'24' recap: A deal with the devil | EW.com

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'24' recap: A deal with the devil

As Jack's health declines, Tony hunts down the bioweapons and Jonas plays hardball with the President

(Kelsey McNeal/Fox)

Exactly how many layers of malevolence is Jonas Hodges shrouded in? Almost every week on 24 the dude shows us a new side of sinister, and episode 17 proved no exception, as he tossed out the dissenting chairman of his board. Or rather, tossed him over a railing. If we wind up getting a Jack-Jonas showdown, I’d like to think that Hodges would be no match for our boy Bauer, but Jack is currently losing a battle to another vicious foe, in the form of that deadly pathogen. Before his condition worsens, let’s roll up our sleeves and inject ourselves with 50ccs of recap.

Trick or retreat There we were, back in the tense standoff between the FBI and Starkwood. Wait. Surprise visitor: Hodges! His demands: For Larry to release Seaton and pack up his troops. ”You want to talk to me, Mr. Hodges?” sneered Boss Moss. ”You get these guns off my head.” Cue crazy, fist-wagging rant from Jonas: ”You think you have a gun at your head? You know what I’ve got? I’ve got the United States government sending SWAT teams and attack helicopters in the middle of the night! I’ve got a government that I’ve served faithfully for 30 years dreaming up BS accusations so politicians too cowardly to show their faces can dismantle my company!” He gave Larry a five-minute deadline to scram with his men. Um, Renee? Think of something. Fast.

A lifeline light bulb was offered by Jack: What about contacting Starkwood chairman Doug Knowles, who’d cooperated with Sen. Mayer’s investigation? Renee worried about using another ”insider” (see: Seaton), but as Jack reasoned: ”He’s scared of something. This man wants to help us.” Sold! Jack dialed Knowles, who sighed with relief. (”You have no idea how much I was hoping someone would call.”) Knowles even thought he could help locate the weapons.

New plan: Jack told Larry to pull out his men but also to create a diversion so Tony could stay behind and work with Knowles. Larry announced that Team Boss Moss was retreating, and for a distraction, he grabbed Seaton and decked him. This earned a retaliatory blow from Team Starkwood, and the chance for Tony to discreetly take a SWAT team member’s Bag of Cool Things and slip away. After Tony joined forces with Knowles, he ultimately snapped the visual proof of the weapons that the President needed to authorize the surgical air strike. But he wouldn’t have penetrated the building without the key-card-cracking skills of Janis, who made use of an R6 interface module from the back of Tony’s com device. (And, yes, Tony knows what an R6 interface module is, thank you.) By defeating the security system on this top-secret facility, Janis made up for not being able to decode Renee’s encrypted email to Jack from her personal computer.

Bauer power outage Facing imminent death thanks to the prion variant, Jack accepted that he’d have to work the office end of this operation. But even that started to pose problems, as his hand began shaking, and finally he collapsed on the ground, all red-faced and crazy-eyed. (An unsettling scene, yet I preferred the simple moment when the Prez thanked him for his service and insisted, ”I’m not giving up on you.”) Anyway, Dr. Macer from the CDC injected Jack with something to help control the shaking, and told him to repeat the process every two hours, more frequently if needed. ”Think I’ll need more?” asked Jack. The ominous answer? ”In all likelihood, yes.” The doc did mention that a university was funding studies on prion diseases; the work was ”purely experimental at this point but it does suggest treatment.” Hmmm. Is this their way of getting around Jack’s death sentence?) And the treatment happened to use stem cells from a genetically compatible donor… Say, Jack, don’t you have a daughter? ”I don’t want my daughter involved in this,” mumbled Jack, thanking the doc and excusing himself.

NEXT: A family matter