If your reaction to last week’s stepping-stone episode was something like ”meh” or ”huh?”, I’m betting that this week’s installment provoked a different type of response, perhaps more along the lines of ”Hell, yeah!” Because it appears that we’ve just arrived in Juicy Actionville. And our boy Bauer is Jacking up his game again, with both his hands and his mouth. Let’s recap and relive.
The action begins in an alley behind a greengrocer, where Traitor Secret Service Agent Vossler delivers a bound-and-gagged First Gentleman to a Dubaku henchman. After Dubaku casually strolls down the street (my god, someone grab him!), he arrives in the grocery’s basement and tells Vossler that his money will be wired to the usual account. FG’s gag is removed and he blurts out, ”You sonuvabitch. You’re behind my son’s death.” (Ah! He said sonuvabitch! Everyone drink!) Dubaku takes credit and asks FG, ”Does your wife love you enough to call off the invasion of my country?” 24 is all about tense, tough choices, and it looks a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is dilemma is about to stare down President Taylor…
…who has just been told by Ethan that Matobo has arrived, with special guests Bill Buchanan, Renee Walker, and Jack Bauer. ”Bauer?” she says with just a hint of Mr. Burns’ ”Simpson, eh?” (She might know him from such crazy plot twists as Let’s Kidnap the Sangalan Prime Minister!) Anyway, the Prez double-cheek kisses Matobo, and assures him that the invasion is a go. When he exits, she puts on her no-nonsense pants. ”I want an explanation and I want it now,” she growls to the trio. ”What the hell is going on?” Jack and Bill regale her with tales of government corruption tied to Juma/Dubaku and the effort to undermine her foreign policy. She’s semi-skeptical, but soon warms to the idea of Sorta-CTU finding Dubaku under the radar.
Speaking of that wily bastard, he calls the Prez to say that he’s got FG, and if she doesn’t withdraw her forces now and deliver Matobo to him at a power plant by 4 p.m., FG dies. To prove his point, he lets her listen as his goons cut off FG’s finger with a knife just used to enjoy lunch. He also warns: No rescue missions. As Madame President fights back the tears, Ethan gets word that the bodies of Samantha and Brian were found, with evidence that backs up Jack’s story. Ethan tells the distraught Prez that no one would blame her if she tabled the Sangala invasion. (Blame her? Maybe not. Call her a hypocrite? Yep.) ”How can I ask the American people to make sacrifices that I’m not willing to make myself?” she frets. ”I can’t give in.” (That answer is…correct.) Jack tells her that he’ll try to find FG before the deadline and that she can trust him. ”You resigned from government service and the Senate regards you as having been a renegade agent. How am I supposed to know where your loyalties really lie?” she asks. ”With all due respect, Madame President,” he says, all business, ”ask around.” BAM! And that, my friends, is a classic Jack comeback. (Also, clearly we need to send the Prez seasons 1 through 6 on DVD.)