"The Coup"
Written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci; directed by Thomas J. Wright

In Hong Kong, a man carries out an attack at an engineering company, killing someone with a huge gun. At SD-6, the usual crew watches a surveillance video of the event, learning that the head of FTL was assassinated. The shooter has not yet been identified, but he led the ambush at the same time SD-6 was under attack (see “The Box, Part 1” and “The Box, Part 2”) and for the same purpose, to steal a Rambaldi artifact. FTL no longer exists, which Marshall thinks should be cause for celebration. However, as Jack points out, someone had the ability to launch attacks on SD-6 and FTL at the same time, and they have no idea who it is. Plus, now they have a huge Rambaldi artifact collection and could possibly even figure out what Rambaldi was working on. Jack reveals that a group claiming to be responsible for the attacks has contacted K-Directorate. A go-between for K-Directorate named Dahlgren is supposed to get a call setting up a meeting, so Sydney and Dixon are tasked to get the information. Dixon will pose as a Jamaican delegate and gamble in Vegas in the same room as Dahlgren. He will swap a bugged ring for Dahlgren’s. After the meeting, Sloane asks Sydney to stay behind so he can ask her if she’s doing okay after the revelation that Irina was KGB (see “The Confession”). He thanks her for everything she did during Cole’s attack on SD-6 and she asks after his finger. As they leave the room, Sydney is met with an impromptu celebration of her heroic acts.

Sydney meets with Vaughn on a bus and tells him that she felt sick standing in front of a group of people who don’t know they’re selling out their country or who Sloane really is. “I just wanted to rip his finger right off again,” she says. Vaughn is amused and tells her that they’ll figure out their next move after she tags Dahlgren in Vegas. The two discuss Haladki, who didn’t get in trouble for ratting Vaughn out, but at least Vaughn didn’t get in much trouble for going into SD-6 without authorization. At SD-6, Jack asks Sydney about school and she admits that she thinks she might have only started grad school because she thought her mother was a literature professor. Now that she knows the truth about Irina, she’s thinking about dropping out. Jack is unable to give her any advice either way. Will comes by Sydney’s to borrow a tape recorder and she notices that he has a hickey. She helps him out with some cover-up, having gained a lot of experience with covering bruises. She teases him about Jenny and how she’s too young for him, but also not in his league. Francie and Charlie return from brunch with their parents, which went so well that their parents are planning to take a vacation together. Francie is afraid that they’ll plan their whole wedding. Sydney reveals that she’s heading to Vegas for work and Francie thinks this is a sign that she and Charlie should elope there. Sydney convinces them to wait until later, since she wouldn’t be able to hang out with them if they came with her.

Will goes to the prison to meet with McNeil, who has decided to talk now that he knows that Kelly is safe. He promises to tell Will what he knows about SD-6, but he wants Will to do something first. He sends Will to a place called O.T. Technologies, where McNeil used to work, to retrieve a list of people who have used a program there. Will goes to the building, pretending to be there to interview someone, and downloads a file that McNeil says will lead them to SD-6. Sydney meets with a professor and tells him that she’s leaving her graduate program. He tells her that she’s a terrific student and should give the decision more thought before she makes up her mind. Later, Sydney puts up fliers on campus for one of Charlie’s gigs and is approached by a fellow student who knows him. Actually, she more than knows Charlie - she dated him just a few months ago, around the same time he and Francie got engaged. Dixon and Sydney head to Vegas as Sydney talks to Will about Francie on her cell phone. He’s surprised that someone would lead a double life like Charlie has been. He suggests that Sydney get Francie really drunk before she tells her the truth. After she’s done with the call, Sydney laments to Dixon that they’re trained to see what people are hiding, but she couldn’t see what Charlie was really up to. As they start the mission, Sydney dresses as a waitress and pretends to be a new employee at a casino to get access to the casino floor. There, she spots Charlie and Francie.

In a surveillance room, Sydney splices into a fiber optic cable to replace a photo of the guy Dixon is impersonating with a photo of Dixon himself. (The real guy isn’t supposed to arrive until the next day.) The switch works and Dixon, flagged as a VIP, is escorted to a private gaming suite. Francie calls Sydney and leaves a message on her cell phone, letting her know that she and Charlie are in Vegas after all. She suggests that she and Charlie look at a wedding chapel, just to check things out. Sydney directs Dixon to Dahlgren and uses her surveillance to tell Dixon which cards Dahlgren is holding. She spots Francie and Charlie on a monitor and tells Dixon she’s going radio silent. She then runs to the chapel, where Francie asks her to be their witness. Sydney pulls Charlie aside and confronts him for cheating on Francie. She adds that if he marries her without telling the truth, he’ll kill her. Not even realizing that she totally could, Charlie agrees. In the gaming suite, Dahlgren decides that he’s done losing money to Dixon and the current hand will be his last. As Sydney heads back to the surveillance room, Charlie tells Francie that they should wait and get married with their family and friends around. Dixon tries to get Dahlgren to bet his ring as Sydney returns to coms. She notices that Dixon is going to lose the hand, so he’ll have to make the ring swap now. He does so, but Sydney sees the manager approaching with two guards and warns Dixon that something is wrong. He’s escorted outside, where the manager tells him that he’s supposedly stuck in Jamaica. Sydney and Dixon fight off the guards and escape.

Back at home, Francie tells Sydney about the rest of her and Charlie’s trip, which turned out to be good. Sydney has to tell her what’s really been going on, but Francie thinks she’s just being unsupportive. Sydney notes that Charlie didn’t deny cheating on her, but Francie points out that he didn’t admit to it either. She thinks that Sydney doesn’t like Charlie and blasts her for seeming elitist and distant because of her bank job. “I don’t even know who you are anymore and I don’t want to,” she says. Sydney drops by Will’s office and he tells her that it’s understandable that Francie reacted badly to the news. Jack calls Sydney to tell her that the mission in Vegas was successful and they’ve intercepted the phone call to Dahlgren. The two meet at a carousel Sydney loved as a child and Jack tells her that if she does still want to be a teacher, she would be a great one. Back at SD-6, Sloane tells the usual crew that they’ve decoded the phone call to Dahlgren but don’t know who’s behind it. Sydney will be going to Moscow to survey the meeting with K-Directorate and help figure out who the Man is. Sydney and Vaughn meet in an observatory, where he gives her a flash memory card for her fiber optic camera. He brings up her previous desire to leave SD-6 and go to a hockey game. Sydney says that she was just being naïve, but Vaughn admits that he would like to hang out with her in public sometime. At home, Francie tells Sydney that Charlie told her everything and she’s sorry for how she reacted when Sydney told her. Sydney decides not to drop out of school after all. In Moscow, Sydney waits for the meeting via high wire and observes the shooter from Hong Kong, Sark (David Anders), arriving. Dixon recognizes the other party as the head of K-Directorate. Sark tries to make a deal for a Rambaldi transcript, but since the other man doesn’t react quickly enough, Sark has him shot. Just as the other man’s second-in-command agrees to the deal, Sydney gets caught.


MEMORABLE QUOTES: Will: “I feel like I’m 15 years old.”
Sydney: “That’s about the age of your intern.”

Will: “I mean, I don’t understand. Who the he$# lives a double life like that? Seriously.”
Sydney: “There are people.”

Casino manager: “Your attaché just called. Apparently, you’re stuck in Jamaica.”
Dixon: “I suppose there are worse places to be stuck.”

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