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Ode To Michael Vaughn

Why are you the worst?

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Yes, Alias ended eleven years ago. Yes, I’m still on about it.

If you need a refresher, I’ll let our hero, Sydney, do the explaining:

"My name is Sydney Bristow. Seven years ago, I was recruited by a secret branch of the CIA called SD-6. I was sworn to secrecy, but I couldn't keep it from my fiance -and when the head of SD-6 found out, he had him killed. That's when I learned the truth about SD-6. SD-6 is not part of the CIA. I've been working for the very people I thought I was fighting against. So, I went to the only place that could help me to take them down. Now, I'm a double agent for the CIA, where my handler is a man named Michael Vaughn. Only one other person knows the truth about what I do. Another double agent inside SD-6. Someone I hardly know - my father."

We need to talk about this human.

Let me back up.

Alias premiered when I was 12 and was the first show I ever started watching on my own. I was into pink hair and espionage.



In episode one, it’s pretty clear that this dreamboat is Sydney’s endgame, and I was completely sold.

Sure, I had Devon Sawa from Casper and a few men on the soap operas I watched with my grandmother.

But Vaughn was different. Vaughn was special. Look at his hair.

1. Alice


Ok, this is a joke right? Her actual name is Alice. Look at her face.

Why on earth are you flaunting this lackluster human being in front of Sydney for so long? Young Me thought poor Vaughn and poor Alice and poor Sydney and what a sad situation, but Old Me has zero time for this nonsense.

Sydney clearly likes you, Michael. I’m sure Alice is a lovely partner for a high school principal, but you’re in the CIA, and you have Sydney, a beautiful, American hero, waiting on you to wake up and pay attention to her.


Most of Vaughn’s storylines involve him asking one character about another character. He goes to Weiss to talk about Sydney. He goes to Jack. He goes to Irina. Ask a person to his/her face, Michael. You’re a grown man.

Vaughn also gets into straight-up lies in the later seasons, and Sydney & the Gang have to bail him out (like she always does – see next grievance).

For a specific example, Michael, you were still dating Alice when you stalked Sydney all over tarnation:

Sydney: Hi. How did you find me?

Michael Vaughn: You told me a couple of months ago that when you feel the need to disappear, you go to the observatory. But the observatory was closed. And then I remembered you said the pier calms you down. But you weren't there. And you weren't at the bluffs and the palisades, either.

Sydney: You didn't really go to all those places.

Michael Vaughn: Yeah, I did. And then I remembered you liked the train station, too. Normal people going to their normal jobs.

Sydney: I can't believe you remember that.

Sydney and Young Me fall to pieces. Old Me wonders why you aren’t out stalking YOUR GIRLFRIEND.

Later, Sydney almost dies to save your life (won’t be the last time), realizes you’re still dating what’s-her-face, and you pull this:

View this video on YouTube

Example: Vaughn trying to be cute by being shady.

Are you kidding me with this? I swooned over this watch thing for a while, but what are you actually saying? You need to find a jeweler?

You’re lucky Sydney’s in love with you, because she had plenty of time to find someone else who would do better.

3. Never Doing Anything

Vaughn only got into the CIA because of his father. That’s all I can figure. He sits on comms waiting to yell some version of “Sydney!” “Sydney, watch out!” “Sydney, get out of there!”

When he’s actually in the field, he pretends to be in charge, and everyone goes along with it, but he has very few skills. He looks great in the uniform. That’s about it.

He’s very quick to disagree with the plans or to ditch them altogether, and tbh I would stop inviting him to things if he’s just going to wind up in trouble again.

Sydney becomes patron saint of an evil cult, goes missing for years, gets shot by her dead mom, deals with doppelgangers and Quentin Tarentino, and generally has plenty of other nonsense happening to her.

Vaughn is doing paperwork or something? I don’t really know.

View this video on YouTube

He likes furniture.

4. Daddy Issues

Maybe I’m being harsh here, but I’ve opened the door so I might as well walk through it.

Your dad is dead, Michael. I’m sorry. I truly am. But you are really taking up screen time with the brooding and the shenanigans to avenge him. I’m sorry he was shady, but maybe it's hereditary.

Sometimes watch batteries die.

5. Ditching Sydney

This grievance is for all of season 5 specifically, but feel free to apply it to other instances throughout the show.

Vaughn takes a ski lodge vacation while Sydney is raising both their actual daughter and new CIA people. Thanks a lot for all the help, friend.

6. The Evil Wife Thing

The first episode of season 3 took me by surprise to say the least. I usually watched Alias shut in my room on Sunday nights, but I remember watching this episode in the living room with my mom. Sydney woke up after missing two years of her life, and Vaughn had MARRIED Evil Lauren.

Do not give me that “He thought she was dead” bullshit, because I AM NOT HERE FOR IT.

I remember asking my mom, “How could he marry someone else?” and she didn’t have an answer for me. Is this how people act? (Turns out, yes, it is. Thanks for the life lesson, Michael.)

I think this is when I realized Vaughn might actually be a jerk, no matter how much hair gel he uses. Of course, the blond wife turned out to be evil, because Vaughn can hardly function, much less pick a wife.

Jack tried to tell you, Michael.

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Jack is always right.

Once Sydney got back after losing two years of her life, Vaughn tried to play both sides like the SHADY person he is. He acts up about Sydney sleeping with Will, although he is the one MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE. They almost die (again), so he uses that moment to profess his feelings to Sydney, but then RUNS right back to his WIFE.

It’s hard to blame Evil Lauren for all the Sark stuff (I get it) and for being so evil. It's just who she is.

Vaughn brought her into our lives. He broke my heart. He broke Sydney’s heart.

I'll end with a few words from the best person on this show, Jack Bristow.

View this video on YouTube

The real couple to ship.

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