"The Orphan"
Written by Jeffrey Bell and Monica Breen; directed by Ken Olin

In Buenos Aires in 1992, a man sneaks into the San Marcos orphanage in the middle of the night and tries to abduct girl. A young Nadia tries to stop him, then runs out. The head of the orphanage, Sophia Vargas (Sonia Braga) - well, for now - arrives and one of the girls tells her that Nadia left. In L.A. in the present, Sydney notes that Nadia has gone running twice in the last 12 hours, and since running is what Sydney does when something is bothering her, she thinks that something is up with Nadia. The conversation is interrupted when Vaughn calls and asks Sydney to meet him somewhere. Once they’re together, he shows her his father’s journal (see “The Index”). He thinks that either Bill is alive or someone wants him to believe that he is. Vaughn mentions Murdock and his claims (see “The Road Home”) and admits that he’s not sure what to do. He suggests that they get details on the missions outlined in the journal, but this would require asking Langley to give him access to all operational archives. Sydney says that she’ll do it so that Vaughn’s name will stay out of the picture. She assures him that they’ll either find Bill or the person who’s making it look like he’s alive.

At APO, Sloane announces that a Russian science institute has developed an optical component called amplifying glass, which makes lasers more powerful. A group called the Jakarta Faction wants the glass and has hired an Argentinean man named Cesar Martinez to get it. Nadia recognizes Martinez’s name, which sends her into a flashback of robbing a store with him. In the present, Nadia tells the others about Martinez, who earned his reputation of using excessive force by killing a former Argentine intelligence officer named Roberto Fox. She declines to mention that she knew Martinez. Sloane says that Martinez appears to be organizing a team, so he wants Sydney to get the glass first, with backup from Vaughn, Weiss, and Nadia. In another flashback, Nadia and Martinez are caught and beaten by police officers. In the present, Nadia admits to Sydney that she knew Fox but promises that she can still do her job. Marshall gives Vaughn the codes he needs, at Sydney’s request, and asks him what’s going on. Vaughn tells him it’s nothing but Marshall knows he’s lying. Vaughn changes the subject by suggesting that they have lunch sometime (though not today, of course).

In Minsk, Sydney gets close to an architect at a party in order to clone his PDA. Marshall tries to give Jack some details, but he’s concerned about Sydney and tells Marshall to be quiet. “Vaughn asked me to lunch,” Marshall brags. He decrypts the PDA and finds the location of the glass. Nadia steals an access key, then has another flashback. In this one, she meets Fox while in jail and he tells her that it takes talent to pull off all of the crimes she’s committed. He tells her that he works for the government and can offer her a life she never would have imagined before. In the present, Nadia sees Martinez and has another flashback, this one of returning to the orphanage to see Sophia. Nadia tells her that she’s been offered a job by the government; Sophia is happy because Nadia doesn’t belong in the orphanage. The present, Nadia alerts APO to Martinez’s presence and announces that they need to grab him before he can make a move. The others think he’s just there for recon, but as Sydney reaches the lab to get the glass, Martinez starts firing. He finds Sydney in the lab and she has to hand over the glass, though she won’t tell him who she works for. Nadia arrives and announces that Sydney works with her. Martinez makes it clear that he knows Nadia, whispers something in her ear, and makes her tie everyone up.

Back at APO, Sydney tells Sloane that once they’d freed themselves from the lab, Martinez was gone. Sloane asks Nadia why she didn’t tell anyone that she knew Martinez. She says that she didn’t know he would be there, but Sloane points out that she withheld information that could have affected the mission, a suspension-worthy offense. Sydney speaks up that Nadia’s familiarity with Martinez actually saved her. Nadia will only tell Sloane that she and Martinez used to run around together and cause trouble. Now that the situation is personal, she wants to be the one to get the glass back from him. Sydney notes that Sloane, of all people, should appreciate the opportunity to use a contact to get ahead. Sloane allows Nadia to keep going, warning her not to keep anything else hidden. In a flashback, Nadia attends a bomb-dismantling class taught by Fox, and Martinez arrives late. In the present, Sydney tells Nadia that she needs to be able to trust her in the field, then asks what Martinez whispered to her. Nadia claims that he just told her to call him. In a flashback, Nadia and Martinez spar and flirt in class, but Fox blasts Martinez for splitting his focus. “You have to be professional. It will save your life,” he says.

At APO, Vaughn crosschecks his father’s list against the one Sydney got but can’t confirm every mission. Sydney determines that some of the names are ciphers and works them out for him. Nadia meets up with Martinez in an open market in Buenos Aires, where he tells her that he checks out their old protocols every day in case she’s in trouble. She’s not happy that he stole the glass from APO, but he replies that they were both just doing their jobs. She warns that they won’t be going up against each other again. Martinez thinks that Nadia is scared and asks her to let him help her. She tells him that she has to deliver the glass to her employers before the next night, or she’s in trouble. He tells her he’ll take her to it and sell it to her as soon as he’s sure they’re alone. Much to Sydney’s chagrin, Nadia lets him destroy the tracking device in her barrette. Vaughn continues looking at his notes and suddenly says, “Portugal.” Sydney and Weiss quietly trail Nadia and Martinez, who brings up the crimes they used to commit together. She thanks him for his help but tells him that she can’t stay there. He taunts her for continuing to follow Fox’s rules; she says that keeping business and pleasure separate has always been good for her. Sydney and Weiss lose Nadia and Martinez, who wind up heading off in a van together.

Martinez asks Nadia if she ever thinks about Fox; she says that she doesn’t know who she’d be if it weren’t for him. In a flashback, Nadia meets up with Fox in his office before a mission. He gives her a necklace and they kiss. She goes to meet her contact, who has been shot, and receives a disk from him. He tells her that Fox had him steal intelligence documents, and when she points out that they’re intelligence agents, he tells her that Fox lied. (Basically, Fox is Sloane. Get it?) In the present, Nadia and Martinez head to the place where they used to take classes; he bought the building after Fox died. Sydney and Weiss get in touch with Sloane and tell him that they lost Nadia and Martinez, but Sloane knows where the building is. Martinez tells Nadia that he has Fox’s death to thank for his reputation, but he didn’t kill him - he thinks Nadia did. In a flashback, Nadia confronts Fox after reading the disk, shooting him dead. In the present, she confirms this with Martinez, who thinks that working for a corrupt man was worth turning their lives around. They start fighting, but Sydney and Weiss arrive in time to take Martinez into custody and get the glass. In Lisbon, Vaughn meets up with Sophia, who tells him that the only time she ever met Bill was when he brought Nadia to her. Vaughn wonders why Bill encoded the word “Portugal” in his journal if Sophia was in Buenos Aires. The only information she has is that she remembers Bill talking to someone on the phone and saying the word “nightingale.”

WELCOME TO SPY COUNTRY: Sophia

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Vaughn: “Marshall, we should have lunch sometime.”
Marshall: “Really? Yeah, aw, man, any time, absolutely. I’m there. Today?”
Vaughn: “No.”

Martinez: “Who do you work for?”
Sydney: “You forgot to say the magic word.”
(Martinez hits her over the head)
Sydney: “Now you’re gonna have to say ‘pretty please.’”

“My father used to encrypt my crossword puzzles when I was a kid. The least of my childhood dysfunctions.” - Sydney


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