The season 3 finale had it all...a killer opening, action packed fights, plot twists and great acting all leading up to an intriguingly mysterious cliffhanger ending. If you watched the behind-the-scenes DVD extra on how the opener with Lauren posing as Syd and blowing up the Rotunda was done, you can really appreciate everything that went into that seemingly short 10+ minutes of the show. As we've said before, this was movie-quality (or better) TV.
As the episode continued there was even more satisfaction for the audience as Vaughn took out some much pent-up aggression on both Sark and Lauren, only to be stabbed by a mystery enemy, causing Syd to go searching for Lauren and the Rambaldi piece. In doing so she discovers Katya as the betrayer (who actually stabbed Vaughn and almost shoots Syd), and has a knock-out fight w/ Lauren who starts asking her questions. She claims they're both "pawns in the same game", wonders why Syd hasn't talked to Irena if she's been helping her, states it can't be a coincidence that both Syd and Nadia came to be agents, and there's proof of everything in a numbered vault in Wittenburg. Just when it seems she's bested Syd, Vaughn shows up to save the day and shoot the b*@ch dead (while the audience cheers), but not before she gasps out the vault numbers to Syd. Vaughn and Syd finally get in a good make out session (cheering again), and all seems happy, but her curiosity leads her to the vault where she finds top secret files about "Project S.A.B." (which we assume stands for Sydney Anne Bristow, especially since the project's initiation date is her birthday). That's about all we can see, other than its lead officer is none other than Jack Bristow, who shows up and tells a borderline-hysterical looking Syd that she was "never supposed to find this."
There was sooooo much speculation that summer over what Project S.A.B. could be. As I've mentioned before, season 3 was the first season I saw in regular airtime, so I was going nutty waiting for the season 4 premiere. Finally it was time, and we got a special 2-hour premiere, which was even more exciting.
On their own, APO pts. 1 and 2 were pretty awesome episodes. The gang gets back into the black ops sector, Vaughn and Syd reunite, she gets a new roomie in her sister Nadia, and they go after a tricky (and rather steamy) enemy who claims he used to have a contract on Syd's life. All the while we see Syd's hatred of her father and still don't know what happened between them. When it's finally revealed what happened in Wittenburg, it has to be one of the biggest let downs I've ever felt from a TV show. Supposedly those documents showed nothing other than information on Irena's past along with a request from Jack to kill her, which was granted. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING was mentioned about "Project S.A.B." It seemed fairly obvious that when the season 3 finale was written, they had NO idea what was going to happen in season 4. The end of APO pt. 2 still had a good shocker; that Irena had put the hit out on Syd which is why Jack killed her, but still, the disappointment over the resolution of the season 3 cliffhanger overshadowed that by a lot. Every time I watch it I get irritated, knowing how good it could have been. Sigh.