Season 3, episode 18
Series 318
1st release: 04/11/04
2nd release:
Last update: 04/24/04

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COMMENTARY 1 by Adriane Saunders

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

Djimon Hounsou (Kazari Bomani)
Geno Silva (Diego Machuca)
Vincent Riotta (Dr. Viadro)
Morgan Weisser (Cypher)
Jordi Caballero (Technician)

Written by Monica Breen and Alison Schapker
Directed by Jack Bender

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


OLIVIA AND A PRAYER -- In an episode filled with plot holes, bad dialogue, and worse special effects, the one bright spot is Olivia Reed, Lauren's mother, killing Senator Reed, Lauren's father. See, Olivia works for the Covenant. And she's played by Peggy Lipton. If we can't have Lena Olin back, this is a decent substitute for now. TWoP

Pssst. Lauren's evil. Pass it on. Unveiled - Vaughn FINALLY clues in to the fact that his wife is a lying, cheating, murderous b****. Okay, so he just finds her Wig of Wickedness in a suitcase. Same thing. Oh, and the only news we get on The Passenger is that it's not an "it," it's a woman. Ooooh. Scary. TWoP

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This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser Sark and Bomani use the keys to open the Rambaldi box and find the Di Regno heart, an artificial heart which can power Rambaldi's most impressive invention -- Il Dire, "the Telling". Sloane talks to Dixon about the box. He wants Dixon to postpone his execution if he cooperates. Dixon refuses. Sloane says he will tell Jack all he knows about the "passenger." Dixon agrees, but says there will be no deals. Weiss tells Sydney he doesn't blame her for being mad at Vaughn for going back to Lauren. Sydney says she still suspects Lauren of being the mole. Dixon reports that a cyber-attack on the Internet is taking place, which is targeting medical facilities. Marshall says that the code sounds like the work of a hacker named Cypher. He gives Sydney and Vaughn a special pair of glasses that will identify Cypher, whom he has traced to Berlin. In Florence, Bomani asks his technicians how long until they "get a match". Sark comes to tell Bomani that Lauren has reported that the CIA has traced Cypher. Bomani expresses doubts about Lauren's effectiveness. Sark defends her. Bomani says they will both suffer if he's wrong. Lauren is packing for England for her father's funeral. She tells Vaughn that everyone thinks she's a traitor. He comforts her. In Berlin, Sydney and Vaughn enter an undergound club, wearing punk disguises. They locate Cypher and tell him they are fans of his work. Across the room, Lauren (also in disguise in a red and black wig) aims a gun at Cypher. Sydney and Vaughn get in her way and tell Cypher they are CIA and that the code he wrote is destroying data all over the world. He says that is not what it was intended to do. Before he can say more, Lauren shoots him. Vaughn gets his files and Sydney goes after the shooter. She gets a glimpse of Lauren, but loses her in the crowd.

Act One Lauren calls Sark and tells him that Vaughn and Sydney got Cypher's files. She says she knows Bomani will be angry but to tell him that she will take care of it by corrupting the files. Jack visits Sloane. Sloane says that he was working with Senator Reed, but not in the Covenant's interests. He says Reed recruited him to be a part of "the Trust", a secret organization in the US government. Jack says he has never heard of the Trust. Sloane reminds Jack that he took a bullet for him. He wants Jack to prove the Trust exists and that his story is true. In a CIA safehouse, Sydney tells Vaughn she thinks she saw Lauren at the club. He is disbelieving and then angry. There is a knock at the door. A distraught Lauren runs in and embraces Vaughn. She says she is upset because of her father's funeral. Vaughn comforts her. Meanwhile, Sydney goes outside and calls Lauren's mother to verify that Lauren was in London and is told that Lauren had left to go to Berlin.

Act Two Jack meets with a contact and asks about the Trust. The contact says that they are very powerful. Jack asks him to find out everything he can about them. Vaughn contacts Marshall about decoding Cypher's files. In the next room, Lauren activates a device in her ring. Later Marshall tells Sydney and Vaughn that Cypher's drive was wiped somehow, but that he was able to reconstruct most of it. The program turns out to be actually gathering information, but he doesn't yet know on what. He has rerouted the info to their own servers. Bomani realizes that the CIA is blocking their info. He confronts Sark, who says he may have overestimated Lauren's abilities. As soon as they get the info back, he says Lauren will be eliminated. Sydney tells Jack she suspects Lauren of wiping the code at the safehouse, but says that Vaughn won't listen to her suspicions. Jack goes to visit Vaughn, who knows why he is there. Jack tells him that his marriage to Irina was happy for a time, but he noticed that she sometimes evaded his questions with a kiss to distract him. Now he regrets ignoring the signs of her betrayal. He asks Vaughn to be alert for such signs. Vaughn: "Lauren is not Irina. And I am definitely not you."

Act Three Marshall shows Sydney that DNA was what the worm was searching for. It has found 10 matches. They go to tell Dixon, and when they leave the lab, Lauren goes in. She hacks into Marshall's computer and starts downloading the info. She finishes just as Vaughn comes in looking for her. She says she was just leaving a gift for Mitchell. He asks her to lunch and she says she'll meet him in an hour. Then he follows her to a mall. She is about to drop the disc she made when she gets a phone call from Sark, who tells her to meet him in the parking garage. Vaughn calls Weiss and tells him to tap into Lauren's cell phone. Lauren sees Sark across the garage and continues talking to him on the phone. She suspects Sark of coming to LA to kill her because of the screw-up with Cypher's files. He denies it. Weiss gets the tail end of their conversation: "After all we've been through, how could you do this?" Lauren runs out of the garage. Later Vaughn meets Lauren at the cafe and asks what she's been doing. She says she got a phone call from her mother which upset her. Dixon says that the 10 names generated by the code are actually different aliases for the same woman. Sydney and Vaughn are to go to Milan to find the woman through a doctor who had treated her. In Milan, Dr. Viadro answers a knock at his door to find Lauren pointing a gun at him. She says she is there to talk about the passenger.

Act Four Dr. Viadro knocks the gun out of Lauren's hand and tries to lock himself in a secure room. Lauren gets there before the door closes and knocks him down. She then ties him up and asks where the passenger is. Dr. Viadro: "She's safe." Sydney and Vaughn arrive at the doctor's house and see the door is open. They search and find a Rambaldi vase. Four men arrive and open fire on them. Sydney fights them while Vaughn tries to get into the secure room. Lauren sees Vaughn on a monitor. She stabs Dr. Viadro in the hand and starts to cut off his ear. He says he'll tell her what she wants to know. Vaughn gets into the room to find a bleeding Dr. Viadro, who says, "I have betrayed her." An open escape hatch tells him that whoever had the doctor is gone. Sydney comes in as Vaughn is untying the doctor, and Dr. Viadro grabs a gun and points it at her: "You are the one -- the one from the prophecy!" Vaughn shoots him before he can kill Sydney. Lauren takes the information to Bomani: "Here it is -- everything you need to find the passenger." Bomani says the Covenant has no more need of her services. He pulls out a gun, but Sark arrives and shoots him first. He tells Lauren that he had gone to LA to warn her, not kill her. Jack's contact calls and says the info he wanted about the Trust has been left in the usual place. Dixon comes up and tells Jack there is something he found in Dr. Barnett's files that Jack needs to know, namely that Sloane admitted having an affair with Irina while they were married. Jack goes to Sloane and says he found no evidence of the Trust's existence. Sydney tells Jack the passenger is a woman, and now the Covenant has the means to find her. Jack says he now suspects that the passenger may be Irina. Vaughn questions Lauren about where she went that afternoon. She doesn't answer, just comes over and kisses him. When she goes to run a bath, Vaughn searches her suitcase. He finds a red and black wig, guns and a passport.


This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

"Do you think [Lauren's] the mole, or do you just want her to be?" Weiss challenges Syd.. Are Syd's suspicions of Lauren justifiable, or simply jealousy at Vaughan's return to his marriage. That conundrum weaves in and out of the whole of this week's skillfully written and executed plotline.

Add to that brew: razor-edged suspense, a fast forward feel to the unfolding of events, an extended and tightly choreographed fight sequence between Vaughan and Syd against four machine gunning Convenant heavies, unexpected plot twists, and subtle yet potent portrayals from the whole ensemble of actors. This is the recipe for this week's four out of four star episode. This is the Alias I love to watch.

Kudos all round for cast and crew alike. Names particularly to applaud Kristin Windell, Editor (always good for tight segues and pacing), Jack Bender, Director (likewise), and Donald Thorin, Jr, Photography (for visually engaging color and camera angles). I particularly liked the script this week: compliments to Breen and Schapken for no wasted words and a long-time missed (this season), really entertaining fight scene. [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Two examples of perfectly written, directed and played segues between scenes are these:

1) Syd, talking with her father about Vaughan, says, "It's like he can't hear it [her suspicions of Lauren]." Jack responds, "Perhaps he can't hear it from you." Segue then to the CIA shooting range. Vaughan, with goggles and ear protectors on, is shooting at a target. As Jack walks up behind him, Vaughan takes off the protectors covering his ears. Then, he turns to hear what Jack has to say. A perfect segue. Well written. The sequence is apt and believable--even though Vaughan's response to Jack is a bit "sour grapes" (a "you never liked me" reaction to Jack's parallel between himself and Irina, and Vaughan and Lauren).

2. Sark--in a completely unexpected twist--kills the Covenant's Bomani to save Lauren. Sark stands at the top of a set of stairs, looking down on Lauren. He tells her, "I went to Los Angeles to warn you, not to kill you. Perhaps in the future you should try trusting me more." Lauren, at the bottom of the stairs, looks stunned. Segue to mention of "The Trust", the latest clandestine organization to be introduced in the Alias plotline. This organization Jack investigates at Sloane's urging. To stay Sloane's execution, Jack is asked to confirm the existence of this organization. This Jack does, but just before he is to say so to Sloane, Dixon informs Jack of Sloane's affair with Irina years before. Consequently, Jack lies to Sloane, denying the existence of any "Trust". Through the bars of Sloane's cell, Jack "looks down on" Sloane. These two back to back scenes are oh-so-beautifully orchestrated and intertwined. Well done.

These examples are only two of the many skillfully choreographed segues which "fast forward" the episode. This Alias boogies right along, start to finish.


1--Lauren (alias Michelle George) continues to amaze in the subtlety and strength of her characterization. She is so good. This week takes Lauren through escapes from detection so hairsplittingly close that even she gets breathless at one point. In the bar in Berlin, disguised in gothic "drag", a black and red wig, piercings and black eye makeup (looking remarkably like Syd, disguised the same), her assassination of the computer hacker right under the noses (literally) of Syd and Vaughan is so close, we see the edge of fear in Lauren for the first time. Yet later, when she confronts Sark in a Los Angeles parking garage (thinking he has come to murder her), she is flawless in her savvy and courage. I applaud this character. Frankly, I like her so much I hope she gets away with everything she tries. Also, this being Alias--who knows: maybe Lauren will turn out to be a "triple agent", a member of "The Trust" and one of the "good guys" afterall. On this show, anything is possible. Bravo, Michelle George.

2) Syd takes a flying kick, three feet off the floor, at a giant table top globe (of the Earth). Her foot connects and the globe flies at one of her attackers, knocking him against a wall. Flying kicks, punches, choke holds, Syd smashed to the floor, flipping to her feet, machine gun fire punching holes in balconies, all combine to make this a terrific fight scene. Add expert pacing, overlapping action (Lauren, just out of sight of Syd and Vaughan, tortures a doctor in a backroom), and edge of the seat suspense. Encore, encore. It has been a long time since Alias gave us a truly riveting fight scene. This is definitely that.


This episode ends with the "seeds of suspicion", prompted by Syd and Jack, taking root in Vaughan. He searches Lauren's luggage while she is in the bath. Beneath a false bottom, he finds the black and red wig, passport and gun of her Berlin gothic escapade. End of episode.

First rate. Four out of four stars. Clap, clap. This is the Alias of old. Rimbaldi rocks on


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