Written by J.J. Abrams and Vanessa Taylor; directed by Jack Bender

Sydney regains consciousness in a dark, bare room, having been abducted at the end of “Mea Culpa.” At SD-6, Sloane tells Russek that Sydney is a double agent and they’re going to use him to find out exactly what she’s done against the agency. Sloane thinks that she will respond if she thinks that Russek’s life is in danger. Unfortunately for Russek, this means that he has to be beaten up so Sydney will think he’s a suspect. Russek is thrown into the room with Sydney, where he tells her that he’ll be killed if she doesn’t reveal what she’s done. Sydney asks if he believes Sloane’s threats; Russek lies that he does. Jack arrives at SD-6 to find Sydney’s workspace bare. Agents come for Sydney, who tells them that she has nothing to say to Sloane. Jack goes to see a security section agent to find out what’s happening. The agent gives him a report detailing Sydney’s various possible misdeeds. Sydney is taken to an interrogation room where a doctor prepares to inject her with something. Marshall receives a transmission and takes it to Sloane’s office. Just before Sydney is injected, the procedure is interrupted and she is taken to Sloane’s office. There, Sloane tells her that the second transmission in Geneva wasn’t hers - it was Russek’s. Russek is taken to the interrogation room and injected in Sydney’s place. Sloane is pleased that his doubts about Sydney were well-founded.

Sydney meets with Vaughn at a flower stand and he expresses his disbelief that Russek was transmitting to K-Directorate in Geneva at the same time Sydney was transmitting to the CIA. Sydney reveals that she knew Russek was lying about his life being in danger (he was blinking erratically); she didn’t talk because she knew there was no threat. There are three possibilities: that Sloane still suspects Sydney and is using her, that Russek really is K-Directorate, and that Russek was a sacrificial lamb. Vaughn assures her that the CIA wasn’t involved and Russek could be involved with K-Directorate. He gives her bag, having picked something up for her in an antique shop, and wishes her a Merry Christmas. At home, Sydney, Francie, Will, and Amy play Boggle but are interrupted when Sydney’s beeper goes off. Will fights with her about quitting her job, which he doesn’t think is that important. She shoots him down, telling him that if he knew what she did every day, he might thank her. At SD-6, Sloane, Jack, and Sydney discuss their attempts to smoke Hassan out. Hassan may be on Semba Island, receiving a new identity from a man named Severin Driscoll, so Sydney is assigned to go see if it’s true. After the meeting, Sydney asks Jack if he had anything to do with what happened to Russek. He claims that he didn’t. At the self-storage facility, Vaughn tells Sydney that Russek is dead. She assures him that if she finds out Hassan’s new identity, she’ll only tell the CIA.

Will listens to the tape from “Mea Culpa” with his technologically-inclined friend, who thinks that the person who sent the tape also gave Eloise the pin. He hears Eloise’s interrogator asking if she told anyone about SD-6. Sydney heads to Will’s and apologizes for their earlier fight about her job. She quickly realizes that he’s not alone - Jenny is there and they’ve possibly been engaging in some very adult activities. Sydney arrives in Semba Island with her “super-swank” sunglasses, which are equipped with a telephoto lens so she can take silent pictures. Later, she heads to the pool and flirts a little with Driscoll, getting him to tell her what suite he’s staying in. Will tracks down a man named Stoller, whose name came up while he was investigating SD-6. Stoller’s friend David McNeil was charged with larceny after he refused to sell his company to another business. McNeil’s wife supposedly killed herself, and now his teenaged daughter is living with Stoller and his wife. Will wonders if Mrs. McNeil was actually murdered. Sydney gets into Driscoll’s suite, where she finds a bunch of passports but is unable to do much before she’s caught by a bodyguard. They fight and uncover a hidden room, where it appears that Hassan has undergone plastic surgery. Hassan himself then shows up. Back in L.A., Sloane tells Jack that Hassan now lives in Cuba; he wants Jack to go there and “set an example” with him. Sloane tells him a story about foreseeing darkness years ago. Now, the CIA is against him and his wife Emily has cancer. He wants Hassan dead as soon as possible.

At the self-storage facility, Vaughn tells Sydney that Sloane sent Jack to Cuba. Before he left, Jack met with Vaughn to get his counter-mission, which is to keep Hassan alive. He is to tell Hassan the truth about being a double agent and convince Hassan to fake his death in exchange for his client list. Jack thinks that trusting Hassan is a mistake, but Vaughn assures him that the CIA will be there to take him into custody as soon as his death has been faked. Sydney asks if anything else happened, and though Vaughn tells her that that was the extent of their conversation, he actually confronted Jack about fixing a transmission to make it appear that Russek was a double agent. Jack is furious that Vaughn looked into things and wonders how he got a hold of the SD-6 transmission in the first place. Vaughn says that he never got it - it was just a hunch. Jack reminds him that his daughter was about to be tortured and probably killed, so he didn’t have time to get help. He knows that he took a huge risk and he doesn’t care if Vaughn judges his actions. At Sydney’s, Will spots the present Vaughn gave her. He’s obviously jealous and wonder if Vaughn likes her. She responds by teasing him about Jenny. In the kitchen, Will mentions the present to Francie, who is also more interesting in discussing his relationship with Jenny. In the bedroom, Sydney opens her gift, a picture frame, and looks through some photos of Laura to find one to put in the frame. She gets distracted by a photo of herself with Jack when she was younger.

Back at the self-storage facility, Sydney tells Vaughn about the photo and how she used to ask Jack if Santa was real. He would always tell her very straight-forwardly that he was. She knew he was lying, so she would ask again. He responded in the same manner when she asked him about Russek, so she knows that Russek wasn’t really with K-Directorate. She’s upset that Russek is dead because of her and Jack, but Vaughn tells her that Russek knew the truth about SD-6 and worked for them anyway. He asks what Sydney would have done if she were in Jack’s position and her own child were in danger. He adds that when Jack went to Cuba to meet with Hassan, he was overpowered and captured by Hassan. The CIA doesn’t want to do anything yet, but Sydney asks for Vaughn’s help to get to Cuba to rescue Jack. Will goes to a prison to meet McNeil (Ken Olin), who doesn’t want to talk about SD-6. He also orders Will not to talk to Stoller again. In Cuba, Sydney tries to find Jack, who tries to make Hassan an offer in the midst of being beaten up. As Sydney gets closer, Jack warns Hassan that his life is in danger, then presents the deal to exchange Hassan’s life for his client list. Hassan asks Jack to prove that he’s willing to go up against SD-6 by killing one of their agents - Sydney.


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

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “I’ve seen you in the office. I always wondered what you did.” (the doctor puts a band around her arm) “Aah! I guess this is what you do.” - Sydney to a doctor

“Whoever the he%$ you think you are - checking up on me, pulling my file, second-guessing my choices - let’s just both face the facts. You’re not that person. Neither your experience nor your intelligence has earned you the right to question a thing that I do. Now, I’m going to make two suggestions. One, that you stop it. And two, that the next time they assign you to be my handler, you kindly decline.” - Jack to Vaughn

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