Season 4 Episode 4


Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 19, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
243 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sydney and Vaughn are sent on a mission by APO to obtain a sample of a new bio-weapon, known as Ice 5, which can literally freeze a person to death. When the agents learn the substance is going to be sold to a buyer in Damascus, together Sydney and Vaughn have to turn each of the family members against each other while remaining undercover. But when they are found out, there are devastating consequences. Meanwhile Nadia asks Jack for the truth about her mother, and Sydney begins to wonder if Vaughn has really come to terms with Lauren's death.moreless

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  • Ice to See You

    The hiring of various Buffy/Angel writers seems to have had an immediate effect on Alias, as this episode almost completely abandons reality and features people literally smashing to pieces.

    Ice sees Sydney and Vaughn going undercover to track down a deadly new weapon called Ice-5, which when injected into a human body, rapidly turns their body to ice. Meanwhile, Vaughn faces up to the past.

    The Ice-5 device is extremely cool (just noticed the pun) and the special effects as Modell shattered to pieces were amazing. Thankfully, the rest of the storyline never felt like a let down after the explosive teaser sequence.

    The episode is owned, however, by both Michael Vartan and guest star Kelly Macdonald. Vaughn's remorse for killing Lauren is the subplot of the episode and Vartan really nails it. The scene between him and Keira is heartbreaking to watch and excellently played out by both parties.

    There was a lot of action throughout Ice. The big fight scene at the end featured some excellent use of various operating equipment and the close-up of Keira's eye as it frosted over was awesome.

    The photograph subplot was intriguing but I can't actually remember if it was followed up on. My memory of Alias year four is pretty vague, so I'm probably just being forgetful.

    All in all, Ice was an impressive episode, going for more than just visual greatness and culminating in the best hour of the season so far.

    Director: Jeffrey Bell

    Writer: Jeffrey Bell

    Rating: Amoreless
  • A stunning episode from an underrated season. Great character development, stellar guest stars (see Kelly MacDonald), and moving parallels.

    "Ice" is one of my favorite episodes of the later chapters of Alias, simply because of the incredible performances given by Michael Vartan and guest star Kelly MacDonald. The episode started off rather nicely, with a man "explod[ing] like a frozen piñata." Soon, Sydney, Vaughn, and Dixon are off on a mission, and the story begins.

    I cannot say enough about the brilliant Kelly MacDonald, introduced as nurse Kiera MacLaine. She plays her role with wit and stern control, touched with a heart-wrenching vulnerability. The introduction of the character's relationship with baddie-of-the-week Fintan Keene (a reveal that he is her older brother) shows one of tension, and conflicted loyalty. As she says, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." The team soon discovers that her real name is Meghan Keene, former IRA. Her actions led to the death of a father and two boys. With a heartbreaking and touching realism she conveys her shame and regret, her conflict, her struggle to break away from her brother.

    This episode is a fine example of the range of Michael Vartan's skills. As he taunts Dixon to hit him, just the beginnings of Vaughn's emotional wounds are introduced. His connection with MacDonald's character is beautiful. The 'flirty priest' gets under MacLaine's skin, and she gets under his. A tavern confessional between the two is incredibly touching – in order to get Kiera to open up, Vaughn tells her about Lauren, about his overwhelming hate for her, and about how he murdered her. He tells her the toll it has taken on him, how he can't close him eyes, can't sleep. Kiera tells him that forgiveness is a tricky thing, and then opens up about her relationship with Fintan. She is, however incredibly resistant to the thought of breaking away from him. The entire scene is incredibly well-written and well-acted, focusing on forgiveness and shame, and redemption.

    As they return to the hospital, Fintan arrives, boasting that his sister would never betray him. Kelly MacDonald is simply amazing throughout this entire scene, as her character watches her brother prepare to inject the substance (Ice-5) that froze the man in the opening sequence directly into the brain of the man who was trying to get her away from the life she hated. And when Fintan turns to her and says, "You do it," the look on her face is painful to see, as she feels both compelled to do what her brother demands and sickened by hurting someone that was trying to help her. Of course, Sydney bursts in, in the nick of time, and a fight ensues. As Fintan spins and stabs who he thinks is Vaughn with the syringe of Ice-5, it is Kiera who gasps.

    Vaughn holds her as she dies; before she passes, she struggles to tell him that she forgives him. She then draws her final breath, and Vaughn can do nothing but look up at Sydney, helpless. On the plane ride home, Vaughn finally closes his eyes, and sleeps.

    Again, this is one of my personal favorites from season 4. Kelly MacDonald's performance plays a big hand in that, but the main reason is that it's nice to see emotional character development in someone other than Sydney. So, it is highly recommended. A fine piece of television from a fine series.moreless
  • Review

    I dont feel like I am watching Alias this season. There really is no overlying plan, no huge terrorist cell that is being establsihed here. Individual missions have been done before in this show by the old SD-6, but the works of Rambaldi were always the topics of the random missions. This season, the missions are random and none of the episodes seem to flow together. In previous seasons, you could never take any two episodes and flip them because the timeline of the show would be incorrect. Season 4 seems to be quite the opposite. Flipping "Ice" and "The Awful Turth" would have little to no effect on anything. I expect that on shows like Numbers, Criminal Minds, and The Sheild...not Alias. Things need to flow in a pattern and Alias is all messed up at the moment. The writing is easy to predict and its bad at that. The "I forgive you..." line said by the woman as Vaughn is holding her was terrible.

    The Alias crew is working too hard to move people into the show. This season they got a new timeslot and they took away what makes the show good. They have given every episode an ending, no cliffhangers like the golden days. This is the worst episode of the series so far and I enjoy that viewers have also thought so.

    Long Live Julian Sark!moreless
  • What the hell was that? Was I watching some low cost horror flick?

    What... the... hell.

    Alias is definitely NOT based on reality. But this episode... Ice-5, a lethal weapon which freezes you from the inside. How cool.

    The episode opens with the founder of this weapon dying - first he loses his leg, then he falls into a million pieces. Surely. It wasn't horrifying or anything, but it was definitely disturbing and sick. Something that shouldn't be on Alias in my opinion.

    What's worse, is that, the rest of the episode is even worse. Sydney goes undercover as a nurse, Vaughn goes undercover as a priest... how exciting.

    The characters' are dumbed down, too. Especially Sloane. He's all good and effective now. What happened to Rambaldi? Why it isn't even MENTIONED?

    Why the hell is Weiss and Marshall credited as series regulars when they hardly get 2 minutes screentime? And why does Nadia get more than them? With her photos... oh gosh.

    The ending was so soap opera, too. No cliffhanger. No, of course not. Season 4 is all about standalone episodes... yeah, ok. I want my Alias back. This isn't Alias. This is a show with the same cast, but much crappier writers.

    Overally, there was NOT even ONE redeeming quality of this episode, except maybe for Jennifer Garner's hot looks.moreless
  • Just for the record i write this review in Finnish, because I'm sick and tired to write in English at the moment. So, anybody who doeasn't understund Finnish can't get anything of this!moreless

    Alussa olin aivan varma että tämä jonkinlainen luultavasti Sydneyn painaijainen. Mutta olisihan minun ahkrrana Aliaksen katsojana pitänyt tietää että tässä sarjassa ei paljoa painajaisia näytetä vaan ne ovat todellisuutta.

    Hieman kyllä järkytyin kun tajusin että sen miehen pää räjähti miljoonaan osaan oikeasti (tai niin oikeasti kun tv-sarjassa voi)

    Tästä lähtee taas kerran jännittävä tapahtuma sarja kun Sydney pukeutuu tällä kertaa lääkäriksi ja lähtee vakoilemaan sairaalaa jossa valmistetaan ainetta joka saa ihmisen jäätymään.

    Sairaalassa Sydney huomaa tarvitsevansa apua ja Vaughn tuleekin auttamaan häntä papin puvussa ja haavan kanssa joka tarvitsee paikkausta. Vaughn saa naislääkärin hoitjakseen ja yrittää iskeä häntä ja lääkäri arasti vastaa.

    Tämän naislääkärin veli on koko Ice-ohjelman takana ja he tarvitsevat lääkärin puolelleen jotta saisivat aineen. Sydney nappaakin sen mutta lääkäri ja Vaughn jäävät kiinni kun he yrittävät karata. Veli uhkailee Vaughnia pistävänsä tätä ainetta joka pakastaisi hänet. Vaughn pistää vastaan ja annos osuukin lääkärin joka jäätyy ja kuolee.

    Matkalla pois Sydney sanoo Vaughnille että hän voi puhua hänelle myös ja käpertyy hänen syliin.moreless
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

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Goof: At the end of the episode when Jack is telling Nadia about the picture of her mother, there is one shot that was reversed, so the picture is backwards.

    • Lena Olin was unavailable, at the time of production, when picture inserts were needed of her, for the picture found by Nadia in this episode, of Irina holding a baby [her niece]. At the last minute, Angela DeAwn [Nadia], offered to step in to play the part of Irina in the picture.

    • Kiera/Meghan asks Vaughn if he works for MI-5, but MI-5 is Britain's counterintelligence service, and doesn't operate outside of Britain. MI-6 is foreign intelligence.

    • The second picture Nadia goes through is a B&W of Jennifer Garner in glasses with her real life sister, Susannah on the right. In the middle is supposed to be Irina.

    • The language locals speak in the hospital in Montenegro is Russian, but the language spoken in Montenegro is Serbian.

    • In the Montenegran hospital all the light switches are American. Only American light switches flick up to turn on. Montenegran ones would flick down to switch on.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Weiss: Killed? He exploded like a frozen pinata.

    • Vaughn: There are other ways to keep him from having power over you, to make him go away.
      Kiera MacLaine: You underestimate my brother.
      Vaughn: Or maybe you underestimate me.

    • Fintan Keene: You should be nicer to your big brother.
      (to Vaughn)
      Fintan Keene: Isn't that what the Bible says?
      Vaughn: Why, do I look like some kind of expert?

    • Vaughn: When's the last time you went to confession, Kiera MacLaine?
      Kiera MacLaine: ...I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel.
      Vaughn: About what?
      Kiera MacLaine: A flirty priest.
      Vaughn: I assure you my intentions are honorable... mostly.

    • (Sydney, Vaughn and Dixon are on a mission)
      Dixon: Phoenix is in play.
      Vaughn: Copy that.
      Dixon: It's too risky, but I wish she was wearing a transmitter.
      Vaughn: She will once they trust her, besides it'll give you a chance to brush up on some of your old school tricks.
      Dixon: Hey! Have a little respect for your elders.

    • Sloane: He believed that Ice 5 was being covertly developed there by a man named Fintan Keene.
      Dixon: Haven't heard that name in a while.
      Sloane: That's because Mr. Keene claims to have gone legitimate.
      Sydney: Seems to be all the rage among evil geniuses.

    • Vaughn: It's not everyday you see a guy shatter into a million pieces.

    • Jack: Is something on your mind Agent Vaughn?
      Vaughn: (hesitant) No, not really. I'm not very sleeping well.
      Jack: It's Lauren, isn't it.
      Vaughn: I think I see her sometimes; I thought I saw her in the market in Algeria. Did that ever happen with you?
      Jack: Do I have visions of Lauren?
      Vaughn: I don't know that many people who killed the woman they were married to. I was just wondering if that's what happens.
      Jack: It did, now it doesn't.

    • Jack: (to Nadia) Irina told me years ago that this is a picture of her holding her niece. She told me that holding this baby filled her with a longing and a hope to have children of her own. The next day I asked Irina to marry me; I wanted my child to be loved like the baby in this photograph. Of course, her story could have been a total fabrication, another one of her countless lies designed to draw me in. But I choose to believe it was truth. When we had Sydney, Irina held her in this exact same way, and I can only imagine that she did the same with you. So for me, I choose to believe. But than I suppose each of us needs to find out own sense of closure.

    • Modell: My bird is missing.
      Weiss: It's "I've lost my canary."

    • Kiera MacLaine: Forgiveness is a tricky thing, isn't it?

    • Fintan Keene: My sister may look like an angel but her heart is as black as yours and mine.

    • Vaughn: I was married for a short time... The woman I was married to betrayed me, she betrayed a lot of people. And when I found out what she'd done I let my hate for her consume me, I began to wish the woman I loved was dead. I woke up every day imagining how I'd do it, what was the best way, what was the most efficient way. It's all I wanted. That woman was evil and deserved to be punished and so I killed her. And although that woman was the worst kind of evil I also know that killing her was wrong. I don't sleep much, I can't. I can't close my eyes without seeing it, that moment, the look on her face. She won't leave me. She won't.

  • NOTES (5)

    • At the end of the of this episode when Kiera gets stabbed with the Ice 5, her eyes get frozen over. This is the same effect that happened on season five on Angel episode "A Hole In The World" when Illyria (Amy Acker) was taking over Fred's (Amy Acker) body. Amy Acker also guest-stars in some episode of season five of Alias.

    • Music from this episode includes:
      "Whoa Now" by Louque
      "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star

    • This episode averaged 14.00 million viewers.

    • Richard Speight Jr. previously co-starred in The Agency, another series about CIA agents. He played Lex, a geeky, somewhat Marshall-ish character.

    • This was originally the 5th episode of the season.


    • Sloane: He called it "Ice 5", and offered it to the Agency for ten thousand dollars.

      In Kurt Vonnegut's book Cat's Cradle there is a special form of ice called ice-nine that had the ability to instantly crystallize water. In the book it brought about the end of the world when it was tossed into the ocean. Alias made a vague reference to this too, pointing out that putting a small amount of ice-5 in a city water supply could cause serious damage.

      Kurt Vonnegut's most famous book is Slaughterhouse 5, so Ice-5 might be a combination of the Ice-nine from Cat's Cradle and the title of KV's masterpiece.