Alias/Almost Thirty Years

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Almost Thirty Years
Season 1, Episode 22
Airdate May 12, 2002
Production Number E651
Written by J.J. Abrams
Directed by J.J. Abrams
← 1x21
2x01 →
The Enemy Walks In
AliasSeason One

Almost Thirty Years is the twenty-second episode of the first season of Alias. Sydney, Vaughn, and Jack work against the CIA and SD-6 to rescue Will.

Starring: Jennifer Garner (Sydney Bristow), Ron Rifkin (Arvin Sloane), Michael Vartan (Michael Vaughn), Bradley Cooper (Will Tippin), Merrin Dungey (Francie Calfo), Carl Lumbly (Marcus Dixon), Kevin Weisman (Marshall Flinkman)

and Victor Garber (Jack Bristow)

Guest Starring: David Anders (Sark), Derrick O'Connor (Alexander Khasinau), James Handy (CIA Director Devlin), Joey Slotnick (CIA Agent Steven Haladki), Elaine Kagan (June Litvack), Wolf Muser (Ramon Veloso), Ric Young (Suit and Glasses)

and Amy Irving (Emily Sloane)

Co-Starring: Michelle Arthur (Abigail), Emily Wachtel (Worker)

Uncredited: Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss), April Webster (Irina Derevko)


Plot Overview

Will, having been shot by Sark, is taken by Khasinau's guards to an discreet location and chained. Asked by Sark about "the circumference" and confessing no knowledge, Sark brings in a torturer who uses variations on dental torture to get information out of Will. Eventually resorting to a custom truth serum with a 20% paralysis rate, the torturer meets with Sark and tells him Will truly knows nothing. As Will is being moved, he springs into action as soon as he is unchained and surprises the torturer, plunging the truth serum into his neck shouting "one in five" and laughing, knowing he may have paralyzed the man.

Sydney is called at home by Sark and told that he is holding Will. Barely keeping composure before Francie, Sydney agrees to bring Khasinau the original blank page and the Rambaldi solution to Taipei in 48 hours in exchange for Will. She hides this from Vaughn, making him suspicious, and pleads with her father to abandon his cold detachment and help her rescue her friend. Her father agrees and helps her devise a plan.

As Jack will recover the vial of solution from the CIA, Sydney will need to recover the page from SD-6. Recently moved to a very secure facility underwater in Santa Barbara and protected by a constantly changing access code, she has an hour to collect access from Sloane and reach the location before it changes and sounds an alert. Jack provides a specialized shirt than can capture Sloane's fingerprint while a watch provides a wireless relay to access Sloane's computer and record his voice. Sydney goes into Sloane's office and gets him to talk about how much Emily Sloane means to Sydney while occupying his attention away from his computer. A comforting hand on her shoulder and conversation covering all the common phonemes in the English language provide them all the access material they need and begins the clock countdown. As Sydney leaves to head out of the office, Dixon follows her in secret after suspecting she was involved in the auction of a Rambaldi vial earlier.

Sydney reaches the offsite lab and cuts into an underwater grate with a cutting torch. Activating the code with mere seconds before the code changes, she recovers the Rambaldi page and heads back to her car. She is surprised by Dixon who confronts her about her true intentions. Unwilling to tell Dixon the truth, she tells him to trust that she would never betray her country and is working on a classified operation.

Jack casually enters the CIA storeroom and removes the Rambaldi solution. Having heard from Vaughn that CIA Agent Haladki was starting a mole hunt within the CIA and had questioned Vaughn about how Jack knew about "the circumference", Jack surprises Haladki in his car on CIA grounds. Taking Haladki and putting his hand in a vice, Jack presses him for information. Suspecting that he is working for Khasinau because his clearance shouldn't allow for him to know anything about the Circumference, he tortures him until he confesses that he has been in league with Khasinau for two years now. Obviously a zealous Khasinau agent, Haladki tries to reason with Jack that Khasinau can "save him" but Jack continues to press him until he reveals that Khasinau has created a type of 'battery' in the Fu Sheng district of Taipei and that the page details the "circumference" needed to make it all work. Jack then shoots and kills Steven Haladki.

Vaughn meets Sydney and knows that she is being blackmailed by Khasinau. Risking his career, he comes along with them to Taipei to help get Will back. Using the solution, they expose the hidden page and find the information references a small device that Sydney had previously seen levitate a globe of water. The plan is to give Khasinau the real page and solution while simultaneously destroying this device and the lab that it was built in to set him research back. Working through the wall of an adjacent club, Sydney and Vaughn set off a surge inducer which gives her 10 seconds of communication disruption to avoid detection and make her way to room 47. Inside, she sees a massive version of the Rambaldi device. Sydney sets the inadequately sized explosive charge on a subcomponent of the machine, forcing the large globe of water to break tension and cause a massive wave. Running through the corridors to avoid the wave, she passes Vaughn and takes him in tow. Barely making it through a secure door before it closes and separates Sydney and Vaughn, Sydney watches as Vaughn is pressed against the door and corridor is filled with water. She is surprised by a guard and knocked unconscious.

Jack waits at the rendezvous with Sark and successfully trades a battered Will for the exposed page and Rambaldi solution. Will staggers forward and hugs Jack, telling him "thank you."

Sydney awakes in restraints as Khasinau brings her food. She wants to ask him questions, but he says that the questions are for his boss. Saying that he is not "The Man", Khasinau leaves and Sydney's mother, Laura Bristow comes in.

Sloane confesses the true nature of SD*6 as a non-CIA organization to Emily, leaving her very shaken. Sloane meets with members of the Alliance and demands that his wife's dramatic recovery should not invalidate his previous compromise to keep her alive. He demands a position on the Alliance, now that Briault and Poole's departures have left vacancies. The Alliance has agreed provided that Sloane remove the threat his wife poses with her knowledge. Sloane introduces poison into his wife's wine at dinner as she makes it known that she forgives him.


  • Sydney beats two of Khasinau's guards and explodes two others. Jack tortures and shoots Haladki. Khasinau's torturer performs some unanesthetized dental work on Will.
  • Sydney and Vaughn go into a Taiwanese club as a couple of club goers.
  • Sydney uses a special shirt with fabric that can capture the details of fingerprints and allow for a latex duplicate. She uses a ring that provides wireless control of a nearby computer and records voice conversation. She later uses a small explosive described as "Red Mercury charge with a mechanical fuse".


  • Haladki reveals that the battery is in room 47 of an underground lab of Pang Pharmaceuticals in Taipei.


  • Natalie Merchant - "My Skin"
  • The Chemical Brothers - "Music:Response"
  • Overseer - "Supermoves"
  • Miriam Gauci - "Canzone Del Salce (Verdi's Otello)"

Arc Advancement


  • It's revealed that Haladki was the mole working for "The Man" and Jack kills him.
  • Dixon confronts Sydney about the callsign "Freelancer" and wants a reason not to report her. She tries to reassure that she's not a traitor without revealing the truth. He doesn't seem to believe her.
  • The Alliance denies Sloane's pleas to permit Emily to live. However, they allow him to carry her death out and he is seen putting something into her drink.
  • It's revealed that Khasinau is not "The Man". When his boss, a woman, enters the room, Sydney is stunned and refers to her as "mom".


  • Francine decides to open a restaurant.


  • The Rambaldi machine and globe, in smaller form, were first encountered by Sydney in "Truth Be Told". The torturer Khasinau uses also first appeared in this episode and used similar techniques.


The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Irina Derevko: I have waited almost 30 years for this.
Sydney: Mom?