Season 3, episode 04
Series 304
1st release: 10/19/03
2nd release:
Last update: 11/07/03

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SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 1 by Adriane Saunders
COMMENTARY 2 by Beboman

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

Justin Theroux (Simon Walker)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Javier Parez)
Amanda Foreman (Carrie)
Ray Proscia (Laszlo Bogden)
Elizabeth Penn Payne (Carolyn)
Carlos Del Olmo (Bouncer)
Fernando Jimenez (Police officer)
Marco Zunino (Hotel manager)

Written by Monica Breen and Alison Schapker
Directed by Lawrence Trilling

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


JUSTIN THEROUX IS HOT. -- I'm sorry. I can't really come up with anything else to say about this episode. Oh, except maybe that it didn't suck. And that Syd stabs Vaughn. But not before he has a spat with the missus, or before Satan Sloane returns to our screens for the first time since he went off and visited spooky David Carradine on a soundstage in the corner of the Disney lot. And Justin Theroux. Oh, dear lord, Justin Theroux. Yes, things were good in "Alias"-land on this night, let me tell you. TWop

While trying to infiltrate a group bent on retrieving deadly biological weapons, Sydney discovers a link to her missing two years in the form of Simon Walker, the dangerous and sexy leader of the team. Meanwhile, Vaughn struggles with his own feelings of jealousy and longing while Sydney is on her mission, aware of the pressures his job is putting on his marriage to Lauren; and Jack takes matters into his own hands to protect his daughter, purposefully revealing Sydney's deadly secret to Dixon in order to preserve her position inside the CIA. TVTome.com


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.


Scenes from previous episodes, culminating with Sydney begging the Covenant doctor to tell her why the Covenant took two years of her life. He dies before he can tell her anything.

Sydney and Jack watch the video of Lazarey’s murder again. Jack says she needs to stop obsessing over it. He says when she got him out of prison, she said she needed his strength as her father. He says it was her strength that got him through that time. He tells her to not lose that strength now. Sydney’s phone rings. It’s Lauren. She and Sydney meet at hq. Lauren says that the NSC has learned that the Covenant has stolen some vials of the ebola virus, and one of their agents has been apprehended and is dying of the virus. They are to interrogate him.

At the naval hospital, Lauren and Sydney meet Laszlo Bogden, who is in pretty bad shape under an oxygen tent. He refuses to speak to Lauren so Sydney takes over. She tells Bogden that this is his last chance in this life to do the right thing. All he says is that he can’t help them on the second job.

Marshall explains (in his usual roundabout way) that another agent mixed in with the virus could make it airborne. Dixon reports that the Covenant team responsible for the original theft was an independent group led by a man named Simon Walker. Bogden had been the security expert for the group. Sydney is to try to infiltrate the group as Bogden’s replacement.

On the plane, Vaughn gives Sydney a lipstick that contains a tracking device. If Walker accepts her into the team for the second heist, she is to tag what they steal so it can be traced. They start to banter about how the color of the lipstick is not really "in" this season, but then realize what they’re doing and get uncomfortable.

In Seville, Sydney enters a cantina and approaches Simon Walker. He greets her with a passionate kiss and says, "It’s good to see you, Julia." Sydney is stunned but manages to respond, "Good to see you, too."

Act I

Walker says he barely recognized "Julia". Sydney says she wants to take Bogden’s place on his team. Walker: "No future in murder?" Sydney: "I’m a girl with many talents."

Lauren talks to Sloane about Walker. Sloane says he was concerned about Lauren when he heard that Sydney had resurfaced. He says not to worry, she (Lauren) is good at her job despite the way she got it. When Lauren wants to know what he means, he changes the subject.

Walker introduces Sydney to the other team members and they all leave together, with Vaughn and Weiss trailing them. When they get in the car, Walker says that Princess Demetria is staying in the penthouse of the hotel and has a 150-carat diamond necklace in her room safe. They want Sydney to steal the necklace as her initiation into the group. To make things interesting, they call the police and tell them there is a robbery in progress. Sydney has seven minutes.

Sydney gets into the hotel and breaks into a storage room, stealing a maid’s uniform. She darts a guard outside the penthouse apartment and gets into the room. The princess is asleep next to the safe. She wakes, but Sydney darts her with a brief, "Sorry." Sydney cracks the safe just as the police arrive, find the guard and burst into the room. Sydney exits by the window. She strips to her underwear and makes a perfect dive down many stories into the hotel pool. Then she nonchalantly gets out and is handed a robe by an attendant. She returns to Walker’s car: "I had time for a swim." The necklace is wrapped around her ankle.

Act II

On the plane, Vaughn tells Sydney he thinks the op is too dangerous and he also thinks Sydney is keeping secrets from him. Sydney says she is doing him a favor by not telling him.

In Pamplona, Parez (one of the team members) gives Walker a file on "Julia". Walker does not seem pleased when he sees what’s in it.

Marshall shows Sydney a new device that can crack a safe, operating on the same principle as an ultrasound. This brings up the subject of Carrie’s pregnancy. Marshall is wishing he knew the sex of their child. Since Carrie either doesn’t know or won’t tell him, Marshall has come up with a list of unisex names. When he approaches Carrie with the ultrasound device, she responds, "Touch me with that thing and you die."

Dixon calls Sydney and Vaughn in and tells them that Jack has shown him the videotape of Lazarey’s murder. Vaughn is surprised, but Sydney is incredulous that Jack has done this. Dixon is not pleased with the concealment, but says the current op is too important to pull Sydney off now. He tell Vaughn they need to keep this from the NSC, so he is prohibited from discussing this with Lauren.

In a hotel room, Walker is looking at the file on "Julia". It contains a picture of Sydney and Vaughn walking together.


In Pamplona, Sydney gets ready to go meet Walker. She tells Vaughn that she never meant to make him keep secrets from Lauren.

When Sydney arrives, Walker asks her how Milan was. She says it was good. He pulls her down beside him and they kiss. Then Walker pulls Sydney around and holds a knife to her throat. He throws down the picture and asks who it is. She says it’s her supplier. He wants a name, so she tells him, "It’s Michael Vaughn, my supplier." Vaughn and Weiss hear this over their link and know that Walker has a picture of Vaughn.

Act IV

Vaughn calls Marshall and tells him to upload a criminal profile for him into the Interpol database. Marshall succeeds just as Walker accesses the file. Walker apologizes to Sydney.

Walker, Parez and Sydney have a meeting to plan the next heist of a biological agent. Walker is interrupted when someone arrives. Sydney realizes by the voice that it’s Sark. She keeps her back turned and overhears Sark arranging for payment for what they steal.

Sloane tells Lauren that the biological agent Walker is planning to steal can make the virus targetable to certain people. Sloane apologizes for his baiting remarks earlier. Lauren says she knows what he’s doing and not to try to manipulate her.

Walker, Sydney and the team gets into a facility and Sydney uses her new device to break into the safe there. They get the vial they wanted and drive off. When they reach a certain point on a mountain road, another vehicle approaches. Men get out dragging a badly beaten Vaughn with them. They say he has CIA-issue equipment. Sydney says if he’s been lying to her, she want to be the one to kill him. She looks into Vaughn’s face and says, "You never should have betrayed me." Then she stabs him in the stomach, and Walker kicks him down the hill. They all get into their vehicles and drive away. The camera pans down the hill to show Vaughn lying motionless at the bottom.


This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

If you skip this episode, nothing much will be missed. The important bits. like Syd killing Vaughan, or Sloane playing Lauren, will no doubt be repeated next week in the "previously seen on Alias” pre-teaser. This episode titled "A Missing Link" should have stayed missing. The episode is a dud. Dullsville. Wordy and unconvincing. That includes much of the acting but especially the script.

The scriptwriters for this week's episode are new to Alias. A suggestion might be: back to the writing board. Redraft, redraft. Cut dialogue. Dump preachy sophomoric speeches from Syd. Tighten up characterization. Pick up the pace. Dull and slow describes the first 40 minutes of this episode. Pace, plot and interactions between characters wait until the last 10 minutes to start to boogie. By then, I am counting the minutes until the episode is finished. Let me out.

LOWLIGHTS are so abundant I will not even list them all. Instead, here are some samples:

1--Syd swan dives off a skyscraper, from 30 or more stories up, straight into a swimming pool below. Yeah, right. Is she going to join the circus next and try dives into a saucepan? .From the height she jumped, the surface of the water would be like concrete. A flashy but doubtful stunt.

2--Dreamy philosophizing from Syd to a Covenant link, dying from a virus contracted through exposure to a stolen biological weapon, has me rolling my eyes. Syd waxes far less than poetic about the "consequences of [his] actions" in this life. What is she telling him? That he has been a bad boy and that Heaven is out of the question unless he does the "right thing" by telling her what she wants to know? Does Syd really talk like this with a straight face. Apparently, yes. In this episode. Pathetic.

3--A paced "boom" pause "boom" is heard during Dixon's long-winded briefing for the next mission, yet another virus to be stolen. Is this low budget background music supposed to create suspense? It only distracted me. The "boom, boom" kept cracking me up. How corny can you get trying to manipulate emotions. Try again.

4--All scenes between the leader of the group planning to steal the second biological weapon, Simon Walker, and Syd are yawners. Indeterminable. Unsuspenseful. Tedious. This includes even the only small surprise in the episode--that Walker knows Syd from her missing two-year timeline. Her name for him is Julia. All the conversations between the two are delivered in hushed or supposedly sexy whispers in semi-darkness, faces in shadow. Lights please. Camera. Action.

5--Very low lights, dark in fact, describes the cinematography for episode. Actors faces are consistently half in shadow. Lighting is minimal. Though dialogue and delivery throughout much of the episode reminds me of soap opera, tone and pacing is more like a foreign language film in black and white. The episode even has subtitles at one point.

That is enough of the lowlights, literal and figurative. Here are highlights.

HIGHLIGHTS are fewer but are at least sprinkled in, mainly at the end.

1--I enjoyed the music which kicked in as Syd got out of the pool (after her skyscraper dive). Upbeat and energized, for about a minute and a half. Likewise, in the Seville tavern where Syd goes to meet Walker, the music is also fun. I enjoyed the music and the Spanish dancer swirling in a red dress. Consider what this says about the effect of this episode on me that about three minutes of background music is the first highlight that comes to mind.

2--Friction between Lauren and Vaughan is notable when she wants more information from his CIA reports than he gives. "The better you do your job, the better I'll be able to do mine," Lauren tells him. The affection between Vaughan and Lauren is genuine and believable, but so too is her independence and clear headedness. When sleazy Sloane tries to manipulate Lauren for his purposes, she--though stung--refuses to buy into his games. Kudos for Lauren.

3--After Syd completes the second heist of biological weapon with Walker and company, she is confronted by a captured and blackeyed Vaughan. He is to be killed on the spot. Syd demands--as part of the gang--to be the one who kills Vaughan. "You never should have betrayed me," Syd says to Vaughan just before she drives a knife into his chest. At last something interesting happens in the episode! Do I believe Vaughan is dead? Nah. Tune in next week.

Meanwhile, the camera spins round and round Vaughan lying on the ground, blood on his chest. End of episode. Finally.


This commentary is by Beboman.

After a long debate with myself, I will start this week with the things that I liked the most about this episode and to tell you the truth, I really liked this episode. So, here are some of the best parts, in my opinion, about this week's episode:

The beginning of the episode was great, with Sydney obsessing about her two lost years and trying to find out what happened and Jack trying to comfort her. Nice father and daughter interaction. It was good to see Jack show some emotions. I'm a sucker for those types of scenes.

Another good scene was the little squabble between Vaughn and Lauren about paperwork, with Lauren trying to show Vaughn who was the boss. It was obvious that her comments hurt his ego, especially when he said that his reports were never questioned. Well dear Vaughn, there is always a first time for everything.

Another thing that was just perfect was having the sexual tension between Sydney and Vaughn. That chemistry between them is great. And then to top it all, there was the jealousy Vaughn displayed when he heard Sydney and Simon Walker. Those scenes were great.

I'm beginning to like Lauren. The way she put Sloane in his place when he was trying to manipulate her was really great. The woman really has some gumption. She might have gotten the job because of who her father is, but she has kept the job because of who she is. Love it.

I just had to giggle when I heard Sydney tell Simon, "I'm a woman of many skills." (I wondered where I had heard that line before .)

There were two very excellent moments in this episode. The first was when Dixon calls them all into his office and informs them that Jack has blown wide-open Sydney's secret about killing this German guy and being the one they are looking for. No better time to provide that information than when the CIA is in the middle of an operation and replacing Sydney could be impossible. Then there is the fact that Jack struck the first blow and that now opens doors for him to investigate what happened to Sydney openly without having to worry about the CIA.

The second great moment was that whole thing about Sydney saying that Vaughn was her provider, and then finding out that Simon and his men had captured Vaughn, then she seemed to have killed him. That was good thinking by all and was well done.

By the end of this episode, Sydney is once again playing the double agent stuff, something she is really good at.

I have to say that this episode was extremely well written. It put the show back on its original track. This was the kind of episode with plot twists and intrigue that kept you at the edge of your seat. The characters were solid; there was no more insecurity in the characters. Very well done.

The directing was exceptional, great transitions, fast passes; even though there were no great big fight scenes, the episode just flowed. There was the right amount of tension and great transitions to release that tension.

The acting was top-notch (earlier in the evening I was subjected to watching a show with just two good actors and it was so refreshing watching a show with strong actors who know their craft).

This was a super excellent episode all around. I loved it and I hope it continues that way.


Television without Pity

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