A nerve agent called Substance 33 is stolen from a test facility in Istanbul. Marshall receives video footage of the theft from a friend and, given the computer hacking involved, he theorizes that the thief works for Gordon Dean. He traces the hacker to Prague, and Sydney, Marshall and new APO agent, Thomas Grace are tasked to go find him. In Prague, the hacker is revealed: it's the blond agent who works with Dean. After a brief car chase, Grace catches her. He learns that her name is Rachel Gibson and that she's in the country on a student visa, studying architecture. As they question her, she declares that she works with a black ops division of the CIA. Marshall's lie detector reveals that she is telling the truth; Syd realizes that Rachel has been lied to the same way she was. To prove it to Rachel, they activate the tracking signal she was given and instead of going to CIA headquarters - as Rachel believed it would - it is rerouted back to Dean's temporary office in Prague. Rachel is devastated at having been deceived, but she agrees to help them access Dean's server. She enters the office and her friend Peyton - the same person who stole the nerve agent in Istanbul - asks if she's okay. When Rachel steps out for coffee, Peyton goes with her, but Sydney and Grace are able to receive the encryption key in a brush pass. Back inside, Rachel returns to work. Marshall starts to download Dean's files and finds the location of the Substance 33. Peyton shares her suspicions with Dean, who sees that Rachel has compromised the system. Peyton offers to kill Rachel, but Dean tells her to activate Plan B. Peyton sets the timer on a bomb, and she and Dean hurry to the exit. Seeing cars speed out of the parking garage, Grace is alarmed. The power shuts down and they are unable to reach Rachel on comms. Grace hurries into the building and activates the fire alarm; Rachel, already concerned at losing contact with the others, rushes into the stairwell as the bomb blows. Grace finds Rachel dusty but alive. Meanwhile, Sloane is granted a 72-hour release from his cell to meet with Dolzhenko, an old friend who says that he has an experimental cure for Nadia's illness. Dixon accompanies Sloane, but Dolzhenko wants to meet alone. Dixon agrees, but at the meeting, Dolzhenko pulls a gun on Sloane. He lied about there being a cure; he wants revenge because his daughter died from what Sloane caused in Sovogda. Ultimately, Dolzhenko is unable to pull the trigger, so he drives away.
Marshall: Take a look right there. See? That - those vials? That's a nerve agent called Substance 33; it was developed by the Russians during the Cold War - remarkable stuff. You know, in an . . . end of . . . civilization . . . sort of way.
Marshall: This woman right here. That's who I think works for Dean.
Jack: You think? Based on what? Your penpal?
Marshall: We can grab this hacker and get him to tell where the Substance 33 is.
Sydney: But if we do that, we lose Dean. Once he realizes his hacker is missing, he'll disappear as well.
Sydney: I have a history with Dixon. What is so important, Dad, that he can't come with me on this mission?
Jack: Your sister.
Sydney: When was I going to find out about this?
Jack: I didn't want to raise your hopes until we knew what Sloane had.
Jack: What aren't you telling me?
Sydney: I read his file.
Jack: Agent Grace's? You had no authority to do that.
Sydney: In the last three years, he has turned down half a dozen team assignments, instead taking long cover operations by himself. He's a loner.
Jack: He's a superior agent, and he's agreed to be on this team - which is good enough for me.
Sloane: You're suggesting that I might be walking into a trap? Hmm? No. About the Sovogda incident, the Russians have no idea that I'm responsible.
Dixon: Then why has he agreed to meet with you at all?
Sloane: Three hundred thousand dollars.
"I'll fake it. It's all sort of German-ish, right?" Grace, after revealing he doesn't speak Czech
"You're gonna want a seatbelt." Grace, to Marshall before pursuing Rachel
Sloane: If you're concerned that this is a trick, an escape, you have my daughter. She's all the insurance you need.
Dixon: Could be a trap. Russian police could be waiting for you.
Sloane: It doesn't matter to me. I have to see this through . . . What if it were your daughter, Marcus?
Rachel: Whoever you people are, you're making a big mistake. Pretty soon there'll be a ton of US agents swarming this place looking for me.
Sydney: US agents?
Rachel: That's right.
Sydney: You're scared. You should be. No one is coming to rescue you.
Rachel: I am an operative for the US Government, so unless you want to start a war with the CIA I would suggest--
Sydney: Here's your next problem, Rachel: we're CIA.
Rachel: Well, then this must be some . . . big misunderstanding. If you're CIA, we're on the same side.
Sydney (to Grace): Call Langley and verify her story.
Rachel: You can't. We're off-book, black ops. Langley won't verify us.
Sydney: Well, that's convenient.
Sydney: I want to tell you a story. Just stop me if I get something wrong. You were approached in college, someplace public - the quad or walking to class. A man asked you if you wanted to serve your country. When he told you it was for the CIA, you just, you couldn't believe it. But you took the tests, and they were easy for you; they made you feel good about yourself. You probably started work at a false front, some phantom company that had you doing entry-level analysis . . . Maybe you wondered why you were never sent to Langley. Maybe you wondered why you weren't being trained with other recruits. Then you got promoted.
Sydney: Dean took you under his wing. He convinced you that you were so important, you just had to be out there, helping him save the world. How am I doing?
Rachel: You read my file.
Sydney: No, I didn't. Thirteen years ago, the same thing happened to me. Only I had been lied to. What I was told was the CIA was in reality a criminal organization. I think you've been told the same lie.
Sydney: What's on Vlasska Street?
Rachel: Our office. It's temporary so that Dean can oversee the transfer of Substance 33.
Jack: How much does she know about his operation?
Grace: Dean calls it The Shed. She was recruited two years ago, computer specialist. She's willing to give us everything: mission history, suppliers, contacts . . . the works.
Marshall: Holds two hundred and forty gigs of memory. And it's a working credit card . . . just don't go shopping with it because it's already at its limit. My wife . . . crazy with the clothes . . . Mitchell.
Rachel (sadly): It's clever.
Marshall: Yeah . . . I wanted to tell you that I've been admiring you, too . . . Uh . . .not, you know, in a creepy, weird . . . just totally professional. Your hack on the NSA? Genius! I mean . . . too bad it was being used for evil. Though . . . been there myself.
Marshall: I have been through stuff way scarier - I'm still here.
Sloane: I know your pain, Sasha. Killing me won't heal it.
Sydney: The hard part: you have to walk back into that office and look everyone in the eye. Your coworkers. Gordon Dean. You can't let them see that you know the truth.
Rachel: How many of them know? How many of them are in on it?
Sydney: It's impossible to say. In my case it was half a dozen out of fifty agents.
[Sydney shows Rachel a picture of Vaughn.]
Rachel: Dean said he was a CIA agent who turned. That he's in custody outside Los Alamos . . . [She sees Syd's reaction.] . . . That was a lie, too.
[Dean mentions a book Rachel recommended.]
Dean: I never would've thought I'd be so . . . fascinated by a serial killer. Somehow I find myself even . . . sympathetic.
Rachel: Yeah, I guess.
Rachel: I thought you quit.
Peyton: I did. In the US. But here, everybody smokes. It's a social necessity.
[Grace lights Peyton's cigarette to distract her from the brush pass.]
Peyton: See? Social necessity. If I didn't smoke, that never would have happened . . . I suppose he's not your type anyway, is he.
[Grace returns to the van.]
Grace: Remind me to ask her what that means. Not her type.
Peyton: I think we may have a problem.
Dean: What kind of problem?
Peyton: Rachel Gibson.
Where I'm from, a shed is a building, often small and simply made, used for storage. With that image in mind, it amuses me that a high-tech criminal organization would call itself that. It could be an acronym, but that strikes me as a bit too "Get Smart." Until they explain the significance - and I really hope there is some significance - I'll continue to snicker whenever anyone mentions it.
Although Rachel's situation is similar to Syd's, I'm relieved that it's not identical. For example, Rachel isn't a field agent, which explains why they were able to catch her in the first place. She's also not as good as hiding her feelings as Syd is, again no doubt because of her lack of practice at it in the field. The biggest change from Sydney's story is that Rachel's stint as a double agent did not turn into a recurring thing; even though she survived the bomb, her cover was already blown. I'm a little surprised by this, but I applaud the writers for writing it that way. It makes sense that if the real bad guys became suspicious of an agent, as Peyton did, they would not hesitate to kill them. I was afraid that Dean would become the next Sloane and be blinded to Rachel's deception because of his fondness for her.
Speaking of Sloane, hasn't he become the voice of reason lately? Yet, true to form, he also teeters on the edge of returning to his former ways. It started back in the season premiere when he told Jack that he can't help his daughter while he's locked in a cell. His former friend's declaration that there is no cure may drive him to desperate measures.
* The mice at the test facility were okay, even though the humans wearing protective suits died. Could this mean something?
* Peyton was awfully confident handling that deadly chemical; it's as if she wasn't even concerned that she could be affected by it.
* Syd pulling Vaughn's magazine from the trash makes me think that she's saving it for him.
* Sloane was wrong: people *do* know that he is responsible for what happened in Sovogda. I don't think we've seen the last of the fallout from that.
* What a convenient way to keep the pregnant Jennifer away from some of the action scenes: "Dean or his agents could recognize you." And helping a novice agent lets her have the more passive role of consultant.
* Agent Grace reminds me of Charlie Sheen. A lot.
* Logically, the Plan B bomb that Peyton activated should have triggered a lockdown of the facility to ensure that no agents remained alive to compromise the organization.