"Search and Rescue"
Written by Monica Breen and Alison Schapker; directed by Lawrence Trilling

In a flashback to 18 months before “The Descent,” Jack meets up with someone who appears to be Irina in Vienna’s British embassy. They dance and kiss, but Jack ruins the moment by asking Irina if it was difficult for her to give the order to have Sydney killed. Irina says that he was never supposed to find out and only tells him that she did it because it had to be done. He promptly shoots her and she falls into a pool. In the present, Sydney tells Jack that Dixon is still saying that he saw Irina in Prague. Sydney thinks he was imagining things because of his blood loss, but Jack thinks that he killed a woman who was doubled to look like Irina (thanks to Project Helix). Sydney thinks they’re being set up - Sloane and Elena have disappeared and suddenly the only person who can help them is available. Jack thinks that she’s just afraid of having false hope. She suggests that he would rather believe that Irina is alive than have to live with what he apparently did to her. He tells her that as long as Elena and Sloane are at large, they have to pursue any lead they have. At APO, Marshall and Vaughn work on identifying one of Elena’s associates while Sydney tries to track her down. Weiss takes a moment to ask Vaughn if he’s proposed to Sydney yet. Marshall IDs the associate as Lucien Nisard, noting that he made phone calls from Prague the same time Dixon saw Irina.

Jack tells Marshall to track Nisard down using Sloane’s computer and the Blackwell Index (see “The Index”). Nadia looks through Martin Bishop’s files (see “The Awful Truth”), thinking that the CIA missed something, since he supposedly killed Irina. Vaughn urges her to talk to Jack. In Sloane’s office, Marshall is surprised to see that APO still has the Blackwell Index, since Sloane was supposed to give it to Langley. He confirms that Jack didn’t know Sloane was going to switch sides when he helped him steal the list. Nadia confronts Jack about Bishop and learns the truth about what happened to Irina (well, her double). Nadia tells Jack that she hopes Irina is alive, and she thinks he should, too. The APO agents suddenly learn that there’s been some sort of incident in Sevogda, Russia, and the military has set up a barrier around the city. No one can tell what’s going on, but Marshall gets footage from a friend showing chaos in the city. Above everything is a giant red ball. “It’s them,” Sydney says. In a briefing, the agents discuss the rumors that have been circulating about the situation in Sevogda. Marshall notes that the giant Mueller device is about six blocks in diameter and the citizens of Sevogda are acting strangely. Jack guesses that Sloane and Elena used the orchid (see “In Dreams…”) to infect the water supply and prime everyone for the effects of the Mueller device. None of the agents is sure why they targeted the city or what their endgame is.

Vaughn notes that Sydney has destroyed a Mueller device (see “Almost Thirty Years”), but Marshall says that destroying this one is dangerous, not just because of the toxic material inside. Jack thinks that Irina will know how to disarm it safely; they’ve tracked Nisard to Ibiza and he wants Sydney and Vaughn to use some unflattering information on him to get him to help. Later, as Vaughn and Sydney prepare for the mission, she tells him that she had a feeling earlier that something horrible is happening. Vaughn gives her some encouragement, telling her that they’ve gone through crazier things, and promises that they’ll get through this. He’s about to pop the question when Marshall interrupts. Sydney tells Nadia that she went along with the story about Bishop killing Irina in order to protect her. Nadia doesn’t care anymore and tells Sydney that she believes Irina is alive. In Ibiza, Sydney and Vaughn quickly find Nisard and share some banter before making out in front of him and inviting him to join in. The three head to the restroom, where Sydney and Vaughn grab Nisard’s palm pilot and ask him about Irina. Nisard warns that he won’t be easy to blackmail now that the world is ending. Jack and Marshall go over the files being transmitted to them and see that there’s a mention of Project Helix. After some effort, Nisard admits that Elena found Project Helix and got a “follower” to agree to be doubled to look like Irina. He confirms that Irina is alive.

Jack fills Nadia in, telling her that Irina was taken to Guatemala. The two of them will meet Sydney there in order to look for her. In the country, they find Irina via satellite and split up; Nadia and Sydney will rescue her and meet up with Jack down the river. Nadia admits to Sydney that she’s been having a bad feeling and Sydney confides that she’s had it, too. Nadia says that she’s never believed in prophecies, but now she’s not so sure. She adds that she wants to be the one to tell Irina who she is. With audio guidance from Jack, Sydney and Nadia search for Irina and discover her in a pit. Irina is relieved to see Sydney and says that she knew she’d come. The three have tripped an alarm, so they start to run from guards, but Sydney winds up caught in a rope. Irina cuts her down while Nadia fights the guards on her own. The three run off and eventually meet up with Jack, whom Irina greets with a punch in the face. On the flight home, Sydney fills Irina in on Elena and Sloane’s evildoings and apologizes for not finding her earlier. Irina has found a Rambaldi manuscript Elena was looking for; it’s called Il Diluvio (the flood) and speaks of a cleansing that will allow the world to begin anew. Knowing that it spoke of an apocalypse, Irina destroyed the document, which is why Elena wanted her. She talks about some of the torture Elena put her through and admits that she told her everything. Irina wishes that she could protect Sydney from what’s inevitably going to happen, but she needs her help. Jack thinks it’s too late for Sevogda, but Irina knows that she can destroy the Mueller device. She starts to go to the back of the plane to get cleaned up, but she suddenly realizes who Nadia is and hugs her.

At APO, Chase tells Vaughn that the DSR has a team in Sevogda but they’ve lost contact with them. Vaughn tells her that Jack is currently in Guatemala, rescuing Irina. On the plane, Nadia and the Bristows (or possibly just the Bristows…) make plans, then learn that Langley has ordered their plane to be diverted. When they land, Irina is taken into custody. Sydney confronts Chase about this at APO, but Chase thinks that the air strike the Russians are planning in Sevogda will take care of everything. Sydney notes that this is what Elena wanted, since the strike will release the toxins from the Mueller device. Chase refuses to let Irina help, but Sydney points out that she’s the reason Sloane got to where he is. Jack meets with Irina and tells her that she’s allowed to come with APO to Sevogda as long as she goes back into custody when the mission is over. She agrees. She tells him that if their situation had been reversed, she would have found another way (i.e. not killed him). He admits that he regretted his decision every day. Irina apologizes for her affair with Sloane, but Jack has enjoyed getting to know Nadia, calling her exceptional. “I wonder where she got that from,” Irina comments. Vaughn and the Bristows fly to Sevogda, Irina and Nadia planning to get to know each other better when everything is over. Vaughn pulls Sydney aside and proposes, but she tells him to ask again on the beach in Santa Barbara, as he’d planned (see “The Telling” and “Welcome to Liberty Village”). The five agents then prepare to jump out of the plane and into the chaotic city.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “So what you’re saying is, a large red ball plus contaminated water equals a city full of homicidal maniacs. That was a sentence I never thought I’d say.” - Marshall

Jack: “Perhaps Sevogda serves some strategic importance.”
Weiss: “I’d go with world domination, but that’s always my go-to.”

Sydney: “How do you wanna play this? You want to be rough, or do you want me to be rough?”
Vaughn: “You’re always rough.”
Sydney: “No, I’m not.”
Vaughn: “Yes, you are.”
Sydney: “That’s not true.”
Vaughn: “Yes, it is.”
Sydney: “Are you talking about at home or on ops?”
Vaughn: “Both. Hey, I’m not complaining.”
Sydney: “If I’m rough, it’s because you like it when I - are we on coms?”
Jack: “Yes, you are both on coms.”

Vaughn: “Want me to bite you again?”
Sydney: “Shut up.”

Nisard: “Bonsoir. You’re enjoying yourselves.”
Sydney: (to Vaughn) “He’s French. I like the French. They’re tender.”

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