The CIA learns that Leonid Lisenker, a top Covenant official, wants to defect; Syd and Vaughn will go to North Korea to get him. Lauren shares this information with her Covenant contact, who tells her that Sydney and Vaughn must be eliminated. Lauren is able to provide the flight plans, and The Covenant poisons the pilots. In flight, the pilots die and the plane starts to go down, but Syd and Vaughn are able to take the controls; they avoid two heat-seeking missiles and make a crash landing in North Korea. They have eight hours to meet Mr. Lisenker, and the military are looking for them. Back in LA, Jack contacts Irina via instant message, asking for her help to rescue Sydney; Irina sends a mysterious woman, who says that she will help if Jack will kill Sloane. The mystery woman takes Jack to meet her contact in Koreatown: when the contact says that he cannot help, the mystery woman uses very Irina-like tactics to change his mind. Jack soon realizes that the woman is one of Irina's sisters - Katya. In Korea, Syd and Vaughn find Mr. Lisenker, but not before Sark does. The scene that ensues draws the attention of the military, who take Lisenker, Syd and Vaughn into custody. As ever, Sark escapes. In Zurich, as Jack waits to see Sloane, Katya telephones Sloane, ordering him to "back off Irina." Katya tells Sloane that he isn't safe, not even from his friends, and that his continuing life is a gift from her. Hanging up with him, Katya calls Jack and tells him to abort. In the prison, Lisenker confesses that Syd and Vaughn are CIA, and the guards beat them. When they're alone, Vaughn tells Syd that he's been pushing her away on purpose. Syd tearfully admits that she knows, and she says that they always find each other. They kiss passionately. The guards come to take them to face the firing squad, but Katya's contact saves them; they free Lisenker and escape. Back at the CIA, Syd notices Vaughn run to embrace Lauren. Later, outside, Katya is waiting for Jack, who knows that she warned Sloane and destroyed any trust Sloane had in him. Jack wonders aloud how that works to Irina's advantage. Katya assures him that Irina's intentions will be clear one day, before kissing him ferociously.
Sark: If I may ask, who is our source of intel at the CIA? And how do we know he's reliable?
Zisman: Mr. Sark, do not burden yourself with unnecessary details.
Sydney: I've done everything I can to try to make this ridiculous situation work. You, me and Lauren working in the same office--
Vaughn: Yeah, and I have tried to walk around with this fake smile on my face, pretending everything was fine, just the way it use to be. That's not working for me anymore.
Sydney: This is it. When we get back, one of us has to go.
Dixon: I have just been informed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that we've been ordered to stand down. Given our tenuous relations with North Korea, their official position on Sydney and Vaughn is to disavow. Unofficially, I say, "Screw 'em."
Jack: Do you mind if I ask who you are?
Katya: What you should ask is what I'll need you to do in return for my assistance.
Jack: I was going to get to that.
Sydney: I slept with Will.
Sydney: In Warsaw . . . we got drunk, and we slept together.
Vaughn: How am I suppose to react to that?
Sydney: However you want to.
Vaughn: As if it isn't bad enough, getting stranded in North Korea.. now I find out you slept with Will?
Thanks to Charlene for this one!
Sark (posing as CIA): Well I assure you, the United States will be happy to have you.
Lisenker: Yes. The Covenant must be stopped. What they are planning - keeps me awake at night.
Jack: Tell me, which of Irina's sisters are you? Elena or Ekatarina?
Katya: I haven't been Ekatarina since I was a child. My sisters call me Katya. Which means Irina wasn't the one who told you about me.
Jack: Learning that your wife is actually a Russian spy drives you to learn all you can about her true identity.
Katya: As observant as you are, you were married to my sister for five years without suspecting who she really was: her love must have been intoxicating.
Sloane: I remember years ago, I was working at SD-6. I was on my way to a meeting in Berlin. It was a typical day - except K-Directorate made an attempt on my life. As I opened my car door, a sniper shot came out of nowhere. The bullet grazed my neck. Actually left a burn mark. . . . You never forget what that feels like - to barely escape with your life.
Jack: I have a plane waiting.
Sloane: Then you should go.
Jack: You warned him, didn't you? Sloane. Whatever trust I'd established with him over the past few months has been compromised. What I can't figure out is, how will this play to Irina's advantage? Or your own?
Katya: One day when you least expect it, Irina's intentions will present themselves to you. And when that day comes, I promise you - it will be unmistakable.
"Oh, Sydney! You're the ONLY one for me! Wait . . . . there's Lauren. Oh, Lauren! Let me run and hug you! I was afraid I'd never see you again!!" What the (expletive) was that? I'll buy that Vaughn still has feelings for Sydney, and I'll grudgingly accept that he would insist on telling her that, as he thought they were going to die. However, hurrying over to Lauren without even a guilty glance over at Sydney just makes him seem like a pathetic jerk.
Also in the "What the . . . ?!" category: since Lauren acted unthrilled about the extermination of Syd and Vaughn, then later sat looking at a picture of Vaughn, are we to infer that she actually cares for him or something? It's almost as if the writers are trying to recreate a Jack and Laura Bristow situation. Why are they so fascinated with the I-married-a-spy plot? Is this how they are trying to make this situation dramatically complicated? If so, keep trying.
Maybe I'm being too hard on the show, but I can't seem to help it. I haven't liked this Married Vaughn storyline since they started it in the season two finale. I understand why JJ (or whoever) would want to try to maintain the lovers-torn-apart scenario, but this was not the way. The season is over half-way done, and to be honest, I can't imagine them resolving this story to anyone's satisfaction. Come on, Alias: prove me wrong!
* Were those pilots trained by the CIA? I hope not, or surely they would have known not to dismiss being hit by a mysterious projectile so easily.
* Why didn't The Covenant just kill Lisenker?
* At first, I thought that the Jeep that Syd and Vaughn found was a trap.
* Ron Rifkin did an excellent job of conveying Sloane's anger and hurt over Jack's would-be betrayal with his tone and facial expression. Very powerful.