When last we saw Jack Bauer, he was flying away in a stolen helicopter with new CTU head Chloe O’Brien watching from the ground. With the show keen on showing that Jack’s work has left him all alone, it’s only fitting that he’s setting off to singlehandedly expose the involvement of the Russian government in the day’s atrocities. All this is well and good, but still pales in terms of the excitement of Alan Sepinwall announcing that he’s coming to HitFix, possibly to expose the nefarious acts of one Daniel Fienberg. So make sure to keep an eye on developments there, while I try and keep you abreast of the activities in the world of “24.”
[Full recap of Monday's (April 26) "24" after the break...]
Jack flies over Manhattan, chased by two Air Force planes that look straight out of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.” (CGI isn’t exactly a strength of “24.”) He manages to land the chopper atop a helipad, with the Air Force calling in NYPD to nab him on the ground. Naturally, Jack manages to climb down the side of he building via the fire escape and slip into the cover of New York’s busy streets before the police can arrive on the scene. NYPD puts out an ABP for a small, dour man wearing a manpurse.
At the U.N., Ethan Kanin fills President Taylor in on the latest involving Jack’s escape. She frets that his search may end the peace accord, but Ethan has other things on his mind. “The peace agreement may not be the only casualty,” he tells her, noting her cover-up is grounds not only for impeachment, but potentially even criminal indictment. He thinks another chance may come, if not necessarily in this administration, and she could save her administration if she grants Dana Walsh immunity in exchange for the evidence proving Russian involvement.
Taylor eventually relents, and asks Ethan to draft a statement to be read later in the hour announcing the dissolving of the peace talks. On the way downstairs to contact Dalia Hassan, she runs into President Logan. He takes the news of Taylor’s change of heart well. A little too well, really. While appearing to agree with Taylor’s decision, he notes that obtaining the evidence through a private security firm (think Blackwater) via unsavory methods could keep a lid on things, maintain the peace, AND maintain Taylor’s administration. He asks her if she’s willing to challenge her personal beliefs in order to affect the change her seat of power can provide. Then, he gives her an apple and asks if she wants a bite. OK, not really, but c’mon. Dude’s the devil. And he’s pretty awesome. At this rate of scenery chewing, he’ll weigh 400 lbs by the series finale.
And wouldn’t you know it, his speech works. Taylor calls Chloe to inform her of the impending arrival of The Torture Gang to CTU. When Chloe balks at the private firm’s insertion into the mix, Taylor shrewdly notes there are plenty of government officials sympathetic to Jack. Taylor insists she doesn’t feel Chloe is one of those sympathetic, but in a way that says, “Yes, I’m totally talking about you.” Not happy about Taylor’s sudden character turnaround. I understand that she’s cracking under the pressure of the day’s events, but she’s sold out her beliefs to serve the story, rather than the story serving to show her erosion of morality. Sigh.
Meanwhile, Jack buys a few pre-paid cellphones and uses one to call Chloe. Let’s just say she’s not happy to be on the end of one of Jack’s threats. Eventually convinced all Jack wants to do is expose (not butcher) the perpetrators behind the day’s events, she tells him of the private security firm’s insertion into the mix. He tells her that he’ll call back later to get more info, ditches the phone, and uses a fresh one to contact his old buddy Jim Ricker, played by none other than Mr. Blonde himself, Michael Madsen. Ricker’s that classic “guy who get can you things,” and Jack’s in need of a whole lot of things. Things that go BOOM. (As opposed to things that make you go hmmm, for which you contact C+C Music Factory.)
Over at CTU, private security firm head Mark Bledsoe arrives on the scene. He’s played by D.B. Sweeney with an assisting role provided by D.B. Sweeney’s moustache. (Every time I see D.B. Sweeney onscreen, I think of “The Cutting Edge.” If he screams “Toe pick!” while torturing Dana Walsh, this will officially be my favorite season of “24” ever.) Bledsoe tells Logan’s assistant Jason Pillar that killing Dana after extracting the evidence is the only way to ensure a clean containment of their involvement. Chloe sneaks the location to which they will be taking Dana through a bit of digital sleight-of-hand just before the firm takes away a wide-eyed, terrified Dana. (Not a bad way to sell the bad-assery of the security firm to make the heretofore unflappable Dana lose her mind at the thought of being alone with these guys. That, or she was terrified of Sweeney’s sex offender moustache.)
Ethan brings Taylor a copy of her withdrawal speech, only to learn she’s drinking from the Logan-Aid again. Her use of the phrase “greater good” tips things too far for Ethan, who declares that he’s going to resign rather than continue down this path. Taylor can’t believe he’s abandoning her so close to the agreement. “I’m not abandoning you. I’m listening to my conscience. Anyways, you have Charles Logan now. Only room for one of us.” Not sure how a strong female president got involved in a triangle that makes Jack/Kate/Sawyer look dignified, but there you have it. One again: sigh.
While not exactly thrilled with Bledoe’s involvement, Chloe coordinates a sting operation on Jack using Cole in the field to draw Jack to a government-owned safehouse. (She’s sympathetic to Jack’s plight, but still thinks he’s acting out a place of revenge, not sanity.) After obtaining enough weapons to take over a small country from Ricker, Jack follows Chloe’s orders towards the pre-arranged location. But rather than move towards the chokepoint, he manages to slip behind Cole and his men, having been aware of the setup from the outset.
He forces Cole to call in a false arrest to a relieved but nauseous Chloe. Jack’s reasoning for going through with the sting? To get Cole to help him secure Dana, noting Cole’s previous protection of her led to the situation they are in now. (Damnit, I’d forgotten all about that subplot. Now it’s back in my brain, burning my cerebellum.) “Look, I can’t do this on my own,” says Jack, in a moment of rare humility. Cole takes a gun from Jack and agrees to help. “You had me at hello,” he tells Jack. Well, he said it with his eyes, mostly. But still.
Time for a clever and effective use of the split-screen: after Ethan warns Logan to not lead Taylor astray, we see the President address the media while Dana Walsh’s torture begins. Taylor’s words of strength and honor ring hollow when contrasted with the actions Bledsoe’s Boys. Before handing the proceedings over to Dalia Hassan, Taylor spies a despondent Ethan walk away in the back of the room. Whereas Logan sees her as finally having “teeth,” Taylor looks more toothless than ever.
Is Taylor’s fall from grace working for you, or the mis-use of another strong, female character on the show? Did Chloe’s loyalty to Taylor over Bauer ring equally false? And who thinks that Jack’s ultimate plan involves simple “exposure,” not bloodletting?