As Tony and the rest of the baddies ramp up for another attack, Jack re-enlists Chloe and tries to hold on to his faculties
Credit: Kelsey McNeal/Fox
Kiefer Sutherland
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’24’ recap: On to the next phase

He killed. Fled. Killed again. Showered. Kissed. Paved the way for another attack on America. Tony was a busy little baddie this week on 24, but the one thing he didn’t do was reveal his motivations. Is it just hatred toward the government, or something deeper? Is he also blinded by lust? Whatever the case, the game pieces are being rearranged on the board, the FBI is trying to learn the new rules, and Jack is struggling to stay coherent enough to compete. But enough with the analogies: Your recap of episode 20 begins NOW.

Intermittent Bauer (Part I) The deadly pathogen sure picked an inopportune time last week to mess with Jack. Luckily, Dr. Macer temporarily nursed him back to health so he could instruct Renee to issue an APB on Tony — and sincerely apologize for trusting his friend. ”I made a terrible, terrible mistake,” he told Renee. ”I felt that something was wrong, things weren’t adding up, I just — I just wanted to believe him.” (You don’t see fallible Jack too often. Feels…weird.) Jack and Renee updated the Prez on the MIA canister and Tony, who’d shot two agents and boosted their vehicle; she told them about Hodges’ suicide attempt and larger conspiracy warning. Jack speculated that Jonas was pressured to kill himself to protect his family. No need to torture the truth out of Jonas, he assured the Prez, ”because we can offer Hodges something that he needs: proof of death.” Smart thinking, Jack. In your face, prion variant!

It’s (shower)curtains for Galvez Terrible Tony engaged in a tense standoff with his partner-in-crime at the motel: Tony demanded the canister; Galvez wanted the money first. Once Tony showed him an offshore account deposit, Galvez handed over the world’s most dangerous backpack — and asked what Tony was doing with the bioweapon. ”Not really your business, is it?” sneered Tony, who opened the bag to discover…a phone book. (1-800-U-GOT-SRVD!) Galvez pointed a gun at Tony and tried again: ”Now, who’s the damn buyer?” In a nifty move, Tony surprised Galvez with a ninja bag toss; they tussled their way into the bathroom, where Tony suffocated him with a shower curtain, yelling, ”Where’s the damn canister?” Sorry, Galvez — greed isn’t always good.

Alliance of the Anonymous Were you expecting Tony’s employers/co-conspirators to be unveiled this week? Then you expected too much. But at least you got a peek at them.

Fake Tricia (the one who slipped the pill to Jonas) arrived at the motel to retrieve Tony so they could deliver the weapon (which Tony retrieved from a vent). He argued that his bosses would wait six months to use the canister instead of finishing off the job now, when the government was reeling. She stroked his face (!) in agreement, but said she couldn’t make that decision. ”Fine, then run it by your group, or your gang, or whatever the hell they are,” said Tony, not sounding terribly plugged in.

Then the curtain lifted an inch: Fake Tricia hosted a web chat between 12 voice-disguised parties. She proposed moving up the bioweapon attack to this morning’s rush hour. (The body of an innocent man named Jibraan Al-Zarian would be left at the scene, and he’d be framed with emails, phone records, and a wire transfer via ”our favorite Yemeni bank.”) Several voices raised very reasonable objections: Why use a random dude? Isn’t this happening too fast to pull off properly? But after Fake Tricia privately IM’d her cohort, Alan Wilson (”Almeida delivered for us. Do it for me”), Alan piped up: ”Jonas Hodges was a loose cannon and the group is well rid of him, but in his lunacy he did us a favor….He pushed this country to the brink. You don’t get many gifts like that. I say we take it.” Fake Tricia called for a vote, and Tony emerged from the shower (a 24 character using the bathroom!) to see that this mission had 12 green lights. ”We’re a go,” she said, smiling. And then…he kissed her. (Tony! Stand down! Michelle would not approve!)

NEXT: Revenge is on the table for the first daughter

Next, they staked out the apartment of Jibraan, whom we learned is an illegal day laborer whose parents were killed during a U.S. airstrike at the Pakistani border. (”There’s definitely anger there,” surmised Fake Tricia.) Jibraan seemed nice, making breakfast for his little bro, Hamid, and advising him to come home straight after work. (”It’s not a good day to be a Muslim,” warned Jibraan. ”Nobody cares, believe me,” said Hamid. ”Most of the guys at my work think I’m Puerto Rican anyway.”) But family time soon came to a close as Tony and Fake Tricia penetrated the apartment, grabbed Hamid, and threatened to put a bullet in Jibraan’s brain. It’s a really bad day to be Jibraan.

The First Daughter’s death wish Remember when Olivia’s big indiscretions included leaking secret info on Mother-in-Chief’s staff and blackmailing reporters? Well, homegirl may be moving up to murder conspiracy. She freaked when her mom asked her to have the Attorney General draft a witness protection agreement for Jonas. ”This man murdered your son! My brother!” she protested. ”Not to mention hundreds of innocent civilians.” ”I don’t need you to tell me what he’s done!” snapped the Prez. FD retorted: ”Apparently you do!… What would Dad say? I bet you’re afraid to ask.” (Hey, let’s find out and VISIT HIM IN THE HOSPITAL! I mean, when you can. No rush.)

Later, when Agent Pierce came by to pick up the paperwork, and Olivia sourly revealed the contents of this highly classified document (or, as she called it, ”a get-out-of-jail-free card for Jonas Hodges — the bastard responsible for my brother’s death”). ”My mother may be able to live with it,” FD lamented, ”but I’m not sure I can.” Aaron tried to comfort her, asking if he could do anything. ”Other than kill Jonas Hodges, no,” she cracked. Aaron: Unamused. ”I’m sorry, Aaron, I didn’t mean that,” she said softly. ”I was just venting.” (Enjoyed his simple ”ma’am” reply before walking out the door.)

After Aaron’s exit, though, she transformed into a woman of dark purpose. She dialed a ”hardball” campaign adviser named Martin (who rolled out of bed, which was shared with a man). FD referenced a chat they’d had when a nosy reporter kept poking around a prescription-drug scandal involving Mitchell Hayworth. (Hey, where is Mr. VP?) ”You turned to me and said, ‘There was no problem that couldn’t be handled or eliminated,”’ hinted FD. ”Well, I was drunk,” Martin quipped. They agreed this conversation was better had in person, say, at the White House in 15 minutes. FD, how far will you go for your ”justice”?

Jonas reveals all (or nothing) I’d long been bracing for a killer Jack-Jonas face-off, but I didn’t imagine that Jonas would be laid up in an FBI medical suite for it. While the Prez eavesdropped, and Renee monitored his biometrics (cardiac, respiratory, dermal infra-red), a desperate Jonas wailed, ”You killed my family!” and begged a nearby soldier to borrow his gun so he could kill himself. ”Relax, Mr. Hodges,” said Jack, making a cool entrance. ”You’re already dead.” Jack laid out the deal: If you tell us whom you’re working with, we’ll tell the world you’re dead and hook you up with witness protection. If you don’t, we’ll tell the world you’re cooperating with us, and your ”friends” will take out your family.

Jonas started spilling: He was part of a ”larger group of minds” who planned to launch simultaneous attacks early next year on several cities, and ”offload the blame” to ”Mohammed this, Ahmed that.” (Who needs some sensitivity training?) Americans would realize that the government couldn’t protect them, so this consortium would step in. Hodges conceded that ”a few innocent lives would be lost, but only to save the greater number. Having the courage to make those hard choices gives us a lot in common, Mr. Bauer.” Jack strongly disagreed, and demanded some names. When Jonas claimed not to have any, Jack pretended to call a reporter at the Washington Post. ”I swear I don’t have them!” blurted Jonas. ”This whole project was based on anonymity. We never met in person. Everything was handled by an intermediary, a woman… She never told me her name, I never asked her.” The biometrics confirmed his story.

Coupla issues here: (1) It would’ve been nice if the show had previously established that Jonas was a man who cared deeply about his family; (2) The attack-our-own-country-and-the-citizens-will-lose-faith-in-the-government-which-will-allow-us-to-take-control plot is a steep leap. (3) Would Jonas — a crafty man leading a huge private military company — align with a mysterious organization of strangers whose names he doesn’t even know? Not even his intermediary’s?

NEXT: Jack continues to lose it

Intermittent Bauer (Part II) After the Jonas interrogation, Jack told the Prez that the attack timetable would likely be accelerated to capitalize on the chaos, and he persuaded her to recommission the terrorist-tracking CTU servers. Renee said the servers could be quickly fetched from the Department of Justice’s evidence lockers (stashed next to the Ark and assorted Rambaldi artifacts), and Jack could work with the new analysts. He insisted that the time crunch required someone who already knew the protocols, someone quirky, someone like…Chloe O’Brian.

After he called Chloe with a plea for help — funny how the FBI arrests you one minute and needs you the next — Jack briefed the troops about the impending attack. (Notes from meeting: Tim from Field Ops asked too many questions. Janis bitched about doing ”blanket surveillance” with the new old servers: ”What does that make us, CTU-lite?” Soon Chloe arrived (hug, ”You look like hell” comment), and Jack filled her in (but not on his death sentence). She was thrown by the news that Tony was a traitor, wanting an explanation that Jack didn’t have. ”I need to know that you can treat him as an enemy combatant, that you are with me on this,” he instructed. When she answered tentatively, he said more firmly: ”No — I need to know that you are with me on this.” (Jack. Wants. Showdown.) Chloe inhaled and declared: ”I’m with you.”

Jack had been pretty sharp over the hour, but alas, the virus came calling again. Jack heard Janis sparring with Chloe while setting up the tricky CTU servers. (”Well, maybe you’d like to take over,” snipped Janis. ”Only if you want it to work right,” returned Chloe.) When Janis groused that she wasn’t comfortable violating the Bill of Rights, Jack interrupted angrily, ”We’ll make sure we notify you so you can leave the building.” Next, as the CTU emblem appeared on the monitors, Janis snarked, ”Hello, Big Brother.” Jack lost it: ”Look, if you think your need to complain is more important than the lives of the people that are counting on us, go whine somewhere else!” ”Jack, it’s okay,” said Chloe, playing peacemaker. ”No, it is not okay,” he said, continuing his verbal assault on Janis: ”President David Palmer recommissioned these servers because he felt it was vital to national security! President Palmer made the call! Is that gonna be good enough for you? Answer me!” Soiling her pants, Janis eked out a ”yes” as he started blink-twitching; he returned to his desk with everyone watching. ”There’s something really wrong with him,” quivered Chloe, not knowing how right she was. ”He said President Palmer.” ”He meant Taylor,” offered Janis. ”He said it twice,” reminded Chloe, as we were left to ponder the question: How many clocks can one man race against at the same time?

So, what did you think of the episode, 24 Nation? Are you buying the big conspiracy? Will FD take out Jonas? How long can Jack go on like this? Deposit your thoughts and theories below.

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Kiefer Sutherland
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