Vaughn, Sydney, and the others at the CIA watch a horrific live news broadcast that shows a woman blown to pieces in Berlin. She was CIA agent Emma Wallace; Kendall reveals that she and her partner Jim Lennox were assigned to discover whether a developing technology known as Helix is a weapon. Vaughn and Syd are sent to rescue Lennox and acquire information on Helix. Back in LA, as Syd visits Lennox at the safehouse agents arrive to take him into custody; a photograph reveals that Lennox detonated the blast that killed Wallace. However, Helix is a new form of gene therapy that can reshape a person's face and body, and Lennox was the first subject to be doubled. The man that actually killed Wallace is Enzo Markovic, a scientist who developed Helix and who now looks exactly like Lennox. Lennox is given an ocular scan, which is the only way to distinguish a person who has been doubled. He passes the test and he and Syd travel to Poland to destroy the Helix technology. While there, Lennox observes that the sequencer has been used twice, which means that another person has been doubled. The CIA receives a call from the Lennox look-alike, claiming that he's the real Lennox and that he's on his way to destroy the technology. After several confusing moments and a stand-off between the two Lennoxes, Syd pulls out the detonator to destroy Helix. The fake Lennox turns his gun toward her and the real Lennox shoots the phony. Later, Vaughn is at Sydney's apartment. She announces that dinner is ready, but he has other plans and tells her they can reheat the food. They go to Sydney's room and make love, unaware that the fake Francie is watching via a camera that she planted in Sydney's room.
Sydney: About last night ...
Vaughn: Is this going to be about Alice?
Sydney: I know it's complicated ...
Vaughn: We're not together anymore.
Sydney: Since when?
Vaughn: Since this morning. The truth is, we've been over for a long time.
Lennox: Emma used to say that she had spent so much of her life pretending to be other people that she was afraid she might disappear. And I have been sitting here trying to remember all her aliases and you're right. It's hard to keep track.
Sydney: I lost my fiance last year and I know we're trained to compartmentalize things that hurt too much but I still haven't been able to do that. As hard as it is, I would rather feel it than to not feel anything.
Jack: We've decrypted the specs on Project Helix that you and Vaughn obtained. The data describes a breakthrough in next-generation molecular gene therapy. It refers to a new procedure whereby a patient's face and body are reshaped to identically resemble someone else. Agent Lennox was the first test subject to be doubled.
Sydney: How is this possible without obvious scarring?
Jack: The procedure isn't surgical. A patient's genetic code is altered to reshape their physical attributes.
Sydney: Is it reversible?
Jack: It's unclear. It only works on people of a certain genetic disposition and the recipient must be induced into a comatose state for several days while their cells regenerate. The data indicates the only way to distinguish the real person from the double is by an ocular scan. A flaw in the iris was deliberately built into the procedure to tell them apart.
Lennox: I'm not the only one who's been doubled.
Sydney: Who else?
Lennox: It doesn't say.
For once, the theme of an Alias episode was pretty clear: "We got Ethan!" Boy, did they have Ethan. Good Ethan. Bad Ethan. Shirtless Ethan. Angry Ethan. Ethan kicking butt. Ethan in bed. Ethan kissing. They had plenty more Ethans, but you get the point. The motivation for the writers was clear, but I question the villains' motivation for doubling Agent Lennox. Were they hoping he could gain CIA secrets for them? If that was the case, why waste time in Berlin? He should've gone straight to CIA headquarters before he made the inevitable slip that revealed him as a fake. Whatever the intention, it's probably a safe bet that the double somehow figured into Phase Two of Sloane's plan.
Another purpose for this episode was to explain how they obtained an identical Francie. Speaking of which, does the double want to be caught or something? She was totally devoid of any sign of emotion/life as she was meeting Vaughn. A logical person could deduce that friends like Francie and Syd have discussed guys they like. I'm sure the double wants to avoid doing anything non-Francie-like, but could she not tell that Syd was trying to tell her something? The double's cool demeanor was probably the most conspicuous thing she could have done.
I can't wait to see what part of the plan involves tapes of what happens in Sydney's bedroom. Seriously, what is the point of that? Are they planning to try to blackmail her? Are they just perverts? Do they want to know when she's sleeping . . . I suppose that might provide an advantage if they wanted to try a sneak attack.
This is my shortest review to date, yet I feel I've covered the episode. I mentioned Ethan, right? Yep, that's pretty much everything.
* Maybe that's why the torturers were trying to mess with Lennox's eyes; they didn't want people to be able to tell he was the original.
* Of course the machine didn't say who the double was. What's it going to do: provide the full name, address and mission of the double? That would be real helpful to those that wanted to foil their plans.
* I wouldn't be surprised if the second double was someone besides the fake Francie.
* Does anyone else think the new CIA recruit will turn out to be a bad guy?