Olivia sets a plan in motion that she can't stop and Jonas pays the price, while Jack gets one step closer to Tony
24, Kiefer Sutherland
Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FOX
Kiefer Sutherland
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We have gathered here today to remember the life of Jonas Hodges. The Starkwood founder was a true patriot, a man of honor who valued his country and fam — sorry, I can’t do this. Dude was guano crazy. Took down two planes. Helped stage an attack on the White House. Developed a deadly bioweapon. Nearly wiped out three cities. Chucked his chairman to his death after bludgeoning him with a decanter. Even called the President a bitch behind her back! Yes, Jonas was as bad as his one-liners were good. But now he’s in a better place — or rather, many places — after being blown to bits by a car bomb. Goodbye, one of 24‘s most charismatic villains. Hello, recap of episode 21.

Turn up the stereo(type) On behalf of the Distorted Voice Crew, Tony and Fake Tricia began to execute the cynical plan: Capitalize on Middle East terrorist fears and frame an innocent — Pakistani national Jibraan Al-Zarian — for an attack. While Fake Tricia doctored Jibraan’s finances and website activity, and her associates hung an Arabic banner in his apartment (this was Extremist Makeover: Muslim Edition), Tony threatened Jibraan: ”If you don’t do exactly as I say, you’re going to watch your younger brother die right in front of your eyes. And then, I’m going to kill you. However, if you cooperate, there’s a good chance* the two of you will live through this.” Choosing delayed death instead of immediate, Jibraan read Tony’s on-camera statement, which included chilling lines like: ”Our fighters will not rest until America lies crippled and dying, her streets running with blood, her people begging for mercy, but there will be none…”

Luckily, the cops arrived in time to save the day! Actually, they were just responding to a domestic disturbance call. Poor Jibraan was forced to convince the police — who mispronounced his name Jih-brain — that he’d quieted the commotion. After finishing off his death-to-America webisode, he was forced to convince his perplexed brother Hamid that he was an angry terrorist so Hamid would report him to the authorities. ”I know this is very difficult for you to understand but over time you will see,” said Jibraan in this heartbreaking moment. ”I love you, Hamid.” As he kissed his forehead, Hamid spat at him and said: ”You said today was a bad day to be a Muslim. Well, it’s an even worse day to be your brother.” Ouch.

Chloe is infected with…the truth about Jack You knew that Jack and Chloe were headed toward an awkward emotional collision when he didn’t tell her about his failing health. His odd behavior continued as she took his un-PC orders: Run a check on every Muslim in D.C.! Pull files on every political activist working in the Muslim community! Get a list of every recent immigrant from an Islamic country! Fly to the Middle East and knock on every single door! When Janis sarcastically interjected, ”Excuse me, has anybody heard of racial profiling?” Jack didn’t administer another terrifying tongue-lashing; he just softly explained his M.O. Then, talking to Chloe, he lost his train of thought. Remembering last week’s Palmer mix-up, Chloe expressed concern to Janis. ”He’s doing pretty well, considering,” offered Janis. ”Considering? Considering what?” replied clueless Chloe. Renee filled her in, and Chloe confronted Jack during his injection ritual: ”Why didn’t you tell me you were sick?” ”It doesn’t matter.” ”It doesn’t matter? I’m your friend.” As he revealed his life-expectancy, she tearily delivered the mother of all pouts. ”’Chloe, it’s all right,” soothed Jack. ”I’ve accepted it — and I need you to accept it too… Whatever time I’ve got left, I want it to matter. We need to find Tony. Put an end to this.” In a rare touchy-feely act (I’d like to believe it wasn’t strategy), he took her hand: ”Chloe, I can’t do this without you. Please, I need you to go back to work.” Chloe exhaled and complied. You do not deny Gentle Jack.

NEXT: The first daughter’s big mistake

The First Daughter Flip-Flops Olivia was hell-bent on avenging her brother’s death and snuffing out Jonas before he disappeared into the witness protection program (which was happening awfully fast. Shouldn’t they wait until his ”actionable” intel pans out?) ”I want this person taken care of,” FD declared to shady strategist Martin, who wasn’t sold. ”Once it happens, once this goes through, you can never go back,” he warned. ”You will live with it for the rest of your life.” FD said to spare her the lecture; she restated that Jonas ”had to pay for what he did” and gave him Jonas’ itinerary. Martin told her to stand by for the dirty deed deets and walked out the door, past a suspicious Agent Pierce.

As instructed, FD dialed a mystery man, who said he’d proceed upon payment ($250,000). She was studying the two buttons on her screen — CANCEL or EXECUTE (literal alert!) — when Aaron interrupted: The First Gentleman had been transferred to the White House, and would love to see her. FD said she just had to take care of something first. She moved the cursor over EXECUTE, and… changed her mind and pressed CANCEL! Immediately she called Martin to say that she couldn’t pull the metaphorical trigger. Then came her warm reunion with FG, who was enjoying sippy-straw assistance from the President. FD assured Dad that she was no longer upset with Mom for cutting Jonas an immunity deal, and earnestly told Mom: ”I know that decision was horrible for you… I’m sorry I made the choice even harder.”

Huh. That wasn’t a sudden change of heart — that was a heart transplant. But if we forgive the emotional whiplash, we can enjoy the dramatic tension it set up, as Tim informed the Prez and FD that a car bomb had killed Jonas. In need of an adult diaper, Olivia sickly excused herself from the room. (Tim theorized that this was an inside job; the Prez wanted answers NOW.) Seeing FD cruise out the door, Aaron asked if everything was okay. ”It’s fine,” she lied. She dialed Martin to freak out about the communication breakdown: ”Do you realize what would happen to me if this gets out?” He told her to (a) stop talking now (b) breath deeply and (c) meet him in Pershing Park ASAP. Collecting herself, she walked back toward the Oval Office, where Aaron was waiting, his Super Agent radar undoubtedly reading: UNSAVORY SITUATION IN PROGRESS.

Witness (no) protection program As Jonas transitioned into his new identity, he didn’t leave behind his old snide side. Of his assigned name, Robert Tippett, he scoffed, ”Sounds like a dog breed.” Told by U.S. Marshal Sullivan that he’d receive counseling in Colorado to help him deal with his new circumstances, he retorted: ”Son, you know who I am. Do I impress you as someone who needs therapy to cope with new circumstances?” Couldn’t hurt. Jonas worried that Sullivan thought he was getting off easy (”I can smell attitude, son, and you’re giving it off pretty thick”) and whipped his file against the door when Sullivan reacted unsympathetically to his I’ve-lost-my-family-and-good-name speech. Later, Jonas oddly brought up the possibility of working with Sullivan, explaining, ”I don’t intend to be Mr. Tippett forever.” A prophetic line, indeed: He climbed into his transport vehicle, studied a family picture he didn’t relinquish (his final act of defiance), and sighed wistfully before the car exploded. Mr. Hodges/Tippett, you didn’t go out in the blaze of showdown glory we expected, but you were an unexpected breed of baddie, and we thank you for brightening this season with your dark delusions.

A religious journey With search parameters wider than the Grand Canyon, Chloe discovered a lead: Over the last six months, a Muslim relief organization deposited $2 million to an account belonging to… Jibraan Al-Zarian; the money was withdrawn in the last 30 minutes. Jibraan — apparently a fan of extremist websites — had an expired visa and bogus address, but his INS form contained a reference: Muhtadi Gohar, the imam at a Georgetown mosque. Jack ordered an APB on Jibraan, asked Chloe to fax — FAX! — the info to the car, and politely persuaded Renee to let him come along for Gohar’s questioning.

NEXT: Jack’s come to Jesus moment? Not quite

Outside the mosque, a struggling Jack transformed into badass Bauer, cocking his gun. ”They could be innocent,” reminded Renee. ”Innnocent?” Jack scoffed. ”You heard Hodges. They’re going to use sleeper cells to carry out these attacks. Al-Zarian might not have been knowingly complicit about everything that happened today, but innocent? No.” (Easy there, one-track Jack. Facts first!) Chip on his shoulder, Gohar opened the door, recognizing Jack from his televised testimony. (Was Jack’s hearing bigger than O.J.’s trial?) When Renee explained that Jibraan ”fit a specific profile,” Gohar retorted, ”You mean, he is a Muslim?” As he gave Renee additional lip, Jack lost patience: ”Look at the photo!!!” Soon after, Gohar dared Renee to show him evidence that Jibraan was a terrorist, and Jack exploded: ”Listen to me: We did not come here to debate this with you!!! Where does he live???” More tense back and forth. ”I told you I don’t know,” said Gohar, tacking on a taunt: ”But even if I did, I would say nothing. I will not help you arrest an innocent man.” Fortuitously, Janis called Renee with Jibraan’s address, thanks to the cop who dropped by his apartment. Renee told Jack to exit the staring contest with Gohar; instead, Jack slapped cuffs on the holy man. ”I’m not letting him call Al-Zarian before we get there,” he said. ”He’s coming with us.”

In transit, Jack received an important call from Chloe: Turned out, the electronic evidence against Jibraan had been backdated and fabricated. (Thank you, trace algorithm!) ”How could I be so stupid?” Jack said. ”An innocent man is so much easier to control. All they needed was a Muslim. They could create whatever background they wanted.” He gruffly uncuffed Gohar, who was impressed that a law-enforcement official would admit his mistake. Gohar: ”Please know that I forgive you.” Jack: ”I’m not asking for your forgiveness.” Gohar: ”Then I hope you can at least forgive yourself.” Jack: ”I gave up on that a long time ago.” Gohar: ”It’s never too late to turn to God, Mr. Bauer.” Jack has become more self-aware this season, but that might be pushing it.

Train to Hell When Team Jack arrived at Jibraan’s apartment, Gohar identified the camera image of the hostage as Hamid. Jack deduced that Hamid was serving as leverage so Jibraan would comply. How can you be sure? asked Renee. ”Because that’s what I would’ve done,” Jack said bluntly. Hamid’s captor was the only link to Tony & Co. Spearheading the op, Jack, along with Renee and multiple agents, stormed the apartment. In a surprisingly Bauer-esque move, Hamid broke the mirror with his handcuffs and stabbed his stunned captor in the neck. Jack yelled for Hamid to drop his weapon; the FBI needed the hostile alive. Hamid protested — ”He made my brother into a terrorist!” — but Jack convinced him that it was a set-up and tended to the bloody goon. ”Dammit — he’s bleeding out! We need a medic now!” shouted Jack, desperately trying to stop the bleeding. ”Don’t you die on me,” he instructed helpfully. Meanwhile, Tony and Jibraan climbed into a car, where we learned that Tony’s associate had tapped into a main security trunk line. Tony opened a hard case and asked: ”Is the subway on schedule?” ”Yes, it’s on schedule.” (Subway on schedule? OMG, this show is so unrealistic!) Sensing doom, Jibraan looked down in dread as the hour expired….

Will this subway scenario match the stakes of the Starkwood missile crisis? We don’t know the specifics yet, but it sounds smaller, more like something we might see in an earlier episode in the season. Fingers crossed for some nifty action, as well as medical resolution for Jack…

What did you think of the episode, 24 Nation? Will Jibraan go down in sacrificial flames? Will Aaron drop the hammer on FD? How much more does Jack have in the tank? Where does Jonas rank among 24‘s villains? All thoughts, opinions, and theories are welcome.

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Kiefer Sutherland
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