Countdown is the 20th episode of Season 2 of Alias and the 42nd episode overall. A Rambaldi manuscript prophesies that an apocalyptic event involving a heart will soon take place. An agent is sent after one man in Panama in order to steal his heart. Dixon's grief leads Vaughn and agency psychologist Dr. Barnett to question his intentions, as his thirst for revenge on Sloane intensifies. Meanwhile Sloane receives a life-changing revelation from a mysterious monk in Nepal, and Sydney and Dixon hunt for the killer who stole the heart from his victim.
At Diane's funeral, Vaughn observes a grieving Dixon secretly pop pills. Later, he tells Sydney that Dixon is self-medicating and should take time off before going back to work.
Sark suggests that Sloane go to Panama City. Sloane seems distracted and declines, but gives him a number to call to get what he needs while Irina lays low in Cypress. Sloane admits that killing Diane was a mistake. He's going on leave, he says, and hands Sark the reins.
At the CIA, Marshall gives a presentation on Rambaldi for the benefit of NSA task force leader Frederick Brendan and Rambaldi expert Kerry Bowman. In his 15th century drawings, Marshall explains, Rambaldi drew a DNA profile of Panamanian named Proteo Di Regno. His DNA is the code key to decrypt page 94 of the Rambaldi manuscript, which foretells certain apocalyptic events. One of them is to happen in 48 hours and may involve Di Regno. Syd and Dixon are dispatched to find him and bring him back.
But Syd and Dixon arrive in Panama City too late. Not only is Di Regno dead, his heart has been ripped out. They find that he has a Rambaldi tattoo. Syd also finds a latex glove, which yields a fingerprint of an assassin named Emilio Vargas.
Back home, Vaughn requests that Dixon be taken out of the field. When Jack refuses, Vaughn does an end-around and calls Dr. Barnett. Marshall, meanwhile, makes a love connection when he offers a Kleenex to Bowman, who's been moved to tears by a Joni Mitchell song. They discuss Rambaldi and find they share common interests. She asks him out for sushi. Va-va-voom.
Dixon and Syd find Vargas and defeat him in a swordfight. Dixon exhibits exceptional brutality during the interrogation, but he gets info about Di Regno and Sloane. Later, Dixon is called in to see Barnett at Vaughn's prompting. Dixon says he used necessary force and that he needs to be involved in the hunt for Sloane. She's not so sure, however. When Dixon confronts Syd later, she denies reporting him. Dixon reveals he's been taking Vicoden and that he must take a drug test . Sydney is furious at Vaughn, but he stands by his actions.
Sloane appears in the Himalayas, trekking to a monastery on a remote mountaintop. He finds the monk who sent him on the Rambaldi quest 30 years ago and vents his anger. The monk responds without fear.
Vaughn later apologizes to Syd; Dixon's drug test is negative. Syd tells Dixon he passed the test, but Dixon reveals he switched the results and begs her not to tell Barnett. He's lost without Diane, he says. Syd covers for him when Barnett calls her in. Meanwhile, Dixon contemplates suicide on a bridge. The CIA tracks the heart to a truck delivering to a ship docked in Cartegena. When Dixon and Syd are sent on the mission, Dixon promises that he can handle the stress. At the dock, Syd and Dixon find the truck, but the heart has been moved. Dixon brutally beats a dockworker who he thinks is hiding info. He reveals a bomb and threatens to blow them all up unless he gets answers. Neither Syd nor Vaughn can do anything for fear of setting the bomb off. As the timer winds down, the man tells Dixon that the heart is on the boat. The timer goes to zero, but Dixon was bluffing — he had cut the timer cord. It's 10 minutes to midnight, the prophecy has been thwarted … or has it?
The monk knows that Emily died; it was necessary, he says. He presents Sloane with a scroll. Sloane learns that his journey has just begun.
The CIA team opens the box and finds the "heart." Dixon apologizes to Syd for putting her in a tough position. He says that he came to terms Diane's death while on the bridge. Vaughn and Syd relax in a park. Vaughn says Dixon admitted he switched the tests, and for that he'll get leniency. Syd reveals she knew what Dixon had done and apologizes. They walk off, arm in arm.
- Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
- Ron Rifkin as Arvin Sloane
- Michael Vartan as Michael Vaughn
- Bradley Cooper as Will Tippin (credit only)
- Merrin Dungey as Allison Doren (credit only)
- Carl Lumbly as Marcus Dixon
- Kevin Weisman as Marshall Flinkman
- David Anders as Julian Sark
- with Lena Olin as Irina Derevko (credit only)
- and Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Special Guest Star
- Jonathan Banks as Frederick Brandon
- Amanda Foreman as Carrie Bowman
- with David Carradine as Conrad
- and Patricia Wettig as Judy Barnett
- Jimmie F. Skaggs as Captain
- Carlos Cervantes as Panamanian Detective
- Allen Evangelista as Jandu
- Ryan Honey as Delta Force Leader
- James Carraway as Proteo di Regno
Music (all three songs below have been changed in the Netflix version)
- "Prayer" by Lizzie West
- "Mas" by Kinky
- "You're All I Need to Get By" by Aretha Franklin
Allusions and References
|< Season 1||Alias Season 2||Season 3 >|
|#01||The Enemy Walks In||#07||The Counteragent||#13||Phase One||#19||Endgame|
|#02||Trust Me||#08||Passage (Part 1)||#14||Double Agent||#20||Countdown|
|#03||Cipher||#09||Passage (Part 2)||#15||A Free Agent||#21||Second Double|
|#04||Dead Drop||#10||The Abduction||#16||Firebomb||#22||The Telling|
|#05||The Indicator||#11||A Higher Echelon||#17||A Dark Turn|
|#06||Salvation||#12||The Getaway||#18||Truth Takes Time|