Sark is planning to launch a spy camera into orbit, and Syd has 72 hours to wire the camera so SD-6 can view the images it sends. Syd learns from Irina that Sark is after a music box designed by Rambaldi; the tune it plays contains an encoded numerical equation for 0-Point energy. Vaughn wants to bring Will in to see if he remembers anything from the time he was captured; under hypnotherapy, Will recalls names he saw on Sark's computer. Jack confronts Irina, threatening to kill her if Syd is harmed. Sloane receives a mysterious phone call from a Bed and Breakfast that he and Emily had planned to visit. Syd finds the music box in a cave in Siberia, plays the tune for Vaughn to record, and destroys the box. Sark arrives; his men have ambushed the other SD-6 team members. Syd flings her ice ax into Sark's leg; his machine gun fires and Syd falls through the ice.
Sydney: I just came from a meeting with Sloane. The camera I took from Fordson's vault, the camera we tried to keep from SD-6, was an early prototype. The real camera is scheduled to be launched into orbit seventy-two hours from now.
Kendall: Mr. Sark has assumed control of your mother's operation . . .
Sydney: Please stop referring to her as my mother.
Barnett: Well, I'm sorry, but I am not in the habit of helping a father manipulate his daughter. No matter how good his intentions may be.
Jack: I see. And is your opinion here based on what's best for Sydney, or for the agency? Because the fact is if Sydney doesn't talk to Laura, the CIA learns nothing.
Barnett: So you still think of her as Laura, even though that was her alias.
Sydney: Seeing her again, I'm realizing there are these gaps in my memory from around the time she left. Dad... do you remember the Thanksgiving play I was in that year in school? Because I sort of do. I mean, I have an impression of it, but I can't remember... was I a pilgrim or an indian...?
(He stares off.) What?
Jack: You were neither. You were a turkey. You were the only turkey that was spared to celebrate the harvest.
Marshall: ... if you're stuck in the ducts when the rocket launches, then, well, boom. And I'd miss you.
Irina: You know, you haven't asked me how I could shoot my own daughter.
Sydney: No, I haven't.
Irina: I assume you wouldn't need this combination so urgently if you didn't know where the music box was. Sark won't hesitate to kill you. I don't want to lose the chance to explain myself someday.
Sark: I'd offer you passage back to civilization but my submersible only seats four.
Sydney: It's the thought that counts.
Irina: There were times when the illusion of our marriage was as powerful for me as it was for you.
I gave kudos to the writers - not phrased exactly that way - for giving us an unpredictable moment in Trust Me. They lose a few points this time, since at least four parts of this episode could have been taken straight from the Spy Drama Handbook. We could predict that Will would think Vaughn was older. We knew as soon as the plan involved a trek through a tunnel that leaving the scene would involve Syd outrunning a wall of flame. We foresaw the untimely demise of the insignificant extras as soon as their addition to the mission was announced. We suspected Syd would fall through the ice after Dixon warned her of the danger.
With the bad out of the way, there were a few surprises. I read in TV Guide that Sloane was feeling guilty, but I didn't expect him to be so ... haunted. Jack used the phrase "like a waking dream" and the next scene was of Will under hypnosis. Later, Irina spoke of a "powerful illusion." That was a really clever connection between those scenes; I can't wait to see where the writers take it.
What surprised me most was Irina's reference to what Jack did to Syd after Irina left. Oh yeah, that will come back to haunt him. He and Syd have been getting along so well; maybe we should have known it was time to learn a new dark secret about him. No doubt that's one reason why he desperately wants to keep Syd from Irina. Did he mess with Syd's memory? Is that why her recollections of that time frame are a blur? Is that why Irina was asking Syd about the play - to see if she remembered?
I have a feeling there'll be more questions before we get the answers, so I'll move on to two other competing forces in Syd's life: Will and Vaughn. I was looking forward to seeing their meeting. (Apparently, I talked so much about it that my sister, who doesn't watch, observed Sunday morning, "Those two guys are supposed to meet tonight, right?") I thought Will was appropriately taken aback that Vaughn knew about Francie. I also thought it was logical for Will to make the connection between the mysterious wrong numbers and Syd's hasty exits. He must have been filled with jealousy wondering who gave her that frame; he really wanted it to be work-related, but Vaughn's cool reply was that it was just a present.
I think this was more of a "work-horse" episode whose primary purpose is to set up future plots. Still, it wasn't bad. Marshall was adorable as he slipped in that "and I'd miss you" comment. I'm glad to see Rambaldi mentioned again; it figures we hadn't seen the last of his inventions. Dr. Barnett doesn't miss anything: has Jack called Irina by her alias before this episode? I'd better end this before I think of more questions ...