Honestly, I prepared myself to say goodbye to another major character this week. In the past two episodes, we’ve seen two major deaths rock the “24” world. Each time Chloe popped up onscreen tonight, I prayed she was wearing Kevlar as part of her new job. We didn’t get any bloodshed this week, but we did get a lot of compromised morals. Specifically, President Taylor chose a path that will undoubtedly cause more pain than peace when all is said and done. And for that, we have her predecessor in the Oval Office to thanks. Her decisions lead Jack to a drastic action, one that kicks off the final leg of the show’s long run.
[Full recap of Monday's (April 19) "24" after the break...]
The episode starts out in silence, with Jack numbly looking at Renee’s corpse. A nurse comes in to take Renee’s body away. An awkward moment ensues when it’s clear that Jack, while emotionally invested in Renee, knows almost nothing about her, not even the whereabouts of her parents. Considering the breakneck pace at which the show tends to operate, sometimes employing split-screen to show everything that’s happening, these opening moments are downright glacial. Think of it as the last big inhale before heading into the final sprint of the show.
Ethan greets President Taylor at the U.N. He’s surprised at Logan’s quick involvement in the matter, and even more surprised at Taylor’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy concerning Logan’s leverage. Dude, this was YOUR idea. Across town, Logan finds Novakovich noshing on some lunch. Despite Novakovich’s pleas of ignorance, Logan asserts that he has proof not only of high-level Russian interference throughout the past day, but interference from Novakovich himself. Logan declares that if Novakovich doesn’t re-enter the peace accords by the time the former president returns to the U.N., Taylor will learn everything.
Chloe calls Jack. As Paul Thomas Anderson might say, there will be blood. Jack’s in full revenge mode, and wants it now. He’s only got one lead to follow up within Red Square: Sergei Bazhaev, currently being arraigned downtown in a federal courtroom.
At the courtroom, Jack sits behind Bazhaev’s family, which rightfully freaks him out. He asks his lawyer for a brief recess, during which he pleads with Jack to not harm his family. Jack replies that Renee WAS family to him, and unless he gets intel about her killer, Bazhaev’s family will join her six feet under. Bazhaev confesses to a government, not mob, conspiracy surrounding the events of the day, yielding only one name as a contact: Dana Walsh.
As Logan returns to the U.N., he gets a call from Taylor. The Russians are back on board, and the Russian premier will be on-site in five hours. Logan’s thrilled, telling his assistant Jason Pillar that it feels great to be back in the game. (Is this a peace accord or a Cialis commercial?) Ethan wants to know what Logan said, but Logan’s hush-hush about his techniques, fearing that Taylor’s knowledge of them would ruin the public acclaim he feels is so rightfully his in this matter. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: it’s the Charles Logan we all know and loathe: petty, selfish, narcissistic, and slimy. In short: he’s awesome.
After his debrief with Bazhaev, Jack calls Chloe to update her on Dana’s link to the Russian government. Worried about his mental state, Chloe asks Cole to keep a watch on the impending interrogation. The two watch via closed-circuit feed as Jack questions Dana. OK, it’s like 20% questioning, 80% violence. Chloe wants it to stop; Cole wants it to play out. I want to throw up. I realize that Starbuck can take a punch. Doesn’t mean I want to see her take one. In the end, she agrees to supply evidence of the Russian government’s involvement if the immunity agreement that died with Hassan gets reinstated.
Upon hearing of Bauer’s involvement in the case, Logan freaks out. Already undone once by Jack, he’s unwilling to see his redemption ruined by him a second time. So instead of withholding the truth about Novakovich and company, he lays the whole thing out on the line for Taylor in order to squash Jack’s investigation. Taylor is initially horrified at the depth of Logan’s knowledge, but soon Logan’s words worm into her ear.
What Logan lays out is a pretty fantastic moral dilemma, one framed nicely around Dalia Hassan herself: can Taylor live with allowing her new partner on the world stage to unwittingly sign an accord with those that killed her husband, or is Taylor willing to let perhaps the only possible chance for peace in that region slip by? “There is a tide in the affairs of men/Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,” Logan says, quoting Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar. With that, much to Ethan’s horror, Taylor’s on board with Logan’s plan.
She heads to CTU to speak with Jack personally. She greets the entire staff of CTU as she walks in, commending their work for the day and recognizing there’s more to do. “I know you won’t let me down,” she tells CTU, even as she knows she’s about to let Jack down. She starts out by offering condolences over Renee’s death. (Her shock to that news, deployed by Logan, was a nice touch and a callback to her commending Renee just a few short hours ago for delivering the Hassan women safely to the U.N.) But soon it’s onto the bad news: she wants Jack to shut down his investigation.
As her dismissiveness of Jack’s theories turns to obtuseness, Jack realizes that he’s being stonewalled. “You don’t want to know the truth,” he tells her. She asks him to stand down his need for revenge for the “greater good,” echoing the very words uttered by Logan at the U.N. “I don’t want revenge, I want justice!” he cries. “And I want peace!” she retorts. She orders him to be debriefed at MacGuire Air Force Base, essentially locking him down before the accord can be signed.
Once again let down by the government he has dedicated his life to serving, he moves quickly past Chloe on the way out the door. He denies that anything happened with Taylor. When the two women meet face to face, Taylor alerts her of an impending press conference, for which CTU needs to provide air-tight security. Furthermore, she’s quashing any immunity agreement for Dana. Chloe thinks it stinks, Cole thinks it stinks, and I’m pretty sure Dana’s pretty bummed about things as well. But none of that matters, because rather than be escorted via helicopter towards virtual lockdown, Jack manages to hijack the chopper and take off. Like the possibility offered in recent military commercials have told us, Jack Bauer is now an Army of One.
Is Renegade Jack working for you? Did Taylor’s deal with the devil change your opinion of her? And what will Dalia do when she finds out the truth?