Friday, August 23, 2013

S3 E4 – A Missing Link

The beginning scene is a nice scene between Jack and Sydney, although it doesn’t have much to do with the relationship in general.  They are viewing the video of Sydney killing Lazarey and Sydney figured out that Lazarey said something as he was going down; Sydney believes it was a name, Julia.  Jack tells her that she needs to stop punishing herself and turns off the video. Jack then tells her that they will figure out her missing two years together. Then Sydney’s phone rang and she had to go, although she is a little confused, because it was Lauren who was requesting her to come in.
Once Sydney arrived at the Rotunda, Lauren is telling her about the crime that they will be investigating this week.   A four man team broke into a lab that was researching vaccines for different viruses like HIV and Ebola.  They took five canisters of the Ebola virus, but the fifth canister broke and one of the team members was infected.  Lauren and Sydney are on their way to see him now.  Sydney questions why the NSC wanted her to be a part of this, and then Lauren told her that she actually requested her because Michael had said Sydney was the best.  Sydney stops in her tracks and takes a moment to wrap her head around that whole situation.
When Lauren and Sydney arrive at the hospital to see Bogden the team member that was infected, Lauren attempts to talk to him and get some information about who put him in this condition, his only reply is to tell her to leave. Lauren looks a little hurt that her attempt failed and Sydney witnessed it, but she said nothing and gave Sydney the chance to talk to him to see if she could get a better result.  It is here that Lauren sees why Michael or Vaughn thinks that Sydney is one of the best agents the CIA has.  Sydney approaches the man and sits down at his level and tells him, “Mr. Bogden, I don’t know what your beliefs are, if you have a faith, if you expect that something follows this life. You might have none. But if there is a chance that there is something else, that we face the consequences of our actions in this lifetime, Mr. Bogden, this is your last chance to do what’s right. There’s no one left to be afraid of, no one to be loyal to. There’s only yourself. Whoever is what that stole this virus that’s eating through your body needs to be stopped…? Please?”  While Sydney is speaking to this man, she is constantly kind and never treats him as a criminal, only with pure compassion and never with a voice of authority.  The exact contrast of how Lauren approached the man. Bogden finally speaks, and you can tell it is hard for him to do so, but he tells Sydney; “I never met the man who hired us. I cannot help you stop the second job.”  With this statement Lauren and Sydney share a moment of terror, as they think about what the second job must be.
Back at the CIA Lauren briefs the team on what she and Sydney learned from Bogden.  Basically they are planning on mutating the Ebola virus and mutating it with another substance to make it more deadly.  Dixon then tells them that while they don’t know exactly what they are going after, they do know who is stole the Ebola and who will be working on the second job.  The first is Simon Walker who was the point man and is a cold blooded contract guy who only works with other freelancers. The second is Javier Parez, who is the mutations expect and the tactical advisor for the group.  He also tells about the other members, but they don’t really do much that is important to our story so I will leave them out. He also tells the group that Bogden was the security expert of the group, but is now deceased.  And upon hearing this Lauren and Sydney share another concerned look.  It looks as if they actually bonded over this dying man.  To end the briefing we find out that Sydney will be going deep undercover as a new prospect to replace Bogden as a security expert and that Vaughn and Weiss will be her back up and assist as needed. Lauren is told to go see Sloane and have him contact his contacts to see what he knows.

Realizing that he is about to leave on a mission with Weiss and Sydney, Vaughn stops by Laurens desk for a quick hello and a kiss, and tells her that he will come by again after op tech.  I wasn’t initially going to cover this scene, but then I realized it shows a great contrast to the working relationships that Vaughn has with the two women, and that it is interesting to look at how he handles it.  As he is leaving, he seems happy, and Lauren stops him for a moment.  So he comes back to her desk and even places his hand on her shoulder.  She then starts to get upset at him for not listing the type of weapons used by Sark during the last mission in his report. He tells her, no that’s not the point of the report, and even smiles at her.  She questions his statement and he starts to get defensive.  She tells him that she depends on the details, and he tells her that he’s been doing this for a while, and no one has ever given him notes on his reports.  Then she looks at him as he is just another subordinate, but almost worse if that makes sense, and tells him that the better he does his job, the better she can do her own.  He looks at her and answers as a subordinate, with no emotion except anger telling her what type of weapon was used.  Without another word, he stares her down with a look of disgust and walks away.   After that meeting with his wife I think Vaughn is actually relieved to be going on a mission with the two people that he was the closest with, even before becoming a couple with Sydney.
 I think that is it in moments like these that Vaughn is seeing a couple of things clearly now.  One he’s not overly found of having his wife working with him, where he loved working with Sydney.  He may even be questioning if he did move too quickly, which would explain his dream in the next episode.  But I do like this scene because Vaughn is beginning to appreciate even more the working relationship that he had with Sydney.  Even when they had a disagreement, which was often, they would fight it out, but mostly in a respectful way.  Granted Sydney would occasionally play dirty, but when she did, it was almost always personal.  Once Sydney and Vaughn got to know each other they always respected the work that the other did and never demeaned it or acted as if one of them was better or more important than the other.  Even when angry at each other, they still saw each other as equals, even if Vaughn was officially over her for a while.  This conversation, at least for me showed me that Lauren obviously thinks that her job is more important than Vaughn’s also that she is his superior and isn’t afraid to let him know.

On the plane, Weiss is asleep, Sydney is reviewing the mission file and Vaughn comes and sits across from her. He tells her that because of security, they can’t use coms, but they will aim a laser mike at her so they can hear her, but she won’t be able to hear them.  Then he hands her a transmitter device that she will be able to place on whatever it is that they steal so they can track it to the Covenant’s location.   They have a cute moment where they talk about the lipstick color that the transmitter is hidden in and it almost seems like old times and they realize that.  They end up both giving each other those longing looks that were the norm in season two, and finally Vaughn can’t take it anymore trying to be good, so he walks away.
As the mission begins it looks as if Sydney may not get an invite to go and talk to Simon Walker, which would not have been a good thing, but she finally does get the invite although it was after being denied .  One fun aspect was watching Vaughn and Weiss fight over the aiming the mike at her.  Vaughn tells him that he doesn’t have good reception so he should be aiming the mike.  I think that once again, Vaughn is trying to be protective of Sydney, he knows how potentially dangerous this mission could be and he feels better about her safety when he is in control. Once Sydney gets upstairs though Simon walks over to her and they both say hello.  But after hello, Simon goes right in and kisses her with an extreme amount of passion.   Sydney plays along, however she is a little confused when she comes up for air. Then Simon tells her; “Good to see you, Julia.” And some pieces of the missing two year puzzle fall into place.  So she smiles and figures that she may finally get some answers and tells him that it’s good to see him to. 
Downstairs Weiss and Vaughn are even more confused and they want to know who Julia is, and they talk about how it is an alias that she has never used with them before, and Vaughn knows immediately that her SD-6 files had no mention of a Julia alias. Quick note, I think that Vaughn is the only one besides those that worked at SD-6 with her that would know this information.  He wanted to know everything about her and still remembers every little thing. Weiss asks Vaughn if he thinks that she could’ve used the name while she was being held by the Covenant during the last two years, and now Vaughn is afraid that she may have been operational. He knows that if she were to learn that she spent two years working for another terrorist group it would just kill her.  But Weiss tells him, he doesn’t know but this guy just recognized her and called her Julia.
Sydney and Walker are upstairs reminiscing, he told her that he missed her and missed working with her, but wonders about her new look, because he almost didn’t recognize her.  She tells him that she wants to take Bogden’s place, which confuses him and tells her that he was security.  She tells him that she knows, and he asks her if she found no future in murder, she pauses for a moment and then tells him that she is a girl with many talents.  So we now know that during her two years, she was called Julia, she spent some time working and doing other things with Simon, and that she specialized in murder.  I am guessing that these things are not exactly good news for her, but she goes along with it as best she could.
In Munich Lauren went to visit Sloane to get his input, and again here is a scene that I love Sloane.  Now that Sydney is back, he wants to make her happy as demented as that sounds, it is true.  So messing with Lauren is fun for him, and he is good at it.  He tells her; “I must admit, I was concerned for you when Sydney resurfaced. I remembered seeing her with Vaughn. Their relationship reminded me of my own with my late wife. It was the kind of bond that even death cannot sever. Hmm apparently I misjudged.”  I loved seeing her squirm as he was saying these things to her, and I loved how happy it made Sloane.
After her meeting with Simon, it’s not surprising to see Sydney at the bar, if I was in her place, I’m sure I would want something to help ease the pain of some of the new facts that were just acquired about the missing two years.  But Simon introduces her to the other members of the team and they drive off to a hotel.  Simon tells Sydney about a necklace that is in the penthouse, and they as part of her interview since the other members of the team don’t trust her yet, they want her to steal it, and as an added bonus, they are calling the police about a break in, so she better hurry, they will be there in about seven minutes.
While Sydney is doing her thing in the hotel, Weiss and Vaughn are anxiously waiting in the van, not sure if they should help her or not, Vaughn finally makes the call that she is better off if she is caught by the police than if they were to blow her cover.  But you can see that neither one of them are exactly happy with their decision.    But Sydney was able to steal the necklace after getting into a maid’s outfit and then strips down to her underwear which luckily matched and she dove into the swimming pool below, gets a robe and goes back to the van where Simon is waiting.  Once Weiss and Vaughn see her again on their monitor, Weiss tells Vaughn, I don’t know what she just did, but whatever it is, she is good, she is good.  But honestly it looks like Vaughn is not listening at all to Weiss.  He looks like he has been holding his breath waiting to see what would happen and seeing her come out was just the biggest relief in the world for him and he finally breathes and relaxes a little.  Once again even though they aren’t together you can see that he probably still has a hard time sleeping when she is out on missions.  Simon and the crew are impressed by her work and welcome her to the team and explain when they will meet again.
On the plane heading back to LA, Sydney is going over the file and telling Vaughn what she will need for the job, and he tells her that Weiss and Marshall are already on it.  Then Vaughn just stares at her, and folds his arms with a very quizzical look. Finally Sydney says something, she tells him; “Okay, I know you think this op is too dangerous for me to continue.”  She knows how protective of her he is.  He tells her that yes he does think that, but that’s not what he was going to say.  She then asks him what’s up.  He tells her; “I’ve never worked with anyone who can improvise better than you can. But when Simon called you Julia, Your reaction…. You didn’t seem surprised.” She tries to interrupt by saying his name, and she doesn’t like where this is going. But he stops her and continues; “No, tell me what’s going on.” He pauses for a moment hoping that Sydney will start talking, but when she doesn’t he leans across the table and gets closer to her, and keeps going; “Look, I know we’re not where we were, But even before then professionally, we never kept secrets from each other. I’m still on your side.” This tears me apart a little, Vaughn really does want that relationship that they used to have and he is starting to realize that he may never get it back, and it just kills him.  Especially after Sydney’s response; ”You’re right. We’re not where we were. And trust me when I tell you I am doing you a favor by keeping you out of it.” He rolls his eyes and looks at her, he knows her too well, and tells her; “No, that is not going to work with me.”  Sydney knows that telling him would put him in a position that he doesn’t want to be in and she really is protecting him by not telling him.  As much as she hates it, she does respect that he is married and his allegiance shouldn’t be to her. So she tells him; “It’s going to have to. I can’t afford to make a distinction between professional and personal, not in my life. This job took two years from me. Everything is personal. And as much as I wish I could trust you, the responsibilities you have now require me not to.” You can tell that this is really hard for her, she really does want to tell Vaughn everything, but with him being so closely attached to the NSC she can’t. But her statement doesn’t sit well with Vaughn so he responds; “Responsibilities? What the hell does that mean? What, Lauren? What, because she’s NSC or because she’s my wife? Or is that distinction Irrelevant? “Once again we have an example of how well they fight, they are having some big issues, but they are being respectful and laying out their points.  Sydney has gotten past the point of being petty and playing dirty, she really does want to not make Vaughn’s life harder, and she tries to make her point with her response; ”I’m not punishing you. You think I am. I’m not.” They share some very tense looks, but they are trying to respect the others point of view and attempt some normalcy in their new relationship status as co-workers.  Luckily Weiss has great timing and comes into break the tension, and asks if someone died.  Even though the scene ends there, I could see Sydney standing up and not being rude about walking away, but almost tearfully telling Weiss that yeah, she did.
Back at the command center Jack is wondering why Vaughn keeps questioning him about Julia because of something that Sydney had said to Vaughn.  Sydney tells him that she only told him that she couldn’t talk about it.  Jack tells her that saying that only made him more curious, but Sydney tells jack that what made him curious was Simon waling up to her calling her Julia and then kissing her like she was his prom date.  Then Sydney goes on to say that it is getting to be too painful not knowing what happened to her, and that maybe they should hook her up and find out.  Jack tells her that he isn’t going to allow it.
 While Sydney is sitting with Marshall after going over the software she will use on the safe, Dixon’s secretary comes in and tells her that Dixon would like to see her in his office.  On her way there, she runs into Vaughn and asks if he knows what it is about since he has been called in as well, but he has no idea.  Once there, Dixon and jack are behind the desk and Dixon tells Sydney that jack has just shown him their video tape.  Vaughn looks around realizing that he is the only one who has no idea what they are talking about and ask what video tape. Dixon tells him that it is a video that clearly shows Sydney as the murderer of Andrian Lazarey and suddenly Vaughn understands why Sydney didn’t want to tell him about it, she really was trying to protect him, and he just stares at Sydney, and can’t decide what emotion he is supposed to feel right now. Dixon asks if Vaughn was aware of this at all, to which Vaughn tells him no.   Dixon then tells them that he agrees with jack that the murder may not have been voluntary, and since Sydney has no memory of the incident it’s too early to pass any judgment.  Although Dixon doesn’t appreciate being lied to about the tape, they are in too deep with the current operation and so Sydney is going back in as scheduled so the Covenant doesn’t get their hands on bioweapons.   Dixon then goes on saying that he is using his discretion to compartmentalize information about an ongoing investigation he is withholding the information from the NSC.  He then turns to Vaughn and tells him that this means he is prohibited from discussing any of this with his wife, and asks if he understands.  Vaughn is not happy about it, but he understands.   You can see that he can see trouble up ahead when Lauren does eventually find out though and he is once again torn between the two women that he loves.
After this little meeting Sydney is not happy with Jack about taking it to Dixon and involving Vaughn. They talk more about why he did what he did, but we’ll move past that.  Sydney tells him that the last thing that she wants is to drive a wedge between Vaughn and Lauren.  She still cares about Vaughn and wants him to be happy, even if she can’t be.  But honestly I love jack’s response, because overall he’s still upset with Vaughn for moving on.  See some of my other post about this topic.  And in response to Sydney telling him she doesn’t want to hurt his relationship, he just looks at her and tells her; “That is a concern that I do not share.”  I love how conniving Jack is, it may be one reason that He and Sloane were so close at one point. Because they are both really good at manipulating people to get the response that he wants.  And right now, Jack is perfectly okay with doing anything that will make Vaughn realize that he made the biggest mistake of his life by upsetting his daughter.
Feeling guilty that he will have to lie to his wife for who knows how long and it being a lie that concerns protecting Sydney, he tells Lauren that he is sorry and that the details really do matter, even though you can tell that he really doesn’t care, he is just trying to find a balance in his marriage and letting her believe that she was right in their last fight should do the trick.
Javier and Simon are meeting before the official team meeting and Javier has given his some files that he found problematic.   Simon is looking over the files and then Javier tells him that he knew that Julia couldn’t be trusted.  We then see a picture of Sydney and Vaughn walking together.
In the surveillance van, Sydney and Vaughn are alone, obviously they have been giving each other the silent treatment of sorts and it is really awkward.  Sydney looks at him feeling some remorse and tells him; “Vaughn…. What my dad did… I never wanted you to have to keep secrets from Lauren.” You can see that this is a very sincere statement.  She really does feel bad for the position that her father forced upon Vaughn.  Vaughn thinks for a moment and then removes his headset, and tells her; “Well now I do, and for the record, I still think this is insane. That you are going back to a man that knows you as a different person.”   I think that deep down, Vaughn is actually okay with knowing the secret, yes he hates having to lie to Lauren I won’t deny that, but any information that Vaughn can have that will end up keeping Sydney safe means he can give her more protection.  And even with being married to Lauren and having marital responsibilities there, he will always love Sydney, he has never stopped loving Sydney, and since the day they met, he has always been concerned with her safety, and always wants to make sure that she is okay and will go to any means to protect her from getting hurt.  He knows that with him being married now hurts her enough and he isn’t going to allow her to be inflicted with any more emotional or physical pain if he can ever help it.  Sydney knows this about Vaughn, and in response to him not wanting her to go forward with this mission, especially without coms, she tells him; ”If this were just about finding the Covenant, I might agree with you. But, Vaughn, I have to know… where I was, and who Julia is, what I did...”   I think that if Weiss hadn’t walked in at that moment, I think that she may have even gone on to tell him that she needs to find out what was so important to the Covenant that made her lose him.  But it seems that Vaughn may have understood where she was going with that train of thought anyway, at least by the way he looked at her.  He probably has the same questions, but isn’t allowed to ask them.  But as she leaves the van, she tells Vaughn that she will talk to him when the mission is all over.  And there are some definite looks of wanting to go back to where they were.
Once Sydney gets into Sydney’s room he asked her how Milan was and she tells him that they are good and that she got what she needed. They end up on the bed, Sydney is playing her part well, but she is obviously disgusted as she places kisses on Simon’s neck. And as they are talking and getting undressed, Vaughn is only listening from the van and you can see he does not like where this is going, he is jealous.  His face is an exact match to when he and Weiss watched Sydney have to be the man’s friend when they were getting access to server 47.  Only this time, he knows that he has no right to be jealous.   Sydney is playing along mostly so she can ask him questions and possibly get some answers about the last two years.  But their conversation takes a turn for the worse and he overpowers her and puts a knife to her throat and tells her that she never went to Milan.
Back in the van, Vaughn immediately stands up and throws off his headset and is about to go in and help her.  Weiss has to literally grab him and pull him back and tell him that he can’t go, but Vaughn tells him that he is not going to sit there and just let her die. Right there you can see what has been bothering him ever since learning she wasn’t dead and probably before then, if he had been with her, he could’ve have saved her and protected her then, there is no way that he is going to let that ever happen again.   Weiss tells him that Sydney can get out of this, and to give her a chance.  So unhappily Vaughn stays.  Upstairs Simon wants to know who she has been working for, and she tells him that she works for herself, then he pulls out the picture of her and Vaughn and asks her who that is then.   She thinks quickly and tells him that he is her supplier. Both Weiss and Vaughn are sitting on the edges of their seats to see what needs to be done and I am sure getting ready to run if needed. Simon asks Sydney; if he is her supplier, then what is his name along with telling her that if she lies to him again, he will kill her. She debates the best way to get a message to Weiss and Vaughn and how to work it in so Simon will accept it.  So she tells him that his name is Michael Vaughn and that he is her supplier.  Vaughn then realizes that Simon has a picture of him. Sydney is yelling at Simon to calm down and just believe her.
The next thing that we see is Marshall in his office; Vaughn is calling him and telling him to pay close attention.  Vaughn is now entrusting Sydney’s safety in Marshall’s ability.  Vaughn tells him that he needs to load a criminal record into the Interpol database that has his name and picture along with at least 20 security based charges. Meanwhile Simon wants to know why Sydney went to the states and not to Milan. She is angry and she tells him that the security system he is asking her to disable is from Chicago, which is in Illinois, which happens to be part of the United States.   You can tell that Sydney is thinking tow things here, one she wants that knife out of her face and two she is also buying time for Vaughn to work with Marshall to get him loaded into the system properly.  Sydney then goes on to tell Simon that Milan would’ve done them no good, and that he supplier all he does is security, why doesn’t he go check on his records.  Simon finally lets her go and he gets out his computer and Sydney is standing behind him watching very defensive and ready to take him down if she needs to.   Vaughn is a little worried that Marshall may not get it done in time. And there is a lot of tension in the van and back in Marshall’s office with Carrie helping him. But luckily the profile is finished just in time and Simon sees that Vaughn is her supplier and Sydney tells him that now she remembers why she left. Back in the van you can visibly see the relief on Vaughn’s face as he realizes that Sydney is safe from that threat.
After the encounter with Simon, Sydney is just trying to lay low with the group of thieves as Simon tells them about what they will need to do, he receives a phone call and tells someone to come in and Javier takes over explaining the job.  Then Sydney hears Sark’s voice, so she moves over near Javier and asks if she can look at some of the pictures so that she is farther form Sark so he won’t recognize her, but staying close enough to hear what they are saying.  But Javier still doesn’t trust Sydney/Julia enough after Simon checked on the photos and tells Sydney that he knows she is hiding something. 
After completing the mission the team stops in the middle of the road and Sydney wonders what is going on, they tells her that they are switching vehicles in case they are being followed. Sydney gets out her lipstick and applies it placing the tracker in her hand.  The other vehicle approaches and Simon tells her that he has a surprise for her.  She looks up and sees that two men are pulling Vaughn out of the truck; he has been beaten up and is in handcuffs.  Javier tells Simon that this is what he meant, Vaughn had CIA issued equipment and he knew Julia couldn’t be trusted.  Sydney meanwhile is trying to find a way out of this; she tells Simon that she swears he is her supplier.  Simon tells her not anymore, Javier says that they need to get rid of them both.  Simon tells Javier that Julia is safe and that Vaughn is the problem and not her.  Simon forces Vaughn on the ground on his knees and pulls out his gun and cocks it.  Sydney stops him and tells him to wait. Then tells him, that if Vaughn has been lying to her all this time, then he has put her in danger and that she wants to do it.  She finally convinces him, and Simon pulls Vaughn to his feet.   Sydney then takes a knife from Javier’s belt and walks over to Vaughn.  You know that she is doing this to save his life, and as she grabs him you can see her telling him that she is sorry with her eyes, and hopefully letting him know that she just put the tracker on him, her words ring a little too true, but they are words that she has felt recently and that the team would believe.  She tells Vaughn; “You never should have betrayed me.” We see Vaughn look at her and he knows that she is saving his life, but that it is going to suck, but he is just going to let it happen, and there is even a small moment where you can see a slight nod, letting her know that it’s okay. And then she stabs him in the stomach, she was hoping that was all that would happen and that she could send Weiss to go get him as soon as possible, but Simon did make it worse but kicking him down the hill.  Sydney watches in horror as Vaughn rolls down the side of the hill and doesn’t see how far down it goes, she is horrified.  Simon has called her over to get going. Sydney gets into the truck, but keeps looking over at where Vaughn must be, and they drive off.  The next thing and last thing that we see is Vaughn unconscious at the bottom of the hill bleeding out.  Poor Sydney, and Vaughn, but Sydney is exactly like Vaughn she also wants to be there to protect Vaughn at all costs.  And in a few episodes we see exactly how far she goes to do this, but she has saved his life numerous times and now to be the one who stabs him and leaves him for dead if she can’t get alone in time is just killing her.
  • Items I found noteworthy… 
    • Sloane tells Lauren that her father, the senator, knew how badly she wanted to become field ready, but he felt it would be too dangerous, so he made sure that it didn’t happen.  
    • When Weiss realized that Vaughn was missing he called into Dixon, Dixon told him to stay with the scheduled plan to meet Sydney for extraction, but Weiss refuses and hangs up on Dixon.

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