Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide Voices trapped in yearning memories trapped in time The night is my companion and solitude my guide Would I spend forever here and not be satisfied (refrain) And I would be the one to hold you down kiss you so hard I'll take your breath away and after I'd wipe away the tears Just close your eyes dear Through this world I've stumbled so many times betrayed, Trying to find an honest word, to find the truth enslaved, Oh you speak to me in riddles and you speak to me in rhymes My body aches to breathe your breath, your words keep me alive, (refrain) Into this night I wander, it's morning that I dread, Another day of knowing of the path I fear to tread, Oh into the sea of waking dreams I follow without pride, Nothing stands between us here and I won't be denied, (refrain) ~~ Possession, Sarah McLachlan Some people really shouldn’t drink . . . certainly Jack shouldn’t mix alcohol with Irina. Things really take “A Dark Turn” (2:17) for him when he combines a few glasses of wine with mission preparation. I won’t step through the plot--please see the Spy family column for that--but focus in on what seems to be going on with Jack. There are signals throughout the episode that Jack has lost his perspective on Irina--as Kendall asks, “When the hell did we switch places?” At the very beginning, Kendall refers to Irina as Jack’s “ex-wife.” Jack objects, asking that Kendall refer to her by name. Is it the reminder of their marriage that bothers him, or the “ex” part? We next see Jack uncharacteristically leaning up against Irina’s cell. It’s a posture that indicates an unconscious desire to get closer to Irina, to get into the cell with her perhaps--we don’t see him leaning into other people’s space normally; quite the contrary. And yet, he still resists--a little at least. Irina recalls happier days as they fly from Bangkok to Hong Kong. When she grasps his hand as he passes by her and thanks him for raising Sydney, he does not look at her directly, but tells her to get some rest and moves on. I’ve seen some comments to the effect that Jack is too smart to let this happen to him again. But really does intelligence matter? Yes, he’s extremely smart, brilliant, in fact. But extremely smart people can do really stupid things. And as intelligent as Jack’s mind is, his heart is just as stubbornly stupid. As I pointed out in my comments regarding “Passage Part 2” (2:09), Jack’s love is true. It’s what Shakespeare was talking about in Sonnet 116: “the ever-fixed mark . . . whose worth’s unknown.” He’s proven that “love’s not time’s fool,” although it may well be Irina’s. Jack loves this woman. It doesn’t matter what she is or what she’s done. He just loves her. “Love alters not when it alteration finds.” When Jack found out what Irina was, he was unable to stop loving her. That was why he was so afraid to come in contact with her--and why once he did come into contact with her, it was so impossible for him to resist coming back for more. And he dares entertain hope that she might--just might--return it. He has ten years of memories that tell him that she must feel something. Maybe she doesn’t love him like he loves her, he reasons, but maybe she loves him a little--enough. In (sadly) yet another real-life case, there was a young woman recently found dead who was lured by a man posing as a photographer. My husband remarked to me, “I wonder why women continue to be fooled by that?” I answered, “Because their hope and desire is stronger than their judgment.” Jack allows his hope and desire to overwhelm his judgment. Jack says, “I’ve had twenty years to reflect on that woman’s ability to deceive. Trust me. If she lies to me again, I’ll know it.” He believes that because he has his eyes open, he will be able to protect himself. But the moth has its eyes open all the way into the center of the flame. Jack has a front-row seat to his own spiral into destruction. And his eyes may well be far more open that we guess. Does Jack in fact know what Irina is doing as she again manipulates him? The look of sadness in his eyes as he nods to his wife as they part seems to signal a prescience of the tragedy that is about to transpire. It is possible that he has some knowledge of what is happening and he is letting it happen--because he loves her. (How conscious this knowledge could be is difficult to discern.) From this point of view, he doesn’t remove the tracker because he trusts her, but because he loves her--quite a different matter. But it’s love expressed as trust that is his, not hers--it’s hers to abuse or not. He is willfully letting go of his reservations about her in favor of his love for her. We see a physical expression of this when Jack lets go of his accustomed reserve and kisses Irina. Does he do this because he realizes that this may be his last opportunity? Because Jack loves Irina, he has to give her this one last opportunity to prove herself; he is letting her go. And he is going to pay the price for doing so. Which leaves Jack--where? Standing on a dock watching his guts spill out. What is he thinking? Not again? Or Thank God it’s me and not Sydney? In the first season episode “Snowman” (1:19), there is a scene in which Jack secretly views Irina’s debriefing after telling Sydney he had no intention of reviewing it. But Jack can’t resist viewing it. What is he hoping for? Some signal that she has some feeling for him? But that is not to be, for in the debriefing, Irina describes Jack as a “fool” “blinded by his emotions.” Jack is crushed, and seeks counseling that very afternoon as a result. Is this truly Irina’s view? That Jack’s allowing love to motivate his actions makes him a fool? Looking back at “A Dark Turn,” it would perhaps seem so. But did Irina blind Jack, or did Jack choose to close his eyes? Love is blindness I don't wanna see Won't you wrap the night Around me? Oh my heart Love is blindness In a parked car In a crowded street You see your love Made complete Thread is ripping The knot is slipping Love is blindness Love is clockworks And cold steel Fingers too numb to feel Squeeze the handle Blow out the candle Love is blindness Love is blindness I don't want to see Won't you wrap the night Around me? Oh my love Blindness A little death Without mourning No call And no warning Baby, a dangerous idea That almost makes sense Love is drowning In a deep well All the secrets And no one to tell Take the money Honey Blindness Love is blindness I don't want to see Won't you wrap the night Around me? Oh my love Blindness ~~ Blindness, U2 Random thoughts . . . As much as it might be nice to think that Irina and Jack actually did hatch some kind of plot together, I think that doing that would cause some character and story problems. First, since when does Irina share her deeper motivations? Particularly with Jack Bristow? And while I entertain the idea that she might love him--perhaps despite herself--perhaps hating herself for it--the idea that she was honest with him (particularly after the “Kendall’s not as smart as you” remark, come on) just doesn’t seem right. Further, if the trust wasn’t broken, the overall story loses some of its dramatic integrity (see the Spy family column). And then there were Jack’s reactions--is he really supposed to be that good an actor? After all, the way he survived twenty years undercover was by suppressing his emotions, not acting them. But I could be wrong. How much faith we can put into the idea that Jack is "letting her go" is very debatable. I reviewed the episode looking for a reaction to Irina's "Kendall's not as smart as you" remark, but Jack's response is hidden. Significant? The removal of the tracking device as a seduction method is an interesting one. It forces Irina to bare her shoulders and Jack to place his hands on Irina's skin. With a clear if unspoken invitation from Irina and years of pent-up yearning for the woman he's so loved and desired, no wonder he can't take it any longer. I hope they spend some time showing us what happens with Jack . . . Discuss . . . What do you think? Do you think Jack was completely blindsided? That he has a plot with Irina? Or that he let her go, consciously or semiconsciously? Next: (after we revisit “Phase One”) Sydney discusses her issues with mom. Will she be calm? I think not. Where is Jack? How is Jack? I can’t wait to find out. Modifications: 1. Just added a couple of Random thoughts. 2. Made a couple of surprisingly slight changes in view of subsequent events (to highlight a couple of things).