Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Originally telecast right after Super Bowl XXXVII, "Phase One" was the most controversial and talked-about episode of Alias' second season -- and not only because of the notorious segment in which star Jennifer Garner appears clad only in a skimpy bra and panties. With Sloane (Ron Rifkin) having disappeared, SD-6 has a new head man in the form of Anthony Geiger (Rutger Hauer). The CIA orders Sydney (Garner) and Jack (Victor Garber) to get into Geiger's good graces so that they can find out his plans. But Geiger, whose feelings toward the Bristows are nowhere near as affectionate as Sloane's, would just as soon fire them both -- and even worse, since he has taken a peek at Sloane's confidential files on the mysterious Server 47, he is now armed with information that could result in the deaths of both Syd and Jack. The episode is climaxed by the abrupt and wholly unanticipated death of one of the series' most likeable characters -- thereby hurtling the carefully established Alias second-season story line into an entirely different direction. The CIA takedown of SD-6 in this episode also changes Alias' plot structure forever, eliminating the double-agent aspect of Sydney's actions and allowing her and Vaughn (Michael Vartan) to finally be together.