Welcome to Liberty Village
At Syd's place, Weiss declares that the group is going bowling, but Sydney and Vaughn decline, prompting Weiss to say that they're not spontaneous. Weiss leaves with Nadia, and Sydney and Vaughn are called into work. APO has learned that an electromagnetic weapon has been stolen; it generates a pulse that can shut down anything electric in its range. A Russian group called the October Contingent is believed to be responsible for the theft. Two mercenaries that were to meet with the Contingent were recently arrested, so Sydney and Vaughn will take their place. In Moscow, they meet with "Tom;" speaking in Russian, he asks if they can sound like Americans. When they prove they can, he welcomes them on board a van and assigns them the names David and Karen Parker. The van proceeds to Liberty Village, which looks like a typical suburban neighborhood. Tom ushers Sydney and Vaughn into their house, where they meet several couples. Using one of Marshall's special watches, Syd transmits photos of their guests to headquarters, where the team discovers that they're all terrorists and contract killers. Syd and Vaughn play along; Tom wants to see that they can convincingly pass as American. Sloane sends Jack to talk to a contact named Alexei, to try to learn more about the Contingent's plans. Alexei says that Liberty Village was a training ground for government operatives, but before he'll help extract Sydney and Vaughn, he wants the books that Jack gave Irina when she was posing as Laura Bristow. Searching the books, Marshall discovers encoded information regarding "Sentinel." Jack says that Alexei can have the books because Sentinel is a deceased operative. At Liberty Village, Syd and Vaughn pass another of Tom's tests, so he tells them their part in the plan: plant the electromagnetic device near the servers at the New York Stock Exchange. However, as he's giving them the details, he gets a call that the couple they're impersonating is on their way to a maximum-security prison. After a fight, Syd grabs the device, and she and Vaughn hurry outside. With a helicopter closing in on them, Syd activates the device. The helicopter crashes, the neighborhood goes dark, and Sydney and Vaughn escape. On the flight home, they decide to stop in Paris for dinner. Back at the office Jack tells Sloane that the Russians are searching for Elena Derevko; Sloane responds that they'll have to move up their timetable.
Weiss (to Nadia): What is so hard to understand. You take a ball, right? You roll it, you knock over some pins and everybody cheers for you.
Vaughn (to Weiss): Or in your case, everyone laughs.
Weiss: You don't have to analyze everything you do. You can just decide to have fun. It's okay.
Sydney: We're fun.
Weiss: Yeah. You guys are about as spontaneous as my grandparents - and they're dead.
Sydney: We don't analyze everything we do . . . do we?
Sloane: What's the connection? Why is the Contingent associating with terrorists, thieves, contracts killers.
Marshall: More importantly, why are they all dressed up like the Cleavers?
Tom: Americans love to show affection for each other. You two, you seem a little cold.
Vaughn: They must be planning an attack.
Sydney: On what, suburbia?
Vaughn: If one more person calls us "boring" --
Sydney: He didn't call us "boring," he called us "cold" . . . Who thinks we're boring?
Jack: You would have my gratitude for any assistance rendered.
Alexei: While that does warm my heart, I'm afraid the reward does not outweigh the risk.
Tom (to Vaughn): Look at that: we're wearing the same shirt; you'd be amazed how often that happens here.
Tom gives Syd and Vaughn wedding rings.
Tom: I just figured they might help with your . . . [lowers his voice] intimacy issues.
Jack: There was a small bookstore in Prague that stocked rare first editions. Whenever I was in town, I'd buy one for her as a gift.
Marshall: Oh, that's sweet.
Jack: The KGB encoded assassination orders in these pages.
Marshall: Oh . . . well . . . that's . . . not as sweet.
Car Salesman Phil: We only have one convertible, and it's a pretty fast car.
Sydney (deadpan): That's how we live our lives, Phil. Fast.
Car Salesman Phil: How'd he pop the question?
Sydney: He took me to--
Vaughn: Santa Barbara, actually.
Vaughn: I proposed on one knee in sawdust in front of a giraffe with a crooked neck.
Syd examines Vaughn's cut.
Vaughn: Is it bad?
Sydney: You've looked better.
Sydney: The story you told at the dealership: we were supposed to go to Santa Barbara three years ago. We never made it.
Vaughn (smiling): Karen and Dave did.
Alexei: We haven't heard from Irina in quite some time.
Jack: She's a difficult woman to keep track of.
Alexei: She always spoke quite favorably of you. Her attachment made her work . . . problematic at times.
Jack: Our suspicions regarding Sentinel are accurate. The Russians are searching for Elena Derevko.
Sloane: We'll have to move up our timetable.
Watching Syd and Vaughn playing the part of David and Karen in Liberty Village, it's easy to overlook why that was such a deviation from their usual assignments. They're always posing as other people, so what's the big deal, right? But this time, their primary goal was to act like a - stereotypically - normal couple: mingle with the neighbors, talk about their normal lives, show each other affection, etc. Instead of smoky bars and dark warehouses, they're hanging out in a lovely two-story home. Instead of creepy villains with a tray full of torture instruments, their pseudo-neighbors are armed with tuna casserole.
On the surface, a simple, ordinary life. In reality, though, the situation was precisely what they are accustomed to: living a lie. Perhaps it was a particularly cruel kind of lie because it showed them the life their job prevents them from enjoying. Syd even admitted that she wasn't excited about returning home. At the same time, the experience must have taught them something about the pitfalls of predictability. Their detour to Paris could indicate that they are choosing to embrace their own decidedly un-normal lives.
Since things are rarely the way they appear in the world of Alias, the budding relationship between Weiss and Nadia is starting to worry me. It would be fantastic if they could just fall in love and be happy, but this really isn't that kind of show. Knowing that it's commonplace for the people that Syd trusts to betray her, I keep expecting Nadia to follow suit. Heck, I was even suspicious of the way Weiss seemed to conveniently join APO . . . I think this show is ruining my faith in people.
I originally missed Sloane's line about moving up the timetable; when it finally registered, I felt shocked - and maybe a little betrayed - thinking that Jack and Sloane are hiding some nefarious agenda. Well, of course Sloane is, but I'm going to be very disappointed if Jack has been working out a master plan all this time. I agree with a review that I read several months ago: such a move would immediately make Jack nothing more than a one-dimensional character. His previous attempts to protect Sydney and their efforts to bridge the emotional gap between them would be absolutely worthless, merely part of another scheme. Hopefully, as we've seen before Jack only *appears* to be up to no good.
* One of the Liberty Village couples was responsible for the deaths of 47 people.
* Irina didn't "always" speak favorably of Jack: in an old videotape, she reported to her superiors that "Jack Bristow is a fool."
* When Syd is fighting Tom, it looks like sunlight is streaming in through the windows. But when she and Vaughn run outside, it's night.