Saturday, September 14, 2013

S3 E15 – Façade

So right to begin with, I should tell you that I will watch the entire episodes for three parts not including the fact that Lauren isn’t in a single frame.  The first is when Vaughn tells Sydney that he thinks it might be easier if they just sic her father on the bomber before trying to trick him first.  Vaughn is very well aware that Jack is close to being the scariest weapon the CIA has.  The second part is when Sydney tells Ryan that the Covenant didn’t take the man she loves, but he’s on the plane right now.  Sydney opening up to a total stranger about her love for Vaughn is nice to see.  The third and main reason, is too see how far jack and Sydney go to save Vaughn, and then to see how emotionally drained Sydney is afterwards and to see the breakdown happen just in time for Vaughn to be there to make everything okay in the world.  The final hug in this episode does go down as a favorite moment from the series.  But alas, let’s get started.

The first part of the episode that has anything to do with Sydney and Vaughn’s relationship is when Weiss and Vaughn are both at their desks and engaging in small talk.  We find out that Lauren is out of town and will be for the few days, so that means no Lauren in the episode.  Weiss then asks how Vaughn’s marriage is, albeit with a little sarcasm.  But he doesn’t realize that Sydney has just walked up to them.  Sydney hears the question and doesn’t know whether she should walk away or not; creating an awkward situation, but Vaughn and Sydney work through it with changing the subject.  Once Sydney has walked away, Vaughn glares at Weiss until Weiss says; “What, I can’t ask my buddy…”  Vaughn interrupts him with telling him, although not convincingly, that his marriage is fantastic, and then walks away.  Weiss is left alone and says aloud; “Yeah, I can tell…”  I love seeing Weiss bait Vaughn like this.  You can see that Weiss really doesn’t like what Lauren’s new attitude is doing to his closest friends being Vaughn and Sydney.
So the team decides that they will pose as the covenant and fake shooting a CIA officer (Weiss) that is taking Daniel Ryan, the bad guy of the week a bomb maker, into custody, making Ryan gain their trust.  After the team gets back to LA, Sydney and Vaughn go to see the fake room they will be placing Ryan in, which will pose as a Russian hotel room.  Overall the scene between them is a little boring, but they are comfortable enough to be able to disagree over the best way to handle the situation, and be friendly about it.  Also this is when Vaughn tells her; “I still think it would be easier to sic your father on him.”  They are mostly past the awkward stage again, they know that they love each other, but Vaughn is trying to make up his mind, and Sydney knows this. But I like how he’s comfortable enough with Sydney again, that he can make a joke about her father.
So really not much is happening overall with the relationship, so far, but I do love that Vaughn ends up posing as Sark to make him believe that he is working with the Covenant.  When Vaughn meets Ryan and introduces himself as Sark, Ryan looks him up and down and finally says; “They said you was a pretty boy.”   This is just my own little fun moment of the episode.

Once the deal is made with Ryan, they work out a way to get the real Sark to get on the plane where Ryan has set up an exchange, less chance of surveillance 35,000 feet in the air.  Vaughn is assigned to go on the flight as well and be the surveillance.  The exchange was supposed to take place 20 minutes after takeoff, and Vaughn becomes concerned and calls Sydney letting her know that the exchange hasn’t taken place yet, and he is starting to think that it isn’t going to.  Sydney then goes to Ryan to find out what is going on, only to find that there was no meeting.  All they know is that Ryan set something up and he wanted Sark on that plane.  While the team at the Rotunda is reviewing Ryan’s information, Jack tells Vaughn that since they have the opportunity given to them, Vaughn is to apprehend Sark in the air and a team will meet him in Paris to have him extradited.

In the air, Vaughn lets the flight attendant know that he will need to apprehend a suspect on the plane.  Sydney meanwhile gets in touch with Sloane to find out what he knows about Ryan.  Sloane tells her that Ryan became a mercenary after his brother, Christopher Ryan was killed.  He goes on to tell her that it is believed that Christopher Ryan was killed by the Covenant.  Sydney then wonders why Daniel Ryan would still want to work with the Covenant.
At the Rotunda, Weiss is looking over the information that they have on Christopher Ryan, and pulls up a picture of him, Sydney take s a deep breath in as she realized that she was the one who killed him.  He was the unimportant man that the Covenant had used to test to see if the brainwashing was a success.  She explains what she had learned from Kendall about killing someone for the Covenant as part of a test to Jack and Weiss.  Jack sees what Ryan’s plan is now.  He wanted Sark on that plane because Sark is a high ranking member of the Covenant, and killing him along with 200 innocent people would be a very public act of revenge.  Sydney then becomes horrified as it hits her that Vaughn would be one of those innocent victims going down with Sark.
While Vaughn is securing Sark in the bathroom as a temporary cell, Sark asks Vaughn if it bothers him, Vaughn doesn’t know what Sark is talking about, so Sark tells him; “A bomb maker arranges for a meeting on a plane and then doesn’t show up.  I don’t know about you, but that concerns me.”
Vaughn leaves Sark without replying, tells another flight attendant to lock up the bathroom from the outside, and answers his phone.   Sydney is on the other end and tells Vaughn that they may have a problem.  Now I know that they aren’t together, so what is it doing to help their relationship?  Two factors are coming into play here.  The first is Vaughn has learned over the years, even though she was missing for a couple of them, Sydney is very determined.  If she sets her mind to something, she will get it done, no matter what it takes.  He also knows that he is one thing that she will go above and beyond for; she has proved that time and time again.  Her determination for reaching her goal goes beyond its normal limits, and she will do anything to save him.  So besides the fact that he loves her, he trusts her more than anyone to be able to come up with a solution.  So we see how much Vaughn depends on Sydney here.  The second is what I mentioned that Vaughn knows about Sydney.  She will do anything to save Vaughn.  Even though she isn’t with him right now, she believes that he is her soul mate and she loves him more than anything.  She has risked her own life many times to save his, and she would do it a hundred more times if necessary.

So In addition to those two things adding to the intensity of their relationship now, we also see them connecting more cohesively as partners again as well.  When they were taking down SD-6, and they realized how much they meant to each other and the tension between them was high, they recognized that even though it was hard to concentrate during briefings without wanting to kiss each other, they knew that they would bring down SD-6 faster working together because they did so well as a team.  They are reaching that point again here.  They work great as a team, and as hard as it is to work together, with all of the emotions that they both have for the other, but can’t act upon, they continue to do it. 

Working together, Sydney and Vaughn work out how a bomb could’ve gotten onto the plane.  Vaughn tells the pilots and instructs them that they need to land.  Once the bomb is located, Vaughn sees how complex it is, and tells Sydney that he will need Marshall’s help on this one.  In the Rotunda, the group discusses how even though they lied to Ryan and he lied to them, they all share disgust for the Covenant.  So now they need him to realize that they are not the Covenant and let him know that they are CIA and get him to shut off the bomb.  

Vaughn and Marshall realize that the bomb is set to go off when they reach a certain altitude so the emergency landing has become out of the question.  Sydney goes into Ryan’s room without her disguise and explains the situation and that they know that the bomb in the plane is in revenge for the Covenant killing his brother.  As she is talking the delusions that were placed around Ryan to convince him he was in Moscow are now disappearing as well as Weiss showing up with Leonid, who tells Ryan that he defected from the Covenant two months earlier.  So with that statement we find out that Sydney and Vaughn have been working together with building tension knowing that they really only love each other for two months now.

Ryan is taken to the Rotunda when he doesn’t believe that they are really CIA, once there, he begins to believe it.  But he refuses to tell them how to deactivate the bomb.  So he is taken to the conference room and handcuffed to the table there.  Sydney goes in and makes an attempt at one of her speeches that eventually lead to someone talking.  For reference to one of those speeches see.   She is very polite, even helping him take a drink of water.  She tells him that she understands that she is angry at the covenant for taking his brother’s life.  He laughs at her choice of words.   She lets him rant on about word choice and then tells him; “The Covenant held me captive for almost two years, they did things to me that I will never get over….All to convince me I was someone else. A... An operative they created named Julia Thorne.”  At this statement, Ryan slightly looks up with a glint of knowledge in his eye, but doesn’t show it to Sydney.  So she goes on; “You need to know that I understand what it is like having the Covenant take away people you love. They are evil, evil people. The thing is, I was luckier than you. The man I love, the Covenant didn't murder him, he's on that plane.”   I did take out some of her speech, but seeing her so vulnerable bearing her secrets, secrets about her past that she only just learned herself and doesn’t share unless she has to.  She opens up to Ryan hoping that he will save Vaughn.  The real trigger though is seeing her next to tears, begging this terrorist to save Vaughn’s life, because there isn’t much else that she can do for Vaughn right now.  Telling her secrets wasn’t something that she wanted to do.  We saw that even though Sydney found out what happened to her, she hadn’t told Jack the whole story.  Finding out what happened, isn’t something that she openly shares, but opening up to Ryan, was risking all she had to attempt to save Vaughn. 
On the plane, Marshall thinks up a way for Vaughn to deactivate the bomb, so they can land, but it requires them to deactivate the motion sensor, which is what the bomb squad did during Ryan’s first demonstration that ended up setting off the bomb.  Marshall attempts explaining to Vaughn what he needs to look for, but Vaughn doesn’t understand the technical language that Marshall is speaking in, so out of ideas, Marshall tells him that he needs to find someone who can.  Then the next thing we see is Vaughn ushering Sark into the belly of the plane and telling Marshall that he has Sark.  Sark works with Marshall to get the bombs Motion sensor cut so they can move it.  Vaughn and Sark then have to work together to find something to secure the bomb in to trick it into thinking that it is staying at altitude.  This is clearly not something that Vaughn is comfortable with, but he does know how much Sark enjoys his own life, so he doesn’t immediately escort Sark back to his bathroom cell.  Unfortunately Sark does find a knife while they search and takes it for later.  Vaughn finds a cooler and duct tape which he says should work.
Back at the Rotunda, Sydney gathers everyone and tells them that Ryan needs a phone, Dixon want to know why and is told that he needs to call the bomb. We see Vaughn and Sark putting the bomb into the cooler and Vaughn gets a call from Sydney letting him know that they may have a way out.   She relays the information that Ryan is giving her about how to know that the bomb is no longer activated. Once Ryan finishes his instructions to Dixon to dial into the phone Sydney says into the phone; “Vaughn what’s going on?”  You can tell that she is on pins and needles emotionally.  She needs to hear from Vaughn that the bomb has been shut off so she can finally relax.   He initially tells her nothing has changed, and then he looks down to see a five minutes countdown begin. Vaughn looks terrified and actually looks to Sark hoping he can assist to get out of this one.  But then looks at the phone knowing who will be the only one who can fix this and says; “Syd, he screwed us.”  That is all it takes for Sydney to become furious.  We don’t see too much of her initial reaction, but we see enough to know that she is ready to kill Ryan. I could be reading more into this than I should, but as I watched this, the way Vaughn worded it, he screwed us. It could imply a meaning of literally being the two of them.  That the chance of them being able to one day be together again, is now screwed over.  That because of Ryan any future rekindling of a relationship is over.
We also see that the bomb in Marshall’s office that they recovered last week has also been activated.  Marshall comes into the room and lets them know what has happened.  Ryan then takes the opportunity to tell Sydney that his former handler informed him the day before she dies that his brother had been murdered by the Covenant, and that it was a test of loyalty for a woman named Julia Thorne. You killed my brother.  With Sydney’s confession, he knows he can take out part of the Covenant, the woman who actually killed his brother, and the man she loves all at once.  Ryan is even willing to face death himself for the cause.
So now Sydney is feeling even worse.  Her divulging her secrets has not only gotten Vaughn closer to dying, but now the rest of her friends, essentially everyone she knows has their lives at risk as well because of her.  Yet, she holds herself together.  As much as it hurts Sydney knows that breaking down does no good for anyone, she has to stay together until she can make things better.  When she is alone and the situation is fixed is when she will allow for a breakdown.

So Vaughn was right, they should have just had Jack work on Ryan from the beginning, because in the end, Jack’s alternative methods are all it takes.  Sydney is trying to work with Marshall, but is feeling fairly useless, and she watches her dad start to strangle Ryan from a monitor so she rushes off to see what is going on.  Jack tells Ryan as he is strangling him; “In seven seconds, you will begin to see spots. You’ll think it’s a white light, but I’m here to tell you… The last words I want you to hear ever! There is no white light, not for people like you.”  Sydney walks in as Jack gently lays a motionless, essentially dead Ryan on the floor.  Sydney wants to know what he has done, but he simply tells her to get the defibrillator, he placed it right outside the door and to hurry.  Jack prepares Ryan to be shocked back to life, and tells Sydney; “He thinks he was prepared to die, we’ll see about that.”  Jack shoots him with adrenaline and then shocks him twice, bringing him back to life grasping for air.  Jack is ready to catch him, being oddly gentle with him, but tells him; “You give us the code that disarms both bombs, or we do that all over again. Both bombs!”   Ryan simply nods to Jack, seeing what Vaughn knew was there the whole time.  Jack is not to be messed with on a good day.  But you threaten what Jack holds dearest to his heart, Sydney, or mess with what is dearest to her heart, Vaughn and you will be in the worst shape of your life, if you have one afterwards. 
I’ve said this before, but Jack really does care about Vaughn.  He may make it seem that he only cares for Sydney’s sake, but they have been through too much together, especially seeing as Vaughn is as willing as Jack is to risk everything for Sydney.  Jack has already seen similarities between himself and Vaughn, but soon Jack will be the first to realize exactly how a like they are, and while it doesn’t necessarily bring them closer together, it does bond them in another way that doesn’t include Sydney this time.
Sydney runs back to Marshall with the new codes that Ryan has provided for them, gives them to Marshall and then gets on to talk with Vaughn.  While it may not be the best conversation, if it is going to be their last, she will be there for it.  She tells him that they got the code; he tells her that they only have ten seconds left, and they wait as Marshall types.  Then Sydney asks him if it worked, and a big smile crosses his face and he tells her yeah it worked. It is a small moment for each of them, but the knowledge that they will both survive and that they will see each other again makes them happy, if only for a second.
Before Vaughn can celebrate too much, he immediately grabs for his handcuffs to finish his job of arresting Sark.  But he wasn’t fast enough and Sark ends up stabbing Vaughn in the shoulder. And the two of them begin to brawl on the floor of the plane. Now you know how much I love badass Vaughn, especially when he is beating on Sark.  Vaughn really does love to beat up on him with all the pain he has helped to cause in Sydney’s life, Vaughn really does hate Sark.  Plus he doesn’t even know that they are sharing the same woman as well. (Ewww)  This scene is a great badass Vaughn scene, even with a newly injured shoulder, Vaughn forgets about his pain and is quickly able to get the upper hand on Sark.  Vaughn is able to physically force Sark to drop the knife and once that is done, before Sark has a chance to regain his footing to go back at it, Vaughn with the handcuffs still in his hands, uses the handcuffs to help deliver a painful blow across Sark’s face.  Sark is knocked unconscious, allowing Vaughn to handcuff him without any struggle.  
At the Rotunda, after all the reports are finished, and they are finally able to call it a day, Dixon fills Jack and Sydney in on what happened when Vaughn and Sark landed.  Sydney wants to know if Vaughn is overseeing the extradition process with Sark.  Dixon tells her, no that he has already boarded a plane back to the US and they expect him soon.  With that news, Sydney can take a sigh of relief, Jack even shows his relief at having Vaughn be okay, if only for a moment.   The three of them then watch with satisfaction as Ryan is escorted down the hallway to be processed.
 When Sydney is leaving the building she reaches the parking garage, walks to her car, and you can see some of the stress of the day coming off of her as she relaxes her posture as she walks.  But when she reaches the car, the emotional roller coaster of almost losing Vaughn and feeling like she was at fault for it overcomes her and since she is alone and doesn’t have to help save anyone or anything she can finally break down and have her moment.  She just stands next to her car, and begins to cry. Hearing a car approach, she attempts to pull herself back together and wipes her eyes. She turns to see who is going to see her as an emotional wreck and she sees the best thing she could imagine.  Vaughn is there, and he is completely focused on her.  For him, she is the one who saved his life and the only person that he wants to see right now.   He sees her crying and walks with purpose to her, knowing that he wants nothing more in the world than to make her pain go away.  She just looks at him, says his name, and walks with open arms towards him as well.  They both envelope each other in their arms and without saying another word, they say all that is needed to be said.  They just stand there and hold on to each other with all their might.  You see Vaughn caressing her shoulders and attempting to hold her even tighter than he already is.  In that moment, nothing can take them away from being with one another.
I will say that without a doubt, the hug shown in this episode is my all-time favorite Sydney and Vaughn moment, I know that there are a lot of moments that are up there, but this one tops them all.  In fact I would have to say that this hug is best hug any couple I have ever seen on TV has had. This is for a couple of reasons.  One the intensity of their love in this moment is undeniable to anyone.  They are balanced out, both of them being comforted and being able to comfort the other as well.  I told you that I knew in season two when Vaughn had decided that until he could actually be with Sydney he was going to move on, well I believe that it is in this moment that the question that has been plaguing him for the last two months.  Ever since returning from North Korea, he has wondered if he could love two women and who his heart belongs to.  He knows that he loves Sydney, but he wasn’t sure about whether he could leave Lauren.  It is being with Sydney here that Vaughn now knows that he isn’t supposed to with Lauren any longer.  Sydney is his soul mate and he wants to spend the rest of his life proving his love to her.   He just has to wait for the right opportunity to break the news to Lauren.  Also, the final thing that makes this moment so perfect, the music, it fits so perfectly with that moment.  The entire song is wonderful, but that statement as the screen goes black, just sets the scene so perfectly; “I’m tired of being on my own; I’ve been waiting for you to come.” 

  • Items I found Noteworthy…. 
    • While talking to Sydney on the phone, Sloane was in bed with Dr. Barnett.


  1. I liked this episode. It was heartrending for Sydney again remembering what she was forced to do as Julia Thorne. For someone who has deep empathy, it was hard for her and I felt bad for her. And it further sealed and confirmed Sydney and Vaughn's deep love for each other. Vaughn and those passengers almost got blown up and Sydney had to pour out her feelings to a vindictive man, pleading for Vaughn's life as well as the other passengers. Jack too, showed how much he loved his daughter. Seeing Sydney suffering over Vaughn being married was bad enough but he knew how further heartbroken she would be if Vaughn died, hence made that vindictive creep talk by any means.
    And the sweet. Sydney was upset about Christopher and how Vaughn and those people could have died and Vaughn rushes over to console her in his arms! They could not commit adultery but they could not deny their love either.

  2. Oh and seeing Dr Barnett in bed with Sloane, that was just GROSS 😷