Season 4 Episode 3

The Awful Truth

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 12, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
234 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sydney must seduce a murderous arms dealer in order to track down a stolen NSA code-breaker. Meanwhile, Vaughn fears for Weiss's life, and Sydney and Jack argue about telling Nadia the truth about her mother.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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

    I liked the "You All Everybody" from the band Driveshaft from Lost playing in the background. I thought that was a cool touch for people that watch both Lost and Alias, two of JJ Abrams written shows.

    Moving onto the actual episode, I thought it was a step up from the first two episodes of the season but still think Season 4 has a lot of work to do in order to get Alias back into top form. The final major crew member has been given a pass to join the APO, Weiss is accepted in after both he and Sydney are captured while on a mission. In order to keep this information from the CIA, Weiss is now a memeber of the team. So basically - we have the CIA from season 3 + Arvin Sloane, just with a change of scenery. Speaking of which, I love the APO office. Everything on the show was always so dark, I love the bright white color.

    The episode itself was pretty good, with a handful of "filler" / non-mission scenes in the mix. I like the interactions with Nadia and Weiss at the party, making me thing something may happen there. I also like the use of the title in this episode, coming from Jack that quote about the Satisfying Lie and the Awful Truth was really good. Season 4 is getting back on track, just need to get more of an advanced story arch for the season.moreless
  • You can't handle the truth.

    Not exactly Alias' first stand-alone installment, but it's the first of many from season 4. The opening sequence was great, it's rare we get to see so many players duping the same target – it was one of the best openings from the show; Jennifer's accent was hilarious, that woman can act out anything the writers throw at her. The underlining theme, as the title would suggest, is the awful truth – how to hide it from loved ones, as a satisfying lie can bring closure to those that need it, or least that's how Jack spins it. Naturally, that would be his angle after witnessing what lengths Nadia will go to in order to ensure her mother's murderer is dead and buried. It was fun seeing Syd in deep cover and while I never truly felt as though her life was in danger, it was an enjoyable way to round off the APO team by recruiting Weiss into the fold. And only Jennifer Garner can pull off such fantastic dialogue 'I'mma?' 'I'mma gonna kick your ass,' nice! Jennifer Garner looks absolutely stunning in this episode. I just thought I'd throw that in somewhere – from her new yoike character to her natural party character, right down to Charlene, she looks incredible. Overall, it's a fast-paced hour that's not entirely as stand-alone as you may think. This episode explores the emotional barriers between Jack and Sydney in great detail, while adding a bit of Nadia conflict into the mix. It also looks as though the writers are grooming Weiss to be a love interest for Nadia, and it's refreshing to see on television a woman take the first step and ask him out. Yep, definitely a Bristow.moreless
  • When the writers said 'standalone episodes', they meant it... Sydney: " is this how you deal with bad guys ? "

    VERY average episode of Alias. The team gets a mission, goes on it, has a little trouble, but at the end, mission succeded.

    Unfortunately, the concept of standalone episode structure hurts the show very much. Mainly because Alias is meant to be serialized. Given the standalone nature, the Rambaldi storyline got paused -it feels as if it's permanent.

    What I really don't understand is how the writers managed to dumb down some characters.

    Mostly, Sloane. What happened to Sloane? He's all good now? And everyone believes him?

    What's up with Nadia? She's all fine with Sloane? And where's the conclusion of their 'journey' to the Rambaldi artifact?

    And I could go on forever. The highlights of the episode:

    * Marshall 'playing'. God, I love that guy!

    * Weiss "Dude, I knew it"

    * Some real nice stuntwork

    Overally, there's basically nothing in this episode we haven't seen yet, and, unfortunately, it's fairly predictable too.moreless
  • "The thought that I did something that might have given you a warm and fuzzy feeling makes me want to kick my own sister out of my house."

    I'm really surprised at all of the negative feedback from this episode. I thought it was very entertaining, and it got me excited about the season again.

    I mentioned after last week's episode that Alias felt different: the characters felt off, the production was off, nothing was the same. This episode felt like the old Alias: the way the cameras panned during the debrief, Jack's ability to have tension with everyone he speaks with, the ways Marshall and Weiss and Dixon's personalities added to the show - not as contrived plot devices but as supporting characters. There wasn't a cliffhanger, but there were enough unanswered questions to keep me busy speculating until the next episode.

    I guess after episodes 4.1/4.2 I accepted the fact that most of the questions and running themes from the past three seasons will, sadly, never be addressed again. Once you make peace with that, it's a lot easier to enjoy what's happening in the present. I'd love if they could revisit some of the old again, but it's not something I'll be expecting.

    Congrats Marshall on gaining some backbone, Weiss on joining the Apple Store, and Jack for finding another pseudo-daughter to manipulate. (I have a good feeling about Nadia.) Loved the first mission, loved the birthday party social goodness, and loved me some snarkin' Jack!moreless
  • The Awful Truth

    The Awful Truth – Search For The Truth

    The goings on in this episode were all about people trying to find out the truth, or for some part trying to cover it up (i.e. Jack)

    Jack Trying To Find Out if Sydney Told Nadia He Killed Irina

    Kinda gives me the creeps, Jack looking out for his own interests for once, although you’ve gotta admit he has a reason to be worried, after all in not so many words Nadia vowed to kill him. The way he spoke to Sydney about this matter reflected on the tension still between them, even though he did it to save her Sydney knows Jack killed her mother and it’s got to tear a hole in her. I’m surprised that there’s no guilt reflected in Sydney’s character at all, after all her mum dies because of her, and despite believing Irina deserved it, it’s something I have come to expect of Sydney Bristow.

    Jack Debriefing Nadia

    Another way to look for the truth, a sanctioned psych evaluation, Jack uses this opportunity to his advantage in assessing the danger Nadia poses to him. The scene of the debrief was really well written to reflect on each of the characters personal interests and motives and gave us a small look into the persona of Nadia. I loved Nadia’s reaction to the male partner issue, showing us she’s a real feminist. As it seemed, it appeared Sloane knew of Jack’s ulterior motives in debriefing her, I wonder what he really thought?

    Nadia Wanting To Know The Truth About Her Mother’s Death

    Nadia seems to be the Sydney we used to know, swearing to kill whoever murdered her mother, that person being Jack (or at least Sydney thought it was Jack.) With her up-bringing differing from Sydney’s in many ways her attitude towards these people and situations will too, watching the way she killed Bishop was chilling, what I want to see is the way she’ll react when she finds out who really killed Irina.

    The Mission

    When you think about it, most of Sydney’s missions, in part, are a search for truth. This one was just another standard mission where Sydney goes undercover to find out where the Valta is located and the story wasn’t particularly spectacular or memorable, although it served it’s purpose. It was cool to see Sydney playing on a man’s generosity, using her sex appeal to gain access to his house. What I did like about part of the mission was the way we got to see Vaughn cared for Sydney, when Marshall started rambling about Martin Bishop’s lady-killing instincts Vaughn’s reaction was nervous and angry, later on in the ep you also get to see him again worried about Sydney, being a die-hard Sydney/Vaughn shipper this just made me oh-so-happy.

    Weiss’s Discovery of Sydney, Vaughn, Jack, Dixon and Nadia’s allegiances

    So why keep one single character in the dark for only 2 episodes? I found keep Weiss out of the loop for one episode entirely pointless and at aimed to prove no point. One way I saw it was the writers trying too hard to make Season 4 the new Season 1 which almost annoyed me. I didn’t see the point in suddenly bringing him in either, it was like they forgot about him then realised he was a character and wrote him in and they also didn’t give the guy enough credit... do you not think he was going to think something was up when everyone quit?

    It doesn’t matter anymore; he’s back in and still one of my fav characters.


    Weiss’s Friend: “You’re so old!”

    Weiss: “Dude, you’re so bald!”

    (Just made me laugh)

    “The fact that I have one something that might give you a warm and fuzzy feeling makes me want to kick my own sister out of my house.” – Sydney

    (Her anger for Sloane voiced, while being comical)

    “Why is my partner a man?” – Nadia

    (Love the feminism)

    “Sometimes a satisfying lie, Sydney, can do more good than the awful truth.” – Jack

    (Dun, dun, dun, makes Jack look evil don’t you think??)


    I loved the accents everyone had in the opening scene when they’re robbing the bank

    When Jack walked into the party, and the dialogue that followed was priceless

    The way Marshall made Vaughn nervous about Bishop posing a threat to Sydney and then the look of worry on his face when Dixon says Sydney’s on her own now may have been bad for him but gave me the warm fuzzies

    I like seeing that Marshall didn’t fix the watch’s overheating problem

    I like how Jack catches onto Nadia’s feminism

    What’s In A Name?

    The ep’s name clearly taken from the quote from Jack


    The way the Weiss story was handled


    The awesome car that APO was controlling to make it look like Sydney had crashed


    Vaughn’s facial expression when they said Sydney was in on her own

    Scene of the Ep

    The scene where Jack comes into the party and talks about e-vites

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

Peter O'Meara

Peter O'Meara

Martin Bishop

Guest Star

Dayo Ade

Dayo Ade

Bank Manager

Guest Star

Sharon Ferguson

Sharon Ferguson

Bank Officer

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • The newly introduced "Baden-Liga" might be a reference to the already known "Badenweiler" (location of the later destroyed plant and inhaler) from season one's episode "Doppelgänger"

    • Goof:
      When Sydney breaks into the server, she places the laser watch she used into her pocket, as it overheated. However, when she is captured, it is back on her wrist and she uses it to burn through her restraints and escape.

    • Mitch is 14 months old in this episode.

    • Goof:
      In the parking lot where Sydney chases Martin, which is supposed to be in Europe, there are several cars which can only be bought in America, such as the Cadillac CTS, the Chevy Trailblazer, and the Infiniti FX45.

    • In Spain, cars have plates both in the front and in the back. Martin's Mercedes would have been stopped by the Guardia Civil for not carrying the front one.

    • Goof:
      When Weiss and Nadia are talking at the party, Nadia takes a sip of her wine glass. You can clearly see that the glass is almost empty. When we see her the next time with her glass, it's almost full.

    • When Sydney's breaking into the safe she never removes the stuff the used to fake a palm print from the screen.

    • The ECG when Jack questions Nadia is obviously fake. The dot drawing the graph should have a constant x-axis velocity. Instead it stops horizontally, while drawing the heartbeat 'zigzag'.

    • Goof: While Vaughn speaks with Sydney through the laser microphone he sweeps over some windows. How can he still speak with Sydney when he isn't aiming at her?

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Martin Bishop: (Aiming a gun at Sydney) I liked you much better as Charlene.

    • Sydney: (To Nadia) Is that how you normally deal with bad guys?

    • Martin Bishop: You just rolled your car... you must have been going at two hundred kilometers an hour.
      Sydney: Sometimes you need to drive fast.

    • Vaughn: Trigger the belt.
      Marshall: What, you don't want to milk this a little bit?

    • (Nadia was watching Jack and Sydney talk)
      Nadia: Is he always so cold?
      Sloane: Jack? I'm afraid so.

    • Sydney: She's my sister; I need to tell her...
      Jack: This isn't about what you need, Sydney...
      Sydney: No, apparently it's about what you need.

    • Sydney: If you're wondering whether I've told Nadia that you killed our mother, no I haven't. But I plan to.
      Jack: Out of spite?
      Sydney: Out of respect.

    • Bank Manager: What were you doing?
      Sydney: (In disguise) Just... breaking into your safe?
      Bank Manager: (Laughing after a brief pause) You almost fooled me!

    • Vaughn: Bishop also recently purchased an MK-1200 from Shalini Tech.
      Marshall: Wow! You don't buy a server like that to look at online porn.
      Vaughn: No, you buy it to coordinate international business operations, at least that's what it's designed for.

    • Vaughn: How do you break into the house of a master thief?
      Sydney: I don't think you do. I think you have to be invited...

    • Sydney: You manipulated Nadia.
      Jack: I gave your sister closure.
      Sydney: But not the truth.
      Jack: Sometimes a satisfying lie, Sydney, can do more good than the awful truth.

    • Martin Bishop: So, what's your real name, Charlene?
      Sydney: I'm a...
      Martin Bishop: I'm a what?
      Sydney: I'm a gonna kick your ass.

    • Nadia: I don't mean to seem impatient, but... I've never done anything that's lasted as long as this.
      Jack: How sad for you...

    • Sloane: Thank you.
      Sydney: For what?
      Sloane: For letting my daughter stay with you. As Nadia acclimates to this life, to a new family... she needs support... and you have put my mind at ease.
      Sydney: The thought that I did something that might have given you a warm and fuzzy feeling makes me want to kick my own sister out of my house.

    • Sloane: (About Bishop) He has a reputation as a lady-killer... literally.

    • Jack: It must have been lost in the mail.
      Sydney: Your invitation?
      Jack: Unless it was an e-vite. I don't read...e-vites.

  • NOTES (4)


    • The name of the man with the NSA code-breaker is a thief named Martin Bishop. Martin Bishop was also the name of the lead character in the 1992 movie starring Robert Redford, Sneakers. Redford played a 'security specialist' who turns thief to steal a NSA code-breaker.

    • Weiss: No woman ever wants to go to the Magic Castle...

      Magic Castle is home of the Academy of Magical Sciences in Hollywood. It was originally a Victorian mansion built in 1908.