Last week on 24: Jack Bauer forgot how badass he was the week before and spent most of the episode talking Marika, Dubaku’s girlfriend, into helping he and Walker stop the TERRORIST MASTERMIND from leaving the country. Dubaku found out about her betrayal, and he’s one guy you don’t want to make mad. Walker experienced the emotional after-effects of almost torturing a woman and small child. First Dude went into surgery. Chloe got a workstation at the FBI Field Office. Dubaku threatened to reveal the name of his conspirators to the Justice Department if Tom Cruise Lite — er, “Mr. Burnett” didn’t get him out of the country safely. We also found out that Special Agent Sean was a MOLE. Oh, and Aaron came back to usher Madame President’s daughter, Olivia, to her dying father’s bedside. It was the best part of the episode, which probably says quite a bit.
This week, we join Special Agent Sean looking particularly shifty (because he’s a MOLE doncha know?) as he listens in on Moss’ phone calls. Erika walks up behind him and demands to know if he issued a warrant on Jack Bauer’s car. He feigns innocence before shoving the warrant in his desk and whisking Erika away to tell her that Bauer’s on Dubaku’s trail. OOPS. Looks like Erika’s in on this little conspiracy as well, but she’s kind of a live wire, because she’s having a serious freakout. “Sit at your station and try to act normal,” he tells her, and, y’know, if I were a member of a major government conspiracy, discussing my involvement in said conspiracy in a room full of FBI agents, I might lower my voice just a bit.
Meanwhile, Jack’s up against the hood of a police cruiser, getting handcuffed again, and trying to sweet-talk his way out of getting arrested. Well, as close to sweet-talking as Jack Bauer gets. He and Walker are shoved into the backseat of the police cruiser and — oooh. Methinks this is “third base” for Jack Bauer. “Hey, baby. Wanna take a ride in the backseat of this law enforcement vehicle with me? I’ve got handcuffs… *jingle jingle*” Oh, Jack. You sure know how to show a girl a good time. Walker, having not realized she’s in the backseat with an incredibly hot piece of man-meat — which is the only plausible reason why she doesn’t jump his bones right there — surmises that Dubaku’s man in the FBI Field Office must have issued that warrant. Oh, really? I’d have never guessed. Dubaku consequently must know that Marika is working with them and she’ll probably be killed. Jack calls Marika an “asset” and Walker goes, “She’s not an asset, Jack! She’s a human being.” Jack glares at her. They totally want to have sex. [/editorial comment]
Speaking of Marika, her escort pulls their car up to where Dubaku is waiting. Dubaku roughly hauls Marika out of the car and demands her cell phone. She starts flailing around and denies working for the FBI, so Dubaku reaches into her purse and grabs her cell. He throws it to the ground, shattering the innocent piece of hardware into a million pieces, before getting up in her face when she tries to run off. “I trusted you!” he sneers, “How could you do this to me?” Marika shrieks that the FBI showed her who Dubaku really was, and the pictures, and Dubaku insists they were lies made up by his enemies. “You don’t know me, and you don’t know my country. I brought peace to Sangala,” he insists. Is that what they’re calling it these days? Marika starts hyperventilating, and Dubaku shushes her. “When I heard what you had done, it was like you had put… a dagger through my heart. I’m a forgiving man, Marika. I still want you to come with me…” Marika looks at him like he’s grown a third arm. “I can’t go with you! I don’t know who you are!” Hee. I’m sorry, but the actress’ delivery of that line is unintentionally hilarious. I can’t help myself. Dubaku tries to reassure her that he’s still the man she fell in love with. I personally wouldn’t buy a Big Mac from the dude, but Marika agrees to go with him. He shoves her into an SUV and they’re off!
Back with Jack and Walker, a police officer tells Walker that her story was verified and she’s uncuffed, along with Bauer, who makes a beeline to their car. Walker gets Moss on her cell and is informed that they’ve lost Marika’s cell phone signal. Jack swings the car around and the two of them peel outta there. Chloe identifies Dubaku’s SUV and they’ve got a location on him. Sweet! Why didn’t you use that handy little satellite/stoplight doo-dad before, instead of Marika’s cell phone? Whatever.
En route to the airport, Dubaku gets Mr. Burnett on the line, who wants to know if Dubaku has taken care of their “little problem.” Dubaku informs Burnett that Marika has had a change of heart, which prompts a little freakout from Burnett. Dubaku tells him to shut up and just worry about getting him out of the country. Marika wants to know who was on the phone. “It’s… a government official. He’s been working for me,” Dubaku explains, “Very corrupt man. I look forward to no longer dealing with people like him.” Oh, HA.
Chloe informs Jack and Walker of Dubaku’s current location and Jack does some pretty incredible driving that includes cutting through a park (watch out for the children!!) in order to get on Dubaku’s rear bumper. Well, that seems kinda stupid, because now Dubaku knows the FBI’s on his tail. Screeching tires and honking horns abound as Jack and Dubaku weave in and out of D.C. traffic (which we already know is a pain, right?) and endanger civilian lives until Dubaku plows through an intersection and gets a taxi cab behind him. This causes Jack to slam on the breaks. Jack’s car crunches into the taxi rather gently, and it looks like Dubaku’s getting away. Jack orders Walker on top of the car to maintain a visual. (HELLO? That’s what Chloe’s for.) Marika, in a show of fortitude that I honestly wasn’t expecting, reaches into the front seat of the SUV and makes a grab at the driver’s face. Dubaku makes a grab at her, and the Jeep goes swerving until it hits an innocent red sedan and goes barrel rolling over the top before hitting the asphalt with a solid crash. YES! That was great. Walker and Bauer sprint over to the crash site (Jack does the hood-slide thingy over the taxi that gets me EVERY TIME). Between gasps for air, Bauer informs Moss that Dubaku’s vehicle crashed and they’re gonna need an ambulance.
Over at the SUV, Dubaku’s driver kicks his foot through the windshield and comes tumbling out. Jack orders him to get on his knees, but the driver makes a grab inside his coat and Jack empties a clip into him. WHOO! VIOLENCE! That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Jack manhandles Dubaku onto the sidewalk while Walker tries to get Marika out of the car (her leg’s pinned). Jack yells that the car’s on fire and Walker needs to move quickly before rushing over there to pull Walker out before the car blows up. Walker flips around, though, gun pointed at Jack and yells, “I gave her my word! So back off or help me!” Buh… buh… Dubaku! At least have the decency to secure the guy! Jack is oblivious to my shouts at the television, though, as he gets Marika unstuck amidst the spreading flames. They drag her out of the way just as the SUV explodes in a big, flaming ball of WOOSH. Unharmed, Jack rushes over to Dubaku, who’s still unconscious (okay, well, maybe that’s why he didn’t secure him — but he could have woken up!) and yells at Moss to get the ambulance over there ASAP. Walker starts chest compressions on Marika, but it’s futile. Awww. And I was just starting to like her.
Madame President sits in a secure waiting room at the hospital while First Dude is under the knife. The Chief of Staff informs her that the military has been able to penetrate Sangala with little resistance and were able to liberate some refugee camps in one of the provinces as well. Madame President is far, far away, though. The Chief of Staff wisely suggests they finish the briefing another time. “What happened to [First Dude] was my fault, Ethan,” she confesses, “He never believed our son committed suicide. And he was right. And I didn’t listen to him, and if I had, we wouldn’t be here right now. [First Dude] wouldn’t be fighting for his life. And we might have exposed this conspiracy. And our government wouldn’t be paralyzed.” Wow. Epic meltdown. She didn’t trust him, which makes her a bad wife. Hrm. Sounds like faulty logic to me, but I’ll give her a pass because she’s so bereaved. Bill busts in and informs Madame President that Jack captured Dubaku, except he was injured in the car crash. His current condition is “critical” and “non-responsive.” If Dubaku dies, they’ll likely be unable to discover all the people in the government who were working for him. Bill wants Madame President back at the White House, and eventually the Chief of Staff and Bill convince her she’s of more use in the Oval Office. Henry won’t be out of surgery for several more hours. Madame President asks the Chief of Staff what they’re going to do if they don’t know who to trust, and the Chief of Staff responds, “We’ll just have to pray that Jack Bauer can get those list of names from Dubaku.” Damn straight.
At the scene of the crash, the corpses of Marika and Dubaku’s driver are covered up with yellow tarps as the paramedics wheel a stretcher-bound Dubaku towards the ambulance. Jack orders them to bring Dubaku back to consciousness, even though it’s probably going to kill him. Dubaku gasps awake. “I know you can hear me,” Jack whispers in his ear, “You’re in federal custody. The paramedics are trying to save your life. If you want them to continue, you’re going to have to tell me what I wanna know. I want the names of everyone in the United States government that you’ve been workin’ with… c’mon. You and I both know the game is over for you now. There’s no sense in trying to protect them.” Dubaku closes his eyes. “You and I are both soldiers. I know you don’t care about your own life, but you got a family. I know where your son is in Sangala, I know where he lives and I swear to you, I will track him down and I will make him suffer.” Dubaku’s eyes pop back open. “And I will make sure he knows his father was responsible. All you gotta do to make me stop is give me the names. Just gimmie the names.” “Don’t hurt my family,” Dubaku slurs, “I have a list…” and then his eyeballs roll back up into his head. “Where’s the list?” Jack demands as Dubaku starts to flatline. “WHERE’S THE LIST??” Jack yells and orders the paramedics to bring Dubaku back. They get the paddles out and zap Dubaku. There’s no response from Dubaku — they’re getting interference. There’s a metal plate or something in his chest. Huh? The paramedics get a heartbeat and go to stabilize Dubaku, but Jack wants to know where the plate is. It’s above Dubaku’s ribcage. Jack demands that they open Dubaku up and when one of the paramedics protests, Jack shoves his pistol into the guy’s abdomen. “Open him up. Right. Now.” Walker looks on skeptically as the paramedics take a scalpel to Dubaku. Jack roots around in Dubaku’s bloody ribcage until he pulls out a flat piece of metal. The paramedics whisk Dubaku away before he expires on the sidewalk and Jack stares at the piece of metal. It’s a thumbdrive. Jack calls Moss and lets him know what he found. Except Special Agent Sean (the MOLE) is listening. Whoops. Jack passes the thumbdrive off to a police officer, who’s going to deliver it to Moss via helicopter. Jack’s gonna stay with Dubaku.
Special Agent Sean stomps away from his workstation to track down Erika in the women’s bathroom. For that is what MOLES do. He informs Erika that the FBI found Dubaku’s database, and Erika freaks out because OMG OUR NAMES ARE ON THAT LIST. She’s a terrible MOLE. Blah blah, you promised me you’d leave your wife for me, blah blah never keep your promises, blah blah shut up and listen. Sean wants to crash the entire server/system as soon as the list is uploaded, which will wipe everything clean. He just needs Erika’s help, because she’s the Server Queen. Which is kinda like the Dancing Queen, but a lot lamer. She agrees to help Sean, instead of hightailing it out of there to Uruguay, or Paraguay, or one of those other “guays.”
At the hospital, Walker keeps an eye on Dubaku while Jack’s on the phone with Moss. An officer walks out of another room and gives Walker Marika’s personal effects. Jack hangs up and informs Walker that the FBI got the drive and Chloe should have something in the next few minutes. “That’s all that matters, right, Jack?” Walker says bitterly, staring at the baggie with Marika’s stuff in it. “I don’t like what happened to Marika any more than you do. We did what was necessary. You’d better figure out a way to live with it,” Jack says. “How, Jack?” Walker spits, “Pretend like it never happened? Is it that easy for you?” Jack gives her a long, hard stare before walking off. He’ll let Walker know when Chloe’s got something. She definitely touched a nerve.
Moss passes the thumbdrive off to Chloe. It’s got an auto-erase function, which means they’ve only got one download. Hrm. Convenient, yes? She starts the decryption. I dunno… wouldn’t the electric shock from the paddles have damaged the drive? Just wondering.
In the server room, Sean brings Erika the equipment she needs to crash the server. Sean goes over to the surveillance system to watch Moss, because they’re gonna have to high-tail it out of there once the system crashes. Burnett calls Sean, concerned that he can’t contact Dubaku. Sean tells him what happened and Burnett has a freakout (this appears to be a consistent theme in this episode). Sean is gonna take care of the database, though, and Burnett’s gonna take care of Dubaku. “Damn it!” Erika exclaims and Sean rushes over. The server reform isn’t working. FREAKOUT. She calms down long enough to technobabble something about default settings. The screen starts flashing and it looks like the program is running. She’s very proud of herself.
Chloe notices a very very bad beeping noise coming from her computer. The files are being erased! And taking the drive out won’t work because it’s been erased. Someone’s trying to crash the server! They haul ass up to the server room. Sean sees them coming and… proceeds to start making out with Erika. Ummmmm —
BAM. He shoots her in the stomach. “I’m sorry,” he says, and I’m getting a serious Toby Maguire/Peter Parker vibe out of the actor here. He’s doing a pretty good job, actually. He puts the gun up to his left bicep and pulls the trigger. Blood goes flying and he’s like, “Damn. That hurt more than I thought it would.” He tosses the gun over towards Erika just in time to have Moss bust in, weapon drawn. “It wasn’t me,” Sean says in a voice that’s far too calm and collected for someone who just shot himself in the arm. Moss orders him on the floor as Chloe looks on. “Larry, it wasn’t me. I followed her up here. She was trying to crash the system. She shot me! I went for the weapon and it went off.” Larry sets Chloe to recover the files and Sean is like, “Files? What files??” He makes the excuse that he was being shut out, and did a little snooping of his own. He found out that Erika was re-routing the sub-com channels and sent out the Bauer warrant. Sean continues to make excuses and pin the blame on Erika. Security bursts in and Chloe informs Moss they were too late. The system’s fried.
After commercial break, we join Moss in the exam room with Sean, who’s putting his shirt back on. Moss wants more of a paper trail on Erika’s betrayal, but Sean didn’t save everything. Sean plays dumb and Moss orders him to write a statement when he’s feeling a bit better, and to keep his mouth shut about the whole “government conspiracy” thing. Moss’ phone rings and Chloe informs him that she recovered the information on the drive. Because she’s awesome like that. She’s got everything. He orders her to cross check with FBI database to make sure Erika was working alone. Sean runs off to do his “statement” and Moss tells him to go see the FBI shrink when he’s done with that.
Sean walks back to his workstation and Janis wants to know why the system is down. Sean leaves to “run an errand.” He literally runs down the hall and is cornered by security. Moss approaches and slams him up against the wall. “You better start talkin’ to me. RIGHT NOW,” Moss yells. Sean takes a couple of big breaths and informs him he’d like to speak to his attorney. Moss orders him put in a holding cell.
Hospital. Walker continues to stare at Dubaku until she’s approached by Rosa. Walker informs Rosa about the accident — Marika was killed. Rosa lays the guilt trip on Walker, who hands her Maikra’s personal effects. “What is this?? This is supposed to make everything okay?” I’m torn between wanting to slap Rosa and actually feeling sorry for her. But I definitely feel bad for Walker. A big, fat crocodile tear runs down Walker’s face as Rosa continues to tear into her. Walker tries to apologize, and Rosa says, “You killed my sister. You didn’t care how you did it, or who got hurt.” Jack finally rescues her.
As Walker struggles to keep it together, Jack informs her that Moss got the names off the drive and is getting ready to make arrests. “It’s over,” he says, and starts to walk away. “It’s not over for Rosa,” Walker fires back. “What happened to Marika was a tragedy,” Jack replies, “But I’m not gonna stand here and tell you what we did was wrong. Because we weren’t. She made a choice — a brave one — to get involved. But she made it.” “God, listen to yourself, Jack,” Walker says, “You don’t even sound human. Don’t you feel anything?” “We had a job to do,” Jack points out, “To protect the hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent lives that would not have had a choice if we let a terrorist attack take place. What we did wasn’t wrong. It was necessary.” Jack, I hate to invoke The Princess Bride during this soul-baring moment, but you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
He starts to walk off, and Walker calls to him that she read his file. “When your wife was killed, did you feel that, or did you tell yourself that that was necessary?” Jack whirls around. “What do you want from me? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME??” Walker storms down the hallway, “I just want to know that you feel something! I want to know that you feel the same kind of pain that I do!” She slaps him on the cheek. “Do you feel that?” She slaps him again. Ohhhh, baby. Better watch it there. “Do you feel that?” He grabs her wrist before she can go in for a third slap. They struggle for a moment before she collapses into his chest, crying. “You’re gonna be all right,” he whispers to her. “It’s gonna take a while, but you will learn to live with it.” She pushes him away. “What if I don’t wanna learn to live with it?” “Then quit,” Jack says, and turns his back on her. “By the way,” he adds as he’s leaving, “That stunt you pulled by the car? You ever pull your weapon on me again, you’d better intend to use it.” “I did,” she responds. Jack makes an amused noise under his breath and finally walks out. They both acted the hell out of that scene. Bravo!
Back at the White House, Madame President and her daughter have a frigid reunion. Madame President’s ready to start bawling, but Olivia’s all business. And all I want to know is WHERE’S AARON?? When Madame President informs Olivia that the bullet went through her father’s lung, however, she starts to lose it and Madame President goes in for the tearful hug. Madame President gets her up to date on the government conspiracy. Olivia wants to go see her father at the hospital, and Madame President can’t let that happen — it’s not safe. She is SO grounded. “We’ll talk later,” she promises before heading off to another room to meet with Bill.
Bill informs Madame President that they have the names off the thumbdrive. She thanks him graciously and he insinuates she really needs to be thanking Jack Bauer. He thinks Senator Mayer, who’s heading the Senate Hearing, has a personal vendetta against Jack and CTU, and it just isn’t right. He wants Madame President to talk to the Senator. “Jack Bauer saved this country. He doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison,” Bill pleads. She needs to think about it.
Near the steps of the Capitol, Jack looks out towards the setting sun behind the Washington Monument. It’s quite the pretty sight — are we to believe this is the sunset for Mr. Bauer as well? I hope not. Tony sits down beside him and pulls off his Sunglasses of Incognito-ness. “What the hell are you doing here?” Jack asks. Just being generally awesome, that’s what he’s doing, Jack! Actually, he’s there to tell Jack about the lead he was following up on instead of turning himself in. “This ain’t over yet,” he says, “There’s gonna be another attack, here in D.C.” Well, duh! We’re only halfway through the season. What? Did you think that was it? Tied up in a nice, pretty little bow? Dubaku may be put away, but his boss, General Juma, is desperate. The window for the attack starts at 19:00 hours (7pm, for the laymen). If Tony goest to the FBI, they’ll get bogged down in red tape and it’ll be too late. Really? I mean, judging by what we’ve seen with Moss thus far, red tape isn’t really a concern of his. They could at least get started on it. Tony’s source doesn’t know the exact target, but it’s high value and high impact. Tony has a name — Ryan Burnett. Senator Mayer’s Chief of Staff. Oopsie! “You better not be lyin’ to me, Tony,” Jack says, and he means it. “This is real, Jack,” Tony replies. Jack points out that Burnett will be on Dubaku’s list. He’s going to start running, and fast. Tony’s already got a tail on him. “Look, Jack. If you’re with me, meet me at the corner of First and Constitution.” Tony says. Ha ha. Cute. He puts his hand on Jack’s shoulder before walking off. “I need your help, Jack.”
At his desk, Burnett’s phone rings. It’s Senator Mayer. He wants Burnett in his office for a moment. Cue dramatic music. Mayer’s going to the White House to talk to Madame President about Jack Bauer. Mayer doesn’t like the timing of all this, and Burnett’s coming with him. Before he leaves, Burnett gets a text message: “Units in place. Operation on schedule.” Burnett goes “… eep!” and… dun-dee-dun-dee-DUN.
Well. That was a vast improvement over last week. Quite a bit went down, we wrapped up some loose ends, which set us up for the second half of the season, and there was shooting! And explosions! And tearful confessions! And slapping! I’m happy.
Next week: two hour special! Jack underwater! Advanced interrogation techniques! The White House is under siege! More shooting! And punching! And running! Madame President’s life is on the line! Whee! See y’all at 8/7c. next week!