Season 3, episode 22
Series 322
1st release: 05/23/04
2nd release:
Last update: 05/25/04

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

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

Isabella Rossellini (Katya)
Mia Maestro (Nadia)
Cotter Smith (Agent Foster)
Ed Brigadier (Kaufmann)
Burt Bulos (Safe House Agent)
Jordi Caballero (Technician)
Cosimo Canale (Foreman)
Kendall Clement (Hospital Guard #1)
Rolando De La Maza (ER Doctor)
Eddie Diaz (Hospital Guard #2)
Michael Guarnera (Agent)
Andrea Lwin (EMT)

Written by Jeff Pinkner
Directed by Ken Olin

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


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.


Sydney arrives at CIA headquarters and enters high level security areas. People greet her, but she only smiles at them. She leaves several items in waste cans and on desks.

Marshall tells Dixon he has almost decoded the Rambaldi equation. Dixon says that, according to Dr. Lee, the equation will reveal the location of Rambaldi himself. They both shake their heads at this incredulous possibility.

Sydney sits at Marshall's computer and makes a phone call. It's to Sark. "Sydney" is really Lauren in disguise. Marshall comes in and comments on her perfume. He asks why she is downloading the Rambaldi equation, and Lauren turns and shoots him. Then she walks out, while the items she left lying about begin to explode one by one. Vaughn chases after her, thinking it really is Sydney. Lauren ambushes him and knocks him out. Sark, waiting in the parking garage for Lauren, is surrounded by CIA agents. Outside, Lauren hijacks a car and speeds away.

Act One

Agent Foster interrogates Sydney, who has no alibi for the time during which hq was almost destroyed. She tells him they are wasting valuable time. He tells her she is to stay at her desk while the investigation is going on.

Vaughn tells Jack he is prepared to use the equipment he got from Jack's bunker. Dixon interrupts them to say that Sark is in custody but is not talking. Jack suggests that Vaughn be the one to question him, and Dixon agrees.

Vaughn goes to Sark, and with a little persuasion -- broken nose, dislocated shoulder, etc. -- Sark gives up Lauren's location.

Sydney arrives at hq, appalled to see the destruction. She talks to Weiss, who tells her that Marshall is still in the O.R. Weiss also says that Vaughn couldn't get anything out of Sark, so he went to walk it off. Sydney calls Vaughn and realizes that he is on Lauren's trail. She begs him not to take the law into his own hands, but he hangs up.

Vaughn finds Lauren in a workshop with a technician who is interpreting the equation. Vaughn watches as Lauren shoots the tech and leaves, taking the info. Vaughn follows her and knocks her out.

Act Two

Sydney asks to view the Sark interrogation and finds out that Jack has classified it. She goes to Jack, who tells her that Vaughn is doing what he has to do. Sydney argues that Jack just wants him to eliminate Laruen because Jack was unable to eliminate Irina. Jack says that if Vaughn doesn't do this, "he will end up like me. And I love you too much to let that happen."

Vaughn ties Lauren up. She tells him she fell in love with him in spite of the Covenant. He tells her to shut up. He says he is going to use acid to make sure she is unrecognizeable. Suddenly, soemone stabs Vaughn from behind.

Sloane gets into the safe house and wakes Nadia. He begs her not to call the guards. He says he knows she knows where the Rambaldi artifact is. She doesn't tell him. He leaves instructions on how to find him and gets away before the guards discover him.

Vaughn is rushed into the emergency room. Sydney is there. Jack comes into the waiting room, and Sydney tells him she is now the one who will get Lauren, whether he helps her or not.

Lauren is taken to a cell and sees a badly beaten Sark in the next cell. She asks if he gave her up. She says it's okay, she would have done the same. He comes close to the bars. She asks him for the password to the server where the equation was stored. He tells her. She thanks him and then pulls off her mask -- it's Sydney. Sark asks if this means Vaughn is dead. Sydney: "No, he's not. But thanks to you, Lauren won't be so lucky."

Act Three

Sydney types in the password and finds the location of the Rambaldi artifact -- Palermo. Jack comes in and says to let him go instead. Sydney refuses. He says he'll cover for her with Foster.

In Palermo, Sydney rapels down a mountain and finds an excavation site with many workers.

Vaughn awakens to find Weiss at his bedside. He wants to know where Sydney is. Weiss says she went after Lauren. Vaughn says Lauren is not the one who stabbed him -- it was Katya Derevko. Weiss helps Vaughn escape from the hospital.

Sydney watches the excavation from behind some rocks. Soemone sneaks up behind her and points a gun at her head. She reacts, grabbing the gun and pointing her own at the person -- it's Katya. She gives her the gun back and asks what she's doing there. Katya says she is on the trail of the Rambaldi artifact also. Sydnay wants to know where Lauren is, and Katya says she left about an hour ago. Sydney turns, and Katya points her gun at Sydney again, this time pulling the trigger. But the gun doesn't fire -- Sydney had removed the clip. Katya: "How did you know?" Sydney: "I didn't. But I do now." She shoots Katya with a tranquilizer dart.

Sydney goes around the camp, using tranquilizer darts to take out the workers and guards. Lauren drives up and gets out of her car. Sydney tries to shoot her with a dart, but one of the guards steps in the way, and Lauren knows someone is there. She ducks behind some equipment and disappears.

Nadia escapes from the safe house and meets Sloane. He tells her the Covenant has found the location. Nadia says she altered the equation as she was coming out of consciousness, so the Covenant is digging in the wrong place. She and Sloane leave together.

Sydney stalks Lauren, but Lauren doubles back and surprises her, slipping a rope around her neck.

Act Four

Sydney gets out of Lauren's hold and they fight viciously all over the camp. Lauren says that Sydney doesn't know the truth. Sydney says she doesn't care about anything Lauren has to say. Lauren says Sydney's life as an agent was no coincidence. She says there is a vault in Wittenberg with information. Sydney is still trying to kill Lauren. They fight some more, and Lauren gets a gun. Just then a voice is heard: "Don't shoot!" It's Vaughn. Lauren grabs Sydney and points the gun at her. She tells Vaughn if he loves Sydney to drop his gun. Slowly Vaughn lowers his arm. Lauren: "You really are a boy scout, aren't you?" Vaughn jerks up the gun and shoots Lauren in the shoulder. She staggers back, and Vaughn shoots her again. She falls to the ground. Sydney runs to Vaughn, and they embrace. They are about to kiss when Lauren raises her gun and starts to fire. Vaughn sees her and shoots her several more times. She says "1...0...6...2" before she falls into the excavation. Vaughn asks what she meant. Sydney says it doesn't matter. They kiss.

In Wittenberg, Sydney enters the vault and opens safe deposit box number 1062. She finds CIA documents marked Top Secret. With a black light, she is able to read the contents. The cover page says Project Sydney Bristow, Project Manager Jack Bristow. Sydney reads further and begins to cry. A figure appears in the door. Sydney looks up. It's Jack: "You were never supposed to have found this."


This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

If you can suspend belief, then you will enjoy this episode. Just accept that Lauren could walk through CIA Headquarters in a Syd look-a-like rubber mask undetected, at least until she shoots Marshall and he sets off an alarm. Likewise credit Sark's recent beating and torture at Vaughan's hand for foggy vision. That vision is so dim that, from less than a foot away, Sark does not recognize Syd under a Lauren look-a-like rubber mask. The difference between a rubber mask and real flesh from so close a vantage should be obvious? But, this is not realism. This is just adventure television masquerading surprise in a rubber mask.

Accept too that Vaughan, with a punctured lung from a knife in the back, can the day after hop unfazed from his hospital bed to overpower guards and race to Syd's rescue. All this he does without breaking a sweat or getting out of breath. Yeah, right. Later Vaughan kills Lauren with a six-shot handgun that fires seven or eight shots. Lauren takes six of these shots to her chest and shoulders and one to her head (straight through a cheek). Still she manages to stand upright and give Syd a four digit number for a bank lockbox before falling backwards into a excavation. Suspend belief. Just take the unfoldment of the week's plot at face value, rubber masks and all.


Lauren Reed (played so skillfully throughout Season Three by Michelle George) is such a powerful character that her demise at the end is hard to believe. It is 'as if' the 'star' of the show is killed, while seondary characters, Syd and Vaughan, still live. I keep waiting for Lauren to climb from the pit, bullets be damned.


1--Just after Sark is captured at the start, Lauren flags a car and shoots the driver. For one split second before she shoots, we see the driver's face and hear him ask Lauren: "Are you all right?" The face and voice are familiar! Kevin Sorbo--complete with his current Andromeda-style haircut! Either that or yet another rubber masked actor is lurking on the set of Alias, this one wearing Kevin Sorbo's face.

2--Vaughan captures Lauren with a blow to the head. Then he hangs her from her hands above the floor of an empty warehouse. Inches from her face Vaughan's (actor Michael Vartan's) fury is riveting. He bares his teeth and all but spits his emotions at Lauren, threatening not to kill her but to disfigure her. Only when Vaughan is stabbed in the back (surprise, surprise) do his venemous words stop. Instead, blood then flows from his mouth.

[For one brief moment I think "Wow! J.J. Abrams (Alias creator) is killing off another main character! Cool!" But, alas, Vaughan still lives. I guess we will not see Syd with any new boyfriends anytime soon.]

3--Syd and Lauren pull out the stops for a punishing, knock 'em down drag 'em out fight at the end. For sure these two are equals in power and star quality and skillful enactment of fight choreography. Both women come within inches of killing each other. All the while Lauren drops tantillizing bits of information to Syd. "If you kill me," Lauren says, "you'll never find out the truth." (Two of the tantillizing tidbits are these: why does Syd not realize that the CIA knew perfectly well where she was the two years she was 'missing'', and why does Syd think her mother Irina is helping her when Syd's never seen Irina again. Tantillizing tidbits.)

Syd's response to Lauren's 'truth' is this memorable one-liner (delivered almost with glee by Garner): "The truth sucks, doesn't it." Yeah, for this series this season--frequently.

4--One-Zero-Six-Two are Lauren's last words. Syd pretends ignorance to Vaughan at the meaning, then promptly jets to a Wittenberg bank vault to check the contents of a mysterious safety deposit box. With gadgets galore Syd extracts a document and switches on a special florescent light to read 'invisible ink'. Tears flow as she reads. Her name is on the document, so too her father's as 'Senior Project Manager'. Jack appears in the doorway of the vault. He tells Syd, "You were never supposed to have found this." End of episode. End of Season.


Well done. All the technical contibutions are solid--editing, directing, writing, acting. I particularly enjoyed some of Thorin Jr's (Director of Photography) high contrast uses of light and shadow on actors faces throughout, and the bird's eye view over a rooftop of Vaughan following Lauren into a warehouse through a downpour of blue-tinted rain. Art, for sure. Though logic and probability are backburned for this episode, the savvy of the presentation makes that seem incidental. This is television afterall. Michelle George (Lauren Reed) is no doubt out of the excavation pit by now (George, or her stunt double, or yet another rubber masked impersonator).


George (Lauren) is out of the pit and now, presumably, out of the series. In Season One Syd (Jennifer Garner) dominates this series. In Season Two her mother, Irina Derevko (Lena Olin), does. For Season Three Lauren (Michelle George) is the powerhouse and pivot around which all other characters spin. Who will be that force in Season Four?


This commentary is by Sally Dye.

The cliffhanger count isn't quite up to par -- as compared with the first two season enders, anyway -- but there are plenty of questions left after viewing the third season finale. First and foremost, what could that file possibly say that Sydney hasn't already thought of, suspected, or accused someone of in the past three seasons? Project Christmas, or some extension of it, is the first thing that comes to mind, but surely that's too easy an answer for Abrams and Company. It almost has to have something to do with Irina, since she was included in the several cryptic comments that Lauren threw at Sydney while they were fighting. Could Jack have planned his marriage to Irina -- instead of the other way around, as we've been led to believe -- in order to have "The Chosen One", aka, Sydney? Tune in next January to find out.

Also, the death count for the ep is, as usual, up in the air. Is Marshall dead? The last word on that was from Weiss, who said he was still in the O.R. And how about Lauren? Yes, she was shot a gazillion times before falling into the excavation, but we've already seen people revive from supposedly mortal wounds -- Allison Doren, for example. You would think that Vaughn and Sydney would not just walk off and leave her dead body, but who knows.

And where on earth is Irina Derevko? Her sister, whom we assumed to be working with her in some way, turned out to be Covenant -- at least, it appeared that way before Sydney shot her with a tranquilizer dart. So is Irina friend or foe? Will we ever really know the answer to that one?

And finally, there is still a Rambaldi artifact out there that is supposedly the ultimate artifact of all time, and Sloane and Nadia are set to go, um, do something with it, but we have no idea what. Will we actually get to meet Rambaldi next season? Time will tell -- or maybe not.

I think it's a dirty trick to leave us with these questions and then delay the start of season four. But I will still be there next January to see it.

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