Season 3, episode 13
Series 313
1st release: 02/15/04
2nd release:
Last update: 02/22/04

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SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 1 by Adriane Saunders

Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall
Melissa George (Lauren Reed)
Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss)
David Anders as Mr. Sark
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow

Vivica A. Fox (Toni Cummings)
Quentin Tarantino (McKenas Cole)
Amanda Foreman (Carrie)
Ian Buchanan (Johannes Gathird)
Patricia Wettig (Dr. Barnett)
Laetitia Danielle (Saleslady)
Alex Stemkovsky (Tuxedoed Guard)

Written by Alison Schapker and Monica Breen
Directed by Maryann Brandon

Broadcast on ABC, 9-10pm, Sunday nights.


THE SHARKS ARE CIRCLING -- And the waters of this show are filled to the brim with live bait, my friends. This entire episode was one big yawn. Lauren's bad. Yawn. Sark's bad too. Yawn. Syd's still got a thing for Vaughn. Yawn. Vaughn's in love with two women. Yaaaaawn. Sloane's developed a nasty habit of shooting up Gatorade. Yaaaaaaaaawn. Quentin Tarantino's back. Yaaaw -- oh, wait. That was actually a HIGH POINT of the episode. And Lord, if that ain't the saddest statement of all. TwoP

Did I mention the *ss? After Six - Because the *ss I smelled in the last episode is present and accounted for in this one. Lauren's a bad guy. And Sark digs that about her. And they team up to take over the Covenant. And Syd and Vaughn have a problem working together because they keep wanting to make out. And they go to a chalet in Switzerland for no good reason. And Sloane's shooting up some green goo that is never even explained. And this crap better improve when the next episode airs three weeks from now or I'm going on strike. TWoP


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.


In Chamonix, Sydney and Vaughn drill into the side of a mountain and mount a camera which is surveilling a distant chalet. Then they leap into space and parachute down the mountain.

In LA, Dixon explains about the chalet, which is the location of a hidden disk (according to defector Lisenker) which contains the Dorleac Agenda -- a list of Covenant activities and personnel. Marshall says that the security there is extensive. The system was designed by Toni Cummings and is thought to be impenetrable. Sydney and Vaughn are to approach Cummings posing as clients to get the specifics of the system.

Jack goes to visit Sloane and asks about the Lisenker defection and what's being siad about it. But he and Sloane both know he is there to talk about his previous visit, when he was planning to assassinate Sloane. Sloane says he understands -- that Jack would do anything to save Sydney. Sloane talks about missing Emily and realizing that all the work he does doesn't make up for the losses he has suffered. Jack says there is someone he could talk to, but Sloane says he doesn't believe a psychiatrist could help him.

Sydney talks to Dr. Barnett. She says when she looks at her future, she only sees Vaughn. She says what happened in North Korea makes working with him very difficult. She doesn't want Vaughn to get a divorce for her, but he is her soulmate.

Weiss and Vaughn play pool. Vaughn asks if he can be in love with two women at the same time. Weiss says no, although he did have conflicting feelings about Sporty and Posh Spice.

Lauren is in a department store trying on clothes. Sark comes into her dressing room and says she is quite an actress. He tells her he knows that she is the one who killed his father. He wants to stage a coup and he wants her help. He proposes that they eliminate the Covenant cell leaders. Each cell leader wears a watch that contains access keys. If they get all the keys, they can blackmail the Covenant.

Act One

Sydney is at home, and Jack brings dinner. As they eat, he tells her about the upcoming mission. He says that she could ask for another partner besides Vaughn if she would be more comfortable. Sydney nods.

Sydney tells Dixon that Weiss could be very helpful on the Cummings mission, and Dixon agrees.

Lauren approaches a Mr. Gathird, one of the cell leaders, in a parking garage, and asks to speak with him. He apparently recognizes her, and tells his men to go on ahead. She tells him the CIA knows there is a mole, and she is feeling vulnerable and needs his help. They kiss passionately while Sark watches from his car. In the midst of their embrace, she stabs Gathird and he falls to the floor. Sark and Lauren drag his body into an alcove and remove his watch.

In Athens, Sydney and Weiss approach Toni Cummings as potential clients. They want one of her "lethal response systems", like the one in Chamonix. They offer her $2 million in diamonds. She says that would only be a down payment for that type of system. So Sydney pulls out her CIA ID card and tells her that her accomodations in the US will depend on her cooperation in bypassing the system in Chamonix. Toni says it can't be bypassed.

Marshall -- with Carrie's help -- finds a way to get through the first two levels of defense at the chalet. He says they are working on a way to get through the third. While they are talking, Carrie has a cramp, but says she is okay.

Sloane injects himself with a green liquid that seems to relax him. Then he calls Jack and says he has changed his mind about the therapist.

Act Two

Sloane meets with Dr. Barnett in Zurich. He wants to talk about Jack and Sydney. She says she can't talk about them, but he can. But Sloane changes his mind and says he can't talk to her after all. She says she will be in Zurich a while and gives him her number.

Dixon tells the team about the murders of two high ranking Covenant leaders. Marshall comes in and says he needs more time to bypass the third level. Dixon says that Sydney and Vaughn will head for Chamonix, and Jack will go along to relay the procedure from Marshall to them as soon as it's ready.

On the plane, Vaughn tells Sydney he knows she requested Weiss on the last assignment, and he understands. Sydney says she wishes she could go back in time, but she refuses to be "the other woman". Jack joins them and relays the information that the Dorleac Agenda is hidden in a bottle of wine in the wine cellar of the chalet.

In Salzburg, Lauren gets a phone call. It's Vaughn, letting her know he will be gone for a few days. She tells him to "be safe", then hangs up and joins Sark, who is removing the watch from another murdered cell leader.

Act Three

Sydney and Vaughn approach the chalet. Jack monitors the link to Marshall, who will talk them through the defenses. While Sydney and Vaughn are negotiating the electrified zone, Carrie and Weiss come into Marshall's office to tell him that the baby is coming, but Carrie wants to be married first. Marshall prints out a certificate from the Internet that ordains Weiss as a minister in the Church of Mammals. While Sydney and Vaughn try to get through an acid spray tunnel, Weiss marries Carrie and Marshall. Then Carrie bolts for the hospital. Marshall call after her, "I love you, Mrs. Flinkman!" Carrie yells back, "I'm keeping my name!" Sydney and Vaughn arrive in the wine cellar and find the bottle. They are interrupted by a waiter, though, and don't get out in time. The alarms go off, and guards come running. Sydney and Vaughn make it back through the acid spray, but the guards don't. Two other guards see them as they emerge from the tunnel, but Jack shoots them both.

Act Four

In Zurich, Dr. Barnett returns to Sloane's office. She tells him she has studied him for years. She says she understands him and can help him.

Lauren and Sark kill the last of the cell leaders. Lauren tells Sark to go to St. Petersburg and present their offer to the Covenant. She will return to LA and keep the keys. They kiss, and she leaves.

Sloane says he manipulates people and lies constantly and is good at it. But he keeps secrets, and one of them concerns Sydney and Jack, and "this one wears on me." He starts to tell her, but then thinks better of it. She tries to push him, but he tells her to leave.

Sark arrives in St. Petersburg with expectations of meeting the leader of the Covenant. To his surprise, the man he meets is McKenas Cole. Sark says he thought Cole was in custody. Cole just laughs. He says he is the second in command and he is as far up as Sark will have access to. Cole reveals that he already knows about the murdered cell leaders. To Sark's uneasy astonishment, Cole produces all six of the cell leaders' watches and lays them on a table. Then Lauren walks out, and Cole puts his arm around her. Cole says she contacted him as soon as Sark made his offer. He says that they have just made his life so much easier because the CIA is on the track of the Dorleac Agenda anyway, and now the cell leaders are gone. Cole wants Lauren and Sark to head up the new North American cell. Sark is pleased. Cole takes Lauren aside and says to "put the kabosh" on her husband's extracurricular activities. He gives her some pictures and her expression turns grim.

Sydney returns to CIA hq and is approached by Lauren. She asks if Lauren has heard about Marshall and Carrie's baby, but Lauren doesn't want to make small talk. She says she knows what is going on and to "stay the hell away from my husband."


This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Uneven. That is this week's episode in a word. If the episode were a cake, some bits would be overbaked, some halfbaked (literally and figuratively), and some simply stale. Tasty bits are minimal.

This unevenness is to the credit or discredit primarily of the script. Dialogue too often plays more high school than adult. Characters like Syd and Vaughan continue to spin in a rut of unrequited love angst. Get over it. Get on with it. Is anyone else as tired of this pair together as I am? Syd's one nighter, awhile back, with long time friend Will was far more interesting. Unfortunately, this week's script and dialogue now is labelling Vaughan and Syd "soul mates", so likely that dead horse will continue to be thrashed.

Unevenness to this week's script is not the only challenge to my interest. The infrequency of Alias episodes lately, all the pre-emptions for various movies and award shows, takes a toll on attention. Alias lives and breathes through complicated plots and character development that hooks anticipation to "what's next?"and "how?". With weeks in between each episode, interest wanes. By the time an episode runs again, the characters seem more mechanical or recycled than renewed, and the plots more predictable or hackneyed than gripping. Even the background music seems fractured or canned. [Note: Alias is pre-empted yet again now for the next two weeks.]


Sloane, who used to play as savvy and deadly, now merely comes across as tedious and rather self-absorbed. Another character, Dr. Barnett the CIA psychologist, is recycled into the script to be Sloane's sounding board in Zurich. She listens but he hems and hahs and hints but refuses to tell what is on his mind. So, maybe I can tell her and save time, and forstall more indeterminable dialogue between the two. (Can you believe Barnett did a doctoral thesis on Sloane and all his shennannigans while in SD-6?) To save time, Dr. Barnett: Sloane thinks he is Sydney's father. He and other characters have been dropping hints about this real or imagined "fact" for three seasons now. Get on with it. Get over it. Let us move on.

Lauren Reed, Vaughan's wife and fellow CIA agent (also a double for the Covenant), heats up her characterization quite a bit this week. Cool and self-contained is how she has presented herself until now. Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Hyde we meet this week: Lauren Reed aka Black Widow Spider. She is deadly, manipulative, and totally self-serving--despite her apparent first loyalty to the Covenant. Lauren seduces a Covenant cell leader in a parking lot in order to stick a knife in his gut. Sark, who's first name is "Julian" we learn this week, watches in admiration from the shadows. These two are pair!

But, even better, are Lauren with the Covenant's "man in front of The Man" Cole (played by actor QuentinTarantino). Equals for sure, and a delight to see Tarantino back again. A memorable villian. His acting and Michelle George's (Lauren) are the only portrayals I particularly enjoyed this week. That may be due to impatience with "recycled" characters (like Sloane and Barnett), and recylced themes (like Syd and Vaughan). The fact that Tarantino (originally seen on Alias in Season One 2001) is back and still fronts for "The Man" tweaks my interest. In Season One that "Man" was Irina Derevko, Syd's mother. With luck, "The Man" still is "the woman" Lena Olin, and we will see her again!


Television without Pity

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