"Nightingale"
Written by Breen Frazier; directed by Lawrence Trilling

In D.C., Vaughn watches as a workman carves a star into a memorial wall, remembering when he was thanked for his father’s sacrifice. After the workman leaves, Vaughn studies the star, noticing something black inside. He digs until there’s a hole in the wall and an arm reaches out of it to strangle him. He’s dreaming, of course. In a Siberian nuclear plant, two men drag an unconscious man into a chamber. A reactor is started up from a console marked with the name Nightingale (see “The Orphan”). As the man wakes up, coils begin to glow and his skin basically melts. Back at Sydney’s place, Vaughn tells her that his contact at the CIA archives doesn’t have any information for him on Nightingale. She suggests telling the other agents at APO, but he doesn’t want Sloane to know that he’s investigating Bill. Vaughn is frustrated and Sydney tries to calm him by pointing out that Bill could still be alive. At APO, Sydney asks Jack if she can use his level 6 clearance; she fills him in on Vaughn’s investigation and their search for whatever Nightingale means. Jack warns that the search could be dangerous but gives her the clearance anyway. He mentions that he appreciates her coming to him, since they haven’t talked much since Irina’s death.

Sydney heads to the gym with some information and finds Vaughn and Dixon sparring. Vaughn learns that Nightingale was created by a man named Josef Vlachko, who tested on humans and disappeared 25 years ago. He took all records of Nightingale with him and the breach had to be covered up, which is why Vaughn couldn’t find anything about it. A man named Hans Deitrich might also be involved, as he has put money in a bank account called Nightingale. He runs a beer hall in Munich and Sydney thinks that they might be able to get to his records there and find out more about Vlachko. She admits that she used Jack’s clearance to get the information; Vaughn doesn’t seem happy about this. At APO, Sloane asks Jack how much Sydney and Vaughn know, since he’s wondering if he should stop their investigation. Jack thinks they can use Vaughn and Sydney to get information for them. Sloane warns that they can’t afford to be found out, even by Sydney. At home, Sydney and Vaughn get ready for what they’ve told Weiss and Nadia is a short vacation. At the beer hall, Vaughn and Sydney have no technology to help them, but Sydney thinks she can get Dietrich alone and get access to his information on Nightingale.

Sydney heads to a room where waitresses are changing and confirms with one that she’s Klaus’ cousin. She earns herself a slap across the face. Later, a disguised Sydney flirts with Dietrich while Weiss calls Vaughn. Vaughn quickly gets him off the phone and keeps him believing that he and Sydney are just having a fun weekend. Sydney and Dietrich head to his office, where she overpowers him and demands to see his financial records. He quickly gives her access, but Vaughn lets her know that Dietrich’s guards are getting impatient. He pretends to be a police officer in order to stall one of the guards. Sydney gets caught by someone and tells him that she’s Klaus’ cousin. Too bad he’s Klaus. She knocks him out and makes her escape via a slide down the bar. She helps Vaughn fight the guards, using beer steins as weapons, and they run off as the crowd cheers. Back at home, Sydney and Vaughn get into Dietrich’s hard drive but everything is encrypted. Vaughn gets a call from a mysterious man who claims to have information about Bill. He tells him to go to a library at UCLA in an hour, but if he tells Sydney, she’s dead. Vaughn tells Sydney he’s going to meet Weiss for a burger so he can get out of the house.

At the library, Vaughn gets another call, this one telling him to get the illustrated edition of Through the Looking Glass. Inside is a syringe bearing the message, “Inject me.” Vaughn declines, but the caller contacts him again, telling him the injection won’t kill him and it’s the only way he’ll get to learn anything. Vaughn decides to inject himself. At the ops center, Jack tells Sloane that Sydney and Vaughn went to Germany but he’s not sure what they found out. Sloane thinks that they’re letting them go too far. Jack suggests trying to convince Sydney to involve APO in the investigation, but Sloane thinks that she would see right through him. Instead, Jack invites Sydney to dinner. At the library, a temporarily paralyzed Vaughn finally comes face to face with the person he’s been speaking to on the phone, Roberts (Michael K. Williams). He says him that the information Vaughn got from Dietrich will lead him to Nightingale, and Roberts wants a coil from it before he’ll tell Vaughn anything. Vaughn isn’t sure why he should trust Roberts. Roberts tells him to look up the name Phillip Burke, then contact him for another meeting. Jack and Sydney meet for dinner and she fills him in on the investigation. He encourages her to tell the rest of APO, but she wants to talk to Vaughn first.

At APO, Jack passes Sydney’s information on to Sloane, who is happy that she’ll be leading them to Vlachko. “I never thought that you’d be capable of exploiting your own daughter,” he says. “I certainly couldn’t do that.” He wants to send a team to Siberia, but Jack says that it would be a bad idea. Sloane points out that Vlachko is their best lead to get to Elena Derevko, so they should act quickly with the information they have. Jack doesn’t want Sydney to realize that Jack has betrayed her; he wants to wait until she brings the information to APO herself. When she does (since Jack is confident that she will), he and Sloane will come up with a mission that will require Jack to go along, and he’ll interrogate Vlachko without Vaughn and Sydney knowing. Sloane wants Vlachko killed afterwards so that he can’t tell Elena what Sloane and Jack are up to. It would be even worse if he talked to Sydney because he could ruin everything that Jack and Sloane have been working towards. At APO, Vaughn studies up on Burke, who was killed in Laos in 1979. He tells Sydney that Burke was killed the same day and by the same kind of gun as Bill. His dental records match Bill’s, which means that Irina might have killed Burke instead of Bill.

Vaughn admits that the Burke lead came from Roberts and Sydney is upset that he didn’t tell her the truth. He adds that Roberts wants the coil from Nightingale. Sydney tells him that they never do missions on their own like this and brings up Jack’s suggestion that they take the mission to APO. Vaughn doesn’t trust Sloane, but he thinks they should come clean, then present a mission that will take them to Nightingale. Once they have the coil, they’ll put a plan B in motion. At APO, Sloane okays the mission and Jack invites himself along. He, Sydney, and Vaughn head to the plant in Siberia and split up so Jack can interrogate Vlachko while Vaughn and Sydney get the coil. Vlachko claims not to know where Elena is, so an impatient Jack shoots him in the leg. Sydney gets locked in with the coil before she can retrieve it and Vaughn is unable to free her. The reactor is also about to come online. As Marshall gives Vaughn instructions on how to open the door, Jack overhears on coms and announces that he’s heading to the core, despite the danger that could present. He succeeds and Sydney and Vaughn set their plan B in motion - after a kiss, he punches her and runs off with the coil. She tells Jack what happened, but back in L.A., he tells Sloane that he doesn’t believe her. Sloane thinks Vaughn is getting information from a third party. While Sydney gets a text message from Vaughn assuring her that he’s okay, Marshall realizes that Jack went into the reactor to save Sydney. Jack swears him to secrecy.

WELCOME TO SPY COUNTRY: Roberts

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Vaughn: (during a mission in a kinky club) “Look, I’m gonna have to call you back.”
Weiss: “Romantic getaway’s goin’ that good, huh?”
Vaughn: “Braids, fishnets…it’s pretty spectacular.”


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