Dixon who was surprised to see her back and stands up to watch what will happen, but Weiss does it this time.  She walks right into Dixon’s office as she did with Sloane in the pilot; the difference being is she has no problem with laying out all her cards on the table.  Lindsay is in the office, Sydney holds up the chip, which hold planes for a drone missile, and tells them that she has the plans for the drone and that if they want them back, the NSC has to release her father immediately.  Lindsay tries to pull rank on her and asks if she really thinks she can threaten her.  But Sydney is at a similar place she was after Danny dies emotionally; she feels that she has nothing to lose, even more now.  Back then she at least had some outside support from Will and Francie, but now she truly feels as if she has nothing.  So she pulls out a mini torch and holds it next to the chip, and tells him yea h, I am going to threaten you.  Lindsay puts up a fight, but finally sees that she is not bluffing and with Dixon being on Sydney’s side he relents and writes up the release form for Jack.
Sydney is in some building, but I’m not exactly sure where and is walking down the hallway, looking as though she finally has some relief, but that look quickly disappears when she looks up and sees Vaughn at the end of the hallway talking to Weiss.  Vaughn starts to walk to meet her and they meet somewhere in the middle, and Vaughn smiles at her and tells here that he came by to see how you were. She is not happy; she stares him down and finally asks if he is kidding her.  He tells her that he just wanted to make sure that… but before he can finish, she becomes defensive Sydney.  You know how I said that when Sydney feel betrayed, she doesn’t hold back on her words.  Well I think this speech that she makes to Vaughn is the perfect example, she tells him; “You didn’t come here to see how I am. You came here to see how you are, because you know in your heart what you did. You want to make sure you’re okay.”  This was not the response he was expecting, he was hoping that they would be able to go back to being friends, but Sydney is in no mood for that.  He looks at her and tells her, “I buried you. Consider that for one second….”  She immediately starts back in on him; “Don't use rational thought as a defense with me. Not after all you and I have seen. Vaughn, you and I live and breathe madness. Every day on the job there is no rational thought. I can't even pretend to have a conversation about anything else with you. What it comes down to is faith. What I was hoping you would say is, 'Sydney, I gave up… I gave up on us. I lost faith.' But what you came here for was closure and there is not a chance that you are getting that from me. I'm not gonna say, 'I understand,' I'm not gonna sympathize with you and tell you how hard it must be for you. But you want to know how I am? I am horrible! Vaughn, I am ripped apart! And not because I lost you...  But because...  If it had been me... I would have waited... I would have found the truth... I wouldn't have given up on you! …. And now I realize... what an absolute waste that would have been!”   She stares at him for a moment and then shakes her head and walks away.
It is the most heartbreaking speech in the world, because you can see exactly how much Vaughn no longer being her number one confidant is affecting her.  She has such a hard time that some of the words you can barely hear because she is trying so hard to stay mad and not break into tears. I do have to say that Vaughn is once again the perfect gentleman during this.  He knows how badly she needs to vent right now, so he is going to stand there and take every word that she has for him.  And while watching Sydney is hard, I almost find it harder to watch Vaughn as he sees it from her point of view.  There are moments during her speech that you can see that he agrees with her and may almost regrets what he has done, he knows that she would’ve waited and would’ve found out the truth.  And you can see how much he still loves her.  He hates watching her walk away, but he realizes that she will need some time to adjust, and as much as he wants to help her, he knows that she wouldn’t let him.  And knowing what happened with Sydney I do have to say that honestly at this point, I probably feel worse for Vaughn.  But I also know that she will get past her anger and they will move on.
Back at the CIA, Jack has been freed is so excited to see him and Jack tells her thank you for freeing her. Then he tells her that he has to show her something, and they go to a basement looking location and he tells her that almost a year after her apparent death he was on an operation and he had been tracking a Russian diplomat Andrian Lazarey, and he had placed a hidden camera in his office.  He has Sydney watch the video that Jack had, and it shows Sydney talking with Lazarey and then preceded to slash his throat and murder him.  Jack tells her that this video is how he knew that she was still alive, and asks if Sydney has any memory of the man, and she tells Jack that she has no recollection.

You need to realize that with this project, I have gotten to know the characters pretty well.  I have also ordered many books that I have only had time to skim, but I truly think that I understand most of their motives at this point understanding their personalities.  I have also told you that Season three has become my favorite and that as I do this I notice things that I never noticed before or as I am watching another episode for fun, rather than writing on it, yes I am that consumed right now, I think of what needs to be written or what I may have forgotten.  I may have to put in a page later on detailing all the forgotten items that I missed, who knows.  
But I was just thinking about the timeline of the two years and how Vaughn progressed, and when Dixon said that Jack had been in prison for a little less than a year it made me think again of Vaughn’s timeline.  As I mentioned I do believe that it was Vaughn’s intention to propose to Sydney while in Santa Barbara, besides the reasons that I listed before, he had that story ready without having to think about it, when they were asked in the Liberty Village episode.  So I believe that at some point Vaughn and Jack could’ve worked together in trying to find Sydney’s killer and Jack only turned to Irina when Vaughn decided that he may be going crazy, as he mentions a little in the next episode, and decides that maybe he will start dating again.  He chooses someone that had expressed interest before, but had turned down because he was still grieving, and starts to date Lauren.  And tries move on, so he stopped working with Jack, although knowing Vaughn he would be honest in this new relationship and tell her all about Sydney and that he may not always be the best company, but would try and move on.  He would also tell her about his work with Jack and him trying to find out who was responsible.  But I said it with Sydney and Noah; you never, ever, let your rebound be the one you end up with.
In the final episode of this season Lauren admits to knowing that she knew that the Covenant had Sydney, maybe Lauren just didn’t know that she had been turned into Julia Thorne as well as some of the details.  But Lauren had a job to do, and she was to marry Vaughn and get him to go back to the CIA.  She must have known that Jack could possibly interfere with her plans in a couple ways.  Jack could convince Vaughn that he wasn’t ready to get married so soon after Sydney had died and he may find out that Lauren was part of the Covenant.  So being Lindsay’s right hand man, she may have put a bug in his ear letting him know that she fully supported placing Jack in prison or may even fed him some of the evidence leading to Jack’s arrest.  But I do believe that even though Lauren plays nice in the beginning, she knows that Jack may be a bigger threat to her larger agenda than Sydney herself is.  Below I have placed a small version of the timeline that I believe that happened with Vaughn. 
***Although I did get most of the information for the time line from assorted episodes, some of it is complete speculation and guess work with the clues given.***
If you want to hear my exact reasoning leave a comment and I will let you know how I came up with this.

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