Sunday, September 8, 2013

S3 E12 – Crossings

I can imagine that on that Sunday evening as Alias fans from around the US sat down to watch Alias on January 18th, 2004, that all fans of the Sydney and Vaughn relationship began to cheer as the beginning of the episode started after seeing the previously on Alias, only to immediately stop.  What a way to begin an episode.  What kind of a mess were they trying to put me in?  I was so excited to see Sydney and Vaughn immersed in such a genuine kiss, but to have guards interrupt them and take them to a firing squad to die, not cool. I was an emotional mess right from the beginning.  But that final glance at each other as if telling each other goodbye and affirming to each other that they will find each other again is so perfect, yet so agonizing at the same time.  Watching them turn from each other to face their fate and then both closing their eyes at the same moment and preparing to die.  At least they shared one last kiss.
Now you and I both know that there is no way that a TV show would ever kill off the two most popular characters at the same time. OK this is before Game of Thrones, but still in the Alias world, no one ever really dies, right?  So not surprising that as they prepare for death we get to see Los Angeles, 72 hours earlier. We come into a briefing where Dixon is explaining that a Covenant member who is high up in the hierarchy wants to defect and in exchange will turn over everything that he knows about the Covenant to the CIA, at this Lauren seemed a bit apprehensive.  It is so nice to have her be the bad guy for real, and not just because she married Vaughn. But Dixon is sending Sydney and Vaughn to North Korea to intercept him.  Still trying to follow Jack’s advice, you can see the worry on Vaughn’s face of having to do a mission alone with Sydney. Vaughn does see that Lauren seems upset, so he does smile at her from across the table and she gives him a tentative look back.
As everyone is leaving the briefing room, Lauren stops Sydney.  Lauren asks if she has any plans for the following Tuesday.  Lauren tells her that it is Michael’s hockey night and she was wondering if she would like to go to dinner.  Vaughn hears this and is not overly happy about it, and is a little confused as well, but doesn’t say anything. Sydney tells her that it would be nice, and agrees to go, while still a little confused.  Lauren then tells her; “See you next Tuesday.”   Now normally I wouldn’t have included this scene, it never really made much of an impact on me, except that Vaughn didn’t like it.  But then I was reading up on some essays that some really smart people wrote about Alias.  It appears that the term “See you next Tuesday” doesn’t mean what I thought it means, as in I will see you the next time Tuesday comes around.  I thought that was pretty common knowledge, but apparently I went to the wrong high school and didn’t have a bunch of catty mean girls around me.  I’m not going into detail about what it really means, but I got the idea that only Lauren knew what she was doing, she apparently went to a high school that dealt with these types of terms. I haven’t seen the movie Mean Girls in a really long time, but I would guess that maybe they said it once or twice.  But here is the link to the urban dictionary if you want to look it up.

I don’t plan on saying much about Lauren when she is not with Vaughn in future episodes, but I think that this episode calls for it.  So after being very passive aggressive towards Sydney after the briefing, Lauren gets in a taxi and meets with her handler from the Covenant.  He tells her that they will have someone go to North Korea as well and intercept the defector.  But he also asks what airfield agents Vaughn and Bristow will be taking off from so he can have them eliminated.  Lauren tells him that it wasn’t mentioned, but she will get it for him.

Back at the Rotunda, as Lauren is about to open the file about North Korea that Vaughn was given at the briefing, Vaughn approaches her and asks what she is doing asking Sydney to dinner.  She tells him that he asks her to give Sydney a chance so she is going to try.  He then tells her that he doesn’t want to start socializing with Sydney and that they see each other enough as it is.  Lauren tells him that they can talk about on the way to his plane, but he tells her that Dover is five minutes from their house and he will drive himself.  She then tells him that for the last few months it’s been awkward and uncomfortable, but if they got to know each other they could be civil towards each other, and that she actually likes Sydney.   Vaughn decides that he isn’t going to put up a fight over it. Lauren kisses him goodbye and then makes a call and says Dover.  Next thing we see is someone shooting something at the pilots of the plane that Vaughn and Sydney are getting into, as well as Lauren’s handler telling Sark that he is going to North Korea.
On the plane we see two pilots getting very sick, and then Sydney reviewing the file and Vaughn reading a book.  Sydney tries to make conversation but Vaughn is still trying and struggling to keep up with Jack’s advice about not being friendly or kind. So Sydney puts down the file and finally gets upset.  Vaughn sees this and you can almost see him prepare for what’s coming and how he will have to behave.  She tells him that there situation isn’t going to work, and he questions what she means.  She asks him what she has done to him, and he tells her that he doesn’t have a problem with her. She asks if she has offended him in some way, and before he can answer she says by doing what coming back.  Vaughn has this horrible look on his face, it’s hard to describe, but you can see this tough exterior throughout his face, but his eyes are saying something completely different. (Once again a testament to what a fantastic actor Michael Vartan is) His eyes look like every word he is saying pains him.  Sydney goes on saying that she disrupted the perfect little life he had going on before.  Vaughn asks her what she is talking about, that he is just sitting here reading a book and that he hasn’t said anything.   She then takes his words and tells him exactly, you haven’t said anything in weeks and that they are supposed to be working together.  He tells her that if she doesn’t want to work together that they can make a switch, and then asks if that is what she wants.    She doesn’t answer his question, but tells him that she has done everything she can to try and make their situation work, considering how ridiculous it is with the three of them.  He then tells her that he has been walking around with a fake smile on his face pretending that everything is fine, just like it used to be, but that it isn’t working for him anymore.  Jack told him to be cruel, and he is doing a pretty good job, even if he hates to do it.  You know that he means none of what he is saying, but thinks that he has to do it.  Sydney then tells him that this is it, meaning that they are on their last mission together, and goes on to say that when they get back, one of them has to go.   Vaughn doesn’t reply, he just stares almost dumbfounded at her.  I’m not one who is big on swearing, but the only way to describe the look on his face at that moment is with the phrase; Oh shit, what did I just do?  
 With Vaughn not responding to her, Sydney stands up and as she does so, the plane goes into a nose dive, and she falls right on top of Vaughn.  They both immediately go into their agent mode forgetting about their fight and working together.  They make their way to the cockpit and find both pilots are dead.  Vaughn drags them out of the cockpit and Sydney takes over flying the plane and Vaughn assists her as soon as the pilots are out of the way. As Vaughn sits down he realizes that they are in North Korean airspace and that they have to abort.  Before they have a chance to do anything though, Sydney sees a missile heading straight for them.  They turn the plane just in time to avoid it, but it turns back, and another missile heads their way, they have to turn off the engines to have to the missiles go after each other.  Basically some unrealistic stuff goes on, but we see them work together to an extent to have a good crash landing, at least that is what I assume since they don’t show the actual landing, just Sydney saying Vaughn’s name a few times and looking to him to take care of the situation.  All the while we see Lauren looking partially regretful over essentially sending her husband to his death.
Well it looks like Vaughn did pretty good landing the plane without an engine, or wheels, but it didn’t nose dive, which is the important part.  Sydney had no luck getting through to anyone over their coms, but they are all down.  Vaughn tried to get to their artillery, but the cargo door is jammed, so it looks like they are stranded in enemy territory without weapons or any type of communications.  They have to depend on each other.  This will make Vaughn’s attempt at being cruel and unfriendly to Sydney very hard.  Once they determined about where they are in comparison to where they need to be, Sydney stops her mission because she sees that Vaughn is hurt.  She and Vaughn share motivations, which is always making sure the other is alright and safe.  So her immediate concern over him is not surprising.  He tells her that he is fine, even though it looks really nasty.  They talk more about the mission and then hear trucks approaching and determine that it is military.  They immediately go back into the plane to get everything that they can out of it.  While Sydney is getting everything organized, Vaughn douses the plane with gas and they run off. Once they reach a safe distance, and the North Korean Military reach the plane, Vaughn lights a flare and throws it towards the plane, once it lands the plane erupts into a fire ball and the men go flying through the air.  As the flare was going down though, you could see both Sydney and Vaughn instinctively trying to cover the other, which meant they were both exposed.  But their need to protect each other is still so predominant.
After the fireball, they immediately start running getting as far from the plane as they can.  After a while, Sydney tells him that she thinks they are clear and they stop to catch their breath.  Vaughn turns and looks around, and tells her at least for now.  Now that their lives aren’t in immediate danger, Sydney wants to see Vaughn’s wound.  He pulls up his coat for her to see and it really is pretty nasty, Sydney sighs, obviously wishing she had more to work with, but goes ahead and starts to wrap it with a bandage.  When she finishes, she is very deliberate to make the snap bandage snap onto the wound.  Vaughn winces, as it snaps and she tells him that was for being a jerk on the plane.  This season Sydney isn’t afraid to hurt someone if they have wronged her in any way, and is unapologetic about as well, but after exacting her own form of revenge, she seems to move past it.  Vaughn knows he was being a jerk; he was trying to be a jerk, so he only tells her thanks and realizes that she is going to move past it. She talks about how much time they have left and how they need transportation.  But Vaughn is staring at her as if he wants to say something, but when Sydney asks him what, he simply tells her nothing.  It reminds me of back when he was her handler and wanted to tell her how he felt, but wasn’t able to.
Back in LA, Jack had contacted Irina, and she found someone who could help Jack locate Sydney and Vaughn.  The woman that could help meets Jack at Sydney’s apartment and tells him not who she is, but that Sydney and Vaughn are alive and that she will do everything in her power to guarantee the safe return of Sydney and Vaughn, but in return Jack will have to kill Sloane.  The writers like having to make their good characters kill Sloane when Vaughn’s life is in danger don’t they?  In the Rotunda, Weiss find Lauren and is excited to give her the news that Vaughn and Sydney are alive.  Maybe Weiss was too relieved to notice her reaction, but you can tell that she is not happy about the news, and she doesn’t ask if they are okay, but instead asks him where they are.  She hugs him to try and compose herself for the right reaction, and then only tells him thanks.  She later makes a call to her handler telling him that they are still alive and how angry she is since she risked her standing in the CIA for an operation that failed.
Back in North Korea, Sydney and Vaughn are still walking, but it is now daylight.  Sydney tried the coms again, but still has no signal.  They see that a jeep has been abandoned at the bottom of the hill they are on.  It’s in fairly good condition, but they do have to work on it a bit.  But them working together usually bring out the best in them, so they start talking again. Vaughn starts to tell her his explanation for his actions on the plane, she looks at him and tells him that it’s okay and even smiles at him. But he goes on anyway, he tells her; “It’s the only thing I could ever count on… The way it felt to be with you. How… How easy it was.  That’s all gone now. How are we supposed to get along and be friends? You’re right, it’s ridiculous.”  Sydney looks down and takes a deep breath, it seems like she doesn’t know what to say, but tells him that she slept with Will. The way she said it though, it was almost like she was she was asking him if it was alright with him, or admitting to an affair.  Vaughn immediately looks at her again and asks; “what?”  She tells him that while she and Will were in Warsaw, they got drunk and slept together.  Vaughn looks down, shakes his head, and has to compose himself, realizing that his fear of sending her off alone to see Will came to life.  He’s upset, and can’t hide it from her, even though he is married, he still sees Sydney as the love of his life.  He asks her; “How am I supposed to react to that?”  Seeing Vaughn’s jealousy takes Sydney a little by surprise here, but she shakes her head, and smiles at him saying; “However you want to.”   Vaughn goes back to working on the car, then vents his frustrations out to Sydney; “Bad enough being a fugitive in North Korea. Now I have to find out you slept with Will?”  Sydney smiles at him assuming that this is a joke, but in truth Vaughn actually does compare the two situations in the same light. Sydney then goes on, thinking that she is going to make the situation better between them tells him; “I want you to know that I’m moving on. Not with Will. Just... Generally. If it helps.”   Vaughn then looks straight at her, this news doesn’t make him happy, but since he is married, he knows that he has no right to Sydney.  Vaughn does however want a change in topic, so looking at the car, he tells her that it should be ready, which it was and they drive off.
This is a big scene for Vaughn, he knows that Sydney still loves him, and he still loves her, but he doesn’t want to have to see her with anyone else.  But I think it is in this moment where he finally gets an idea of what it must be like for Sydney to see him with Lauren and to hear him talk about Lauren.  We’ve already seen some differences in how he behaves with Lauren, but we will see him try to avoid awkward moments where Sydney has to watch or hear interactions. At least if I can remember properly.  It has been since I started this blog since I have watched some of those episodes.
Since they were able to find transportation, Sydney and Vaughn arrives to meet the Covenant defector right on time, they are about to get out, when Sydney spots Sark approaching the defector.  They watch the situation and eventually decide that they have to intervene, but without being seen by Sark first, considering once they are seen Sark would kill the defector.  We watch Sark pretend to be a CIA agent from Portland American accent included, which was fun to see since David Anders who plays Sark is actually American and is from Oregon.  The defector begins to tell him how the Covenant must be stopped and that the things they are planning keep him up at night. Right as Sark pulls out his gun under the table and tells the defector that he will sleep soundly tonight, Sydney rushes up and places a knife right up against a place that no man ever wants to be cut. Sydney tells Sark to stay calm and Vaughn tells the defector that Sark is not CIA, but Covenant. The defector begins to get up saying that it was a bad idea.  Sydney notices the military police gets Vaughn to see, Sark tells them back in his British accent that they are looking for fugitives from a downed airplane. We then find out that Lauren didn’t have all the details. Sydney and Vaughn know the defectors name and once Vaughn says it, he knows they are the real deal.  Vaughn tells Sark;   “Look, let’s make this easy for each other. Leonid and I are going to walk calmly out of here. Sydney is going to keep the knife exactly where it is until it is clear. Once we are, she will follow us. If you stick to that plan, you might still have children one day.”   Sark then replies saying that if they follow through on their threat, it will only tip off the police, and that everyone has something to lose.  Leonid then realizes this is true and realizes that he is the exception and gets up to leave, Sark then goes to shoot him, but Sydney is able to divert his shot before he can aim, and a commotion begins.  Sark manages to escape while the other three are all captured.
Sydney, Vaughn, and Leonid are all sitting in a Korean prison cell, with their hands and feet chained up.  Officers enter the cell and one physically forces Vaughn up, and you can see how sick this is making Sydney and how much she wants to go after them, but can’t. She and Leonid do standup however.  The main officer speaks Korean to Vaughn and gets right in his face, when Vaughn doesn’t say anything he places his gun at Vaughns head and continues to shout, we see Vaughn shaking in nervousness, but stays quite.  The officer then assaults Vaughn with the butt of the gun knocking him to the ground, which makes Sydney go toward Vaughn automatically, but she is stopped by the officer aiming the gun at her.   As the officer shouts at her, Sydney watches Vaughn and can’t take her eyes off of him, we see Vaughn sit up, and he watches as the officer questions Sydney, knowing what her fate, is he worries for her as well.  When the officer stops for a response from her, we see her bravery in these type of positions come out, much like the pilot, she responds, but only in a way that will make them more upset.  She replies in Korean; “Sorry I only speak English.”  This earns her the same assault that Vaughn received.  Although, she does manage to get closer to where Vaughn is in the process, which is what I think her intention was.  The officer then moves on to Leonid, but once the officer is done speaking, he is quick to say CIA in English, even repeating it and flat out telling the officer that Sydney and Vaughn are CIA.  Vaughn and Sydney then glare at him, knowing that they risked their lives to come get him and now he is giving them the death sentence. 
Sydney and Vaughn are not pleased with Leonid, but look towards each other as he is escorted out by another officer.  The Lead officer then says some instructions to the others and two come after Sydney and Vaughn.  They begin assaulting the two them with the butts of their rifles repeatedly.  But as they begin, Sydney can only watch in horror as the one officer goes after Vaughn, barely looking at who will do it to her.  Once the officers are done, Sydney says Vaughn’s name, there is such vulnerability in her voice as she says it, but it seems to be a request for him, as well as to make sure he is okay.  He works himself up from the ground; he seemed to have been beaten a little worse than Sydney was.  He then says; “Sydney, come here…. Come here, Sydney.”  Even though they are both badly beaten, they are concerned for the other more than themselves; both of them wanting to comfort each other; as well as to be comforted.  Sydney glides her face into his neck line, and her body closer to his, as he folds himself around her.
So as it turns out, the woman that came to help Jack, is Irina’s sister Katya, and it would appear that all the Derevko women, are a force to be reckoned with.  She does inform Jack when he questioned her as to why he was to kill Sloane, that killing Sloane is a preventative measure, but why he has to do it, is her own business.  So Jack sets up a meeting with Sloane and while he is there, Katya calls Sloane with a message telling him to back off Irina.  He tells her that he’s not sure how he should take that.  (Were they setting up the Sloane Clone idea here?) But she tells him that no matter how protected he thinks that he is, he’s really not, not even from his friends, including the one that he’s about to see, also that his continuing life is a favor from her.  She then calls Jack to tell him not to kill Sloane.  So Jack is stuck having to explain why he is there.
In the Korean cell, Sydney is trying to pick the handcuff locks with her fingernails, but isn’t succeeding.  Vaughn says as the scene opens; “We’re not going to make it out of here.”  This makes Sydney look over to him with concern, but then goes back to trying to escape.  Vaughn then takes a few deep breaths before saying; “There’s something I need you to know.”  This makes Sydney stop and she doesn’t even dare look at him, while she says his name. But he is looking right at her with those loving eyes of his. But he doesn’t stop he goes on to say; “In my life, there is only one person.”  Sydney knows what he is about to say, shakes her head and tries to stop him by saying; “Don’t do this.”  But Vaughn is going to tell her the truth, thinking that she has to know how he really feels, seeing as it will be the last thing that he does.  He tells her; “Look at me.”  Because not only does he want to make sure that she knows, but he wants to see that love right back from her that he knows she will show if she were only to look at him. She shakes her head and finally looks at him and says his name, almost begging him to stop.  She is still holding out some hope for survival, and she doesn’t want to hear the words come from him that will break her heart if they do survive.  But he is determined and tells her; “The only reason I pushed you away… The only reason that I didn’t know how to be around you…”  She begs him again while he was talking, saying please in-between his words.  Then they hear the guards coming, and she tells him as well and looks towards the door.  Vaughn sits up and gets closer to Sydney, and she takes his hands, he says her name about to go on, but she stops him and says; “I know, Vaughn. I know.”  Seeing her say this and seeing her face as she says it, he knows that she knows that he loves her, and that is enough for him.  She then leans into him, putting her lips to his check and tells him; “We’ll find each other… We always find each other.”   She lingers her head on his head for a moment before kissing his check, he then turns his head for a real kiss, and they kiss with genuine love and affection until the door opens.  Once that happens, Sydney holds on to Vaughn until they are both pulled from their positions by officers.  In the final moments before being taken, you can see fear in Sydney’s face for the first time.  But I think it is more towards the fear of knowing that after a few very long agonizing months of not being with Vaughn, she finally gets her moment and she won’t get another. 
As Sydney and Vaughn are taken form the cell to their death, they pass by the cell where Leonid is being kept and stare him down, Sydney and Vaughn both look at him in disgust.  They are taken outside and place against a wall that is covered in blood and gunshots.  As the guards leave them, they watch the firing squad prepare to fire.  Vaughn looks to Sydney; you can tell that if these are his last moments, he wants Sydney to be the last thing he sees.  When he looks at her, he finds that she is already looking at him, feeling the same way.  In the short few moments that they have they don’t say a word, but with them, they never have had to.  Sydney and Vaughn have always been able to express their love with just their facial expressions.  Hearing the final countdown, Sydney nods at Vaughn, and in that single nod you can see all the love she has for him, and she lets him know that she knows that he loves her to.  Then they turn with as much bravery as they can to face their death. 

They finally close their eyes and you can see them prepare for death as the shots begin, only to reopen them quickly once they realize they are not being shot at.  They see that one guard began shooting before the rest, and shot the guards instead.  He tells them who he is and that he is there to help them.  They look to each other confused, yet relieved that they aren’t dead.  Now equipped with weapons they go back into the prison to finish their mission.  Leonid is confused to see them and wonders what is going on.   Sydney doesn’t answer him, but walks into his cell, hands over her weapon, Leonid starts apologizing, and Sydney just frees him from his shackles and then punches him.   

Next we see them, they are back in LA.  Bruised up, but looking much better, escorting Leonid into the Rotunda to be debriefed.  Weiss reaches them first and is relieved to see them, but takes Leonid off their hands so they can greet everyone else.  Dixon then makes his way over, and Marshall surprises both of them with a big bear hug.  During Marshall’s hug, Vaughn spots Lauren and he realizes that he still loves her as well and has to go to her.  Sydney watches this and her fears of Vaughn telling her what he did in North Korea are realized.  She tried so hard to stop him from telling her that he loved her, because she feared that when they survived and got back, he would have to return to Lauren, and watching it happen just breaks her heart all over again.  She sees Jack, though and she runs for him, and they embrace. 
As we will see in the coming episodes this episode will create a series of events.  But Vaughn can’t deny his affection for Sydney any longer, and this will only make it harder for Sydney to move on.  The tension between them will only grow more and more.  While Vaughn still respects Jack, he knows he can’t follow his advice any longer and Jack knows that this mission will have changed everything between Vaughn and Sydney.  The one thing though, the only reason they acted the way that they did, and were willing to make these confessions to each other was because they thought that they were going to die.  Both of them respect the rules of marriage, and now that they are safe, they become even more aware of those rules and what they allow for.  Vaughn will never have an affair, even if he doesn’t love his wife anymore.  Sydney will not be a mistress, but she will patiently wait it out.  We also see that Weiss, starts rooting for the Vaughn and Sydney relationship again.  He will be the one that reminds Vaughn that he isn’t with the right person, even though it isn’t always in the nicest ways.

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