Sydney takes two steps forward and hisses at her parents, "Right now, we have six suitcase nukes that are going to be activated tomorrow." Jack interrupts to ask whether the CIA has confirmed that. Jack's beard interrupts to say that it would be a lot happier on the chin of a biker from Bakersfield. Sydney replies, "CIA doesn't have any details. They want us to deactivate the nukes and steal them." Jack blusters, "The CIA needs to get authorization for a preemptive strike, now." Sydney says that, first, the CIA needs confirmation that the nukes are there. Jack says it'll be too late by then. "Not if we work together," Sydney tells him. "This is the way it's going to be: Dad will decide how we get to the base. It's his call. Once we arrive, Mom takes over." To Irina, Sydney says, "You were an officer there; you know your way around. You'll lead us into the facility, to the nukes, and back out." Turning to Jack, Sydney continues, "Then you will resume control and get us home. There will be no objections to and no deviations from this plan." Sydney stares at each parent, challenging him and then her to argue -- which neither does. Jack's beard starts to raise a few bristles in disagreement, but Jack quickly pats them down into submission.
Pan up the front grill of a red truck, and around the cab to the bed. Jack and his beard are standing in the bed with a large round lid in his hands; he explains, "Three of these bins are full of grain; Irina, you'll be in the fourth." Sydney immediately violates her own "no objections" rule by drawling, "You cannot be serious." Jack lays out his reasoning: first, Irina is the most likely to be recognized. Also, the rebels are looking for a three-person team, so they'll be most likely to escape detection if they "alter [their] configuration." Irina haughtily climbs onto the bed and into the fourth bin, which Jack covers (ably assisted by the beard). "Are you sure she can breathe in there?" asks Sydney. Jack pauses a long moment and does this sort of half-nod, like, "I don't give a shit." And then the beard gives her this look like, "What he said."
Driving. Countryside. Sydney and the beard play the license plate game. At some point, the truck stops. We cut to the cab interior, and...God, NO! Jack is pawing at his face with a makeup-removal pad! THE BEARD IS GONE! I guess the episode was running long, so the director had to cut the scene where Sydney argues strenuously for the preservation of the beard, all, "The beard stays -- YOU go!" Anyway. Jack, sans beard, stares out the windshield for a moment. Sydney, riding shotgun, quietly prods, "Dad, we need to get moving." Jack says he knows: "I'm just preparing myself to let Irina out." Sydney tells him it'll be fine. Jack sighs, "Sydney, I've been doing this job a long time. So when you lectured me about continuing the mission, laying down protocol --" Sydney interrupts to explain why she said what she did, but Jack interrupts her back: "I know what your point was, and the truth is, I needed to hear it. I'm proud of you. That's all." They stare at each other. Jack gets out of the truck. Sydney looks oddly wounded, considering that she just achieved the greatest victory a child can claim over a parent: being there to hear when the parent admits that he is wrong, and the child is right. Or maybe Sydney looks wounded because she misses the beard. Yes, that must be it.