"The Counteragent"
Written by John Eisendrath; directed by Daniel Attias

Vaughn bandages his bleeding fingernails (see “Salvation”), then calls the CIA doctor, who tells him he’s sending an isolation unit to get him. Vaughn says that he’ll head over himself after he sees someone. That someone is Irina, who thanks him for helping Sydney prove that Jack set her up in Madagascar (see “Dead Drop”). He asks if there’s a cure for the mysterious virus and she realizes that he has it. She asks how he feels about Sydney, but Vaughn won’t tell her anything without her help. At Francie’s restaurant, Will tells Sydney that his IQ test investigation turned up the fact that there are no copies of the 1982 test. Sydney tells him about Project Christmas (see “The Indicator”) and Vaughn’s suspicions that the KGB is still using it to recruit Americans. Kendall calls her and summons her to the joint task force ops center, where he tells her that Vaughn is developing symptoms of the mysterious illness. Sydney goes to see Irina and asks her if there’s an antidote; there is, but it’s in Estonia, and Irina can’t promise that it will do anything even if Sydney can get it. A specialist tells Sydney, Jack, and Kendall that the antidote is derived from the infected person’s blood, which is put into a machine that creates a cure specifically for that person. Vaughn may have as few as three days left. Sydney goes to the hospital to take some of his blood, and while she’s there, he passes out from internal bleeding.

While Vaughn is taken away for treatment, a nurse gives Sydney her cover story, including the alias Rita. Not long after, Vaughn’s on-and-off girlfriend Alice arrives. At SD-6, Jack covers for Sydney’s absence so she can go to Estonia. Sloane tells him that he exhumed Emily’s grave and found that her coffin was empty. He’s convinced that she’s alive and wants revenge for his attempt to kill her. He’s already told the Alliance that someone is trying to make him think that Emily is alive, but he’s worried that the timing seems suspicious. Sloane is supposed to meet with Christophe in Tokyo and wants something to bring to the table that makes SD-6 look good. Jack suggests that they use Richter, the first person to suffer from the mysterious illness, to get information on Irina’s evildoings. Even after torture, Richter will only say, “Smila.” Will gets the 1982 questions from one of his former co-workers from the newspaper, who tells him that they not only weren’t on the 1982 test but are “ridiculously difficult.” On her mission in Estonia, Sydney spots Sark and tries to stay out of his sight. She uses a computer to get the security pass code to gain access to the antidote generator. An agent back at the CIA tells Sydney that if she uses the machine, she’ll set off an alarm. Kendall tells her to abort, but Sydney wants to take the risk and get the antidote. Sark catches her and threatens to release a substance that will eat away her biohazard suit. She tries to shoot him and he tells her that he thinks they’re destined to work together. As Sydney’s suit disintegrates, Sark offers to let her keep the antidote if she helps him kill Sloane.

Back at the ops center, Sydney tells Jack and Kendall that Sark never asked her who the antidote was for. She adds that she promised to render Sloane unconscious and hand him over to Sark. Kendall doesn’t like this deal, but Sydney doesn’t think they have a choice. Jack sends Kendall away, then tells Sydney he’s on her side but they need to handle this quietly. He then gets Marshall to leave his office so he can use his computer. At Francie’s restaurant, Will looks over the test questions his former co-worker got him. Francie notes that the 1982 test mentions a question about the invasion of Grenada, which didn’t happen until 1983. Will meets with his co-worker again, telling her that the questions are fake. She tells him that she got them straight from the Department of Education. At SD-6, Sloane tells Jack that he sent a team to Smila, Ukraine, but has nothing yet; he’s leaving for Tokyo in an hour. He asks Jack to help him get something before he leaves. The two of them talk to Richter again and learn that Smila is his wife’s name. Sloane orders him killed. Will meets with a man who helped design the IQ tests, but he doesn’t recognize the 1982 questions as ones that he would have asked first graders. He notes that the test was given in 33 states to over 5 million kids. Jack and Sydney meet in the self-storage facility, discussing Sydney’s trip to Tokyo to work with Sark. Jack isn’t thrilled that Sydney is about to commit murder the way her mother has.

In Tokyo, Sydney disguises herself as a geisha and alerts Sark to her presence. He sends an associate in L.A. over to Jack with a briefcase containing the antidote. When Sark gives him the code, he’ll be able to open the briefcase. Sydney massages Sloane, then stabs him in the neck with a pin, knocking him out. Sark congratulates her and calls for an ambulance, then gives his associate the code to open the briefcase. As Sark gets into the ambulance with Sloane, Jack tells Vaughn what Sydney had to do to get him the antidote. When Sydney returns to SD-6, she’s shocked to see both Sloane and Sark there. Sark is apparently joining them to help look for Irina. After Sloane leaves the room, Sark explains to Sydney that he offered him a collaboration in the ambulance so that they could share their pieces of the Rambaldi puzzle. He also showed Sloane something he found interesting. A recovering Vaughn goes to Irina to keep up his end of their deal and pretty much admits that he’s in love with Sydney. Upstairs, the two lovebirds hug and discuss Sark and Alice. After she leaves, he starts to go after her, but she’s already gone.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “It’s a moment I never wanted you to face. To kill someone. I’m not talking about self-defense, I’m talking about premeditated murder. To be there when the door closes on him for the last time. Knowing you are responsible. That is something you never came close to considering before getting to know your mother.” - Jack

Sark: “Good luck, Sydney.”
Sydney: “I don’t need you to wish me luck, you son of a b%$@#.”
Sark: “That’s a wonderful attitude.”

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