Alias

Season 2 Episode 3

Cipher

5
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 13, 2002 on ABC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
226 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Sydney must outwit Sark in order to find a crucial piece of intel. Meanwhile, Jack faces Sydney's mother for the first time in almost 20 years. Will finally meets Vaughn and Sloane is haunted by his wife's death.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • What a great adventure episode

    8.0
    This one really had that exciting motion, fast turning storylines and lot of happened. From the satellite launch to the Seberia. And I most say they really had that kind of stunning scenery there - that ice gave and under the ice in the end..



    And ofcourse this episode marked that Sydney's mother and father saw each other again. And that wasn't too bad..



    Anyway, the episode was exciting, the music box was brought in again and Will - he is somehow part of it too. Using him to get the names.. and how Syndey felt they are using him.. and he should be able to move on.moreless
  • Bad one

    9.0
    El enemigo vuelve a mostrar su cara. Sloane? Sí y la muerte que lo persigue y juega con su mente. Irina? También, con ese juego que te quiero tanto hija y qué fue de tu vida en todos estos años entendeme por favor no soy tan mala como parece al menos no con vos te quiero. Pero hablo de Sark y de su incesante búsqueda por Rambaldi. Rambaldi y esa música tan siglo XV y ese aire tan actual. Sidney luchando contra el mal con los tan buenos de la CIA que qué van a hacer con semejante tecnología? Salvar al mundo? Administrarlo como el bien supremo que son? ...moreless
  • Review

    9.5
    I liked seeing Sark brought back into the big picture, he was one of the primary bad guys at the end of season 1 - basically ever since the episode where he killed the head of K-Dirrecterette to make sure thta he had his place where he needed to be. The ending when he got capped in the knee and Sydney fell into the water was the best ending so far this season. Very cliffhanger quality Alias that I am used to seeing out of this show. Ending the episode with action means you start the next one off with a bang, which is always a good way to start an epsiode. I really enjoyed Wills dream sequence that gave them the information that they needed - I thought it would have been bad writing had they just gone to Sydneys mother for everything they needed from now on. Jack Bristow and Lauras meeting for the first time was pretty intense. The ending "You still havent told her..." line is classic Alais that I hope is expanded on in future episodes with a nice flashback story or something. Fantastic episode all around.moreless
  • At last the return of Rambaldi Rambaldi while being mentioned in the previous two episodes finally comes back into the picture. The artifact of the day is a music box whose song holds the formal for zero point energy.moreless

    9.6
    Now you are either a hater or lover of the special effects on this episode. I thought they did a great job the tunnel scene was very cool and the look at the rocket from below was exceptional. Sydney walking along the plank could have been better but still looked pretty good for T.V. and the scenery inserts were well done. A lot of people criticized the snow I didn’t think it was horrible. I mean the computer-generated snow was pretty bad but the fake paper snow was fine by me and I didn’t have a problem with the caverns either. Altogether the amount of effects and what I think was a good execution of them still gets them a high grade. The acting was once again amazing with Lena Olin once again being a major contributor. Her scenes with Sydney are great and her scene with Jack was simple and quick but given the situation it only makes sense and adds to the scene. However one of the best scenes in the episode is between Will and Vaughn. They obviously both like Sydney and I’m pretty sure they both know it. Also having Sark back is a pleasant surprise.



    The episode once again greatly expands on Sydney’s relationship with her mother. For Sydney’s entire attempt to keep her relationship wither her mother from getting personal, that is exactly what is happening. Irina is a tricky one and is using events of Sydney’s life that not even she remembers to get close to her. Sydney is of course curious as well and finds out the information and ends up telling her mother defiantly giving her mother an in into her personal life. Jack sees this and warns Irina to stay away from Sydney, which I’m sure, she wont listen to. Their scene was the first time they have met in a long time. It is short and to the point which really only makes sense because Jack doesn’t want to make it personal however that is exactly what Irina wants to do. The Rambaldi piece was pretty isolated and to itself but either way it was a very cool story with a very cool artifact. Writing continues be on its game. As previously mentioned the scene between Will and Vaughn was a great scene. The talk between Jack and Irina while short felt just right and they included a lot of nice action in this one.



    Finally the episode has a very fast paced style that remains me a lot of the first season. Including two missions and ending in a cliffhanger also reminiscent of season 1.



    Special Effects: 10

    Acting: 10

    Direction: 9

    Writing: 9

    Style: 10



    Final Rating: 9.6moreless
  • Will is jealous of Vaughn!

    9.3
    Sark is now in control of Irena's organisation, and SD-6, the CIA & Sark are all trying to locate another Rambaldi artifact, a music box.



    Jack finally faces Irena for the first time in 20 years but the conversation wasn't what I expected. Ireana is starting to win Sydney over, but she didn't get anywhere with Jack.



    Will & Vaugn meet for the first time and you can see right away that Will is jealous of him & knew that Vaughn had feelings for Syd. And did I detect a hint of Jealousy from Vaughn too.



    My favorite part of the episode was when Syd told Sloan that Emily's death wasn't his fault. It must have taken a great deal of self control to say that directly to Sloan with a straight face.



    The ending was cool with Sydney trapped under the ice



    And what did Jack do to Sydney after Irena left?

    moreless
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

Janet MacLachlan

Janet MacLachlan

Jane Banks

Guest Star

Endre Hules

Endre Hules

Mr. Vashko

Guest Star

Tom Kiesche

Tom Kiesche

Cooper

Guest Star

Terry O'Quinn

Terry O'Quinn

F.B.I. Special Officer Kendall

Recurring Role

Patricia Wettig

Patricia Wettig

Dr. Judy Barnett

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (7)

    • The list of Russian authors on Sark's laptop, Will saw during his hypnosis:
      1) Dostoevsky
      2) Nabokov
      3) Tolstoy
      4) Chekov

    • Goof: The luge sled is capable of speeds of up to 150 mph and she needs to go two miles in 12 seconds. At 150 mph, it would take her 48 seconds to go two miles.

    • The high-powered "luge" that Sydney uses to race the flames of the launch is shown to reach 125, whether that is mph or kph, which is a high speed. One would assume since she is racing for her life, that she isn't going to slow down even as she exits. As she exits the exhaust tunnel, she immediately "tucks, ducks and rolls" off of the "luge". Any motorcycle aficionado will tell you that isn't a smart move without plently of buffer between you and the concrete. The suit Sydney is wearing doesn't appear to be thick or leather, at the very least the suit should be in shreds and at worst, Sydney would be road taffy.

    • Goof: In the scene right after Sydney comes out of the exhaust tunnel with fire behind her, you can see the wire for the luge pulling her.

    • In a real satellite launch the payload (the satellite) would be very carefully wrapped in a cocoon at the very top of the rocket and be multiple layers deep into it. You would not be able to access it while on the launch-pad, let alone in a hurry. Satellites take months or years to assemble.

    • When touring the launch facility the greeter talks about how environmentally friendly the launch is, and how the propellent gas is processed. However the exhaust tube leads to an open-air area, and there is no evidence of any waste collection or the high volumes of water that are usually pumped into those areas to help keep down the heat.

    • When sitting outside the launch facility, Dixon is dressed in full camouflage, right down to the face paint, & sitting next to a tree, to further "blend in"... Then he opens his laptop, to gain access to the Launch Site's security camera's... He uses a Mac Powerbook because amidst all that Blending he opened a Bright silver laptop, with a Glowing Apple logo on the other side of the screen!

  • QUOTES (9)

    • (Jack visits Irina in holding)
      Jack: I want to make something very clear to you. There are people here who believe you can repay the debt you owe this country, through your continued cooperation... I am not one of them. And if Sydney in any way becomes victim to your end game... I will kill you. She spent most of her life believing you were dead... She'll get used to it again.

    • Irina: You know, you haven't yet asked me how I could shoot my own daughter.
      Sydney: No, I haven't.
      Irina: I assume you wouldn't need this combination so urgently if you didn't know where the music box was. Sark won't hesitate to kill you. I don't want to lose the chance to explain myself someday.

    • Marshall: (to Sydney) ...if you're stuck in the ducts when the rocket launches, then, well, boom. And I'd miss you.

    • Barnett: Well, I'm sorry, but I am not in the habit of helping a father manipulate his daughter. No matter how good his intentions may be.
      Jack: I see. And is your opinion here based on what's best for Sydney, or for the agency? Because the fact is if Sydney doesn't talk to Laura, the CIA learns nothing.
      Barnett: So you still think of her as Laura, even though that was her alias.

    • Sydney: Seeing her again, I'm realizing there are these gaps in my memory from around the time she left. Dad... do you remember the Thanksgiving play I was in that year in school? Because I sort of do. I mean, I have an impression of it, but I can't remember... was I a pilgrim or an Indian...? (He stares off.) What?
      Jack: You were neither. You were a turkey. You were the only turkey that was spared to celebrate the harvest.

    • Sydney: You want me to talk to her again.
      Kendall: Mr. Sark has assumed control of your mother's operation -
      Sydney: Please stop referring to her as my mother.

    • Dixon: Watch your step. If you fall through the ice, it'll freeze over in four seconds.
      Sydney: Good to know.

    • Sark: It was you giving us problems at the launch. I'd offer you passage back to civilization, but my submersible only seats four.
      Sydney: It's the thought that counts.

    • Irina: Speaking of Ms. Adams... just before I left I remember her encouraging you to try out for your school's Thanksgiving play. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but in the twenty years since I last saw you I often wondered... what part did you play?
      Sydney: I don't remember. It was around the time I was told my mother had died. Everything else is a blur.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode won the 2003 Excellence in Production Design Award for "Television - Episode of a Single Camera Television Series". This episode was nominated for the 2003 C.A.S. Award for "Award Outstanding Sound Mixing for Television - Series".

    • Music from this episode includes:
      "Spanish Moss" by Saint Low

    • While Sri Lanka is a good spot for launching satellites, the location may be a nod to science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke who first predicted (some say invented) communications satellites and who lived in Sri Lanka for a good part of his life (up until his death).

    • If you look, the rocket that is going to be "launched" is a Saturn V - the rocket that boosted the Apollo missions to the moon. This is made very clear in part because of the very distinctive black/white paint scheme. The images used were a combination of stock from real 1960s and 1970s launches, CGI, and models, but the film used most was taken from the launch scene in the movie Apollo 13 (created with CGI because no one has launched a real Saturn V since Skylab was put into orbit in 1973). The only exception to the Saturn V being used are in the close ups with Sydney - seeing her walk the gantry (obvious CGI created for this episode) and when she is tying in the cicuit board. Everything else is Saturn V stuff.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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