Cipher is the third episode of Season 2 of Alias and the 25th episode overall. Sydney must outwit Sark in order to find a crucial piece of intel. Meanwhile, Jack faces Irina for the first time in almost 20 years. Will finally meets Vaughn and Sloane is haunted by his wife's death. Sloane, who drinks only water is seen drinking whiskey in his office. We are told that Emily's garden is dead but Sloane finds it in full bloom.
Sydney learns the T-Wave Camera she had stolen was a prototype, and that the Asiatic Space Agency and their client Sark will launch the real camera, which can see 100 meters through solid matter, into space in 72 hours from a site in Sri Lanka. Her mission is to wire it so SD-6 can tap into the image.
At the CIA, Kendall wants Syd to talk to Irina because Sark has assumed control of her organization, so she must know what he's looking for. Meanwhile, Jack tells the CIA psychiatrist that he wants to keep Sydney away from Irina. She notes that Jack refers to his ex-wife as Laura.
Irina tells Sydney that Sark is after a Rambaldi-designed music box. Encoded in the tune is a numerical equation for 0-Point Energy. Sydney rebuffs Irina's attempts to talk about her childhood. Later, Jack warns Syd about Irina, but says he trusts her judgement.
Marshall gives Sydney a hydraulic luge disguised as a suitcase. A grieving Sloane gives her something more personal: Emily's seed box. As part of her counter-mission, Vaughn gives her a circuitboard to attach to the camera and suggests bringing in Will, who's been staying with Syd and Francie, because he may remember the code Sark was working on that activates the music box. When they do meet, Will is surprised at Vaughn's youth and is jealous at how much he knows about their lives.
In Sri Lanka, Sydney disguised in a red wig as a European business woman, appears at the launch facility as Dixon breaks down the surveillance. She then dons a worker's jumpsuit and luges through the exhaust ports to the launch deck. A suspicious Sark speeds the launch. Syd barely completes wiring the circuitboard and luges out at 125 mph. The camera locates the music box in the center of a Siberian ice cavern.
Under hypnosis, Will remembers the names on Sark's computer — Dosteyevsky, Nabakov, Tolstoy, Checkov. Vaughn notices Sydney's feelings for Will. Later, Irina decodes the names and warns Sydney about Sark's ruthlessness, saying she wants the chance to explain herself.
Sloane receives a ghostly call from the Baranka B&B in Sonoma, CA — where he an Emily were supposed to go before she died.
Jack confronts Irina, who says they had their good moments together. He threatens to kill her if Sydney is harmed. She asks cryptically, "You haven't told her what you did to her after I disappeared, have you?"
In Siberia, Sydney receives the code from Vaughn and plays the music box. She records the tune and acts to disable the artifact. The SD-6 team is ambushed by Sark's men, however, and Sydney falls under the ice.
- Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
- Ron Rifkin as Arvin Sloane
- Michael Vartan as Michael Vaughn
- Bradley Cooper as Will Tippin
- Merrin Dungey as Francie Calfo
- Carl Lumbly as Marcus Dixon
- Kevin Weisman as Marshall Flinkman
- David Anders as Julian Sark
- Lena Olin as Irina Derevko
- Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
- Terry O'Quinn as FBI Assistant Director Kendall
- Patricia Wettig as Dr. Judy Barnett
- Janet MacLachlan as Jane Banks
- Endre Hules as Mr. Vashko
- Tom Kiesche as SD-6 Agent Cooper
- Keith Lewis as SD-6 Agent Novak
- Alex Morris as Homeless Vet
- Weston Blakesley as Barfly
- Mark Colson as OPS Director
- Strahil Goodman as A.S.A. Technician
- Ilya Melnikoff as A.S.A. Technician
- Joel Guggenheim as Agent on Call
- Paul Mendoza as Bartender
- Kavita Patil as Desk Attendant
- Ruben Duarte as Sri Lankan Gatekeeper.
- "Spanish Moss" by Saint Low
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|