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A Higher Echelon

Episode Summary

After receiving the results of Will's psychological evaluation, Vaughn sets up a meeting and hires Will as an analyst. Marshall agrees to rewrite the Echelon code after his captor threatens to find his mother. Syd learns from Vaughn that before Marshall was abducted - by one of Cuvee's associates - he emailed a copy of the Echelon access program to SD-6. At SD-6, Sloane's only concerns about Marshall's situation are finding a replacement and rendering Marshall's access codes useless. On a mission with Dixon, Sydney doesn't get a chance to switch some needed data with corrupted files, and SD-6 is able to begin work on accessing Echelon. Irina believes she can prevent SD-6 from gaining entry to the system; she will try if she is given unrestricted access to Echelon. At first Kendall refuses, but he finally agrees to let her try. At the last second, she succeeds. Elsewhere, Marshall is able to reveal his location to SD-6 using the computer; Syd and Dixon request to go after him, and Marshall's parachute-lined jacket saves the day when he and Syd are trapped on an upper floor in a skyscraper. Meanwhile, after finding Ariana Kane going through his office, Jack has the CIA forge evidence of SD-6 missions. The forgeries are very good, but material in one of the guns Jack used leads Ms. Kane to question him about the murder of Steven Haladki. Vaughn overhears this as he's helping plant more evidence in Jack's phone; unfortunately the ink on a phony imprint smears and Jack has to elude Security Section agents. Jack visits Sloane with a list of leads, trusting that he won't be framed. However, as soon as Jack leaves, Sloane calls Ariana Kane.


Sydney: I have a crush on a guy from work.
Francie: Really? Who is he?
Sydney: Someone in my department. We've worked together for about a year now.

Jack: Who's leading the team to recover Marshall?
Sloane: We've changed his access codes. There is nothing that Marshall can tell Cuvee that could possibly hurt us.
Jack: He will be tortured. Most likely, killed.
Sloane: Oh yes, I'm sure he will be. I've already contacted SD-4. There'll be a replacement in op tech by morning.

Vaughn: Hey, Will. I got your psych report back. You did well.
Will: I'm not a sociopath.
Vaughn: Well, I didn't say that.
Will: Do I have a job?
Vaughn: Yes.
Will: A paying job?
Vaughn: Yes. As an analyst. You'll be asked to review classified documents and file reports. Think of it as writing articles only now your source material is classified. In fact, your cover is a journalist.

Irina: I'll need to send an access code.
Kendall: How will we know you're not signaling your operation?
Irina: You won't. (Kendall looks at Jack.)
Kendall: Do it.

Computer Guy: Someone has launched a denial of server attack on us. We're getting pinged over and over. It's slowing down the network.
Dixon: That's odd. They didn't spoof the origin IP. How can someone be smart enough to hack in here and forget to cover their tracks?

Jack: Kane called a meeting.
Vaughn: Does she know anything?
Jack: Unclear. But I'm told she has two units from security section prepared to take me in. I have to be ready for anything.

Kane: Who is Steven Haladki?
Jack: He was a CIA agent loyal to Irina Derevko.
Kane: Whom you murdered. We found brain matter in the gun you fired on the day Emily was murdered. I admit, I thought DNA tests would prove that you killed her but instead they proved you killed Haladki.
Jack: We had reliable intel that Derevko was accessing information through the CIA. Her source turned out to be Haladki. He was crucial to her operation and had to be removed.


According to the dictionary, echelon usually refers to order or rank as in the case of the military. In this episode, several characters found that their status had blurred or shifted. Jack's authority at SD-6 was lessened by Ms. Kane, and her revelation about Haladki no doubt damaged his standing with the CIA. Will joined the ranks of the CIA as a "desk-trained" member. Although a prisoner, Irina was granted unlimited access to a powerful satellite system. Marshall went from being someone in charge of security to being one security was trying to keep out.

I actually delayed watching this episode because I didn't want to see terrible things being done to Marshall. As it turns out, he got off pretty easy. I'm glad. He grew bolder as he sat at the computer, or at least he seemed to go back to being himself once he was in his element. We should have known that he wouldn't fix the program for CAD. That's one of the handy benefits of convincing the lower level agents that SD-6 is part of the CIA: the agents don't want to betray their country so they suffer for SD-6.

When Marshall revealed that he was wearing one of the parachute lined jackets, I immediately thought of the drinking game where the player gets significant sips if a gadget is seen in a subsequent episode. I think that working a gadget into a later scene should count, too.

I'm hoping they'll soon mention Irina's connection to Rambaldi's prophecy, because there is apparently nothing that she cannot do. Her stipulation that she receive unrestricted access to the system seemed a bit suspicious. Logically, she would need such access to accomplish her objective, but demanding it looks like a bit of a red flag. (If I was a betting person, I'd bet that something else will come out of her Echelon access.)

Did I miss something? Has Emily been shot? Ms. Kane told Sloane that Jack's gun had brain matter from the day Emily died, and Sloane said he wanted to know if it matched Emily's. Did Ms. Kane not know that Emily was poisoned? Plus, wasn't the poison supposed to make Emily's death look like a heart attack? Even if Emily was shot after that, the evidence in Jack's gun would prove that he didn't shoot her. Or is that supposed to show us that Ms. Kane is trying to frame Jack?


* The scene with Marshall at the computer mirrors the scene with Irina accessing Echelon. He secretly sent a signal: maybe Irina did the same?

* Either ABC read my review of The Abduction and changed all of their references to read "Suit and Glasses" or I misread the first word as Suits. I'm leaning toward a conspiracy theory ... either way that's not the best way to refer to the creepy torture guy.

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