A Dark Turn
After Sark kills one of Irina's former contacts, Irina theorizes that Sloane is after a Rambaldi manuscript, but she knows that it was sold to a man named Ilya Shtuka. Irina proposes that she meet with Shtuka to obtain the manuscript; word of an appearance by her might also serve as bait for Sloane. Sydney is called to meet with Mitchell Yeager who is investigating suspicious activities by Vaughn. Yeager pressures Sydney to copy the contents of Vaughn's laptop computer, but she returns later, telling him that she won't betray someone she loves. Irina and Jack obtain the manuscript; Sloane learns that Irina has resurfaced and requests a meeting with her through one of her email accounts. The fake Francie has somehow put Will under hypnosis and he reveals information from his work as an analyst. At the CIA, Weiss tells Sydney that Vaughn is about to be charged; Sydney finds him at a bar, meeting with a shady character. She demands to know what's going on, and he finally tells her that he's been looking for Irina's hidden agenda but he hasn't found anything on her. The night before the meeting with Sloane, at Irina's request Jack removes the tracking device that Marshall implanted in her shoulder, and Jack and Irina kiss. At the meeting, Sark brings a limo to take Irina to Sloane. She gets in, but the CIA loses them when the satellite that was tracking them has technical difficulties. Sloane used information from fake Francie to knock out the satellite, and a decoy limo diverts the helicopter that is sent in. Irina and Sark meet with Sloane, and Irina gives him the pages of the Rambaldi manuscript, which she stole from the CIA.
Jack: Sloane doesn't know that you're in CIA custody.
Irina: He thinks I'm in hiding, as he is.
Jack: If Sloane believes you've surfaced, obtained the manuscript he's after, he'll want to meet with you. Negotiate a purchase.
Sydney: What is this about? I'd appreciate a little context here. You haven't even given me your name.
Yeager: I'm Mitchell Yeager, I'm counter-intelligence threat analyst. That should give you a little context. I've been sent here to investigate Michael Vaughn. It's come to our attention that over the past three months, Mr. Vaughn has been in contact with a number of unapproved foreign operatives. He's also actively pursued contact with Mr. Pograski, who happens to be a former KGB assassin known to have ties with at least three terrorist organizations.
Jack: We may never have a better chance to get Sloane. Remember, without Irina's help, the operation in Kashmir would have been an embarrassment.
Kendall: Jack, when the hell did we switch places? Derevko could be using this operation just to convince us that she's trustworthy.
Jack: I've had twenty years to reflect on that woman's ability to deceive. Trust me. If she lies to me again, I'll know it.
Sydney: Listen to me, there is not a chance that he is a traitor, that he would be collaborating with an enemy.
Yeager: You know, I knew your mother. About twenty years ago, met her with your father. We used to go to a lot of these agency functions, you know. She was, uh, charming. Very disarming woman... who wasn't what she seemed.
Irina: I remember the first time you introduced me to Sloane. You were both working at the CIA, he came to the house for dinner. You were true friends.
Jack: Yes. We shared a similar unsentimental patriotism... and a devotion to our wives. But Sloane changed and ... it was Rambaldi that did it. I'm not sure what it is - he never told me - but Sloane has a personal connection to Rambaldi.
Irina: I lived for years with the same obsession, to find a higher meaning in Rambaldi's work. I never understood how you managed to avoid getting caught up in it.
Jack: I had something neither of you did.
Vaughn: Well, 'cause it's common, you know, to dream about work, have anxiety over keeping it secret. Especially in the beginning.
Vaughn: Goes away though.
Will: What, the excitement?
Vaughn: No. The dreams.
Vaughn: Look, there is something you don't know about me. I don't like it when people question my loyalty. It makes me insane.
Sydney: This isn't about loyalty. I never said anything about loyalty.
Vaughn: When you ask me if I'm keeping secrets, the suggestion's pretty clear.
Sydney: And you know what? Secrets will be a problem between us. After everything we've been through, you should know that.
Sydney: Do you think there's a chance you'll get Sloane?
Irina: I wanted to see you because... it's going to be dangerous, setting this trap. I hope it goes well but there's no guarantee. So whatever happens, there's something I need you to know. Sydney, I love you.
Irina: There's one thing. The tracker you put in my shoulder.
Jack: You want it removed.
Irina: If they discover I've been tagged, it's over. We both know that.
Sydney: Research? What kind of research?
Vaughn: It's something private. Something just for me.
Sydney: Who do you think you work for? Nothing is private. You're being investigated.
Vaughn: I had to find out if she was deceiving us again. I mean, I could not sleep at night knowing I was doing nothing. That somehow, I was helping her.
Sydney: And did you find anything?
Vaughn: Nothing. She's clean.
Sloane: It's good to see you again, Irina.
Irina: Thank you for extracting me.
Has Jack completely lost his mind? I'm praying that he has a plan - that he's playing along with Irina for some unknown purpose. It's tough to place much stock in that theory when he looked so stunned after discovering that the Rambaldi manuscript was gone.
About Irina: since this episode painted her as a deceitful backstabber, I'm almost inclined to believe the opposite. Again, given what happened in this episode, she really does look like a schemer. Did you see the lustful expression on her face when she and Jack found the manuscript? It was pretty telling for someone who is usually so coolly indifferent. Then, she talked Sark into letting the guards accompany her; she didn't have to do that. Kendall was telling her to get in the car anyway, and bringing the guards along cost them their lives.
We should have known something was going to happen when Vaughn announced that Irina was "clean" after all his research revealed nothing. It was painful to see someone plant doubts in Syd's mind about Vaughn; he's been the one constant in her life since she learned the truth about SD-6. Frankly it's surprising that she can trust anyone after being betrayed by practically everyone else in her life.
This is becoming more and more true for Will as well. The writers don't use many dream sequences, but they did so very well in this episode. Did anyone else think he was actually drunk and telling secrets to evil Francie? Then, there was a moment of relief when it appeared to have only been a dream. Then - in yet another dark turn for this episode - it wasn't a dream.
* That was a pretty elaborate plan to kill Irina's former contact. Couldn't Sark have simply picked the man's pocket?
* Maybe when fake Francie was trying to talk to Syd in the previous episode, she was actually trying to plant a hypnotic suggestion.