As 24’s fifth season enters its final stretch, the nerve-wracking thrills continue to stack up and the body count spirals out of control. President Logan’s secret has become known to many, and those closest to him (Mike Novick, Vice President Hal Gardner, his wife Martha) are becoming more suspicious with each digital tick of the clock.
Jack Bauer finally manages to meet Secretary of Defense James Heller and present the recording that incriminates Logan as the terrorist mastermind. But surprise, Heller ties up Jack and Audrey, arguing that it would be better to force Logan to resign quietly than to permanently destroy the presidency. Meanwhile, Chloe gets tricked into revealing Jack’s location at the airport, and everyone and their mother gets suspicious of Logan when he calls off CTU and sends a “covert” team to “arrest” Jack for David Palmer’s assassination, which he was already cleared of roughly 14 hours ago.
Viewers who feared a dramatic shift in Logan’s personality post-revelation need not have worried, as was proven by Heller’s blunt scolding. Logan’s jittery excuses about what he needed to do are characteristically evasive and pathetic. His weak pleas for Heller to look the other way provide a brief moment of satisfaction and victory for 24 fans, but of course things do not continue to go so smoothly.
Christopher Henderson has definitely earned his place alongside Nina Myers, Victor Drazen, Ramon Salazar, Stephen Saunders, and Habib Marwan as a great 24 villain. Henderson would most easily be comparable to Nina Myers; he worked with Jack at CTU, is able to resist just about any level of torture, kills quickly and without remorse, and has personally murdered at least one person close to Jack. Unlike Nina, he isn’t a sociopath, works directly for the President, and has a Y chromosome.
Peter Weller gives the character a deadly edge, with a rough, machinelike voice and narrow, vicious stares that remind us vividly our hero. And like his predecessors, he manages to slip through Jack’s clutches every time. This episode marks the third time that Jack has massacred an entire team of Henderson’s mercs while Henderson slips out the back.
Has anyone noticed the change in tone the music has undergone the past few episodes? During the action sequences, the operatic tone has been traded for one that resembles a techno James Bond mix. Not since the first episode have they used music that isn’t operatic thriller material, so the change comes across as slightly refreshing, if not one I hope is temporary.
Question of the week: Was Jack right to exchange the evidence for Audrey’s life? The image of Audrey standing between Jack and Henderson, barely able to speak as she quickly bleeds to death, was gruesome and haunting even by 24′s standards. Audrey pleads with Jack to ignore her and focus on the evidence, but he relents to Henderson’s demands and surrenders the one thing that could expose Logan for the traitor he is.
Often times, 24′s intense moments are born out of the character’s need to make devastating decisions in the blink of an eye, and this was one of the hardest yet. While we may be in the final stretch, there are still seven hours left, and a lot can happen in Jack Bauer’s day.