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Season 1, episode 22
Series 122
1st release: 05/12/02
2nd release: 09/01/02
Production number: E651
Last update: 08/09/03

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COMMENTARY 1 by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 2 by Adriane Saunders

Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Merrin Dungey as Francie
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Bradley Cooper as Will

Amy Irving (Emily Sloane)
David Anders (Sark)
Derrick O'Connor (Khasinau)
James Handy (Devlin)
Joey Slotnick (Haladki)
Elaine Kagan (June Litvak)
Wolf Muser (Veloso)
Ric Young (Suit and Glasses)
Michelle Arthur (Abigail)
Emily Wachtel (Worker)
Greg Grunberg (Weiss)

Written by J.J. Abrams
Directed by J.J. Abrams

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


"So many pieces from the year come together," reveals creator and producer J.J. Abrams of the top secret hour, which he feels is a "mirror" to the show's pilot. "Only this time, it's Syd (Jennifer Garner) and her father going against both SD-6 and the CIA," after a mole within one of the groups puts Will in jeopardy. Abrams also hints at "two dramatic deaths", a major wrinkle in the Rambaldi plot, some bittersweet justice for Sloane which could cost him his wife (Amy Irving), and a cliffhanger that Abrams will only describe as "the one I've been waiting to do all year." TV Guide On-Line

Amy Irving ("Traffic," "Yentl") continues her guest star stint as Emily Sloane. In order to save Will's life, Sydney and Vaughn must destroy a familiar looking Rambaldi device, while Jack makes a risky deal with Khasinau's representative, Mr. Sark. Meanwhile, the CIA believes that one of their own is a mole for "The Man"; the Alliance comes to a decision regarding the fate of Emily Sloane; Dixon's suspicions about Sydney intensify; and Sydney finds herself face-to-face with "The Man." SD-6 HQ.


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.


Scenes from previous episodes, culminating with Will opening the door of the CIA safe house to reveal Sark, who shoots him point-blank in the chest. In the next scene, Will, beaten and bloody but still very much alive, is dragged into a dingy room and tied to a chair. Sark asks him what "the circumference" is. Will doesn't know and says so. Sark leaves, but soon two guards return and pry Will's mouth open with a large clamp. Footsteps approach, and a third man enters -- the "suit and glasses" who tortured Sydney in the very first episode.

Back in LA, Francie tells Sydney she is opening a restaurant. Their conversation is interrupted by Sydney's cell phone ringing. It's Sark. He tells her they have Will and will kill him if the blank Rambaldi page and the ampule are not brought to Taipei by Tuesday at midnight.

Sydney goes to Jack and begs for his help. He says they must get the page (which SD-6 has) and the ampule (which the CIA has) and see what is on the page before they decide what to do next. The page is in an off-shore facility which Sydney will access through the drainage system. To get into the vault there, she will have to have Sloane's voice and fingerprints. While they are planning, Vaughn pages Sydney. Jack says as long as there is a mole in the CIA, she can't tell Vaughn about their plans.

Vaughn tells Sydney that Will has been taken. He senses that Sydney is concealing something, but Sydney doesn't tell him. Vaughn later tells Weiss that he knows something is up. Weiss advises him to tell Devlin.

Sloane takes Emily to a beach house. He tells her that SD-6 is not part of the CIA. He then goes on to tell her everything. Emily is shocked and in tears when he finishes.

Jack gives Sydney a shirt made of heat sensitive material. Once Sloane touches it, they will have his prints. She is to engage him in conversation while Jack records all they say. Once he has all the sounds, he can fashion them into the passwords. Sydney also has a watch that will log Jack onto Sloane's computer to get the passwords.

Back at SD-6, Dixon asks Marshall what Sydney's code name was on the Aconcagua mission. Marshall remembers it -- it was "bluebird". Dixon: "So it wasn't Freelancer?" Marshall is certain that it was not.

Act I

Sydney goes to see Sloane. Jack tells her over her transmitter to keep Sloane away from his computer, and he begins to log on. Sydney talks about Emily. Sloane puts his hand on Sydney's shoulder and they have his prints. Sloane's phone rings and Jack just gets the passwords before Sloane gets back around his desk. Sydney then leaves the office, knowing she has less than an hour to get to the facility before the passwords change.

Will's torturer uses a dentist's drill on Will's teeth, but still Will can't answer his questions about the circumference. The man returns and begins to pull one of Will's teeth while Will screams with pain.

Veloso comes to see Sloane to tell him that Emily must be eliminated since her cancer is in remission. Sloane proposes that they bring Emily in, but Veloso says no. He says that the Alliance has voted to make Sloane a partner, contingent on Sloane's fulfilling "the other matter."

Sydney swims to the off-shore facility and enters through the drainage system. On shore, Dixon sits in a car, watching her.

Act II

Weiss tells Devlin about Vaughn's suspicions about Sydney, and Vaughn is called in to discuss it. Under questioning, he admits that he feels Sydney may be hiding something from him, probably having to do with Will.

Jack goes to the CIA vault and gets the Rambaldi ampule.

When Sydney comes back ashore with the Rambaldi page, Dixon is waiting for her. He tells her he heard her use a different code name on Mt. Aconcagua. Sydney tells him she cannot reveal what she's doing, but asks him to accept the fact that she would never betray her country. Dixon just walks away.

Will's torturer prepares to give him truth serum, telling him that one in five men experience paralysis after they receive it. He jabs the hypodermic into Will's neck, and again asks him about the circumference. Will sobs out that he doesn't know.

Abigail, Will's fellow reporter, gives the envelope that he left to their boss, since Will had told her to do that if something happened to him. Now he's been gone six days. Litvak decides she will publish the story.

Sydney and Jack use the solution to expose the Rambaldi page. It shows a diagram of the device that Sydney originally stole in Taipei. Jack says that intelligence learned that Khasinau has been searching for something called "the circumference", which would tell him how to apply Rambaldi's technology. They realize that this page must be the circumference. Jack tells Sydney to keep the page safe and not to go home.

Jack grabs Haladki as he is getting in his car and knocks him out. When Haladki comes to, he finds himself tied on a table with his hand in a vise. Jack asks how he knew about the circumference, since he didn't have the clearance to learn it through the CIA. Jack asks if he works for Khasinau, and tightens the vise until Haladki admits that he does and has for two years. He says that the device is some sort of battery and tells where it is in Taipei. Jack puts a gun to Haladki's neck: "You told him that my daughter is a double agent with SD-6." Then he pulls the trigger.

Vaughn finds Sydney at the train station. He had remembered that she liked watching the normal people with normal lives there. Sydney: "I can't believe you remembered that." Sydney thinks Vaughn has come to stop her from giving the page to Khasinau, but Vaughn tells about how his dad always wished he could refuse to participate in cetain missions, but never did. He says it killed his dad, never questioning orders. Vaughn: "If you're doing what I think you're doing -- I'm in."


On the flight to Taipei, Jack fills Sydney and Vaughn in on what he learned, saying only that he got the info "from a source." He tells them that while he is exchanging the page and the ampule for Will, they must destroy the device and the lab where it was built.

Will's tormenter decides Will really doesn't know anything about the circumference, so Sark says to get him ready to be exchanged. When Will is freed from his bonds, he grabs the hypo and sticks it in the torturer's neck. The guards pull Will away while he shouts "One in five!" and laughs as the torturer gasps and staggers about the room.

Sloane prepares for a candlelight dinner with Emily. He breaks a capsule and pours the contents into one of the glasses of wine, then takes both to the table. Emily tells him she can't judge him and that she forgives him for what he's done with SD-6. She raises her glass, and Sloane raises his with tears in his eyes. They both drink.

Jack arrives at the exchange point. Sark examines the page and is satisfied. He drives away, leaving Will barely able to stand. Will stumbles to Jack, embraces him and thanks him.

Sydney and Vaughn get into the building where the lab is located. Vaughn blocks the security cameras and Sydney races down the corridor, taking out several guards as she goes. She reaches the lab and enters it to find not the small device she remembered but a huge one that fills the entire room.

Act IV

Sydney remembers that when she stole the smaller device, shutting it down caused a bubble of water to burst. She tells Vaughn over the transmitter that when she shuts this one down, she will have to swim out. She places an explosive on the device just as some guards come in. Vaughn thinks she's in trouble and heads down the corridor himself. When the device blows, a huge deluge of water bursts into the corridor. Vaughn meets Sydney, running just ahead of the huge wave. They race for the exit. Sydney gets there just as the door is closing. She gets through, but Vaughn doesn't make it. Sydney watches in horror through the window as the wave crashes on him. She tries to break the window with a fire extinguisher, but is unable to do so. Vaughn disappears into the water just as Sydney is knocked unconscious from behind. She wakes to find herself tied to a chair. Khasinau is sitting nearby and offers her something to eat. Sydney recognizes him and says she's not hungry but has questions for him. He says she can ask his boss. Sydney: "Your boss? I thought 'the man' was the boss." Khasinau says yes, but he is not 'the man'. Another figure approaches and enters the room, her face in shadow. Sydney stares in shock. The woman says, "I have waited almost thirty years for this." Sydney: "Mom?"


This commentary is by Sally Dye.

In a show where cliffhangers at the end of an episode are the norm, the season finale of Alias outdid itself in terms of things to wonder about over the summer.

First, is Vaughn dead? Even though creator J.J Abrams warned us that there would be "two dramatic deaths" in the finale, I can't believe that Vaughn would be one of them. There are surely several ways he could escape that water-filled corridor. It was even suggested on one message board that the water may be enhanced in some way by Rambaldi's invention to make it breathable for humans.

Second, will Dixon report Sydney's activities to SD-6? Again, I think not. I'm assuming he will be convinced somehow that Sydney is working for the CIA (which he believes SD-6 to be a part of). I hope next season explores a little more into the lives of Dixon and Marshall to see what they really do know.

Third, has Sloane really killed his wife Emily? It certainly implies that he was putting poison into her glass of wine, but it doesn't really show WHICH glass he put it in, or exactly WHAT was in the capsule in the first place. His expression as they drink looked to me as though he almost stopped her from drinking, and that would lend credence to the idea that he had just poisoned her. Also, on the official ABC Alias site, it lists Emily as Sloane's "deceased" wife, so I assume we are meant to think she is dead now. (Though on "Alias", as on "Xena", dead doesn't always mean dead.)

Fourth, did Jack really kill Haladki and if so, what ramifications will arise because of it? It didn't actually show whether or not Jack was still pointing the gun at Haladki's neck when he pulled the trigger, but I'm thinking Jack has wanted to do that for a long time and Haladki needed to be removed because of his Khasinau connections. Will Jack be able to prove he was the mole, though? Or will he just keep Haladki's fate a secret?

Fifth, will the story on SD-6 that Will left with Abigail be published? And if it is, what will that mean for Will in terms of SD-6 revenge?

Sixth, how will Sydney escape the clutches of "the man", who now turns out to be none other than her own mother? What has her mother been doing all these years? Will she and Jack meet again? Is "Mom" in fact the subject of that Rambaldi prophecy? Will it come down to a battle between mother and daughter? I'm thinking that the answers to these questions could take all of next season.

And seventh, what in the heck does this device of Rambaldi's do anyway? Does he have other devices or surprises waiting to be discovered around the world? Will Sydney have to round all of them up just to keep baddies like Khasinau from using them for their own evil ends?

I think it was clever how the last episode tied in so neatly with the first. In fact, all of the episodes fit neatly into the season's story. I hope Abrams and company can deliver on the high expectations for next season, but judging on the success of this one, the future looks pretty good for us Alias fans.


This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Will is chained to a chair. His face is battered and bloody. One eye is swollen shut. His abductor, Khasinau's Sark, says, "My employer has instructed me to keep you alive, but not comfortable."

And that about sums up my impression of Episode 22, Alias's "Season Ender" for 2002: "Alive but not comfortable." This is CNN Revisted. Lots of talking heads and long winded explanations. For Alias, more words than action make me uncomfortable. I squirm and wonder when pace and plot will fast forward to a more characteristic Alias speed.

The episode is a grab bag for tidying up loose ends in ongoing storylines. But, the characters explain way too much. Suspense fizzles. More "show" and less "tell" would be preferred. Uncomfortable, just short of talking everything to death, is how this episode "feels". Like Will, my interest has one eye swollen shut.

Grim is how this episode is for Will, Syd's reporter friend. He is abducted and restrained and tortured, repeatedly, by the same Taiwanese security officer who tortured Syd in Episode One. Teeth are extracted. That, for Will, means more than one, and repeatedly throughout the episode.

Repetitive and gratuitous violence is how Will's torture and interrogation scenes play. I presume showing so much of the blood and gore is for "shock value". But, instead, I wonder why J.J. Abrams--the creator of Alias, AND the writer, AND the director for Episode 22--abandons subtlety for "in your face" special effects.

The viewer's imagination is thwarted. Rather than feel terrified for Will, I wonder how long the actor (Bradley Cooper) had to sit in a makeup chair to accummulate that "appearance" of blood and misery. Less is definitely more for torture. Let the viewer add tension.

Immensely sad is how this episode is for Syd. Her focus and intensity are aimed at rescue for Will. A quiet, almost meditative quality hangs over her, particularly when others are speaking to her. Examples are Sark telling Syd on the phone he will kill Will unless she retrieves Rimbaldi artifacts for Khasinau, and Vaughan in the train station telling Syd, "If you're doing what I think you're doing, I'm in--if you need me." She says "thank you" to Vaughan with a shimmer of tears in her eyes. But, the words are restrained, and underlined by a kind of stoicism or acceptance. Her thoughts are with Will.

In this episode Syd and her father Jack--and Vaughan too--all become "freelancers", like Syd's code name. Efforts of the three are combined to rescue Will. To that end, Jack--with Syd's help distracting Sloane--hacks into the SD-6 computer in Sloane's office for voice and fingerprint ID access codes for an offshore SD-6 installation. Syd, outfitted with scuba gear, goes underwater to the installation to steal back the "Page 47" Rimbaldi artifact she found episodes back in Argentina.

Jack breaks into a CIA storage to retrieve the Rimbaldi artifact McKinnas cole tried to steal from SD-6, the vial of liquid that makes invisible ink visible. This is the same vial Syd previously recovered from Cole, with the help of Vaughan, at SD-6 Headquarters. Now Khasinau wants the items.

The break ins infuriate Syd's and Jack's CIA boss, Devlin, who learns of the "freelancing" through Weiss, Vaughan's partner. Concurrently, Syd's SD-6 partner, Dixon, continues to be suspicious of Syd and follows her to the docks where she dons a wet suit to break into the SD-6 facility offshore. As she returns from the theft, Dixon threatens to "report" her to SD-6.

A conundrum is what this episode is for Dixon. To turn in Syd, or not to turn in Syd, that is the question. On the docks, when Syd pleads with him to "just accept the fact I cannot tell you what this is about," he does not. What Dixon demands is "a reason", not "rhetoric". Yet, "talkie" as this episode is--more "bark" than bite--I doubt Dixon will act on his threat. I doubt he will report Syd. But, September (when the series re-commences) will tell that tale.

Intensely emotional is how this episode is for Sloane. Sloane deeply loves his wife Emily. Now "in remission" from cancer, Emily is still under threat of death from the Alliance for her knowledge of SD-6. We are led to assume that Sloane will trade his wife's life for a seat, as a full partner, in the Alliance power structure. That--to me--is doubtful. That Sloane truly loves his wife is undeniable. His scenes with Emily are deeply felt and tearful. There is a gentleness that overrides ambition showing in Sloane's actions toward his wife.

Yet, we are led to believe Sloane kills her. We see him empty a packet of powder into a glass of wine just before he raises a glass to toast her across a dinner table. Emily tells him, "I forgive you," and tears well in his eyes. Is she speaking of his involvemnet with SD-6, or does she know he has just poisoned her? Which do we believe?

But, again, misdirection. I think we will find Emily Sloane still alive in the Fall, and, quite possibly, a newly initiated member of the Alliance.

A shut out is what this episode is for Vaughan. From the lack of full disclosure from Syd about her activities after Will is abducted from the CIA safe house to fellow agent Weiss reporting Vaughan's suspicions of Syd to CIA boss Devlin to Vaughan's last scene, plastered--by tons of rushing water--against a closed corridor window, Vaughan is shut out. But, is he dead now--drowned, or merely swept away in the torrent further down the mazeway of corridors? I vote the second choice. Vaughan may be "shut out" for this episode, but he is not likely "shut out" for the series.

And, finally, for Jack, Episode 22 is a personal "line in the sand". Where his loyalties lie are with his daughter, Syd, and rescue of her friend Will. He exercises his skillful and emotionally self-contained duplicities not for SD-6 or CIA, but essentially for himself, his own "freelance" on behalf of his family, Syd. As ever he is astute and merciless in achieving his goals. He even "unearths" the "mole" in the CIA. That is Haladki, in cahoots with Khasinau now for "two years". After the interrogation is done, Jack may or may not have killed Haladki for telling Khasinau "my daughter is a double agent with SD-6." The camera turns away as the gun in Jack's hand fires. Is Haladki dead? Maybe.

All we know for sure in Episode 22 is this: Syd and Jack retrieve the Rimbaldi artifacts and trade for Will's life. Will needs a dentist.

His newspaper may or may not be printing--as front page news--the sealed, read only "in case of death" article Will left with another reporter. Francie may be starting a restaurant. Emily and Vaughan and Haladki--and the Taiwanese inquisitor Will attacked with a hypo before being released--may or may not all be dead. Dixon's doubts about Syd may or may not have consequences.

But, easily, the best parts of Episode 22 come in the last few minutes, when Syd rolls over the back of a guard to kick and punch another. She decks four all together, and does this moments before blowing up another two along with a seriously enlarged (from tennis ball size to filling a room) Rimbaldi "circumference" of water.

The special effects are riveting!

The explosion shatters the suspension of hundreds of gallons of water held together in the Rimbaldi device. Water creashes down, filling the maze of corriders, as Syd runs for her life. This is the inside view of the sinking of the "Titanic", Alias-style.

She runs past Vaughan, who for some reason--idiocy?--makes no move to run as the tidalwave bears down on him. Syd turns and yanks on his sleeve, then continues to run. She just manages to squeeze through a door automatically closed by the alarm. Vaughan is trapped on the other side. Syd sees his face through the window on the door. Frantically, she smashes at the glass with a fire extinguisher.

Two more guards stop her, and knock her down. When she looks back, Vaughan's face is gone from the window. All that shows is water. Dirty water.

Syd is knocked unconscious. When she wakes, she is tied to a chair. Khasinau sits across from her with a tray of food on his lap. He offers her food. "I'm not hungry," she tells him. She has questions for Khasinau, but he tells her to ask his boss. "I thought 'The Man' is the boss," Syd says. "Yes, he is," Khasinau replies, "but I'm not 'The Man'." Well, well, well.

Can you guess who is "The Man"? This is an Alias "surprise"! The Man is a woman! The Man is Syd's mother! We see a shadowy figure come into the room. A female voice says, "I have waited almost thirty years for this." And, Syd says, "Mom."

End of episode. End of Season. Tune in next Fall.


Review of episode from Zentertainment

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