Search and Rescue
Jack regretfully remembers the night he shot Irina. Sydney does not believe that Dixon saw Irina, but Jack argues that it's very possible that he shot Irina's double. Sydney remains skeptical that it's just another of Elena's deceptions. The APO team watches news reports of a situation in Sovogda, Russia. Details are scarce, but Marshall's hacker friend sends video footage of extreme violence as a giant red ball hovers above the city. The agents realize that the activation of the Mueller Device where the people drank the water that Sloane contaminated has resulted in chaos. Marshall reveals that destroying the ball will release powerful toxins. If Irina is being held prisoner, she will know how to safely disarm the device. Nadia learns that Jack lied to her about who shot Irina. Dixon identifies Lucien Nisard, one of Elena's men, and the team tracks him to a club in Ibiza. Sydney and Vaughn corner him; Sydney asks if Irina is alive, and - under duress - Nisard admits that she is. Nisard reveals that Irina is being held in Guatemala. Nadia and Syd infiltrate the camp, as Jack guides them via satellite imagery. They find a hidden cell and free Irina, who is dazed but very much alive. When the three meet Jack, Irina walks over and punches him. On the plane, Irina tells how she found Ramabldi's Il Diluvio ("The Flood") manuscript, which told of a complete cleansing of the world. Irina destroyed the manuscript, but her cruel sister tortured her until she revealed what she had learned. She says that they must stop Sloane and Elena before they move to another city. Irina goes to clean up, and Nadia offers the clothes that she brought for her. Irina realizes who Nadia is, and they embrace. When Director Chase learns that Jack went to rescue Irina, she orders the plane to return. Irina is arrested, but Syd confronts Chase, insisting that Irina is their only hope. Chase says that the Russians are preparing an air strike, but Syd counters that the result will be catastrophic, just like Elena wants. Chase agrees to let them go to Sovogda, where Elena and Sloane are likely to be somewhere protected from the hazards of the device. As the team prepares to parachute into the city, Vaughn pulls Sydney aside. He tells her what she means to him and presents the ring, asking her to marry him. Syd insists that they will survive the current ordeal, and she tells him to ask her again on the beach. The door is opened and Irina, Jack, Vaughn, Nadia, and Sydney jump out.
Sydney: Did you have any idea she and Dixon ...?
Jack: No. But then, I tend to miss those kinds of details.
Sydney: What are you talking about? You're the master of details.
Jack: I've lived my life trusting in the veracity of details. And in doing so, I lost sight of the one thing I know to be true: your mother would never hurt you.
Sydney: You and I may disagree on a lot of things, but I never question your motives. You always have my best interest at heart, I know that.
"I don't think she's feeling much of anything right now." Sydney, after Jack asks about Nadia
Elena (to Sloane): You talk the talk, but I'm still not convinced you've returned to the fold. We'll see if you have what it takes to finish the journey.
Jack: You asked me a question earlier that I didn't get a chance to answer properly.
Vaughn: I'd say the answer was loud and clear.
Jack: We're more alike than I care to admit, Agent Vaughn. And I realize now that in disapproving of you, I was only hating my own limitations. I wasn't asking myself what would be best for Sydney . . . If you honestly believe that you can make my daughter happy, then by all means, you have my blessing to marry her.
Nadia: You always knew my father would do this.
Sydney: I hoped he wouldn't.
Nadia: Despite everything, I really believed that he chose me . . . You must think I'm pretty foolish.
Sydney: Of course not. He's your father.
[Jack recalls the night he shot Irina.]
Irina: I was pleased to get your note. This party looks . . . insufferable.
Jack: I would prefer not to spend the little time we have together with idle banter.
Irina: Well then. What do you suggest?
Jack: A dance?
Jack: You broke my heart, Irina.
Irina (with a breezy laugh): That was another lifetime. I won't do it again.
Jack: Good to know.
Irina: This has been lovely, but I should go back.
Jack: Tell me, Irina. How did it feel, giving the order? Was it difficult, or . . . were you able to remain cold, indifferent. Were you amused?
Irina: Jack, this is cryptic even for you.
Jack: Then let me be clear. How did it feel to pay a man . . . to kill your own daughter?
Irina: You weren't supposed to find out.
Jack: You didn't feel a thing, did you. How is that possible? Were Sydney and I nothing to you, merely strategic alliances . . . to be disposed of once we'd outlived our usefulness? After what we've been through, Irina, I deserve an explanation. Why? I need a reason.
Irina (quietly): Because it had to be done.
[Jack points a gun at her head.]
Jack: Damn. You.
[He shoots her.]
Sydney: He still swears he saw her, but the amount of blood he lost, he must have been delusional.
Jack: I would've thought you placed more trust in your partner.
Sydney: That's impossible.
Jack: We've seen impossible before.
Sydney: Dad, you killed her.
Jack: I killed a woman I believed to be your mother. Sound familiar?
Jack: I understand your skepticism, although your unwillingness to even entertain the idea suggest fear.
Sydney: Fear? Of what?
Jack: Perhaps of false hope.
Sydney: Maybe it's easier for you to believe Mom's alive than to live with what you did.
Jack: Maybe so. But the fact remains as long as Sloane and Elena are out there, we're pursuing every lead.
"No, I don't think sleep is a luxury that only Americans can afford." Sydney, on the phone trying to obtain information
Nadia: Does Sydney know?
Jack: This is not the time for recriminations. Your mother may be alive.
Nadia: I hope she is - and you should, too.
Marshall: So what you're saying is, a large red ball plus contaminated water equals a city full of homicidal maniacs. That's a sentence I never thought I'd say.
Vaughn: But what's the point? I mean, besides the weirdest terrorist attack of all time.
Jack: Their purpose remains a mystery. Perhaps Sovogda serves some strategic importance.
Weiss: I'd go with world domination, but that's always my go to.
Vaughn: We've been tasked to rescue a woman who killed my father, your mother - who is supposed to be dead, by the way - and to disable a giant red ball floating over a Russian city.
Sydney: Crazier things have happened.
Vaughn: That's kind of my point.
Vaughn: Without you, I'd be lost. I mean, this world, this job, everything. It would make me insane.
Vaughn: We're gonna get through this.
Sydney: How can you be sure?
Vaughn: How can I not be? We're still here. Syd . . .
[Vaughn reaches for the ring, but Marshall appears at the door.]
Marshall: Hey. Sorry to interrupt. You ready to roll?
Sydney: You want to be rough, or you want me to be rough?
Vaughn: You're always rough.
Sydney: No, I'm not.
Vaughn: Yes, you are.
Sydney: That's not true.
Vaughn: Yes, it is.
Sydney: Are you talking about at home or on ops?
Vaughn: Both . . . Hey, I'm not complaining.
Sydney: If I'm rough it's because you like it when I . . . Are we on comms?
Jack: Yes! You're both on comms, right now.
Nisard: Bad timing, Sweetheart. It's the end of the world, or haven't you heard? Blackmail is not as effective as it once was.
Nisard: Elena wanted people to believe Irina was dead. A follower . . . a follower agreed to do it.
Sydney: Someone volunteered to be murdered?
Nisard: You have no idea how willing we are to do what is necessary for what is about to come.
"I knew you'd come." Irina, to Sydney
Irina: Eventually, I was moved to a medical facility and injected with something . . . the pain was excruciating. I'd go into cardiac arrest; she'd simply stabilize my heartbeat and allow me to rest, so I could endure more. And she did this . . . dozens and dozens of times . . . I couldn't fight it . . . I told her everything.
Irina: Sydney, I wish I could spare you from what's about to come, but I need for you to come with me.
Sydney: I'm with you.
Jack: We'll send the team.
Irina: I helped Elena build the device - I can figure out how to destroy it. There are no alternatives.
"This time you have to trust me." Sydney, to Director Chase
Irina: How's your jaw?
Jack: I've been through worse.
Irina: I understand why you believed you had to kill me, but the truth is, if the situation had been reversed . . . I would've found another way.
Jack: I can imagine this will give you any comfort, considering what you've been through, but . . . the truth is, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't regret what I did.
Irina: And about my . . . indiscretion with Sloane, I can only hope you'll accept my apology.
Jack: Of all the things you've done, that's what you're going to apologize for?
[Irina smiles, and Jack smiles back - they are ADORABLE!]
Jack: You're going to enjoy getting to know Nadia. She's exceptional.
Irina: I wonder where she gets that from.
Vaughn: I had it all planned out.
Vaughn: I was going to take you to the beach, Santa Barbara. We'd go out for a walk, maybe when the sun was setting. But now we're here, and I don't know what we're jumping in to. And I may never get another chance to do this again. Sometimes, I wake up before you do, and I watch you sleep. And I'm overwhelmed because . . . you're so amazing. And I don't know why I'm lucky enough to have you in my life, but you're here with me. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you, trying to make you as happy as you make me.
Sydney: We're gonna make it out of here.
Vaughn: Is that a yes?
[Sydney kisses him.]
Sydney: Ask me on the beach.
As I write this, the poll poses the question, "What do you think about so many Alias characters dying, then returning?" Every time I've checked, the answer with the most votes has been "I love it! It never gets old!" Those who read my reviews know that my opinion is more along the lines of "It was good at first, but please, no more." So when I first happened upon that spoiler-y announcement that Lena Olin would return to the show (and believe me, there was no way to avoid hearing about it), I was disappointed that Alias was using that tired old plot yet again. I love Lena as Irina, but I couldn't imagine how her resurrection could make any sense at all after Jack revealed that he shot her in the head.
Then I read somewhere that she would only appear in flashbacks, and my faith in the writers was restored. When it became apparent during the episode that Irina was alive, I was surprised at how glad I was. Beyond that, I was - and still am - so pleased with the way the story worked out. Basically, Elena did the same thing to Irina that the Covenant did to Sydney, and that is a very believable twist.
How absolutely adorable are Jack and Irina together? His admission that he regretted what he did every day adds yet another layer to a complex character; he insisted to Vaughn that he only felt guilty for a little while, but it started to surface when he learned that Irina had been framed. Katya accused Jack of wanting to be manipulated, and maybe to some extent he did kill Irina partly out of revenge. However, he was quickly reminded of a familiar life lesson, where we get something only to discover that we didn't really want it.
* I wonder if the writers had this ending to the season as an alternate, just in case Lena agreed to appear.
* Ms. Olin must have been standing on a box to be almost as tall as Victor Garber while they were dancing.
* I almost wrote a fanfiction of the scene where Jack shot Irina; I'm glad I waited to see if they would show it.
* Sydney was doing exactly what she scolded Vaughn for doing: giving up hope after everything they've seen.
* Nisard is one sick puppy!
* I like how the ABC site's episode recap describes Syd as "overwhelmed and delighted" at Vaughn's proposal.
* Could Vaughn's "I'd be lost" line be a nod to that other JJ show?
* Between this episode and the previous one, the word Sweetheart was used four times: Sydney said it to the money guy, Nisard said it to Sydney, Irina said it to Nadia and I forget the other time, but I'm sure there was one . . .
* Thanks to AtheNepthys for this one: When Jack has his flashback to Irina, she's wearing an ORCHID in her hair.