Wednesday, August 21, 2013

S3 E2 - Succession

As the episode opens we see that Jack and Sydney have met in a secluded location and Jack has run some tests on Sydney and has determined that during the last two years, even though she can’t remember anything about them, he has concluded that no form of brainwashing is still in place. I guess Jack should be an expert on this since he brainwashed her when she was six to become a spy. Sydney wants to tell the CIA about the murder that she committed during those two years, but Jack tells her that he needs her to keep her clearance and that he trusts her even if she doesn’t trust herself.
Once again we see that Weiss will be more of a key player this season in comparison with the last two. Sydney has found a new apartment and Weiss is helping her move in. They are having casual conversation and Weiss makes a comment that it’s nice to see a smile from Sydney and that he hasn’t seen one in a while. Then he asks if she is really okay with living alone. She tells him that she is, it’s just weird, because she knows that Francie has been dead for two years now, but it feels like she saw her a few days ago, and now that Will is in witness protection she can’t talk to him, she feels like all of her friends are gone. Weiss reminds her that not all of them are gone and that he is still there. Sydney then gets a serious moment, and asks Weiss if she can ask him something. He turns and tells her of course, but his smile quickly dissipates as he can see where her train of thought has taken her. He’s right, and she asks him what Vaughn’s wife is like. Weiss then sits down and tells her; “I don’t know if you really want to hear this. When Vaughn heard that you were dead, Syd, he… He dropped off the face of the earth. I mean literally Syd. He was… He was out of the country, for, like, six months, and you need to know that he wasn’t cavalier about moving on. I mean, I could barely even convince him to consider coming back to the agency.” Sydney hears this and she knows that she was too hard on him the other night, I think that after Sydney plays dirty, she always regrets what she says to some extent, at least when she it concerns Jack or Vaughn. But she asks Weiss if he is thinking about coming back, and Weiss tells her that she doesn’t need to worry about it since it’s not going to happen. Sydney wonders if this is because she came back. Weiss nods and begins to say something, but his cell phone rings and he and Sydney are being called in to work.

While at the CIA they have their briefing and Sydney volunteers to go and pick up a package that a group called the Covenant has left for them about two CIA operatives that they have taken hostage. Dixon tells her that he would rather send Weiss and that she can take some time, she tells him the best way to feel normal is to act normal, and that she wants to work. Then he tells her that there is a group that will have a meeting at the end of the week and it is other CIA operatives that have lost time.

The one thing that I miss is the deleted scene that they took out of this episode and it is Weiss going to talk to Vaughn more about coming back to the agency. Although this deleted scene doesn’t line up with a line that Lauren will later say to Vaughn, I think that I like this version of the story better. Basically Weiss goes to the college that Vaughn is now teaching at and tells him that Vaughn deserved to hear the news from him before anyone else. He goes on to tell Vaughn that Sydney has been given clearance to come back on at the agency, and that last time they talked Vaughn was also thinking of coming back. Vaughn tells him that yeah, he was thinking about coming back, but doesn’t say whether Sydney being there will impact his decision or not. Vaughn then asks how everything is going as far as his wife Lauren. Vaughn then admits that Lauren doesn’t know yet, she has been on a diplomatic mission for the last week and hasn’t had a chance to tell her, but that she will be coming back tonight. I can see why it was cut, overall it isn’t that important to the Alias storyline that they are trying to tell, but I think that it is relevant to the relationship story line. Vaughn was finally ready to move on in another way besides with someone else, he was finally going to be able to go back to the place where he has so many memories of Sydney. Everywhere he looks; there is a something that could potentially remind him of Sydney. And now that he is married and thinks he can move on, Sydney is actually back and he would have to be there with Sydney. Is he ready to go back to a place of so many good memories with Sydney and have Sydney be there and not reminisce? Also the fact that he has been living alone for the past week since Sydney returned and hasn’t had to have the discussion with his new wife about his long lost love coming back from the dead. Honestly if I were him, I think that I would be grateful for that week to prepare myself emotionally for what is to come. He is still in love with Sydney but had to move on with his life, and even though he loves Sydney, he now also loves his wife. Not easy choices or emotions that he had to deal with.
So I think that Weiss probably went to visit Vaughn from the deleted scene while Sydney was on her way to do the pick up from the Covenant. Which was actually turned out to be one of the operatives’ heads with a note stuck in his mouth with a list of demands; written in Russian. The demands as we come to find out during a briefing back at the command center is that they will release the other agent in exchange for Sark, who luckily is still in CIA custody since Sydney and Vaughn picked him up in Stockholm. Sydney is very adamant that they do not let Sark go, but Lindsay is convinced that they have sucked out every piece of information they can out of him and that Covenant probably wants him dead anyway so what does it matter.

After the meeting Jack is telling Sydney about his plans to go see Sloane while she is making the Sark trade in Mexico City. Sydney also tells Jack of her hatred of Lindsay and how much she would like to get rid of him. Suddenly she stops, and then we see that they have come across the wall with the names of the agents that had died in the service of the CIA and the Wall of stars above it. Sydney has seen her name and is left speechless for a moment. Jack tells her that he will have it adjusted. Finally Sydney wants to know more about her “death” and asks Jack where she was buried. Jack tells Sydney that she was cremated and that Vaughn had spread her ashes at the sea.

I think after hearing that Vaughn was the one that spread her ashes and after Weiss telling her that he was thinking about coming back, but may not now that she is there. She knows that she has to go find him and attempt an apology. So she goes to the school where he teaches and is very apprehensive as she enters his classroom. Vaughn is finishing with a class, he teaches French and as the class is leaving he looks at the door and sees Sydney standing by the doorway. He turns and looks at her, he almost looks scared, but ready to get emotionally torn apart again. I am sure that at this point it is still a shock to see her and it will take him a little while to adjust to it. After Sydney stated or asked that he was a French teacher now, and he told her yeah, you could see him relax a little bit. He does know Sydney and he can tell that she didn’t come for a fight. She looks at him and is still apprehensive; she knows that she was way too hard on him the other night. But she tells him; “I know that you’re thinking about coming back to the agency. On the off chance that your hesitation is out of some courtesy to me… I…. Ah… You can forget about it. I mean, I can handle you being there, so don’t worry about me. Vaughn is very quiet and stoic as he watches her say this. He can tell that she is having a hard time with this and he can see that she is still very much in love with him, he looks down and we know from history that this is a sign that he is going to tell her something important and that he is preparing himself for it, he even walks a few steps to get closer to her, but not too close. He tells her; “The other day, you said that I gave up on us because I didn’t have faith, that somehow you didn’t mean enough to me.” Sydney took his small pause and tries to apologize, and says; “When I said that, I was…” But her stops her just as she stopped him the other night, it’s her turn to listen. He tells her; “No, Let me finish.” You can see that whatever he is trying to say is hard enough for him and he needs to be able to just get it out, and she has to understand. He goes on to say; “After you died, I used to talk to you. Like you were still around… Literally out loud… Whole conversations about… About nothing… The weather…Should I get a new car? Should I have another drink? And one day, you started answering. I mean I could hear you in my head like you were right next to me Sydney. And although rationally I knew I was a guy who stayed up nights drinking, talking to his dead girlfriend, still I couldn’t stop. So before you tell me that you can handle my coming back to the CIA, there are two things that you need to know. First I was so in love with you, it nearly killed me. And second, that I don’t regret moving on with my life.” 
Honestly I think that his speech is almost more heartbreaking than Sydney’s speech to him about how she was doing. As you see Vaughn telling her what he went through after she died, you can see him almost remembering these moments and at the same time looking at Sydney’s reactions, and wanting to stop and go over and hold her, but knowing that doing that would only make things worse. I do have to say that knowing Vaughn as well as I do now, the second thing he told Sydney she needed to know was a half-truth. He didn’t regret moving on with his life, he was getting back to being somewhat normal, it was something that he had to do for himself. But now that he has learned that Sydney wasn’t actually dead, I know that to some extent he does truly regret moving on so soon. Looking at Sydney during his speech you can see that she is finally realizing that even though she is having a really hard time dealing with the fact that she can’t remember anything from the last two years and the shock of coming back is painful for her. Vaughn is also in pain, and hearing what he went through after her “death” makes her feel for him and his pain and she wants to take that away. This is where I once again have to rave about how good of an actor Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner are. They both are amazing during both speeches, just absolutely convincing me that they really did feel all those things for each other.

Before Sydney and Weiss leave for Mexico City to make the trade with Sark. She goes to see him in Irina’s old cell at the command center. Sark is amazed to see her, and says as much, but Sydney tells him that he doesn’t want to start the conversation by acting surprised that she is alive. She tells him that she believes that the explosion at her apartment was a cover up to make the CIA believe that she was dead and that Sloane was behind it, also that she thinks that Sark knows what happened and that he failed to mention that part during his confessions. He tells her that if he understands what she is saying, she has no idea where she has been for the last two years, and it makes him laugh, he even apologizes to Sydney for laughing and tells her that if Sloane had intended to abduct her, he didn’t know about it.

In Mexico City Sark tells Sydney that this new group the Covenant is as much a mystery to him as it is to the CIA, and he has no idea why they want to make the trade. Sydney vary plainly tells him that he’s about to find out. He asks if his life is in danger and Sydney just looks up at him without answering. During the exchange they see that additional vehicles are coming as well as a chopper, Lindsay decided to hold his own operation and ambushed the CIA in hopes of getting the CIA agent back as well as getting to keep Sark. But Lindsay’s plan failed miserably and the CIA operative and Sark were both taken by the Covenant. Needless to say when Sydney returns back to LA, she is pissed, not only did they let Sark go which she always thought was a bad idea; they lost the CIA operative as well. So she goes into the men’s room and confronts Lindsay and tells him that if that operative dies she will be the one that will make sure that he is held responsible for it. She tells him that she is unimpressed by his title or the fact that he plays golf with the president and that anytime he wants to make a power play that is aimed at her, go ahead and try because she will take him to the mat every time. Finally he has had enough and asks her if it had slipped her mind that they are in the men’s room, she then asks him who let him in and walks away.

After Sydney’s discussion with Lindsay, she is still fuming a little and is caught off guard when she enters the Rotunda and sees that Vaughn is there and is talking with Dixon. She stops immediately, thrown by the sight, and when Dixon sees her, he motions for her to come over. Dixon tells her that Vaughn has qualified for reinstatement, he doesn’t have his field rating yet, but he is back effective immediately.
They both are trying very hard to go back to that place that they once were at, when they had a purely professional relationship, they even try and not look at each other as was once required of them. Dixon tells them that if they want any special considerations, they need to tell him now. Sydney looks up and attempts a happy smile (she wasn’t too convincing) and tells him welcome back, He looks at her as well, and you can still see all his love for her in his eyes but is trying really hard not to show it, and tells her thanks. Dixon is relieved to see that they aren’t going to be petty about the whole thing. As we watch Vaughn continue to look at Sydney, his attempts to divert his eyes and he sees Jack, probably the one person he really doesn’t want to see right now, because I am sure as I have explained before Vaughn and Jack did have a connection and Vaughn knows that Jack is not going to be happy with him over moving on, he knows how protective Jack is over Sydney. And you can see this fear in Vaughn’s eyes as he sees Jack, and greets him. And if Jacks looks could kill Vaughn would be dead with the look Jack gave him when greeted.

But Jack is not there to deal with Vaughn right now, I am sure that he will voice that opinion soon enough to Vaughn. But Jack tells them what the covenant really wanted from Sark. A chief operative of the Covenant had led Sark to an executive vault inside of a bank, Sark was able to use his fingerprint to access the vault and found 800 million dollars’ worth of gold bars, all of which Sark had no idea he was entitled to. Jack tells them, (Dixon, Vaughn & Sydney) that eight months ago a Russian Diplomat named Andrian Lazarey was murdered, and his murderer has never been found. At this point, Sydney looks to her father with an, are you crazy look and tries to hide the fact that she was the murderer. But Jack continues telling them that when he died he left his inheritance of being from a royal family to his son, Sark. After the official conversation is over and Sydney is given her next mission, Sydney and Jack go up to the roof and Sydney wants to know why he brought up the connection. She also doesn’t like the idea that she is responsible for this man’s death and that because of it; the Covenant now has Sark on their side as well as a lot of money to fund it. Jack tells her that the more he sees, the more it seems that the Covenant is responsible for her two year absence.
While on her mission Sydney is doing her thing and gets to the point where she is about to break into the sub-basement and is hacking into the security system, Back at the Rotunda, Dixon, Marshall and Vaughn are all monitoring her and looking at the building specs as she is hacking in. Vaughn notices something and Sydney tells them that she has the code and is about to enter it, but as she is about to start, Vaughn grabs a headset and tells her to stop. He tells her that the security alarms will be triggered if she enters the sequence she has. He asks her if she remembers the security system in Nepal, and tells her it’s the same system. He tells her that the numbers can be converted into a real passcode and tells her to read him the sequence. She reads it off to him, and we see that Weiss and another team are waiting to go help Sydney once the Security is shut down. Vaughn breaks the code sequence and tells her what to try and it worked and the alarms were deactivated. Vaughn puts down the headset and breathes a huge sigh of relief, as well as wiping his brow in relief. This gesture alone, although nothing is ever said about tells me that Vaughn’s number one concern is still taking care of Sydney while she is in the field. The relationship between the two of them may be full of tension, but he still cares deeply for her and now that he has her back, he is going to do anything to protect her.

Once Weiss and the team have stormed the building and taken down the guards, Sydney grabs the key card and a gun from off of them and goes through a door. The other CIA operative is there strapped to a table about to be tortured by another man. The man who was going to torture him pulls out a gun and aims it at Sydney, but Sydney shoots him a few times before he can get off a shot. As Sydney is releasing the agent and reassuring him that he is going to be alright, the man that she shot speaks to her, he says; “You kept your promise. You said you would kill me…. You were my favorite. You never broke.” Sydney is in shock at first having this man she has never seen before talking to her and then she realizes that he must have known her sometime during the last two years. She runs over to him and says; ”Who the hell are you?! What are you talking about? Wait! Why did the covenant take two years of my life?!” Unfortunately after the first sentence that she said to him, he did die, and she is now pretty upset that she just killed one person that could tell her what happened to her.

Back in LA, Sydney is in the group that Dixon told her about and she isn’t too thrilled with being a part of this group. She is uncomfortable being there and doesn’t feel like she belongs there and really doesn’t like being asked questions about having dreams and how they will come. So it is not surprising that once the meeting ends, she is almost in tears and storms into Dixon’s office, She tells him; “I appreciate that you think it’s good for me to know that there are other people out there who have experienced what I have, but you cannot put me into that group. Look, I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t hard losing Vaughn. I mean do I still have feelings for him? Of course I do. But finding out that…” Dixon has attempted a couple times to get her to stop talking, and now finally succeeds, and introduces her to a woman that she didn’t notice was in the room. He tells her that she is Lauren Reed, and that she will be the new liaison for the NSC. Sydney looks appalled that she just made this huge speech to Dixon about a lot of personal things and that someone she doesn’t know heard it all, and Sydney apologizes to her. Lauren comes over to her and tells her that it’s okay. Dixon tells Sydney that he knows about her conversation in the men’s room with Lindsay, she looks appropriately abashed, but Dixon just smiles and tells her that he got her message because he decided that he would return to Washington and has assigned agent Reed to take his place at the Command center to help with the Covenant, and that she will be looking into the murder of Andrian Lazarey. Sydney looks at her and tells her to let her know if she can help. Lauren then tells her that besides all the stuff that Dixon just said, she is also Michael Vaughn’s wife. Sydney just gets a look of shock and I’m sure thinks of all the things that she just told Dixon, and all she can do is say a simple, “Hi…” So now Sydney knows that not only will she have to deal with working with Vaughn and fighting her feeling for him at work, but will have to work with his wife as well. This is quite the set up for a wonderful love triangle.

  • Items that I found noteworthy… 
    • Jack went to visit Sloane and tells him that he strongly believes that Sloane is responsible for Sydney’s disappearance. Sloane infers that he thinks of Sydney as his own daughter and tells Jack that he also looked into Sydney’s death and disappearance. Sloane gives Jack a disk that contains all of the leads he pursued. 
    • Although it was often implied, and I have said it a lot I'm sure. But this episode marks the first time that Vaughn tells Sydney that he loved her. Even if he said it in the past tense, I think it is clear that he still does.

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