Almost 30 Years


Production code
12 May 2002
Written by
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by

Almost 30 Years is the 22nd episode of Season 1 of Alias. In order to save Will's life, Sydney and Vaughn must destroy a familiar looking Rambaldi device, while Jack makes a risky deal with Khasinau 's representative, Mr. Sark. Meanwhile, the CIA believes that one of their own is a mole for "The Man"; the Alliance comes to a decision regarding the fate of Emily Sloane;Dixon  suspicions about Sydney intensify; and Sydney finds herself face-to-face with "The Man."

Plot Overview[]

Will, tranquilised and badly beaten, is dragged into a dingy storeroom, where Mr Sark asks him about "the circumference" with no answers. A sinister Taiwanese interrogator - ‘Suit And Glasses’, who tortured Sydney months before - enters with an array of frightening instruments.

Sydney receives a call from Sark, setting up the exchange of her friend for the Rambaldi page that was stolen in Paris and the ampule of solution to take place in Taipei, in 24 hours.

Jack agrees to help recover Will. He can easily get the ampule from CIA storage, but recovering the page will be tricky - it's in an offsite SD-6 vault located off the coast of Santa Barbara and they will need Sloane's fingerprint and voiceprint in order to gain access. Jack suggests that they study the Rambaldi page themselves and determine its value, before negotiating further with Sark. He also tells Sydney that she must keep her plan from Vaughn - the CIA has a mole.

When Vaughn explains to Sydney that Will is still likely to be alive, he senses that she is hiding something. Later, he tells Weiss that he suspects that Sydney has her own plan to rescue Will.

Her cancer now in remission, Emily is out of the hospital. At a remote beach house, Sloane finally tells her the truth about SD-6.

Later at SD-6, Alliance member Ramon Veloso explains to Sloane that they only allowed Emily to live because her future had been pre-determined her by lymphoma. Sloane demands that her life be spared but protocol insists that she be terminated. If he carries out their order, however, Veloso affirms that he will become a fully-fledged member of the Alliance.

Wearing a concealed recording device, Sydney visits Sloane in his office, to speak candidly about Emily. In reality, she is distracting him while Jack hacks into Sloane's computer to collect the needed passwords, and takes a voiceprint and fingerprint.

Having now stolen the Rambaldi page from the remote SD-6 island vault, Sydney climbs out of the water, only to be confronted by Dixon. He demands to know why she used the codename ‘Freelancer’ on Mount Aconcagua. Sydney is pleading when she insists that she is not betraying her country, but also that she cannot reveal the truth to him - Dixon walks away.

Meanwhile, Vaughn is summoned into a meeting with Devlin and Haladki. Weiss has reported that Vaughn no longer fully trusts Sydney, and now they all need to know what she may be hiding.

Jack calls Devlin. After taking the ampule from the CIA, he assures that he will return the stolen item once his mission is completed. Devlin demands that Jack return immediately.

Since Will has disappeared, his friend Abby from the newspaper goes straight to editor Litvack, with his sealed envelope about SD-6. The editor agrees to run the story as front page news.

Using the Rambaldi solution, Jack and Sydney finally expose the mysterious page. It reveals drawings for the same "Mueller device" stolen by Sydney in prototype stage from Taipei months ago. Jack explains that this might explain Khasinau's search for "the circumference," a precise set of instructions for building the device in this drawing.

On a hunch, Jack abducts Haladki who, under pain of torture, admits to being the CIA mole and that he has been working for Khasinau. The instructions are for a "battery" that Khasinau has been constructing in a Taipei lab. And after a treacherous and deranged Haladki spills all, Jack silences him .. for good.

Vaughn later finds Sydney alone at a train station. He has figured out what she is planning, and agrees to help save Will. With Jack, they will fly to Taipei and, while Jack makes the exchange for her friend, Sydney and Vaughn are to simultaneously detonate the lab where the battery is located.

At home, Sloane mixes a powder into a glass of wine. With resolve, he and Emily raise their glasses for a final toast and she forgives him for the mistakes that he has made.

Meanwhile, after hours of torture, Will still hasn't revealed much about "the circumference." When he is finally unchained, he plunges a syringe into the neck of his sadistic interrogator. Guards seize Will, and drag him from the room.

In an alleyway, Jack meets with Sark and exchanges the page - the drawing, now exposed - for Will, who has been spared - bloody, but alive. Sobbing, Will embraces the stony-faced man who has handed him back his future.

Across town, Sydney and Vaughn find the Mueller device, behind lock and key in a Taiwanese dance club. It is, in fact, similar to the prototype she retrieved before only much, much bigger.

Sydney detonates the explosive, unleashes a tremendous flood, and she and Vaughn dash through the underground complex, trying to escape the approaching torrent.

Sydney makes it through a security door, but cannot hold it open long enough for Vaughn - he is trapped on the wrong side, in a room filling perilously fast with rushing water and, seconds later, Vaughn is gone. When Sydney turns, she is knocked out by sharp blow from a security guard.

She awakens to a familiar scene: she is once again chained to a chair in a Taipei storeroom. But this time, instead of ‘Suit And Glasses’, her interrogator is Khasinau who explains that "his boss" has questions for her.

Puzzled, Sydney admits she thought ‘The Man’ was the one in charge; but Khasinau is not ‘The Man’. The door opens - ‘The Man’ is a woman .. it's Sydney's mother.



Guest Starring[]




  • Goof: When Sloane and Emily sit down to talk at the beach house, a strand of hair is visible at the back of Emily's neck. She has just gone through cancer treatments and should have no hair (which is why she is wearing a scarf around her head).
  • Goof: Emily's wine glass goes from half full to 3/4 full from the point Arvin gives it to her, and the point at which she drinks it.
  • Number 47: Haladki reveals that the battery is in the room 47 of an underground lab of Pang Pharmaceuticals in Taipei.
  • Sydney is once again chained to a chair, in a Taipei storeroom, like in the first episode. In the latter she dyed her hair red, in this one it's blue.
  • Weiss' office is in the same set of Will's newspaper's office.
  • Will injects "suit and glasses" with a toxin with a one-in-five chance of causing paralysis in this episode. We later learn that he does in fact lose function in his legs because of this.
  • April Webster, who plays Irina Derevko but is uncredited, is a casting director for Alias, as well as for two of J.J. Abram's other projects, Lost and Mission: Impossible III.
  • When the Mueller device bursts the water it contained is enough to fill the entire corridor to the roof in addition to at least that high in the warehouse.
  • Vaughn should've died or at least sustained a minor or major injury when the water slammed him against the door, yet he somehow manages to escape practically unscathed.
  • Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan, Bradley Cooper, Merrin Dungey, Carl Lumbly, Kevin Weisman and Victor Garber all provide DVD commentary for this episode.
  • Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan, Bradley Cooper, and Victor Garber are the only people to apppear in every episode of Alias this season.
  • This episode went straight from the recap to the opening credits which is unusual as usally a fresh new scene is shown before they cut to the credits.

Aliases Used[]



  • "My Skin" by Natalie Merchant
  • "Music:Response" by The Chemical Brothers
  • "Supermoves" by Overseer
  • "Canzone Del Salce (Verdi's Otello)" by Miriam Gauci

Filming Locations[]

  • Union Station - 800 N. Alameda Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA

Allusions and References[]