Season 4 Episode 17

A Clean Conscience

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Apr 27, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
216 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Nadia's former caretaker, Sophia, has been severely beaten. She contacts Nadia and asks to meet her. Sloane is told by Sophia that she was beaten up, because someone is trying to track Nadia down, so he and Jack decide to tell their daughters the truth – Elena Derevko, the third and the cruelest of the Derevko sisters, has been surveilling both Sydney and Nadia for a decade. Meanwhile, Jack's doctor advises him to tell Sydney about his illness.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Review

    The episode wasn't one of the greatest that the show has done, but the ending more then made up for entire episode itself. Sophia "Elena" Derevko has been in our eye for almost a half of a dozen episodes now and we were 100% oblivious to this fact. I thought the end of this episode was very powerful.

    Dixon and Vaughns mission was an interesting thing to watch. The beginning of it was kind of boring, but it got better as it went along. I think the scene in the bathroom just took a little too much airtime. The capture of the man who was supposed to meet with the three men was a fun scene to watch as was Dixons scene at the airfield where he had to shoot Raimes. Love the connection of "I dont think theres a bullet in the world that could kill him" and the shot Dixon fired into him wasnt lethal. Dont know where the storyline goes from here and Jack and Arvins master plan has also been revealed in this episode. They have been working together to make sure there daughters are safe...very good writing there.moreless
  • Opens the whole story line of the series!

    This is the episode where it all becomes clear what is happening in the series! we have "sophia" or should i call her... Elena!:-O. ues thats right, the cruel sister was around all along, at least in nadias life... this is a pivotal episode, whatever will happen next... keep watching!
  • A Clean Conscience

    A Clean Conscience - All In The Family

    A Clean Conscience, an episode to follow one (Another Mr Sloane) that I thought was pretty good and to me most of the story in it seemed like a fill in. Of course they needed this episode to bring in the “Sophia is Ylena” story but apart from that certainly wasn’t my favourite.

    The running theme for this episode was clearly present in the Sophia storyline of this episode although may not have been so prominent otherwise. For this episode it was All In The Family

    Jack Talking To The Doctor About Sydney

    So at least Jack sees someone about the genetic mutations he is suffering from. It was a nice nod towards family when the doctor knew a lot about Sydney, one thing he did urge Jack to do is to tell Sydney about the illness that is slowly killing him (It makes me want to cry) and to be honest I hope he does soon; we can’t have Sydney in the dark all along.

    One thing I can’t quite understand is the writer’s motives for bringing this illness onto Jack; he is one of the strongest characters in the show. There’s something inside of me (blind hope, most likely) that thinks that they’ll end up being some miracle cure but another part of me (the more rational, objective side) thinks there is a chance we may have to say goodbye to Jack, but I doubt it. What does Jack’s illness add to the over all story? I can’t see how it slots in just yet but as everything in Alias, truth takes time. I just hope that it’s all for the better.

    Sloane Describes Sophia as his family

    His words were something like “You’re family to Nadia so you’re family to me” and to be honest I think he knew there was more than meets the eye to Sophia at that point and it was just another Sloane-ly comment. Hopefully he’ll live to regret his words when everyone discovers who Sophia really is.

    Watching Sloane take Sophia’s print then pass it off to Marshall for testing was what I thought would be the way he found out about Sophia’s duplicity, although all we got was a killing of some guy, probably the only person Ylena got close to being caught for killing.

    Sloane Knew Who Was After His Daughter

    When first mentioned in the episode his remark seemed cryptic but all became clear in the scene where Jack and Sloane come clean to their daughters. I wrote this down at the time as a note, something to do with all the family stuff going on in this episode but can be better reviewed later on in a different section, with a better knowledge on the situation.

    Dixon and Raimes Talk About Family

    Supposedly the main story of the episode was the Dixon story arc, although again I felt it kind of a fill in. It was nice that in the middle of it all Dixon and Raimes had a nice talk about family, tied nicely in with my theme.

    The mission annoyed me in that it rarely involved any other members of APO asides from Vaughn and Dixon, and even when it did it was only short scenes about getting intel to help them. Looking back you also see how rarely Vaughn is used throughout this episode, which is such a shame because he may have been able to bring another level to the story instead of what was supposedly a Dixon-centric episode. To me the story fell flat, with 2 agents still on the mission at the end of the episode, what wouldn’t surprise me is that if in the next episode they’re both back with a 3 or 4 line explanation to how the mission ended.

    To me one of the best parts of the mission was the talk between Dixon and Raimes about family and how it changed Dixon as a man as well as an agent. When Diane was mentioned once more it brought a nice feel to the scene in that we got a little insight into Dixon, more so than we would usually see.

    Jack and Sloane Come Clean To Their Daughters

    We finally get some more insight into what Jack and Sloane have been scheming about for the last season and now they see that for some part they may not only have to look out for themselves but for their daughters and they tell them about Ylena’s surveillance.

    What struck me about this storyline is that it was what was originally intended for Sydney to find in Wittenberg, that someone had documented her and Nadia’s lives, although it was originally it was supposed to be Jack, now it’s Ylena. Are they taking the story in the same direction as they originally intended at the start of this season? What will this bring to the story knowing that the whole time Alias has been in existence, Sydney’s life has been watched by her estranged aunt? What will it add to Alias that needs to be brought?

    Ylena Is The Cruellest Of The Derevkos

    Ironic that this should be brought up seeing as she is the only sister we have not been able to see in action, see her capacity for cruelty and evil.

    If she’s anything like either of her sisters we can assume she can be a bad ass when she wants to be.

    In bringing Ylena into the mix it brings along a few questions along. Why did Ylena fall out with Irina? Did Irina know that baby Nadia was in the care of Ylena? I’m sure both questions will probably be answered in time but until this episode I was sure I knew the answer to the second question, I assumed that she did know until I learned that they fell out about 30 years ago which coincides with the time in which Nadia would have shown up at the orphanage, it leads to the possibility that that was why they fell out, over Nadia so to speak.

    Well the best part of the episode was the Ylena story arc, so I’ve very optimistic for what’s to come.


    “I’m not suggesting you write you memoirs, although it would make a hell of a read…” – Jack’s Doctor

    (As we all thought, Jack has many secrets and has had a life full of scandal, get writing, after all it does sound like something I would enjoy.)

    “You’re father is a good man, I can tell” – Sophia

    (Do you think she knew he was Arvin Sloane at this point, being Ylena Derevko and all??)

    “Because if they called it code breaking they couldn’t charge a thirty grand tuition” – Sydney

    (A course in hacking, well said…)

    “Sydney has had to face so many things in her life, too many for someone so young and now given my condition, I don’t want to burden her, it’s unfair” – Jack

    (We all know Sydney’s life has had it’s ups and downs but how will she react to a dying father?)

    Jack: “There’s something we need to tell you, something you have the right to know, it concerns your mother’s sister.”

    Sydney: “Katya?”

    Jack: “Ylena. She was one of the KGB’s foremost assassins, responsible for the murders of countless diplomats and politicians throughout Eastern Europe. In the course of her work she earned the reputation for being the cruellest of the Derevko women.”

    Nadia: “Why are you telling us this now?”

    Sloane “Because almost 30 years ago Ylena disappeared, it was rumoured that she had a falling out with Irina. Ylena severed all ties with the KGB as well as her family, both the CIA and the KGB tried to find her, but to no avail, even Irina couldn’t locate her.

    Sydney: “But you found something?”

    Jack: “I received a message from an associate about a year ago that led me to one of Ylena’s safe houses in Warsaw.”

    Sloane: “Inside we found this”

    Sydney: (looks at pictures) “That’s me in college.”

    Nadia: “This is my old apartment in Argentina.”

    Sydney: “My grad school transcripts”

    Nadia: “I was 9 here”

    Jack: “Given what’s here we can assume that she’s been surveilling you both for about a decade.”

    Sloane: “We can also assume she was responsible for the attack on Sophia”

    Nadia: Why, what does she want from us?”

    Sloane: “I don’t know, we’re doing everything we can to find out.”

    (Change To Ylena’s Location) Weird Assistant to Ylena: “It’s me, the plane is in the air, do we know where they’re headed?

    Ylena: “I’ll contact you once I have their final destination.”

    Weird Assistant to Ylena: “I’ll be waiting, I won’t let you down Ylena.”

    (Change back to APO) Sydney: “Do we have any idea where Ylena is now?”

    Sloane: “At this point she could be anywhere”

    (I started out just taking a few lines but ended up noting the entire scene, Alias excellence shines through in an amazing plot twist.)


    · The name of the terrorist cell was the Beograd Faction, that’s the second organisation with “faction” in their name this season (Also 3rd Faction)

    · When a brief stated that “Dixon faces a moral dilemma while on a mission with Vaughn” I assumed that Vaughn would play up, instead it was Raimes

    · Was anyone else yelling don’t shoot to Dixon when he had the gun pointed to Raimes? Did anyone else feel relief wash over you when we find out he didn’t actually kill the guy??

    · Did no one else guess that the necklace was a listening device??

    · A Dixon-Centric episode (We’ve also had Marshall, Nadia and Sloane centric eps)

    What’s In A Name?

    The use of name “A Clean Conscience” is pretty self-explanatory taken directly from a quote spoken by Jack’s doctor.

    Scene of the Ep

    Well I quoted the entire thing, it stood out in the episode, of curse the final scene where we find out about Ylena following Syd and Nadia and then discover that she is in fact Sophia.


    Under use of Vaughn, Lack of APO involvement in the mission, The “just filling in” feeling


    The return of Sophia


    The Final Scene

Greg Grunberg

Greg Grunberg

Eric Weiss

Kevin Weisman

Kevin Weisman

Marshall J. Flinkman

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner

Sydney Anne Bristow

Carl Lumbly

Carl Lumbly

Marcus R. Dixon

Ron Rifkin

Ron Rifkin

Arvin Sloane

Michael Vartan

Michael Vartan

Michael C. Vaughn

Nestor Serrano

Nestor Serrano


Guest Star

Vladimir Mashkov

Vladimir Mashkov


Guest Star

Taso Papadakis

Taso Papadakis

Aleksander Petrovich

Guest Star

Sonia Braga

Sonia Braga

Sophia Vargas

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Behind the guard at the embassy, there is a sign that says "Kun for toriseret personale", supposedly meaning "Authorized personnel only" in Danish, but it is actually quite meaningless. The correct Danish would be "Kun for autoriseret personale".

    • Next to the hotel Russeau there's a shop. The sign reads "Droog schoonmaakster" by which is meant dry cleaner.
      However a dry cleaner translated in Dutch is "stomerij". Literal translation of "droog schoonmaakster" is dry housekeeper.

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (3)


    • "Oceanic Airlines non-stop flight to Sydney is now ready for boarding." This announcement was heard at the airport while Sydney and Nadia were waiting for Sophia. The plane that crashed in the pilot episode of Lost was Oceanic Airlines 815, flying non-stop from Sydney to Los Angeles. The reference is an in-joke since J.J. Abrams is creator and executive producer of both Lost and Alias.

    • Marshall: One gram of hydrosec, Lake Michigan turns into sludge. It's incredible, really, y'know? Dr. Evil sort of way... (takes his pinky and puts to his mouth)
      In reference to the Austin Powers movies. More specifically, Austin Powers' archnemesis: Dr. Evil. Dr. Evil is a parody of various James Bond (007) villains, particularly Ernst Stavro Blofeld of SPECTRE , Dr. Evil routinely hatches schemes to terrorize and take over the world. He often places his little finger near his mouth which intended as a humorous "signature move" for Evil.