Whoosh! ...



Season 1, episode 04
Series 104
1st release: 10-21-01
2nd release: 01-13-02
Production number: E633
Last update: 08/09/03

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SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 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

Gina Torres (Ana Espinosa)
Miguel Sandoval (Anthony Russet)
Evan Dexter Parke (Charlie)
Faran Tahir (Moktar)
Maurice Chasse (Jacqnoud)
Bernard White (Swari)
Angus Scrimm (Agent McCullough)
Sarah Shahi (Jenny)
Arabella Holzbog (Laura Bristow)
Hector Aristizabel (Waiter)
Sayed Bodreya (Vendor)
Jeff Chase (Bodyguard)
Haley Gilbert (Rachel)
Soren Hellerup (Doctor)
Subash Kundanmal (Dhiren Patel)
Tony Sears (German agent)
Alex Veadow (K-directorate officer)

Written by Vanessa Taylor
Directed by Harry Winer

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


Francie confronts her boyfriend about a rendezvous with another woman; Sydney reaches out to her estranged father. ExciteTV

On the trail of a terrorist with an explosive plot to disrupt a world-trade seminar, Syd is also roped into helping Francie spy on her guy as he steps out with another woman. Also, Vaughn opens up to his newest recruit about his tormented love life; Will uses his newspaper ties to locate the woman Danny was booked to travel with the night of his murder; and Jack (Victor Garber) begins to feel the heat over a secret he's keeping from his daughter. Tvguide.com


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.


Scenes from last week's episode, culminating in the moment when Sydney and Ana open the case. The case has apparently been rigged with a trap that saturates the paper the code is written on with a liquid that causes it to disintegrate. Ana and Sydney both start memorizing the sequence of 1's and 0's. When the paper is gone, Sydney turns to Ana: "Did you get it?" Ana: "Did you?" They both turn and run in opposite directions. Sydney rattles off the code to Vaughn and then tells him she's going to give SD-6 the wrong numbers. He orders her to give them the right code. Syd jumps into the SD-6 van and gives Dixon the code. Later she argues with Vaughn, who tells her she can't arouse SD-6's suspicions in any way or the game is over.

Sloane says the code Sydney recovered has been deciphered. At first they thought it indicated Athens, but nothing pertaining to Rembaldi -- author of the code -- was found there. Marshall says the code really indicates Malaga, Spain. Sydney is to go there to a 500-year-old church. The only other clue is a Spanish phrase that means "golden sun".

Sydney goes to Spain and finds the church. At the back of the sanctuary is a stained glass mosaic with a golden sun in the center. Sydney removes the center of the sun. It is a disk of what appears to be metal. Just as she is examining it, she is grabbed from behind. It's Ana. They fight all over the church. The disk gets kicked across the floor. Ana gets to her gun and Sydney dives behind a pew as Ana fires repeatedly in her direction.

Act I

Sydney circles around and jumps Ana from behind and they fight some more. Finally Sydney manages to handcuff Ana to a bench. She picks up the disk and leaves the church.

Back in LA, Sydney and Francie are discussing Francie's suspicions that Charlie is cheating on her. Sydney asks what she's going to do. Francie: "Have you ever spied on anyone?" Sydney almost chokes on her Chinese take-out.

Francie and Sydney stake out Charlie's apartment. When Charlie comes out, he meets a blonde and seems very friendly with her. He puts his case into the trunk of the blonde's car and they drive away. Francie is devastated.

Will is still digging for info on Danny's trip to Singapore. He can't find any record of Danny being registered at a medical conference there, as Sydney had told him he was.

Sydney sees her dad, who is on his way to a routine psych evaluation. Sydney asks if they can have dinner together. Jack hesitates, but says okay.

Sloane says the disk Sydney brought from Spain is made of a synthetic polymer even though it is over 500 years old. It is a mystery they haven't solved yet. But now they have a new mission for Sydney and Dixon. A man named Jacques Neau has made threats against the United Commerce Organization. Neau is to meet with a client in Morocco, and SD-6 wants to find out if it has anything to do with an upcoming UCO conference in Sao Paulo. Sydney and Dixon are to travel as Kate Jones and Justin Burnell. They will be meeting another SD-6 agent -- Moktor -- when they arrive in Morocco.

Jack is undergoing a relaxation procedure as part of his psych evaluation. He pictures a soothing staircase leading to a room where a mother is holding her baby. Suddenly the mother turns into Sydney and says "It's only a matter of time before I find out the truth." Jack is jerked out of his relaxed state and seems very upset.

Act II

Sydney and Vaughn meet. Vaughn says the CIA knew Jacques Neau was traveling -- they just didn't know where. He is also interested in why SD-6 is concerned about a UCO conference. Vaughn seems distracted and Sydney asks if he's having trouble with his wife. Vaughn says he's not married, but he had a fight with his girlfriend.

Sydney and Dixon go to Morocco and meet Moktar, whom they have worked with before. They set up a camera in a bazaar where Jacques Neau is to meet the mysterious client. Sydney poses as a shopper to get close and record what is said. Dixon and Moktar are in an alcove above the stalls with the camera and other computer equipment. The meeting takes place and Moktar gets a photo of the client and puts it into the computer to try and get an id. The only information they pick up from the conversation is about "Patel" delivering a package. One of the client's bodyguards recognizes Sydney and starts following her. She alerts Dixon, and he and Moktar start packing up the surveillance equipment. The bodyguard catches Sydney and pushes her into a secluded alcove.


Sydney has to fight the burly bodyguard. She finally knocks him out. She runs for the area where Dixon and Moktar are and finds Dixon fighting several men. Together they take out all of the men, but then Sydney sees that Moktar has been killed in the gunfire. Sydney is stricken.

Sydney arrives back in LA to find Francie and Will at her apartment. Francie says she is going to have coffee with Charlie and confront him. She leaves, and Will helps Sydney with her luggage. Sydney just barely keeps Will from seeing the "Kate Jones" on her luggage tag. Will wants to talk about the kiss they shared. He says he's figured out a way to get over the awkwardness of it. Sydney says "what?" and Will kisses her again. It's still awkward between them, however.

Sydney goes to meet her father for dinner, but he doesn't show up. She waits for some time. Finally Jack calls and says he couldn't make it. He is making the call from his car, which is parked outside the restaurant.

Francie asks Charlie about the blonde woman. He says she is a friend and that he's not playing around. Francie doesn't believe him and leaves.

Sydney calls Vaughn because she needs someone to talk to. She says that she's not just upset about her dad, that Moktar had been her friend and he had died thinking he was working for the right cause, but she knows he wasn't. Vaughn tells her not to let rage and resentment darken her. He says she can call him anytime.

Act IV

Sloane says the man Jacques Neau met with is named Malik Swari and he's an explosives expert. The "Patel" they had referred to is a Nobel peace prize winner who is to be at the UCO conference. Sloane thinks Swari is going to plant an explosive on Patel to destroy not just the conference but the organization as well. Sydney and Dixon are to find the weapon, save Patel and safeguard the organization.

Will discovers that Danny was supposedly traveling to Singapore with someone named Kate Jones.

In Sao Paulo, Sydney and Dixon spot Patel at the conference, but he collapses before they can get to him. They get the glass he was drinking from and find it contains a sedative. Sydney sees the medics take Patel into an ambulance. She takes a motorcycle and follows them to what appears to be a warehouse. She gets into the warehouse and climbs into the duct system overhead so she can see what is going on. They have taken Patel to an improvised operating room and are in the process of surgically inserting a disk into his chest. Swari says to be careful with the disk -- it's the equivalent of 300 pounds of TNT.

To be continued.


This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Alias, for this week, has just finished. And, here are my reactions: "Ah! That's what it is! Don't talk! Remarkable! Look out behind you! Don't drop the sun! Smooth move! This girl does well with furniture! Yikes! Ouch! Gotcha! Marshall, you're a hoot! Curiouser and curiouser! Casablanca! Back flips! Quick wit! Gotta love tourists! Oh, oh! So vulnerable! Geez! Hurts to watch! Heartwrenching! Great line! Hilarious! Now what! My gawd! Diabolical!"

And these are just the highlights! Did you get all that? This message will "self-destruct in 10 seconds". Shades of Mission Impossible. That's how this week's episode starts.

Syd and Anna are staring into the open briefcase holding the 500-year-old binary code. Remember last week's ending? And, the two women have little more than 10 seconds to memorize a full page of numbers. Lots of "O's" and "X's", and these are definitely not "kisses".

How does Syd manage to do that, in so little time? A photographic memory? I could not believe my ears when both Syd and Anna spoke to each other immediately after cramming the numerical code into their brains. Have you ever tried that? Tried to hold something clearly in mind at the same time as carrying on a conversation? That's a feat rather like rubbing your belly and patting your head simultaneously.

I was so distracted by the memory challenge performed by Anna and Syd at the start, that I had to mentally run to catch up to Syd, already long into the next scene. But then, she was running too. It's a good idea not to fall behind in this show. So much happens, and so soon.

Did you get all that? The highlights? I will fill in the details now.

This is my favorite episode to date. Not only the well-choreographed fights--backflips and all, or the witty dialogue, snappy editting or camera action--including the rich colors and textures of exotic landscapes, but my growing affection for all the characters--multilayered and ever more interesting, engage me.

And, Syd herself especially engages me in Episode 4. Her tears and anguish at the death of another agent make this a memorable episode. My respect for this girl continues to climb. Syd, (aka Jennifer Garner), nails the emotion in every scene. There is not a false note anywhere. And, Syd has a generosity of spirit when she interacts with others, friend and foe alike, that is very appealing.

Syd draws me in so much, I feel I am going with her on these trips (she takes round the world). That is astonishing. Even with Xena--much as I love Xena, never did I feel like I was there, on the spot, and watching all the action as a participant. Alias is different.

I wondered about that, too, being so drawn into the action. As far as I know, I have no trouble distinguishing entertainment from reality, as entertaining as reality can be notwithstanding.

Then, I realized that "entertainment" has a new frame now. The attack on New York and Washington on September 11th did not "change the world". The world has not changed, but, we have--particularly those of us who are Americans. Our awareness and participation has changed.

The world is no longer "out there", but "in here". We are the world--literally and figuratively both, now. And watching TV shows that deal with terrorism and covert operations of all kinds take on a new vividness and "reality". This is the new frame.

And this is another reason to applaud Alias. Though lots of fights happen, no blood was spilled until this, the fourth episode. Syd's Casablanca "connection" is killed, when her "alias" is blown. Yet, unlike other shows, death is not trivialized in Alias. Characters do not just step over bodies and move on. Everyone counts, even characters only on screen a couple of minutes.

And the scene on the dock with Vaughan, as Syd reacts--not only to the death of another agent, but to the "no show" of her father for dinner in a restaurant--is heartwrenching. I really feel for Syd. She hurts. And it hurts to watch. I had tears in my eyes too.

Garner is a terrific actress. And, I am not likely to forget this scene on the dock anytime soon. Life matters on this show. Life is valued, and is not considered simply another "special effect". The depth and breadth of Syd's anguish shows. "I had his blood on my hands. I don't know who I am anymore," Syd says through her tears.

When her beeper goes off, she heaves it into the ocean, then gives a choking laugh as Vaughan points that out. Vaughan says to her, "The one real responsibility you have is to not let your rage, and your resentment and your disgust darken you."

Good advice, and though applied to Syd in this scene, his words could as easily apply to any of us. We all have had those moments of despair, where everything seems out of control, and who we are--or what we can do, seems impossible to know. And, Syd (aka Garner) is so wonderfully restrained in this scene, even after she loses it to tears. Bravo!

But lots of humor and hilarity happen too in Episode 4, like Syd's snappy ad lib to a couple of tourists coming into a room where she's just decked a body guard. "He wanted to charge me fifty dollars. That's too much." That cracked me up, and--long time Xenafan that I am--I much enjoyed Syd's back flip over the top of the guard before she knocked him out.

The other fight scene in the church, earlier in the plot, with Anna and Syd both chasing the stained glass sun was a treat too, particularly Anna's smile, even after Syd had handcuffed her to a table. That and all the pieces of the church interior Syd was swinging around clued me that this girl does not need a sword. She fights so well with furniture.

Syd in the car with her friend, Francine, spying on Charlie, Francine's boyfriend, is also entertaining, even though, as Syd says earlier, "Spying on your boyfriend is generally a bad relationship precident." The bafflement on Francine's face after Syd says, "You wait until he gets a block away," before following, is a laugh too. Like, how does Syd know that, Francine wonders. Humorous.

And that, humor, can be counted on every time Marshall from SD-6 walks into a scene. Marshall does the technical, the gadgets for SD-6, that Syd uses, and his demonstrations are hilarious, especially this week's enactment of winds. Marshall is a delightful choice of character for this job, and delivery of his lines is pulled off beautifully by the actor who plays him, Kevin Weisman.

I find the character Marshall endearing. His earnestness and stumbling over his own words kind of communication adds a light touch to his every interaction, as intended by the writers, I am sure.

OK. Did I leave anything out? A review: "Ah! That's what it is! Don't talk! Remarkable! Look out behind you! Don't drop the sun! Smooth move! This girl does well with furniture! Yikes! Ouch! Gotcha! Marshall, you're a hoot! Curiouser and curiouser! Casablanca! Back flips! Quick wit! Gotta love tourists! Oh, oh! So vulnerable! Geez! Hurts to watch! Heartwrenching! Great line! Hilarious!

All that is covered. All that is left is this. Syd jumps on a motorcycle to follow an ambulance taking away Patel. At a warehouse Syd climbs up through the rafters to spy on the kidnappers who are now, far below her vantage, operating on the kidnapped Patel. A bomb is added to his pacemaker. Diabolical, that. My gawd!

And again, I am surprised. Another episode is over! Incredible how fast this show goes, and, every week--another cliffhanger. Am I going to be left, at the end of every week's episode, mouth open, wondering "What Next?" Probably.


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