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ALIAS

THE GETAWAY


EPISODE NO. 34
Season 2, episode 12
Series 212
1st release: 01/12/03
2nd release: 07/13/03
Production code: E663
Last update: 08/09/03


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REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 1 by Adriane Saunders
COMMENTARY 2 by Zero and E
LINKS



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
Joey Slotnick as CIA Agent Steven Haladki
David Anders as Mr. Sark
Lena Olin as Irina Derevko/Laura Bristow



GUEST CAST
Faye Dunaway (Ariana Kane)
Amy Irving (Emily Sloane)
Terry O'Quinn (Kendall)
Greg Grunberg (Agent Weiss)
Ira Heiden (CIA Agent Rick McCarthy)
Doug Kruse (Patton Birch)
Don Took (Agent Grey)
Phillipe Simon (Claude Rousseau)
Courtney Gains (Holden)
Kevin Sutherland (CIA Agent Blake)
Roger Ranny (Black sweater)
Sonny Suroweic (Leather jacket)
Laurent Alexandre (Airport security guard)



CREDITS
Written by Jeff Pinkner
Directed by Lawrence Trilling



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

TV GUIDE PROMO

Syd and Vaughn's risky rendezvous while on a mission in France threatens to expose their CIA covers to SD-6; Jack enlists Irina in his efforts to outwit Kane, who targets another Bristow in her hunt for Sloane's blackmailer. Logline




SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser

Scenes from previous episodes, culminating with Sloane betraying Jack by telling Ariana Kane he had just left his house.

Jack goes to a movie theater to meet an informant. Tha man is dead when he gets there, however, and agents try to apprehend him. A fight ensues and Jack escapes to the parking garage, where a car screeches to a halt in front of him. He draws his pistol, but it's Sydney. She yells, "Dad! Get in!" He does and they speed away, pursued by two other cars. Sydney finally eludes them by driving up into the back of a large truck. The pursuers speed on by.

Jack tells Sydney about Sloane killing Emily and the blackmail problems that have resulted from that. He now seems to be the Alliance's main suspect. Sydney is paged by SD-6 but wants to stay and help Jack. He convinces her to go in, though, and maintain her normal schedule so as not to arouse suspicion.

Marshall gives Sydney and Dixon presents for rescuing him. He notes that Sloane is not wearing the tie he gave him, but Sloane is exasperated and anxious to get on with their briefing. Sloane shows them a picture of a gyroscope that acts as a missile guidance system which can upgrade older, more obsolete weapons into cutting edge tech weapons. Sydney and Dixon are to intercept the courier, a Triad agent named Karl Schatz, and get the prototype he is carrying.

Vaughn gives Sydney her countermission -- to make sure she has the gyroscope at the end of the mission so the CIA can make a duplicate of it. Vaughn reveals that he knew about Jack's investigation and he and Sydney get into an argument about whether Vaughn should be trying to make Sydney's life easier by keeping things from her. Sydney is angry as she leaves.

Act I

Sloane e-mails Jack from a secure server that he had to tell Ariana Kane about his visit because of the chip that had been injected into his neck. His whereabouts and conversations are constantly monitored, so the Alliance already knew that Jack had visited him. Sloane also suggests a possible motive for the blackmail -- revenge for the murder of Jean Briault.

Jack tells Irina what happened. He says he needs someone to brainstorm with. She advises him to pull all the info he can get on Jean Briault.

Sloane angrily asks Ariana why she is now investigating Sydney. Ariana says Jack and Sydney are too close to ignore the possibility of Sydney being Jack's accomplice.

Vaughn is trying to explain the mission in Nice to a still angry Sydney when Weiss shows up. Sydney is happy to see that he has recovered from his near-fatal gunshot wound. When she leaves, Weiss suggests that Vaughn tell Sydney how he feels about her. He says not to wait until it's too late

In Nice, Dixon poses as a priest soliciting donations in the airport. He is wearing special glasses that allow him to spot the gyroscope. Sydney, in a purple wig, passes through the metal detector just ahead of Schatz, whom Dixon has identified as having the gyroscope in his breast pocket. Dixon causes the metal detector to go off each time Sydney goes through it, so Sydney removes all her jewelry and even her shirt, which distracts Schatz, and she is able to get the gyroscope as she brushes against him. She and Dixon separate and Sydney takes the gyroscope to the CIA techs so the copy can be made. Vaughn decides to follow Weiss's advice and asks her if she wants to get something to eat at a nearby restaurant. Sydney is intrigued but protests that they might be seen. Vaughn convinces her that it is unlikely, so she agrees and goes to change clothes.

Back in LA, an agent informs Ariana Kane that Sydney just left the airport with a man -- not Dixon. She says to find out who it is.

Act II

Vaughn and Sydney go to a nice French restaurant, where Vaughn speaks French as well as the waiter. They are seated and given menus, but look more at each other than at the selections.

Jack and Irina find that Briault had interests in Peru that he seemingly hid from the Alliance, and Jack decides to investigate further. Irina suggests that he check hotel reservations and security footage, since that's where she always met with her KGB contacts when they were married.

Vaughn tells Sydney why his code name is Boy Scout -- a story of his not being prepared on his first day of training -- but Weiss interrupts on the com link and protests that Vaughn's conversation is lame and he should be telling Sydney how pretty she is. Vaughn says he's turning off the link. Meanwhile, Kane's agents trace Vaughn's ID through DMV records and discover he's CIA. The restaurant owner tells Sydney and Vaughn that he has rooms upstairs and discreetly lays a key on the table. Vaughn says it would be rude to overlook the offer. Sydney says there are issues, but says okay.

Weiss gets a call that US DMV records have been hacked into and Vaughn's info downloaded. He tries to contact Vaughn on the link and then runs for the telephone. When Vaughn answers he tells them to get out now. Just then, agents enter the restaurant and start firing their weapons. Sydney and Vaughn get to cover and escape, running for their lives. They are trapped in an alley by three agents and forced to throw down their weapons. One of the men gets out his radio and says to patch him through to Ariana Kane. When Vaughn and Sydney hear the name, Vaughn pulls a hidden knife and kills one of the men, then uses his body as a shield and shoots the other two. He tells Sydney to take the car and he will get Weiss to pick him up. Sydney says she will get the gyroscope first, but Vaughn says they have to cancel the countermission and give SD-6 what they want this time. They both feel guilty and blame themselves for what has happened. Then they leave in different directions.

Act III

Back in LA, Vaughn is preparing his debrief for Kendall and is about to put down exactly why SD-6 has the real gyroscope. Weiss talks him out of revealing his and Sydney's date and offers to take the blame himself, since he was the one who urged Vaughn to tell Sydney how he felt. But Vaughn says no. Weiss says at least to check with Sydney before turning it in, because it affects her, too.

Jack and McCarthy discover hotel security footage that shows Ariana Kane with Briault in a Peruvian hotel. Jack knows he can access Kane's accounts through the SD-6 computer, so he goes to SD-6 hq to see if he can prove she deposited the $100 million that the Alliance paid in blackmail. But when he accesses the account, the balance show as zero. As he is leaving, he is intercepted by Kane's agents, who shoot him with a tranquilizer dart.

Act IV

Jack wakes up strapped to a chair in the "interrogation" room. Ariana says she was planning to take him directly to London, but now she is going to wait for Sydney to appear and take them both. She gives Jack a shot of sodium pentathol so she can get all the info on his and Sydney's activities. But before the shot can take effect, Sloane comes in with guards who take a protesting Ariana Kane and strap her into the chair they have taken Jack out of. Jack explains later that he had sent Sloane an e-mail containing the transaction info, which showed that the bearer bonds had been deposited to Kane's account, but then withdrawn as cash, proving that Kane was the blackmailer. Jack tells Irina that Sloane is so relieved that he is taking a week off and leaving Jack in charge while he's gone. Irina says one thing interests her -- Sloane requested that Kane investigate the blackmail and she turned out to be someone with motive in the scheme herself, implying that perhaps she was a perfect person to frame. Jack smiles: "Interesting theory."

Sydney and Vaughn meet. Sydney asks if Vaughn has written his debrief yet. Vaughn says no. If he reveals that they went on a date, he will be removed as her case officer, and he really feels that they do good work together. Sydney agrees. And now Kane's missing agents won't be searched for, so she gave Sloane the counterfeit gyroscope after all, having kept both the real one and the fake from the lab in Nice. Vaughn is impressed with her foresight. Sydney smiles: "Always be prepared."

Francie asks Sydney about the cute guy named Michael from work, but Sydney says that she's not going to fantasize about it anymore because nothing is going to come of it. Francie senses that Sydney needs cheering up, so she says they are going out, and takes Sydney to her restaurant, where they relax over cocktails.

Sloane visits a lab where he brings $10 million in cash to pay for a device that will replace the signal from the chip in his neck with other sounds, thus blocking out what he doesn't want the Alliance to hear. Sloane is pleased, and shoots the guy who made the chip as he is leaving.

In the Philippines, Sloane walks along a beach toward a secluded beach house. When he reaches the door, it opens and he says, "We did it." His wife Emily comes out and embraces him, holding him with a hand that has a bandage in place of her missing ring finger.



COMMENTARY 1

This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Gunfire erupts in a crowded theatre. Jack is talking to a corpse. Fighting his way to an exit, he runs downstairs into underground parking. A car screams to a halt. Syd is driving. Jack leaps in and the car speeds away, Jack's attackers in hot persuit. All right! You go, girl!

"The Getaway" is a rush for sure. This is Alias in top form. Riveting. Edge of the seat all the way! Lots of suspense. Twists and shocks and surprises. Fantastic!

THE PLOT: Jack suspects Alliance investigator Ariana Kane plans to frame him for the $100 million in bearer bonds heist from Sloane. Syd and Dixon retrieve a Triad prototype quantum gyroscope missile guidance system in France. CIA countermission is a substituion with a defective gyroscope. Sloane offers Jack a lead to blackmailers, connection to Jacques Breo (the Alliance partner Sloane murdered last Season).

Ariana Kane zeroes in on Syd as a possible double agent. Irina and Jack confer about the Breo lead. Irina's input leads to Jack's discovery that Breo and Ariana Kane were having an affair in Peru. Syd and Vaughan indulge mutual attraction with a dinner date that ends with a restaurant shot to pieces and two SD-6 agents dead. Jack returns to SD-6 Headquarters to track bank account information about Ariana Kane. She catches him, adds sodium pentothal to his veins and is about to find out Syd is a double agent when Sloane arrives to take her away.

Jack had emailed the bank information about Kane to Sloane. Later Irina and Jack wonder if perhaps Sloane set Ariana up from the start to take the fall. Sloane finds a computer whiz to deactivate the tracking device the Alliane put in his neck and then kills him to keep the secret. This is followed by a very eager Sloane striding along a white sand beach in the Phillipines. His target is a small house. When the door opens, Sloane's wife appears, very much alive, though missing one of her fingers.

THE PRODUCTION: Praise all round: Writer Jeff Pinkner, Director Trilling, Editor Mary Jo Markey, the actors, camera crew, cinematographer. For the whole production: Top marks. Four out of four stars. This is Alias at its best, full of unexpected twists and turns, savvy characterizations by script and actors, memorable and engaging from beginning to end.

HIGHLIGHTS: Too many to mention all, but here are a few:

1--THE TEASER: Too cool! A terrific escape scene from the get go, complete with switcheroo of Jack raising his gun to shoot the driver of the soon-to-be-escape car. That driver is Syd. In Episode One of Season One, the driver of the unexpected car was Jack coming to rescue Syd., and Syd was the one raising a bead on his forehead for a shot. Fast paced and perfectly segued action.

2--SYD'S ALIAS AS A PUNKER stripping for the metal detector at the airport: This is a bang on characterization by Jennifer Garner (Syd). Not only is this "alias" a great ploy, dropping all the decorative metal on her as a distraction to grab the package from her "mark", but the portrayal is clever and believable. Fun. What strikes me is how easily and convincingly Garner slips into characters, her aliases. Brilliant, many of them. My all time favorite--to date anyway--is Garner's portrayal in an earlier episode of an Italian jet setter limping elegantly into a hotel to confirm a reservation. Faultless accent. But, what makes the character is the attitude. Garner definitely knows how to master "attitude". Kudos to the punker.

3--VAUGHAN AND SYD IN THE RESTAURANT: From the humor of "Wine will help this situation" to running for their lives with gunmen close behind, all pieces are perfectly segued. Lots of suspense. Weiss's frantic warning cuts into the relationship just before the restaurant is shot to pieces. Edge of the chair action. This whole sequence rocks! Fantastic. This is the Alias I love.

4--SLOANE WALKING DOWN THE SOUTH SEAS BEACH toward a house: I knew it! I knew it! I knew Sloane was behind his wife's death-not-death-now-death and ransom. In the house on the beach is Sloane's wife Emily. Alias plays fair with viewers. The clues were there in earlier episodes. What a shocker, though, that Emily's finger IS missing! That blows me away. I had thought for sure her mailed finger was a fake. The finger was in fact hers! These two play hardball. A lot is of course at stake. A finger for a life--and a hundred million in bearer bonds--is not a bad trade-off.

In this episode that is the only "trade-off". Everything else is right on.



COMMENTARY 2

This commentary is by Zero and E.

"How's that for a spin?"

THINGS THAT WORKED:

-A Man and a Woman

"I am your ally. Never question that." (episode 02.04)

But, standing in front of Vaughn in Mikro Self-Storage, Sydney is beset with doubt and distrust.

"It was a judgment call."
"It's a judgment call you've been making for the past three months."

Sydney had an image of this man, a conception of a friend whom she could trust unconditionally, with whom she could share an openness impossible with almost everyone else. She had to believe that she knew him, that she could tell him anything and trust him with the weight of her life. And she did know him and she DOES know him, but every time she turns to look at him, she is disillusioned. She sees the reminder of the context of his life, a part of him that she fears is foreign to her.

"Involving you had no upside."
"There is no upside to keeping me informed? You didn't tell me about Manolo or that you had discussions with my mother. You didn't even tell me you were seeing Alice again."

"Wait. What is this about?"

"This is about me being too old to be coddled."
"Your life is complicated, Sydney. Forgive me for trying to make any easier."
"I don't need you for that."

Yes, she wants him as her comfort, but not if it requires that he shield her from the truth. Sometimes, protection is a form of deception, and she feels he should know her better than to think that she would passively allow him to make her decisions for her. Sydney is her own woman. She neither needs nor desires the charity of others. For the entirety of her life, she has made her own way. All she seeks are moments of honesty and the fact that Vaughn is withholding information of personal significance threatens the sanctity of their friendship just as much as the instability caused by her own romantic ambiguity. Intimate intent aside, he has promised her his alliance. She will not let him retreat into the protocol of the professional, now.

So, Vaughn, with Weiss on point, plunges full force ahead...

"Listen, uh, do you want to go to dinner?"

...with a myriad of impulsive rationalizations...

"We've been to restaurants and sat near each other, we've met in parks and convenience stores, and all of them in LA, where we were much more likely to be seen. Two things. One, I think it's not that great a risk and, two, I am hungry. I'm starving. I mean we're gonna be together anyway. Why can't we be eating? Aren't you hungry?"

...and Sydney, inspired by Vaughn's gusto and swayed by his determined pleading, accepts. He IS the unattainable life that she cannot have until her work is completed, but he stands before her and does what he has always done: he offers her the hope that she may one day find a place to call home, that maybe she can have a tiny piece of it now.

"Let's do it."

Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan were incredible. They were so full of nervous energy, perfectly filling the silence with awkward stolen glances. Everything, from their initial, stilted dialogue to the way their increasingly heated gazes slowly lured the two together, was laden with a mounting tension. These characters have chosen to consciously alter their dynamic, to take their chemistry out of context and hold it up to the template of normalcy. Their conversations tend toward the seemingly mundane: nicknames, hobbies, pets, and past; all to make up for the daily rituals and routine interactions that they are not able to enact, the details they don't get to know about each other.

The brazen gesture of the inn-key causes a moment of embarrassed shock that is truly classic, complete with long pauses and mischievous insinuation.

"Did you ask him to do that?"
"There are so many issues with this I don't know where to begin."
"Hold on a second. I think we should have an open mind about this."
"An open mind?"
"It would be rude to overlook such a generous offer without proper consideration."
"I wouldn't dream of it. But there are clearly issues."
"Yes. I don't disagree."

Given the key, given the illusion of a moment of freedom, Sydney and Vaughn make the conscious decision to put themselves before their job. They make the choice to explore a developing intimacy, to forsake the rules of handler and asset for those of a man and a woman. Interrupted by the abnormality of their lives, however, it becomes painfully clear that the consequences of their continued advances may be more severe than they are willing to shoulder.

Back in Mikro Self-Storage, the two regroup. But the truth is, they have yet to find the balance between the personal and the professional. They have yet to draw the lines that will define their relationship, one that can never be, despite their best intentions, normal or straightforward or easy.

-Lock and Key

Overshadowed by illicit excursions and the threat of exposure and subsequent assassination, the magnitude of Jack and Irina's interaction is strangely subtle. In an exchange oddly similar to Vaughn and Sydney's, Jack dares Irina to engage with him, to be his partner.

"Then if you're not here to say goodbye, why did you bring this to me?"
"I need someone to brainstorm with."
"Surely the CIA has teams that specialize in these matters: forensics, profilers." "Yes. They do."

In his wife's presence, Jack transforms. His face, usually taut with gravity, softens, becomes almost playful. Positioned across from one another in Irina's cell, pouring over documents together, sharing a quick meal of take-out, the two establish a natural give and take. Tie loosened, Jack loses his self-consciousness in the sharpness of their discourse. Sitting together, working as peers, they trade and build on ideas with the ease of old companions.

Jack Bristow collaborating with his enemy and Sydney Bristow fraternizing with her coworker, the two couples spend the night illicitly trying to fashion a future for themselves. Jack Bristow is asking Irina Derevko for her help. And she gives it freely, even offering a painful truth that, in the end, is Jack's escape. She saves his life.

"Thank you for everything."
"There's one thing that strikes me as odd."
"Yes, me too."
"You said Sloane requested Kane to investigate."
"The one person who had an apparent motive for blackmail."
"Someone easy to frame."
"Interesting theory."
"Or not."

What a strangely intimate moment they share, exchanging sly looks of suspicion. Jack and Irina's relationship is clouded by their mastery of manipulation. Their motives are unclear and their intentions are unknown. So, why the sudden willingness to cultivate a dialogue?

-Smoke and Mirrors

Sloane is a better human and a better spy than we gave him credit for. Here was this man who, for all intents and purposes, was the villain, was a "bad guy." But, slowly, we began to glimpse pieces of his nature that were incongruous with the image of heartlessness that had been constructed by instinctive polarization: his love for his wife, his loyalty to his friends, his growing conscience. Without question, he was a man with faults, a man corrupted by violence and deceit. But, with the love of his wife in his eyes, his redemption seemed possible, seemed just within reach.

In Emily's absence, we believed he had succumbed to the foreseen darkness and we grieved his fall. All hope that Sloane had somehow spared his wife seemed lost in the tangled complexity of her death's aftermath. But, with a compassion that seemed entirely lacking from Sloane's demeanor last episode, he began to rebuild our trust in his humanity with the soft sincerity of his message to Jack.

"Stay safe, Jack. Good luck."

As Sloane lifts his friend out of Ariana's reach and leans him on his shoulder, Jack's voice carries over into the next scene, where he and Irina contemplate the convenience of Ms. Kane's guilt.

Sloane's getaway was the cleanest of them all. As he treads across the wide expanse of the beach, dressed in the immaculate inverse of his confessional attire, our faith in his humanity returns. In the end, he comes away with his love intact, his cash untraceable, and his privacy restored. The absolute devotion in Sloane's eyes as he embraces his wife and calms her fears is remarkable.

But do the transgressions made in order to secure his wife a future damage the purity of their love? Maybe so. But, done in her name or done in her absence, the atrocities of which Sloane is capable are only pardonable because of Emily's continued forgiveness. She is the symbol of his deliverance.

We are left in awe by Sloane's unfailing ingenuity, Jeff Pinkner's wonderfully scripted revelations, the Alias writer's adamant distrust of human polarity, and Ron Rifkin's moving interpretation of all of the above.

-"How 'bout some sugar?"

Having been a major absence in Season 2, Greg Grunberg has not received our full admiration as of yet. But, rest assured: we are thrilled that he is back, humor intact. Though we were mildly disconcerted by his lecture on near death experiences to the recently recovered Vaughn, this is one of the most entertaining friendships on the show. Weiss has a lighthearted sincerity and warm sarcasm that was the perfect counter for Vaughn's edgy apprehension last season. But he was also an important voice of reason, keeping him in check, sometimes with cutting truths: "Trust is a tricky thing." (episode 01.22) Welcome back Weiss.

-Effect

This was an amazingly directed, smoothly edited piece of work. There was Jack's silhouetted struggle in the movie house, orchestrated to the exaggerated score of the film, the gray ambient glow the only light to his Oswald-like pilgrimage.

With Sydney's instinctual assault, glass shattering over silence, she and Vaughn fly toward refuge, arriving in the heavy shadows of the French alley, their street fight tinted red. There was Vaughn's fluid arc from heel to neck with blade in hand and the swift interplay of their bodies as they move together and apart.

Slowed to the pace of Jack's steady voice, Ariana's silent fury is strangely elegant, her entire body alive with outrage.

-Echo

Two men meeting their wives in secrecy, women living on borrowed time. Three couples learning to connect and reconnect, rendezvous forbidden. One pair before betrayal, two pairs behind. One man already forgiven and one man yet to forgive. Love will tear them apart and violence put them back together. Six people on a getaway to and from their getaways.

DETAILS WE APPRECIATED:

-"Dad! Get in!" For those of us familiar with the pilot, the role-reversal in the reprise of one of its most classic scenes was hysterical.

-Amy Irving was not listed in the opening credits, an omission we completely respect.

-It's fantastic that Ariana Kane got caught with her pants down in the end. Faye Dunaway did a great job. Ms. Kane was truly a coven unto herself.

-You've got to love the way the camera scans up Sydney's red fishnet stockings, the way the music punctuates every shoulder-thrusting step. Between her accent and her purple coiffure, Jennifer Garner was virtually unrecognizable. The contrast between her punk rock persona and Sydney's next-door neighbor charm was just spectacular. Nice mission.

-It's fun to watch the lines between fiction and reality blur, characters often taking on attributes of their real life counterparts. Pool? Good touch.

-The relationships on this show kill us every time. No matter how briefly viewed, they come off so incredibly real and with such a depth of history. It still surprises us when we get to see the other half of Sydney, the part that can be intimate, that already has an emotional rescue. Merrin Dungey had such a great spark of energy as Francie gives Sydney a bit of attitude and orders her off the couch.

-We have the nagging suspicion that someone on the Alias staff just simply couldn't resist closing on Emily's missing digit. To tell you the truth, we don't know if we could have either.

ETC.

-Congratulations to Victor Garber on his Golden Satellite for Best Supporting Actor.

-No hay coincidentes en el mundo de Alias.



LINKS:

Television Without Pity. Recap Get it on. Bang a Vaughn. Get it on. The Getaway - There's a gyroscope. And a mission. And the witch hunt. And Face Doneaway. And a non-dead Auntie Em. But you know what? None of that matters. Not really. Because Syd and Vaughn move one step closer to actual physical contact that doesn't involve rolling around on the ground and dodging bullets. France. Wine. Candles. Attempted assassination by a couple of Face's goons. Sigh. It's all so romantic.




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