Last week on 24: Your fearless recapper nearly DIED OF BOREDOM. Jack and Co. blew up the CIP device (which stopped a chemical plant in Ohio from exploding), but Dubaku escaped and kidnapped First Dude. Matobo, thankful that Jack and Co. saved his life, offered to get them into Madame President’s inner circle. They accepted, but Tony stayed behind because he didn’t want to be locked up in Gitmo (or whatever they’re replacing it with) quite yet.
This week’s awesome, action-packed episode o’ Jack Bauer Kicking Ass and Taking Names begins in a sketchy-looking alleyway. Evil Cohort pulls up in a blue Chevy sedan (Hrmph. I miss the good ol’ days when villains drove exotic European imports) and hauls First Dude into a nearby building. Dubaku, however, is not there. He’s strolling around the streets of D.C., looking for a chili dog that won’t give him horrendous heartburn. Good luck with that. He sees Madame President on television, giving a press conference that basically says, “HA! Take that, Dubaku. You totally failed. Now watch while I take my mighty military force and invade your puny little country.” Dubaku is understandably pissed. He jaunts off to his Chamber o’ Torture, a.k.a the mop closet at a local grocery store. Okay, it’s not exactly a mop closet, but really? I guess it’s consistent with the car. Evil Cohort delivers a gagged First Dude to Dubaku and leaves to wreak havoc elsewhere.
Dubaku tells First Dude, “The room is soundproof, Mr. Taylor. There’s no use screaming or trying to call for help.” He has his henchman remove the gag and First Dude starts on his, “You’ll never get away with this, you son of a!” tirade. Dubaku calmly replies, “You should be concerned with just one question, Mr. Taylor. Does your wife love you enough to call off the invasion of my country?” Ooooh. Better hope that couples’ counseling went well, dude.
Madame President patriotically finishes off her press conference and meets Jack, Bill, Walker, and Matobo. She’s a bit ashamed of what happened to the Former Prime Minister on American soil, but he appears to be able to look over that fact in exchange for reassurance that the invasion of Sangala will continue on the scheduled timetable. Matobo runs off to deal with his post-invasion planning, leaving his “kidnappers” to clear the air with Madame President.
Madame President settles back on a couch and demands to know, “What the Hell is going on?” Hee. After her extremely cordial encounter with Matobo, I’m finding this change in tone rather amusing. Jack gives her the rundown on the moles in her administration and she calls his claims “outrageous” and asks Bill why he didn’t come to her. “I didn’t know who to trust — or if you’d even believe me,” he responds. The sticking point, however, appears to be Tony and the CIP. Even though Bill was using it as bait, “A lot of people died in those planes. Never mind what could have happened with the chemical plant in Kidron.” Walker butts into the argument and vouches for their story. Madame President appears to buy it, and asks where they would go next. Jack says it’s time to get Dubaku, as he’s the only one with the names of the moles. The Chief of Staff goes, “Wait. We can’t even involve the FBI or Homeland [Security]?” You betcha.
A call comes in from Dubaku. He’s got First Dude. Madame President has a little freakout when she hears her husband’s voice. Dubaku tells her that the only way First Dude lives past 4pm is if she withdraws American troops from around Sangala immediately and permanently, AND if he gets Matobo delivered to him. “You. Wouldn’t. Dare,” Madame President practically yells. Dubaku orders his men to cut off First Dude’s finger. Eeeep! And… they actually do, with a dinner knife. Oh, god. “Meet my demands, or I will send him back to you one piece at a time,” Dubaku says, clearly too stressed out by the finger-amputation going on behind him to come up with a less hackneyed threat. If she tries to find him? It’s curtains. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.
Dubaku hangs up and the Chief of Staff reports that his men found Samantha and EVIL Sexy Secret Service Agent dead at Samantha’s apartment, so they suspect that Sexy Secret Service Agent was EVIL. C’mon, guys. You coulda just looked at his name. Anyway, that probably confirms Jack and Co.’s conspiracy theories. Madame President is suddenly overcome with guilt for the 300 people who died on the planes. “How can I ask the American people to make sacrifices I’m not willing to make myself?” she asks the Chief of Staff. She decides she can’t give in, but Jack assures her they can find First Dude before the 4pm deadline. Madame President balks and Jack says, “You can trust me. Right now everyone believes Agent Walker is dead and I have no status at all. Which means that Dubaku’s spies cannot track us, because officially we don’t exist.” Madame President points out he has resigned his government position and the Senate considers him a renegade agent. “How am I supposed to know where your loyalties really lie?” she asks him. Jack stares at her, with that sort of calm, steely resolve we’ve come to expect (and love), and says, “With all due respect, Madame President, ask around.” Oh, YES. Kiefer Sutherland rocked that line so hard. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! “Find him, please,” Madame President practically begs. Bauer’s response? “Yes, ma’am.” Lordy. That was a good scene.
The Chief of Staff leads Jack and Walker into a room and I’m pretty sure this scene is only there to heighten the sexual tension between the two because — yowzah. If they don’t get in the sack by the end of the season, I’m gonna feel cheated. They do some planning that involve DEAD Evil Sexy Secret Service Agent’s phone records, but they don’t have access fast enough. Ooooh, except Walker thinks Agent Moss can acquire them. And she’s convinced he’ll do it for her. She calls Moss, who’s like, “OMG YOU’RE ALIVE WHYDIDN’TYOUCALLME?? And why are you with Jack Bauer??! You’re cheating on me!” Or something like that. She needs Moss to shut his trap about what they’re doing, and he agrees to go along because she’s his Not!Girlfriend. Moss is still a bit suspicious, though, and makes Walker agree to meet him at the Capitol Reflecting Pool in order to make sure she’s not under duress. Hee. He’s just worried she’s screwing Jack.
FBI Field Office. Special Agent Sean thinks things aren’t adding up. He also rather overtly flirts with Special Agent Erica. Annoying. Janis asks him if he could be a little less obvious, because if Moss finds out about Special Agent Sean’s inter-office affair, “he’ll transfer you to Juno so fast your head will spin.” The FBI has offices in Juno? Woah. They must be infiltrating the Soviet Union through Alaskan doorsteps, or something. Oh, wait. That’s not their job. Ooops.
And now for my favorite scene of the night. Capitol Reflecting Pool: Jack tries to look incognito in his aviators and bulletproof vest, but only succeeds in distracting me. [What, you think I watch for the plot?] Moss is already there and looks totally relieved to see that his Not!Girlfriend is still alive and fully-clothed. She, on the other hand, is rather frigid. Jack steps between them and gets right down to business, asking if Moss was able to access DEAD Evil Sexy Secret Service Agent’s phone records. Moss looks at him like, “Seriously? We’re having a one-sided, tender reunion here,” before giving them information on Evil Cohort (a former Special Forces member who served in Sangala). Jack wants to know if Evil Cohort has a family. Uh oh. That’s never a good question from Mr. Bauer. Jack tells Moss they’re going to go get Evil Cohort and orders Walker to go torture — I mean, babysit Evil Cohort’s family. Evil Cohort was Special Forces, so the only way to break him in time is by threatening his family.
Walker and Moss balk, and, after throwing the fact that Walker tortured Ventilator Dude in her face, Jack explodes, “When are you people gonna stop thinking that everyone else is following your rules? They’re not! Dubaku is going to kill [First Dude] in the next forty five minutes unless we find him. You’ve got one of two choices. Now, you can either phone the President and explain to her that your conscience wouldn’t let you do what is necessary to save him, or you can simply do what is necessary. Pick one.” Oh, Jack. You make me all tingly when you take control like that. Walker apparently agrees, because she turns her back on Moss and heads off to get Evil Cohort’s family.
Jack starts barking orders to Moss, but Moss calls at him, “Look at yourself. You’ve lost everyone and everything you ever had by doing what you think is necessary. I won’t let you do it to her, Bauer. [Walker] will not end up like you.” Jack turns around and stares at him. “Are you gonna give me your keys or not?” I’ll reiterate what I said earlier: YES. Hot damn. Jack’s on fire tonight. Moss launches his keys at Bauer. Jack starts walking off. “Jack!” Moss calls after him. Jack takes a few more steps before stopping and turning around. “The rules are what make us better,” Moss tells him. Jack shakes his head, his mouth set grimly. “Not today.”
Back in the Mop Closet of Torture, Dubaku’s CNN viewing is interrupted by one of his henchmen, who reports that he’s having trouble stopping the bleeding from First Dude’s amputated finger. Dubaku tells him to cauterize it with a blowtorch. Ewwww. That isn’t going to be pleasant. Dubaku gets a phone call from his girlfriend. She had to leave work because her sister, Rosa, was having an “episode.” She’s totally nice. Too bad she’s dating such a douchebag. She really REALLY wants him to come to dinner, but he’s just slammed with work. She hangs up and wheelchair-bound Rosa harps on Dubaku for a couple minutes, saying her sister only loves him because he’s her sugar daddy. They know nothing about him! Well, not entirely. When her sister leaves, Rosa fondles an envelope in her lap. Something’s up.
White House. The Chief of Staff is trying to figure out how to get around Dubaku’s demands. Bill helps them come up with a plan, and Madame President gives the okay.
Meanwhile, Agent Moss gives Jack Evil Cohort’s location via cell phone — he’s heading for Andrews Air Force Base, so Jack needs to get to him before he hits the base. Moss asks Jack if he’s heard from Walker, but that’s a no. “She knows how to get in touch with us if she’s in trouble,” Jack tells Moss, with an underlying current of condescension. Oooh. Smackdown!
At Evil Cohort’s house, Walker waltzes in after showing Evil Cohort’s wife and small child her holstered gun. Heh. “Shut up, do what I tell you and there’s a chance you’ll live through this,” she orders. Have I mentioned I like her? Because… yeah. I may have a small girlcrush.
Back from break, the small child is screaming and Walker threatens Evil Cohort’s wife for trying to comfort the kid. “Sit. Down,” she snarls. “What kind of person are you? Doing this to us,” Evil Cohort’s wife asks. “You should ask your husband,” fires back Walker. The wife is clueless and Walker’s getting increasingly more on edge. She has the wife handcuff her wrist to the table as the small child continues to cry.
Jack’s trying to get to Evil Cohort, who’s stuck in traffic. See what I said about D.C. traffic? This is an ongoing theme this season. Jack goes to cut him off on a one way street going the wrong way. Honking and swerving and BAM! Jack’s SUV broadsides Evil Cohort’s crappy little sedan and they go bouncing off parked cars. Jack, unfazed, vaults out of the car and yells at Evil Cohort as he wrestles him out of the wreckage. In typical Jack Bauer fashion, he pulls Evil Cohort into an deserted retail space and starts asking him, “Where is [First Dude]?” Jack fires off a few well-placed kicks to the ribs, but Evil Cohort isn’t talking. Jack proceeds to call Walker and orders her to put her phone on speaker. “Talk to your wife!” Jack orders. Evil Cohort starts freaking out at the sound of his sobbing wife and screaming child and when Walker goes over to the small child, it looks like she’s about to do something terrible to it. Evil Cohort finally breaks. Walker picks the kid up and gives it to its mother, who growls, “You’re a monster.” Yes. An awesome monster.
Jack continues to demand, “Where is he?” with his gun pointed at Evil Cohort’s head. “How do I know that you’re just not gonna kill [my family] anyway?” “You don’t.” Heh. Evil Cohort gives Jack the address of the Mop Closet of Torture and all seems well and good until some completely random guy walks into the room, distracting Jack long enough for Evil Cohort to make a lunge at him with a knife. There’s kicking and flipping and rolling and punching and KILL HIM, JACK! Just when it looks like Evil Cohort’s going to get Jack in the neck with his blade, Jack redirects it into Evil Cohort’s stomach. Jack grunts in manly pain before leaving Evil Cohort to expire in the room alone. He goes outside to find his destroyed SUV being ransacked by some opportunistic onlookers and has to order a guy out of a very nice Cadillac sedan at gunpoint in order to flee the scene.
White House. Bill goes over the plan to make it look like they’re going to hand Matobo over, but it will actually be a decoy. I’ll be honest: the decoy kinda sucks.
Back with Walker, Jack calls. He gives her a status update and the address of the Mop Closet of Torture. He asks if she’s okay. “No, I don’t think I am,” she responds, looking at Evil Cohort’s wife and small child. “What do you mean? What’s wrong?[…] We never could have gotten this far if it wasn’t for you. And no one would blame you if this was just too much for you to handle. Maybe you should get out,” Jack soothes. “Maybe I will,” Walker responds and high-tails it out of there.
White House. Decoy’s on the move. It should buy them ten or fifteen minutes. Bill passes on Jack’s progress to Madame President. They’re cutting it close.
FBI Field Office. Special Agent Erica brings Special Agent Sean a fax from Homeland that indicates the threat level is about to be lowered. Sean brings it to Moss because he thinks the FBI’s being kept out of the loop. Before Moss can make any more crappy excuses, he gets a call from Walker. He excuses himself and Walker tells them they’ve found Taylor’s address, but he can’t send anyone in because it will compromise their operation. Oh, and by the way, would he mind keeping Evil Cohort’s body covered up for just a little while? Thanks, darling. You’re a gem. “What the hell you doin’ with this guy?” Moss demands, referring to Bauer. Well… nevermind. I can think of plenty of things to do with Jack and I’m sure you can too.
In the Mop Closet of Torture, Dubaku is informed that Matobo’s being brought to him and it looks like the American forces are moving out of Sangala. He gets a call from Rosa, who indicates she’s discovered his story doesn’t check out. She’s willing to keep quiet about this little problem if he breaks up with her. Dubaku leaves, telling his henchmen he has a little problem to take care of. No bueno.
Walker reaches the Mop Closet of Torture before Jack does, but Jack’s running a couple minutes late and that doesn’t bode well for the Matobo decoy. The decoy arrives at the prearranged drop-off point (a power plant) and Dubaku’s men are getting impatient. They call Dubaku, who tells them to destroy the vehicle — they’ve been played by the Americans! Bill’s command to abort is too late and the car goes BOOM.
Jack arrives at the Mop Closet of Torture and he and Walker mount an assault. They grab the grocery clerk and, thanks to the strategic use of Jack’s pistol (hush), get him to open the door to the Mop Closet. He does, Jack pistol whips him (YES) and sneaks in to get surveillance. He quietly lets Walker know where the four guards are. He motions for her to go down the stairs and she obliges.
Dubaku calls his henchmen and tells them to kill First Dude. “But we will have nothing to hold over their heads!” the top henchman insists. “We don’t have anything now. The President was willing to let him die. We are done here. Kill [First Dude] and have your men pack everything up,” Dubaku says. One of the henchmen catches Walker making her way towards them and Jack takes him out from his perch behind a crumbling brick wall. Chaos erupts down below and the bad guys shoot it out with Jack and Walker from behind some cases of beer. Hee. Jack and Walker work pretty damn well as a team and Jack eventually takes out all the henchman but one. Except it only takes one person to shoot First Dude in the chest. Crap. Jack’s too late, and in the final moments of this week’s episode, he screams at Walker to call an ambulance as First Dude looks rather dead.
Well, that was a pleasant surprise after last week. We had a number of really good scenes between the characters, particularly Walker and Bauer, a plot that moved along at a quick pace, and plenty of action. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! No Tony, though, but I suppose you can’t have everything.
Next week on 24: Things are looking very grim for the First Dude. There’s also drama with Dubaku’s girlfriend, but that doesn’t look quite as interesting as Jack broadsiding crappy sedans. I’m just sayin’. See y’all then!