"The Indicator"
Written by Jeff Pinkner; directed by Ken Olin

Sydney enters Irina’s now-empty cell at the joint task force building (see “Dead Drop”) and looks around. She remembers testifying about her mother at a committee and recognizing that Jack saved her life on her mission in Madagascar. In the present, she finds one of the earrings Irina asked her to return. Jack arrives and Sydney tells her that she’s sorry she didn’t listen to him about Irina. As they leave for an SD-6 briefing, she links her arm through his. In Vienna, two masked men shoot an impatient driver, then blow up his car. At SD-6, Sloane tells the usual group that the man, Hater, was killed by two business associates; the three were part of something called the Triad. In the self-storage facility, Sydney passes the news on to Vaughn, explaining that Hater was killed because he was selling intel to SD-6. Back in the SD-6 meeting, Sloane continues that the Triad was working on deploying 16 next generation weapons. SD-6 doesn’t know what the weapons are, but they may be put into action soon. As Jack says that the weapons are in Budapest, Sloane gets distracted by other thoughts. He then tasks Sydney to get access to the training facility, identify and photograph the weapons, and get specs and test data from the central server. Vaughn thinks SD-6 wants the weapons for itself. He shares his suspicions with Sydney that Jack set up the explosives in Madagascar to turn her against Irina. Sydney won’t listen and replies that Jack saved their lives.

Sydney and Will attend Francie’s restaurant opening, which Jack arrives at later. Outside, he gives Sydney some instructions for her mission to Budapest, then informs her that the government is seeking the death penalty for Irina. At the CIA, Vaughn runs into an old friend who’s passing through town while transporting someone who was caught with explosives. Vaughn puts two and two together and realizes that it’s the same guy Jack hired to wire the building in Madagascar. He goes to see the guy, who admits that he was working for Jack. Sydney and Dixon go to Budapest, where Sydney pretends that she’s researching her family. As she walks down the hall with an employee, she shoots a miniature camera into the ceiling so Dixon can see a security keypad. Sydney gets into a computer network room and goes radio silent so that she can talk to Vaughn and give him an IP address. She then gives a fake IP address to Dixon. Sydney heads off to look for the weapons, which turn out to be a bunch of six-year-olds trained to assemble guns blindfolded. Back at the CIA, Sydney learns that first graders in Europe take a standardized test that the Triad altered years earlier to accentuate traits they were looking for in children. The 16 kids Sydney saw in Budapest were accepted into a month-long “achievement program,” and when they’re older, the Triad will contact them and send them into the field. Rumor has it that the KGB had a similar program in the ‘80s. Sydney learns that the kids’ memories are reset, so they don’t remember exactly what they were taught.

At SD-6, Sloane tells Jack that someone forged Emily’s name in the guest book at the bed and breakfast. The two think that it’s a message from an enemy who is trying to take advantage of Sloane’s grief. Sloane admits that his guilt is the problem, since he’s the one who killed Emily with sodium morphate. Jack vows to find out who is behind what’s happening. Sloane thinks it may be someone who was passed over when he was accepted into the Alliance. In the park, Sydney and Will discuss the theory that people are always whoever they were in the sixth grade. Sydney tells Will that Irina is being put on trial and could be executed. She’s trying to deal with the situation by telling herself that Irina isn’t really her mother anyway. She notes the irony that since Irina has been back, she and Jack have been closer than ever. Sydney gets a page from Vaughn, who is at the CIA. Jack discovers that he went to visit his Madagascar guy and realizes that Vaughn knows what he did. Sydney arrives and learns that the man running the training in Budapest is Kholokov, who used to run experiments for the KGB. A team is going to Buenos Aires to raid Kholokov’s house and find out what else he’s done, but Jack doesn’t want Sydney to go. Sydney talks her way in by saying that she knows how it feels to be used. After she leaves, Vaughn confronts Jack about Madagascar; Jack accuses him of having a “naďve sense of morality” and tells him that they have to do whatever is necessary to eradicate evil. Vaughn says that if Jack doesn’t tell Sydney the truth, he will.

At home, Sloane emerges from a shower to find his security cameras off and a glass of wine in the bathroom. One of his guards tells him that the security system was recently disabled on-site. Sydney and some other agents sneak into Kholokov’s house in Buenos Aires and take him into custody. Sydney spots a puzzle on a table and puts it together in a few seconds. Back in L.A., she asks a CIA doctor to hypnotize her and take her back to the time she first saw that puzzle. The doctor thinks that Sydney was just able to solve the puzzle after seeing it once, but Sydney says that she felt more like she was remembering how to put the pieces together. She thinks that Irina may have trained her to do something while she was working for the KGB. The doctor warns that if Sydney is repressing a trauma, hypnosis could uncover a lot more, but Sydney admits that she compartmentalizes a lot and doesn’t want to keep whatever happened hidden. At SD-6, a tech expert tells Sloane that the wine contained a substance called VTX; a person given sodium morphate and then VTX would appear to die but would be fine after a few hours. Sydney undergoes hypnotherapy and remembers doing the puzzle at home as a six-year-old. She hears Jack on the phone, discussing Christmas, and then sees a gun in her hand. Jack takes the gun from her and praises her work. That night, Sydney confronts Jack over placing her in Project Christmas (see “Snowman”), a program designed to train American children to be spies. She also now believes Vaughn that Jack set Irina up in Madagascar. She tells him that she’ll never forgive him. Later, Sydney heads to the CIA and cries as Vaughn comforts her.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Francie: “I invited a hundred people, thinking maybe 70 would show up.”
Will: “You said you were worried.”
Francie: “He tells his NA meeting.”
Will: “And they’re good people.”
Francie: “I’m sure they’re fantastic people, but we make 90 percent of our profits from the bar and they don’t drink.”

Craig: “Listen, I heard about Weiss. How’s he doing?”
Vaughn: “It was - it was rough, but they say he’s going to be okay. Which is more than I can say about the nursing staff.”

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