Tuesday, August 27, 2013

S3 E6 - The Nemesis

 At the hockey rink we get to see a true example of how good Michael Vartan is at hockey. We have seen Vaughn skating with Sydney before, but to see him practice shooting the puck at the goal with Weiss as the goalie shows off more of his skill than we have seen before. Although you can clearly see that he is upset, although when Weiss asks about it, it dismisses him. Finally Weiss convinces him to talk, and Vaughn tells him; “It’s been three weeks since I found out Sydney murdered Lazarey. I’ve been lying to my wife for three weeks.” Weiss, in an attempt to calm Vaughn down, tells him that he knows guys that lie to their wives for much longer than that. Vaughn tells Weiss that he says stupid things like that and that is why people don’t talk to him. Weiss then gets serious and tells Vaughn that he was ordered not to say anything, and that it isn’t his choice. This response still doesn’t sit well with Vaughn who tells him; “Yeah, and she was ordered to find out who murdered Lazarey. I mean, that’s my point, is that I’m actively engaged in preventing her from doing her job. She’s going to find out. I mean, you know she is.” Then Weiss says the thing that Vaughn is thinking, that once Lauren finds out, she will also find out that he’s been protecting Sydney. Vaughn tells yeah, now you see where I’m going with this. Weiss then goes for the joke again and tells Vaughn; “Well, this is why people from the CIA should not get married to people from the NSC, man. Don’t poop where you sleep.” Weiss’ remark only seemed to make things worse for Vaughn though because after hearing this, he tells him; “Thanks a lot” very sarcastically and then shoots the puck right at Weiss’s crotch and Weiss goes down.

I think we are starting to see a slight change in dynamics here, both Weiss and Vaughn have known Sydney longer than Lauren. Vaughn is having the obvious struggle between who he loves, which is both women, however Sydney will always come first. But as we’ve seen from the very beginning, Vaughn is the ultimate gentleman, and is old fashioned, especially with the respect that he shows towards women in general, but especially those closest to him. Even though he still loves Sydney and would like to be back with her, he knows that it wouldn’t be fair to Lauren to leave her, especially since he does love her as well, just not to the same extent. In terms of Weiss, we have seen him showing support for Sydney from the moment that she returned, in a lot of ways, Weiss has filled the void that she lost with Will, Francie, and Vaughn. Weiss did say that Lauren is a good person, and that he likes her, but you can see Weiss starting to root for Lauren to be out of the picture, realizing that Vaughn is a better person with Sydney than with Lauren.  

At the end of the briefing for the current assignment, Dixon tells Sydney and Vaughn that they will be going. This will be their first mission together without anyone else to accompany them since they both returned to the CIA. Upon hearing this, they both look towards each other as they realize this. It’s hard to describe the looks that they have, but it isn’t happy, unhappy, or even neutral, it almost seems concerned, but not at the same time, I guess the best way to explain it is that they both look as if they would want to ask each other a thousand questions that they know they can’t ask. But they know that having no buffer this time could be interesting.  

As everyone is leaving the briefing, Dixon tells Lauren and Sydney that he needs a moment of their time. He tells them that he wants Sydney to replace Lauren as Sloane’s handler. Sydney tells Dixon that it isn’t a good idea and that she doesn’t want to do it. Lauren wants to know why she is being replaced. Dixon then tells them that it is because Sydney is more familiar with the players. Sydney still doesn’t want anything to do with it, and tells him, it’s Sark and Sloane, that’s it. And then the bomb drops and Dixon tells her that another player has been added to the mix and that Allison Doren is still alive. Sydney just looks at him confused and wondering how this is possible, we see Lauren and you can tell that she knows the significance of this, and actually looks sympathetic towards Sydney. Finally Sydney asks, if she is really alive.

In an odd turn of events now that Lauren is no longer Sloane’s handler, Lindsay assigns her to go talk to a contact about the Lazarey murder; however he instructs her that she cannot under any circumstances let anyone from the CIA know what she is doing. So she is under orders to not her husband anything. This leads into seeing her at the house that she shares with Vaughn and the two of them getting ready for their respective trips. The conversation is a bit hesitant as you can see both of them trying to not say anything that could include their secrets that they have been ordered to keep form each other. They give each other very little information about their trips. Lauren, feeling guilty about another secret, I assume, tells Vaughn that when they get back they need to go away. He asks if she wants to go to the desert. She just replies with anywhere. The thing I found interesting about this is that we know that Santa Barbara has always been Vaughn’s favorite vacation destination, but it looks as if that is one spot that he will never go to with Lauren. Santa Barbara is reserved for the memory of what would’ve happened on the vacation that they weren’t able to take.

While in the van getting ready for their mission, Vaughn is talking about Marshall’s latest gadget for the mission and as soon as Sydney walks out, he becomes speechless and looks at her as if she is the most beautiful person in the world, which in his mind she is. Sydney sees this look, and has to look away. She really is trying to be good, and not get in the way of his marriage. She may not like it, but she respects it. She goes to sit next to him and they look at their equipment and talk about it a little. She will be wearing an X-ray camera that will transmit the images to Vaughn’s PDA and they will be able to see who has had plastic surgery to identify their target.
While discussing the equipment, Vaughn can tell that something is wrong and asks Sydney if she is okay, Sydney initially tells him that she fine, and then he asks if it is Allison? And as he asks this you can hear the pain in his own voice. He knows that this will be tough on Sydney, but he also knows that Allison was a huge factor in him losing Sydney for the two years, and he has his own painful memories regarding her. Sydney looks at him, and you can see them falling back into place as how they would act with each other before, but that she can trust him, and confide in him again like she used to. She tells him; “Since I learned that she’s alive, I just keep wondering… Does she still look like her? Does she look like Francie? Because if she does, as much as I know I should keep her alive to maybe figure out the last two years of my life, all I’ll want to do is kill her.” Vaughn just looks at her, and we don’t see his expression, but I can imagine that he has similar feelings.

Vaughn never met the real Francie, but he knows that Allison is partly responsible for so much of his own pain over the last two years that he probably feels the same. It is also interesting to note that now that much of their initial awkwardness over their situation has past, and he knows her secrets. They are very open with each other again, at least for the most part. But what I found interesting is that this is the point that they are able to start reading each other again. They know when something is upsetting the other, and for the most part can tell what it is. For instance, he knew right away that she was concerned with seeing Allison again. We will see instances like this start to pop up more and more as they become closer again and Vaughn and Lauren start to have more distance.
Back in the van, Vaughn tells Sydney that the camera is in the stone as he shows her a necklace. She asks him if he minds putting it on her, and he doesn’t. She pulls down her jacket and exposes her neck for the necklace, he places the necklace on her and finishes the clasp, but then we see how much he has yearned to be close to her, after he places the necklace on her, he runs his fingers down her neck and shoulder and can’t take his eyes off of her. He has a moment of utter pain when he realizes that he can’t be doing this and pulls her jacket back up and has to look away. Sydney’s expression as he does this is one of pained excitement, being touched like that by Vaughn is something that she has longed for since returning, but she knows that it is forbidden and as I mentioned before, she respects marriages just in general.

It’s fun to see the comradely that Sydney and Vaughn have while searching out their target with the X-ray necklace; they really have gotten back to a point where they can feel comfortable with each other and laugh. Then to see how well they work together once the mayhem that Allison created began, they can use shorthand with each other and know that if one does one thing, the other automatically knows what to do next. Unfortunately Allison does end up knocking out Sydney after killing the contact. I’m sad that they didn’t put in the scene of Vaughn finding her; I would’ve liked to see that. But I can imagine that with how protective he is over Sydney, he was not happy. I would think that he would’ve taken her in his arms and stayed with her, trying to bring her back to consciousness.

Back at the Rotunda when they returned, Sydney, Weiss, and Vaughn are talking about why Allison didn’t killer when she had the chance. Weiss thinks that possibly after living with Sydney for months and pretending to be her best friend, maybe Allison started to like Sydney. Sydney immediately dismisses this tells him that it was almost as if Allison was ordered not to kill her. Vaughn then chirps in with his own thoughts, and tells them that the question he has isn’t why Allison didn’t kill Sydney, but how did she survive after the fight between Sydney and Allison, and he reminds Sydney that she shot her three times. They go on talking about the next steps of the mission, and then Lauren appears for a moment and then has to go, Vaughn offers to walk her out, and Sydney watches jealously as Vaughn guides Lauren through the Rotunda with his hand on the small of her back.

While on their mission Sydney and Vaughn had to split up to find where Allison went to try and retrieve the device. Sydney gets to her first and we see a repeat of the last fight between Allison and Sydney, luckily Sydney doesn’t get as injured. Sydney does end up shooting her, Vaughn and the tactical unit arrives and Vaughn takes Sydney by the arm and makes sure that she is alright, and spends a few moments looking her up and down, before he moves on to retrieving the device. Sydney calls Dixon and lets him know that while she did shot Allison, she still had a pulse so they had to take her to the hospital.

Personally I would have liked to see this play out differently, but that is just me. But knowing where Vaughn’s motivations usually are, protecting Sydney being a very clear cut one, that he should’ve been closer as the fight was nearing the end. I know the show is about Sydney Bristow and the people around her, and that her finishing this fight was important. But this is the one case where I didn’t want to see a parallel to an old episode. I wanted to see that Vaughn make it to Sydney this time. I know he got there right after the fact, but with seeing a similar scenario to how he lost Sydney initially, I would think that he would be more emotionally tied to making sure that Sydney was okay. He checked on her, yes, but every time I watch this episode I want it to get to that point where Sydney is trapped and Vaughn ends up pulling the trigger on Allison. I guess this is just one episode where I don't think that continuity of character motivations were followed up on as much as I would've liked. But once again just my own opinion and I’m not here to write what I wanted to happen, but what did.
Vaughn is with an officer speaking what sounds like French, and learns that the ambulance didn’t make it to the hospital. Sydney then approaches Vaughn and asks him if he remembers a formula for a medication from the Rambaldi book. He tells her that he doesn’t, and she tells him that they have to go find that ambulance. While driving towards the hospital they find the ambulance tipped over and all the guards and medics are dead and Allison is gone. Vaughn doesn’t understand what is going on, saying that if she had back up, they would’ve been at the hotel. Sydney then tells him that she doesn’t think that Allison used back up. Which only confuses Vaughn, and he asks for clarification. Sydney tells him that she thinks that she did this herself; Vaughn tells her that she barely had a pulse when she left. Sydney tells him that she knows, but she also knows that Allison did it. Vaughn and Sydney share a scared look, and wonder what mysterious stuff is going on now.

  • Items that I found noteworthy…
    • Lauren’s contact that she went to see about the Lazarey murder tells her that he believes that someone within the Russian government is a mole and is still working for the Covenant, so he would like the Americans to look into this instead.
      • This is a clue that the governments aren’t as clean as we would like to believe, that the Covenant may have moles in unlikely places.
      • This also is referring to a character that we haven’t met yet, but will appear to be on Sydney’s side right up until the final episode of the season.
    • While investing Lazarey’s murder, Lauren believes that she has found the name of the person that murdered Lazarey, a woman called, Julia Thorne.
    • The Covenant had instructed Allison not to kill Sydney because they want to retrieve something that she has hidden in her memory.
      • Upon hearing this Sydney wants to access her memories before the covenant has a chance to, jack is very against this because the side effects of the memory retrieval could leave her brain dead.
    • Before the mission to retrieve a device from Allison, Dixon meets with Sydney alone and lets her know that he wants Allison dead. She killed his wife and her best friend, and now that they know that she has no knowledge that can help Sydney, he has no need to keep her alive.
    • This episode has a lot of references to just following orders.
      • Vaughn complains to Weiss about having to follow orders about lying to his wife.
      • Lauren has to follow orders and not tell Vaughn what she is really doing for Lindsay.
      • Allison was just following orders when she killed Francie, but if she follows her orders not to kill Sydney, Sydney will follow orders to kill her.
    • Allison tells Sydney that when Sydney recovered Rambaldi’s journals it included a formula for a medication that helped heal her wounds. So even though Sydney almost killed her, she also saved her life.
        • So Allison is partially indestructible??? 

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