Only three hours left, and tonight we're stuck with another place-holder episode. They're easy to spot; if we get an abundancy of character moments from characters we don't care about, if our heroes are always one step behind the people they're chasing, if the villains spend their time doing what they told us they were going to do last episode—mainly, if the plot doesn't advance so much as circle the wagons and wait, then you can feel comfortable in watching this one on fast forward. Even non-real time series have occasional duds, but with 24, it's built into the structure. After all, it can't always be Happy Hour.

But hey, dud or no, we've still got recapping to do. "4:00am - 5:00am" starts with Tony and crew hanging out at Jibraan's place. They're prepping his computer to look like he's spent time on terrorist friendly websites, as well as forcing him to make video recordings of his "intentions"—when he refuses, Tony threatesn Jibraan's brother, so the opposition doesn't last long. There's nothing really compelling here, as there are no surprises; the only interesting bit comes when Jibraan has to convince his brother that he's a terrorist, in order to save the guy's life. It's at least dramatically sound, which is more than I could say for the rest of things. We already knew that the plan was to set up Jibraan as a patsy, and frame him with various bits of phony evidence. Even the visit by the police is underwhelming; all that keeps it from being blatant padding is Chloe's discovery of the police report later in the episode. Jibraan won't have any hope of escape until they actually send him at the target. He'll probably get killed somehow, but at least then we won't know what's going to happen next.

Back at FBI headquarters, Chloe hasn't had any luck tracking down suspected terrorists. We get another showdown between Janis and Jack, but this time Jack holds his temper, so that's nice for them. Jack gets hit with more amnesia, which means that Chloe realizes that something is up; in what's turning out to be a habit for her, Renee tells Chloe that Jack was infected with the bioweapon, so we get another tender scene between Chloe and Jack about the impending death that, I'll bet right now, ain't gonna happen. After everybody goes all weepy (honestly, I have no problem with the acting here at all, it's just—we've seen this, we get that it's all very upsetting, we don't need to keep repeating ourselves. Well, we do, because otherwise we can't fill the hour, but—you get me), it's back to work. Chloe finally finds the trail she's looking for, and in one of the episode's better ironies, it's the fake stuff that Tony and team created to set up Jibraan. While it makes Jibraan a suspect, as intended, it also puts him on the radar before the actual bombing goes down. That's not really a good thing for the bad guys.

One of the things I've appreciated the most about this season of the show is that, even at its worst moments, we haven't had any really terrible plotlines. That's still by and large true, but I'm starting to roll my eyes whenever things cut to the White House, and that is not a good sign. Olivia has decided that she wants Hodges dead, and when her friend Martin shows up, he agrees to put her in contact with a hitman who will get the job done. Olivia talks with the guy, but chickens out when it comes time to actually wire the money (the "Cancel" or "Execute" buttons were pretty hilarious). But either the hitman just loves his work so much that he'll do it for free, or else he was working for the Evil Secret Cabal Thingy, because before the hour is out, Hodges gets blown up in a van. So now Olivia's freaking, and she agrees to meet Martin to chat the whole thing over.

I don't care about any of that. I really, really don't—I don't care about Olivia's crisis of conscience, I don't care that the Taylors are happily reunited, I don't care that President Taylor is once again reduced to getting upset about things happening on her watch. And I really, really didn't care about Hodges. Fun as Voight was when he was crazy-scary, there's some kind of bizarre attempt to drum up sympathy for him right before he dies that seems grossly misplaced. Really, this was more a way to drag things out; but unlike the rest of the episode, this had no relevance to the master plot. If it somehow turns out that Hodges' death means something, I'll be pleasantly surprsied, but as of this week, it's a waste of time.

Now that they have a name, Renee and Jack need an address. They hit up a mosque, and Jack does his usual non-threat threatening to a man named Gohar before Chloe finds Jibraan's address from the police report filed earlier. Jack takes Gohar along to visit Jibraan, to preven the guy from calling ahead. When Chloe realizes that the evidence she'd discovered connecting Jibraan to the terrorist attacks was put together a half hour earlier, she and Jack realize that they're hunting down an innocent man; so Jack uncuff's Gohar, and he acts all impressed, in a moment that almost, but not quite, justifies the whole detour. (Is Gohar going to become relevant next week? Because if not, that was useless.) At Jibraan's place, they find Jibraan's brother held at gunpoint; they charge in, the guy with the gun gets injured, and once again, the only source of info on the next attack is near-to-death guy that Jack will have to yell at.

Three hours left. At least we can safely assume that something will happen in 'em.

Grade: B-

Stray Observations:

  • Boy, Hodges is forthcoming about his (soon to be moot) future plans!
  • Renee is very forthcoming about Jack's condition to relative strangers. Seems kind of like personal information that isn't really hers to hand out.
  • You know what would be awesome? If we got to the end of the day, and President Taylor's alone in her room—and she pulls off her mask to reveal that she's been Charles Logan all along.