Ahhh, Kim. You've been out of the game a few years now, long enough to settle into a (presumably) stable relationship and have a kid. It's nice to know, when the chips are down, you still have the instincts to get into the game. Given a choice between the man who your father sent to protect you (without your knowledge, admittedly), or the two most dangerous people in the entire airport, who do you choose to sit down next to? Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of course. Nice move. When jumping into a sea of haysticks, you'll always find some way to land on the needle.
We're moving in to end game now—as House finished up this week, next week we get the last two hours of this season in one night—so everyone's getting desperate. While I hadn't expected it, it didn't come as a huge surprise that the bad guys would put Kim in danger again. She is, after all, the only thing left in the world that Jack knows about that would make him betray his country in order to keep her safe. It's a little annoying to have them resorting to the enforced-cooperation trick so soon after Jibraan's rescued, but we'll see how it plays out. Jack's only got a few hours left to live, after all. Maybe he'll rescue Tony; or maybe he'll go on a suicide run to take down the baddies and get his little girl safe.
I enjoyed "5:00am - 6:00am" more than last week, mostly because we get a solid, and somewhat unexpected, resolution to the Jibraan plot. While Tony gets Jibraan in place to ride the subway all the way to Washington Center Station, Tony's friend the evil-lawyer chick Cara is putting the final touches on the bio-weapon that will kill Jibraan and, if luck holds, between 8,000 and 10,000 commuters. The plan means Jibraan will be on his own while he travels to his destination, but he's not quite alone as it seems; when he tries to report himself to transit authorities, the cop on duty turns out to be one of Tony's men. It's a small moment, but does a decent job of closing one potential plot snag.
Back at Jibraan's apartment, the man holding Hamid captive isn't doing so hot; Jack does the "withold morphine" thing to force the man to call Tony on the cell phone so Janis and Chloe can work out a trace on Tony's phone. Janis and Chloe aren't working well together at all, in case you were wondering. Chloe is her usual charming self, Janis gets pissed, and when Janis manages to do something Chloe can't later in the episode, there's a delightful moment when Janis actually looks to our favorite sourpuss for affirmation. It's like a brief scene from The Office got edited into the show; probably the only real laugh I had the whole hour.
Olivia's woes continue. She meets Martin in the park, after getting a dressing down from Aaron over the phone about leaving the White House without a security detail; Martin was the one who gave the go ahead to kill Hodges, because he just decided that's what needed to be done. Still no sign that Martin is working for Will Patton (aka, "Alan") or his group, but it was a good reversal on the silliness of last week's "Cancel / Execute" screen. Olivia had assumed, like the rest of us, that she had complete control over the situation, but it makes sense that once you've gotten to the "hire a guy to enact your revenge" portion of the evening, control is a relative term. Martin assures her that she'll be able to cover everything up, so long as she still pays the hitman, but it's clear she isn't going to be so lucky—hiring Aaron to head up her security is turning out to be a terrible decision, as Aaron suspects something is up, and even brings Ethan Kanin back in so he can listen to a recording of Olivia in her office.
Not really invested in that plotline at all, and it mostly seems like an excuse to keep the White House personnel involved in the show. We'll get a standard heartfelt, "How could you do this" scene next week when President Notaclue finds out her daughter betrayed her, and I'm not looking forward to that; nor am I much looking forward to Ethan's triumphant return, regardless of how well-deserved it is. Jack and his team are the only players I want to see from here to the end, really.
Thankfully, the Jack stuff here was good, from him finally confronting Tony and just going apeshit on him (not so much torture as assault with occasional interjection), to his attempts to talk Jibraan through what is most likely the worst day of his life. The biggest surprise for me this hour was Jibraan actually living to fight another day; I thought for sure he was screwed when a fellow commuter reported him to a cop for suspicious behavior, but not only did his quick thinking get him out of the station, he got the bomb to Jack in enough time to get it isolated, and was even reunited with his brother by the end. Characters in 24, especially pawns, don't often get happy endings; changing that up made this episode all the stronger in my eyes.
Speaking of pawns… Ah, Kim. You knew she wasn't gone for good, seeing as how she's the only person who can cure Jack's infection, but it looks like she won't be able to do anything as simple as have a change of heart. So once again, Jack is forced to do what the bad guys want him to do to save someone he loves. (It feels almost nostalgic at this point, like getting allergies whenever spring rolls around.) It seems forced, especially Cara's unnecessary, "If anyone in the van gets in your way, kill them" comment (Oh no! He might kill the hot agent he has yet to have grim sex with!), and the fact that we're going into the last two hours of the day without a major threat hanging over our heads makes me wonder what'll happen next week. Guess we'll just have to see how things wrap up in their own good time.
- Man, Jack takes Tony's actions very personally.
- How the hell do the bad guys keep track of all their contingency plans?
- Cool as Tony is, I sort of wanted Jack to shoot him on the steps.