Whoosh! Unexpectedly, they were transported into a John Woo film


ALIAS

THE BOX II


EPISODE NO. 13
Season 1, episode 13
Series 113
1st release: 02/10/02
2nd release: 07/28/02
Production number: E642
Last update: 08/09/03


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REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY by Adriane Saunders


REGULAR CAST
Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Merrin Dungey as Francie
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Bradley Cooper as Will

GUEST CAST
Quentin Tarantino (McKenas Cole)
Joey Slotnick (Haladki)
Agnes Bruckner (Kelly McNeil)
James Hardy (Devlin)
Greg Grunberg (Weiss)
Jennifer Tung (Toni)
Ben Bray (Tchen)
Kristof Konrad (Endo)
Igor JiJikine (Chopper)
Dave Lea (Ice)
Jeff Wolfe (Gamov)
Greta Sesheta (CIA secretary)

CREDITS
Written by Jesse Alexander and John Eisendrath
Directed by Jack Bender

Broadcast on ABC, 9-10pm, Sunday nights.




TV GUIDE PROMO

The attack on SD-6 heats up as Vaughn breaks CIA ranks to help Syd bring down Cole before he triggers the explosives wired to the vault. Meanwhile, Sloane refuses to crack under his captor's cruel and unusual torture; and Will decides it's time to find out the truth about what lies within David McNeill's secret locker. Tvguide.com


SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser

Scenes from "The Box, Part1", culminating with McKenas Cole ordering his men to go into the air duct to search for Sydney. Before they can do so, Jack enters the duct from the other end and passes Sydney. He gets out of the vent and surrenders to Cole's men.........

Sydney retrieves a note left by Jack and a map showing the location of the three C-4 charges that will detonate if the vault door is opened. She crawls back into the ducts, intending to deactivate the charges. Meanwhile, Cole's tech expert, Toni, begins to descramble the code to the vault.......

Jack is taken to where the other agents are being held. Dixon whispers to him that he's going to try and contact Langley. Jack says that Langley won't acknowledge SD-6. He tells Dixon to do nothing so that Sydney can get the charges disarmed. Dixon says under normal circumstances Jack could pull rank, but these are not normal circumstances........

Act I

Sydney reaches the site of the first charge and begins working to remove the metal plate from in front of it. She cuts a cable and knocks out a surveillance camera. One of Cole's men sees the camera screen go blank and reports it to Cole. He says to go check it out.........

Cole is still torturing Sloane, who taunts him that Cole was to blame for the botched mission in Chechnya. Cole responds by sticking another needle into Sloane's shoulder......

Dixon manages to get his palm pilot and sends a message to Langley: "I am Marcus Dixon, Agent of SD-6. We are under attack. Help us". The message is routed to the LA office, and Weiss brings it to Vaughn. They don't know whether to believe it or not. Vaughn takes it to Devlin, but Haladki interrupts and says he is now assigned to the SD-6 matter, so the message is his. He discounts it as a fraud. Vaughn protests, but Devlin tells him to wait. Vaughn tells Weiss he is going to SD-6 hq and if he's not back in a couple of hours, he's probably dead........

Act II

Sydney finally manages to remove the plate and enters the area where the first C-4 charge is located. Just as she is pulling away the covering on the control mechanism she hears static from a radio and knows someone is approaching. It's one of Cole's men. Sydney ambushes him and they fight. She finally knocks him out......

Vaughn enters SD-6 hq through the parking garage. Cole's man in the van spots him and gets his gun ready. Vaughn approaches the van and identifies himself as a federal officer. He tells the guy to get out of the van. As the man gets out, he pulls his gun. Vaughn kicks the van door into him and they fight. In the struggle, the gun goes off, killing the man. Vaughn calls Weiss, but the call is routed to Haladki. Vaughn tells him the situation is confirmed, to send in a team. Haladki just hangs up on him........

Will goes to talk to Francie, telling her his job sucks. She wants to know what he's been drinking. Will says Francie's life is normal, Sydney's life is normal -- "well, outside of her obsession with the bank" -- why can't his life be normal, too? He rambles on about seeing McNeil and how scared he was. Francie says if he could help someone by doing a story, he should do it........

Cole goes to Toni, who is still working on descrambling the vault combination, and tells her he can't locate Tchen, whom he sent to the basement to check out the surveillance camera. She picks up her machine gun and says she'll find him.......

Sydney is heading back to the cache of C-4 when she sees someone coming through a doorway with a gun. She grabs the person's arm and throws him into the room and pulls her gun. The guy spins around, and they turn to face each other -- it's Vaughn. Sydney: "What the hell are you doing here?" He quickly fills her in and she tells him what she knows about the infiltration. Sydney: "But right now, what do you know about deactivationg C-4?" They go to look at the charge. Vaughn sees a crystal and surmises that it is the triggering device. They use a spray to locate the laser beams guarding the crystal and Sydney manages to extract it. Before they can even breathe a sigh of relief, a gun cocks and they turn to see Toni pointing her machine gun at them......

Act III

Toni tells Sydney to tie Vaughn up and gives her a length of cord. Sydney takes the cord and then uses it to whip the gun aside. Vaughn grabs the machine gun and Sydney ties Toni up. Toni says that she's British S.I.S. She has finally penetrated Cole's intelligence network with the objective of learning who "The Man" is. She says she doesn't know what Cole is after in the vault, only that it has something to do with the name Rembaldi. She says when Cole finds her she will tell him there is only one of them. They tie and gag her, not knowing whether to believe her or not. Then they split up to go and deactivate the other two C-4 caches.......

Will takes the key he was given to Pier 19 and looks for Locker 305. Inside he finds an envelope, which contains an autopsy report on David McNeil's wife.......

Weiss confronts Haladki about Vaughn's phone call and realizes Vaughn was right to believe the message......

Toni is found by Endo, another of Cole's men. When he removes her gag, she says there was only one of them.....

Vaughn gets to his cache of C-4 and removes the crystal. Sydney is still removing the covering plate at her location when she hears someone approaching. It's Endo, and he has a radar device that can locate people by a heat signal. The locator leads him to a large cabinet. He fires several rounds through the door. When he opens the cabinet, Tchen's body falls out. He radios Cole to tell him Tchen is dead. While they are talking, Sydney ambushes Endo, and Cole hears them fighting. Cole announces on the speaker system that if whoever is killing his men is not in Sloane's office in 20 seconds he'll start killing agents, starting with......Jack Bristow........

Act IV

Vaughn taps into the security cameras and sees Sydney give herself up to Cole, who is shocked that she is "the badass who's been killing my men." He ties Sydney up with the others. Jack asks silently if she took care of the C-4 and she shakes her head........

Weiss is leaving CIA hq when Vaughn calls to give him an update on the situation and tell him to hurry. As they are leaving, Weiss tells Haladki he'll get him if he finds out Haladki deliberately left Vaughn in danger......

Cole brings Sydney into Sloane's office and opens a bottle of champagne. He says it's his trademark. He drinks from the bottle and forces Sydney to drink some. He says he and Sydney met about five years earlier, and he asked her out. He says she told him if he ever talked to her again, she'd break his kneecaps. He says she must not have wanted to kiss him and asks if she remembers. Sydney: "No, I do not. But I can see not wanting to kiss you." Cole says she can hate him, but someday she'll hate Sloane just as much. Then he tells her he backwashed in the champagne before she drank it. Sydney just looks at him.......

Will meets with Kelly McNeil and gives her the envelope he found. He says to give it to her dad and then make good on her promise to go into hiding. She agrees........

Cole goes back to Sloane and says he thinks a third needle will be enough to make Sloane scream like his fellow agents did when they were being tortured by the Russians. He sticks the needle in Sloane's neck. Sloane still taunts Cole, saying he knows that the Russians broke him and made him beg. Cole denies it, but Sloane keeps on, calling him a baby. Cole gets hysterical, and when Toni comes in to tell him the code is almost broken, he turns and shoots her in the chest. Cole then heads for the vault, radioing to his men to kill all the SD-6 agents.......

Marshall catches Sydney's eye and indicates a tiny object on the floor next to her. As the men start putting the agents against the wall, Sydney picks up the device and drops it, causing a mini-explosion. The agents begin fighting Cole's men and overpower them. Sydney asks Jack if he can shut down the failsafe, and he says no, only Sloane can. Sydney and Dixon head for the vault, and Jack goes to get Sloane.......

Sloane says the keypad in his office will deactivate the failsafe, but his fingerprint is needed for the code to work. He is strapped in with metal bands, and Jack begins trying to cut through them. Sloane says there's no time. He tells Jack to take his right index finger. Jack hesitates a moment, then ties a tourniquet around Sloane's wrist and cuts off his finger......

Sydney and Dixon catch Cole just as he is about to open the vault. Cole easily decks Dixon, since he just got out of the hospital, and then fights with Sydney. He says he loves to fight kickboxers because none of them can take a punch, and proves it by punching Sydney right in the jaw. She goes down hard and stays there.......

Jack gets to Sloane's office and uses Sloane's severed finger to activate the keypad and shut down the failsafe.......

Cole gets into the vault and takes out a small gold box. He runs to the parking garage and gets into the van. He speeds toward the exit, but is met by Vaughn, Weiss and the CIA team, who form a roadblock and shoot out the windsheild of the van. Cole jumps out the back door of the van and runs right into Sydney, who takes him out this time with some well-placed punches and kicks. Sydney: "I think you're right. Taking a punch is something I gotta learn how to do."........

Sydney tells Vaughn that everything is under control now and thanks him for coming. They look in the gold box and find a vial of something that looks like perfume. Vaughn says they have this and SD-6 doesn't because of Sydney. He says hockey can wait, but what she's doing here can't. He and Weiss and the other CIA agents leave.......

Sydney returns to the SD-6 offices to find the shaken agents cleaning up the office and each other. Sloane stands with his right hand wrapped in a towel. Sydney asks if he's all right , and he says none of them are: "This has changed everything." Sydney looks puzzled. Marshall comes up with "the digit" and jokes that Sloane gave him the finger. The medics come and take Sloane away. Jack asks what she said to Sloane, and Sydney replies that she told him she'd see him tomorrow.



COMMENTARY

This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Slice open "The Box". Out spills shock, threat, fear, urgency, torture, uncertainty and death. And, this is NOT "Pandora's Box"! The "Box" is Alias, Episode 13, Part 2 and conclusion to "The Box". Hold onto to your seat--and your stomach! This episode really rips--quite literally in places, through heart stopping action, and horrible choices.

Probably, more blood is spattered in this one episode than in all previous episodes combined. SD-6 "under attack" has deadly consequences--and for Sloan, at least, gruesome and painful.

Syd is in the air duct--where we left her last week. Bullets have just exploded holes in the vents below. From above, a spinning fan blocks her escape. Breathless and struggling to hold on, Syd is shocked when her father, Jack, appears below her in the ducts. "Stay here," he tells her, as he scrambles forward to surrend himself in Syd's stead.

To sounds of her father being beaten, Syd does as he says, and stays hidden. She returns to their basement "command center". A note--and map--from Jack awaits, with urgent instructions to disarm three C-4 charges located throughout the building. The "failsafe" Sloan activated earlier is set to detonate these explosives as soon as the SD-6 vault is opened, and that is imminent.

Under guard, now Jack too, SD-6 Dixon notices a PDA on a desk, and manages to surreptitiously email a plea to the CIA for "help". SD-6 is under attack, and Dixon of course does not know NOT to call the CIA. Jack, who does, fails to dissuade him.

Oops! How is the CIA going to get out of this conundrum? Afterall, no connection is supposed to be acknowledged between the CIA and SD-6--a fact underlined by Sloan's slight smile in the "conversation room" last week. During Cole's diatribe about capture by Russians 5 years back, he mentions how "pissed" the Russians were when the CIA disavowed any knowledge of any agent "McKenas Cole". That amused Sloan. The CIA told the truth.

So, the question now is how to come to the rescue of SD-6, without appearing to have come? But, the answer was already in motion in last week's episode. The conflict brewed last week between CIA Agent Vaughan and Agent Haladki, becomes the "failsafe" for the CIA "now you see it, now you don't" rescue.

Appreciation for how expertly--and cleverly--this is done. Vaughan is suspended from the SD-6 file. Haladki --his "nemesis"--has replaced him, and refuses to answer Dixon's call for "help". In turn, Vaughan ignores protocol and goes on his own to find out what is happening at SD-6. A set up, yes--but believable.

Under normal circumstances, with Vaughan still in charge of the SD-6 file, he would never have gone alone to SD-6. We would have missed the special pleasure of seeing him work along side Syd to save SD-6.

Interesting how sometimes everything going wrong--the attack on SD-6, Vaughan's suspension, and Haladki ignoring Dixon's "help" email--can make everything right. By the end Syd is prevented--or chooses to prevent herself--from quitting SD-6, Vaughan will no doubt be reinstated, and Agent Haladki likely shafted.

"What goes around comes around" can sometimes be good news.

But, meanwhile, back in the subbasements of SD-6, Syd--C-4 map in hand--is on the run to locate and deactivate all the C-4 charges. Cole's girlfriend, Toni--the computer hacker--is at the SD-6 vault, unscrambling, number by number, the scrambled combination. Cole in the "conversation room" interrogates--and tortures, Sloan.

The camera cuts back and forth between all these goings on, easily, effortlessly--and with increasing urgency and suspense.

And Cole, in this episode, is defintely a menace, psychotic and chillingly singleminded in his hatred of Sloan and SD-6, to the point of gunning down his own girlfriend. She makes the fatal mistake of interrupting Cole during his "torture" session with Sloan. [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

The actor playing Cole still bears--for me--"an uncanny resemblance to the Joker in old Batman comics". But, after this week's "performance", that resemblance is moot. Who cares? This villian is a creepy dude, for sure. Definitely, Cole, this week, is "in charge" of the threat to SD-6 and all its agents, Syd included.

Syd, at the first C-4 cache, uses a fire extinguisher to freeze then break the bolts. Clever. Another use for the properties of a fire extinguisher. Dixon, under the pacing and watchful eyes of guards, sneaks a PDA and, under his jacket, emails "Help!" to the CIA.

In the subbasement, Syd cuts a cord to a security camera. This alerts Cole who sends a guard, Tchen, to check. CIA Agent Weiss brings Dixon's forwarded email message to Vaughan, who bursts into his boss's office, Devlin. Haladki interrupts, snatching the message from Vaughan's hand.

Apparently, Vaughan has been "suspended" from the SD-6 file, and no longer is Syd's "handler". His replacement is Haladki. Haladki, the jerk! Kudos to the actor [Joey Slotnick] who plays Haladki. His portrayal of this brittle, self-important, and unrelentingly annoying character is flawless.

Haladki is more bureaucrat than agent for the CIA, but that--as the plot unfolds--serves. Vaughan has already ignored protocol and his boss Devlin's direct order, and gone to SD-6. By phone he verifies the attack on SD-6 to Haladki. This call Haladki ignores.

Vaughan, after a fight with the getaway driver in Cole's van--in the SD-6 parking garage--enters the subbasement, gun drawn. Syd, concurrently, has just downed the guard, Tchen, who interrupted her as she was about to disarm the first C-4 cache. Heading back to the cache, a door opens and a pointed gun appears.

Syd whams the door, grabs the hand with the gun, kicks, punches, and spins around to face off with Vaughan! "What the hell are you doing here!?" she says.

Together Syd and Vaughan disarm the first cache of C-4, figuring out the "trigger" is radio activated and protected by a crisscross of lasers. Watching these two in action together is fun, no-room-for-mistakes pressure and all. Alias is such a rich ensemble of actors.

Cole is at the vault now with Toni, his "hacker" girlfriend. He demands to know what has happened to Tchen, the guard Syd dispatched. Cole of course does not know. [See HIGHLIGHTS.] And, when Vaughan and Syd turn around--having just disconnected the trigger for the first C-4 cache--Toni is there with a high powered rifle.

A strap is thrown at Syd to tie up Vaughan, but she throws it back. Vaughan and Syd together overpower Toni, only to discover--by Toni's admission--that she is not a "bad guy" afterall. Telling the "good guys" from the "bad" is a challenge in this show. Lots of surprises in Alias.

Toni is British Intelligence, and her assignment is "get close to Cole", close enough to find out "who's the Man?". That is the name of Cole's mysterious boss. And, if I could only stop hearing "You the Man!" colloquialisms in my head, all this might seem more serious! But, my ears perk up when I hear the name "Rimbaldi".

That is what Cole is after in the SD-6 vault, a Rimbaldi artifact. Cool! I am a fan of Rimbaldi, and his forward thinking--way ahead of his time--inventions. Genius is a welcome "monkey wrench" in any brew, but particularly a "brew" that involves so many: SD-6, CIA, freelancers, K-Directorate, and who knows who else! Calling Rimbaldi "The Man" I can do straight-faced.

Interlinked with all these unexpected happenings at SD-6 is Will, Syd's newspaper friend. Will first visits Franci--at Syd's house--to talk out his doubts in pursuing the now "David McNeil" story. Francie tells him, if she could help someone, she would. And, I wonder how long before Francie gets dragged more directly into the dangers posed by Will's investigations--and Syd's double life. This is more and more imminent, I suspect.

Will goes next to a waterfront pier, there to unlock a storage locker. The key for this locker was given to him by that "unknown voice" on the phone that has been guiding his investigations. Inside is a file, the autopsy report for David McNeil's wife. This, Will takes to Kelly, McNeil's daughter. He tells her to take the file to her father--without looking at the contents, then to hide, to become unfindable.

At SD-6 Syd and Vaughan split up, and run, to disarm the other two C-4 caches. Vaughan's fellow Agent Weiss, still at CIA Headquarters, confronts Haladki about the phone call from Vaughan, threatening to take Haladki down for jerking Vaughan around. "I'm not afraid of you," Haladki tells Weiss. Nose to nose, Weiss tells Haladki he should be, and heads, with other agents, to SD-6 to join Vaughan.

Cole sends yet another guard to find Tchen and now Toni. Good thing Cole brought lots of help. This guard, Endo, has the heartbeat monitor, and follows the gauge to a metal cabinet. He peppers the doors with bullets, then opens the door. Reverse order to those actions would have been better. He kills--not Syd--but the other missing guard, Tchen, tied and bound.

The sounds of Endo coming to look for her interrupts Syd before she is able to disarm another C-4 cache. She fights and knocks out Endo, with Cole screaching on Endo's radio. When nothing more comes from Endo, Cole speaks over the SD-6 loudspeaker, refering to Syd as "Dear Person beating up my men". I love that.

He demands Syd surrend, or he will start killing hostages, starting with the one he believes to be her "partner", her father Jack. Of course Syd surrenders. And, Vaughan, who has already disarmed the second C-4 cache, sees Syd's capture from a camera splice in the basement "command center". He swears.

An interesting interaction occurs between Cole and Syd. Cole has remembered Syd from 5 years back at SD-6, when he made a crude pass at her. Says Cole, "You told me if I ever talked to you again, you'd break my kneecaps." Wow! Whatever did he say back then?

In the "conversation room" torture continues, but though the perpetrator of the physical pain for Sloan is Cole, Sloan comes out on top with the "psychological" tortures for Cole. Sloan "reads" Cole perfectly, and his observations provide even more surprises for this episode.

Neither Sloan nor SD-6 is responsible for the death of Cole's "men" at Russian hands 5 years ago--Cole himself was the wrongdoer. The helicopter arrived for pickup, but Cole and his men were not there. Cole had gone back to rescue one man--and subsequently, all were captured. A bad choice made by Cole--not SD-6 or Sloan--was responsible for the consequences of the torture and death of Cole's men.

A shocker! But, interesting, isn't it? Cole is responsible but refuses to acknowledge--even to himself--that responsibility. Think how much grief all around could be prevented, if only he did--or could.

Sloan is remarkle. His unwillingness to give in to pain, or to giving Cole the slightest satisfaction, is breathtaking. And, Sloan really knows how to push Cole's buttons. Cole is sadistic, and none too tightly wrapped. "I want to hear you scream," Cole tells Sloan.

"They broke you, didn't they?" Sloan says to Cole, referring to Cole's capture and torture at the hands of Russians. And, that hits a nerve big time in Cole! He is so furious with Sloan that when Toni, his girlfriend, interrupts with news the vault is ready to be opened, he spins and shoots her down. Talk about shock!! [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Sloan looks on, hardly knowing what to make of what we have all just witnessed. And, Cole heads to the vault. Enroute he gives command--via radio--to those guarding SD-6 agents, Syd included. "I want you to kill them all," he says. And, everyone is ordered, by the guards, to line up "against the wall".

Marshall gets Syd's eye, and manages to clue her that an earring on the floor near her is really a small grenade. [See HIGHLIGHTS.] Syd with her hands tied, grabs the earring--and, as a guard roughly pulls her to her feet, spins around detonating the grenade.

More fighting, kicks and punches, but before Syd--and others helping out--can deck all the guards, one guard aims his gun directly at Syd. The dot of his laser appears on her chest, just as Dixon--his hands tied too--comes up with a gun to shoot the guard. Dixon saves Syd. Yet another "turnaround" for this episode. And, Dixon beats Syd to the vault to stop Cole.

There is so much going on in this episode, and everything--from camera work to acting--is so artfully done, keeping up is a challenge. I feel like I am running continuously in this episode. This, even though I am not moving at all--and sometimes barely breathing. Part 2 of "The Box" is first rate all around.

Notable, though this episode is essentially "action" or "plot" driven, all the characterizations--and there are lots of those in this episode--are richly drawn and intensely real. Even the "bad guys" are not simply cardboard characters but have personalities, and are easily distinguished one from the other. Well done, with special appreciation to the script which provides structure for everything else.

But, Episode 13 is not yet done, and the "worst" is yet to come. Syd finds out from her father that the "failsafe" can only be deactivated by Sloan. So, Jack races to unbind Sloan in the "conversation room", and Syd runs after Cole. Dixon's punches have only delayed Cole momentarily from opening the vault. Dixon is now unconscious. Syd and Cole fight, kickbox style.

I wonder--knowing Garner [alias Syd] does most of her own stunts--which punches from Tarantino [the actor playing Cole] are those that went "wild" during filming, leaving Garner bruised and battered with a whelt on her "forehead" that had to be covered with makeup for the shoot. [See "Rolling Stone" magazine, February 14, 2002 Issue.]

Much worse is about to happen in the "conversation room". Jack and Sloan realize that the "countdown" of the opening of the vault by Cole, and the subsequent detonation of the remaining C-4 explosives, precludes time to disengage Sloan from the torture chair. With seconds left, Sloan makes a gruesome, stomach churning choice. He tells Jack to take his finger--to cut off his right index finger for the fingerprint.

Only Sloan's fingerprint can cancel the "failsafe" command to blow the building. My head is in my hands. I cannot bear to watch! What a horrible choice!

Meanwhile, Syd is downed by Cole--either with a "real" blow, or a pretended one. And, Cole opens the vault to steal the Rimbaldi artifact. Luckily, Jack has already managed to deactivate the "failsafe" with Sloan's bloody finger. Cole heads to parking garage, and straight into his van--undeterred by the dead body of his getaway driver on the seat next to him.

Cole screaches out of the garage. At least, that is his plan, but the "calvary" has already arrived! A CIA blockade, lead by Weiss and Vaughan, blocks the exit. And, if that is not enough--for good measure--Cole's windshield is punched out by their machine gun fire. "Shoot first, ask questions later" seems to be the "rule" in Episode 13.

Cole stumbles out of his van, only to be confronted again by Syd, primed to kick more butt--and avoid more punches. "You're right," Syd says to Cole's now inert body, "Taking a punch is something I've never learned how to do." So, there!

Vaughan opens the Rimbaldi artifact box. Inside is a small bottle. "What is that? Perfume?" Syd asks, to which Vaughan replies, "Whatever it is, we've got it now [meaning CIA], and they don't [meaning SD-6]." And, Syd says, "Better be good perfume." Ever the wit, this Sydney Bristow.

And, from the parking garage, the CIA departs, taking Cole with them. No one from SD-6 knows anyone from the CIA was there. "Now you see it, now you don't", and the scriptwriters and the CIA agents work their magic in Episode 13.

Back inside the SD-6 offices, "mop up" is literally in progress. Agents are mopping each other's wounds--and consoling one another. [See HIGHLIGHTS.] Genuine affection and respect shines in Sloan's eyes, as he looks at Syd in the midst. And, Marshall appears with Sloan's finger "on ice". [See HIGHLIGHTS.]

Jack asks Syd what she said to Sloan. Did she follow through on her intention to quit SD-6? No, she did not. All she said to Sloan was "see you tomorrow". She thanks her father, and he touches her shoulder reassuringly. Syd smiles, looks down and then toward her father again, as he walks away. End of episode.

Though lots of subplots are still very much "in motion", no "cliffhanger" ends Episode 13. And, just as well! A little time to recover for all of us, not only the SD-6 agents, is welcome. A remarkable episode, not likely to be soon forgotten. Even the "talkie" mood music in the last scene is perfect. Well done, Alias!

HIGHLIGHTS:

1--FISHING FOR SYNCHRONICITY in Marshall's office: The small object Syd "hooks" accidently "fishing" for a scrambler in Part 1 of "The Box" turns out to be just the gadget to save everyone's life in Part 2. That earring on the floor at the end of Episode 13, which Syd scoops up and detonates, is a bomb. That link was cleverly done. Syd's attention to the object last week did tip us off it might turn out to be important later. Synchronicity or simply Syd's foresight-- keeping something of unknown properties "for possible future use", not knowing what might prove useful?

2--SHORT LIVED APPRECIATION from Cole at the SD-6 vault: Cole's girlfriend sets aside code breaking to head out in search of Cole's missing guard, Tchen. Through the ragged hole--great visual--the assault team blew in the wall to access the vault, Cole shouts his appreciation. "Who is more tough ass than you, baby? No one!" he shouts. And, not an hour later, he kills her outright for no apparent reason other than irritation. Scary guy.

3--SLOAN UNDER PRESSURE is amazing: Despite intense pain from Cole's continued torture--Cole's "lethal needles", Sloan remains clear and relentless in his responses to Cole. That infuriates Cole. Still, even Sloan could not be prepared for Cole's reaction to girlfriend Toni's "interruption" to tell him the vault is "only one number" from open. So locked into his conflict with Sloan, his girlfriend's prodding only infuriates Cole more. Cole shouts, "Shut up!", and swings around to shoot her dead with the gun in his hand. Did we just see this! This guy is nuts! His reaction to her death is equally numbing. He walks over to her corpse and whispers--after first straightening his tie, "I have to go to the vault now." Sloan looks on, speechless. So am I! This is a memorable, and exceedingly well orchestrated, including camera angles, overlapping dialogue, the pacing, acting--and the totally unexpected "climax".

4--COMIC RELIEF FROM MARSHALL: "You OK?" Dixon asks, after Marshall recovers from being slugged with a rifle butt. Marshall replies, "Except for my head injury, yeah." And, after the assault is ended, and Sloan awaits medical attention for his capitated finger, Marshall appears with Sloan's digit "on ice". He says to Syd, "Hey, Sloan gave me the finger." A couple of laughs, and there is lots to "laugh off" after this episode. Whew!

5--REMEMBER THESE ARE PEOPLE: The last scene in Episode 13 does that. Seeing the SD-6 agents comforting each other, embracing at the end, reminds us that SD-6 is not the enemy. SD-6 is people. Only a handful of these people know they are in fact "the bad guys". The rest think they are working for "the good guys". This is easily forgotten sometimes. These are people.



SAYS WHO?

01-10-02. From Tipster D:

The Box #1 1-20-02
The Box #2 2-03-02

Quentin Tarantino begins a two-part guest stint in this tense installment. The “Pulp Fiction” auteur (who nabbed an Oscar for the 1995 film's script) plays McKenas Cole, a former SD-6 operative left for dead after a botched mission in Chechnya. Now he's back and ready for revenge, taking the Credit Dauphine headquarters by siege. His goal: Crack the agency's wired-to-blow vault and give the duplicitous Sloane a fatal lesson in torture techniques. But what Cole doesn't know is that two brave Bristows are on the loose somewhere in the building, cooking up a desperate plan to save the day.

The conversation with Sydney and Vaughn happens fairly early in the episode, from what I can tell. It happens after she tells him whatever her plan is involving SD-6. (SPECULATION BASED ON CONTEXT...) Looks like she's planning to quit SD-6 and if Sloane won't let her she is possibly planning on going to the FBI and/or Justice department and also alerting the press . (for those who didn't see it before, after Sydney tells Vaughn what her plan is, she asks him if he likes Bach because she heard it playing in his office one day and tells him that the philharmonic is playing the Brandenburg concerto and asks if he wants to go. He tells her that she can't do this (I think referring to her "plan") and she tells him that since she's getting her life back she'd like him to be a part of it.

SD-6 is being infiltrated by McKenas Cole (I'm thinking Tarantino) and his men while Sydney is walking through the parking structure.They're posing as a/c repairmen. Sydney is oblivious to the whole break in thing. In fact as Sydney is walking in she sees one of Cole's men in a van and he smiles at her, waves and tells her to turn her frown upside down. When she walks past him he levels a laser sight at the back of her head then lowers it as Jack comes screeching into the garage, gets out and hurries alongside Sydney and tells her she's committing suicide. He tells her that Vaugn told him of her plan and that the FBI and Justice department know about SD-6 and that Sloane knows they know. Sydney then tells him that the newspapers don't but Jack tells her they won't publish without other sources and that SD-6 will eliminate her and anyone they think she's talked to including Francie and Will.

You can then see Cole and his men going through the air ducts and through the vents we see Dixon working...Sloane passing by..As they come out of the vents a janitor happens to turn the corner and is shot immediately and is frisked by one of Cole's men (Endo, the explosives expert) for a keycard while Cole peels off his coveralls revealing an immaculately tailored suit. You can tell he means business.

Jack ends up revealing something to Sydney in the elevator (remember the guard from the pilot episode? Jack orders him out of the elevator, so apparently it's something big) Sydney gets extremely torn up with emotions - empathy, sadness, relief - and tells him that he should have told her before, that he was carrying an impossible weight and he didn't have to do that. She's hoping that he takes the opening to bond but he just continues to stare at the panel lights of the elevator and then goes to stop the elevator to tell her she can't do this. She tells him that it's not up to him - but he tells her he will hurt her if he has to. She calls his bluff though - and tells him no, he won't.

Basically it looks like SD-6 is being taken over by Cole because he's interested in what is in the vault. Dixon, Sloane and Marshall are amont the agents that are tied up and being held at gunpoint. Jack and Sydney are in the basement storage room watching on a monitor everything that's going on. After Cole tells Sloane that he will need the vault combination in 9 minutes (this is punctuated by Cole shooting one of the agents) Jack tells Sydney that last year when FTL intercepted a cache of stolen missles bound for Saudi Arabia, Marshall gave her a device to scramble the launch codes.

As Cole and his men are standing with Sloane in front of the vault Sydney is hiding in an air duct. Cole tries the combo that Sloane gives him and it fails so he orders one of his men to kill Sloane. Just then Sydney shifts in the air duct causing a crunch and Cole points a heartbeat monitor up towards the vent. He tracks down the heartbeat and opens fire. Jack is watching what's going on via the monitor and is directing Sydney (gotta love those earpiece thingies) to an upper level shaft while Cole and his men are still firing their guns into the wall. Sydney climbs into the shaft to the upper level and shimmies her way up only to find above her a fast moving fan that stops her ascent.

In the hallway the heartbeat monitor is showing no activity.

Sydney, up in the vent. is having trouble staying braced & as she starts to slide down the heartbeat monitor Cole has is starting to blip again. Cole and his men follow the blip to a vent. They kick it in and out comes...JACK! Having sacrificed himself for Sydney, he is now a hostage.

A little later (I think) Dixon, still cuffed watches one of Cole's men (Martin) pace back and forth. With each pass, Dixon goes unwatched for a few seconds. In that window he slides open a credenza. Inside: office supplies, computer disks and a palm pilot. Dixon eyes the computer on the desk across the room. It's on. He cranes to find Martin -- sees him light up a cigarette, his back turned. The next thing we see is a headset like operators wear and hear " Good afternoon...Central Intelligence Agency You're calling from where? SD-6..." She types SD-6 into her computer. A name scrolls across the screen - Notify Michael Vaughn Ext 7071. Vaughn is sitting at his desk totally tense. He's wondering if Jack was able to intercept Sydney, or if she told Vaughn she was going to quit. When the phone rings he jumps to get it. The operator tells him he has a call from SD-6 and even though she's not familiar with that branch she saw on the computer..he cuts her off as he tells her to put it through. Back at SD-6 we see on the computer screen "Voice over internet call in progress" as Dixon whispers to Vaughn that his name is Marcus Dixon and he is an agent with SD-6, as ID he gives him his payroll number...






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