Tony pulls the trigger, terrorism tests the President, and Dubaku proves that he means business
Kiefer Sutherland
Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FOX
Kiefer Sutherland
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Plane crash. Shoot-out. Stabbing. Choking. Rescue. Revival. Resignation. Even a couple of one-liners from Tony? Yes, episode 6 had a little of everything, and proved to be a fairly gripping hour of Bauer. And most importantly, those all-important ”stakes” got jacked up a few notches. Without further tease, let’s re-open this case file and, in honor of Renee, dig in.

The action opens at the FBI, where Boss Moss is working hard on the mission to net the Matobos, Tony, Jack, and his favorite agent, Renee. When Sean foot-in-mouths by all but offering his condolences (”She was a good agent”), Boss Moss turns angry: ”We don’t know that she’s dead yet!” If Sean wasn’t sold on Janis’ crush theory before, he is now. The show has really been selling the Larry-hearts-Renee plot. But why? Are they setting him up for a reluctant turn on her?

Well, first we’d better find out if she’s alive. Bill and Chloe arrive at the construction site in their Blue Van of Justice and dig Renee out of her dirt grave. She’s not breathing. Adrenaline shot administered. Nothing…. Nothing…. Finally, Renee chokes back to life with crazy where-the-hell-am-I? eyes. (Apparently, those crafty writers red-herringed us with the silent clock, and gave themselves an out by adding Renee’s breathing. How should we get them back? Anyone?)

From blue van to yellow van we go. When Emerson busts Jack deep in thought, Jack claims he’s wondering why Emerson never told Tony how he got him out of CTU. Turns out, Emerson’s partner, season 5 villain Christopher Henderson, purposely missed Tony’s artery; the injection slowed his heart so he appeared dead. Emerson planned to use Tony against Jack, but Jack killed Henderson and the mission was nixed. Disillusioned, Tony teamed up with Emerson anyway because, as Tony says, ”there was nothing such as honor left” and that he and Emerson would ”take care of each other like brothers.” (No amount of resurrection explanation will ever truly satisfy, so let’s just make peace with it: It’s absurd, we’re glad to have Tony back, moving on. Exhale.)

If Jack is worried whether Tony is capable of betraying Emerson, so is Emerson: At the airport hangar, he takes Jack hostage while Tony shoots Litvak, a.k.a. poor man’s Adam Levine! During the standoff, Jack yells at Tony to shoot Emerson; Emerson yells at Tony to drop his weapon or he’ll shoot Jack. Everyone stop yelling at Tony! Too much pressure! Finally, Tony shoots Emerson in the arm, which shocks Emerson. Just before he returns fire, Tony nails him right in the neck. Brother, you are going down!

Meanwhile, Bill briefs our other neck-wound victim, Renee, on this season’s premise. Renee wants to contact Larry, but Bill explains that with the FBI compromised, they can’t risk Dubaku finding out she’s alive, because he’ll know that Jack is playing him. Of course, Bill’s secret unit also needs all the help it can get, and an FBI agent who’s not afraid of doing things, you know, the hard way could be a handy asset.

Quick Bill-and-Jack convo, then we peer into that cool radar room known as Baddie HQ. Dubaku tells Nichols that Emerson’s team ”is now a loose end. Tie it off.” Besides, he’d rather keep his diamonds. (Dubaku=cold” as ice.) Still upset that President Taylor hasn’t removed the strike force, he orders a deadly attack. A subordinate informs him that 1,300 planes are airborne, and asks which area to target. Dubaku answers darkly: ”Washington, D.C.” (And everyone in L.A. issues a sigh of relief.)

NEXT PAGE: Dubaku’s demands

At the Oval Office, President Taylor tells Ethan that NSA detected another firewall breach and that first responders should brace for the worst. Ethan, of course, would rather prevent an attack than brace for one, and pushes for withdrawal again. ”I won’t be dictated to by this mad man,” growls the Prez. (Is her ego growing as large as Dubaku’s?) Predictably, she wants to see if the NSA and FBI can find Matobo soon. Ethan agrees to keep an open channel with both agencies. And by open channel, he means roll his eyes and plot to make her reconsider.

Back at the hangar, Tony’s got his hands full — of Emerson’s blood. Treating the neck wound, he tries to explain his backstab: ”It wasn’t about the diamonds, David. You crossed a line…. I wasn’t willing to cross…. I’m sorry.” Emerson instructs him to visit Hell before seemingly drawing his last breaths. (I’m not shedding a tear — he was rather generic.) Given that 24 often employs the reverse Russian doll approach to villains — each one begets a bigger one — this must mean we’re one doll closer to meeting Jon Voight’s character from the Redemption prequel, right?

Redemption is certainly on the mind of Matobo’s wife. While Jack struggles to persuade Matobo to play prisoner — he wants a guarantee that Dubaku won’t harm his wife — she insists on making amends for opening the safe-room door. Matobo cannot resist the power of her gentle hands on his face. It’s sweet stuff, but I really wanted to see what Jack would’ve done if they had refused to comply.

We take a sneak peek into baddie HQ, where they’re redirecting two planes into each other. (Shouldn’t the FAA warn all planes to be wary of route-change requests?) Then our Prez takes a call from Dubaku, who says he’s disappointed that she didn’t take him more seriously. She responds, ”I assure you we’ve had very serious discussions regarding your demands.” (Dubaku, she’s not kidding! That’s all she talks about!) He instructs her to look outside the window: A fireball fills the sky. ”You sonuvabitch,” she mutters. (Hey, that’s Renee’s swear! Give it back!) Now comes Dubaku’s warning: ”Comply with my demands within the hour…or 10,000 more Americans will die.” The Prez is reeling. Suddenly, all those debated consequences aren’t just theoretical. After a poignant pause, she asks if the Cabinet is still assembled, and strides out of the Oval Office with a purpose.

Walking into the Cabinet meeting, Homeland Security’s Tim relays the grim plane-crash news: 271 dead (possibly a Congressman), casualties on the ground likely. Secretary of State Joe urges the Prez to withdraw; Tim agrees. She won’t give in. Joe goes in harder, calling her foreign policy reckless. ”I can guarantee there will be a call for your impeachment,” he fumes. ”I will not stand by and let his happen.” She dares him to resign: ”Now sit down or leave.” Last time Joe backed down. This time, he collects his stuff, chides the room, and walks out. A single person stands up and starts clapping slowly before others join — no, that doesn’t happen. Instead, the Prez launches into a defense of her proposed offense. ”We’re in for some tough times ahead,” she concludes. ”Let’s make sure we’re ready.” It’s a perfectly fine speech, but given the loss of American life and threat of more death, she’ll need to start dropping some next-level oration if she wants to win hearts and minds.

NEXT PAGE: The FG gets back in the game?

Back at the airport hangar, Renee steps out of the blue van. Oh, poor Jack. This is like running into the girl you just dumped (in a ditch after you shot her). Not surprisingly, she’s a bit prickly. He explains that he had no choice, but she says he could’ve trusted her. ”If I had told you everything back at the FBI,” he retorts, ”would you have believed me?” Yeah, that quiets Renee down. Nearby, Chloe hangs on the fringes of this episode, affixing a transmitter to one of Matobo’s teeth. (The “I’m a stay-at-home mom” line was a winner, though.) Counting the minutes ’til she jousts with Janis again….

In an official hallway, as Ethan and Tim conspire to change Prez’s mind, Ethan has a light bulb: ”There is someone she’ll listen to.” Yes! The first Gentleman to the rescue! Oh, wait, he’s dazed and helpless on a sofa, while Secret Service agent Brian preps the crime scene. (With his knife, helpless victim, and plastic wrap shielding the arms of his nice shirt, Brian sorta reminds me of Dexter.) Samantha arrives, sifts through mail, notices FG, and does the you-scared-me! bit while he just stares back. Then Brian comes from behind and inserts his knife in her back! She crawls toward FG, begging for help. Brian puts his foot on back, flips her over with his shoe, and finishes her. Gruesome stuff. (And wasn’t really expecting to lose Carly Pope that quickly. Touche, 24!) After fielding a call from Ethan, Brian places the knife in FG’s hand for fingerprint framing. FG looks sad, disgusted, and let’s face it, kinda silly. What’s this? He clenches his hand into the tiniest of fists. (Why didn’t Brian just knock him out?)

Nichols & Co. arrive at the hangar, and when Nichols asks Tony about Emerson’s whereabouts, Tony says he didn’t want to share the diamonds so he killed Emerson, Litvak, and Bauer. ”I got ’em in the back room,” Tony says coolly. ”You wanna say hi?” After the show-me-your-diamonds-and-I’ll-show-you-my-Matobos exchange, Nichols signals his goon to whack Tony. Still in badass mode, Tony doesn’t move. Doesn’t need to: Jack snipes the goon! Tony takes out another henchman, and when Jack fires at Nichols’ feet, Nichols wimpily raises his weapon in surrender. ”Okay then,” cracks Tony, taking Nichols gun, ”let’s put that behind us.” Nice one! Quippy Tony, better than Brooding Tony.

In Samantha’s apartment, Brian drags FG’s limp body across the loft and seats him in a fancy chair. (Did I already write that this is kinda silly? I need to restate: This is kinda silly.) While Brian fashions a hangman’s noose, FG engages in a spectacular battle with his neuromuscular paralytic. FG struggle to make fist. Now make fist with other hand. FG tell bad man to stop this. When Brian picks him up, FG springs to life and chokes Brian! They fall over the rail, crashing on a table, FG keeping his hands wrapped around Brian’s throat. A bloodied Brian feebly tries to stop him, then expires. Move over, Jack Bauer, there’s a new sheriff in town! And his motor skills are improving by the second!

At baddie HQ, Dubaku chats on the phone with Nichols, and again expresses disbelief that the strike force hasn’t budged. ”I think this President is not just stubborn,” he muses, ”she’s insane.” But he’ll show her insane. His subordinate displays the next target — a plant near the center of Kidron, Ohio, population 30,000. ”Casualties will be high,” offers the subordinate. ”About 18,000.” Dubaku nods and ends the episode by uttering one word that isn’t usually so ominous: Begin.

Yep, Dubaku has my attention now. What about yours? Are we about to witness mass death? And is the FG story line impressing you or depressing you? Whose demise caught you more off-guard: Emerson’s or Samantha’s? Sound off below.

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Kiefer Sutherland
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