The Awful Truth
On a mission in the Bahamas, APO acquires a lead on the man who is planning to deliver Valta, a computer for gathering data from satellite networks, to a German terrorist group. The team's next move is to infiltrate the home of the man, Martin Bishop, and determine where Valta is stored by hacking into Bishop's server. Meanwhile, Syd informs Jack that she is going to tell Nadia what really happened to their mother; Sydney is convinced that Nadia will find out eventually, and it will be better if the news comes from her. While Sydney, Vaughn, Dixon, and Marshall travel to Spain to find Bishop, Jack administers a psych test to Nadia to determine how she reacts to unexpected situations. Sydney is invited into Bishop's home, where she successfully locates the Valta. The team passes that information to Sloane who sends a group of CIA operatives, led by Weiss, to destroy it. Before Syd can escape, she runs into Bishop, and she plays along in case she needs further info from him. Vaughn learns that Weiss has been captured. Bishop receives a call that the Valta was destroyed, and he disappears with Sydney as the others move in to extract her. Upon hearing that Sydney is missing, Jack travels with Nadia to Spain. On the way, Jack says that Nadia's test results reveal that, like Sydney, she has an extraordinary ability to adapt, and he proceeds to gives her a top secret file. Sydney wakes up tied to a chair and finds herself looking at another prisoner: Weiss. He creates a diversion while she escapes from her bonds and takes out the guard. Weiss realizes that Syd is on black ops mission, but she says that they'll talk about it later. Sydney goes after Bishop and leaps onto the roof of his car, but he stops suddenly and she tumbles off. He's about to shoot, when he is shot dead by Nadia, who pumps a few extra rounds into him. Nadia tells Sydney that Bishop was the one who killed their mother, and Syd exchanges a look with Jack, who is not far behind. Later, Jack admits to Sydney that he adjusted the details to give Nadia closure.
Bank Manager: What were you doing?
Sydney (in disguise): Just . . . breaking into your safe?
Bank Manager (laughing after a brief pause): You almost fooled me!
Weiss: No woman ever wants to go to the Magic Castle.
Nadia: Oh, I like magic.
Jack crashes the party at Syd's apartment.
Vaughn: Looks like the party just got started.
Jack: It must've been lost in the mail.
Sydney: Your invitation?
Jack: Unless it was an e-vite. I don't read e-vites.
Sydney: If you're wondering whether I've told Nadia that you killed our mother, no I haven't. But I plan to.
Jack: Out of spite?
Sydney: Out of respect.
Sydney: She's my sister; I need to tell her--
Jack: This isn't about what you need, Sydney--
Sydney: No, apparently it's about what you need.
Sloane: As Nadia acclimates to this life, to her new family, she needs support, and you have put my mind at ease.
Sydney: The thought that I did something that might've given you a warm and fuzzy feeling makes me want to kick my own sister out of my house.
Sydney: What are you up to, Dad?
Jack: They're waiting for you, Sydney.
Nadia was watching Jack and Sydney talk.
Nadia: Is he always so cold?
Sloane: Jack? I'm afraid so.
Marshall: Well, you don't buy a server like that to look at on-line porn...
Vaughn: How do you break into the house of a master thief?
Sydney: I don't think you do. I think you have to be invited in.
Vaughn: Trigger the belt.
Marshall: What, you don't want to milk this a little bit?
Bishop: You just rolled your car - you must have been going at two hundred kilometers per hour.
Sydney: Sometimes you need to drive fast.
Nadia: Mr. Bristow, I don't mean to seem impatient, but I've never done anything that's lasted as long as this.
Jack: How sad for you.
Bishop (aiming a gun at Sydney): I liked you much better as Charlene.
Sydney (to Nadia): Is that how you normally deal with bad guys?
Sydney: You manipulated Nadia.
Jack: I gave your sister closure.
Sydney: But not the truth.
Jack: Sometimes a satisfying lie, Sydney, can do more good than the awful truth.
In season two, Sydney said that she has accepted that deceiving the people she cares about is a gesture of love. Clearly, Jack has always had that opinion where Sydney is concerned. (With Nadia, it's tough to know whether Jack is protecting her - or himself.) Despite the lessons that she's learned from sharing too much "truth," Sydney feels compelled to confess to Nadia what really happened to Irina. She said it was a matter of respect; no doubt, she fully identifies with Nadia's situation and wishes that Jack would have shown her the same respect. Then again, maybe since Jack knows how much learning of Irina's (aka Laura's) deception hurts, he speaks from experience when he says that a satisfying lie is far better.
While Syd was planning to be honest with Nadia, she and Vaughn were caught in the lies they had told Weiss. Some might argue that hiding the truth about their jobs was just business, and even Weiss would probably agree, but it had to hurt him a little that his friends lied to him.
For the benefit of new viewers, it was nice of the writers to include the scene where Sydney says that she works at a bank, so that they know why Weiss is looking at her when they're captured. The exchange at the party between Jack and Sydney was probably included for the same reason; the repetition can get a little old for regular viewers, but a word or two of explanation can go a long way in expanding the show's audience.
* Ironically, Syd told the bank manager "the awful truth" and he didn't believe it.
* Sydney was wise to realize that Nadia would somehow find out what Jack did. The truth will surely come out, and Nadia will be even more furious with Jack and Sydney for lying to her.
* I liked how the writers abbreviated the CIA raid on the Valta; they omitted unnecessary scenes by simply telling us later that it was destroyed by Weiss, who was captured.
* Nadia questioned why her hypothetical partner was a man, yet Nadia vowed to find the one responsible for Irina's death and "kill him."
* Jack's "How sad for you" line to Nadia just may be my favorite of the series so far.