Kelly Peyton breaks into a CIA storage facility and steals files relating to Vaughn. In the files, Peyton hears Vaughn report that he gave Sydney details about the scope of the SD-6 operations. Elsewhere, Sydney and Jack tour the hospital while Syd's doctor briefs her about the upcoming delivery; the due date is three weeks away, but the doctor insists that Syd is far enough along to deliver any day. Back at APO, the team learns of the theft although they don't know why Prophet Five wants Vaughn's information. Jack sends Sydney to talk to Renee Rienne, and Renee confirms that the CIA files would not have details about Vaughn's investigation of Prophet Five. Sydney sees two shady characters approaching, but while Renee takes care of them, a van speeds by and abducts Sydney. Renee stops a second van, in which she discovers Dr. Desantis. Another doctor sends Sydney into forced hypnosis, and he tells her to remember happy times with Vaughn. Sydney recalls several memories, but they don't replay exactly as they happened; Sydney realizes that the Prophet Five people are questioning her. Vaughn tells her that he has to go so she can defeat them, but she wants him to stay. The bad doctor is finally convinced that Syd will give them the information that they want, and he directs her memory back to the day at the bloodmobile when Vaughn showed her the map of SD-6. He asks her for the name in the upper right corner of the map and after a brief pause, she tells him. Watching the interrogation from behind a two-way mirror, Irina Derevko tells Peyton that she will go after The Horizon. Jack joins Renee to question Dr. Desantis, but Desantis will not tell them where Sydney is. However, his calendar has an address in Hungary noted on Sydney's due date. Jack and Renee travel to this address and find a nursery. Meanwhile, Sydney rests, having been left by the doctor with thoughts of herself and Vaughn on a beach. Vaughn says he has to go before the bad guys realize that Syd gave them the wrong name. Syd agrees, but Vaughn reminds her optimistically that they always find each other. Peyton enters the room and loosens Syd's restraints. Syd opens her eyes and stabs Peyton with a nearby syringe. Escaping from the small room, Syd soon discovers that she's on a freighter, making its way across the ocean.
(Quotes from Sydney's dream/memories are in italics.)
"I'm back." Vaughn's first line
Sydney: Wait a minute; don't tell me you cook.
Vaughn: There are a lot of things about me you don't know.
Sydney: Do you clean, too?
Vaughn: You're gonna make a great mom.
Sydney (not at all convinced): Yeah. Maybe.
Sydney: It's just, my mom wasn't exactly the best role model.
Vaughn: Yeah, well, the good news is you're nothing like your mother.
"If you hurt my baby . . I swear to you . . . I will kill you." Sydney, to the bad doctor
"It's nice to see girl like you eating noodle. My granddaughter, she tell me, 'Too many carbs!'" A street vendor, to Peyton
Sydney: So this is where I'll be getting my epidural.
Doctor: Yes, it is, if you want one.
Sydney: I do. I'm- I'm not a big fan of pain.
Doctor: You must be excited. Won't be much longer.
Sydney: Oh, no, the due date's still three weeks away.
Doctor: Sure it is, but you never know. Your baby may be in a hurry. And you're far enough along, if your water broke today, we could expect a healthy delivery.
Sydney: A gift?
Jack: Technically, no. It's already yours. I'm just returning it.
"Reminds me of a time when I could . . . keep you safe." Jack, about the rattle
[Marshall has learned that Tom was married.]
Tom: For three years. Didn't work out.
Marshall: Totally understand. I mean, it's a- it's a . . . struggle.
Jack: You should know, when it comes to Vaughn ... I take it quite personally.
Sydney: I know, Dad.
Jack: We're going to fix this.
Peyton: Then you're suggesting that we abduct Sydney Bristow. Which, you realize, may compromise our larger agenda.
Dr. Desantis: We've been searching for more than thirty years, and this is the closest we've come to retrieving The Horizon. If Sydney Bristow can tell us where it is, we must act immediately. It's a chance we have to take.
Sydney: I need to know. Did he make a record of your investigation?
Renee: No. It was all in our heads.
Vaughn: I don't know if I'll ever get another chance to do this.
[He pulls out the ring.]
Sydney: But Vaughn, we already did this.
[She shows him the ring on her finger.]
Sydney: The people you were looking for, the people behind Prophet Five, I think they're holding me.
Vaughn: How do you know about Prophet Five?
Sydney: You told me, and then they shot you.
Vaughn: What? They shot me?
Jack: You're sure you have no means left by which to contact Prophet Five?
Sloane: Jack, I told you that Gordon Dean was my only resource. With him dead, I have nothing.
Sloane (on the phone): A pregnant woman's life is at stake. Someone very dear to me.
Voice: The only woman you can save is lying in a hospital bed. May I suggest you . . . pick your battles, sir.
Dr. Desantis: So this is how you do it. Bring in a man in a suit to scare me into talking.
Jack: You're right. The suit shouldn't scare you. What should scare you . . . is that I'm a very concerned father.
[A blade pops up from the knife in Jack's hand.]
Vaughn: We should think about more names for the baby.
Sydney: There will be plenty of time for that.
Vaughn: I know . . . What do you think about Oscar?
Sydney: What if we have a girl?
Vaughn (with a laugh): I meant for a girl.
Vaughn: I wish she were here already. I want to meet her.
Sydney: You will.
Vaughn: I know.
Vaughn: They can hear us. Come closer . . . You said it yourself: they're using me against you. The only way to defeat them . . . I need to go away.
Vaughn: We'll find each other.
[The scene switches back to where they first said this, in the North Korean prison.]
Sydney: We always find each other.
"Where she is does not matter. Your concern should be where she is going." Dr. Desantis, after Jack asks where Sydney is
Dr. Desantis: You can't do anything to me now. I'm quite prepared to die.
[Jack gives Renee the gun.]
Jack: See if he means it.
"You just threw your phone in the Pacific - twice." Vaughn, with a twist on a season one quote
Sydney: You gave me strength.
Vaughn: But the truth is - the truth has always been - you are the one that has kept the darkness from overtaking me.
Vaughn: I'm gonna go. And you are gonna take these guys down.
Vaughn: I'm not here. This isn't real. None of this is real.
Sydney: It's real to me. That's all that matters.
Vaughn: Don't say that. That's what they want you to say.
Sydney: Well, do you know what I want? I want the world to forget about us. I'm tired, Vaughn. I tired of having this weight on my shoulders. I don't- I don't want to be the one who has to save the world. I want you back. I want you all to myself.
Sydney: I want out. I don't care if they win, Vaughn. I don't care. I just want you to stay with me.
[The doctor is listening as Syd says this out loud.]
Doctor: That's it.
[He turns to the two-way mirror.]
Doctor: We've got her.
"I want no more of this spy crap." Syd, back at the blood-mobile
"I'll let my associates know we've discovered the location of The Horizon. I'll be back in a few days. 'Til then, keep her comfortable." Irina, to Peyton
Vaughn: They're gonna figure it out, Syd. Sooner or later, they're gonna know you gave them the wrong name. And when they do, I can't be here. They'll keep using me against you. They won't stop until they get what they want. I have to go.
Sydney: I know.
Vaughn: We'll find each other. We always find each other.
"Good Lord." Jack, after seeing the nursery setting at the address in Hungary
Ahhh! Bad mommy Irina! Torturing your pregnant daughter is NOT, I repeat NOT a good thing! Anyway that was a shock (no pun intended). I did quite the double take. After that the rest of the episode is very hard to think about.
So what happened at the beginning again? Ah yes, Peyton stole the watch from the CIA agent, whom by the way we knew was either a baddie or doomed the second we saw him. Then his brainless friend goes and looks at the actual server instead of the evil chick standing beside the server ready to kill him! If that's the kind of people guarding the real CIA central server then we are quite unsafe. I guess the agency decided the smart ones needed to be in the field.
So after capitalizing on the benevolence of the stupid CIA server guards, Peyton then takes the info on Vaughn to her non-blown up "Shed" (is it just me or did SD-6 and the Alliance of Twelve sound more spy like?) where they look up the hopefully non-existent SD-6 in his files. Now this raises an interesting point. Beyond the necessity for a plot, what possible reason would they look in Vaughn's files for the map of SD-6? Shouldn't they look in the CIA's files for SD-6? Or was that map Vaughn and Renee's map? If it was then Vaughn was taking quite a risk showing it to a new operative that he hardly knew. What if she had gone to the CIA wanting to see the map of SD-6 but all she got was inquisitive looks? Also why would Vaughn and Renee need a map SD-6 besides the given power in the knowledge from said map? The only ways I can think to answer these questions acceptably is that either the CIA files on SD-6 were better protected or they wanted something else from Vaughn's files and the whole SD-6 map thing was a small bonus in the search in the larger hunt. But these answers only bring more questions to light without any solid answers. Ah the joys of mid-season, far more questions than answers, shoot for that matter Alias a whole.
So next thing Peyton does is tell Dr. Desantis (from whom we still have yet to receive an explanation for the necessity of a brain transplant besides for the fun of it) and report on her findings. Desantis comments that this is the closest they have gotten to "Horizon" (yet another unanswered Alias question *sigh*) and promptly goes off to abduct Sydney who was meeting with Renee to find out what might have been on the server that Prophet Five might have wanted. When Sydney suspects danger Renee attacks the men following them. Unfortunately her efforts are in vain but she did manage to get numerous shots in to the black van following the van Sydney was in stopping the van and wounding Desantis (what on earth was a supposed senior official in Prophet Five doing there risking his own capture?!?!?) whom Renee captures and later hands over to a very ticked off Jack for interrogation after which he (hopefully) dies of more Renee inflicted gunshot wounds. The fact that Jack let Renee was a small thought but it probably served as an alternative stress reliever for her, seeing as Desantis was (as far as we know) the man who killed her father.
Back to the main plot, Sydney, in a drug induced hypnotic state, hallucinates about happy times with Vaughn. I am aware that it was not really Vaughn speaking in Syd's mind, but it was what Syd believed Vaughn would have said given what she knew. More importantly Vaughn emphasized that they would defeat these people (is anyone else looking for a certain non-dream Vaughn any time soon?).
Now we find out who is holding Syd captive, Irina! This raises the question that if Irina knew about Vaughn's Prophet Five interests, and she gave Vaughn permission to marry Sydney then why did she "make" Dean kill Vaughn? Not only that but why wait till after he proposed? Or is Irina really the one in control? She spoke to Peyton as either a superior or a more experienced equal, and said "tell our associates", apparently referring to the other heads of Prophet Five, but maybe I misread her tone and words (imagine that!). Also, they mentioned that they have been looking for this "Horizon" for thirty years, quite a long time. Assuming that the sole reason behind the formation of Prophet Five was to find the "Horizon" then according to my mental math, the beginning of prophet was sometime after the "death" of Laura Bristow. Even including a moderate jail time for Irina she would have at least a year to form this Prophet Five, but if Irina has been with Prophet Five all along, then that would make her formerly unnamed organization from seasons one and two a part of Prophet Five (correct me if I'm wrong but to my knowledge that organization was never completely dismantled).
Enough on that topic, next thing is what in the world does Irina want with SD-6? It no longer exists! Wait... what am I thinking? This is Alias where no one and nothing truly "dies" anything can reappear. Grrr.
Finally to the nursery Jack and Renee found. It seems that obsessive compulsive Ramaldi following mommy Irina doesn't want a non-believing American like Jack raising Rambaldi Jr., so she decided she would kidnap Sydney just before she gave birth to her baby so mommy Irina and new mommy Sydney could raise newborn Rambaldi without Jack's interference. Too bad for Irina that Jack has found the nursery and will most likely put it under surveillance (this could get quite nasty). Too bad we have to deal with all four months of Jennifer Garner's maternity leave before we find out what happens next.
To my great surprise, the ratings for this episode are among the lowest ever for the series. That is a crying shame because I thought this was one of the best installments ever for the series. Perhaps potential viewers saw the commercials and dismissed the ep as just another dream sequence. But at the very least, Vaughn was back! If *that* face doesn't compel people to watch, I don't know what will. And the masses clearly lack the attention span for a story that develops over time; they want cases that are neatly solved and put away in one hour.
Is it the fear of the torture scenes that keeps people away? I doubt that because a) the torture scenes have really been toned down this season, and b) they show much more graphic things on CSI and people eat it up with a spoon. (Apologies for that visual, btw.)
From comments posted on other websites, I know that some people have stopped watching the show to "protest" the recent changes. Yes, I agree that it's their choice. I confess that I haven't been wild about every aspect of the new season, but because of the show's track record, I'm sticking with it. Besides that, I know that it is impossible for a show to remain the same. If they keep doing what they started out doing, it grows stale. Yet with each twist they add, someone is bound to be displeased. But enough about the travesty of the low ratings and my inability to understand them. I'll address the rest of this review to the handful of you who also watched the ep.
IRINA! Irina is part of Prophet Five! What a completely unforeseen yet absolutely logical plot twist. I liked the simple way they dropped this bomb, revealing her reflection to show that she was the one behind Sydney's interrogation. Now I'm wondering why it never occurred to me that Irina is still a key player. Looking back, there were several clues. First, Sydney mentioned that her mother wasn't the best role model. Then the person behind the mirror stopped the doctor wanting assurance that his technique wouldn't harm the baby; this actually made me suspect Jack until I saw him at APO. Thinking back even further, at the end of season four, Irina knew about Vaughn's covert activities: she even told him to confess the truth to Sydney.
Less surprising is the revelation that Prophet Five is after Sydney's baby. Jack's shock at the nursery could have been because it's a replica of the one that they had for Sydney. Are the bad guys trying to raise their own Sydney? Has Irina fallen back into her obsession with old prophecies? Or is she working with them, as Sloane worked with Elena, trying to bring them down from the inside? One thing is clear: there's much more to Prophet Five than we first thought.
This new development also adds an easy opening for Vaughn's death to have been faked. Although I've complained before about Alias' habit of resurrecting characters, I'd make an exception for Vaughn. His scenes with Sydney here reminded me how much his presence has been missed this season. Sydney and Vaughn are a *fantastic* couple, and I loved how they were working together, even if only in Syd's mind. I also loved their last scene and the way it implied that their story is far from over.
* Thank you TV Guide, etc. for not spoiling the Irina surprise.
* Peyton referred to Desantis as the "technician." If he's dead, did he have time to do whatever he came back to life for?
* Peyton also warned that abducting Sydney could compromise their main agenda. Finally! An Achilles' heel.
* I love it when Jack gets to leave the office and get in on the action.
* It doesn't bode well that Marshall can relate so strongly to Tom's marriage not working out.
* By where Syd "is going," did Desantis mean mentally or the ship's destination?
* Syd was following the advice she gave Rachel, making the bad guys think they had her where they wanted her.
* How did the doctor know that Vaughn told Syd to draw him a map?
* Since the syringe chemical wouldn't hurt the baby, Peyton is probably not dead.