Okay, so, previously on Alias: Syd and Marshall managed to steal something called "Echelon" from a computer in London, and Marshall managed to get his ass nabbed by The Sadistic Dentist Of Asian Persuasion. Will took a psych test that may or may not allow him entry into the CIA research department. Sydney met Vaughn and Alice McPlotPoint at some random bar, and Syd made googly eyes at Vaughn RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. You know, because they're super-secret spies and shit, and that's how super-secret spies keep their lurve lust hidden from their significant others. And Faye Dunaway showed up and terrified us all with her marbleized upper lip.
Seriously. Faye's scary.
We open up on some stock footage of a satellite orbiting the planet as Sydney voice-overs, "Some people think there's a conspiracy. That the government eavesdrops on everyone. It's no conspiracy. Right now, satellites and ground stations are listening in. Faxes, email communication, phone calls, are all routed to high-speed voice and optical recognition computers. They can analyze words spoken and written in any common language on Earth. The system's called Echelon."
Okay. I had to transcribe that because, seriously? I totally had no fucking clue what Echelon was. And I totally didn't care. I mean, it's been so bloody long since the last episode aired that, quite frankly, I'd forgotten the entire plot. But, you know, that's what recaps and videotapes are for so, like, it was simple enough to go back and fill myself in with Kim's kickin' recap. Know what? STILL DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ECHELON WAS. STILL DIDN'T CARE. Know why? BECAUSE THE WRITERS DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ECHELON WAS EITHER. NOR DID THEY CARE.
And they still don't. Which is why, I'm assuming, they brought on The Expository Moment Of What The Hell Is Echelon Anyway. Thank GOD.
What was that? Oh, yeah. Still don't know what Echelon is. Still don't care.
Okay, so, Syd spills about Echelon to Will while they're hanging out in the Electric Ovary's kitchen, enjoying some strawberry shakes. Will's all, yeah, I already know about that. Sorry to ruin your little super-secret spy revelation. Oh, and way to breach all sorts of security and shit by just yammering on and on about some top-secret communication tool. Oh, yeah, and isn't Echelon illegal? "So, what, it's just like a computer that listens to and reads everything?" he finishes, slurping his shake.
"Yeah, looking for key words; the system scans two million conversations an hour," responds Syd, loading her shake with wheat germ and sea kelp and a bunch of other shit that takes all the fun right out of the shake. "Yeah, while shamelessly violating the Constitution," Will says, wondering why he didn't make a chocolate shake instead because chocolate's an aphrodisiac and he pretty much figures that in order to get Syd horizontal, he's gonna need all the outside help he can get. Syd's all, yeah, well, the NSA argues that Echelon's one of its most important weapons against terrorists. "And they don't abuse the system," she assures him, hoping Will doesn't try that whole "You want some chocolate?" routine. "Somehow, that's unreassuring [sic]," says Will, obviously thinking that poor grammar is the way to a woman's heart. "Unreassuring"? The hell? It's called Merriam-Webster, writers. LOOK IT UP. Syd goes on to say something about Gerard Cuvee and how he figured out how to hack into Echelon. "He was able to pick up secure military communications," she says as we pass into a flashback involving a building blowing up. "Because of that, he was able to locate and destroy a U.S. military lab in Dresden." Oops. Guess Gerard Cuvee having access to Echelon isn't really a GOOD thing.