Written by J.R. Orci and Lawrence Trilling; directed by Lawrence Trilling

As Sark is taken to a plane in France (see “Façade”), Sydney lets Dixon know that he’s on his way into their custody. He tells her that Lauren’s father, Senator Reed, will be overseeing Sark’s interrogation. Dixon takes a moment to say goodbye to his kids, Robin and Steven, who are on their way to school. He then tells Sydney that if there’s a leak in the CIA, they’ll find out who it is quickly. At the ops center, Lauren uses Dr. Barnett’s account to hack into an FAA system. When Vaughn approaches, she makes him think that she’s working on questions she wants to ask Sark during his interrogation. He tries to make sure that she’ll be okay with her father in town. Senator Reed (Raymond J. Barry) is meeting with Dixon and Jack to discuss Sark’s transport. Lauren enters for the rest of the conversation. Dixon gets a phone call from someone from his kids’ school who appears to tell him that they never showed up. Sydney and Weiss go out to meet Sark’s plane, but everyone on it is frozen and dead and Sark is nowhere in sight. Back at the ops center, everyone discusses the possibility that Sark parachuted out and the others froze because he opened the door of the plane.

Dixon panics over the fact that his kids have seemingly disappeared but relaxes when he gets a call from Robin’s phone. Too bad it’s actually Sark calling to tell him, “We have your children.” They’re safe, and they’ll stay safe as long as Dixon complies with some orders. At the ops center, the agents discuss Sark’s terms - they have 48 hours to release five detained Covenant operatives. This proves troublesome, since the operatives are held by different countries and coordinating all of their releases would take days. Sydney wants to get started right away, but Reed notes that America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. Jack thinks they should try to buy time and make the Covenant think that they’re “proceeding in good faith.” Dixon agrees and adds that he wants to find the CIA leak, since he or she contributed to his kids’ abduction. Lauren and Sark chat on the phone, discussing her efforts to frame someone as the leak. In Zurich, Sloane tries to say goodbye to Dr. Barnett, who he’s apparently grown close to (see “Façade”). He doesn’t think he’s going to see her again after she returns to L.A. At the ops center, Marshall tries to piece together what happened on Sark’s flight. He manages to catch part of a phone conversation, which ends with Sark saying, “Not if I see you first, love.”

Marshall believes that Sark is keeping Robin and Steven in a warehouse in Arizona. Dixon discusses the situation with Jack, who thinks that the Covenant might kill one of the kids to spur the CIA on to giving them what they want. Dixon decides to prepare for a rescue attempt anyway. A team heads out and Marshall sees on closed circuit feed that the kids are in the warehouse. Dixon can’t find them, but the team does find a bomb. As Dixon goes looking for the kids, Marshall realizes that the tape is on a loop and the kids aren’t there. Sydney convinces Dixon to get out before the building explodes. At the ops center, Jack tells Marshall to access the FAA system and find out who else has accessed Sark’s flight information in the past two days. Marshall learns that someone used Dr. Barnett’s account to log in from Zurich. Jack heads over to Switzerland with some guards and a search warrant. Sloane is taken back to L.A., where Dixon confronts him and comes close to killing him. Sydney talks him down, convincing him that they’ll find the kids. Sloane promises that he wasn’t involved in their abduction. That night, Dixon is crying in his car back at home when Steven appears. He has a phone with him through which the Covenant contacts Dixon.

Back at the ops center, Dixon tells the others that the Covenant knew they would come to the warehouse, so they fed the CIA Echelon intercepts. They’re now demanding the release of ten prisoners or they’ll kill Robin. Dixon isn’t happy that his failed rescue attempt put her in more danger. He decides to temporarily step down as the director of the task force, since he’s not in a position to make good decisions. Jack winds up with the job instead. Reed tells him that he’s working on helping the CIA meet the Covenant’s demands, though he finds something fishy in their boldness. Sydney visits Dixon at the hospital where Steven is staying for observation and he admits that the message from the Covenant had nothing to do with releasing prisoners - he can’t reveal their real motives or they’ll kill Robin. They really want a Rambaldi artifact from Project Black Hole (see “Full Disclosure”), which is being kept in the Nevada desert. Dixon has access codes to the lot, but since they can be traced back to him, Sydney agrees to get the artifact for him. She drives through the desert in a dune buggy, using a stun gun to take out a guard so Dixon can gain access to the Project Black Hole compound.

Dixon meets up with an old friend, Erin, and tells her that Steven mentioned overhearing the Covenant say something about “countershadow.” It’s not something she’s familiar with. He asks for access to a research terminal, but Erin has to go with him because of security measures. Sydney sneaks in through a vent, but the grate is sealed, so Dixon tries to find a way to get Erin out of the room. He succeeds by pretending to need a minute to pray. He then gets Sydney through the grate and she makes her way to the room where all of the Rambaldi artifacts are held. However, the one she needs, lot 45, isn’t there. He finds out that it’s in a room for analysis and sends her there. Back at the ops center, Jack visits Sloane in his cell and notes that the CIA’s negotiations with the Covenant are meant to fail. He asks what the Covenant is really after. Sloane turns his question around to ask what Dixon has access to that the Covenant might want. Jack realizes that he has access to Project Black Hole. Dixon gets Sydney into the room where lot 45 is temporarily being held, but it’s being scanned by a laser grid she has to maneuver past. Lot 45 turns out to be a box with Irina’s name carved into it.

At the ops center, Sark tells Lauren that Dixon is prepared to make the swap for Robin. Lauren may or may not be sympathetic to Dixon’s plight. Dixon and Sydney meet up with Jack in a parking garage (never a good idea), where Jack tells them that Sloane says the Covenant is close to finding a key that will open the box. He also says that the contents of the box will endanger Sydney’s life if the Covenant gets them. Sydney tells him that the box is inscribed with Irina’s name. Dixon still wants to swap the box for Robin, but Jack wants to make a duplicate and give the Covenant a fake box. Dixon doesn’t want to take the risk, but Jack also doesn’t want to risk Sydney’s life. She announces that she chose this life but Robin didn’t, so she’s behind the switch. At the ops center, Reed learns that Project Black Hole has been compromised and the box is missing. He receives a list of all of the people who have visited the facility recently and orders Dixon’s name placed on a federal watch list. Lauren approaches Marshall and tells him that Dixon needs his help. As Sydney, Jack, and Dixon head out for the exchange, Reed sends out a plane to find Dixon and Vaughn, Lauren, and Marshall work to deviate their course. Sydney, Jack, and Dixon meet up with Sark as the plane heads off in the wrong direction.

Happy with the box, Sark allows Robin to be brought out of his car, but he wants to gain a head start by putting a collar on her that will release a toxin into her body if it’s not disarmed within two minutes. Sydney offers to wear the collar instead and Sark agrees, warning that she’ll be injected immediately if she tries to remove the collar before it’s disarmed. Robin is released and Sark starts to take off, but Jack pulls a gun on him. Sark tells him that if he releases the remote he’s holding, Sydney will be injected. Dixon takes Robin back to his car while Jack disarms the collar and comforts Sydney. Later, Sydney goes back to the hospital, where the Dixons have reunited. Barnett visits Sloane in his cell and tells him that she doesn’t believe he’s innocent of using her account. She blasts him for using her and he asks her not to tell anyone about his affair with Irina (see “Blowback”). At the ops center, Jack implies to Vaughn and Lauren that he knows they sent the plane in the wrong direction and is grateful that they saved Sydney. Vaughn says, “See you later” to Lauren, who responds, “Not if I see you first, love.” Jack overhears and starts to catch on to what’s happening.


MEMORABLE QUOTES: Lauren: “That man is living through his worst nightmare. You might consider losing the sarcasm.”
Sark: “How touching. You actually care.”

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