Season 2 Episode 15

A Free Agent

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Feb 09, 2003 on ABC
out of 10
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214 votes

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Episode Summary

Sydney must make a life-defining decision regarding her future with the agency, while Sloane re-emerges and continues his obsessive quest to piece together the mysterious Rambaldi artifacts - with the reluctant aid of a kidnapped scientist. Meanwhile, Dixon's marriage is put to the test after he tells his wife the truth about his occupation.moreless

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  • Jack:"Legally,he's right.Ethically,he's an ass."

    Although the last episode contained the Project Helix revelation,it didn't address the biggest fallout of the events in "Phase One":what will happen to Dixon and Marshall;what will Syd's mission be now that she's fulfilled her duty;where has Sloane disappeared to and for what reason.Because it didn't address these plot points,"Double Agent" felt more like a "filler" episode,one that was stuck in to pass the time until the writers could address the larger issues.As a result,"A Free Agent"feels like the episode that should have followed "Phase One".Despite the fact that it is similar to the previous episode,it is,after all,the episode where Sloane and Syd can finally just kick back and be enemies and this is definitely well worth watching...

    The episode starts with Syd and Vaughn waking up together in bed.Now that she has brought enough information against the Alliance to shut the entire operation down,she realizes she doesn't have much of a purpose at the CIA.It's her graduation day today and she wonders what she wants to do in her life.Seriously now,when the hell did she had time to take a class this year?And talking about class,I had completely forgoten the fact that she was still going to university.Anyway,the problem is that she's proven herself so worthy to the CIA and her efforts have been so effective that Kendall isn't about to let her go that easily.And his loathsome response to her might seem like blackmail,but it's actually the only option he has.

    She is graduating from university and believes it's time she graduate from the CIA as well.Until she gets that congratulatory phone call from Sloane...It's at that moment she realizes her was twofold:to bring an end to the Alliance and to make Sloane pay.His mocking voice on the other end of the phone is enough to bring that reality right to her,and she,of course,begins to reconsider her plans.Actually,nothing else could happen here.If the writers had chosen not to end her spy life,how could have been able to continue the storyline.Alias couldn't exist without Sydney on the spy world.

    To the subplot now,Dixon had quite some screen time here and he's still pissed at Syd.When in "Phase One" he said that he didn't want to talk to her I thought that it was something for which he would regret later.He meant what he had said.He said that if Syd was so concerned about what might had happened to him if she had told him the truth,why tell him only when it was for her own benefit?This isn't true,actually.There wasn't any other alternative and he would have learned it anyway sooner or later.Now he is in the same situation where Syd was in the beginning.Diane turns on him for the same reason he has turned against Syd.He is in a dilemma:he has to choose between his family and the CIA.No matter how much he loves his wife and his children,I think he's going to choose the CIA.He is a patriot and now that he realizes how much damage has inadvertently caused,he will want to repair it.

    Marshall,on the other hand-now the king of the CIA techies-seems unfazed by what has happened,but then again,he was never that close to Syd.Anyway,he's incredibly funny.I'm enjoying seeing him help the good guys.We also had a little of Irena and Sark.The moment between her and Syd together was very touching.Syd almost cried when she told to her mother that she couldn't see her anymore.I believe that Irena is a good person,despite all the things she has done,but up until now,we haven't seen her doing something special,except for the mission with Jack and Syd.I can't just watch her behind the bars talking to others.


    --After two episodes of absence we saw the main theme song again.

    --Christian Slater had a smaller part than Ethan Hawke's,but it looks like it may continue to the next episode.What has he been preparing all this time and needs two more months?He's probably hiding something.I wonder if he is going to be able to assemble the Rambaldi artifacts for Sloane.If he does,what sort of weapon will it be?

    --Irina mentioned that Jack had told her about Syd's success.Is Jack visiting Irena regularly?What's going on with them?

    --I'm still feeling sorry about Francie.She couldn't be there for Syd to congratulate her.

    --Sloane:"I'm approaching the finish line of a 30-year odyssey.I won't let anyone else take the final steps for me".

    So,Sloane's investigation started 30 years ago when he was in the Army Corps of Engineers and was told to study a Rambaldi manuscript.

    --The scene with Gemler and his eye was really creepy.

    --Sloane wouldn't hesitate to torture a kid.

    --Sloane has also bought a Tuscan villa and is planning to stash Emily there.

    Number 47:the magnetometer is stored in box 47 47 at the bank.


    The scene in the propeller...Cool!!!

    Syd:"Listen to me,you son of a ****.You have been a plague on my life.You repulse me.Every time I sat across from you,listening to your lies,all I could do was fantasize about slashing your throat".

    Vaughn:"Marshall,welcome to the CIA".

    Marshall:"Heard that one before".

    Syd:"Good call on the gun,I would have said Beretta M9".

    Vaughn:"Figured I had a fifty fifty chance".

    Neil Caplan:"Are you telling me these pieces exist?"

    Sloane:"You're sitting in a warehouse full of them".

    Sloane:"Ah.You must be the man that Sark told me about.The man that Sydney was willing to kill me for".

    Vaughn:"She would have killed you for a lot less".

    --Cool car chase..

    --This episode's locations:Mojave Desert,California;Switzerland

    --This episode's special look:Syd wears a gown and mortar board for her graduation.

    --This episode's aliases:In the Mojave,Vaughn poses as an arms dealer,Mr.Ludlow.Syd is a maintenance technician in overalls.Sloane poses as an elderly man who wants to deposit $50million at the Amcor bank.

    --This episode's gadgets:Gemler has a cybernetic eye,a wetware ocular implant with a twelve-hour internal memory.Caplan has built a very sensitive magnetometer.Sloane wears a mask that's lined with carbon powder that allows it to fool an X-ray.

    --This episode's cliffhanger:Sloane:"You,my dear,you'll be driving me out of here".What will happen next?...

  • Review

    The graduation storyline was a little off to me. We havent seen Sydney do anything as far as schoolwork as long as since the beginning of season 1, so the plot seemed to be aimed to possibly write off school and have her full job be with the CIA, which is obviously a good thing for the show. Arvin and Sark scenes stole the show - both of them portray an amazing villian in this show and it was good to see them getting some time on screen again, just giving us an overview of what they are planning on doing. I also think that the show needs to pick back up the Francie and Will storyline. Its been likely about 4-5 days in real time now, so Will had to have tried to make a move on Francie again, even though we havent seen one scene of them together since the huge reveal at the end of "Phase One". Decent episode, but not one of my favorites.moreless
  • Sydney is graduating from university

    Sydney is graduating from university, and frankly I was as surprised as Vaughn was, seriously, *when* did Syd have the time to attend her classes, study & graduate.

    Now that there's no more Alliance or SD-6 Syd wants to quit the CIA, but Kendall won't let her & tells her if she quits she wont have access to Irena anymore. I loved Jacks quote:

    Jack: (About Kendall) Legally, he's right. Ethically he's an ass.

    We finally get to see a little of Irena. Another good thing.

    Sloan comes out of hiding and contacts Syd & warns here not to come after him. And he admits that he planned everything that went down. Evil, Evil man. I wonder what he's up to now that Syd is his "hostage"?

    Dixon tells his wife the truth & the CIA has offered him a job but his wife tells him that if he accepts she'll leave him.

  • Finally some Irina

    So this was finally some dealing with the fact tht SD-6 was destoyed. But it also showed that this story isn't nearly finished. Sydney has some major things to deal with.

    Sloane planned it all. For thirty years he has been thinking about destroying the Alliance, and he's known all along about Syndey and Jack. I really wonder why he wanted the Alliance destroyed. And how he planned everything that went down, perhaps he had a lot of luck, but he's also just very smart. Scary, evil, but still smart. And he still has something with Sydney :S I wonder what he's going to do with her.

    So we finally saw a little Irina again! God I do love that character. And this time she really was good. I´ve been wondering what she was like from the beginning of the season, and sometimes I belive she´s good and then I don´t but this time she showes love fro Sydney. The real kind. Telling her to stop the CIA could´ve been part of her plan but you could see in her eyes, that it wasn´t. She told Sydney to quit because it´s best for her. It was spoken like a true mother.

    Sydney obviously won´t quit. The shows is the middle of the season, and has some great story´s to work with. But the fact that she wants to quit has to be delt with. Kendalls action was low, but he´s kinda right. I don´t even thinkg that Sydney could live the non-spy life. No action, no thrill. Plus, she would have loads of free time. Especially now she's graduating, wich really is a miracle.

    Dixon tols his wife and now has to choose between the job and the girl. I think it would be though for Dixon to walk away from the job, because he really wants to make up for all the bad he's done. But leaving his wife and children wouldn't be the right thing either. Man, poor guy.

    Oh yeah before I forget: I LOVE MARSHALL!

Kevin Weisman

Kevin Weisman

Marshall J. Flinkman

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner

Sydney Anne Bristow

Merrin Dungey

Merrin Dungey

Francine 'Francie' Calfo

Carl Lumbly

Carl Lumbly

Marcus R. Dixon

Ron Rifkin

Ron Rifkin

Arvin Sloane

Michael Vartan

Michael Vartan

Michael C. Vaughn

Christian Slater

Christian Slater


Guest Star

Evan Arnold

Evan Arnold


Guest Star

Paul Michael

Paul Michael

Tobias Dennet

Guest Star

Yvonne Farrow

Yvonne Farrow

Diane Dixon

Recurring Role

Terry O'Quinn

Terry O'Quinn

F.B.I. Special Officer Kendall

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Dixon asks Sydney how long she's known the truth about SD-6, Sydney says "two years". This is a serious time-line issue because in the previous episode Sydney tells agent Lennox that Danny was killed "last year", and seeing as how Danny was killed 3 months before Sydney found out the truth about SD-6, this "2 year" time line is impossible.

    • Number 47: During the briefing at the CIA, Jack displays an ID card of Neil Caplan that expires in (20)07-14-04 (14-04-07).

    • Number 47: The magnetometer Sloane took was kept in box 4747.

    • It is established, that the Rambaldi Journal is written in Italian and encoded, or else CIA and SD-6 wouldn't have to decipher the pages first, as seen in various episodes of season 1. However, the "gifted" mathematician seems to have no problems in reading the original documents.

    • A few things about Zurich/Switzerland:
      1. In Switzerland vehicles have a license plate on the front, but the ones shown in the episode are on the back of the cars. The front only has the number and the two letters for the "state" without the flags.
      2. The interior of the bank looks not like a typical Swiss bank, more like an American bank.
      3. The streets shown during the car chase do not look like Swiss streets. In Switzerland the line is white, not yellow/black. The traffic signs shown are not "Swiss" ones. Except for the skyline it is obvious nothing was shot in Switzerland.

    • Sydney and Michael are in a bank trying to get to Sloane, aiming their guns at him while his bodyguards are aiming their guns at Sydney and Michael. But Sydney's finger isn't even on the trigger, which is odd, given the circumstances.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Mercenary: (to Vaughn) If you would've simply told me that the CIA was interested in my client list I would have told you to go make love... with your mother.

    • Sydney: (About Sloane) He planned for this, he wanted The Alliance gone, and this family he's taken hostage, these are not the only people whose lives he'll destroy... (With frustration in her voice) this is never going to stop.

    • (Sloane calls Sydney to congratulate her for her graduation)
      Sloane: Our first honest conversation Sydney, and you have nothing to say.
      Sydney: Listen to me you son of a bitch, you have been a plague on my life, you repulse me. Every time I sat across from you to listen to your lies, all I could do is fantasize about slashing your throat.
      Sloane: Well I can't pretend to be surprised you feel that way, my only hope is that you can learn to forgive me.

    • Sark: I made contact with our point man. He's assembling a team for the bank but I must question your decision to lead them in yourself. In spite of your precautions, it's wildly risky, given your new level of notoriety.
      Sloane: I'm approaching the finish line of a thirty-year odyssey. I won't let anyone else take the final steps for me.

    • Dixon: How long have you known?
      Sydney: Two years. I wanted to tell you so many times, but I was ordered not to. The CIA had no way to verify what I knew in my heart was true - that you would never consciously work for a man like Arvin Sloane.
      Dixon: We were partners. You lied to me, then chose to tell me the truth when it was convenient for you. I never want to see you again.

    • Caplan: I don't understand. Why do you want me? I'm nobody.
      Sloane: You're going to help me put them together because, you see, Mr. Caplan, I know that you feel like you're only a hostage right now. But I assume you became a scientist to discover what secrets the universe has to offer. Believe me, when we're done here, you'll be thanking me for giving you the answers. So why don't you go ahead and take a look?

    • Jack: Simply put, it's the study of geometric objects and how they fit together. All Alliance facilities have been raided. Yet we haven't found a single Rambaldi artifact. If Sloane was expecting our raid, he could've had everything moved to a secure location. He must be using Caplan to help him assemble a Rambaldi device.
      Vaughn: So what happens when Sloane puts the pieces together?
      Jack: Whether or not you believe Rambaldi was a prophet, he did anticipate technological advances, many of which seem most applicable to warfare. It's likely Sloane is building a weapon.

    • Sloane: You don't really think it was a coincidence that I happened to be away these past two weeks, do you? The intel that you acquired that allowed the CIA to take down the Alliance. I provided that. My involvement with the Alliance is merely a means to an end.
      Sydney: Why are you telling me this?
      Sloane: Because knowing that I'm alive is going to tempt you to come after me. Don't. We've helped set each other free, Sydney. And as much as I wish you well, I will end your life if you get in my way.

    • (On the phone)
      Sydney: Hello?
      Sloane: Congratulations, Sydney. You have so many things to celebrate today. I, myself, am still coping with the pain and disappointment of learning that you and Jack were double agents. The two people I trusted most in the world.

    • Sydney: I'm thinking of leaving the CIA. Which would mean giving up my clearance to see you.
      Irina: You're too forgiving, Sydney. Don't pretend I'm something I'm not. I've never been a real mother to you and... you don't owe me a second chance. If you make this decision about me, you're a fool. In fact, if you decide to stay I won't agree to see you anymore. Take care of yourself.

    • Sydney: I've had two years of perspective! I am through letting Arvin Sloane control my life and I don't need your approval to resign! I told you as a courtesy!
      Kendall: Well then, I will pay you the courtesy of informing you that if you leave this agency, you forfeit the clearance to see your mother.
      Sydney: What? Are you blackmailing me?
      Kendall: Civilians aren't authorized to be in this facility, let alone have access to a terrorist that we can't even acknowledge is in our custody. In or out kiddo - can't have it both ways. (Kendall walks away)
      Jack: Legally he's right... ethically he's an ass.

    • Sydney: I'm graduating today.
      Vaughn: What? When the hell did you have time to take a class this year?
      Sydney: I wasn't even going to go to the ceremony but... And I've been lying here remembering why I never gave school up and why I killed myself writing papers instead of just... I don't know, accepting that I'd be an agent forever.
      Vaughn: You're going to quit the CIA, aren't you?

    • Sloane: Ah... you must be the man that Sark told me about. The man that Sydney was willing to kill me for.
      Vaughn: She would have killed you for a lot less.

    • (After his debriefing, Marshall accepts a job with the CIA)
      Vaughn: Marshall, I'm Michael Vaughn, welcome to the CIA.
      Marshall: I've heard that one before.
      Vaughn: Well, this time's for real.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Fight sequence that resembles Raiders of the Lost Ark: When Sydney fights a man in front of a plane, and knocks him into the propeller.