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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

'24:' Episode 20, 3-4 a.m.

click to enlarge BIG BROTHER, BIG SISTER: Chloe reboots CTU
  • BIG BROTHER, BIG SISTER: Chloe reboots CTU

When Tony's bad, he's very very bad.

Stand idly by your FBI vehicle, and he'll put a bullet in your face. Rub him the wrong way, and he'll suffocate you with a motel shower curtain. Question his motives and he'll get, well, moody. (Cara, upon seeing Galvez's lifeless body: "I'll assume that was necessary." Tony: "Don't start with me. I'm not in the mood." Me-ow!) All cattiness aside, Tony stepped further into that deep, dark place this week, and seemingly closer to the mental point of no return. As viewers, we'd be remiss to continue hoping for his redemption. Even if he did snap out of his Tony the Terrorist phase, there'd be no one left to vouch for him. Once you kill the head of FBI, burn the President, and lie to Jack, whooo boy are you a goner.

With Tony so committed to the Dark Side, I doubt he'll make it past season seven. The action's snowballing toward a big finish now that we're down to the last four episodes and I think it's likely that Tony will be taken out of the picture. For good this time, soul patch and all.

This week we learned a bit about the "much larger machine" in which Hodges is "just a cog." (President Taylor's referred to that phrase so many times the past few epsidoes, it's become my new "24" drinking game.) But a bit might be overstating it. A shadowy conference call between the powers that be looked like a group of pre-pubescent boys strategizing during some sort of online multiplayer video game. None of the faces was recognizable, not even the guy Cara semi-sexually pleaded with via IM to push ahead Tony's plan to strike immediately. The council agrees and Cara and a shirtless Tony share a dewy, post-shower kiss. (It's a cheap thrill, but I'll take it.)

Jack and Renee reveal Tony's involvement to President Taylor and she fills them in on Hodges' exiting rant about being "just a cog in a much larger machine." (Drink.) Hodges, who survived his suicide attempt, is publicly declared dead to throw off the bad guys. Jack wants him kept alive, though, to extract any leads. This means putting him in witness protection so that he remains "dead." Olivia gets herself all in a tizzy when the President asks her to pull the necessary paperwork together for Hodges. It's a valiant rant about justice and whatnot that might hold some water if she wasn't sleeping with journalists and hiring hitmen, among other dirty deeds.

To expedite the search for the bio-weapon, President Taylor approves a recommissioning of the CTU servers that were confiscated for the senate hearings. Jack calls Chloe back in (hooray!) and a giant step is made toward resurrecting the defunct branch for season eight. When the CTU seal pops up on FBI computer screens, contrarian Janis lets out a "Hello Big Brother." Jack goes apeshit, screaming, "Look, if your need to complain is more important than saving lives, go do it somewhere else! President Palmer approved this! President Palmer recommissioned the servers!!!!!" Ooops. Freudian slip. Don't you mean President Taylor, Jack?

After Jack leaves for a much-needed timeout, Chloe and Janis look at each other and come to the conclusion that "Something is really wrong with him." Ya think?

So another episode goes by without really addressing a cure for Jack's illness. I like the suspense, even knowing that he has to pull through because of season eight. But I really hope the writers don't cop out on this one and swoop in with some miracle pill in the last minute of the last episode. Will Kim return to save Jack? Could baby Teri hold the cure?

(Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

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