Production code
February 15 2004
Written by
Laurence Andries
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by
Lawrence Trilling

Blowback is the 14th episode of Season 3 of Alias, and the 58th episode overall. While trying to retrieve a bomb, Sydney and Vaughn are ambushed by unidentified assailants. Meanwhile, Lauren and Sark continue to solidify their new partnership as the new leaders of the Covenant. Sloane divulges a dark secret to CIA therapist Dr. Judy Barnett about his past involving Sydney and Irina Derevko. Also, Marshall shows the strains of new fatherhood.

Plot Overview

Lauren's phone rings and wakes her up. She sees Vaughn, who, unable to sleep, stares at his father's watch, which stopped the day he met Sydney. After short conversation Vaughn leaves for a jog. At the CIA, Dixon presents the team with a new mission: The Shining Sword, a Filipino terrorist organization, has acquired a next-generation bomb called a plasma charge, which they're shipping to Europe. The CIA has traced a Shining Sword transmission from a digital storage facility in Vancouver. Sydney and Vaughn are to rent vault space at the facility and search for a detailed archive of the shipment. Someone within the Agency, Dixon adds, may be leaking info to the Covenant.

Sydney and Vaughn, posing as astronomers, arrive at the facility. They secretly download the shipping info and pinpoint location of plasma charge. Their uplink to Marshall, however, is sabotaged by a virus. Suddenly, they're attacked by a facility employee, who is mysteriously shot dead. Sydney and Vaughn lose the murderer after a car chase through a parking garage. Back in LA, Marshall tells them he received 63% of the data; he'll need 12 hours to extrapolate the rest. Sydney recalls the previous day was the anniversary of Vaughn's father's death. Lauren calls, interrupting their conversation.

In Zurich, Sloane apologizes to Barnett and asks her out to dinner. She agrees "for professional reasons only." She thinks his transformation from spy to humanitarian is remarkable and asks about the secret he's harboring. He's offended and explodes at her, so she walks out on him.

Marshall's data reveals the plasma charge is on a Liberian freighter in Lisbon. Once on the boat, Sydney and Vaughn, using a tracking device, are again fired upon.

We go back to the opening— after Vaughn leaves, Lauren receives a call from Sark. He wants the plasma charge and tells her to get a lock on it, which she does via Dixon's team meeting. Sydney tells Lauren that's she's not responsible for the problems in Lauren's marriage. Lauren then meets Sark at the Vancouver facility, where they plant the virus and force the employee to fire at Sydney and Vaughn. When he misses, Lauren kills him and flees. After escaping, Lauren and Sark get shagadelic.

Sloane apologizes to Barnett. He tells her his secret — he had a one-night affair with Irina Derevko. Jack and Emily never knew. Though he's never tried to prove it, he believes Sydney is his daughter.

Back to the gun battle on the boat — Sydney finds the plasma charge. Vaughn stops Lauren, who's wearing a mask, and demands that she show herself. Before she does, Sark corners Sydney and threatens to kill her unless Vaughn drops the gun. "If you love her, you'll drop the gun," Sark says. Vaughn drops it. Lauren punches him and runs. Sydney breaks away from Sark and chases Lauren while Vaughn goes after Sark, who has the charge. He engages the timer and tosses it to Vaughn, who, with Marshall's aid, stops the countdown with seconds left.

Later, Lauren meets Vaughn at a bar. Sark calls to goad her. She kisses Vaughn at Sark's behest. At the office late, Jack takes Sydney out to dinner.



Guest Starring




  • This episode is told from two different perspectives in the style of Rashomon. The first part is largely from Vaughn's point of view, the second from Lauren's.
  • The parking car chase scene which lasts onscreen for one and a half minutes took twelve and a half hours to film.

Aliases Used

  • Sydney Bristow: Radio astronomer; Disguise consists of a short black wig, a long-sleeved black suit-jacket, a ridiculously short skirt and black thick-rimmed glasses.



  • "Song 2" by Blur (changed in Netflix version to unknown lyrical track)
  • "Carnival Town" by Norah Jones (changed in Netflix version to "Life Carries On Without You" by Lena Anderssen)

Allusions and References


  • Lauren: What time is it?
  • Vaughn: I dunno, it's broken.

  • Jack: Have you had dinner? If memory serves, you always liked Mitchellis.
  • Sydney: I haven't eaten there since I was eight.
  • Jack: I do eat, you know.
  • Sydney: I'd like that, actually.