(Definitely not the VonTrapp Family Singers. Oh, visual of Vaughn singing “Do, Ray, Me.” HAHA)
Bill Vaughn was a loving father and husband. He was a decorated CIA agent and a brilliant mathematician. He kept a diary. He kept his appointments and he believed others should do the same. He set his heart by his watch. He was a follower of Rambaldi. He rescued Nadia and he was killed by Irina Derevko. This is all we know about him, other than his son was killed trying to discover the truth about him.
We first hear about Bill Vaughn in season 1, episode 6 “Reckoning.” Vaughn confesses to Sydney at the driving range that his father was a CIA agent who was killed in the line of duty. We see the affect Bill’s death has on Vaughn, we see the young boy in him who grew up without a father and we see the deep roots of Vaughn’s patriotism and loyalty. The Bill Vaughn of Michael’s childhood memories was a gentle man, moral and strong, but along with Michael, we come to learn that there might have been more to Bill Vaughn than initially thought.
Later in season 3, Michael learns from Brill, an old friend of his father’s, that Bill was a follower of Rambaldi, that he died protecting Nadia. In season 4, Vaughn learns that his father may still be alive. Vaughn is dangled the metaphorical carrot, as Roberts and the Sloane Clone manipulate Vaughn into helping them steal a Rambaldi manuscript.
We’ve seen Vaughn deal with his father’s death in several instances. When he and Sydney are informed that it was Irina Derevko that killed Bill Vaughn, Vaughn has a hard time. He understands the importance of Irina Derevko to the CIA’s investigation into Sloane and his endgame, but feels he is betraying his father by helping Irina. The death of his father, and the new information he learns about him has been a deep rooted character builder for Michael Vaughn. His actions and personality have been based on the idea that his father was an outstanding man, and as he learns the truth, his character changes. For instance, when Michael is told that his father was a Rambaldi follower, he feels betrayed. He becomes lost. He strays from his morals, as we see when he lets his hate for Lauren consume him. When he discovers his father may still be alive, Vaughn goes rogue (with Sydney’s help), stealing the transistor coil and joining Roberts and his team. And when faith in his father is restored, once Roberts admits Bill is actually dead, Vaughn returns to Sydney, saying he believes his father would never have left him and his mother, because Vaughn knows he could never leave behind the people he loves. Alas, Sydney and baby are Vaughn-less. So, as we see Sydney’s pre-CIA training through Rachel, we see Vaughn’s mother’s life without Bill paralleled through Sydney.
We find that Vaughn has been fueled all these years by the knowledge that his father was once a part of a research group, Prophet 5. Bill Vaughn was a mathematician, who later changed his name and his son’s in order to protect them from the benefactors of this group. The connection between Bill Vaughn and Sydney was the Mueller device and though his initially relationship with Sydney was based on learning more about P5, Vaughn, inevitably fell in love with Sydney, prompting him to protect her from the truth about his rogue investigation. The shades of Vaughn’s character that we’ve seen over the seasons can be directly related to his connection to his father and his relationship with Sydney. Depending on whether or not Vaughn is truly dead or not, if we do see more of him in the upcoming episodes, I predict his character will expand and contract with the arrival of his own child. His great need to protect Sydney will spill over onto their child, which will add a great parallel between him and his father and Vaughn and Jack.
Side note: When it is believed that Bill Vaughn may still be alive, it comes from the dates in a journal that is given to Vaughn by the nurse at his uncle’s hospital. We come to find that the nurse is a fake set into play by Elena and the Sloane Clone. Jack mentions to Sloane that Sydney and Vaughn are investigating Bill Vaughn and that there was a journal they didn’t account for. If Bill Vaughn was in fact dead, and if the journal was a fake, what journal is Jack referring to? Did Jack and Sloane have a hand in faking Bill Vaughn’s death, by destroying documents, journals?
Thanks to SRG for her great research related to this piece!!