Senator Reed, Lauren's father, arrives to oversee Sark's interrogation; he tells Jack that they must learn the identity of Sark's partner in The Covenant. The plane that was transporting Sark from France lands in the desert. Syd and Weiss board the plane and find Sark missing and everyone on board dead. At the CIA, Dixon learns that Sark has kidnapped his children, and Sark demands the release of several international prisoners. Marshall, analyzing the flight recorder from the plane, learns that Sark made a phone call and referred to someone as "love" before he bailed out over Arizona. Marshall also discovers that Sark's flight information was accessed using Dr. Barnett's code, from OMNIFAM's IP address. Jack goes to Switzerland and arrests Sloane. Meanwhile, Dixon's son is returned, but The Covenant now demands the release of ten prisoners. Dixon appoints Jack as the leader of the unit, but he confesses The Covenant's real demand to Syd: a Rambaldi artifact stored in Project Black Hole. Syd agrees to help him get it. The artifact turns out to be a gold cube with the name Irina engraved on it. Jack tells Syd that The Covenant is close to finding the key to operating the cube, and the contents will threaten her life. Despite that, Syd agrees to let Dixon trade the cube for his daughter. Elsewhere, Dr. Barnett visits Sloane at his cell, furious for him using her. He declares his innocence and asks that she not reveal the secret he told her. As the agents prepare to leave for the day, Jack overhears Lauren call Vaughn "love."
Dixon: The intelligence committee is sending Senator Reed to oversee the interrogation.
Sydney: Why the sudden interest from Washington?
Dixon: Sark is a key player now. They expect us to bleed him dry.
Dixon: The only thing that we do know for certain: Sark managed his escape because he was provided with information that could only have come from this office. I want this leak identified.
Marshall: I enhanced the audio, and it turns out our friend Mr. Sark made a phone call.
Sark (on recording): Notify the extraction team. I should be at the LZ on schedule. Do we have the hostages? . . . Excellent . . . Not if I see you first, love.
Sloane: Jack. To what do I owe this pleasure?
Jack: I take no pleasure in this, Arvin.
Dixon: The emotional toll this has taken and my current state of mind convince me I am no longer the best guarantee of her return. Therefore, I am stepping down temporarily as director of this task force until this matter is resolved. Jack, I trust you will stand in my stead and do everything in your power to bring my daughter back to me.
Dixon: My son said his captors mentioned the word "countershadow". That's all I have to go on. I need access to a research terminal for an hour or so.
Erin: Not a problem. Mind if I tag along? . . . Actually, I have to tag along. We're at a Code Orange. You understand.
Dixon: I understand - I instituted the protocol.
Jack: All of the resources of this agency are being diverted to meet demands the Covenant must know are unattainable, which leads me to believe it's merely a distraction. What do they really want?
Sloane: Well, then my question to you is: why target Dixon? What does he have access to, Jack?
Jack: The Covenant is desperate to acquire a box constructed by Rambaldi. It's Sloane's understanding that they're close to locating a key to activate it.
Dixon: And why should we trust a thing Sloane says?
Jack: Because Sloane believes the contents of that box in The Covenant's hands will put Sydney's life in jeopardy, and I believe him.
Sark: I'm afraid I'm going to need some insurance to guarantee I reach my extraction point safely. This collar contains a lethal cardiotoxin. Once I place this on your daughter, you'll have two minutes to disarm it before the compound is released into her system.
Dixon: You son of a bitch! That was not part of our agreement!
Sark: This mechanism is well within your disarming capabilities. Two minutes is generous, in my opinion.
Sloane: Look, Judy, why don't you ask yourself: if I wanted to damage you, if I wanted to damage the CIA, would I be so careless? Would I leave a trail that so obviously leads in my direction?
Dr. Barnett: You used me. I compromised my judgment because I believed that you had changed. You are incapable of it.
Vaughn: See you later.
Lauren: Not if I see you first, love.
* The looped video tape of the hostages was the second Speed-like aspect in as many episodes. The first was when the plane was rigged to explode if it dipped below a certain altitude.
* I actually liked the corny scene at the cell between Dr. Barnett and Sloane; years ago when I wrote fanfiction, I included several scenes like that.
* Sloane's question is a good one: were he guilty, he could surely avoid being found out. Perhaps Dr. Barnett is using Sloane?
* Could the writers puh-leeze stop trying to make it appear that Lauren cares? She murders people in cold blood, yet we're supposed to believe she feels bad about separating Dixon from his children?
* I loved Jack's expression after overhearing Lauren's "love" line.