Friday, August 30, 2013

S3 E8 – Breaking Point

Both Sydney and Vaughn have reached levels of desperation. Sydney is in a secret jail, and Vaughn is willing to work with Sloane to save Sydney.

So in this episode Sydney and Vaughn actually have almost no contact at all.  So much of what will be talked about will be the relationship between Jack and Vaughn.  I don’t think that we really need to go over what happens in general, so I am hoping that I can keep it short.  But I will definitely discuss the devolving of the Vaughn and Lauren relationship.  So even though I may not mention what Sydney is up to, seeing the two men who will undoubtedly do anything for her work out her rescue is an important part to the story.

 Lindsay has stripped Dixon of his title and his clearance, Dixon tells him that he spoke with his superiors and that he explained that it was his decision and that his staff was acting under his direction, and that they are not to be held accountable for his decision.  This did not please Lindsay or Lauren for that matter.  Lindsay tells Vaughn and Dixon that they will be questioned about the situation as well as Dixon.  Then Lindsay goes on to request that they not make it harder than it already is. But Vaughn glared him down and told him that it was too late for that.  He then turns and tells Lauren, that he needs to talk to her right then.  If Lauren thought that Vaughn was upset with him last night, she has no idea the type of fury that her husband now has.

Vaughn leads Lauren into a more private area to speak with her, or more accurately yell at her.  Before he even stops where he wants to talk to her, she starts to defend her actions, telling him that she did what she thought was right with the information that she had.  But Vaughn is not even going to entertain her excuses.  He gets right in her face and tells her; “Sydney is in Lindsay’s custody because of you!” Lauren keeps making excuses, saying that that the Lazarey murder was her case and that Sydney murdered him.  If Vaughn was upset before, he is furious now, and for the first time ever we see Vaughn play dirty, and he is good, he will hit her with one point wait a moment and then hit her again.   He tells Lauren; “Okay, stop! Don’t act like this is your first day on the job.”  She interrupts him to say that Sydney is in NSC’s custody.  But Vaughn is not going to let her make any excuses and continues, “No! She is in Lindsay’s custody.”  Lauren is able to get a few words in and asks if he thinks that Lindsay is unaccountable?  Vaughn just keeps going though; “Lauren, his operation is funded by black money. What the White House expects from him is results.”  Lauren interrupts again, but Vaughn actually lets her get her full sentence in before going at her again, she tells him; “What you’re suggesting is that I willfully participated in an orchestrated cover-up.”  Then Vaughn goes in for the kill by telling her; “No, but I would have hoped you’d be a person about this.”  Now the truth has come out, Vaughn has basically told her that mistreatment of Sydney as far as he is concerned means that you have lost any loyalty that you may have once had with him.  She now knows where she stands and now she is a getting on the angry side and tells Vaughn; “While you clearly underestimate not only my ability to do my job, but also apparently my humanity, you should know that not only do I believe I did the right thing, but the more you talk, the more suspicious I get.”  During this rant of hers, Vaughn just continues to glare at her, he does feel these things about her right now, and he doesn’t even care if she knows it right now. But she goes on saying; “You’re the one who got her out of the country, aren’t you?”  With this accusation, Vaughn just stares at her, almost as if daring her to question his loyalty right now.
 In an attempt to rescue some loyalty back from Vaughn, she goes after another angle, telling him in a much calmer voice; “Do you know what would happen to you if it becomes known that you helped a fugitive evade the federal government?”  Unfortunately her attempt did not work, because Vaughn is still pissed, he just looks right at her and tells her; “I’m not concerned about myself right now.” With that statement Lauren sees exactly how Vaughn feels about the situation, she comes out and tells him that whatever he thinks is going to happen, won’t since she has been asked to write the Whitehouse briefing on Sydney’s interrogation.  So obviously Lindsay isn’t trying to hide anything. Lauren then tells him that he is overreacting to the situation.  She almost had him back until telling him that he was overreacting.  But then he begins to look angry again.  Seeing that her attempts aren’t working, she tells him that she doesn’t know when she will be back, so she’ll see him later, and walks away.

We are clearly watching over the last few episodes how much the Vaughn and Lauren relationship is devolving.  As well as how Vaughn’s loyalties are switching.  As the season opened, he made it very clear to Sydney that he did love her, and that loving her after her death almost killed him, but at the same time he has no regrets about moving on.  The first couple of episodes any scene that had the three of them in it, Vaughn and Lauren were outwardly showing affection towards each other in the presence of Sydney.  Now you can see that weaning, there will still be affectionate moments between them, but Vaughn is much more careful as to not show it in front of Sydney.  The tension of having Sydney working with them, is adding to the marital stress of Vaughn and Lauren, this episode and the last show that clearly.  Vaughn does love Lauren, but having Sydney back, he remembers the connection that he once had with her and realizes that their relationship was built upon a stronger foundation and that nothing will ever be able to pull his instinct to take care of Sydney away. Also ever since he had his dream in the hospital before really waking up, we saw exactly what it is that his heart wants.  He wants to be with Sydney, he wants to go back to that place where even though the world around him sucked, being with Sydney made him happy and he felt like he was home.   Lauren has been insecure about her marriage ever since Sydney came back, but I think that this episode she has learned the hard way that if she wants to keep her marriage, she will have to play nice with Sydney, because the more she tries to pull Sydney and Vaughn apart and not allow them to be friends, the more Vaughn resents her; something that Vaughn makes very clear to Lauren in this episode, as well as the last.  Even though I am a big supporter of the Sydney Vaughn relationship, obviously, I think that for television and entertainment value, the Lauren storyline was imperative.   Everyone loves a happy couple, but seeing them overcome obstacles to become an even happier couple and have that knowledge that nothing can tear them apart makes great television.

Back to the story at hand though, soon after the confrontation with Lauren, Vaughn catches up with Jack and tells him that whatever he is planning, he wants to be a part of it.  Jack tells him, that even if he knew what Vaughn was talking about he would refuse the help anyway.  Jack is thankful for Vaughn getting Sydney out of the country, but he still isn’t a huge fan of Vaughn’s.  Jack still holds bitterness towards how Vaughn ended up moving on after Sydney’s death.  So this is Vaughn’s chance to redeem himself to Jack, and I think that Vaughn is very clear on that fact.  Vaughn tells Jack that he’s already thought of half a dozen scenarios to help Sydney and that Lindsay has to be shut down.  Vaughn knows exactly how Lindsay works, even if his wife doesn’t.  I’d like to think that he is starting to believe that his wife is just as cunning as Lindsay himself, so she doesn’t see it.  Is her innocence act not working anymore?  But after hearing Vaughn’s plea to help, Jack turns and asks Vaughn if he took into account with his scenarios how many federal laws they would have to break.   Vaughn is not going to give up, he really is willing to do anything, he tells Jack that just the fact that Jack is telling him that they would be breaking the law to help her, tells him that Jack already has something planed.  Vaughn then begs to help, and then Vaughn looks beyond scared and begins to tell Jack that if something happens to Sydney, but can’t even finish his sentence, he is so angry and scared for her at the same time.  Seeing this reaction, Jack remembers why he used to trust Vaughn to take care of Sydney in the past and then tells him to meet him in the parking garage in a few minutes.   With Jack’s remarks, Vaughn has a little relief wash over him, he knows that he doesn’t just have to sit around and wait to hear how Sydney was saved, but he will be able to work with the one person who cares about Sydney as much as he does, and he knows from experience that Jack will do anything to save Sydney.
 Jack and Vaughn are sitting on a bench and Vaughn wonders who they are waiting for to assist them.  Jack tells him that he has called Sloane in to help.  This baffles Vaughn to say the least, especially as he knows exactly how much Sydney detests Sloane.  But Jack being the ultimate strategist tells Vaughn that once Sydney is broken free the two of them will be the prime suspects.  Enlisting Sloane will help them be able to place the blame on the Covenant. But Jack also proceeds to tell Vaughn that he doesn’t necessarily trust him either. They approach Sloane and they go over the beginnings of their plan and how to get it started and then agree to meet back at that location in three hours.  As they prepare to go their separate ways, Sloane reminds Jack of something that he said in the second season, telling him that he said that they would work together again, which only bring a smile to Sloane’s face and utter disgust from Jack and Vaughn.

We do see Lauren in the helicopter watching Lindsay and wondering if Vaughn could be right about him.  But is somewhat reassured when Lindsay tells her that he wants her to make sure that her report shows the ethical treatment of Sydney.  But at the facility after Lindsay has watched as Sydney is tortured, Lauren stops him and tells him that she thought that she was there the observe.  Lindsay tells her that she will, at least as much as possible, but since his interrogation includes classified material, Lauren won’t be able to see much of it.   Lauren then asks how she is supposed to write a report on an investigation that she isn’t part of, and Lindsay tells her that they can about it.  Lauren then grows a small backbone and tells him that if she is going to write a report on the interrogation of Sydney, she has to see how Sydney is being treated.  Lindsay then reveals his true motivations for bringing Lauren along with him.  He asks her, how she thinks Sydney knew to flee the country, before she was even aware that the NSC wanted to take her into custody, how she had plane tickets and a fake passport.  He then tells her that he doubts that she wants him looking into who helped her escape.   She realizes that legally he needed a witness, and blackmailing her was the easiest way to get that.  He then tells her to go back to her office and write the report.    Later as she is attempting to write her report after her initial report was too detailed for Lindsay, she hears some commotion going on and goes out into the hallway to see what is going on.  She sees that Sydney has escaped, and that they are now beating her and shocking her back into submission.  I think that seeing this and her discussions with Lindsay have made her decide that she really hates her boss, and that she now can go back to Vaughn and work her way back into his good graces.

In a park Jack and Vaughn meet up with an old contact of Jack’s, Brill, that Sloane suggested to put the tactical unit together.  Upon the introductions Brill asks if Vaughn is Bill Vaughn’s son, Vaughn tells him yes, and Brill tells him that he was a good man.  So now we have Vaughn already being concerned with Sydney’s safety and well-being, and then is reminded of his father. And since his father’s watch, which he was told he could set his heart by, stopped when he met Sydney, he wants to get her back to him as soon as possible. Jack tells Brill that Sloane is putting together an operation and asks if he wants to take part.  Brill then replies with; “Look who’s putting the band back together.”   With that statement Vaughn looks at him curiously.  This is another instance where I am seeing odd clues place themselves together.  Was there a point back when Sloane still worked for the CIA and wasn’t a bad guy, that Jack, Sloane, Brill and Bill Vaughn all worked together?  Is that what he meant?  Michael Vaughn taking the place in the group where his father would’ve been, Sloane never admits to knowing Bill Vaughn, but it would make sense.   Knowing this information, does make more sense as to why when putting the APO together, Sloane chooses Vaughn to be a part of it, not just because he and Sydney work so well together, but because he once worked with his father.  Makes you wonder.  However, Jack and Brill go over the mission specs and the cost and agree to meet later.  As Jack and Vaughn are walking away, Vaughn tells him that he just agreed to pay him $2 million, but Jack corrects him and tells him $3 million.  If Vaughn wondered how committed to saving Sydney Jack was, he has no doubts now.

 Jack then takes Vaughn to a storage unit, but nothing like Micro self –storage from back in the SD-6 days.   This storage unit is filled with all types of weapons and other supplies.  Vaughn looks around and wonders what the place is, but Jack just tells him that it’s his storage.  We then see Jack open a safe and pull out bundles of money wrapped in plastic.  Vaughn takes a closer look at the money that Jack is pulling out and then says; “The fact that you’re even letting me see this place means it’s not your only one is it?”  Jack then tells Vaughn that he’s smarter than he looks.  Vaughn is starting to see that he is getting back in good graces with Jack and that makes him smile.

 While getting the blueprints for the facility that Sydney is being placed in, Jack is inside getting ready to make copies while Vaughn is stuck alone with Sloane.  Vaughn is not too pleased about being stuck with Sloane, especially when Sloane takes the opportunity to use his fine manipulation skills and delivers a line or two to mess with Vaughn’s head. But Vaughn is focused enough that he doesn’t fall for Sloane’s attempt to manipulate Vaughn’s emotions.  Sloane seems to only be successful with this attempt when it comes to Lauren; maybe Sloane knows more about Lauren situation than he ever lets on.  We know that he does have an ultimate endgame to his humanitarian game play.  But the mission to get the blueprints is mostly successful, that is until Jack is walking out of the building and the office that they are infiltrating figures out that they have been made and they start shooting at Jack, but Sloane jumps in front of him to take the bullet for him.  One move that I never saw coming.

Although the conversation is a little stiff, there are some nice moments while Jack is operating on Sloane.  Vaughn even makes the remark that he didn’t know that Jack wore glasses, but Jack tells him that it is only during surgery that he does.  Vaughn tells Jack that he needs to go download the blueprints, but they will still need the codes to get in.  Jack tells him to try Marshall, since he should be able to log on to the NSC archives from his station.   Vaughn remarks that it may be a little tricky with all the NSC agents around the Rotunda.  Then the best moment of the episode happens, Jack shows some emotion, albeit in a roundabout way.  He tells Vaughn; “Yes, if only Marshall had a well-trained CIA operative to assist him.”  As Jack says this he looks up at Vaughn and gives him a semi smile and returns to working on Sloane.  Vaughn realizes what Jack has just said and meant with his remark, and tells Jack; “You’re starting to like me again.”  Jack looks up to Vaughn without much expression, but to make it clear that Vaughn is correct.    Jack doesn’t express his feeling very well, and everyone knows this, especially Vaughn seeing how affected Sydney has been by his lack of emotion towards her at times.  So for Jack to refer to him as a well-trained CIA operative is a huge thing for Jack to say to Vaughn; Jack seeing how much Vaughn still cares for Sydney and how much he is willing to risk for her really does put Jack back in Vaughn’s corner.  We’ll see that for the rest of the season, Jack stops playing dirty to get back at Vaughn.  They may disagree, but Jack will help him whenever possible, even if it doesn’t appear that he is helping.  But I love Vaughn’s response as well, he knows that as far as jack is concerned, Vaughn getting married, ruined the relationship that they once had, and Vaughn is happy to see it returning.
Back at the Rotunda, Vaughn is working with Marshall to find the codes, Marshall is very excited to hear that Vaughn is working on breaking her out; he also likes being part of the team that helps.    But once they get far enough into the program where Marshall almost has the codes, they find that all of the records have been deleted.  As Vaughn and Marshall ponder why all of the facilities records have been removed, Lauren walks into Marshall’s office, and Vaughn is not happy to see her.  Marshall sees the tension in the room and decides that he needs to leave.  Lauren explains to him that he was right about Lindsay, and that Lindsay only wanted her there to write a report whitewashing the whole thing.  She goes on to tell him that she knows that he must be working on something, and that she wants to help.   Vaughn stays silent, and just glares at her.  Personally I don’t think that she actually has Sydney’s best interest in mind, but is just trying to get back on his good side.  But I also think that after hearing from Marshall that they won’t be able to get the codes, he has to accept her help since she can get them in.

The one detail about Sydney’s torture that I will talk about is when Lindsay plays on her one weakness;  as he makes her watch another prisoner get tortured to make her give up what the code says.  She tells him the coordinates that the code they have been trying to torture out of her, just so they will leave the other prisoner alone.  Then once Lindsay has the code, he tells the prisoner, well done, and we find out that he wasn’t a prisoner at all, but a man named Schapker, that works for Lindsay.  Schapker tells her that her personal file revealed that she had one major weakness, “Empathetic suffering is harder for you to sustain than physical torture.”  Then he tells her thanks for caring.  Then Lindsay tells her that there is only one thing left to do, and they will have the treatment to find out what happened in the last two years ready in about an hour or so.  Even though I am not a fan of Lauren’s, at least she can show a degree on empathy towards others, but pretty much everything that comes out of Lindsay’s mouth pisses me off.
 As they are prepping to infiltrate the facility, Brill makes a comment that he really hopes that their man on the inside knows what he is doing, Vaughn makes the remark that she does.  So it looks like they have worked out some of their problems, at least enough that Vaughn trusts her enough to pull this off as well as defend her. But seeing Lauren react to seeing the prisoner, Schapker, which Sydney was interacting with be one of Lindsay’s men obviously makes her even more upset with Lindsay, and her hatred for Lindsay is overriding her hatred for Sydney at the moment.  She has also learned that to do her other job, she needs Vaughn to still want her, and messing with Sydney will only mess that up.  But Lauren places a charge in the security room which takes down all the monitors and places the facility in a reverse lockdown, locking all the guards in their stations and opening the main gates for Vaughn and Jack’s team to move in. Once Schapker realizes what is going on, he immediately blames Lauren, walks over to her and punches her, knocking her down to the ground.   Jack and Vaughn end up finding Sydney in the infirmary/torture room and shoot tranquillizers into everyone in the room, then Vaughn and Jack work together to free her, they both help her walk out.  However Schapker has managed to get out of the security room and is shooting at them.  Suddenly he goes down and we see that Lauren is the one who shot him.  Her marksmanship should be a clue since she usually pretends not to have any ability in this area.

As the group exits the building, Sydney, Jack, Vaughn and Lauren head for the helicopter waiting for them while the rest of the group goes for the truck.  Sydney sees that Sloane is in the helicopter and immediately questions Jack, but he tells her that he is with them and to get in. They all get in and take off, Vaughn comforts Lauren as she is acting all shaken up over shooting someone.  Finally Sydney tells them that all they wanted was a code deciphered.  Then she goes on to say that she gave Lindsay the wrong coordinates, because she didn’t know what else to do.   Jack takes her in his arms and tells her that she made it out.  Jack turns and gives a thank you smile in the direction of Vaughn and then Sloane.  We then see Sloane very happy to have Sydney safe.  Overall a great episode, and even though Sydney and Vaughn didn’t have much to do with each other, they aren’t even seen on screen at the same time.  It definitely shows us that Vaughn is going to have a hard time from here on out sorting out his priorities from his responsibilities.

  • Questions that I had… 
    • Since Sloane is allergic to morphine, once Jack and Vaughn learned of this, once Sloane turned against them, why didn’t they use this knowledge to their advantage?

During the second season, you could see that Vaughn and Jack started to become friendlier towards each other.  Jack even worked with Sydney and Sark to save Vaughn, and then seeing Jack waiting for Vaughn to wake up in the hospital.  Even if Jack wasn’t overly found of the idea that Vaughn was dating Sydney, Jack never said anything that proved that he disliked them dating until finding out that Vaughn was married in season three.  As I mentioned before, I do believe that Jack did give Vaughn his blessing to ask Sydney to marry him. As well as the two of them working together at some point to look into Sydney’s murder.  With this connection growing stronger up until Jack finding out that Vaughn gave up on Sydney and broke her heart.  I really do think that in some twisted way, Jack looked at Vaughn as a son that he never had, and seeing how much he wanted to protect Sydney as well, even going along with keeping secrets from her when asked, he approved of Vaughn 100%.  Vaughn on the other hand, also started feeling similar feelings, having lost his own father so long ago; Vaughn craved that approval from a fatherly figure.  They butted heads on many occasions, but overall, if Vaughn wanted real advice, and not the type of advice that Weiss could give him, he sought out Jack.  Although Vaughn even admits to never really feeling acceptance from Jack, until season five Jack did accept him.  But after season three ended, Jack saw how similar he and Vaughn really were, and that scared Jack.  But from this episode and on, you can see Vaughn searching for that approval from Jack more and more.  There are even multiple scenes where Jack tells Vaughn that they are more alike than either of them would like to admit, and even though Vaughn is bitter towards Jack’s suggestions after these conversations, he still has them in the back of his mind and takes his advice to heart when appropriate.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

S3 E7 – Prelude

As the episode opens we see Sydney have a nightmare about the scar on her stomach and how she was in a hospital pulling out a large amount of tubing from the scar and is bleeding profusely. She wakes up sobbing and terrified. So not surprisingly we see her go back to the doctor who conducted the meeting with the other CIA agents that have lost time. She tells him that she has reached the point where she has to know what happened to her. He shows her a patient who had the same treatment to recover his memory that she is requesting. He is now is a strait jacket locked in a room with four padded walls mumbling to himself, and the doctor tells her that he is considered a successful case. Also that he would consider death a better alternative than this surgery. 

Back at the Rotunda Jack has learned that Vaughn has been loaned out to the NSC to assist Lauren on a mission that they have. Jack has been given Intel on their mission and tells Vaughn more about the mission that he is about to embark on. He asks Vaughn if he remembers Javier Perez from the group that Sydney infiltrated a few weeks ago, because he is who they are going to go pick up, Vaughn tells him, yeah, I remember he almost killed me. Jack goes on to tell Vaughn that Javier has offered to exchange information for leniency. The problem is that he knows about Sydney, murdering Lazarey under the alias of Julia Thorne and that Vaughn can imagine the consequences if Javier were to share that information with his wife. Jack suggests a plan to get them off of the case, but Vaughn refuses. He says that he is not going to interfere with Laurens investigation, and that he has kept the secret because he was ordered to. Jack asks Vaughn if he understands that if the NSC finds out that Sydney murdered Lazarey she will undergo a surgery that will cause permanent brain damage. Vaughn tells him that he knows Lauren better than Jack does and that Lauren may be the best chance they have of keeping the information from the NSC. Jack simply responds by asking Vaughn, what if he’s wrong. But Vaughn has no response for this. You can see how protective Jack is over Sydney in this case, as well as seeing the conflict that Vaughn is going through. Vaughn has to make a lot of choices as to who to be loyal to, his wife, or the woman that he has never gotten over. He loves both women, although in different ways. This episode as well as the next few will be emotionally heavy episodes for Vaughn as he struggles with this choice.
In the meantime, Sydney has been assigned to accompany Sloane to Beijing to corrupt some software that the Covenant wants to get their hands on and that the Covenant has assigned Sloane to obtain for them. As part of the mission Sydney is posing as Sloane’s assistant and is not happy having to act pleasant around him, but he suggests that for her to get away they should fain an argument with him, this actually pleases Sydney to an extent. So Sydney and Sloane are dancing and then Sydney gets the call from Marshall telling her that she is good to go, and she tells him thank you. Sydney relays the information to Sloane and he tells her that she may want to make this fight look real. So she slaps him across the face and walks off. I know that this part of the episode really has no relevance to the relationship, but how can I not talk about how satisfying it must have been for Sydney to be able to slap Sloane and face no consequences for it. It must have been the highlight of her week or even month for her.
In Mexico Vaughn and Lauren are driving down a road and stop to help a little boy, but quickly realize that it is a setup, and a group of men surround them and force them to the ground. Vaughn tries to tell them to take their money, but is hit on the head with the butt of a shotgun. The leader of the group then makes a call and tells the person he is calling that he has them. We then see Jack telling the leader that the money will be left in a church confessional, and to keep them for at least two hours and then to let them go. Then we see Jack make a back door deal with the Mexican police and Jack is left alone with Javier Perez. Jack really is very protective of Sydney, he wasn’t happy with Vaughn when Vaughn decided that trusting Lauren would be safe enough, so he had to make sure that she was fully protected and took care of things himself.
A few hours later, Vaughn and Lauren have been released and go to the Mexican jail and tell the officer that they would like to extradite Mr. Perez as soon as possible. They go back to the cell, and find that Javier Perez has been hung, looking like a suicide. However Vaughn immediately knows what is up, he’s known Jack for too long. He asks who else has been to see Javier since he arrived and the officer tells him that no one has been there. Vaughn is pissed, but he at least knows not to voice his concern out loud where Lauren can hear it. Even though he is mad at Jack, for compromising Lauren’s safety, he won’t compromise Sydney’s in the process.

Back in Beijing Sydney and Sloane are on their way to the airport, and Sydney is instructing Sloane on what he will give to the covenant and what he will say and what they should assume. Then Sloane asked her, how many times her handler, Vaughn, said something like that to him right before giving him something like that. She is sitting there hating Sloane, but at the same time remembering the good times that she had with Vaughn as her handler, and told him that it did happen on occasion. I think that one of the hardest parts of her being Sloane’s handler now is thinking back to when she had a handler, and the relationship that she had with Vaughn. After some silence, Sloane tells her that there was a time that she trusted him, and she tells him that it was before she knew who he was. Then after thinking for a moment, she tells him that it was also before she knew who she was. He then lays a bombshell on her telling her that it was more recent than that. He tells her that the day she turned up in Hong Kong, a letter arrived at his office and he had some analysts look into it, but he already knew that it was in her handwriting, and then hands her the letter. Inside of the letter is a smaller envelope with a key in it, as well as a code. Sloane tells her that he has never seen the code before, and he didn’t want to ask anyone else to help decipher it, but now that she is back, he thought that whatever it is they would be her possessions and she may want them back.

Once Vaughn got back to the Rotunda, he immediately found Jack and told him that they needed to talk, Vaughn is seething, you can see exactly how mad he is, especially as he has had a few hours to think about what Jack did, without being able to talk about it. They enter the conference room and Vaughn accuses Jack of killing Javier Perez. Jack plays it off and tells him that he has just returned from a traumatic experience and that would explain his baseless accusation. Vaughn tells him that he’s right, he is emotional and he gets that way when he sees a gun pointed at his wife’s temple. Jack simply tells him that they are in a risky business. Vaughn then tells him that when the armed rebels took them hostage and then just let them go out of the kindness of their heart, he saw right through it. Jack once again keeps his cool and tells Vaughn that luckily he was graced with a stroke of luck. Vaughn asks him how he is supposed to believe that a man, who was bartering for his life, suddenly hangs himself. Jack comes up with a reasonable explanation and asks Vaughn what part of this doesn’t have a rational explanation. Then we see Vaughn get madder than we have ever seen him, at least to this point, and grabs jack by the collar and pushes him up against the wall and tells him; “You ever put my wife’s life in danger again, I will kill you!” Jack just looks Vaughn in the eye and tells him; “Then perhaps you finally understand the moral compromises you make when someone you love is in danger.” Jack then pushes Vaughn off him with force, and walks away.  Vaughn is still standing there seething in anger, but I think he realized that Jack may be right and that if the circumstances were different, he may have done the same thing.

I really feel for Vaughn in this episode, he knew the risks that Lauren finding out about Sydney being Lazarey’s murderer could go badly, but he can only see the good in Lauren and doesn’t think that she would betray him knowing the connection he has with Sydney.  He really thinks that overall she might be the one to actually help Sydney if it comes down to it.  But after the confrontation with Jack, he is forced to think about what would’ve happened if Lauren had found out and what the repercussions would’ve been.
 In the parking garage, Lauren gets in her car and it won’t start so she opens up the hood and reattaches something and as she is about to put down the hood, we hear a gun cock and then we see Sark standing behind her.  He tells her to get in the car.  She shuts the hood and gets in the car and Sark gets in the back seat.  He tells her that he has jammed the CCTV’s feed so they can talk freely, and then asks if she knows who he is. She tells him that she does and wonders what is going on.  He tells her that he understands that her investigation into the murder of Lazarey has hit a dead end. She is staying pretty calm, which suggests that she isn’t as innocent as she has been making herself out to be in earlier episodes, or even earlier when with Vaughn. She wants to know how Sark knows about the investigation.  He tells her that he knows because he set up Javier Perez, assuming that once the US had him in custody he would be forced to confess what he knows, specifically who killed Lazarey.  Lauren then tells him that it’s the second time that day she has had a gun to her head that day and she actually doesn’t enjoy it.  She then tells him that she assumes that if he had wanted her dead, she would be by now, so get to the point.  Sark smiles at her feistiness, and then pulls out a folder and gives it to her, telling her it’s a wedding present and to open it.   She opens the folder and sees pictures of the Lazarey murder, and wants to know where he got these.  He then tells her that it’s not important, but who is in the picture is what is important.  He goes on to tell her that the woman in the photo is named Julia Thorne, but the name is just an Alias and that she goes by another name, one that Lauren should be quite familiar with.  Lauren then sees a clear picture of the murderer and realizes that it is Sydney.  You can tell by her face that he immediate thought is if Vaughn knows and has been keeping it from her.   Sark then tells her that now she may understand why he has risked coming there to see her himself, that he recently learned that Sydney killed a father that he never knew and that Lauren probably has her own reasons for disliking Sydney.  So he is confident that she will relay the information to the appropriate people.   He then goes to leave, telling her that once he leaves a weight sensitive charge to that is on the bottom of the car will be activated with a 30 minute timer, and so if she tries to go after him before then, the charge will detonate. He then tells her that it has been a pleasure working with her and leaves.
On the plane ride home from Beijing, Sydney has another nightmare about her missing two years, but this one only has the psychedelic colors and a stone angel looking down on her.  She talks to her father about the key and code that Sloane gave to her and Jack tells her that the code was one that Irina created and that it led to an apartment in Rome.  Sydney wonders if she had contact with Irina during that time, to which Jack tells her that if she did, Irina didn’t mention on to him.  They decide that when she returns they will go to Rome together.
The next thing that we see is Vaughn running out to the parking garage worried about Lauren and rushes to her side, upset by the bomb squad surrounding her car, and immediately takes her in his arms and holds her tight. He asks if she is alright and if Sark hurt her.  She tells him that she is fine.   He tells her that he’s sorry that she had to go through that and that they will find him.  But she just stares at him, not worried about finding Sark, and then tells him that Sark told her that Julia Thorne is really Sydney Bristow.  He just looks at her, doesn’t say anything and prepares for the worst.  She stares back at him and then shakes her head and looks as if she is about to cry. Then tells him that she wasn’t sure if he knew, but now she knows. 
Seeing that a fight is going to happen as well as classified information being talked about, he pulls her a little further away from everyone else, and then tells her that he was under orders just like she was.  She wants to know whose orders they were; he tells her that it was Dixon’s.  She becomes upset and figures out that Dixon, Weiss, Jack, basically everyone on their task force knew except her.  He tells her; “That’s not the point.”  But she immediately rebuttals that it’s exactly the point, everyone at the office was keeping the secret from the NSC, the one thing that she has been working so hard to learn, and then wants to know how long he has known. He tells her that he has known for three weeks.   She then yells at him for trying to derail her investigation for three weeks.  He stays fairly calm and tells her; “Lauren, Sydney doesn’t remember any of it.”  This just makes her madder and tells him that he is not to defend Sydney to her.  He then tries to tell her why Dixon gave the order and she interrupts telling him that she is his wife.  She then starts yelling that he kept Sydney’s secret from her and that he chose to protect Sydney over her, something that she refuses to do with him. (What exactly does she refuse to do with him; protect Sydney over him?  Sorry Lauren you’re not making much sense)   He tells her that it isn’t as simple as she is making it out to be.   Then she asks if he still loves Sydney.  This question infuriates Vaughn, and he now begins to raise his voice to Lauren, saying; “Oh Damn it! That’s not what this is about! She is not my wife! You can’t punish her for the fact that she and I had a past. If you report this to Lindsay, Lauren, he’s going to want to know everything she did over those two years.”  She looks at him and tells him that he should. But she is messing with the wrong topic when it comes to Vaughn, he gets more upset and tells her; “No, the only way to access her memory is through a dangerous invasive procedure…”  She tells him that she is aware of the procedure and that they wouldn’t force it upon a U.S. agent.  Her attempts to calm down Vaughn are not working, and he continues; “Lazarey was a Russian Diplomat. All Lindsay has to do is form an extradition agreement with the Russians, and she will be shipped to Moscow, where she has no rights as an American. He’ll run the procedure there.”  Lauren protests this, saying that he couldn’t do it, that she is a CIA agent. But Vaughn interrupts her, a little calmer this time and tells her; “Think about it.  You know better than anyone. Lindsay will not hesitate to break the rules. If he learns about this, Sydney….”  Vaughn stops talking for a moment and just looks at Lauren, who is looking away from him, and then finally looks him in the eye when he stops talking.  He then tells her; “Oh my God, you already reported her.”  Realizing this he didn’t even yell at her, he is completely focused on Sydney now, he can’t even yell, as he is already thinking of how to help Sydney, and how Lauren could do this to him. Lauren just looks at him and tells him; “You followed your orders, I followed mine.”    He looks at her for a quick second with utter disgust and then runs off, completely ignoring her calling after him.
 I actually like this scene, I hate to see Vaughn being so torn apart between the two women, but I have to point out a couple of things.  Vaughn initially shows concern for Laurens safety, but once he learns that she is safe and that Sydney may be in danger, his concern is for Sydney and he doesn’t care if he hurts Laurens feelings trying to get her to see the point.  Once again, we see that even as a married couple, they never reached the ability to fight an even fight as Sydney and Vaughn did.  This fight between Lauren and Vaughn will continue well into the next episode.  Also his response when asked if he still loved Sydney, he never once denied loving Sydney, he also never once with the ordeal tell Lauren that he loves her, just that she is his wife.  That statement right there tells me that of course he still loves Sydney, he never stopped loving Sydney.  Stating that Lauren is his wife, tells me that even if I don’t like it, I’m going to try and make this marriage work, but you messing with Sydney is one thing that I will not take lightly.  I am sure that going into their marriage, Vaughn was up front with Lauren telling her that he did love Sydney and that she will always be a part of him.  No, it can’t be easy for Lauren to have Sydney back in Vaughn’s life, but if she wants to keep her husband, she should know that she can’t mess with Sydney.  Because if Sydney hadn’t died, there would be no chance that Vaughn would have ever even dated her.  Even if it sucks all around, she should know that much.  But overall I love that Vaughn is willing to go to the mat with anyone, including his wife, when it concerns Sydney and that he would leave his wife, when she is in a troubled state to go and save Sydney.
We see Sydney walking through the airport and then hear her phone ring and her pick it up.  She hears Vaughn tell her; “Sydney, it’s me. Don’t go home. The NSC knows everything.  Meet me at terminal one. I’ll explain everything once I pick you up.”  That is the extent of their conversation. But you can see the utter concern that he has for Sydney in that moment.  Nothing else in the entire world matters to him.  I know I mentioned it in the last post, but there he is speaking about home again, and after watching the clip, I know that I mentioned that this could be a time when home is different, but he really is saying, your definition of home is not okay right now, I will pick you up and we’ll figure out what home will be.
We immediately see them in the car and Sydney wants to know how they found out, so Vaughn tells her that Sark told Lauren.  He then goes on to tell her that he has a plane waiting for her that will take her anywhere she wants, but she has to tell him where she wants to go.  It needs to be someplace that she knows well and that she can disappear.   She tells him that if the NSC wants to find her, they will.  He says her name to try and get her to calm down, but she keeps going, she tells him that she was someone else for two years, someone that she doesn’t even remember.  She then asks; “What am I supposed to do now, just spend the rest of my life in hiding?”  Sydney is understandably freaking out, and Vaughn is so concerned for her right now, as well as being upset with his wife. You can see how concerned he is for Sydney just with his response alone; “Between that and a lobotomy, there isn’t a choice.”  She responds telling him; “I can’t keep running forever.”  He tells her; “I’ll do everything I can to make sure you won’t have to.”  Sydney looks at him and finally tells him that she will go to Rome. Considering that she and Jack were going to go and investigate in Rome anyway, she figured she would start there.  Vaughn makes a phone call and then tells them thank you and hangs up as they get out of the car.
At the airfield Vaughn goes and stands next to Sydney and tells her the address of a cafĂ© in Rome, where a payphone nearby will have a false bottom, where she will find money and a new passport.  Sydney tries to lighten the mood and tells him that it is a good thing that she is already packed.   Vaughn is looking very solemn, wishing that he could change the circumstances or at least go with her.  But he just looks up at her and tells her; “You should go,” even though it is actually the very last thing that he actually wants. Sydney looks as if she is about to cry, she looks around for a moment as if looking for the words she needs to say, then looks down and then right at him.  Then finally she asks; “Vaughn… Why are you doing this? My life is already a disaster. Now yours is too.” She can’t stop looking at him even though she feels so bad, and she is very obviously moments away from crying.  Vaughn, giving her one of his best longing looks tells her; “What happened between us… Everything… The way it is… Isn’t anyone’s fault Sydney.”  He pauses for a moment and just looks like he could kiss her, and Sydney is crying, and looks like she just wants nothing more than to be in his arms stares back at him.  But he continues. “And even though everything’s changed, some things don’t.”   Sydney is now in full on tears as she hears what she has wanted to hear him say ever since coming back. And as Vaughn continues to watch her and thinks about needing to protect her, he looks as if he is about to cry as well.  He then tells her; “I’m not going to lose you twice.” Sydney considers this for a moment and is speechless, then after not being able to find her words, she wraps her arms around Vaughn as if she isn’t going to let go.  Vaughn is happy to take her in his arms; he caresses her shoulder and pulls her as close to him as he can.  She finally pulls back and they stand very close together, with their foreheads almost touching, saying nothing but just looking at each other.  Vaughn even looks as if he is going to go in for a kiss from her.  She can see this and you can see that she wants that kiss, but knows that she can’t have it.  She pulls back a little and tells him thank you.  At which Vaughn removes his arms from hers and they both nod and smile at each other.  They have a few more moments of longing looks and as she nods to him, he picks up her bag and hands it to her.  He looks as if he would like to kiss her, if nothing else just a goodbye kiss on the forehead, but I think Sydney can sense this and doesn’t want to make it harder than it already is to leave him and keeps walking.  As she passes him, you can almost see all the regret from moving on is passing through him and he wishes with everything that he has that they could go back to where they once were.
 I have to say that this scene right there is one of the reasons that I love season three so much and even though so much of the season frustrates me, I still go back to this episode and a few others just for the led up to these moments and for these moments.  Just seeing how much they want to be together and how hard it is for them to follow the rules of their current situation, makes me want to cry every time.  And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am getting over crying during that last scene.  The two of them really will do anything for the other, no matter what the personal or professional risks are.  It’s one of the things that truly make them the perfect couple.
Once Sydney is in Rome, she goes to the apartment that her father decoded from the slip of paper that was with the key.   There she passes a man in the hallway that once he passes her he stops and takes a second look at her, as if confirming it is her.
The next day at the Rotunda, Dixon is talking to Vaughn and tells him that Sydney didn’t check in that morning, and that she isn’t answering her cell phone.  Then he asks Vaughn if he knows where she is, and Vaughn tells him that he doesn’t know.  We then see Jack, and Jack can tell that Vaughn is lying.  Lauren then walks in and glares at Vaughn. Vaughn’s glare back makes me think that Vaughn stayed at work, slept at Weiss’s place, or got a hotel for the night.  He had no desire to see Lauren after what she did to Sydney. But Lauren tells Dixon that she needs to speak with him in his office. Once Lauren and Dixon are gone, Jack approaches Vaughn and says; “The NSC knows that Sydney was responsible for Lazarey’s murder, don’t they? I presume you’re the one who helped her disappear last night.” Vaughn just nods to Jack, and Jack continues; “Tell me, what else are you willing to do to see Sydney through this?”   Vaughn nods and then slightly smiles, and responds; “What did you have in mind?”   You can tell that Vaughn will be 100% on board with whatever Jack’s plans are, no matter the cost.  Proving to Jack that jack was right, that Vaughn does finally understand what lengths one will go to save a person that they love.
In Dixon’s office, Lauren strips Dixon of his authority due to obstructing justice in regards hiding the fact that Sydney killed Lazarey from the NSC and that Lindsay will now be running the task force. She also tells him that the premises are to be locked down and that no one is to leave until Lindsay has arrived to take control.  Dixon asks her if they already have Sydney, she tells him not yet, but that they know where she is. This just adds more questions for me, how did the NSC suddenly know where to look when Sydney just learned of it herself?
 Once Sydney is in the apartment in Rome she is looking for things that look familiar, she lies down on the bed and sees the stone angel that has been haunting her dreams.   She goes to the bathroom to splash her face with water and try to recover.  She then begins to look in the medicine cabinet and finds a prescription for Julia Thorne inside.  When she closes the medicine cabinet, she is captured by some sort of Italian police, she struggles with them, but end up on the floor face down with her hands being handcuffed.  Whoever was in charge called her by name and in Italian placed her under arrest.

  • Items that I found newsworthy…
    • While on her mission, Sydney was compromised and ends up picking up the same type of weapon that her character, Elektra from Daredevil was known for. – Just a fun little tidbit, no relevance to the relationship.
  • Questions that I have…
    • Who really sent Sloane that key? There is no way that Sydney would have trusted Sloane with it over everyone else in her life. – More on this when I go over S3 E11 – Full Disclosure
      • It has to be someone who knew the Cypher test that Irina created, as well as someone who needs her to start finding clues that will lead them to what is hidden in her memory.