Pray God you can cope I stand outside This woman's work This woman's world Oooh, it's hard on the man Now his part is over Now starts the craft of the father ~ Kate Bush, “This Woman’s Work” As “So It Begins” (1:02) opens, we find Sydney continuing the brain dump to Vaughn that she began the previous episode. She discusses arms deals, including those with a certain Ineni Hassan, a particularly ruthless character. When Vaughn attempts to break in and give Sydney her instructions, Sydney insists on outlining her plan for him. Vaughn tries to explain that it’s his job to give her the plan and begins to describe the dead drop protocol: Sydney is to write the SD-6 mission on a paper bag, drop it in a trash can, call a certain number and press a number to identify the trash can; then she waits for a wrong number from Joey’s pizza for countermission instructions. Sydney is upset by Vaughn’s approach and informs Vaughn that she will hand them SD-6 in “record time,” “two months, tops.” Vaughn responds by challenging Sydney, “Draw me a map.” Sydney complains, “Do I look like I’m in junior high?” and so on, but eventually draws a very small, simple map of SD-6 and Vaughn pulls down a map of his own--a very large, complex map. Sydney is taken aback. Vaughn says, “This is not about cutting off an arm of the monster. This is about killing the monster.” Sydney goes home to unpack and finds Francie with her boyfriend Charlie planning a party to celebrate his job offer at a law firm. Will is there and helps her unpack. He wants to help and asks about Amy. Sydney asks him to accept that she imagined things, to please don’t investigate. “I’m trying to move on here.” But her beeper went off and she has to scoot off to SD-6. Sloane assigns Sydney and Dixon to intercept stolen files that are about to be sold in Moscow. After the meeting, Sloane pulls Sydney aside and tells her that he needs to show her something. What he needs to show her is her father. Jack has arranged with Sloane to reveal the fact that he is working with SD-6 because it will make it easier for them to work together as double agents. He asks her to act surprised as she leaves. Sydney admits that she’s been full of questions, but the foremost on her mind is whether he knew that SD-6 was going to kill Danny. Jack admits that he did, and Sydney slaps him and stalks out. As Sydney unpacks a framed photo of herself and Danny, she gets a call from Joey’s Pizza. She meets Vaughn at a supermarket and picks up her countermission. At the news office, Jenny is hitting on a reluctant Will. He asks her to pull the file on Danny Hecht. In Moscow, Sydney poses as a maid to steal the money from the buyer while Dixon poses as the buyer. When the real buyer enters the hotel room, Sydney must dispatch him with Marshall’s sleeper dot and discovers that the money was fake. She hurries down and switches the disks for coasters. Still, they have to fight their way out. At the airport, Sydney drops off the disks for copying as they move through customs. At home, Sydney puts on her engagement ring and takes a long bath. At Charlie’s celebration party, Will pulls Sydney aside and confesses that he’s been looking into Danny’s death. He’s found one fact, that Danny was booked on a flight from LAX to Singapore. Sydney claims that she knew about it and that it was for a medical conference and begins to cry, asking, “Please let this go.” Will promises he will, saying, “I feel horrible.” Later, in Sloane’s office, Sloane explains to Sydney that the disks were about Doomsday 6, an operation to smuggle 6 nuclear weapons into the US and hide them. Six were found, but there was a seventh. The partially-decrypted disk yielded an address of a Milovich Ivanov in Buckingham, Virginia. Sloane tells Sydney to go and report back on her findings. Sydney calls Vaughn to tell him where she’s going and hangs up. A higher official wants to move on the address, but Vaughn talks him into waiting for 5 hours. Weiss observes this, impressed. In Virginia, Sydney discovers that the address is a graveyard. She digs up the grave, but when she opens the coffin, the nuke is activated. She calls Marshall and swiftly describes the situation. Marshall gets her out of that frying pan, but she finds herself in the fire. Vaughn is angry, pointing out that the CIA has experts who could have helped her. The bomb has been sold to none other than Ineni Hassan and has been exported to Cairo. Sydney insists on fixing her mistake. Sydney meets with Jack. She asks him for his help in making an excuse to cover for her absence. Then she asks him if he was the one who bought Danny the ticket. Jack admits that he did, but that he got to Danny too late to save him. Back at the CIA, Vaughn is told that he’s been pulled off of Sydney’s case because Devlin agrees that Sydney’s important. They want a more senior officer to handle her. Vaughn is to make a presentation at a non-proliferation conference instead. At SD-6, Jack makes excuses for Sydney, saying she headed up north because she needed some time to get used to the idea of his working for SD-6. Sloane, seeming to sense something, asks Jack if he’s all right. In Cairo, Sydney goes after the nuke. She locates it and pulls the core. And then she notices the barrel of a gun next to her head . . . Analysis . . . Sydney thinks she’s going to take on the world and pin it to the mat in five seconds flat. She doesn’t pause to think that her father’s been doing what she proposes to do for years and hasn’t yet accomplished what she expects to do in “two months, tops.” Does she really think that her father is that incompetent and has managed to survive? No, she hasn’t thought about her father at all--certainly not as an agent. She’s probably avoided thinking about him in any kind of objective manner. But even if Sydney attempted to picture her father as an agent, she has no clue as to his abilities. But Jack is thinking about Sydney’s role as a double. As an agent, her job was dangerous enough. As a double agent, the risk skyrockets. Jack feels compelled to do everything he can to lessen her risk, and one thing he can do is ask Sloane if he can reveal that he is also an SD-6 agent. If SD-6 knows that they know that they are both agents, they can then communicate about SD-6 business without suspicion. Jack can get close enough to keep watch over Sydney. But this is not Sydney’s concern. Sydney has a good many questions, which leads to the following exchange: (Sydney approaches Jack, gazing at him intently. Jack briefly glances downward under the pressure of her gaze.) Sydney: Since I’ve known the truth about you, I’ve asked myself questions, thousands of questions, but this one I have to ask you now. When Danny was killed--Dad, did you know--did you know that’s what they were going to do? Jack: Yes. Sydney: (Slaps him) Don’t you ever talk to me again. (Stalks out) This scene points out how different Jack’s behavior is from a typical person. A typical person would attempt to defend himself, explain that he tried to save Danny, but failed. But Jack can’t or won’t. Does Jack feel that he deserves Sydney’s anger because of his failure to save Danny? Or that his efforts to save him are meaningless because they failed? Or is it simply that Jack is unable to speak at any kind of length about emotionally charged matters? At any rate, Will discovers the fact that a ticket was booked for Danny. Sydney bursts into tears, but it’s not because Danny’s death has been brought back to her mind--it’s because she realizes what has happened. Her father tried to save Danny. Her father isn't the monster that she thought he was. The scene in which Sydney asks Jack about the ticket is fascinating. They meet at a location where we can see two smoke stacks. One, on the side that Jack drives up on, is smoking. These stacks say something about the father and daughter that they tower over. They stand separate yet inseparable, forever facing, forever linked. Sydney and Jack cannot yet find a way connect, but they cannot ever sever the bond that exists between them. You could also draw the further analogy that Jack’s stack is “live” whereas Sydney’s is “cold.” Sydney has, up to this point, attempted to remain estranged from her father, or “cold,” whereas Jack has attempted, in his fumbling fashion, a certain amount of rapprochement. He also seems to be hiding true fatherly concern for his daughter (as evidenced by his rescue attempts). There is a heart, a furnace, hidden there. Their conversation: Sydney: Thanks for meeting me here. I’m sorry about hitting you. Jack: You’re going to Cairo. Devlin told me. Sydney: Yeah. That’s why I had them call you. I heed your help. SD-6 can’t know that’s where I’m going. Jack: I’ll take care of it. Sydney: (pause) Dad, it was you, wasn’t it? . . . Who bought the ticket . . . to Singapore? Jack: You were in Taipei. I’d arranged a flight for you as well. From Singapore you could have gone anywhere. I went to Danny’s apartment, except that I got there too late--just minutes too late. Sydney: Thank you . . . I have to go, obviously. (leaves) The scene illustrates how difficult communication between father and daughter is. Sydney is deeply grateful for her father’s efforts, but can only utter a simple “Thank you.” But it’s not enough. She can’t find the words and has to leave. On Jack’s part, it’s almost like a confession. You can hear grief in his voice as he begins, “You were in Taipei.” It seems as though that possibility (of his daughter's escape, freedom, and happiness) is too great a loss to discuss. Maybe this is the secret to this taciturn man, for we later learn that Jack holds his losses close and does not easily discuss them. But Sloane doesn’t have the same problem communicating with Jack that Sydney does. When Jack relays Sydney’s excuses to Sloane, the following exchange results: Jack: I think it’s hard for her, that’s all, accepting the news about what I do. Sloane: You all right? Jack: Yeah. Of course. Why? Sloane: I don’t know. You seem a little . . . Jack: What? Sloane: Nothing. Nothing. Jack: I’ll see you tomorrow. Sloane: OK. Sloane knows Jack better than his daughter does and notices that something has changed, although he can’t quite put his finger on it. And, no doubt, Jack’s radar has gone up. Random thoughts . . . As Sydney goes on her very first mission, Weiss is forced to remind a fidgety Vaughn, “Your girlfriend’s name’s Alice.” For your quotes list: “Don’t tell me to hold the phone! I’m sitting on a ticking nuclear bomb!” Ooh, yeah. This woman’s world: Alias is Sydney’s world. Danny’s part is over. Now begins the craft of a very crafty father, Jack. Discuss . . . Should Sydney have called the CIA instead of Marshall, the guy she’s used to working with? Why do you think Jack didn’t defend himself to Sydney? If you were Sydney, what would you have said to Jack after you found out what he tried to do? Could you have said any more to him? Do you think Vaughn is already in love with Sydney? How about vice versa? Do you think Sloane senses something? What? Why? Next: An awkward kiss, Rambaldi, and Anna Espinosa!