Sydney has traveled to Mt. Subasio and scales the mountain, thereby proving that she is not the subject of the Rambaldi prophecy.
Upon her return to the States, her father explains that the CIA is searching for her mother. Jack also confirms that, after Laura's car crash, a special commission concluded that she had escaped alive and that Sloane, who was on this committee, had been hiding the truth.
Sydney is determined to find her mother, and asks Sloane for a leave of absence. He agrees, but to her surprise the following day, assigns her onto a mission to retrieve material about Alexander Khasinau. He explains that Khasinau was Laura Bristow's superior at the KGB. Dixon and Sloane are to fly to Vienna and rendezvous with an agent stationed at the Russian embassy. The agent, Wexler, has a microchip with information about Khasinau's organization.
Wearing a mask, Sydney attends a masquerade ball at the embassy. A masked man whispers to her that Wexler is dead and that they are both now in jeopardy. In private, the masks are dropped. The man is Noah Hicks, an SD-6 agent whom she dated five years ago. They find Wexler's corpse in a basement and cut the microchip out of the body and escape. Sydney asks Noah why he left without saying good-bye. It becomes clear that their separation was the result of a misunderstanding, before Hicks had to be transferred out of the States.
That evening, Francie discovers a ticket stub for a trip to Italy. Sydney said she had flown to Seattle, so she and Will contemplate an explanation for the mysterious ticket, and speculation fills the air.
Meanwhile, Jack is furious that Sloane kept the truth about his wife from him. He tries to console himself with drink. Sydney informs him that Devlin has ordered him to visit Dr. Barnett, the agency psychiatrist and the wall between them goes up once again. Following orders, Jack visits Dr. Barnett. She asks that he visit her once a week.
After the microchip is analyzed at SD-6, Sydney and Noah are sent to the Arkhangelsk forest in Russia. In an underground complex is a computer with information about Khasinau's organization. They break into the complex to steal the data-core from the computer. Sydney also uses this opportunity to confirm background on her mother.
The data-core is kept under sub-zero conditions in a cryo-chamber, and Sydney must don a protective suit to access it. Sydney and Noah narrowly escape with the core, and make it to a remote SD-6 safehouse. With hours to kill before they are rescued, they discover that their passion has not been extinguished.
Sydney: Seeing him there in the car, looking so damaged - I've never seen him like that. The idea that I want to find my mother ... it scares him.
Sydney: I know, and maybe I'm being reckless or selfish... or masochistic. But if my mother is alive, then I just have to know that. Can you help me get everything the CIA's got on her?
Vaughn: Actually, I can't. All information concerning her has been classified omega 17 by the FBI, including her connections to the Rambaldi prophecy.
Sydney: No. I don't want an explanation. I came here because I need you to help me find her.
Sloane: Mmm. Sydney, how much do you remember about the year after you were told that your mother died?
Sydney: I remember... just feeling disconnected from everything. My father was away on business for most of that year.
Sloane: No. Your father spent six months in solitary in a federal prison. He was suspected of being in collusion with Laura. The FBI almost tried him for treason and even though he was vindicated, the damage was done. And he began to unravel.
Sloane: He drank. He started taking unnecessary risks. Come on, Sydney, you know the father he was to you all those years. He took a long time to fully recover and I was under direct orders from the DCI not to let him know that Laura survived the accident. Unfortunately, that also required lying to you.
Sydney: I don't understand what Khasinau has to do with my mother!
Sloane: He has everything to do with your mother. He was her superior. When you first identified Khasinau as The Man, I recognized his name from your mother's investigations. I thought, "This has to be a coincidence." I did some checking. He was her superior back in his days at the KGB. This is the only clue I have to offer you. Get the microchip. The more we find out about Khasinau, the closer you get to your mother.
Agent: Excuse me. May I cut in?
Dixon: Of course. But I should warn you: she likes to lead.
Noah: I told you to meet me in San Pedro.
Sydney: I never got a letter.
Noah: I didn't send you a letter. I wasn't allowed to discuss my reassignment. I encoded a message in a junk e-mail. You should've been able to pick it up from the subject line.
Sydney: (Pauses) I always set my computer to filter out junk e-mail.
Francie: Well, why is there a return ticket from Italy in her pocket?
Will: Probably from another trip.
Francie: It's dated for last week.
Will: Why wouldn't she tell us about a trip to Italy?
Sydney: A lot's happened since you left. And I want to fill you in but... I don't know if I feel comfortable doing that yet.
Noah: Right. You're still mad.
Sydney: No. When you left and you just disappeared, it was a kick in the stomach, and I carried that around for a long time.
Noah: You were the last person that I ever wanted to see again. Ever. And you were the only person that I ever wanted to see again.