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ALIAS

THE FRAME


EPISODE NO. 61
Season 3, episode 17
Series 317
1st release: 03/28/04
2nd release:
Last update: 04/24/04


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REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 1 by Adriane Saunders
LINKS



REGULAR CAST
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



GUEST CAST
Djimon Hounsou (Kazari Bomani)
Peggy Lipton (Olivia Reed)
Raymond J. Barry (Sen. Reed)
Stephen Spinella (Kishell)
Dimitri Boudrine (Lubo)
Dimitri Distchenko (Vimos)
Herman G. Sinitzyn (Petr Berezovsky)
Kevin Sutherland (Rotunda techie)
James Sharpe (Technician)



CREDITS
Written by Crystal Nix Hines
Directed by Max Mayer



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

TV GUIDE PROMO

LAUREN IS BUSTED! -- In the last minute of the episode, Jack figures out that Lauren might be in league with Sark, which made the whole episode worthwhile. Sark escapes again. Dixon's kids get kidnapped by the Covenant, which forces Dixon and Syd to go undercover to meet Sark's demands. Syd and Dixon, together again! TWoP

The Frame. The Frame - Vaughn and Lauren break up, but then her mom kills her dad, so they get back together. Yeah. TWoP




SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser Vaughn and Weiss are jogging. Vaughn asks if he can crash on Weiss's couch if it becomes necessary. Weiss jokes that he will have to sweep off the cheese nips, but agrees. Vaughn reports that he has a lead on discovering the location of a key to the Rambaldi box. He and Sydney head for Mexico City to meet a contact, who tells them that the box is rumored to contain some sort of bioweapon. A map to the key, etched in crystal, has been discovered in the desert by Covenant agent Kazari Bomani. Sydney asks if he knows anything more about the bioweapon, and he says the Covenant refers to it as "the passenger". Sydney remembers that Lazarey's last words to her before he was killed were about a "passenger". The contact shows them photos of Bomani's operation, and they notice that his trucks bear the logo of Omnifam, Sloane's humanitarian organization. Sydney asks Sloane about Bomani using his trucks. Sloane says that the CIA asked him to enter into an agreement with Bomani. Sydney is skeptical. Sloane says all the trucks are equipped with transponders, and if he gives them the right codes, they can track Bomani's movements. Sloane says he has missed Sydney's beautiful smile. Sydney responds that if Sloane is really in cahoots with the Covenant, his pardon agreement will be voided and he will be executed. She will smile then. Vaughn and Lauren are eating out in a restaurant. Lauren asks about Vaughn's mission to Mexico City. Vaughn is noncommital. Lauren gives him a gift -- his father's watch, which she has had repaired. Vaughn says he wants a separation. Lauren: "This is about Sydney, isn't it?" Vaughn denies it. Lauren leaves the table and immediately calls Sark: "We have a problem." Sark and Lauren meet in a parking garage. Sark says it is imperative that she keep Vaughn close because of his involvement with the Rambaldi operation. He says that Vaughn reunited with an old girlfriend once because her father died. Lauren says she is not going to kill her father. Jack breaks into Lauren's computer and accesses information on her flight records, e-mail and other communications.

Act One Jack goes to see Sen. Reed. He meets Lauren's mother, Olivia Reed. After she leaves, Jack gives the Senator the evidence he has gathered on the mole. Sen. Reed is first indignant and then angry that Jack could suspect his daughter of being a traitor. Jack just says to review the information and they'll talk again. Marshall tracks the Omnifam trucks to a Russian consulate in Gaborone. There is an event scheduled there, and Sydney, Vaughn and Weiss are to infiltrate it and try to find the map. In Gaborone, Sydney enters the reception disguised as a couture designer interested in the diamond trade. She is to get a voice print from a man named Petr Berezovsky so that Weiss can reconstruct a voice password that will get them into the lab area where the map is located. When Sydney approaches him, he is hoarse from cheering at his son's ball game, but Sydney keeps him talking until Weiss gets his voice recorded. Vaughn and Sydney find the location and finally get the voice password to work. They get the crystal, but set off a silent alarm. Sark and Bomani burst into the room, and they trade gunfire. Sydney and Vaughn escape with the crystal by swinging down to the first floor on a long curtain.

Act Two On the way home, Vaughn tells Sydney he and Lauren are separating and he will be staying at Weiss's place. Lauren sees that someone has accessed her computer records and is able to determine that it was Jack. She calls Sark to tell him, and Sark says that now it is even more imperative that she kill her father, because they can associate him with the leaked information. Marshall examines the crystal, but can't match the map to any known topography. So they visit Sloane and show him the map. He says to check under the ocean. Marshall is then able to match the topography to a spot just off the coast of Okinawa. Lauren visits her father. He shows her the information that Jack left with him. He says he can help her "get out of it." She asks if he would really do that for her, and he says yes, because he loves her. She says that only solves one of her problems. She pulls out her gun, but is unable to pull the trigger. Her mother bursts into the room: "My god, what are you doing?" She grabs the gun from Lauren, then turns and shoots the Senator herself. Then she turns back to Lauren: "Sark said you might back out."

Act Three Jack comes to the Reeds and listens to Olivia's tearful account of coming home and having her husband tell her he had made some terrible choices and even involved Lauren in some of them. When she left him alone, she heard a shot, and ran in to find him dead on the floor, having shot himself. Lauren rushes in just then, and runs to her mother in tears. In the Sea of Japan, Sydney and Vaughn dive to the ocean's floor, where they find an underwater cave. They find the discs that are the key to the box. Vaughn says that if what's in the box really is harmful to Sydney, they should just destroy the discs. Sydney smiles, but says they must finish the mission. Bomani interrupts them and takes the discs. They fight him and his men, but Bomani escapes with the discs after destroying Sydney and Vaughn's diving equipment. They are able to use a container of compressed air to propel them to the surface, but Bomani is already gone.

Act Four On the way home, Sydney tells Vaughn that she is sorry he has to go through an unpleasant experience with Lauren, but that she is hopeful. He asks if she wants to go out for coffee when they get home. She agrees. Weiss tells Sydney and Vaughn about Lauren's father. Vaughn goes to Lauren and they embrace. Sydney watches sadly. Dixon tells Sloane that they identified the mole as Sen. Reed. Sloane is skeptical of this news, but says now that he has been exonerated, he wants to be released with an apology. Dixon says that they found evidence in Reed's files that he had been working with Sloane to leak information to the Covenant, so the CIA has revoked Sloane's pardon agreement. He is to be executed in two weeks. Vaughn calls Sydney. She asks if he is at Weiss's place. He says no. Sydney: ""I guess we won't be getting that cup of coffee." She hangs up and begins to cry. Vaughn goes back to bed. Lauren opens her eyes and smiles.



COMMENTARY 1

This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

My gawd! The mothers on this show! First we have Syd's mother Irina, double agent double digit killer as Jack's wife in Season Two. Now we have Olivia Reed, Lauren's mother and wife to the Senator killing him--in an astonishing plot twist--in Season Three. Sark orders Lauren to kill her father but, surprisingly, she balks. Her mother Olivia takes the gun from Lauren's hand, saying, "Sark said you wouldn't be able to do it." Then she pulls the trigger! Yeowie, what a family! Will all those NOT playing both ends against the middle please stand up!

These two--Senator Reed and Olivia Reed--are the same two Vaughan admires for still enjoying each other's company after so many years married. On a run through the park Vaughan tells Weiss he is separating from Lauren. Too bad, and rather off the wall. Only last week the two were tight.

Every week there is a new writer, a new script and new words put in characters mouths. I root for a reconciliation between Vaughan and Lauren. Two reasons: 1) Lauren is more or less the "star" character of Season Three and far more interesting than Syd just now; and 2) I am bored to distraction with Syd mooning over Vaughan. Get a grip, Syd! Get on with your life. Is it time for Season Four yet?

PLOT:

Well paced. Three inventive escapes are staged: Syd and Vaughan fling themselves together over a balcony railing on a rolled up drape. Machine guns pepper the walls behind them, while lots of screaming goes on in the ballroom below. Syd and Vaughan escape with another Rimbaldi artifact, a crystal map to something called "The Passenger".

Later gunfire riddles holes in an underwater cavern where the map leads Syd and Vaughan. Three Rimbaldi keys are hidden in the cavern. Covenant henchmen, Sark included, arrive to provide the gunfire, exchange some kicks and punches with Syd and Vaughan, and to deliver a titillating remark about Irina, Syd's mother. "The Passenger is Irina's legacy," Syd is told. OK. What that means is anyone's guess. Perhaps Irina herself will explain before the season ends.

Though Syd and Vaughan lose the three keys to the Covenant, along with their underwater scuba gear, all is not lost. Vaughan and Syd use the compressed air from one of the tanks to propel themselves out of the cave at speed, holding their breath all the way. Possible? On this show anything is possible.

Just as inventive is Lauren's mother Olivia diverting Jack's suspicion of Lauren being "the mole" by "framing" (hence the title of the episode) the now dead Senator, her husband. Plausibly done. I had wondered how Lauren would slip the net drawing close round her ankles. Even after three years of watching this show, I would not have guessed Lauren's mother would turn out also to be in the Covenant, in touch with Sark and a cold blooded killer. A surprise. Kudos for surprise.

PRODUCTION:

OK. My interest stayed on task all the way through this episode. Good pacing and direction. The Director this week is new to Alias, Max Meyer. Donald Thorin, Jr. is again Director of Photography. He has been that now for the past several episodes, all in a row. Applause. Good choice.

The script from Crystal Nix Hines highlights a "crystal" prop (the map). I vaguely recall an earlier script from Crystal Nix Hines mentioning a crystal" and wondered at the coincidence of her namesake. For this script she also repeats another plot device used in an earlier script (though I am not sure if that script was hers). The replay is this: Syd gets a diplomat to say certain words at a party in order to steal his voice ID. Marshall electronically reproduces the man's voice, enabling Syd and Vaughan to break into a locked room. This has been done before.

Ah well, not all repetition is bad. I am still hoping for a repeat of the "plot device" of Syd's mother Irina appearing in a future script. Meanwhile, all we have is Irina's legacy, "the Passenger"--whatever that may turn out to be. Stay tuned.



LINKS:

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