Image Credit: FoxAllison Taylor, you truly vex me. Wasn’t it just a few hours ago that you excoriated Rob Weiss and General Brucker for wanting to submit to Samir’s demands by saying something presidential like “the worst will happen, we’ll deal with it. Because that’s what we do. Americans don’t stay down, we rise up together in times of crisis, we carry on, is that clear?” So where was that can-do attitude when it came to the Russians, eh woman?

Logan can quote Caesar all he wants but it still didn’t make a dang bit of sense that Taylor would want to continue with the peace agreement while knowing the Russkies had zero intention of walking the talk. And really, Allison, you don’t think Dalia would want to be clued in on the fact that Moscow had a hand in Fantastic Sam’s death? Sheesh, I haven’t seen such a strange series of knuckle-headed moves since — well, since last week, when the Russian sniper missed Jack but managed to lodge a bullet into this season’s most undeserving victim. (And boy did that get you folks worked up! I especially appreciated this post from Nihilistic: “I know 24 has always been infamous for featuring the most quixotic and unrealistic gunfights on television but that took the cake.”)

Ah, we whine because we care, right? If it wasn’t for Taylor’s out-of-character call, we wouldn’t have been treated to Bauer’s desperate act of sedition by commandeering a helicopter. But more on that later.

I failed to acknowledge Kiefer’s excellent bedside manner last week, so I was glad to be given another opportunity to single it out tonight: I got a little misty watching him stare solemnly at Renee’s corpse and felt particularly saddened when he was treated to that cruel reality check by the nurse. “Are you the husband of the deceased? Do you know her next of kin? Are they alive?” Didn’t know her so well, did you Jack? Who cares — someone has to pay now!

After discarding his bloody togs for an intern’s shirt and boots (really?), Bauer raced off to Federal Court to question soon-to-be-squirreled-away Sergei. Instinctively — and perhaps a little too conveniently — Sergei asked for a few minutes from the judge so he could enjoy a little alone time with Jack. Our hero didn’t mince his words, either: Jack threatened to murder Sergei’s wife and kids unless he revealed who was behind Renee’s surprise death. But we already knew the answer to that, didn’t we? Elsewhere in New York, Logan told Novakovich to spare him the platitudes and start talking world peace with the U.S., or else Logan would expose the “unvarnished truth” of how the Russians were behind the plot to kill Hassan. I had a couple of thoughts swirling about my noggin during this al fresco meet-and-greet: one, how blown away I was by Gregory Itzin’s purty blue peepers. And two, how in the heck would a disgraced ex-prexy like Logan come into such privileged, double-secret information? I’m sure this is where Reed Diamond’s character comes in; he did seem to have some suspicious “sources” who saw Jack talking to Sergei at the court house, so Logan’s “administrative assistant” is probably in deep with the Russkies. But I still spent most of this scene wondering how a loser like Logan who should be completely out of the action knew so much about the terrorists.

Of course, Logan’s threat worked. Major kudos to Itzin here; the actor was in rare form in that limo ride, looking so pathetically full of himself as he uttered lines like “It’s a good feeling, being of service to your country.” Naturally, Ethan was buying none of it back at the U.N. Already angry with Taylor for not knowing Logan’s M.O., Ethan was all the more suspicious when Logan explained how he simply appealed to Novakovich’s sense of morality. Fortunately, Logan wasn’t able to keep his secret for long. Thanks to Sergei, Jack learned that Dana Walsh was the main contact for the Russians — which led to a pretty delicious de-briefing back at CTU. Remarkably, Dana emerged fairly unscathed after that nasty beating (she shoulda gone cold after Jack smacked her head into the table) — mostly because she needed to remain lucid to beg for immunity. She had the audio files to prove who the real baddo was, but Jack would never get the chance to hear them; Logan was already working behind the scenes to cut out our hero once and for all.

At first, Taylor was floored by revelation; she thought maybe Logan dangled a sex or money scandal in front of Novakovich to get him to come back to the table. But… Moscow? Behind the murder? And yet remarkably, Logan worked his skeevy magic on Taylor and talked about her “working for the greater good.” Next thing we know Taylor is down at CTU, crushing Jack’s world in Chloe’s new office (it doesn’t belong to Hastings anymore, Chloe, so quit calling it that!) “I want justice!” Jack says. “I want peace!” Taylor retorts!

What can you do? The ‘ol girl always gets the last word. Still, I remain so very vexed (for more on this matter, see paragraph two).

Looking defeated, Jack is led out to a helicopter that’s supposed to whisk him off the front lines — but in an last minute attempt to avenge Renee’s death, he pulls a gun and goes freaking airborne, man. “Land that chopper now!” Chloe yells. No chance of that, even with the Air Force on his tail.

Taylor aside, it was a kinda awesome ending, didn’t you think?

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Kiefer Sutherland
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