Time Will Tell


Production code
December 2 2001
Written by
Jeff Pinkner
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by
Perry Lang

Time Will Tell is the 8th episode of Season 1 of Alias. Sydney must undergo an extensive lie detector test to satisfy Sloane's frantic search for the SD-6 mole. Meanwhile, with nemesis Anna Espinosa following her every move, Sydney seeks out the connection that a device may have to the 500-year-old prophetic Rambaldi sketch. The mystery of Kate Jones deepens as Will continues to investigate Danny's death; and Sydney discovers that a keepsake from her mother Laura contains more disturbing connections into Jack's past alliances.

Plot Overview[]

In Tunisia, Sydney enters Oxford University posing as a grant candidate recruiter attending the reception. Unbeknownst to her, Anna is also there, after the same Rambaldi artifact as she is. Sydney engages Professor Hoyt in conversation as Dixon, from the SD-6 van, creates a duplicate of his key-card. Meanwhile, Anna, in another part of the room, persuades Professor Bloom to show her his lab. Sydney spots the two heading off together, and tells Dixon, who is brush-passing her the key-card, to alert the FTL guards. Anna steals Professor Bloom's key-card, but is intercepted by the FTL guards, and they fight. Sydney makes it to the lab and short-cicuits the key-card mechanism after slipping inside. Anna defeats the guards and gets to the glass door, which Sydney plants a kiss on before turning and grabbing the artifact. Anna shoots the glass, but Sydney has already escaped through the window.

In Los Angeles, at SD-6, Jack confronts Sloane about the death of Eloise Kurtz. Sloane admits he had her killed for fear that Will would learn the truth about SD-6 from her. Jack reveals it was he who set her up with Will, intending to throw him off. Sloane is displeased over the way Jack handled the situation, but Jack says he'll get Will off the story, or else he'll kill him himself.

At grad school the next day, Professor Choy tells Sydney that her recent paper "has no soul", and that she needs to work harder if she wants to stay in the program. Shortly, in the parking garage, Sydney walks past a man talking on his cellphone. She takes out her own phone and discovers it gets no reception in the area. As the man stops talking on his phone and walks around in search of Sydney, she tackles him from behind, and forces him to tell her who he works for.

Soon after, at SD-6, Sydney asks Sloane why he had her followed. He explains that they are tightening security measures, and she may have to sacrifice some personal freedoms. In the conference room, he briefs everyone that the artifact Sydney recovered from Tunisia is in fact a clock designed by one Giovanni Donato, the only man Milo Rambaldi ever collaborated with. Marshall feels the clock had some hidden purpose as well. Sydney is to bring the clock to a descendant of Donato's in Positano, who, being a clockmaker himself, may be able to fix it.

After the meeting, Sydney and her father meet in a private room, and she tells him that SD-6 is having her followed. Jack tells her about Marshall's discovery that an outside source is downloading the files off the SD-6 server. He doesn't know if it's been traced to the CIA, but he does know that Sloane has called in an agent named Dreyer to give everyone in the agency a lie-detector test, and tells Sydney to have Vaughn help her prepare for it.

Will tells his editor that he no longer wants to do the Daniel Hecht story because it may hurt Sydney. His editor is exasperated, as Will has finally convinced her there is a story to do. She tells him to get a quote from Sydney. Will drops in on Sydney while she's rewriting her term paper and notices a stack of first-edition manuscripts which Sydney's mother owned, having gotten them as a gift from her father. Will is unable to tell her about the story.

Vaughn tests Sydney with a lie detector. He tells her to focus. She successfully answers "no" to questions like "Are you a double-agent?" but the detector indicates her lying "no" to the question "Are you romantically interested in anyone?" She is flustered.

In Positano, Sydney drops in on Donato's home. At first hesitant, the elderly man lets her in when she mentions her business involves Milo Rembaldi. Inside his workroom, he inspects the clock and tells Sydney that his ancestor crafted it because Rembaldi promised him an "impossibly long life". Sydney asks him about a strange symbol on the clock, and he tells her it is the symbol of the Magnific Order of Rambaldi--a group of Rembaldi's followers. Meanwhile, Anna Espinosa and two other K-Directorate agents enter the building, and a sniper from an adjacent building takes aim at Sydney. Donato says that Rembaldi never told him what the date on the clock meant. Sydney looks at him shocked, and he, as if realizing his slip-up, stammers, "M-my mother never told me." He finishes work on the clock, but tells Sydney there is still a piece missing. Sydney wants to know more about Rembaldi's work, but Donato says, "The clock is fixed. Now it's over." He stands up just as the K-Directorate sniper fires, and is killed by the bullet. As more shots follow, Sydney grabs the clock and runs. She spots Anna and her fellow agents. They chase her up to the roof, but she hooks a bungee cord to the rail and jumps off, landing unharmed and escaping with the clock.

Will receives the passenger manifest for Danny's flight to Singapore, and discovers, to his shock and dismay, that Kate Jones is nowhere on the list. He has no idea that Jack had had his airline contact remove her name earlier. Will's editor is now convinced he made the whole story up.

Back in Los Angeles, an exhausted Sydney arrives home. Francie tells her she handed in her paper, but then regretfully says she spilled lemonade on one of Sydney's mom's books. Sydney tells her not to worry. Later, while leafing through the book, she discovers coded words in the margins. Shortly, she finds Vaughn and tells him of her suspicions, that these books could have been a way for the KGB to send messages to her father. Vaughn wants to examine the books, but for the moment tells Sydney hat her main priority is her upcoming lie detector test.

Just as Will as decided to give up on his story, he gets a call from a mechanic friend who's been holding onto Eloise Kurtz's car, wondering why she's never picked it up. Will goes over to inspect the car and finds an odd flower-shaped lapel pin. His editor calls to inform him that she's kicking him off the Daniel Hecht story, and doesn't want to hear another word about it. Will takes the pin to an electronics friend, who tells him the pin is actually a bugging device.

At the next SD-6 meeting, Marshall informs everyone that the golden sun which Sydney retrieved from Malaga is the missing piece of the clock, and causes the clock to display a star chart. The only spot on Earth with that exact view of the stars is by the southern slope of Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. Sloane tells Sydney and Dixon that their assignment is to head there and find out what importance that spot had to Rembaldi. As the briefing wraps up, Sloane tells Sydney to go see Dreyer in psych.

In the screening room, Dreyer asks Sydney a few minor questions, and then springs: "Are you a double-agent?" A pause, and Sydney answers, "No."

Later, Vaughn gives Sydney a camera to transmit images of whatever she finds in Argentina to the CIA. Sydney is still unsure as to whether she passed the test. Vaughn tells her that if she's found out, they can pull her out of SD-6 and into witness protection, but she doesn't like the idea of going into hiding.

In Argentina, Sydney and Dixon reach Mt. Aconcogua. Before they begin climbing, Dixon tells Sydney how proud he is of her for returning to the CIA after Danny's death, which had to be hard even though they're working for the good of the country. Sydney doesn't know what to say. They begin the climb, and soon reach the pinpointed spot. After some digging, they uncover a trapdoor with a rope ladder descending into darkness. Sydney begins the long climb down, and soon reaches a large cavern. She searches the place, and discovers an old leather-bound book--Rembaldi's journal. As she begins photographing the pages, Dixon suddenly radioes her that K-Directorate has somehow found them, and that she needs to get out of there.

Sloane finds Dreyer and asks if he's finished with Sydney's tests. Dreyer says he thinks he's found their mole.

As Sydney turns away from the journal, she finds Anna behind her, holding a gun. Anna demands the journal. Sydney throws it at her, knocking the gun from her hands. They fight, and Anna recovers her gun and shoots Sydney in the chest. She grabs the book and begins climbing up the ladder. Below, Sydney--who was wearing a bullet-proof vest--slowly gets up and begins climbing after her. She catches up and they begin to grapple again. Anna lashes out and knocks Sydney off the ladder, and she falls into utter darkness.



Guest Starring[]





  • There are only five agents, including Jack, in SD-6 who know the truth about SD-6.
  • When Sydney has to collect the Rambaldi artefact before Anna Espinosa does, they have to get into a secured room which only security cards have access to. When she is in she escapes out of that severely-secured room through a simple unsecured window.
  • When Sydney is escaping from the building and about to jump off the roof you can clearly see her high heels she is wearing as she attaches the rope. She then jumps with the same shoes on, but at the bottom we see a different pair of shoes on her as she swings to safety. Then at the bottom she runs off in the original pair once again.
  • This episode was nominated for the 2002 ASC Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Episodic TV Series", and for the 2002 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Stunt Coordination".
  • Last episode that Anna was in until Echoes.

Aliases Used[]


  • Sydney uses a grappling hook to escape from K-Directorate in Positano


  • "Edge of the Ocean" by Ivy

Filming Locations[]

  • Castle Green Apartments - 99 S. Raymond, Pasadena, California, USA

Allusions and References[]

  • The book where Sydney found the hidden codes was the Book Second of Henry James's novel, The Ambassadors (1903).