For a summary, see the Spy family column. This column also discusses the events of the previous episode, “A Dark Turn” (2:17) in light of new events. “Truth Takes Time” (2:18) shows Jack more or less in command--that is to say, solidly within his nearly impenetrable icy fortrice. Kendall sees him exactly that way, and believes that he approached the whole affair with Irina Derevko in that manner, calling him a son of a b---- and accusing him of lying in that he must never have believed what he told the CIA or he would not have inserted the back-up tracker. And Jack is perfectly happy to be seen that way. He prefers to have the CIA see him as being fully in control--unwilling to trust his ex where the CIA is, anxious to prove their position wrong. In a softer way, this extends to his treatment of Sydney as well. He breaks the news about her mother to her gradually, laying out the facts so that she can see that there is no way around it--Irina violated her agreements and broke her trust with Jack and the CIA. But isn’t he concealing more than he is revealing? As much as he reveals about Irina, he conceals more about himself. They are perfectly willing to believe that Jack never opened himself up to trusting Irina because he inserted the passive tracking device. They are willing to believe that he was able to walk in and deceive her through cold calculation. (Does Sydney think this? Or, as usual, is she too consumed with her own hurt to consider her father’s feeings?) Were it merely a matter of not trusting Irina an inch, Jack could simply have checked for the Rambaldi manuscript. That would have amply proved his point and the CIA would not have lost custody of Irina. I wonder, has Irina considered this aspect of Jack’s actions? She’s subtle enough that she should. Every action that Jack takes in “A Dark Turn” indicates that he’s once again fallen under his wife’s spell. Previous to that episode, we saw fall into working seamlessly and easily with her in “The Getaway” (2:12), and we know that he’s been in constant contact with her ever since their mission in Kashmir. It’s my opinion that Jack’s heart told him to trust her, whereas his intellect told him exactly the opposite. And Jack chose to go with his heart, giving Irina her head, and a chance, a huge chance to prove herself. He chose a dangerous act, treading the wire between love and treachery--and he had fallen a long way before. But this time he didn’t work without a net. The passive tracker, though, is a pretty feeble net (Jack must have known that they were pretty sure they could get around the satellite surveillance, or they wouldn’t undertake the extraction). Jack’s hesitation to move in without Sloane firmly in the trap allows Sark time to disable the tracker and the two to escape. And it could have been a clean escape, had not Irina’s precautions set a chain of events in motion that led to Emily’s fateful decision to turn in her much-beloved husband. This suggests that Jack does not want his wife taken back into custody. This is quite opposed to his hard-ass attitude. Further, when Marshall expresses his interest in the fact that Sydney’s mother called out her daughter’s name during her escape, Jack points out that Irina may well have wanted to save Sydney’s life. This indicates that Jack in fact believes that Irina shares his love of Sydney. Then we have the fact that Jack was willing to bet so much--the Rambaldi manuscript, the passive tracker, the potential loss of Irina, possible damage to his career--on bringing in Sloane immediately. Jack is a patient man, and has waited a very, very long time to bring Sloane in. He could well have waited a bit longer, except for one thing. Sydney. It may be that he is willing to risk a great deal to open up her choices in life as soon as possible. His own choices were severely limited by his own circumstances for so very long. And the fact that he believes that Irina loves Sydney makes him all the more willing to place that huge bet. Perhaps the bargain between Jack and Irina was more completely out in the open than we realized, and the rest was merely so much dancing to waltz Irina out onto the ballroom floor. Jack would have preferred to lead, but he is willing take part in the dance as he can. Is he counting on Irina’s love for Sydney being more important than her obsession regarding Rambaldi? If so, he may be placing an asset in Sloane's camp to protect Sydney as he protects her from his post in the CIA. Meanwhile, regarding Sydney, Jack has been worried about Irina’s effect on Sydney. If Irina is out and about, she’s not nearby, working her charms on Sydney’s vulnerable psyche. Nor his, for that matter--also a grave concern for him. And there is yet another factor within this complex man, one that I doubt he’d care to admit to himself. You’ll recall that Jack attempted to persuade Irina to agree to trade full disclosure in return for relocation to a much nicer prison in Puget Sound. It’s painful for Jack to see her trapped in a tiny cell like that. Deep in his subconscious somewhere, he may have been looking for just the right excuse to spring her, anyway. What is the relative importance of all these factors? Good question. Had Irina proven herself, Jack could have been much happier. Now all he can do is claim to have been correct. And yet, notice that it’s Jack’s actions, not the CIA’s, not Sydney’s, that prove him correct. All these factors point to Jack’s motivations being a great deal more complex than he wants people to realize. Jack doesn’t want people to realize the tremendous heartbreak and disappointment he personally went through when Irina chose to betray him and the CIA and go her own way. Whatever her motives, her choice to betray him rather than confide in him once again wounded him deeply--expected or not. Meanwhile, Jack has Sydney to focus on. Her welfare has been the one thing that has anchored him for over 20 years since he was blindsided. Jack’s speech to Kendall underlines his concern for Sydney and his anger that his recommendations were completely ignored. With operational control of the task force, Jack now has some control over Sydney’s missions and therefore potentially her contact both with her mother and Sloane. If Sloane served as Emily’s tether, then Sydney has served as Jack’s. Random thoughts . . . The fact that Jack’s reaction to Irina’s comment, “Kendall’s not as smart as you,” is hidden--plus the complex nature of his motivations regarding Irina--may signal that Jack’s motivations may become more and more ambiguous and we may have to expect more of his actions to be hidden from us in the future. This would leave Sydney as the only character that we can rely on. This is a significant change, but not entirely unexpected. While most of Jack’s current actions have been shown to us, his past has been full of secrets. I would not be surprised if this gentleman actually became more ambiguous rather than less as we go forward. As I dig in and analyze Jack's motivations and actions in treading the fine line of trust and deceit in his handling of Irina in "A Dark Turn" coupled with his seeming told-you-so attitude here in "Truth Takes Time," I can't help but go back over and over again to Dr Barnett's comment to him last season that went something like "A man so skilled at deceit is in danger of deceiving himself." I've been suggesting that Jack is aware of the line he's been treading--if he was able to hold an eye open and keep his balance, wouldn't it seem so? And yet, with Irina, he's so tangled in his emotions, that it's nearly impossible to tell. And his actions are equivocal--they can be interpreted (see above) in multiple ways. Is it possible that Jack is trying to see himself as the same kind of SOB that he wants Kendall to see him as when in actuality he trusts Irina a great deal more than he's admitting to himself? Hm . . . In “A Dark Turn,” Jack described himself and Sloane as having a similar “devotion to our wives.” The intonation of his voice clearly spoke to the truth of his words. Yet Jack’s devotion caused him to be all too truthful with his wife, with whom he admitted breaking protocol and discussing CIA business. Meanwhile, Sloane had no problem lying through his teeth to his wife about all his business--and when he was found out, he started the lies all over again from scratch. Caught a second time, he still didn’t bat an eye telling Emily that he only knew that Irina was alive for “a couple of months,” which was clearly untrue (1:18 Masquerade). Jack’s truthfulness with Irina has been compromised by his sad experience with her, and yet how much deceit did he really engage in? Had Irina been honest with him, she would have seen the passive transmitter as a good idea and she would have agreed to it had she known about it--it could not be caught in a sweep, and it would serve the same purpose as the other without the drawback. In every other way, he told her the truth. The only thing he held back on was the insurance policy on her truthfulness. Sloane’s deceit, however, undercut his entire relationship. No matter the lengths that he went to to save Emily, those efforts would not have been needed at all were it not for his crimes. He used his love for her to excuse and motivate his crimes. Emily was quite right to try to turn him in. Was Sloane’s promise to give it all up for her genuine? Perhaps. But he is so mired in lies that it’s impossible to tell--it’s impossible to tell whether he himself knows. After all, he honestly believes that he loves Sydney. And he no doubt saw Jack as his best friend--after forcing Jack to become his go-to guy for the particularly dirty jobs that came along. If the two men’s love has been warped, then Sloane’s has been warped by his own need to use his emotions to rationalize his appetites, whereas Jack’s has been warped by his inability to trust the one he so loves and desires. If we then compare the object of the two men’s devotion, Emily and Laura/Irina--there is little comparison indeed. On the one hand you have an open, warm, and loving woman, whereas on the other you have a charming chameleon, a dangerous games-player, a subtle, deceitful, and deadly siren. Jack may not have known what he fell in love with at the time, but the emotion continues unabated. Discuss . . . Do you think Jack is in a hurry to recapture Irina? Why or why not? Do you think Jack is being clear-headed about his view of Irina, or is his view still colored by emotion? Do you think Jack’s first priority is capturing Sloane, or something else? If something else, then what? How do you think Jack’s and Sloane’s “devotion” compares? Do you think Jack will become more ambiguous? Next: Oscar, then award-worthy performances. We understand that Caplan’s wife will reveal some shocking news that will “strike a nerve” in Jack. What could she possibly know? Is another skeleton about to fall out of his well-stocked closet? Revisions: 1. As usual, had a late brainstorm. Added the random thought about self-deception and the question about Jack's view of Irina.