Alias/The Box (1)

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The Box (1)
Season 1, Episode 12
Airdate January 20, 2002
Production Number E641
Written by Jesse Alexander,
John Eisendrath
Directed by Jack Bender
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The Box (2)
AliasSeason One

The Box (1) is the twelfth episode of the first season of Alias, and the twelfth episode overall. SD6 is infiltrated by a team led by a former agent.

Guest Stars: Quentin Tarantino (McKenas Cole), Joey Slotnick (Steven Haladki), Agnes Bruckner (Kelly McNeil), Sarah Shahi (Jenny), Patricia Wettig (Dr. Judy Barnett)


Plot Overview

In light of the revelation that her mother was a KGB agent, Sydney decides that she will quit SD6 and her goal of bringing it down. Warned by both Vaughn and her father that she can't quit, Sydney breaks the more professional nature of their relationship and ask him out to a hockey game. This pattern of friendliness with Sydney brings trouble for Vaughn when he is called in to meet with Dr. Judy Barnett to discuss the nature of their relationship. When details such as his Christmas gift are made known, Vaughn knows that Agent Haladki is responsible and confronts him on it.

Will receives a distorted phone message stating that an envelope on his desk will contain something that will get McNeil to talk about SD6. Deciding the entire business is too dangerous, Will throws the envelope away. Thinking he is meeting someone for a news story, he is instead met by McNeil's daughter. Kelly McNeil pushes Will to help her find out who killed her father. He fishes the envelope out of the trash and finds that it contains a key.

Sydney returns to SD6 just after a service van pulls into the basement. The van contains a well trained team who bypass the security system, kill a suspicious guard, and enter in a large vent. Working on a precise timeline that allows them to avoid detection lasers, their leader, McKenas Cole, is able to enter SD6 appearing as any other agent. Sloane's facial recognition program warns of his presence and puts SD6 on immediate alert, trapping Sydney and Jack in an elevator as systems throughout the building shutdown.

Quickly securing the agents by use of a knockout gas, Cole and his team bind them all and proceeds to interrogate Sloane. Cole, who was a former SD6 employee who was captured during a mission in Grozny to blow up a series of pipelines, was tortured for over a month when the CIA wouldn't acknowledge his employment (and as an SD6 employee, he wasn't actually employed by the CIA). He interrogates Sloane for the vault codes to collect something for his employer, whom he only calls 'the man'.

Escaping from the stalled elevator by the crawlspace and making their way to a network room, they observe the situation by accessing the remote camera system. Knowing that entering the vault codes while on lockdown will activate explosives in the base of the SD6 building bringing it all crashing down, Sydney and Jack decide they have to intervene. Deciding to break into Marshall's office for a portable scrambler in order to make the vault inaccessible. Overhearing that they have only 10 minutes until the vault is broken into, Sydney, as the faster of the two, goes ahead with the plan and crawls to Marshall's office while Jack observes via camera.

As Sloane is tortured by Cole for the vault codes by use of the 'Needles of Fire', the needles dipped in a burning solution that was used to torture him, Sydney attempts to use a refrigerator magnet on a rope to attempt to 'fish' the compact up into the vent without detection. When the explosives used to gain access to the vault throw the compact out of range, Sydney signals to her father that she'll physically go down to get it. Jack manipulates the security camera light to send a Morse code message to Marshall and Dixon, who provide a distraction while Sydney gets the compact.

Moving against time, Sydney is able to scramble the vault's access codes just as Sloane breaks and provides it to Cole. Escaping into a nearby vent, she is overheard by Cole who finds her in the vent using the heartbeat sensor and fires into the vent system, trapping her in a dead end.


  • Cole and his team knockout on basement guard and kill another as well as a passing agent.
  • Cole and his team use a code descrambler to break the garage security, a remote heartbeat sensor, and a knockout gas. Cole himself uses needles dipped in a burning solution for interrogation. Sydney uses a scrambler concealed in a compact created by Marshall.

Arc Advancement



  • Sloane is overheard talking to his wife's doctor about 'her condition'.



The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • Cole and his team break in using a service van labeled McTiernan Air Conditioning. Die Hard, a film directed by John McTiernan, features terrorists breaking into the vault of an office building by way of the basement

Memorable Moments


  • Sydney: I can't believe, of all things, we're saving SD6.


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