Season 5 Episode 11

Maternal Instinct

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Apr 19, 2006 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
313 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Irina appears at Sydney's house, she persuades Jack and Sydney to go with her to Vancouver to retrieve The Horizon. which is being safely secured in a bank. While they try to get the item Peyton also tries to get it and all the action brings on Sydney's labor.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Bristow Family Values... Revisited

    Jack: Here (hands Sydney a gun) Cover your mother, I'll take care of Peyton and her men be right back, what ever happens keep that pointed at your mother, if she even blinks-

    Sydney: I'll shoot her.

    Bristow Family Values, revisited.

    But hey, never a dull moment.
  • Overall, this episode had the benefit of bringing back a beloved character, but there were a number of plot elements that didn’t seem to fit the previously established continuity. Such issues have arisen before; the writers may be trying too hard to shocmoreless

    It’s quite likely that this episode was the result of changes to the season arc following the betrayal of the ABC network, reducing the episode order for the final season. There was a great deal of evidence that Sydney’s baby was at the center of Prophet Five’s plans, and while that may still be the case, it’s been complicated by the fact that Irina clearly says the Horizon was P5’s only concern. So what is the truth, and what is a lie?

    The implications of this episode are fairly complex, but they also bear the mark of something cobbled together under less than ideal circumstances. If Irina is working for Prophet Five (or for that matter, running it), then why would Payton and her team act as though she’s an outside agent threatening their plans? The obvious conclusion is that Irina offered her services, as she mentioned, shortly after Prophet Five re-emerged after the incident in “Before the Flood”.

    Since it was already revealed in the fourth season that Irina’s organizations were always designed to counter Sloane’s desire to fulfill Rambaldi’s prophecies, it would be easy to assume that the same logic applies to the goals of Prophet Five. Irina could have been advancing her own agenda, trying to derail or defuse the P5 endgame from within.

    Everything Irina says in this episode seems to support that. She tried to warn Vaughn that something was about to happen (which is within continuity), and she was trying to save Sydney’s baby while achieving the goals of Prophet Five, which indirectly threatened the baby, give the methods employed to find the Horizon. The fact that Peyton seemed ready to turn on Irina suggests that P5 was always wary of her involvement.

    Logically, if all of this was true, it would have made sense for Irina to save Vaughn, since it would in essence be a mitigation of the damage inflicted on her loved ones by the larger Rambaldi mess. (Still assuming, of course, that Prophet Five is directly related to Rambaldi in some way.) That may no longer be true, however, if the writers were forced to take a different direction with the story to fit the shortened timeline.

    All of which hinges on the idea that P5 is not, in fact, interested in Sydney’s baby, which doesn’t quite fit within the continuity established in the first half of the season. The most obvious conclusion is that Irina is lying to Sydney, since it wouldn’t be the first time and certainly won’t be the last. And it’s the fact that Sydney and Jack know that, and know her history, that undermines one of the key plot points of the episode.

    There is literally no reason for Sydney or Jack to trust Irina as far as they can throw her. Sure, her true intentions over the past 30 years or so were placed in context in the fourth season, but that doesn’t change her actions and choices. Irina just shows up with tons of information about Prophet Five, and not once is she questioned regarding her sources and activities since “Before the Flood”. It simply doesn’t make sense, especially when Sydney and Jack act shocked and appalled at the idea that Irina would use them.

    Of course, the writers were trying for the unexpected yet pleasing notion of Irina and Jack delivering Sydney’s baby together. Yes, it makes for a touching moment, and it demonstrates that Irina’s axiom that “motherhood and spying don’t mix” may not hold water, but it’s otherwise a huge plot contrivance. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the many, many ridiculous aspects of the birthing itself.

    After all the issues with getting Lena Olin to appear in the fourth season, when her presence would have made a lot of sense, it’s surprising to see her so involved in these final episodes. It’s certainly not a bad thing, but it does make the long-term fan somewhat wistful for what might have been. Will the writers try to place Irina’s decisions over the course of the series into context? Or will her motivations always be up to debate?

    The worst part of this episode was the fact that Sydney, Jack, and Irina had to talk about the past 30 years, the Horizon, Prophet Five, and Irina’s involvement thereof without once bringing up Rambaldi. Even if Prophet Five has absolutely nothing to do with Rambaldi, it’s well past time for someone to mention how damned familiar all these elements are to what they’ve encountered in the past. It’s been well established that the Alliance was used to locate and acquire Rambaldi devices and artifacts for Sloane’s true purpose. So when the connection to SD-6 is tracked down and an artifact lies at the heart of it, how can Rambaldi stay out of the conversation?

    All of which is largely overshadowed by the worst plot secret on the planet: Vaughn’s return. Was anyone genuinely surprised by this? Of course Vaughn was still alive. The producers practically told the audience to stop worrying and just let things play out. Did the short-sighted “fans” that all but destroyed the series’ future listen? Of course not. And now, which fans are tearing their hair out over the impending series end? How very predictable and sad.

    Anyway, Vaughn’s return is hardly a surprise, but there is an implication in the previous scene that could be stunning if true. With the baby born, Sydney asked her father to take care of something, and in the very next scene, Vaughn (in apparent hiding) is informed that he has a daughter. Could Vaughn’s “death” have been staged by Jack and Sydney, all so Vaughn could investigate Prophet Five without their knowledge?

    If that’s where the writers are going with all of this, then it would be an interesting if troublesome development. Frankly, the implication is that Sydney’s investigation into Prophet Five would have been a smokescreen for Vaughn’s activities. If so, why would Sydney place her child’s life at risk by being the decoy all this time? If Jack was in on it all, then he could have still led the investigation without Sydney being front and center. This is especially true given Rachel’s involvement.

    This smacks of a major retcon, all designed to simplify the end of the season by allowing Vaughn to report on discoveries he made while in hiding which would otherwise have been uncovered by APO. It would have made more sense for Vaughn to be assumed dead and taken into custody by Irina for the purposes of her agenda. That’s still a possibility, since the intersection of scenes at the end of the episode could have been designed to mislead the audience into just these assumptions.

    There are a number of issues just related to the fifth season that still need to be explained, without even considering the lingering plot threads from the first four seasons. Just what is Grace up to, and how does it relate to Prophet Five? What are Irina’s true goals in working for P5? What is the Horizon and what does it have to do with Sydney and her baby, if anything? Who runs Prophet Five, and is it connected to Rambaldi? If those questions are answered, then there’s still a lot regarding the overall mythology to be addressed as well.

    Hopefully, the remaining episodes will allow Rachel to be in the field more. Rachel was supposed to replace Sydney in the field, especially with the hot outfits, and it just hasn’t happened as much as it could or should have. Rachel is mostly stuck sitting around being manipulated, and it’s unfortunate. Similarly, Rene is not nearly as compelling or sexy as the producers seem to believe. If anything, Rene looks worn out, and her attempts at dangerous sexiness make her look like an aged Parisian hooker.

    With only six episodes left, there’s not a lot of time for explanations and connections to be made. The promos all promise that the mysteries will be resolved, and the producers say the same thing. But what are the chances, when the most obvious connections are still not being made? Will the audience be forced to sit through some scene where Prophet Five is revealed to be connected to Rambaldi, and everyone gasps in shock? That would be laughable at this point, and the series deserves to go out with a lot more style.

  • Lena Olin is back! Wow have I missed her so. I sat though this episode with a huge smile on my face. I just loved every minute of it.

    Lena Olin is back! Wow have I missed her so. I sat though this episode with a huge smile on my face. I just loved every minute of it.

    So Spy Mom is back to her old mischievous ways again. She once again used Sydney's love for her to get information. She manipulated Jack. She caused a car accident and killed somebody in the middle of a street. And yet she was the only one around who could deliver Sydney's baby in the middle of a mission. I loved it, only on ‘Alias’.

    Well apparently Spy Mom is not the head of Prophet 5. The way she had no control over what Peyton and her team did shows that she more likely is freelance, working with Prophet 5 but not directly a part of it, if that makes any sense at all. Also the Spy Family mission was too much fun. The Italian accents were a hoot and I just loved seeing the three of them interacting with each other once again, makes me miss the good old days of season two.

    Peyton finally proved herself a villain today. The way she shot down that helicopter was pretty damn awesome. That scene with her walking away and the helicopter falling in flames in the background was bad ass and I have now accepted her as a worthy villain. For now.

    I can't believe Rachel just helped Sloane erase evidence that he is working with Prophet 5. Yes it was unintentional but I am now fed up with her, she has now proven to be as useful to the A.P.O. gang as a piece of stone. I will now refer to her as A Stupid Stone, or A.S.S. for short.

    So Vaughn is alive! Okay no surprise there. Rumors of his return have been circling the internet for months and those ABC promos basically gave him away. It's still nice to have him back though and I look forward to seeing him be more involved in future episodes.

    All-in-All...This was the best episode we have seen in a long time. If every episode for the rest of the season is like this, this may turn into one of my favorite seasons.

    Memorable Quotes:

    -Jack: “Where is the beacon?"

    Irina: "It's in my bra."

    -Moreau: "I'm sure she'll be a wonderful parent to her own child. She has two such lovely role models."

    Final Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this review and many others at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
  • it's really great to have seen a Syd in action

    it's been a great moment in Alias, Syd had birth her daughter with the help of her \"bad\" grandmother, however the pick moment is like a familiar cause parents and daughter are together helping Syd to bring this world the new life and the reason of life of double agent Bristow. who wanted her a lot.

    I have a lot to say, but I don\'t have the right words to do it. just I love this episode and what it happend on it, so I recommend you watch it! go go, what you waiting for?moreless
  • Review

    Loved this episode, seeing Lena Olin back in action was something I miss from season 2. The beginning started off kind of slow, but it got better as the episode went along. The investigation involving the APO was kind of boring and filler, but they made it seem somewhat pulse-pounding and interesting. That and it wasnt a huge part of the episode, so that was good.

    The scenes at the bank were really well done. Jack and Irina have great on-screen chemistry and I love how when she went to stab him in the back he caught here. Sydney giving birth was a relief, hopefully we will have our butt kicking spy back for a little while before she leaves this life behind. (Only ending for the show I could imagine)

    Overall, this episode picked up where the other two could not and I can only hope the season finishes out stronger then ever beginning with this episode.moreless
James Handy

James Handy

Devision Director Devlin

Guest Star

Ivo Nandi

Ivo Nandi

Jean Bertrand

Guest Star

J. Michael Flynn

J. Michael Flynn

Alex Moreau

Guest Star

Lena Olin

Lena Olin

Irina Derevko

Recurring Role

Michael Vartan

Michael Vartan

Michael C. Vaughn

Recurring Role

Amy Acker

Amy Acker

Kelly Peyton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Goof: When Tom Grace is talking to Sloane and Devlin at APO the wrong eyebrow is scarred. It is usually over his right eye, but in this scene the scar appears on his left eyebrow.

    • Number 47: the cypher Sydney gives to her captors is LEO 47 NORTE.

    • Of all the unconvincing things to occur during the birth scene, the thing that struck me most was Irina catching, swaddling, and handing the baby to Sydney all in one very quick fluid motion. What happened to the umbilical cord?

    • When Jack and Irina break into the safety deposit box at Queens Bank in Vancouver to recover the Horizon, Jack uses a spray solvent to disable the locking mechanism of the box. He then carefully opens the door from the bottom and removes the drawer avoiding the sizzling and steaming area he sprayed. However, in the same scene seconds later, Jack closes the front door of the box revealing it looking completely unmarred and not harming Jack in any way when he touches it.

    • With both her parents present Sydney gives birth to a baby girl.

    • It's in this episode that Sydney realises it was Irina Derevko her mother who was holding her captive on the boat in the episode 'The Horizon'.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Marshall: I love secret conspiracies… you know, as long as I'm a co-conspirator.

    • (Sydney, Jack and Irina go on a mission into a bank)
      Bank Manager: It's so sweet how your daughter wants to please you
      Jack: She's our pride and joy.
      Bank Manager: She'll be a wonderful parent to her child.
      Irina: Thank you.
      Bank Manager: She has such lovely role models.
      (The Bristow's all forcedly smile)

    • Jack: Here. (hands Sydney a gun) Cover your mother, I'll take care of Peyton and her men… be right back, what ever happens keep that pointed at your mother, if she even blinks-
      Sydney: I'll shoot her.

    • (Jack confronts Peyton and her men)
      Peyton: This is really no place for you grandpa.

    • Irinia: You should know something Sydney. I've never wanted to have a child. The KGB demanded it. They knew it would insure your father's allegiances to me. You were simply a mean to an end. And when the doctor put you in my arms, and I looked at you, so fragile. All I could think was I could have made a such terrible mistake, and at that moment I was sure of one thing: I couldn't be an agent and a mother. I'd either fail at one or both. And I chose to fail at being a mother.

    • Irina: (to Marshall on the phone) Tell the team they'll need diapers.

    • Monk: (to Vaughn) My brother. I have some good news. You have a baby daughter.

    • Irina: We're going to be grandparents.
      Jack: I'm trying to ignore that fact.

    • (Jack discovers Irina's plan to steal the Horizon)
      Jack: Call off your team, right now!
      Irina: They're not my team.
      Jack: I don't believe you.
      Sydney: Dad!
      Irina: You need to believe me, because if Peyton's here, she's here to kill me too.
      Jack: She's going to be very disappointed, because I'm about to beat her to it.
      Sydney: Hey Dad!
      Jack: I thought I killed you once, this time I'll be more thorough.
      Sydney: Dad… baby's coming.

    • Sydney: (to Jack and Irina) Your grandchild keeps kicking me.

  • NOTES (1)