Picking up where the previous season ended, Vaughn has met Sydney in a Hong Kong safehouse; he tells her that there was a fire in her apartment the night she fought the fake Francie. Will survived the fire, but remains found there matched Syd's DNA, so they thought she was dead. In disbelief, Syd attacks Vaughn and flees, fighting off other guards, but Vaughn shoots her with a tranquilizer dart. She wakes in a naval hospital: Dixon is there. He's now the head of their division. Elsewhere, a group of gunmen attack an agent named Kingsley on a train and find a chip containing plans for an undetectable spy drone; the CIA believes The Covenant, a new terrorist group, is responsible for the attack. Returning to the CIA, Syd tells Dixon that she remembers being held in The Covenant's Paris base. Senior Director Robert Lindsey insists that Syd go on the mission to a possible outpost of The Covenant, but she will only go if she can see her father, who has been in solitary confinement for over a year. Jack tells Syd that Lindsey arrested him because he was working with Irina to find out what happened to Syd. Syd confesses to Jack that she lied about her memory of being held by The Covenant to gain leverage to see him; he tells her to regain her clearance and continue his investigation. On the mission, the team is ambushed, but Syd manages to save Weiss. She tells him of her lie but leaves, determined to find the chip and free her father. Sydney visits Sloane, who now is working with the CIA and running a large charitable organization. He gives her information about a suspect, but she tells him that she believes he is responsible for what happened to her and she doesn't buy that he's changed. Syd is able to track down one of her old contacts and retrieve the chip. Returning to the CIA, she threatens to destroy the chip if her father is not released from prison; Director Lindsey finally agrees. Syd sees Vaughn at the CIA building; he says he came to see how she is, but she doesn't want to hear it as she angrily scolds him for giving up hope after everything they've seen. Jack returns to the CIA. He takes Syd aside to show her the disturbing evidence he found that proved she wasn't dead: video footage in which a blonde Syd greets a Russian diplomat then stabs him when his back is turned.
Vaughn: I chose not to stay with the CIA after your death.
Sydney: You're not with the Agency?
Vaughn: No. I'm a teacher.
Sydney: Where's my father? Or . . . or my mom - have you heard from her since Mexico City? Vaughn said Will's alive. If there was a fire in my apartment, if he thought I was dead, then how did Will survive? Where is he?
Dixon: Sydney . . .
Sydney: And Francie - is she dead? Did they find her body, too?
Dixon: I know you have a million questions, but . . .
Sydney: I have a lot more than a million questions! I wish I only had a million questions!
Sydney: They told me you were charged with resisting authority. Dad, I don't understand.
Jack: I became obsessed with your death; with finding those responsible. And at a certain point in my pursuit, I needed help. So I contacted the one person I believed I could trust, given the circumstances...your mother.
Sydney: You were working with Mom?
Jack: At the time, she was number 6 on the CIA's most wanted list. The National Security Council, primarily . . . Robert Lindsey. You met him?
Jack: He discovered that I was collaborating with your mother, so he threatened me, questioned my allegiance to this country. He chose to make an example of me - an NSC power play. And here we are.
Jack: Vaughn what?
Sydney: He got married.
Jack: Michael Vaughn is just a boy who was *never* good enough for you.
Weiss: You're not gonna like my suggestion: you should go see Arvin Sloane.
Weiss: Sloane negotiated a pardon after your . . . death. He's now a consultant for the CIA. Yeah, he now runs a world health organization in Zurich: OMNIFAM.
Sloane: You remember the Rambaldi device? The machine designed 500 years ago by a prophet? All I did was bring all the pieces together and have it assembled. And when I turned it on, it delivered a message, as I suspected it would. I wasn't prepared for what it said. The message was just one word, one simple word: peace. The epiphany I had at that moment . . . suddenly I saw all the mistakes I'd made, the pain I had inflicted on the world, the people I loved. So I chose right then and there to give information to the CIA with which they were able to dismantle at least two dozen terrorist cells.
Sydney: I don't know how you convinced the CIA that you're trustworthy . . .
Sloane: Why don't you check my files?
Sydney: I know you too well. I don't buy any of it.
French Contact: Forgive me if I look shocking to you, but I was believing that you were dead.
Sydney: I was. But now I'm not.
French Contact: This is why I love our business.
Before this episode aired, I told my sister, "I'm sure it will be typical Alias: tons of questions and zero answers." That's pretty much what happened, and it boasted other Alias standards such as Syd in flashy outfit with a wig and the requisite Jerk In Power at the CIA, or the NSC in this case. (I liked Sydney's line about wishing she only had a million questions: don't we all?)
I thought the scene where Syd attacks Vaughn was the best of the episode: that seems like a very logical thing to do. It would be much easier to believe that it was a fake Vaughn standing there lying to her than to accept this crazy missing-for-two-years story from a man who had given up on her.
Although it's easy to judge and claim you would do things differently, I can see why Syd would be so angry at Vaughn for not hoping that she was alive. True, she moved on to Vaughn some time after Danny's death. (I'm still waiting for that guy to eventually show up, btw.) However, like she said, after all they've seen, especially after all the people that have "come back from the grave," he could've looked a little harder.
It seems as if she was gone during a critical time because major events happened in the others' lives. Weiss lost weight. Dixon was promoted. Marshall is going to be a father. Jack became obsessed and subsequently imprisoned. Sloane has won acceptance as one of the good guys. You have to wonder how much would have been different if Syd had been around.
* With all their talk of epiphanies and redemption, I was reminded of Angel.
* Note that Dixon didn't say that they found "Francie's" body.
* What was up with all the stabbing and knife usage?