http://aintitcool.com Herc’s Seen ALIAS 2.18!! Alias 2.18 FAQ What’s it called? “Truth Takes Time.” Who’s responsible? Teleplay is credited to the mysterious J.R. Orci. What does TV Guide say? The most shocking ally offers to help Syd bring down Sloane before he, Sark and the escaped Irina can steal a German company's genetic-coding technology. Meanwhile, Vaughn faces the music for his unsanctioned research into Derevko's true agenda and receives the oddest gift from his girlfriend's gal pal. Francie: Merrin Dungey. Emily: Amy Irving. Vaughn “receives the oddest gift” from “Francie”? He does. What does she give him? A Rambaldi artifact? A photo of Jack Bauer on his cell phone, running by the “For Sale” sign in front of the Credit Dauphin building? The Spanish Inquisition? I mean, how odd could it be? “Francie” gives Vaughn (dramatic sting) a blue necktie!! Surely not an ordinary blue necktie. Is it radioactive? Full of venom? So ugly it can drive men mad? We do not learn this week of the tie’s special properties (if any). What kind of “music” does Vaughn face for his unsanctioned research into Derevko’s true agenda? Nothing too horrible. “They downgraded my security clearance, but only temporarily until counterintelligence clears me officially,” Vaughn tells Syd. “Meanwhile, your father convinced them to keep me field-rated.” Amy Irving’s back? Yes. This is a big episode for cancer survivor Emily Sloane. Arvin hints he’s in pursuit of something that will let her live cancer-free. “Forever.” Who is this most shocking ally who offers to help Syd bring down Sloane? That would be telling. Unless, of course, invisible text were somehow employed. Emily. The big news? Jack Bristow knew what Irina was up to all along, and secretly instituted appropriate countermeasures. He did such a good job, operational control of the task force is taken from Kendall and given to Jack. Does Vaughn learn that “Francie” is evil? No. Do we learn this week “Francie’s” true identity? No. What’s up with “Francie” anyway? At dinner with Syd, Will and Vaughn, she says something about her high school years that wipes the smile right off Syd’s face. What’s doing with Will? Still working as a CIA analyst. He briefs the task force on the German company Sloane is so interested in. “Aside from cancer studies, Brucker sponsored genetic research, specifically the mapping and sequencing of human chromosomes. But it's rumored that they have cataloged the DNA of private citizens. Some say millions. And Marshall? Marshall is alarmed by Will’s research. “If that's true, [ … ] Sloane could develop a genetically targeted virus, or he could pollute the entire water supply just to kill one specific person. When he or she takes a drink of water or takes a shower, then the water would come and permeate, um, the system.” Is Diane Dixon sticking to her “it’s me or the job” edict? Good question! Marcus Dixon is obviously still hard at work for the CIA, but we don’t discover if he sacrificed his wife to take the job. What’s good? The Sloane-Emily-Irina stuff. The Jack-Kendall stuff. The Will-Marshall stuff. The “Francie”-Syd stuff. The fact that the producers are not making good on their threat of dispensing with the strong continuity. What’s not so good? The seeming ease with which Sloane again makes his escape. Will there ever be an “Alias” episode as good as the genius installment that ran after the SuperBowl? “I feel like this year we have an even better ending," series creator told zap2it.com here. "If you're a longtime or a new fan of the show, I think it will blow your mind. It's that feeling of I have a giant secret that I just can't wait for everyone to see." And after tonight it’s only four episodes away … What was that prophecy again? “This woman here depicted will possess unseen marks, signs that she will be the one to bring forth my works. Bind them with fury, a burning anger, unless prevented at vulgar cost. This woman will render the greatest power unto utter desolation.” How does it end, spoiler-boy? The earrings Syd got from her mom begin behaving oddly. Herc’s rating for “Alias” 2.18? ***1/2 The Hercules T. Strong Rating System: ***** better than we deserve **** better than most motion pictures *** actually worth your valuable time ** as horrible as most stuff on TV * makes you quietly pray for bulletins 9 p.m. Sunday. ABC.