"The Frame"
Written by Crystal Nix Hines; directed by Max Mayer

Vaughn and Weiss jog in the park, discussing Lauren’s parents’ good marriage as compared to Vaughn and Lauren’s not so good union. Vaughn asks if he can sleep on Weiss’ couch if the need arises. At the ops center, Vaughn announces that he might be able to gain access to a map that will lead them to a key that opens the box from “Taken.” Sydney wants to go with him to meet the providing contact in Mexico City. Lauren doesn’t like this idea, though she claims it’s because whatever is in the box is supposed to be dangerous for Sydney. Sydney points out that that information came from Sloane, who could be lying, and since the box has Irina’s name carved on it, she wants to know why. After she and Vaughn leave, Dixon tells Lauren that Reed is investigating the disappearance of the box from Project Black Hole. Lauren assures him that her loyalties are with the CIA. In Mexico, Vaughn and Sydney meet with Kishell, the Snowman’s surviving victim from “Snowman” and learn that the box hasn’t been opened since the time of Rambaldi (though rumor has it that Stalin tried to open it). The box supposedly contains a bio-weapon that can kill millions.

The story goes that in 1941, archeologists found a map made of crystal, but it was lost in the desert. Now, Kishell has received word that Bomani is in the same desert and has found the map. All Kishell knows about the bio-weapon is that the Covenant calls it the Passenger (see “Full Disclosure”). In Kishell’s surveillance photos, Sydney and Vaughn see trucks from Sloane’s organization. Back in L.A., Sydney confronts Sloane in his cell and he reminds her that he was ordered to get close to Bomani to keep an eye on the Covenant’s evildoings. He tries to convince her that he’s not the CIA leak. She reminds him that if his pardon agreement is revoked, he’ll get the death penalty. He promises that he doesn’t know where Bomani is, but he put GPS devices in the trucks, so that might come in handy. At a restaurant, Lauren earns the wrath of millions of fans by revealing to Vaughn that she had his father’s broken watch repaired. He gains the love of millions of fans by telling her that their marriage isn’t working and he thinks they should separate. Lauren blames Sydney, thinking that she gave Vaughn an ultimatum. After she leaves, she calls Sark, who tells her that she needs to stay close to her husband. He points out that after Alice’s father died, she and Vaughn got back together, so if Lauren kills Reed, Vaughn might stay with her.

At the ops center, Jack does some snooping into Lauren’s records. He then goes to the hotel where Reed is staying and meets Lauren’s mother Olivia (Peggy Lipton). After she leaves, Jack tells Reed that he may have found evidence that Sloane isn’t the leak - Lauren is. Reed doubts this and isn’t happy that Jack is trying to ruin her reputation. At the ops center, Dixon tells everyone that they’ve tracked the trucks to the Russian consulate in Gaborone, Botswana; Petr Berezovsky, the consulate general, has ties to the Covenant. He sends Sydney, Vaughn, and Weiss over to find Sark and Bomani. In Gaborone, the three get a password that will allow Sydney to access an elevator and get up to the second floor. Elsewhere in the building, Sark and Bomani narrow down the location of the key within 100 miles, then plan to meet up in Vienna once Bomani gets it. Sydney and Vaughn find the crystal but trigger a silent alarm, which alerts Bomani and Sark. Vaughn and Sydney escape by using a banner to jump off a balcony. On the flight home, Vaughn tells Sydney that he and Lauren are separating. At the ops center, Lauren sees that someone has been going through her files and learns that it was Jack. Sark encourages her to kill Reed and frame him as the leak.

Marshall shows Sydney, Vaughn, and Dixon the crystal map but admits that it doesn’t reveal a real location. Dixon and Sydney visit Sloane, who tells them that Rambaldi split up a lot of his discoveries, like he did the crystals and the keys they lead to. The keys are actually four disks that fit into slots into the sides of the box. Dixon notes that map doesn’t lead anywhere on Earth, but Sloane notes that they probably haven’t checked anything that it’s on land. Marshall finds the location off the coast of Okinawa and Dixon immediately sends Sydney and Vaughn there. He then tells Jack that since Reed hasn’t reacted to the information about Lauren, they should forget about the courtesy they provided and just arrest Lauren already. Lauren drops by her parents’ hotel and, not realizing she has a gun behind her back, Reed shows her what Jack has unearthed. He offers to lie and say that he conducted his own investigation. Lauren draws her gun and makes him get on the ground. As he begs for his life, noting that she doesn’t seem capable of killing her own father, Olivia enters and takes the gun from Lauren. “Sark said you might back out,” she says before killing Reed. She then gets on the phone and says something in Russian.

Later, Jack arrives at the crime scene and Olivia tells him that Reed confessed to making choices that could get Lauren in trouble as well, then killed himself. Lauren pretends to arrive for the first time that evening. Sydney and Vaughn head to Japan and find the four disks in a cave that seems to have been fortified to keep people from harming Rambaldi artifacts. Dixon and Marshall try to alert Sydney and Vaughn to the arrival of four divers, but they can’t hear the warning in the cave. Vaughn notes to Sydney that they could destroy the disks and make sure that whatever is in the box can’t be released. The two are ambushed by Bomani, who tells Sydney that she reminds him of Irina. “I’m sure she would be pleased to know I got the keys from you,” he says. “After all, the Passenger is Irina’s legacy.” After a gunfight, Bomani escapes with the disks and Vaughn and Sydney realize that they can’t use their diving gear to leave. Instead, they use it to propel them to the surface. On their flight home, Sydney tells Vaughn that she’s sorry his marriage has failed, but she’s also hopeful. He asks her if she wants to get coffee when they get home. At the ops center, Lauren tries to resign, since some of her actions (supposedly at Reed’s behest) weren’t loyal, but Dixon won’t let her go.

Dixon tells Jack that it does appear that Reed killed himself. Jack notes that they no longer have a reason to hold Sloane, but Dixon says that’s not necessarily true. Sydney and Vaughn return from Japan and learn that Reed is dead. Dixon goes to see Sloane and tells him that he’s no longer being charged as the leak, since Reed confessed. However, Reed also had evidence that he’s been consulting with Sloane and receiving Rambaldi artefacts from him, which violates Sloane’s pardon agreement. In two weeks, Sloane will be executed by lethal injection. At home, Vaughn calls Sydney and has to confess that he’s not at Weiss’. She notes that they probably won’t be getting coffee any time soon. Upset, she hangs up and he says her name. Lauren, who Vaughn thought was asleep, is very much awake.

WELCOME TO SPY COUNTRY: Olivia

R.I.P. (OR SO WE THINK): Reed

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Sloane: “Ah, you have such a beautiful smile, Sydney. I miss it.”
Sydney: “If you’re executed, I’ll be a witness. I’ll smile then.”

“That was extravagant.” - Sark, after Bomani shoots someone

“Sloane is a genius. I mean an evil, horrible genius. Bad man genius. But still, genius.” - Marshall


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