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ALIAS

TAKEN


EPISODE NO. 60
Season 3, episode 16
Series 316
1st release: 03/21/04
2nd release:
Last update: 04/24/04


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



REGULAR CAST
Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall
Melissa George (Lauren Reed)
Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss)
David Anders as Mr. Sark
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow



GUEST CAST
Raymond J. Barry (Senator Reed)
Jenny Gago (Erin)
Patricia Wettig (Dr. Barnett)
Daniel E. Smith (Steven Dixon)
Tristin Mays (Robin Dixon)
Kevin Sutherland ( Rotunda Agent)
F.K. Butler (DSR Guard)
Christian Boeving (DSR Guard #5)



CREDITS
Written by J.R. Orci
Directed by Lawrence Trilling



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

TV GUIDE PROMO

WHERE'S GARETH WHEN YOU NEED HIM? -- This episode, while not entirely bad, could really have benefited from the rest of the cast of The Office showing up along with Ricky Gervais. Bomb diffusing would take on a whole new dimension if it were Gareth and Tim arguing over who got to cut the red wire, wouldn't it? Oh, well -- at least we have Ricky, playing for keeps as a vengeful bomb-maker with a dead brother who was placed in an early grave by none other than Spy Barbie herself. Sark shows up long enough to make our screens melt with the rays of his hotness, Vaughn has to do some last-minute bomb futzing, Griffin Dunne smokes a bunch, and Spy Daddy strolls in toward the end and plays god with Ricky Gervais's life. I won't mention the part where Sloane and Dr. Nancy have sex, because I know how sensitive your little tum-tums are. TWoP

Taken - Dixon's kids get kidnapped by Sark and the Covenant. TWoP




SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Teaser

In France, a straight-jacketed Sark is taken onto a plane by several guards. Sydney and Dixon confer on the phone about the plans to take Sark into custody as soon as his plane lands. Dixon says good-bye to his children, Robin and Steven, as they are picked up by their car pool and head for school.

Lauren does some checking, using Dr. Barnett's access code, to see what Sark's flight plan is. Vaughn comes in and asks if she has talked to her father yet. She says no, he is in a meeting. She doesn't seem anxious to talk to her father.

Senator Reed confers with Jack and Dixon about Sark's upcoming interrogation. Jack says that their first concern is to find out who Sark's co-command is in the North American cell. Dixon receives a message that his children did not arrive at school.

Sydney and Weiss, waiting for Sark's plane, receive information that the plane landed in the desert some 60 miles away. When they arrive at the site, they find the crew and Sark's guards all dead and an empty straight jacket.

Vaughn reports that one of Sark's guards is missing. They theorize that he had help escaping and then parachuted out of the plane at a high altitude, leaving the plane depressurized, which killed the rest of the passengers.

Sark calls Dixon and says he has Robin and Steven.

Act One

Sark demands the release of several prisoners in various countries for the return of Dixon's children. Senator Reed does not want to negotiate. Sydney disagrees and suggests that they at least talk to the countries holding the prisoners.

Lauren calls Sark. Sark wants to know how Lauren is going to implicate someone else for the leaks coming from the CIA. She says she's working on it.

Sloane asks Barnett to stay with him in Zurich, but she says she needs to return to Washington. She is also worried that their affair will be discovered. Sloane: "I'm not going to see you again, am I?" Barnett turns and leaves.

Marshall deciphers the recorder on Sark's plane, which picked up a phone conversation Sark had before he parachuted out. They can't hear the other person's voice, but Sark asks about the hostages and ends the conversation by saying, "Not if I see you first, love." Marshall says they have traced a burst of Covenant communication activity to Nogales. Dixon believes his children are being held there and wants to take action. Jack warns him that the Covenant is known for killing their hostages, and they must proceed carefully, but Dixon is determined.

Dixon, along with Sydney, Vaughn and Weiss, arrive at the building in Nogales. A scan has revealed the children being held in a storage room. Marshall guides them to the location, but it is empty. Weiss spots a bomb set to go off in a matter of seconds. Sydney finds another. Marshall realizes that there is a whole network of bombs, and it must be a trap -- the view of the children is a fake. Dixon wants to continue looking, but Sydney convinces him that they are not there. They escape from the building just as it blows.

Act Two

Jack and Marshall search the CIA database to see who accessed the flight plan for Sark's flight. They see that Dr. Barnett's access code was used, and they trace the access to Zurich. Jack goes there and takes Sloane into custody.

Dixon visits Sloane in his cell. He knocks Sloane down and pulls out his gun. Sydney arrives just in time to keep Dixon from killing Sloane.

Dixon goes home and is sitting in his driveway when he sees his son Steven coming down the walk. Dixon runs to him. Steven has a cell phone. A call comes through. The next day, Dixon reports that the Covenant now wants even more prisoners released. If there are any more attempts to thwart the Covenant's plans, Dixon will never see his daughter again. Dixon asks Jack to take over the leadership of the task force, and Jack agrees.

Sydney visits Dixon at the hospital where Steven is being treated for dehydration. Dixon says that the Covenant has another demand that he was not to reveal to anyone. They really want Lot 45 from the collection of Rambaldi artifacts stored at the Nevada facility. He says he can't get it alone. Sydney says she will help.

In Nevada, Sydney approaches the facility in a dune buggy. She is intercepted by a guard. She says she got lost from her friends, and when the guard comes closer, she stuns him. Meanwhile Dixon enters the compound and says he would like to do some research. The director says she will accompany him.

Sydney enters the facility through a heat vent. She radios to Dixon that he needs to hack into security so that she can open the gate at the bottom of the vent. Dixon pretends to be praying so that the director will leave him and gets the gate open just as the heat begins to reach a critical stage. Then Sydney searches through the Rambaldi artifacts. When she comes to Lot 45, the shelf is empty.

Act Three

Dixon searches the database and directs Sydney to Lot 45's location on Level 8.

Jack confronts Sloane about the Covenant's demands, which seem unusual because they are so impossible to achieve. Sloane says that Dixon received the contact, so it should be determined what kind of things Dixon has access to. Jack knows that that would be Project Black Hole -- the collection of Rambaldi artifacts.

Sydney finds Lot 45 being x-rayed by a huge machine. She has to outwit the machine to get the artifact. As she puts it into a container, she sees the word "Irina" etched into the box's surface.

Sark calls Lauren and tells her that Dixon is ready to make the exchange.

Jack finds Sydney and Dixon and tells them that they can't give the box to Sark. He says that Sloane revealed that Sydney's life could be in danger if the Covenant gets their hands on whatever is in the box. Sydney says she is willing to take the risk if it will save Robin. Jack says that they might be able to fool Sark with a duplicate.

Senator Reed learns that Lot 45 is missing and that Dixon was visiting the facility at the time. Lauren overhears him order that Dixon be taken into custody.

Act Four

Sydney, Jack and Dixon arrive at the exchange point. Meanwhile, Lauren tells Vaughn that Dixon is in trouble, and they enlist Marshall's aid in misdirecting the helicopters sent by Senator Reed to intercept the transfer.

Sark arrives at the exchange point. Dixon gives him the container, and Sark looks inside to see the artifact with "Irina" etched on the surface. He is convinced it is genuine, so he has Robin taken out of the car. He is going to put a collar on her that will release a toxin into her bloodstream in two minutes if not disarmed. Sydney says to put the collar on her instead, and Sark agrees. Jack pulls a gun, but Sark reveals a remote that will immediately release the toxin if he lets go of it. They watch Sark drive away, and then Jack easily disarms the device.

Barnett visits Sloane in his cell. He tells her he's innocent, but she believes he used her computer access for some nefarious purpose. He says he understands that she doesn't trust him, but he hopes she will keep the confidences he placed in her concerning his affair with Irina.

Jack tells Lauren and Vaughn that he knows Senator Reed's helicopters were somehow misdirected. Vaughn says he's sure that no evidence of wrongdoing will be discovered. Jack says they have his gratitude. As he leaves, he hears Vaughn tell Lauren that he will see her later, and she replies, "Not if I see you first, love." Jack stops, sudden realization clear on his face.



COMMENTARY 1

This commentary is by Adriane Saunders.

Back on track. This week's Alias feels like a reunion. There is a return to suspense, to Syd separate from Vaughan, to unexpected twists and turns in plot, and to Rimbaldi. Rimbaldi prophet extraordinaire is back, along with much of his handiwork: a manuscript page with Syd's face, a vault full of CIA collected artifacts, and a small but temporarily missing 500-year-old box which has Syd's mother Irina's name engraved on the lid. Alright! A puzzle at last!

Why does CIA nemesis--The Covenant--want this Rimbaldi box? The Covenant wants that box so much that CIA Director Dixon's two kids are kidnapped for a planned trade of box for kids. Dixon is hysterical with fear, but these circumstances put him at-least-for-now back in the field on a rescue mission with Syd. (See HIGHLIGHTS.)

PLOT:

Senator Reed (Lauren's father) arrives to sniff out the "mole" at CIA Headquarters (Lauren). "It's imperative that we learn the identity," Reed says to Jack, Dixon and Syd, just as Lauren walks in the door. (A clever segue. Alias plays fair.) Sloane is mistakenly arrested as "the double", (instead of Lauren). Lauren accomplishes this through a simple computer hack, using Dr. Barnett's name. Barnett then thinks Sloane used her to tap CIA secrets. She kisses him off. How she ever kissed him "on" in the first place of course still baffles.

Dixon's kids are kidnapped by the Covenant. This allows Dixon (and actor Carl Lumbly) way more emoting than his more usual "reading from the phonebook" briefings as CIA Director. Sark escapes lockup from a straightjacket in an airborne plane. He kills pilot and passengers alike, leaving bodies for Syd and Weiss and others on the ground to find. (Why? Viewers already know Sark is a "bad guy". A bullet to the head of everyone on the plane seems rather over-the-top, definitely an "overkill.")

Marshall, Lauren and Vaughan run interference to stop Senator Reed for preventing Dixon and Syd in meeting Sark to trade the Rimbaldi box for the second of Dixon's children. Sark puts a collar with a lethal toxin on Syd's neck to enable his own escape. This, Jack and Syd manage to disable in about 30 seconds. Back at CIA Headquarters Jack thanks Vaughan and Lauren for derailing Senator Reed's plans. But, something Lauren says to Vaughan tweaks Jack's internal early warning system. He stops in his tracks. (See THE END.)

PRODUCTION:

Seamless editing and direction. The episode is well written and well played. (The only over-the-top portrayal in script or acting is Director Dixon's--Carl Lumbly's--hysterical decision to kill Sloane in CIA lockup, while Syd talks him down. Yeah, right.) Photography is first rate, but always is from Donald Thorin, Jr. who has been directing photography for the past several episodes of Alias. (See HIGHLIGHTS.)

HIGHLIGHTS:

1--Syd and Dixon are back together again in the field, stealing Rimbaldi artifacts. A special heat resistant suit goes on. Then, Syd drops down a heat vent. This vent intercepts a vault full of Rimbabldi artifacts. Dixon pretends grief to buy aloneness and time to hack a computer, so Syd can enter the vault before she is fried in the vent. Fun!

2--The intensity of emotion between Dixon and Syd in the warehouse about to blow up is also memorable. Syd screams at Dixon that his kids are not there. It is a trap! They have to get out before the bombs detonate! The emotions of the two characters (and actors) are palatable. Very convincing! And their escape is only seconds before the warehouse blows. .

3--Shades of Laura Croft Tomb Raider come into play when Syd removes a laser guarded Rimbaldi artifact from a pedestal. Three huge spinning and twisting laser emitting mechanical arms threaten to take Syd down. But, she is quick to dodge and duck and snatch the prize. Way to go, Laura Croft--I mean, Syd!

4--Donald Thorin, Jr. (Director of Photography for this episode) has a good eye, a really good eye for a great shot. When the trade of Rimbaldi box for child is made, the figures of the characters stand on a dry empty landscape. In the background is a setting sun seen through a huge concrete structure, probably a hydroelectric dam. The lines of the structure are simple and elegant, like a Henry Moore sculture. The scale and simplicity of the background both dwarfs and frames the actions of the foreground characters. Stunning!

THE END:

Jack realizes Vaughan, Lauren and Marshall intervened to derail Senator Reed's attempts to stop Dixon trading a Rimbaldi box (with Irina's name) for one of his kidnapped children. Lauren and Vaughan smile acknowledgement, but say nothing except to each other. Vaughan says to Lauren, "See you later," just before she bends for a parting kiss. Her tagline to Vaughan: "Not if I see you first, love." Jack, walking away, stops, a quizzical look on his face. End of episode.

A question mark hangs in the air at the end, just like old times. What has activated Jack's radar? Lauren's words:"Not if I see you first, love." These are the same words Marshall picked up from background noise on the downed plane's flight recorder. The words were uttered by Sark.



LINKS:

Televison without Pity treatment




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