Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman; directed by Daniel Attias

In Berlin, a bomb goes off in an elevator, which is then pulled through the roof of the building it’s in by a helicopter. In L.A., Jack runs a test on Sydney to see if she’s still under the effects of brainwashing (see “The Two”). She’s upset that she slit a man’s throat without provocation and wonders if the CIA should see the footage. Jack warns that she’ll be taken into custody, which means she won’t be able to find out what happened during her missing two years. Sydney admits that she doesn’t trust herself, so maybe the CIA shouldn’t either. Jack trusts her, however, and tells her that he’ll investigate Lazarey and try to contact Irina through their old protocol. Weiss helps Sydney move into her new house, where she laments that her friends are gone - Francie is dead and Will is in the Witness Protection Program. Weiss tries to cheer her up by reminding her that they’re close to the beach and he lives nearby. Sydney asks about Vaughn’s wife and Weiss tells her that after her “death,” Vaughn left the country for months and had a hard time moving on. He reveals that Vaughn has been thinking of returning to the CIA but probably won’t now that Sydney is back.

At the ops center, the CIA agents learn that the men from the elevator, agents named Klein and Rotter, have been taken hostage by the Covenant. The CIA is supposed to go to a theater in Munich to retrieve a package and follow the Covenant’s demands. Sydney volunteers to go, but Dixon tells her that he’d rather send Weiss. She tells him that she wants to get back to her normal life. He informs her that there’s a support group she can attend for CIA agents who have experienced lost time. Sydney goes to the theater in Munich and retrieves Klein’s head with the list of demands in his mouth. Back in L.A., Lindsey tells everyone that the Covenant has agreed to trade Rotter for Sark, who’s in custody. Sydney doesn’t like this idea, especially since they don’t know what the Covenant is going to do with him. Lindsey thinks they want to kill him because he murdered a high-ranking member of the Covenant. Dixon isn’t sure they can believe this, since the information came from Sloane, but he notes that Sloane has provided them with accurate information in the past year, so he’ll agree to the trade. He sends Sydney and Weiss to Mexico to trade Sark for Rotter. Jack tells Sydney that Lindsey is basically covered by the White House and can do no wrong. He adds that he’s going to Zurich to meet with Sloane.

Sydney spots her name on a plaque of agents killed in action and asks Jack where “she” was buried. He tells her that she was cremated and Vaughn scattered her ashes in the ocean. Sydney visits Vaughn at the school where he now teaches French and tells him that she knows he’s thinking about returning to the CIA. She assures him that she could handle it if he were back. Vaughn reminds her of her outburst about how he gave up on her and tells her that he used to talk to her out loud. One day, he heard her responding but still couldn’t stop. He tells her that he was so in love with her that it killed him, but he doesn’t regret moving on. Jack visits Sloane in Zurich, telling him that he doesn’t believe his transformation is for real, especially since Il Dire didn’t give him much of a message after his 30-year quest to assemble it. He adds that he believes Sloane is behind Sydney’s missing two years and asks to know why. Sloane replies that he knows Jack was imprisoned for reaching out to Irina; if he would partner up with her, why can’t he believe that Sloane could change as well? Jack tells him that it’s because every morally questionable thing he’s done has been for Sydney. Sloane gives him a disk containing all the information he gathered from investigating Sydney’s disappearance. Jack tells him he’s just dug his own grave.

Sydney visits Sark, who seems genuinely surprised that she’s alive. She asks him about the fire at her place that covered up her disappearance and he realizes that she doesn’t remember the past two years. He claims that he doesn’t know anything about what happened to her, and he has no reason to lie - he’ll be free in 24 hours, but she’ll still be at a loss. Sydney escorts Sark to the desert in Mexico, where he tells her he doesn’t know why the Covenant wants him. He suspects that his life is in danger. The swap is interrupted by incoming vehicles and Sydney notes that if it doesn’t continue, the Covenant will think the CIA is double-crossing them. An NSC helicopter arrives and the Covenant starts shooting. Dixon isn’t happy with Lindsey for this, but Lindsey wanted to make sure that they kept custody of Sark. Thanks to the ambush, the Covenant winds up with both Sark and Rotter. Back in L.A., Sydney confronts Lindsey in the restroom and blasts him for going over Dixon’s head. He threatens to put her in prison but she calls his bluff. Sark is given wine by a man whose brother he killed and who wants $800 million. Sark says that he doesn’t have that kind of money, but the man, San’ko, says he does.

Vaughn returns to work and Dixon asks Sydney if she has any problems with him being there. She doesn’t admit to any. Jack, not happy with Vaughn’s return, tells everyone that the Covenant really wants Sark’s money. His newly-inherited $800 million in gold bullion came from his father - Andrean Lazarey. One of the Covenant’s vehicles from the desert swap has been tracked to a club in Frankfurt that may be a front and is known for selling drugs. Jack thinks Rotter is still alive because of the knowledge he possesses. The man who runs the club, Otto Edel, will probably know where Rotter is, so Sydney will go to Frankfurt and use Edel to find out where Rotter is. Outside, Jack tells Sydney that the CIA can’t link her to Lazarey’s death without the hidden camera footage he has. Sydney doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that she killed Sark’s father and now the Covenant wants Sark’s money. Jack suspects that the Covenant is behind Sydney’s disappearance and got her to kill Lazarey. He plans to try to get in touch with Irina that night. He does so by logging into a music-lovers chat room and inviting her to chat privately. Irina is surprised to hear that Sydney is alive and promises to give Jack all the information she has on Lazarey. The both say that they miss each other.

In Frankfurt, Sydney meets with Edel to discuss a new drug formula. She gets herself invited into his office, then threatens him with a syringe so she can get into the sub-basement. She has to do some hacking to turn off the alarm, but Vaughn figures out that she has the wrong code and helps her determine the right one. Sydney finds Rotter, who is with a doctor who tells her, “You kept your promise. You said you would kill me. You were my favorite - you never broke.” She demands to know what he knows about her missing two years, but it’s too late for him. Back in L.A., Sydney attends the support group Dixon told her about and learns that she has nightmares to look forward to. She heads back to the CIA and tells Dixon that she doesn’t want to be in the group. She adds that she does still have feelings for Vaughn. Dixon alerts her to the fact that there’s someone else in the room - Lauren Reed (Melissa George), their new NSC liaison. Lindsey is returning to D.C. and Lauren is taking over for him. She’ll be helping the CIA fight the Covenant and will be in charge of investigating Lazarey’s murder. She also has a hard to place omni accent. Oh, and she’s Vaughn’s wife.

WELCOME TO SPY COUNTRY: Lauren, the omni accent

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “Personally, I would have found it anticlimactic…that after expecting to assemble a weapon of ultimate power, you ended up with a revelation you could have acquired from a fortune cookie.” - Jack to Sloane

Lindsey: “If you’re finished…this is the men’s room.”
Sydney: “Who let you in?”

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