Our anti-hero Jack is definitely going dark. You can tell so by the way that Kiefer concluded the hour with his patented Morally Conflicted Blinking™. (Yes, it’s trademarked. Talk to my Legal department.) You have to wonder what’s left for Jack when this storyline wraps up. Sure, there’s going to be a movie, but hell, WHO is Jack going to work for? Forget about burning bridges – Jack has set fire to the town that made the lumber! Fortunately, we already know that Jack can ultimately get a job with the Russians and receive new hair, a couple of implants, and some hormones, then get a job at CTU and call himself “Dana.” As always, spoilers abound:
- At the press conference, Dalia tells the world, “If my husband were here, I’m sure you’d be screaming at the gory sight. And I want to especially thank President Taylor, whose tunnelvision has brought my tiny fictional nation to the brink of disaster.”
- Logan’s aide, Pillar of Salt, tells Logan that D.B. Porno wants confirmation that his men have the go-ahead to “deal with” (nudge nudge wink wink) Starbuck. Logan says that they’re all committed to the same outcome, “not that I have any idea what you’re talking about, do you understand?” Pillar of Salt says, “I’m talking about killing Starbuck, sir.” Logan: “I KNOW it’s about killing Starbuck, doofus! Don’t you recognize villainous non-approval approval when you hear it?”
- Wow, more waterboarding for Starbuck. Nasty. D.B. Porno should just threaten to remove his mustache and put it on Starbuck. THAT would break her.
- Chloe tells Arlo she’s concerned about Jack. “Jack’s my bunny. He thinks we’re just, like, pals, but I’ll fix that disorder.” “WHAT did you say, Chloe?” “I said, Jack’s acting funny. He needs a shrink for a psych eval. Quick, Arlo! That’s an order!” “Oh.”
- Jack and Freddie Prinze Jr. storm the warehouse where D.B. Porno’s men have Starbuck. Hey, look, location shot! Where are they, Queens again? Everyone knows that Brooklyn has the best abandoned warehouses! D.B. Porno holds a gun to Starbuck’s head and says that Jack won’t risk that the shot. Wrong! Jack blows him away, freeing D.B. Sweeney to appear in another series, hopefully sans porn mustache.
- During the firefight, Jack gets desperate. He uses a revolver! Wow, haven’t seen that in a while. I just flashed back to T.J. Hooker with William Shatner & Adrian Zmed. (Ahhh, and Heather Locklear… where was I?)
- After freeing Starbuck, Freddie gets conflicted when he sees that Jack is ready to execute her. Frightened Mannequin Face! Jack chastises him, “She’s trying to get inside your head, Freddie! There’s so much empty space in there! DAMMIT!”
- President Taylor gives Logan an earful when she hears that Jack has freed Starbuck from the supposedly more secure security guards. My favorite part of the episode: “Are we on speakerphone?!? Pick up the damn phone, Charles!!!”
- Logan decides to delegate: “Send in my assistant, Pillar of Salt, to lead CTU’s hunt for Bauer. Not only is he ruthless, but his saltiness goes well with any margarita!” Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!
- Logan then meets with Russian Foreign Minister Novascotia and his lackey, Pavel – Renee’s killer! Boo! Hiss! How many minutes does THIS guy have left before Jack immolates him? Logan sets them up with a secure phone though which Pillar of Salt will contact them once Jack is cornered. New York must have some sort of monopoly on untraceable phones.
- Hmmph, Logan is taking this Jack thing awfully personally. All Jack did three seasons ago (17 years in 24 time!) was foil Logan’s international power play and force him from the Presidency and into house arrest as a disgraced exile in his own country. What’s the big deal?
- Jack, Freddie, and Starbuck arrive at the bank where Starbuck claims to have stashed the audio file containing proof of the Russian government’s involvement. Why a safe deposit box? I would’ve hidden the audio file by uploading it to Amazon’s MP3 Yiddish Folk section, where no one would have found it, but that’s me.
- Pillar of Salt shows up at CTU and starts bossing Chloe around. Bad move! As long as Chloe was in charge, she would’ve followed orders and tried to bring Jack in. But now she can go back to doing what Chloe does best: undermining her superiors!
- Not surprisingly, Starbuck outwits Freddie and clocks him in the head with a chair. (Coincidentally, this is how Freddie convinced Sarah Michelle Gellar to marry him.)
- She grabs the data chip, conveniently encased in plastic, and makes a fake phone call to the police in order to get Jack out of the way: “There’s a man at the front door, I’ve seen him on the news, he’s frantic – wild-eyed! I think he’s got a gun, he’s looking at me...! Oh my god, it’s Charlie Sheen! Hurry!”
- Two cops against Jack? Pshwaw. Jack neutralizes both, even apologizing to the second one before shooting him in the leg. Yeah, Jack, no hard feelings.
- Street chase! And it even looks like Manhattan! I’m pretty sure there was a Village Voice box on the corner, since Jack paused to light it on fire.
- He catches up to Starbuck, who has run out of bullets. Once she shows him the data card, she makes one last try for a deal. “Is there anything I can do? Information? A back massage? An explanation for Battlestar Galactica’s annoying final episode?” Cue Kiefer’s patented Morally Conflicted Blinking™. “No.” BLAM! Point blank against an opponent armed only with a tight shirt. Yikes. Another moment that I didn’t see coming. I still thought Jack would pull out of his dark spiral, but clearly anyone who was at all linked to the Russians and to Renee’s death is on the Bauer Hit List. It’s going to be a fun final month!
By the way, there’s an entertaining post-death interview with Katee Sackhoff here.