Before The Flood


Production code
25 May 2005
Written by
Josh Appelbaum
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by
Lawrence Trilling

Before The Flood is the 22nd episode of Season 4 of Alias, the 88th episode overall and the Season 4 finale. Jack, Sydney, Irina, Vaughn and Nadia parachute into Sovogda in an effort to dismantle the Mueller device threatening the city. At APO, Marshall and Weiss use the Blackwell Index to blackmail a Russian minister into giving them the access codes to the Russian military satellite network, MILSAT. Whilst doing so, they discover that Elena is also up-linking to the satellite. A CIA agent, Brodien, reminds the crew in Sovogda that the Rambaldi device is broadcasting a sub-audible frequency that physiologically alters people who drink it and it is irreversible.

Plot Overview

Jack, Irina, Nadia, Vaughn and Sydney land in the city of Sovogda. They walk through a deserted street littered with corpses and burning cars. As they wait for the Department of Special Research team, they speak to Marshall and Weiss, who report that Director Chase is trying to convince the Russians to call off the air strike.

At APO, Marshall and Weiss use the Blackwell Index to blackmail a Russian minister into giving them the access code to a Russian satellite. They soon discover that Elena is also up-linking to the Russian network.

Sydney follows a DSR signal, which leads to a severed arm. Suddenly, a CIA agent named Brodien emerges from the shadows and tells them that his DSR team was ambushed by the infected mob which has left thousands dead. He reminds them that the Rambaldi device is broadcasting a sub-audible frequency that physiologically alters people who drink the water. The symptoms, he says, are irreversible.

He also says the epicenter is located over the Oransky building, and that while he has taken out the city's power grid, the device is still running. Irina suggests that it has been modified to run through an internal energy source. They decide to take the subway as it is the quickest way to the building.

Elena learns of the APO team's arrival. When Sloane volunteers to lead the assault team, Elena tells him to bring Nadia back and give her the option to join them.

As the APO team approaches the subway tunnel, an infected man impales Brodien with a rod. As Jack, Vaughn and Irina try to start the train's emergency battery system, Sydney and Nadia go inside the train's switching room to force the train to stop at the Oransky building. Irina urges Vaughn to tell Sydney "the truth." Syd tells Nadia that Vaughn asked her to marry him. Nadia and Sydney split up to manually adjust the switches.

Sydney returns to the train first while Nadia, down the tracks, flips the switch. The train rolls down the tracks as a mob chases Nadia. Jack refuses to stop the train because if he does, it won't start again. Sydney stretches to pull Nadia to the train but she's tackled by a madman. Irina tells Sydney that Nadia is still alive.

Sloane kills Elena's men and waits at the station. He tells them that Elena has primed the world's drinking water. As Sydney voices her suspicions, Sloane says he allied himself with Elena to put an end to this himself, but Elena built in a security device that Sloane couldn't crack. Jack punches Sloane and takes control of the team.

Marshall reports that Elena is going to use the Russian satellite to distribute the Rambaldi frequency worldwide. Once it goes online, the Rambaldi signal will be broadcast and everyone will be infected. Irina says they need to shut down the device from the roof of the building.

Jack tells Sloane to take them to Elena. Sloane cautions that once they disable the device, the toxins will dissipate in the atmosphere and the person who disarms it will only have a few seconds to run. When Irina insists that she can cut the wire and reverse ionization, Sloane reveals that Elena had changed the wiring scheme as a fail-safe. Irina orders him to take her to Elena so she can force her to reveal information while Sydney disarms the bomb.

Nadia fends off the mob and wanders the streets. She approaches a wounded man who surprisingly holds a gun to her head and takes her to Elena. When she refuses to join Elena, Elena injects her with the contaminated water.

Before Sydney heads out to the rooftop to disarm the bomb, she turns to Vaughn and says, "Just in case: yes, I'm gonna marry you." She wears his ring and hops into the elevator.

Marshall tries to connect to the satellite. Weiss says the President and his Cabinet are being evacuated to secret bunkers.

Sloane arrives with Vaughn, Irina and Jack. Vaughn searches for the relay room. They strap Elena to a chair.

Sydney reaches the rooftop and opens a hatch that revealed hundreds of interwoven wires. Nadia, now infected by the device, walks toward Sydney. Jack and Irina urge a reluctant Sydney to take her out. The sisters battle. Vaughn blows the relay but nothing happens. Irina tells him to get to the roof. Sydney knocks Nadia out and chains her up.

Vaughn arrives on the roof and realizes that Sloane is not there. Meanwhile, Irina guides Sydney in disarming the device. Irina gives her sister a chance to help them as Jack gets ready to torture Elena. When Jack pierces her with a syringe, Elena yells that Sydney should cut the white wire. Irina shoots Elena in the head and tells Sydney to cut the blue wire instead and run fast -- she only has 15 seconds.

Sydney is about to cut the wire when Nadia strangles her from behind with the chain. As Sydney starts to suffocate, Sloane arrives and shoots Nadia. Sydney sees Vaughn and tells him to take the wounded Nadia with them. Sydney then cuts the blue wire and runs away as the device starts to fall apart. They race inside the quaking building and sprints toward a shelter -- they have just saved the world.

Jack advises Irina, who is wanted by the CIA, to disappear. They kiss. Irina tells Sydney that she's proud of her. She says that Sydney may not see her on her wedding day, but she'll see Sydney.

Later, Sydney visits Sloane in a jail cell, tells him that Nadia is stable, but they're still trying to find an antidote. The Russian military executed all survivors to support their claim that it was a chemical explosion. Sydney has arranged for Sloane to see Nadia. She believes he was trying to do the right thing. Sloane thanks her.

Driving in Santa Barbara, Sydney suggests to Vaughn that they blow off the big wedding and elope. After professing their love, Vaughn reveals that that he was a bad guy before they met. He continues to say that to begin with, his name is not Michael Vaughn. Before Sydney can react, a car collides with theirs.



Special Guest Stars

Guest Starring


  • Eric Anderson as Spotter



  • The liquid volume of the syringe changes between the shot where Elena fills the syringe and removes the air from it, and the shot where she walks up to Nadia holding the syringe in her hand.
  • Carl Lumbly does not appear in this episode - making it the only season finale without Dixon.
  • For her performance in this episode Jennifer Garner received a 2005 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
  • This episode was nominated for the 2006 Golden Reel Award for "Best Sound Editing in Television: Short Form - Dialogue and Automated Dialogue Replacement".
  • Sonia Braga and Lena Olin were billed as Special Guest Star in this episode.
  • Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan and Victor Garber are the only people to appear in all episodes of Alias this season, and are also the only people to appear in every episode of the entire series this far.
  • Last season Michael Vartan is in not as a guest star.
  • This episode originally aired America's ABC network at 10pm instead of 9pm as the first season finale lasted 2 hours.
  • Before the flood was rumored to originally be a 2 hour long episode but after looking at the Lost finale it was changed to be a 1 hour episode.
  • It’s the only series finale without Julian Sark.

Aliases Used

  • Due to the nature of the episode, no aliases are used.


  • No gadgets are used in this episode. Even while tinkering with the subway car, it is all done manually.


  • "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan

Allusions and References

  • Jack Bristow: You really are through the looking glass, aren't you?
"Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There" (1871) is a work of children's literature by Lewis Carroll and is the sequel to "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865).


  • Marshall: The Russians rely on the Milsat satellite network to vector the bombs, right? If I can hack into it, I can shut it down.
  • Weiss: And violate several thousand international laws?
  • Marshall: We’re talking about the end of the world. I’m not worried about a tribunal.
  • Weiss: That’s a good point. Gogogogo

  • Sydney: Brodien.
  • Brodien: Bristow? Oh for God’s sakes, what are you- I thought you were relieved of duty.
  • Sydney: Well, don’t believe everything you hear.

  • Irina: You shouldn’t wait.
  • Vaughn: For what?
  • Irina: I saw the ring.
  • Vaughn: Yeah, you know what? You killed my father. The way I see it, I don’t have to ask for your blessings.
  • Irina: Despite that, you may have them. Along with some advice.
  • Vaughn: Marital advice from you. Wondeful.

  • Sydney: I’m sure there are plenty of brides who want to kill their maid of honor. I’m not one of them.

  • Sydney: How are you going to help me?
  • Vaughn: We’ll figure something out. You’ll run faster if I’m chasing you.

  • Sydney: I’ll be fine. And they need you in the bunker. If we don’t get Elena. . .
  • Vaughn: Syd.
  • Sydney: Don’t say it. I’ll see you in a few minutes.
  • Vaughn: Okay.
  • Sydney: Just in case, yes.
  • Vaughn: Yeah?
  • Sydney: Yeah, I want to marry you.