For a lot of the finale season of “24,” there’s been a lot of action but not a lot of momentum. Things happened, to be sure. But they often didn’t feel as if they were building towards anything. Well, in this week’s “24,” disparate threads started to come together in a way that felt satisfying. Part of this comes from the approach of the season/series finale, the time of year in which the waiting is over and the payoff (hopefully) starts. But part of it comes from an hour in which everything that’s been held together by a thread started rapidly, and hopelessly, coming apart. While I haven’t been onboard all season, episodes like this will remind me of what “24” could do when firing on all cylinders.  

[Full recap of Monday (May 17) night's "24" after the break...]

Logan watches the official announcement of his involvement in the peace proceedings the way jackals watch their wounded prey. Every time his name gets mentioned on onscreen, he’s filled with a mixture of pride and almost overt sexual excitement. That all goes away with Pillar calls from Pavel’s place: the lack of Bauer and the lack of any internal organs still actually inside Pavel’s body makes him think Bauer’s looking for more than just exposing the story.  

Logan makes his way over to President Taylor, and manages to shake Dalia Hassan’s hand while there. Dalia plays it cool, but it’s clear as soon as she and Jamot leave that she wants a Handi-Wipe to wash the Logan off of her. While she’s wary of Logan’s involvement, she still implicitly trusts Taylor. Sigh. Meanwhile, while alone, Logan downloads the bad news about Bauer for what feels like the 8th episode in a row. Taylor feels the quicksand around her, yet once again considers Logan’s latest advice: calling Meredith Reed’s publisher and prematurely squashing the story.  

She’s horrified by the potential breach of the First Amendment, contemplating just coming clean rather than continue down this path. “This country survived your presidency,” she states. Logan coos, “But it won’t survive yours.” He reminds her that she’s the figurehead that put her own daughter in jail rather than let justice go unpunished. (Forgot about that storyline, to be honest. Mostly because I try to forget it, alongside Kim’s cougar and Dana’s redneck ex-BF.)  

Outside the scene of Pavel’s evisceration, Jack leverages the one mutual connection between himself and Reed: Hassan’s memory. She’s still shaken by the events inside, but eventually agrees to break the story, even if Jack doesn’t make it through the next few hours. He then trashes her SIM card and gives her marching orders to find someone she can trust to help put the story into the public eye.  

Back at CTU, Arlo taps into Pillar’s feed. They see the carnage, and the gun that killed Renee. They also get a lead on Jim Ricker, a man whose scars can be explained by an explosion seven years ago that supposedly killed him. While they try to leverage Ricker to find Jack, the former feeds the latter the location of Logan by tapping into the Secret Service travel protocols. (Seriously, can we have a Chloe/Ricker show where the two form the world’s most powerful hacking society? We can call it “Scar Neck and Potato Face.”) Jack thanks Ricker, and tells him that he should erase any contact between the two of them. 

Taylor calls in Woods to have him give the order to seize all of Reed’s files. He balks at first, but hesitantly agrees to do so after Taylor applies some pressure. Meanwhile, Reed calls her editor (Gary Clauson) with the scoop. He agrees to meet her at a local coffee shop in 15 minutes, but the FBI locks down the building before he has a chance to leave. He tells her to lay low while he contacts a friend at the Justice Department to help her out. 

Logan tries to calm Novakovich down while the Secret Service escorts him through NYC. Meanwhile, Jack preps for his mission, pulling just about every heavy piece of machinery and armor possible out of the mother of all Jack Packs. What follows is one of the more kick-ass action sequences in the show’s history as Jack “I am Become Death” Bauer dons a fully protective mask atop his top-to-bottom bulletproof attire and calmly mows down all Secret Service agents (wounding, not killing) on the way to Logan’s supposedly protected car. Inside that car, Logan screams like a little girl, and it’s hysterical. The armored Bauer stands on the car’s hood, proceeds to pump a few armor-piercing bullets through the windshield, stick a tear gas canister through the newly created hole, and then step on the hole to smoke Logan out. Awe. Some. Jack shoots out a nearby door and moves Logan underground. 

As Pillar gives chase, Bauer grills Logan. Logan tries to talk his way out of the situation, admitting a part in the cover-up but not the conspiracy. He’s terrified that Bauer will kill him, but Jack’s got other plans. He gets one name (Novakovich), chokes Logan out, and then leaves. (Well, he does one more thing, but we’ll get to that soon enough.)  

At CTU, Arlo locates Ricker’s address. With CTU’s field force stretched to the max, Chloe realizes that Cole is her only option. She releases him under the guise of U.N. security, but even Cole is smart enough to realize something else is going on. Cole loads up on arms before heading to Ricker’s, which worries Chloe. She’s still Team Jack (albeit not exactly running the website for the club anymore), whereas Cole is Team Justice, intent on uncovering a conspiracy, not killing every Russian in the city. 

Thanks to Logan’s info, Jack makes his way into the garage under Novakovich’s building. A very talkative driver gives Jack a whole host of information about breaking into the building, but leaves out an important detail: a 3rd security guard by the elevator, who gets the jump on Jack and manages to injure him. No matter: Jack disposes of him, the other two guards, and then just about everyone in Novakovich’s office as well. Most simply get shot, but Novakovich gets a poker to the gut for his involvement. Youch. 

At the UN, Kayla Hassan is briefed on her position during the signing ceremony. A Secret Service agent walks in, claiming that a woman has been trying to get through to her mother quite insistently. When Kayla picks up, she finds Reed on the other line. File under: AWKWARD. Kayla’s having none of her daddy’s mistress calling them, but when Reed mentions the “true” killers of her father, she starts to listen. Unfortunately, the FBI arrest Reed and secure the footage before Dalia can be reached. 

So, we’ve got reporters arrested, ex-presidents kidnapped, and international delegates gutted. A pretty brutal and revealing trail, one that leads all the way up to Russian president Yuri Suvarov. In a call from Logan, Suvarov admits to being behind everything: the murder of Hassan, the order to kill Renee, and the greenlight for “Brothers.” (OK, maybe not the last one.) Logan insists that Suvarov is safe, because Novaokovich didn’t give up his name to Jack. Unfortunately for both men, Jack planted a bug on Logan while choking him out, allowing him to hear the entire conversation and record it.  

Onto the final two hours of “24”! You’ve come this far: are you excited for the series finale? Or did the show long overstay its welcome? Leave your thoughts below!