Springing a Jack Trap

Tonight’s episode of 24 was a study in the paths its main characters have taken.  For one, Jack Bauer continued doing what he’s done at least once a season since the show started: going rogue.  Not just operating outside the authority of the U.S. government, but taking action against it.

On the other hand, you have President Allison Taylor, who we learned last season was a person of such character that she’d sacrifice her family to do the right thing for her country.  But things have changed this season: she’s travelling down the path of corruption, escorted by former President Charles Logan, the poster boy for presidential corruption.

So Jack is doing what he’s done many times before to varying degrees of success.  And the President is uneasily participating in a cover-up to secure a peace deal.  It will be interesting to see how Jack and the President converge and if both, one or neither will get what they want.

Also tonight, we met two new characters.  Michael Madsen is playing the part of Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State. And one of the new American villains, a private security contractor, is played by D.B. Sweeney, who hasn’t been seen since (one of The Civee’s favorite movies) The Cutting Edge.

Jack’s helicopter escape didn’t last long, as he landed, evaded the NYPD and enlisted the help of Michael Madsen for some weapons.  Logan talked President Taylor into turning former Agent Dana over to Sweeney’s private security firm.  Chlöe outsmarted Sweeney, and tried outsmarting Jack by giving him a fake address of where Sweeney was taking Dana.  Ethan quit, telling the President he could not support the choices she was making.  Jack knew Chlöe was setting him up, attacked the CTU agents guarding the dry cleaning facility and had a nice talk with Agent Freddy over his responsibility for the day’s actions.

So Jack and Agent Freddy are now teamed up to find former Agent Dana to get the truth about the conspiracy.  Chlöe is torn between serving her President and Jack.  And President Taylor is protecting the Russians and pulling the wool over the IRKians eyes by not telling them that their new peace partners killed President Omar.

It’s surprising that this day’s events, which at one point seemed so convoluted, actually make sense now.  Still, it’s clear that Jack and former President Logan are the only players with an actual plan, while everyone else seems to be making it up as they go along.  As Ethan hinted in his post-resignation conversation with Logan, Logan did have everything (with the possible exception of Jack’s involvement) planned out all along.  Whether his plan is to pull Taylor down to his level, or to simply make himself look good in the eyes of the public, the outcome of his plan will have some ethical casualties.  I’m not saying that I’m as into the political part of the storyline as I am Jack’s actions, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.  As I mentioned above, it will be very unlike 24 to give us a happy ending for both Jack and President Taylor.  Someone is going to end up disappointed.  And once again, it’s looking like Charles Logan is the reason why.

One final thought about tonight’s episode: after Jack stormed the dry cleaning facility, he talked Agent Freddy into helping him on his quest for truth.  Even without knowing about Freddy and Dana’s adventure with the rubes earlier in the day, Jack spelled it out for Freddy: his involvement with Dana made him complicit in her actions.  Whether that’s true or not, it gave Freddy the motivation he needed to get on team Bauer.  Now hopefully, his motivation isn’t to reunite with his one time love, but rather to get vengance, Bauer-style.

What did you think?

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