Before the Flood
Continuing from the previous episode, Irina, Jack, Vaughn, Nadia, and Sydney parachute into Sovogda, Russia, where a large version of Rambaldi's Mueller Device hovers over the city. The streets are deserted except for the bodies and wreckage indicating the recent violence caused by those affected by the device. The team goes to rendezvous with a group from the DSR, but only an agent named Brodien remains alive. He explains that their tranquilizers are useless against those controlled the device, and there's no cure once someone has been infected. To get to the device - centered over the Oransky building - Syd proposes that they use the subway tunnels. En route, Brodien is killed by one of the infected. Sloane accompanies Elena's men to attack the APO team, but he shoots the men instead. The team works to get one of the train cars moving. Several hundred feet away to flip a switch, Nadia is pursued by a crowd of infected people as the car starts moving; she runs to grab Sydney's hand but the group pulls her back. Meanwhile, as Marshall and Weiss try to thwart the impending air strike by hacking into the Russians' network, Marshall realizes that Elena is trying use the network to broaden the range of the device. Nadia escapes from the mob, but she finds herself unable to radio the team. Soon one of Elena's men catches her and takes her to Elena. Nadia refuses to join her side, so Elena injects her with the contaminated water. Sloane meets the others when their subway car stops, but they don't trust him. Sydney goes to the roof so Irina can talk her through disarming the Mueller Device. Sloane helps Irina, Jack, and Vaughn gain access to Elena. On the roof, Sydney finds Nadia, who has been infected. Sydney tries to reason with her, but Nadia attacks. They fight, but Syd manages to knock Nadia out. Returning to work on the device, Syd needs to know which wire to cut. Jack coerces Elena into talking by starting to inject her with the contaminated water; Irina then shoots her sister between the eyes. Before Syd can cut the wire, Nadia begins to strangle her. Sloane, having made his way to the roof, shoots Nadia, saving Sydney. Vaughn, following Sloane, arrives, and they take Nadia to the elevator while Syd cuts the wire. The four make it to Elena's secure chamber as the surge of water engulfs the building right behind them. Later, as they wait for pickup, Jack lets Irina go, despite her agreement to return to CIA custody. They kiss, and Irina tells Sydney that she's proud of her. Back in LA, Sydney visits Sloane in a jail cell; she reports that Nadia is sedated while they try to find an antidote. Sloane suggests testing the other survivors, but Sydney explains that they were all executed by the Russian government to support their claim of a chemical explosion. Believing Sloane was truly trying to help, Syd arranges for him to see Nadia. Later, driving in Santa Barbara, Syd suggests to Vaughn that they elope. After they profess their love, Vaughn starts to make a confession. He says that his name is not Michael Vaughn, but before he can explain, a car collides with theirs.
Marshall: If I can hack into it, I can shut it down.
Weiss: Yeah, and violate several thousand international laws.
Marshall: We're talking about the end of the world here; I'm not worried about a tribunal.
"I'm not saying I'm looking forward to it." Sydney, about her idea of traveling through the subway tunnels
Sloane: What about Nadia?
Elena: Bring her back. Give her the option to join us.
Sloane: I was going to.
Weiss: There's gotta be a way. What would Jack do in this situation? Jack is the king of this sort of thing.
Marshall: Well, first he'd probably glower a bit, right? And then he'd - I don't know - probably blackmail or torture somebody. Right? . . . [Marshall gets an idea.] . . . You're a genius! You, Eric Weiss, are a genius.
Weiss: I thought Sloane turned the Blackwell Index over to Langley.
Marshall: He did . . . it's complicated.
Weiss: Not really. Sloane's evil; why wouldn't he hold on to blackmail material on world leaders?
Irina: Rambaldi wrote when the blood-red horse roams the streets and angels fall from the sky, the Chosen One and the Passenger will clash . . . and only one of them will survive.
Jack: You really are through the looking glass, aren't you. When I see angels fall from the sky, I'll start to worry.
Irina: You shouldn't wait.
Vaughn: For what?
Irina: I saw the ring.
Vaughn: You know what? You killed my father. The way I see it, I don't have to ask for your blessings.
Irina: Despite that, you may have them. Along with some advice.
Vaughn: Like what? Don't betray your spouse?
Irina: Yeah, that would be one of them. But even between a husband and a wife, some secrets are acceptable. However, your activities are not.
Vaughn: What are you talking about?
Irina: You're not as covert as you like to think.
Irina: If you don't want to end up like Jack and me, tell Sydney the truth.
"While I've got you on the line, let me ask you: what's the significance of the green balloons?" Weiss, proving that he has blackmail material
Sloane: These are Elena's men. Sent here to kill you.
Jack: I suppose you're expecting a thank you.
Sloane: There's no time for sarcasm, Jack.
[Sloane rattles off orders.]
Sloane: . . . Jack, you take point. Irina, forgive me, but there's no time for pleasantries--
[Jack punches Sloane.]
Jack: You're no longer in charge of this team.
Weiss: Good luck.
Jack: Yeah, likewise.
"Your mother . . . She used to look at me with those eyes." Elena, to Nadia
Nadia: You're right . . . I see my future . . . Two minutes from now I see myself killing you--
[Elena slaps her.]
Nadia: The only reason you want me to be on your side is because you believe I'm the one to stop Sydney Bristow. But she's my sister . . . you are nothing to me.
Sydney: Did I forget something?
Vaughn: Yeah. Me.
"You'll run faster if I'm chasing you." Vaughn, on how he can help Syd escape the water
Sydney: I'll see you in a few minutes.
Vaughn (quietly): Okay.
[Sydney starts to walk away but turns back.]
Sydney: Just in case, yes. Yeah, I wanna marry you.
[They kiss. He gives her the ring. She puts it on.]
Marshall (on the phone): I just wanted to tell you I love you. I don't get to tell you that often enough. . . . No, I haven't been drinking . . .
"Ever since you were eleven, there's something I wanted to do." Irina, before smacking Elena with the handle of her gun
Irina: I'm not gonna torture you. I'm gonna let him do it. And he really doesn't care for you, especially after you tricked him into killing me. One thing you should know about Jack: he hates being anybody's puppet.
Jack (getting a syringe of the contaminated water): I'm actually hoping that you don't tell us what we need to know . . . There's a fifty-fifty chance Sydney cuts the right wire. I'm willing to take those odds if it means I can stand here and watch you turn into an animal.
Elena: You're not a gambling man, Jack.
Jack: I didn't use to be, but it's been a rather interesting year for me. It's made me reevaluate certain parts of my life. I'm trying to have more fun these days.
Elena: How do I know you won't inject me anyway?
Jack: You don't.
Irina: What about the Agency? What would you tell them?
Jack: Oh, I think they know. No one can hold on to Irina Derevko for too long.
"You may not see me on your wedding day, but I'll see you." Irina, saying goodbye to Sydney
Sydney (to Sloane): I didn't think I would ever say this, but I believe you were trying to do the right thing.
Vaughn: I like it. Barefoot on the beach - you'd look sexy as hell . . . But wait, what about your father? He doesn't look like the kind of guy who likes to have sand between his toes.
Sydney: That's true. So . . . we won't invite him.
Vaughn: Your father?
Sydney: What if we don't invite anyone, we just elope?
Vaughn: I love you, Syd. That's why I need to tell you something. Just so there's no secrets between us.
Sydney: Okay. Whatever it is, I can handle it. Don't tell me, you're a bad guy.
[Vaughn doesn't respond; Syd gets concerned.]
Sydney: You're not a bad guy, are you?
Vaughn: I guess that depends on who you ask.
Vaughn: It's from a long time ago, before we met. Actually, it's the reason we met. It's no accident that I was the one you came to when you walked into the CIA with your story about SD-6.
Sydney: Wait, I don't understand. Vaughn . . . what are you telling me?
Vaughn: Well, for starters, my name isn't Michael Vaughn.
[Syd looks at him, stunned. Suddenly, before he can say any more, another car slams into theirs.]
The bulk of this episode can be summarized in four words: they saved the world. And really, was there ever a doubt that they would? If the world had ended, next season would be pretty boring.
However, I think it was the right time for this Rambaldi plot to play out. They've been talking about that guy since the show started, and when Nadia first appeared, people ominously warned about the mighty clash between her and Sydney. Again, we could guess who would survive the fight. Aside from the fact that Sydney is the main character, the way Rambaldi referred to them provides a clue: the Chosen One is the one who is, um, chosen. The Passenger ... is just along for the ride.
In typical Alias fashion, the writers left themselves an opening for continuing the Rambaldi plot. Since the prophecy says that only one sister will survive, if Nadia doesn't die, maybe this clash wasn't the one that was foretold.
I thought the most surprising revelation was Jack's declaration about trying to have more fun. After he learned that Irina was alive, there was a noticeable change in his demeanor, but I didn't realize just how far it went. Since I don't think we're in danger of losing the hard-nosed guy we've come to know and love, I think it's wonderful that after all the pain and anger he's had, he's gained a new perspective on life. He even broke protocol to let Irina go; maybe he felt that he owed it to her.
Since JJ believes that lovers kept apart makes for a good story, as soon as Vaughn said he wanted Sydney to marry him, I wondered what would happen to interfere with their happiness. An earlier hint of Vaughn's secret would've been nice, because this is so sudden it's almost hard to believe. Then again, that's probably how it's supposed to be so that we can feel the shock that Syd did. It worked, because my jaw dropped as he was talking; the one character (well, besides Syd) that I knew to be good suddenly turned into a stranger. Vaughn said that the shadiness was a long time ago, but Irina made it sound as if he's still involved in something. If Irina is correct, then the crash that interrupted his confession was probably not an accident.
* Um, Jack? You and the others are the angels who fell from the sky! (Well, if one loosely interprets the "prophecy" so that angels are those sent to help in the crisis...)
* Or, the fallen angel prophecy could be interpreted literally, as we're shown among the damage an angel statue that has fallen. (Thanks to Jaiknee for sending this observation from the twoevilmonks.org episode recap.)
* The scene where Elena approached Nadia who was strapped to a chair was reminiscent of the scene where Irina walked back into Sydney's life.
* Although Rambaldi didn't offer many details, Sloane shooting Nadia cheated the prophecy, in my book. So did Elena drugging Nadia to make her fight Syd.
* Elena said that she had planned for five years; so why was she at the orphanage? Was she trying to be the one who raised Nadia? Or was Nadia coincidentally dropped off at the place where Elena was hiding?
* Earlier this season, Vaughn told Sydney that there were a lot of things she doesn't know about him.
* Does Jack know about Vaughn's "activities"?
* I'm very curious to see how everything we know about Vaughn so far - particularly his father's death - figures into whatever we learn next season.