Tuesday, September 10, 2013

S3 E14 - Blowback

As the episode opens, without anything being said, I know that Vaughn is definitely thinking about the choices that he has to make.  He is sitting on a chair in the dark, next to Lauren’s side of the bed, and is holding his father’s watch.  We know that the watch is heavily connected to his father and to Sydney.  In addition, during the previously on Alias, it even showed the scene where Vaughn tells Sydney that his father told him that he could set his heart by this watch and that it stopped on Oct 1st, the day that they met.  So right off with him sitting in the dark next to Lauren, but staring at the watch, you know he is trying to figure out which way his heart will go.
As Vaughn is sitting in the dark, Lauren’s cell phone begins to vibrate and Lauren wakes up and turns on the light.  She asks him what he’s doing, but then immediately tells him that she sometimes hates her job, and then looks like she is about to go back to sleep, only to remember that she has to appear that she cares about Vaughn and asks him what is going on.  He looks at the watch some more and tells her; “You know how doctors always make you wait? When you go in for an appointment. My dad hated that. He used to say he always kept his appointments, and everyone else should do the same.”  Lauren asks him if he is okay, but not really like she cares about the answer. He sees this and tells her yeah.  Then keeps looking and touching the watch and then tells her; “I just… I was looking for my house keys, and I found this.”  And he indicates to the watch, and he smiles as he looks at the watch.  Lauren being completely oblivious to the actual issue that he is talking about, wonders why he was looking for his house keys, and just by the look that he gives her, you can tell that he is disappointed with her. He doesn’t reply right away, but finally tells her that he couldn’t sleep and that he thought he would go for a jog.  She wonders what time it is, and with that statement, his thoughts on the watch change and you can see the change in the way his eyes and smile light up.  He shakes his head, and tells her; “I don’t know. It’s broken.”   He barely looks at her, and then goes back to the watch.  You can see that his thoughts are now on what his father told him about how he could set his heart by the watch and it breaking the day he met Sydney.   Lauren has finally woken up to the fact that something is up, and asks him if he is sure he’s alright.  But Vaughn not wanting to state the obvious tells her that he’s fine, and sets down the watch, although he looked at the watch for a few moments before responding.  He then gets up, gives a quick kiss and tells her that he will see her later.
Although a small scene, this is one thing that Vaughn will look to when making some important decisions soon.  He is starting to realize that his relationship isn’t as good with Lauren as he once thought it was.  They don’t connect with each other the way he connected with Sydney. Lauren doesn’t see the relevance to the watch and him talking about his father.  He is remembering his father, and really missing him right now, and she should’ve realized that he needed support right then, but she missed it and then asking for the time, only made him miss the relationship that he had with Sydney as well.  In one scene, she showed him that she doesn’t remember how important his dad was to him, and she reminded him of how good he had it with Sydney.  Things are not looking good for Lauren.  I think that it’s also important to note, how casual they are when he leaves.  Especially considering that they have to still be in their first year to year and a half at most of marriage.  They don’t tell each other I love you, a simple kiss and a see you later are all that happens.  I know with my marriage, we didn’t become that casual until around year six, if that, and that was with three kids, after eleven years, we still say I love you when the other leaves, even for a short amount of time.  So it really shows how the relationship is dying quickly.

At the Rotunda, Sydney and Vaughn are being sent on a mission to Vancouver to open up a link so Marshall can hack into a server there, to find where a bomb will be shipped from.  They each look at each other, once again wondering if they can maintain friendship while doing this job. During the briefing Lauren keeps giving Sydney dirty looks.  You can tell that Sydney has had enough though, and knowing Sydney this season, she isn’t going to put up with it.  And we see that once the briefing is over, Sydney goes after Lauren telling her that they need to talk, but Lauren just keeps on walking and the scene switches to Vaughn and Weiss talking. So we will have to come back to this, since this episode goes back and forth.
Going over to Weiss and Vaughn, Weiss asks Vaughn how he is doing, and Vaughn tells him that he is fine.  Weiss then stops him and tells him; “Hey, guess what? It’s me.  Come on, how are you doing?”  Vaughn then tells Weiss; “I’m hanging in there.”   Weiss then nods towards Lauren, and asks; “How was Lauren about it?”  Vaughn looks over to Lauren, who is now talking with Sydney, and he only makes eye contact with Sydney, takes a deep breath and tells Weiss; “She didn’t remember.”  With this statement, Vaughn looks disappointed, but tries to hide it.  So Weiss asks him; “And you didn’t say anything?”  Vaughn thinks for a moment and then tells him, trying to be nonchalant about it, but failing; “Nah… I mean, she’s got a lot on her mind.”  Weiss doesn’t buy it, and tells him sarcastically; “Yeah, that’s probably it.”  Vaughn then walks off, and we see Weiss staring at Lauren and giving her an evil look, and then we watch as Sydney walks away from Lauren and Lauren gives Weiss and even eviler look.  So obviously they are trying to string us along with what the real problem is, but something is obviously going on with Vaughn, Weiss remembers, and is made that Lauren didn’t.  Here is a case where Weiss is starting to dislike Lauren more and more.  Maybe he saw more in her reaction to the North Korea situation then we were led on to believe.

While Sydney and Vaughn are in Vancouver, nothing unusual happens as they begin their mission, but once they start the upload to Marshall, they realize a virus has been put on the system and they figure that the mole has leaked the information and has beaten them there.  They quickly disconnect and go to leave.  They leave the room, to find that the man that showed them to their vault is holding a gun at them, saying; “Please don’t do this!”  Sydney and Vaughn are standing with their hands up, and he begins to shoot, but misses them so they run back into their vault and get their own weapons ready, only to walk out and find the man dead.  They hear a door shut, and then start running after the shooter.  They end up following them out to a parking structure and then begin a car chase in the parking structure.  But they get away when they reach the street level.  So overall not much happens, but it is nice to see that Sydney and Vaughn are working together without any negative friction.  But you can see that it is still hard to work together as just friends for both of them.
Back in LA, Sydney and Vaughn meet with Marshall, to go over what can be recovered and find out that it will take around six hours to get the information that they need.  While Marshall is on one of his rants, Vaughn and Sydney do share a fun smile as they watch Marshall.  But they quickly look away from each other.   Marshall leaves to get more coffee and while he is gone, Vaughn wonders to the other side of the room and is clearly having a hard time as he puts his hand to his head.  Sydney sees this and wonders if something is wrong.   Vaughn tells her that he’s fine, but he guesses that he is getting old.   Sydney laughs with him, then smiles and asks; “Do you expect me to believe that?”    Already it’s obvious that Sydney is still more in tune with Vaughn that Lauren has ever been, and he tries to play down whatever is bothering him by saying; “I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately, that’s all. It’ll pass.”  While saying this he begins to move closer to Sydney again.  By the look on his face, you can tell that he is somewhat happy that Sydney recognizes when he is trying to pass himself off as being fine when he isn’t.  Also deep down, if he was to choose who he opens up with about what is wrong, it would be Sydney.  She has always understood him when others didn’t.  We then see her face and see how concerned she really is.  He is seeing what a difference there is between these two women once again.  Sydney then asks him; “Yesterday was the day, wasn’t it?” That little statement makes Vaughn look up at Sydney again, and begin to see her once again with new eyes or his old ones back in.  Before he can reply though, she goes on to say; “The anniversary of your father’s death.”  Vaughn sighs and almost smiles, and looks at her like she is the best thing on earth.  He asks her; “How could you remember that?”   She looks at him and smiles sadly, shakes her head at him and tells him; “I remember what missing him does to you.” He smiles at her and looks like he is about to say something, but is interrupted by the ring of his cell.  He looks at the phone and tells her sorry and walks away, but he doesn’t answer until he is at the door and almost completely away from Sydney.
We watch as Vaughn takes his call in the hallway, it is Lauren.  While on the phone with her, Sydney leaves Marshall’s office, and as she does, Vaughn watches her walk away.  As he watches Sydney his phone call is wrapping up with Lauren and she tells him; “I love you.”  But as she says it he can’t take his eyes off of Sydney, he then looks at the phone and says; “Uh… You too.”  He hangs up the phone and then goes back to watching Sydney, and you can see that Vaughn is pretty sure what direction his heart is going.  But it is important to note that he didn’t say I love you back to her, he said what would placate her and made sure that if Sydney was listening, it wouldn’t sound like a love you.  The last time we saw Vaughn admit his love to Lauren was back in the third episode of the season, the first time we saw them together.  But we haven’t seen it since.  We have heard him say that it isn’t a loveless marriage, or yelling at Jack about hurting someone he loves.  But we don’t ever see him admit it to her again. 
Later on we see that Marshall has retrieved the location of the bomb and the ship that is carrying it, will dock in Lisbon, in 14 hours, so Sydney and Vaughn are sent to Lisbon.  Once they get on the ship and have an idea of where they need to go they are about to enter through a door to go below deck and Vaughn hears something that makes him turn, two other people are on board and are following them.  When Vaughn turns to see what made the sound, he is shot multiple times in the chest.  Sydney then gets off a few shots and the others hide behind a corner.  Sydney then drags Vaughn through the door and closes it behind her.  Sydney is ignoring Dixon over the coms; she is only concerned with Vaughn.  Once they are safe, she gets down on his level and look scared to death and tries talk to Vaughn, asking if he is okay.
So this is the part of the episode that I had to go back and make sure that my Netflix connection hadn’t gone all weird on me, but it showed that it was the middle of the episode an not the beginning again so I kept watching and it turns out that we were just seeing everything happen from Vaughn’s perspective, but now we are going to see some of the same scenes play out from Laurens perspective.  So I won’t be writing too much until we are caught back up.

We do see that Lauren does finally turn around for Sydney, which we saw had happened, but we get to see their conversation this time. After Sydney tells her that they need to talk, Lauren turns on Sydney and says; “Everything I needed to say, I’ve already said.”   Sydney looks at her sternly and tells her; “Then here’s my turn. The Implication that somehow I’ve set out to undermine your marriage is wrong and unfair. I’ve done nothing but respect the relationship that you and Vaughn have.”  Lauren just gives her dirty looks through this, and Lauren looks at Vaughn for a moment and Sydney follows, only to see that Vaughn is looking back. Lauren then smiles condescendingly and says; “You were saying?”   But Sydney holds her ground and goes on to tell Lauren; “Vaughn and I have a history, a complicated one. I can’t deny that.  But I won’t apologize for it either. If your marriage is in trouble, if you and Vaughn are having problems, I suggest you leave me out of it, and take it up with your husband.”  And once again we see Weiss watching her.  I think Weiss is catching on to the fact that she isn’t as nice and naïve as she wants everyone to believe she is.  – Now I could be wrong on this, but from here on out Sydney and Lauren have very little interaction together and the times that they do is after Sydney suspects that she is the mole.
We do see that it is Sark and Lauren that Vaughn and Sydney end up chasing after in Vancouver.  One thing I did find interesting was Sark makes the remark of another black mark going on her husband’s record.  Then he asks her; “How does it feel to systematically ruin a man from the inside out?” To which Lauren tells him that it wouldn’t be the first time.  This sentiment makes me wonder what else she is doing to Vaughn, besides the obvious reasons and what we see.  If you keep this statement in your head, a comment that he makes to Sydney along with a deleted scene begins to make sense.
So I have made it back to where the stories line up, and the two other on the ship are none other than Sark and a Raccoon eyed Lauren.  Sark is the one who shot Vaughn though.  We see Sydney over Vaughn again and she is scared, even though she knows that he was hit in his vest.  She unzips his jacket and exposes the Kevlar vest.  Vaughn tells her that he is fine, but Sydney still has to help him to stand and he puts his arm around her and she puts his arm around him as he gets his breath back and attempts to walk but can’t do very much to start.  But once he gets going, they release each other.  Vaughn knows that they have to get the bomb, and says as much.
Although it’s not an exact parallel, it does take us back to the episode where Sark shoots Vaughn in the staircase and Sydney shoots the gun out of Sark’s hand and runs down and helps Vaughn up.  Sydney has the same emotions running through her, only she isn’t allowed to kiss Vaughn better like she did last time.  It is interesting to look at it though, the last time it had happened, Sark had shot him when Irina was his accomplice in the current heist, and it was an emotional connection that Sydney was not used to, with it being the first episode after her mother had escaped and Sydney realized that all the good moments that they recently shared were a fabrication.  The emotional connection this time is with Vaughn and Lauren.  We just don’t see how Vaughn deals with the realization until after he figures out what Lauren is.
They separate, Sydney going to the engine room, where we just saw Sark head to, and Vaughn tells her that he will cover her form above, which is where we saw Lauren head off to.  Sydney has found the bomb and Lauren has spotted her from above and is aiming her gun at Sydney.  But Vaughn catches her and instructs her to freeze.  He just doesn’t know that it is Lauren.  Vaughn has his gun pointed at Lauren’s head and is inches away from it as he instructs her to drops her gun and then to turn around.  He then instructs her to take off the face multiple times.  Which Lauren is a little hesitant to do for obvious reasons.  Right when Lauren is about to give in, we hear Sark yell up at him; “Put the gun down, Agent Vaughn!”  Vaughn looks down and sees that Sark is now holding Sydney in a similar position.  They go back and forth about each other dropping their guns, Sydney even tells Vaughn not to drop his gun.  Sark then yells up at Vaughn indicating to Sydney saying; “If you love her, you will put the gun down now.”   Vaughn then looks at Lauren, even though he doesn’t know it is Lauren, and as he is about to put the gun down, Sydney yells up to him not to do it.  But you can see in his eyes, as can Lauren that he knows that he will do anything to prove his love for Sydney.  Vaughn then drops his gun down towards where Sydney and Sark are.  Lauren takes this opportunity to punch him across the face. Sydney get Sark, but not enough to knock him down and Lauren immediately grabs her gun and starts shooting at Sydney so Sark can run off with the bomb.
After getting themselves back together, Sydney ends up running after Lauren and Vaughn goes after Sark.  Sydney loses Lauren but Vaughn is hot on Sark’s feet. Catching Sark, and ordering him to give him the bomb, before he shoots him, although I think it’s time that Vaughn got off a few shots on Sark.  Sark then activates the bomb and throws it to Vaughn and runs off.  Vaughn then has to work with Marshall to deactivate the bomb and does so with 2 seconds to spare.

After they both return Lauren and Vaughn both acting the happy couple for one another once again.  Lauren gets a call from Sark and he mentions how much it killed her seeing him drop the gun for Sydney, and she plays it off.  All the while Vaughn is getting more and more annoyed with her “work” calls.  When she hangs up, she can see that he may ask about the call, so to preempt this, she gives him a bigger kiss than we have seen them share in a long time.  He asks what the kiss was for and she simply tells him that she missed him. Making sure that they topic was diverted.

Overall a pretty good Sydney and Vaughn episode, also I love seeing Vaughn realize that he isn’t supposed to be with Lauren. But seeing Vaughn being vulnerable and him seeing the difference in support that he has from the two people that he claims to love, and claim to love him as well makes him question that love.  He is seeing that no matter what position Sydney holds in his life, she will always care about him, and he sees that Lauren is very different.

  • ·         Items I found Noteworthy…
    o   Jack is given the assignment of leading the investigation on finding out of there is a mole in the Rotunda.  Lauren gets out of being questioned that day pretty quickly. 
    o   Just as a fun fact, if the first day in this episode was the anniversary of Vaughn father’s death, then it means that it is October 21st since we have seen the date listed on the CIA report.  Although the episode aired in March.  But if it is October 21st during that time, that means that only a couple weeks earlier was the anniversary of when Sydney and Vaughn met.  I have to wonder if it lined up with their trip to North Korea.  Because the day they met, has stuck out to Vaughn since the watch did stop on that date, so he would be more vulnerable towards Sydney during that time. – Just a thought… 
    o   We find out what Sloane’s secret which is that Sloane had an affair with Irina Derevko, and he thinks that Sydney may be his daughter.

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