Confession time: I might go see the “24” movie that’s apparently in the works. It’s not because I’m enjoying the final season of the show, but quite frankly I’m interested in the idea of it far more than the current execution. The show has become a slave to its own conventions, and those conventions would necessarily have to be thrown off once a major motion picture. For now, the show’s simply moving through familiar beats, uninterested in making things new as opposed to simply trying to one-up previous iterations of the same plot points. A little more creativity and a little less gore would be a welcome change. Maybe even worth my admission ticket at the local cineplex. But we’re not here to talk about the upcoming film: merely tonight’s lackluster episode, which featured far too few twists, except when said twists damaged human tissue. 

[Full recap of Monday's (May 10) "24" after the break...]

NYPD’s finest bring up Cole, in handcuffs, to ID Dana’s body. One of the officers notes the powder residue by her, likening the killing to an “execution.” I hereby dub him Officer Tact. Meanwhile, in a cab fleeing the scene, Jack finally watches Dana’s video. It details a meeting between herself and the Russian assassin that took down Renee. She wants out after this last job, forgetting the cardinal rule of anyone ever that decided they wanted out after one last job: namely, that talking about doing one more job before getting out is about as smart as talking about Fight Club. 

Jack arrives back at Jim Ricker’s abode, coming in the way Snoop Dogg drops it: hot. Ricker’s been tasked to ID the man in the video with Dana, but won’t do it until he learns exactly what Jack is doing. Jack spits out the laundry list of the day’s atrocities, but Jim’s less interested in the “what” than in the “why.” Finally, Jack admits, “The Russians took something from me. Her name was Renee Walker, and they killed hers inside my apartment. And I need to make them pay.” At that point, Ricker reveals he’s already ID’d the man: Pavel Tokarev. 

Over at CTU, Pillar’s giving everyone the false 411 on the situation so far. Chloe starts asking a lot of good questions about why Jack and Company went to the bank in the first place, but Pillar shuts her down. She’s starting to see Jack’s side of things, and tries to recruit Arlo. Unfortunately, at this point, Arlo doesn’t think she’s hot enough to risk his career. So he buries his head in the sand, much in the way Pillar suggest Cole do upon meeting him face to face in the Apple Interrogation Room. Pillar tries to use their shared military background as a way to get Cole to give up information on Jack, but Cole is hard to read. Either he’s difficult to interrogate, or Freddie Prinze Jr. is physically unable to express the emotion “conflicted.” It’s a toss-up. 

Luckily, for both Cole and the “24” audience, Pillar gets called away by his assistant Eden. They intercepted a call made by Jack to arrange a meet with Meredith Reed, the reporter from earlier this season but feels like she was on the show around the time that Behrooz Araz was still kicking about. (I’ve been dying to make a Behrooz reference all season. VICTORY IS MINE.) Turns out they intercepted the call due to the use of about 20 different code words that their monitoring software are trained to detect. And NO one finds this suspicious. Instead, Pillar reaches levels of nearly sexual excitement relaying the information to Logan, who uses Novakovich to contact Pavel to order the hit. 

Chloe finally gets Arlo on board after the flagged phone call makes Pillar shut down all information around the call tighter than the W.O.P.R. after Matthew Broderick decided to play Global Thermonuclear War. (Spoiler alert: the only winning move is not to play.) Realizing the overly amped-up security means Pillar and Eden are co-conspirators, Arlo finally signs up with Chloe’s two-man operation. Their amazing plan to override Pillar’s newly installed security measures? A freakin’ Spring mobile hotspot. I am being honest. Stop laughing. You saw the episode. You know I’m not lying. The same technology that lets to you check your email at Starbucks just turned into the way Chloe and Arlo started to outsmart their nemeses. I feel like I just drank a Grande Crappucino. 

Now that it’s getting hot(spot) in herre, Arlo manages to loop the footage of Cole’s cell for 90 seconds, allowing Chloe time to pump him for information about Jack’s whereabouts without Pillar noticing. Cole doesn’t know much: where Jack is, who the good guys really are, how to maintain a consistent accent even within a single episode never mind a whole season. Dude’s got angst. But he realized one thing in his brief time with Jack: no way Bauer could be packing such heat without a local supplier. Chloe leaves armed (get it?) with this new information. 

As Logan watches the news (replete with information about Yuri Suvarov’s imminent arrival) he gets a call from Pavel. He’s at the Bauer/Reed meeting point, hiding out in the vents. Logan gives him the kill order to Meredith Reed as well. In another part of the U.N., President Taylor is working through the last-minute details of the treaty with Dalia Hassan, but is forgetting important details. Well, she’s been under a lot of stress and fatigue and character assassination in the name of creating artificial drama. It’s understandable. 

Logan calls her out of her meeting to bring her up to speed. A bewildered Taylor tries to come to grips with 1) how Jack could have escaped, and 2) how she could have possibly let Logan talk her into any of this. She should have known the first part, and well, you already know my personal feelings about the second part. Just in case she felt she’d hit rock bottom, Logan presses her for an official announcement of his role in the peace proceedings before the treaty is actually signed. “I believe I’ve earned it,” he coos. She acquiesces, increasingly sick with herself. 

Back at the Department Store That Refused To Lend Its Name for Promotional Purposes For Reasons That Shall Soon Become Clear, Pavel sees Meredith walk into the coffee shop. He’s not the only one that sees her: not only are Pillar and Eden watching from CTU, but Pavel’s brought along a small wet team with him to monitor activity on the floor. Eden catches sight of Jack walking through the crowd, but he successfully uses both people AND sales racks for cover. Just when Pavel gets Jack in his crosshairs, Ricker pulls a gun on him from behind, neutralizing the high target. Jack then grabs Meredith, runs through the fashionable yet affordable clothing, and takes out the remainder of the wet team. Those one-day sales are BRUTAL. 

Pillar gives the bad news to Logan, and suggests that his boss distance himself from the storm about to blow in. Logan’s is having none of it, with the possible restoration of his good public name too dear to give up. “We are PUBLIC now,” he tells Pillar, as if they just launched an IPO. Logan wants him to stay on the case, take out Bauer, and secure the evidence. 

Jack and Jim take Pavel and Meredith to Ricker’s hideout. Meredith’s more than a little mad that Jack used her as bait, but to her surprise, he does produce the video of which he spoke on the phone. Meanwhile, Ricker forces Pavel to empty out his pockets. At one point, he drops his phone on the ground, which becomes important later. While Pavel removes all dangerous items from his person, Jack opens up his weapons bag and sees the weapon that killed Renee. I think it was Socrates who once said, “Ruh row.” 

Meredith realizes what’s about to go down, and pleads for Jack not to do it. But Ricker takes her in the other room so Jack and Pavel can have some alone time. The video she watches for herself is proof of a conspiracy, but it’s lacking the names of the other players. Jack orders Renee’s killer to give up those names. “Go to hell,” says Pavel, responding to Jack’s initial threats. “You first,” replies Jack. Now, now, boys, it’s not a race. 

So it’s Torture Time again on “24,” and Jack starts off big, yanking what appears to be a big part of Pavel’s intestines out with a pair of pliers. Pavel soon fesses up to Renee’s death. “I killed your bitch, I did it!” Classy, “24.” Real classy. I think Jack then beat the holy hell out of Pavel, but I was too busy looking away from the screen and thinking, “Yes, this show has to end soon. I think this is roughly the 15th person to call Renee that this season, and if you have to resort to using that to make me hate a character, well, that’s just lazy and insulting writing.”

The torture continues after the beatdown, with Jack pouring lighter fluid on the gaping hole in Pavel’s abdomen, then setting his freakin’ torso on fire. And yet, as Logan predicted, Pavel doesn’t break. This frustrates Jack, who then, and only then, realizes that Pavel had a cellphone on him. He looks for Pavel’s sim card, and realizes exactly what Pavel did earlier when dropping to the floor while Ricker held him at gunpoint: he swallowed the sim card. Well, luckily, there’s a big hole in Pavel’s stomach for Jack to reach into and extract it. Naturally, after digestion, all that’s needed to make it work is a little cleaning action and you get the last number dialed by Pavel: Charles Logan. Looks like Jack’s got the name he wanted, even if it wasn’t the name he expected. 

What’s more torture: what Jack gave to Pavel, or this season is giving to the audience? Are you excited by another Bauer/Logan showdown, or too exhausted/bored to care? Leave your thoughts below!