So It Begins


Production code
October 7 2001
Written by
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by

So It Begins is the second episode of Season 1 of Alias. Sydney returns to SD-6 and is assigned with Dixon to travel to Moscow to retrieve some stolen files. But when Sydney discovers that she has inadvertently given SD-6 access to a nuclear weapon, she is forced to travel to Cairo and face a deadly foe. Meanwhile, Will begins to question the circumstances surrounding Danny's death, and Sydney learns of her father's involvement in the murder.

Plot Overview[]

Clutching a stolen satchel, Sydney is dodging bullets and racing from French guards at the Machlet Corporation. Taking the nearest elevator, she punches the ceiling out and pulls herself out the top. Climbing the cables, she escapes onto the street to a waiting limo.

Back home, Sydney briefs Vaughn about her mission and the overall organization of SD-6. In her new role as a double agent for the CIA, Sydney is intent upon destroying SD-6 within a matter of weeks. But CIA Agent Vaughn illustrates for her that SD-6 is no small matter, it encompasses over 200 groups and contacts - and not just the LA bureau where she works. A humbled Sydney accepts it will take a very long time to shut them down.

Later that day, her journalist friend, Will, confronts her about her recent disappearance and asks what her fiancé Danny could have been involved with that got him killed. Sydney tells Will that she has been disoriented since Danny's death and to please leave it at that.

But Will's curiosity is piqued, and later, he learns and tells her that Danny had a booked flight from LA to Singapore the night he was killed to which, Sydney must hide her shock.

Her first day back at SD-6, Sydney receives instructions from Sloane to travel to Moscow, and to intercept a sale of stolen files pertaining to Soviet-American nuclear arsenals to Nabul Hasayn Navor. Afterwards, Sloane leads Sydney to his office, revealing her father Jack, who is waiting for her. In private, Sydney only wants to ask him one thing whether SD-6's plan to kill Danny had been shared with him first. Later, Jack admits he was the one who bought the plane ticket so he could send Danny to Singapore, to hide from the SD-6 assassins. We learn that Jack had visited Danny's home that fateful night, only to find he was too late.

In Moscow, Sydney impersonates a hotel maid to gain access to the hotel room of the CRC’s representative holding the payoff money -- while Dixon meets the document sellers, Kazimir Shcherbakov and Luri Karpachev at a Moscow club. After a violent confrontation with the bodyguards, Sydney discovers the payoff money is false paper. Incognito in party attire, Sydney races to the club, and makes a fast switch with the two computer disks containing the stolen files - with two plastic cocktail coasters. Dixon and Sydney knock the agents out, and escape with the disks. At LAX, Vaughn makes a ”brush pass“ with Sydney, duplicating the stolen floppies for CIA, and returning them so she can present them to SD-6.

The information Sloane later retrieves from the disks, informs that a nuclear device from the Cold War period is still buried somewhere in the US.

Sydney's mission leads her to a Virginia cemetery, where she finds a tombstone with the contact's name, Ivanov, on it.

Digging up the grave, she finds the seventh nuclear device, rigged to the coffin lid. She calls a panicked Marshall who guides her through the process of disarming it with only a two minute warning.

Angry that Sydney contacted SD-6 and not the CIA when faced with the bomb, Vaughn informs Sydney that SD-6 has sold the device to Ineni Hassan in Cairo, a known arms dealer. Since Sydney knows Hassan, she volunteers to make the trip and get the bomb back; making sure that SD-6 doesn't know that she's going there. Back at the CIA, Davenport tells Vaughn that he's being pulled off of the Bristow case because Devlin, the boss, wants a more senior officer assigned.

Meanwhile, Sydney and a male CIA operative go to Cairo. When Sydney finds the bomb, she quickly dismantles it and grabs its bright green core only to find a gun is pointed at her head and cocked - and it's Hassan.



Guest Starring[]





  • Number 47: The tombstone where the bomb is hidden gives the birth - and end year of Milovich Ivanov: 1927-1974, this means he died at the age of 47.
  • This episode takes place one week after the last one.
  • This episode features the first instance of the sweeping title of a location; Moscow.
  • The Soviet-era bomb Sydney finds in the cemetery has garbled Cyrillic transliteration of the English words "RUSSIAN WARHEAD" on its side, with transliteration of the words "ARM" and "DISARM" appearing on a keyboard attached to the warhead.
  • When Sydney is retelling her meeting with Hassan to Vaughn, Hassan presents a new gun model, saying that he named it after his son 'Beni'. This makes his name Beni Hasan, which is also an Ancient Egyptian cemetery site.
  • First episode Charlie was in.
  • The person who made the dress in this episode made a dress for the episode Second Double.

Aliases Used[]

  • Sydney Bristow: Wearing a long, black wig, Sydney escaped from an office building in Paris, France.
  • Marcus Dixon: Dixon impersonated Nabul Hasayn Navor to get the Russian government files before the real Navor could pass them over.
  • Sydney Bristow: Sydney pretended to be a maid to get into Navor's room to get the files.


  • Sydney used a device whilst in an elevator in France to cut out the elevator's security feed.
  • Marshall invented a device that causes instant unconsciousness to whoever touches it. It could be used twice.
  • This episode has an audio commentary.


  • Roland Gift "Looking For A Friend"
  • Kate Bush "This Woman's Work"

Filming Locations[]

  • Biltmore Hotel - 506 S. Grand Avenue, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA

Allusions and References[]

  • Cloverfield (2008) - the beverage Slusho originally came from this episode.