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ALIAS

THE COUP


EPISODE NO. 14
Season 1, episode 14
Series 114
1st release: 02/24/02
2nd release: 08/04/02
Production number: E643
Last update: 08/09/03


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REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY by Adriane Saunders


REGULAR CAST
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

GUEST CAST
Evan Dexter Parke (Charlie)
David Anders (Sark)
Allison Dean (Stella Campbell)
Keone Young (Prof. Choy)
Ray Laska (Floor manager)
Stephen Liska (Ivankov)
Jorgo Ognenovski (Kessar)
Patrick Pankhurst (Dahlgren)
Christopher Grey (Security guard)
Douglas Robert Jackson (Dealer)
James Lew (Quan Li)
Joe Toppe (Security officer)
Frank Patton (Roulette dealer)
Bobby Rodgers (Reverand)
John Fletcher (1st card player)
Hamilton Mitchell (2nd card player)
Ken Olin (David McNeil) - no screen credit

CREDITS
Written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci
Directed by Tom Wright

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




TV GUIDE PROMO

As the team behind the attack on SD-6 targets Sloane's rival intelligence groups, Dixon and Syd hit Vegas to observe a K-Directorate who may be next in line for a lethal visit. But their mission is compromised by the unexpected arrival of Francie and her two-timing fiancÚ (Evan Dexter Parke). Meanwhile, Jack gets a chance to play dad to his daughter, who is having a hard time deciding her educational future. TVguide.com


SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser

Scenes from previous episodes, culminating with Sydney and Vaughn retrieving the Rembaldi artifact that Cole took from the SD-6 vault.

In Hong Kong, a man is shot in cold blood outside FTL headquarters. Sloane says that the dead man was the head of FTL, and that FTL was infiltrated at the same time SD-6 was, with the same objective -- to steal a Rembaldi artifact. The shooter, though plainly seen in the video, has not been identified. Sloane is worried that whoever is behind the operations will discover what Rembaldi was working on before SD-6 does. What's more, the group responsible has apparently contacted K-directorate and set up a meeting to negotiate the sharing of Rembaldi technology. Sydney and Dixon's mission is to find out when and where this meeting is to take place. They are to plant a transmittor on a K-directorate agent named Dahlgren, who lives in Las Vages. When the briefing meeting breaks up, Sloane asks Sydney to stay. He commiserates with Sydney about her discovery that her mother was KGB. He also says that every person at SD-6 owes her their lives. She asks how his finger is, and he says it's healing. When they leave the office, the other agents give Sydney a standing ovation.

Later, Sydney tells Vaughn she felt sick that all those people think they're patriots, and she wanted to rip Sloane's finger off again. Vaughn says he only got a slap on the wrist for going into SD-6 without authorization, but he was hoping Haladki would get a reprimand.

Sydney tells Jack that she is thinking about dropping out of grad school. She says she wanted to be a teacher because her mother was one, but now that she knows that was just a cover, she is rethinking her plans. Jack says he is probably the wrong person to advise her, and Sydney leaves, disappointed.

Act I

Will stops by to see Sydney. She notices a hickey on his neck and kids him about it: "Did the Clinton administration teach you nothing?" He's embarrassed, and she gives him some cover-up so it won't show. Francie and Charlie come in, stressed from having brunch with both sets of parents to discuss their wedding. Sydney says she's going to Las Vegas on business, and Francie tells Charlie that's where they should go, too. Sydney tries to head them off, saying to wait til next week and they can all go together. Charlie asks Sydney to put up some fliers on campus advertising his upcoming gig.

Will meets with David McNeil, who says his daughter is now safely out of the country so he will talk about SD-6. He sends Will to a technology company where he used to work. He gives him codes to get into a room where a computer holds information on the people who set him up. He says the list will lead them to SD-6.

Sydney tells her professor she is planning to quit the graduate program. He says she's one of the best students he's ever had. He urges her to reconsider her decision. Sydney is thoughtful when she sees she made an A on her last paper.

When Sydney is putting up Charlie's fliers, another grad student named Stella Campbell recognizes Charlie's picture and tells Sydney that she and Charlie had gone together for a few months just a short time ago, and that he was a jerk when he ended it. Sydney is stunned at the news and rips down the flier.

In Las Vegas Sydney tells Dixon that she had always thought she could read people, but now she's not so sure. She gets into the casino with a fake employee's ID, and Dixon poses as a wealthy Jamaican there for the high stakes gambling.

Act II

Sydney is shocked to almost run into Francie and Charlie -- who have apparently decided to come to Vegas after all -- but manages to get by them without them seeing her. She gets into the security room and uses Marshall's razor prism to tap into the surveillance cameras without being detected. She can see the hands of all the players in the private gaming room. Meanwhile, Dixon is escorted to that same room and sits down at a poker table with the K-directorate agent Dahlgren.

Francie and Charlie are playing roulette when Francie notices a wedding chapel. She tells Charlie to just think of it -- a wedding with no parents and no hassle.

In the midst of watching the poker game and keeping Dixon apprised of what his opponents' poker hands contain, Sydney sees on another camera Francie and Charlie going into the wedding chapel. She tells Dixon to keep bluffing and she'll be back in two minutes. She runs out and gets to the chapel just as Francie and Charlie are registering. Francie is thrilled to see her and wants her to be their witness. Sydney says she just need to talk to Charlie for a second. A puzzled Francie agrees. Sydney tells Charlie she talked to Stella Campbell and if he doesn't tell Francie about it before they get married she'll kill him. Charlie goes back and tells Francie they should wait so that all their friends can be there when they get married.

Back at the poker game, Dixon goads Dahlgren into betting his ring, and Sydney gets back to the camera just in time to tell him Dahlgren is going to win the hand with a flush. Dixon displays his three kings and makes to sweep up the chips and Dahlgren's ring. Dahlgren stops him, shows his flush, and takes the pot, putting a duplicate ring with a transmittor in it on his finger. Sydney sees in the monitor that security guards are heading to the gaming room. They take Dixon out into the hallway and tell him that the real Jamaican's attache called and "he" is stranded at the airport. Sydney runs down the hall and she and Dixon fight off the guards and escape.

Back home, Francie thanks Sydney for talking Charlie out of getting married on the spur of the moment. Sydney realizes Charlie didn't tell Francie about Stella Campbell, so she does. Francie is upset and angry at Sydney and leaves the room in tears.

Act III

Sydney tells Will that Francie may not want to be her friend anymore. Will sympathizes but says to give it time. Sydney's cell phone rings, and it's Jack. He says the Las Vegas mission was a success, and they have already recorded a phone conversation that is being translated now. He asks to meet her at an amusement park. Sydney agrees.

At the park, Sydney asks why they are meeting at a carousel. Jack says they -- Sydney and her mom and dad -- used to come here. He says when Sydney asked him about school, he hadn't known what to say. He tells her she should trust her decisions -- that she would make a good teacher.

Dahlgren's phone call reveals that the meeting with K-directorate is to take place in Moscow. Sydney and Dixon's mission is to surveil the meeting and try to learn the identity of "the man".

Vaughn gives Sydney a flash card on which to record the images from the K-directorate meeting. She is to leave it on the plane where CIA agents will retrieve it. He says that when she told him she wanted to quit SD-6 and go to a hockey game with him, he wasn't clear about something. He does wish he could actually go out in public with her and wants her to know that. He walks off with Sydney looking wistfully after him.

Act IV

That evening, Sydney is studying the drop request for her lit class when Francie comes in. She says she talked to Charlie and everything Sydney told her is true. She breaks down and sobs and Sydney comforts her. Francie apologizes for the things she said, and Sydney tells her she's on her side. Francie sees the drop request and asks if Sydney is dropping a class. Sydney says no and throws the paper into the fire.

In Moscow, Sydney hooks onto a high wire and crosses between two buildings to get to the warehouse where the meeting is to take place. She reaches a window and sets up a camera and recorder. Ivankov, the head of K-directorate, enters the room. The young man who shot the head of FTL introduces himself as Mr. Sark. He offers $100 million for the Rembaldi manuscript that the K-directorate acquired in Argentina. Ivankov laughs. Sark's bodyguard pulls a gun and kills Ivankov. Then Sark tells the second K-directorate man -- Kessar -- that he is now in charge, so the same offer is on the table. Kessar agrees. Outside, Sydney starts to slip from her perch, and the guard below sees her. He begins firing, which alerts the men in the warehouse. They also start shooting. Sydney is dangling three stories up and caught in the crossfire.

To be continued.



COMMENTARY

This commentary is by Adriane SaundersBeboman.

This week's episode begins with an assassination--graphic and up close, and ends with Syd spinning and frantically bouncing off walls--on the end of a rope, machine gun fire ricocheting all around. In between Syd kicks back and revisits her "real life", the life which includes friends and fun--laughter and sometimes tears plus awkward conversations with her father, Jack.

Syd and Jack are more at ease with one another "in action" against odds, than in everyday "personal" conversation. As Jack says to Syd, "I am out of practice when it comes to personal matters." Still, he manages. [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Episode 14 is a breather for all of us still recovering from last week's episode. [See Part 2 of "The Box".] The tension and torture and turnarounds --and breakneck speed of last week's episode left many of us reeling, ready afterwards to fall down somewhere in a heap. This week's episode is a relief--and full of laughter. Syd delivers lots of witty one-liners. [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

From the assassination--at the start--of a rival SD-6 organization head, the FTL, to an assassination that Syd witnesses--at the end--of the head of K-Directorate, the plot moves forward with ease and directness. This "day in the life" of Sydney Bristow--compared to SD-6 under attack--is not so hard to handle.

Sloan applauds Syd--as do all the SD-6 agents, whose lives Syd saved in last week's episode. Lots of smiles all around, except Syd herself. Syd is--as she says later to CIA Vaughan, sickened by seeing all these "patriots" at SD-6, who think they work for the U.S. Government--not a rogue organization that would sell any of them out "in a heartbeat", for a price. [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Syd's--and Dixon's--mission this week is to find out the location of a meeting set up between a group headed by "The Man", and K-Directorate. [See Episodes 12 and 13 for more about "The Man".] This sends Syd and Dixon first to Las Vegas to breach gambling security, with Dixon posing as a Jamaican diplomat. (His Jamaican accent is pretty good, but his wig and beard look a little like a Halloween costume special.) [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Next, Syd and Dixon are in Moscow, overseeing--and overhearing--a meeting between a representative of "The Man", cold and deadly, and the K-Directorate. Here "an agreement" is struck, after the head of K-Directorate is gunned down.

In between Syd finds out her best friend's fiance, Charlie, has been unfaithful to Francie during their engagement. How to tell Francie? That is what Syd asks friend, Will, over her cell phone enroute to her Las Vegas gig with Dixon. [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Surprise, surprise! Francie and Charlie turn out to be in the Vegas casino at the same time as Syd. In costume, as a cocktail waitress, Syd narrowly avoids being seen by them. In the surveillance room--part of her mission--Syd sees Francie about to marry Charlie in one of the casino chapels.

Syd calls "time out" to Dixon, who she is helping win a poker game via survellance--and to Charlie, who she confronts directly in the chapel. The wedding is halted. Her mission continues. The interuption is believable and effectively done.

Later, Francie is told of Charlie's infidelity. Tears, and temporary anger at Syd, ensue. Francie and Syd do "make up". But, this scene strikes me as a little half-hearted on Syd's part. Syd is distracted by considerations of whether or not to drop a grad school course. (This is the course in an earlier episode, which required of Syd "more soul" in her paper writing. Now that we know the course is literature, "soul" makes sense.)

Will's antics this week, apart from snappy dialogue with Syd [see HIGHLIGHTS], include further conversation with David McNeil in prison, and some "breaking and entering" (which is likely to put Will there too) in the computer of the company where McNeil worked before being framed by SD-6.

This episode bridges what went before and what is to come, and ties up loose ends. But, despite this, we--like Syd--are left dangling at the end, with gunfire spitting holes in walls all around.

HIGHLIGHTS:

1--BLOW YOUR COVER: Syd says to Vaughan, speaking of Sloan's praise in saving SD-6 last week, "I just wanted to rip his finger right off again. That make me a bad person?" Vaughan says, "No, but it might have blown your cover." When Vaughan sees her rubbing her cheek, he asks if she is OK. "It's nothing," says Syd, "I'm just a little bruised." And, she notes she is wearing "a pound of cover up". An inside joke here? The bruises Syd mentions are Garner's, who does so many of her own stunts and frequently is covered in bruises.

2--AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS: Syd asks Jack for advice. To quit grad school or not to quit, that is her question. She asks first at SD-6 Headquarters, but Jack tells her he is not "the best person to ask," and puts her off. Later--surprisingly--he follows up with an invitation to meet at a local park, near the carousel. He--and Syd's mother--came to this park often when Syd was a child. The carousel was her "favorite". Here Jack gives Syd the answer to her question, saying, "If you stick with it, you can become the kind of teacher your students will always remember." High praise, indeed.

3--WHAT LEAGUE? WHERE? Will is at Syd's house. She notices a "hicky" on his neck from his girlfriend-- and newspaper office assistant, Jenny. Embarrassed, Will tells Syd this makes him feel like he is "fifteen" years old. Just the age of his assistant, Syd jokes, saying: "Did the Clinton administration teach you nothing?" Then she tells him Jenny is not in his "league"."What league?" Will asks, "Tell me the league, and I'll buy a ticket. I'll go to the meetings and try to find those people. Where are they?" An animated and hilarious exchange.

4--DOUBLE LIVES: Syd is on the phone to Will, enroute to the Vegas casino with Dixon. Both are in disguise. Syd is telling Will about Charlie cheating on Francie. "Who the hell lives a double life like this?" Will asks. After a pause and a sidelong glance at Dixon in his fake beard and wig, Syd says, "There are people."

5--LOOK AT YOU: This is what Vaughan says to Syd, sandwiching his message into her CIA countermission briefing. He is her "handler", and he now makes "clear" how much handling he would like to do. Referring to an earlier conversation, Vaughan says to Syd, "I wasn't clear about something. It would be nice to be in public with you, to actually get to look at you." A nice line, that. And, Syd's reaction is beautifully done, too.

6--HANG ON: In Moscow Syd--in harness--propels herself along a wire, high in the air. Dixon--over a radio--says to her, "How's it hanging, Syd?" To which Syd replies, "Very funny". Maybe not--from Syd's viewpoint, but for the rest of us, this week's episode has lots of laughs.




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