Breaking Point


Production code
November 23 2003
Written by
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by
Dan Attias

Breaking Point is the 8th episode of Season 3 of Alias and the 52nd episode overall. When Sydney is taken into custody by the NSC, Jack and Vaughn have no choice but to ally themselves with Sloane to rescue her. But with only hours to spare before she is forced to undergo a radical surgery to recover her memories, they must put together an extraction team, headed by freelance operative Brill. Meanwhile, Lauren faces an impossible choice -- side with the NSC, who she wants to believe is doing the right thing, or with her husband.

Plot Overview[]

Now in Lindsey's custody, Sydney is imprisoned and tortured at Camp Williams, a secret NSC detention facility. She befriends Campbell, another prisoner.

Lindsey relieves Dixon, who takes full responsibility for hiding Syd's secret. Lauren accuses Vaughan of aiding a fugitive, while he says Lindsey is funded by black money. Unconvinced, Lauren travels with Lindsey to Washington to observe Syd's interrogation.

Vaughn goes to Jack, who tells him that Sloane will help them, making it look like The Covenant is trying to break out Syd. They put together a team of eight mercenaries. They will steal the Camp Williams blueprints from the FEMA building.

Lindsey pressures Lauren, who's unaware of Syd's torture, to write a fair report of their treatment of Syd. He says he will threaten Syd with the memory-retrieval surgery in order to force her to decode a message found under her desk in Rome. He promises it will only be a threat.

During her torture, Syd steals a paper clip. When Lauren suspects torture, Lindsey blackmails her by threatening to nail Vaughn for aiding Syd. Syd picks the lock with the clip, kills her torturer and breaks free. Lauren sees the guards beat Syd.

Jack and Vaughn contact Brill, an old comrade, who joins them for a fee of $3 million. Jack takes Vaughn to a storage facility of guns and money. At FEMA, Sloane, in a van, knocks out their phone system and routes all calls to a fake number. Vaughn answers their request for a technician and Jack goes in. Meanwhile Sloane and Vaughn break into the building's sub-basement. Tapping into the phone lines, Sloane poses as a director and calls away Jack's guard. Vaughn pushes in a video snake and snaps images of the blueprints that Jack holds up to the camera.

Jack is discovered and Sloane saves his life by taking a bullet for him. Sloane's allergic to morphine so Jack extracts the bullet without anesthesia. Jack wonders why Sloane saved his life. Sloane says he's a reformed man and that Jack and Syd are all he has left — his absolution, considering his crimes. Vaughn has Marshall access classified docs on NSC's computer network. Marshall finds that all files pertaining to Camp Williams have been removed. Lauren arrives, admits that Vaughn was right and offers her help.

Lindsey tortures Campbell to force Syd to reveal the code. She capitulates, says they are coordinates but doesn't know to what. Campbell then reveals himself to be a fake. They knew Syd's profile, which reveals her major weakness to be empathy. Lindsey informs her that she will undergo the neuro-stimulation surgery in one hour.

Jack, Vaughn and the team speed to the facility. Lauren, already there, opens the main gate. Jack enters, finds Syd's cell empty — she's on the operating table. The team finds her just in time and a gun battle ensues. Lauren shoots and kills Campbell. They take Syd to a chopper, where Sloane waits. Syd says she gave Lindsey the wrong coordinates.



Guest Starring[]

Special Guest Stars[]




  • International titles:
    • German: Bis an die Grenzen (To The Limit)
    • French: Volte-face (Volteface)
  • Number 47: The designation on the helicopter transporting Sydney at the beginning of the episode is W547SA.
  • In the shot where the helicopter carrying Lindsey and Lauren to Camp Williams flies overhead, you can see the clear blue sky. But in the shot inside the helicopter, it looks like they are flying through clouds. Everything is white when you look through the helicopter windows.
  • The opening sequence appears directly after the previous episode recap, in this episode, as opposed to appearing after the opening few minutes of the actual episode.
  • This is the first episode to show the "Created by J.J Abrams" part of the opening credits, over the top of the episode footage. Before, it was against a black background.
  • The inmate's name is Schapker, the name of an Alias writer.
  • Pruitt Taylor Vince and Richard Roundtree were billed as Special Guest Star in this episode.

Aliases Used[]



  • "What Do I Have To Do To Prove My Love To You" by Marva Whitney (changed in Netflix version to unknown instrumental)
  • "Funktion Dunktion" by Freddie Funk

Allusions and References[]

  • None at this time.


  • Arvin Sloane: You and Sydney are my absolution, my penance. You're all I have left.

  • Michael Vaughn: I didn't know you wore glasses.
  • Jack Bristow: Only during surgery.

  • Marshall Flinkmann: You're going to bust her out, aren't you? Kick some NSC booty? Can I just say, love?