What lengths will Jack Bauer go to in order to save all of mankind? We’ve seen him dance with the White Lady Devil in season three; he exposed himself to the Sentox Something-or-Other nerve gas with only his trusty hoodie to protect him in season five, and of course, he lost his wife in season one. And throughout the years, Jack has been framed for this, framed for that — it can’t be easy being Jack, can it?
And tonight, Jack is framed again, for the murder of Senator Mayer. Larry and other police investigators are on the scene; Larry is reaching his limit of understanding what Jack is made of. He calls Ethan and breaks the news about Mayer. Both men get in a bit of a blame game discourse, and when they hang up, Ethan slumps in his chair, realizing that his culpability in the day’s events was significant.
Well played by Bob Gunton, Ethan Kanin has been a red herring character. We saw him deliberately lie to Henry in the early hours regarding Roger’s death. He also conveniently went to the Pentagon during the White House attack. He was against the U.S. invasion in Sangala. But he seemed to redeem himself here and there during the course of this day.
Now, he must pull himself together to do the right thing. While Allison is having a tender moment on the phone with poor Henry – who is still in the hospital – Ethan steps into the Oval Office. He tells her about Mayer, they both have trouble believing that Jack could really be capable of the murder, Allison got to know Jack while they were in the lockdown (no smirking!); she was initially not his biggest supporter at all. But because Jack is the main suspect right now, and because Ethan sanctioned Jack’s release from custody, he knows that there will be fallout, and he wants to protect the President from the mess.
Allison does not want to hear it, but she ultimately knows that Ethan is right. Shortly, Olivia goes to see Ethan while he packs up his office, apologizing for their previous discussions. They smoke the peace pipe, Ethan only bogarts a little, and all is fine. Veerrry fine now or at least in the confines of Ethan’s office. Olivia sprays herself with some perfume, leaves and makes a phone call.
Why that dirty girl, she calls her same reporter pal, Ken, and tells him he can go ahead and run the story about Jack’s latest mischief, Ethan’s involvement, and also suggests the he should lead with the exciting tip that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
Our pal Hodges and his sidekick Kato (Greg Seaton) enter the boardroom of Starkwood. He lectures the board members, telling them to stop making nice with the Senate and all their subcommittees and subpoenas. If Starkwood was given a chance to protect the country this day, none of these attacks would have happened. The board Chair connects the dots, and follows Hodges out into the hall, wondering if Hodges (and by extension, Starkwood) had anything to do with Mayer’s death. Hodges feigns innocence, but slyly admits that there IS a growing market for political assassinations.
Larry meanwhile is connecting his own forensic dots, and thinks there might be a possibility of a third party during the Mayer melee. Maybe Bauer is not the perp? He calls Renee, who wants to help Larry, but also wants to help Jack and she’s more than reluctant to give any more information away. Larry waits while Renee mutely wrestles with her conscience. Finally, at the risk of appearing like a “dropped call” phone commercial, Renee tells Larry that Jack was trying to prove that Starkwood was behind the day’s evils.
Tony and Jack connect at the Port of Alexandria, and find a lone security guard named Carl, who just moments before was on the phone with a very pregnant wife. This can’t bode well for him, now that we all know what sweetness waits at home. They do the strong-arm bit for a while with poor Carl, who admits he’s dealing with bad guys. “But only the kind of bad guys who smuggle electronics from Korea” is Carl’s disclaimer. Tony and Jack assure him that these are the REAL bad guys, not some namby-pamby, weak-ass smugglers. Carl will try to cooperate, but is now scared for his life. Jack promises that they’ll protect him. Tony coughs out “doubtful” while Jack glares and throws Ricola drops at him. They instruct Carl to wear communications/surveillance device and to continue on as planned. In other words, let the men in and let the whoop-ass party begin!
Of course, the Starkwood bad guys sense something’s wrong; Carl seems nervous. They make him accompany them to the location of the dirty container car. They find the right section and begin to move in flatbed truck to transport the bio-weapon. And of course, the head honcho of the operation, Stokes, tells another man to take Carl “for a walk”, ostensibly to pay him off for his help. Of course, another kind of payment is planned, and Jack is ready as he sees Carl in the distance with a gun pointed at his face. Tony wants to let Carl take one for the team, Jack hesitates, but finally shoots and drops the bad guy. Carl and his stained undershorts run away as fast as possible.
Shortly the Starkwoodies see the dead comrade on the ground and Jack and Tony open fire. They manage to knock off a couple of hostiles, but the transport is still in progress. Jack sees the flatbed on the move, manages to get on top of the moving vehicle, and pulls an Indy move circa Raiders of the Lost Ark by disabling the driver and throwing him out of the vehicle. At least the poor dear didn’t have to snare his whip on the undercarriage and get dragged for a mile.
Finally Jack is able to call Larry and give his location, arranging to meet at a weigh station on the highway. But wait, what’s that beeping? Ah, the popcorn is ready. No, that’s not it, the truck is still beeping. OK, must be the end of the wash cycle. Eventually Jack realizes that there’s a wee problem in the back. He pulls over, stops and checks out the problem.
In yet another and maybe final, Bauer Sacrifice, Jack leans into the
gaping maw of death container breach, realizing a little too late that whatever fragrance he just inhaled was Eau de WMD. Dammit!
Dammit count = at least three, two by Jack, and one by Tony.