Last night as I started to write about the way Vaughn told Lauren that he no longer wanted to be with her, I started typing and found that I had way more to say than I wanted to put in a breakdown of an episode concerning Sydney and Vaughn’s journey. So as I mentioned in the last post, I want to do a post that specifically talks about how Vaughn handled being in the company of both women that he thought that he loved. – I will add pictures throughout the post, but they won’t necessarily accompany the paragraph above or below it. I am just going to try and show the different versions of Vaughn throughout the season. Also, I decided that I needed a good clip video with a good song to reflect what type of emotion that Vaughn must have gone through during this time, and I couldn’t find one that worked well. So I made my own. While the song isn’t perfect for their situation, not many songwriters write about dead girlfriends not actually being dead and complicating their new marriage. So I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I tried to capture what Vaughn must have felt, but I would be happy to get any feedback that you may have.
I do hate to admit it, but Vaughn did love Lauren, but not in the way that he loved Sydney. I think that Vaughn knew that he wouldn’t be able to love like that again. But he also knew that he had to move on with his life, which in truth is never easy. When you look at what we have learned about what Vaughn went through, after Sydney died, we realize a few things about him. After spreading Sydney’s ashes at sea, he left the CIA. He did not want to be in a place surrounded by people and places that reminded him constantly of Sydney. Vaughn even confessed to Sydney what he felt when he lost her; “I was so in love with you, it nearly killed me.” He also left the country for six months, to try and escape his misery that he was in. But finally he convinced himself that he needed to move on. In the back of his mind, I think he knew that he while he did have feelings for Lauren as he began dating her, but he could never love her like he loved Sydney. This may be one reason that he ended up marrying her so quickly after losing Sydney. He wanted a distraction from the misery and depression he had when thinking of Sydney. Looking back on his own words to Sydney; “After you died, I used to talk to you. Like you were still around… Literally out loud… Whole conversations about… About nothing… The weather…Should I get a new car? Should I have another drink? And one day, you started answering. I mean I could hear you in my head like you were right next to me Sydney. And although rationally I knew I was a guy who stayed up nights drinking, talking to his dead girlfriend, still I couldn’t stop” He needed something and someone to help him get over his lose and to help him get back on his feet.
As I thought about this last night, I also thought about the CIA sending him to go pick her up in Hong Kong when she woke up. Vaughn wasn’t with the CIA at the time, and knowing that he was now married; wouldn’t it have been better to have sent Weiss or Marshall to go pick her up? Or even Dixon going to pick her up would have saved a lot of heartache for both Sydney and Vaughn. But after hearing that she wasn’t dead and that she had just woken up in Hong Kong with no memory, did Vaughn actually volunteer to go. Did he want to see the evidence of her actually being alive and well for himself. I believe that even though he had moved on, he wanted to feel that connection and happiness again that he once had with Sydney.
Now as you read that he wanted to feel the connection and happiness that he had with Sydney, I feel that I should share my theory about what Vaughn may have done in an attempt to try and get over Sydney. And it may seem out there, but for me, it makes perfect sense. But first I need to talk a little bit about who Vaughn is in general. Vaughn has always known who he wanted to be. He always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be the good company CIA man, who would do anything for his country and for those he loved. Vaughn looked up to his father more than anyone else, even though he only knew him for a short amount of time. The only difference is that Vaughn is willing to break the rules a little more often and question authority as to what the right thing to do really is. He had even told Sydney that if his father had questioned his orders on his last operation, maybe he would’ve survived. Which is why Vaughn is willing to break some of the rules. This also could be a reason that while when he first met Jack, he wasn’t a huge fan, but after getting to know him, I can see that Vaughn saw Jack as the man that his father wanted to be in his Journals.
So knowing this about Vaughn it couldn’t have been easy to leave the CIA after Sydney’s death. But there was just too much around him that reminded him of her. I have mentioned this before but I think that he may have started to help Jack look for who was responsible for killing Sydney, but maybe it was too much for him and that is when he left the country. With not very much to go on, I do have to infer quite a bit here. But seeing the way that Vaughn behaves around Sydney verses how he behaves around Lauren I think I may have figured it out. Vaughn created his own Alias. An alias that he made up using parts of himself that he could share and then tucked away the parts of him that he wasn’t willing to divulge, especially the parts where anyone would refer to him as Vaughn. He became Michael, an alias that was easy enough to pull off, as it is his first name. But the Vaughn that we know and love disappeared. We never see Lauren call him Vaughn it is always Michael. Personally I like to think that when Lauren questioned changing her last name after they married, he may have even encouraged her to keep Reed for professional reasons. But when it came time to move on and attempt to get over Sydney, he did it by creating this new person. He became just Michael. Michael was a man who wanted to have a happy life with a wife and to pretend that all of these bad things that he had seen really hadn’t happened. Michael didn’t have the love of his life pass away, so he didn’t talk about it.
The thing about being in an alias for too long is, that sometimes it’s hard to keep up the façade of trying to be someone that you’re not. I know that Vaughn was trained at the CIA on how to keep up an alias, but by the time he got the call from Kendall or Dixon requesting him to go to Hong Kong, he easily could have said no if he was happy playing this new character or alias. But he wasn’t happy and besides wanting proof that Sydney was alive, I believe that he also wanted to feel alive again. He wanted to go back to being that person who was happy most of the time and not pretending to be happy. He could be himself once again, he could be Vaughn. When he first sees her, he is desperate to be with her, he wants so much to be able to be Vaughn again, and you can see him struggle between the two people that he know has inside of him. The part that I find humorous looking back on it, Sydney even tells him that he is not Vaughn. Although she thinks that it is due to project Helix. But in truth when he had to tell her that he got married, he was being Michael. But he desperately wants to be Vaughn for her. You can see it as he holds her in the alley after shooting her with the tranquilizer. Even at the end of the first episode of the season, when Sydney yelled at him, he was still Vaughn, the one who would do anything for Sydney, even let her rant and rave at him, because in truth, he wished he had waited a little longer.
After being able to be himself for a few days, even if it consisted of Sydney yelling at him, he still enjoyed being the person that enjoyed life in general and didn’t have to constantly remind himself of how he is supposed to act. But getting back into the routine he had before Sydney came back automatically put him back into the character or alias of Michael. He told Sydney after she returned; “The other day, you said that I gave up on us because I didn’t have faith, that somehow you didn’t mean enough to me.” Sydney had stopped him to apologize and he had asked her to let him finish, but since the next sentence didn’t go along the same thread, I tend to think that he left out some of what he was going to say, and went in another direction. I like to believe that he would’ve told her that he never stopped loving her, but he had to move on with his life to be able to survive it. Creating the alias was all he could do to be able to continue living, even if his life became a lie. That is the only reason that he told her; “I don’t regret moving on with my life.”
But you can see as the season progressed, we saw him let down his guard of being Michael, and became Vaughn more and more often. You can see it in his smile and the way he will look at Lauren versus how he will look at Sydney. Also while he knew he had to play this character of Michael, Vaughn was still inside begging to come out every moment that he was Sydney. We see him constantly struggle between the two people when he is with them both. Early examples of this is when even while on missions with Sydney, early in the season, he attempts to keep up with his Michael character, but can’t. We saw the jealousy overcome him while Sydney was playing her part with Simon, as well as his constant need to protect her. In the fifth episode of the season it was revealed how much he misses her. The key word being misses. In his dream, she told him how much she misses him and he admits that he misses her too. But they are together all the time on missions and at work. So how can they miss each other? Vaughn is telling Michael in the form of a dream that he wants to come out. That he misses the person that he was able to be while with her. He misses being Vaughn rather than Michael, and being with her as well as being called Vaughn again constantly makes it harder and harder for him to keep up this alias that he has created for himself.
Just to give another example of what Vaughn is like, back in the first season, he and Alice break up when he begins to see that he has feelings for Sydney and that she may also have feelings for him. But then in the second season after seeing Sydney with Will and seeing that Sydney now has another person that she can confide in about the secrets in her life, he decided that he needed a distraction in his life. He began to doubt himself and the feeling that he thought Sydney had for him, as well as thinking that he couldn’t just wait forever for Sydney to be in a position for them to date. So while he still had feelings for Sydney he went back to someone he knew had feeling for him still and that he was comfortable with, and began dating Alice again.
So going off of this information and seeing how hard it has been with him to fight these two personalities that are inside him, then adding to an already difficult situation for Vaughn, Lauren went and fixed the watch that he had kept not only as a memento of his father, but also of his father’s advice about being able to set his heart by it. The watch stopped when he met Sydney; so still following his father’s advice, seeing Lauren having it fixed helped him to make that final decision to leave her. If I had to guess at their personal lives at home, Michael would say very little to Lauren about his relationship to Sydney. Those were Vaughn’s memories and he wouldn’t have wanted them to be altered by Lauren’s opinions on them.
I know I talked about the words Vaughn used when he broke it off with Lauren a little in the last post, but I think that I need to go back to them here again. He tells her; “This isn’t working for me. I’m not happy…. I don’t know. I guess for a while, I thought I could be again. … But I don’t think that’s going to happen….” In that one line he was able to break down his feeling for her that he has felt over the last year or so that they have been together. He tells her that he’s not happy, and that he thought he could be again, but he doesn’t think that it’s going to happen. What I get from that isn’t that he wants to be with Sydney again, although he does. But more that he wants to be the person he was before. Spending all this time with Sydney again and not even having it be romantic time. But spending time with her and with Weiss on missions, he becomes Vaughn again. He’s happy, and he can almost take himself back to the place that he was at before he and Sydney became a couple. In essence he is telling her that she doesn’t make him happy, and that she is making him a person that he doesn’t want to be. That he has been in the alias of Michael for too long, and that he wants to go back to being Vaughn.
It seems as if I missed a reference to the word home, when I made that original post, and I won’t go too far into that subject, you can go back here. - http://romancingalias.blogspot.com/2013/08/home-as-vaughn-views-it.html - But throughout the season we have only seen Vaughn talk about where he lives with Lauren as the house. Lauren has said that she will see him at home, but when she did, he didn’t acknowledge it, and changed the subject. But as Sydney and Vaughn were flying back to LA after Bomani took the keys to the Rambaldi box, Vaughn asks Sydney; “When we get home… You want to get a cup of coffee?” I think that even Sydney noticed his word usage here. He hasn’t spoken of LA as home to her since they were dating, so I think that it is in that word usage that she realizes that it is real and agrees to go out with him.
I know that I have written a lot on this topic, and probably too much. But once a theory reaches my head, I need to get it out. So at the end of the episode Vaughn sees what Lauren is going through and feels obligated to be there for her. Not knowing that she orchestrated it just for that response. Although he is hesitant to immediately comfort her, he eventually does. But you can see that even though he feels that he needs to play the part of the nice, good, loyal husband and not make Lauren have to suffer through a divorce and the loss of a parent at the same time. He also doesn’t want to betray Sydney again, but he can’t find a way out of it. But lying in bed with Lauren is the last place that he wants to be that night, you can tell that he wanted to tell Sydney so much more during the phone call, but Sydney wasn’t in a position to hear it. Sydney doesn’t like it, but at least she does understand the choice that Vaughn had to make and she will forgive him. It’s amazing what she is capable of forgiving when it is someone that she loves. I won’t say too much, but I have said that this is not a spoiler free blog. In the next episode, when Sydney tries to tell Vaughn that she thinks that she may have seen Lauren in the club where the asset they were trying to get Intel from was shot. Vaughn dismisses the accusation and even gets upset. But it is his wording that makes me believe that even though he is officially back with Lauren, he doesn’t plan on it being for long, even if she wasn’t found out as being the mole. But in his anger at Sydney’s accusation, he remains calm, and they once again show us that they know how to flight as adults, and not pull dirty tricks to make the other feel even worse. Once the actual fighting part is over, Vaughn calms down and tells her looking very distressed; “Look, I know things haven’t worked out for us the way we’d hoped…” Sydney then interrupts him and they argue for a moment longer. But this sentence tells me that even though he is trying to defend his wife here, he’s having a hard time because the last thing he actually wants to do right then is defend her to Sydney. Right here we see him trying to be both Michael and Vaughn, and it is getting harder and harder for him each day.