C’mon…did you really think Audrey was working with the terrorists?
In truth, I am not 100% convinced of her innocence – more like 98.7%. She never did adequately explain her little slap and tickle session with Walt Cummings. And have you people forgotten Nina Meyers already? You may recall that Nina was fingered as the mole halfway through Season I only to wriggle off the hook through some manipulation of the records.
Then there’s Henderson. If, as we all suspect, Vice President Strangelove is the point man for some kind of plot to take over the government, there is still Henderson’s computer hard drive formatted to be read by DoD servers. And please note that Bierko, in his conversation about Wayne Palmer with Henderson, called him “sir.” This would seem to indicate that Henderson, with his extensive contacts at DoD, is running the terrorist operation. The ultimate question is going to be who does Henderson report to? This entire day has been a Henderson operation from start to finish and a large part of it is personal – a desire to exact revenge on Jack for ruining his CTU career.
Jack finally recognized this after breaking Collette. Henderson tried to frame him for Palmer’s assassination. He has targeted and killed his friends. And the Audrey ploy almost worked except that Henderson didn’t count on Jack’s supple (some would say paranoid) mind. The permutations within permutations of the plot have Jack running around like a lab rat looking for the cheese. But Jack is now fully engaged in this battle of wits. And it appears to me anyway that this has gone far beyond any kind of call to duty by Jack and, like Henderson, his pursuit of the bad guys has gotten very personal.
It’s Henderson vs. Jack with the future freedom of the United States hanging in the balance. The Greeks would kill them both off at the end. Let’s see what Fox comes up with.
Collette’s apparent revelation that Audrey is involved in the day’s events spurs CTU into a frenzy of activity. Chloe starts looking for a Cummings/Henderson/Audrey connection while Bill takes Ms. Needlenose into custody. As Dr. Feelgood prepares his little black bag full of truth serum cocktails, Grandma Hayes is eager to get her first official torture session underway. Jack warns Collette, using just the right mix of menace and sexual titillation, sidling up to the hottie and saying in a low, threatening whisper “If you are lying to me, I’m going to make this the worst day of your life.” I think Collette actually enjoyed it.
With Collette’s immunity deal signed, sealed, and delivered, making the terrorist covergirl untouchable, Bill argues against shooting up Audrey and gets off the best line of the night: “We can torture our own people but we can’t torture a criminal?”
Bill has worked for the government long enough to know that this is precisely the kind of bureaucratic logic that has made our country what it is today.
Speaking of bureaucrats, Miles warns Grandma Hayes of the consequences to her ample posterior if things go south and she is accused of inaction in the case of Audrey. Jack warns her of the consequences of torturing the Secretary of Defense’s daughter which, if Audrey is innocent, could also be hazardous to Granny’s bureaucratic derriere. Instead of making a decision, Granny punts. She tells Jack he can go ahead and question Audrey but that Agent Burke should standby to administer his medicine.
Meanwhile, the terrorists are busy. Getting around martial law restrictions, Bierko’s boys stage a fight in an alley which draws the attention of two of LA’s finest who are subsequently killed allowing the terrorists to use their black and white as an escort for the truck carrying the nerve gas.
Chloe finds a pretty damning piece of info regarding Audrey, Walt, a motel in Tennessee, and a night of passion that has Chloe all apologetic thinking the revelation cuts Jack to the quick. But Jack is in full terrorist hunting mode and is determined to get to the bottom of the charge against Audrey. He seems unfazed by the revelation and heads for the holding room where he must face Audrey, his past, and all the demons that have conspired to keep the two apart.
The confrontation was deliciously done. Jack, a menacing presence skulking in the shadows. Audrey, looking at Jack fearfully but not without trust. The questions fall like a series of trip hammer blows. Did you know Henderson? Did you know Collette? Did you know Walt Cummings?
Audrey, slightly confused, still trusting, answers quietly and forcefully. No, she didn’t know Henderson or Collette. Cummings? Oh…that Walt Cummings. When Jack catches Audrey in the lie about the motel he doesn’t seem hurt or even resigned to Audrey’s guilt. He almost appears triumphant as he opens the file with the information about the Audrey/Walt tryst and asks her about it.
Her stuttering, fumbling response has Jack pouncing cat quick on his prey. She tries to wriggle free but Jack verbally corners her. “How could I be hurt? I was dead!” he shouts in her face. Audrey appeals to his feelings about her but Jack will have none of it. Kicking the table out of the way, Audrey is exposed to the full fury of Jack’s fanatical determination to find the truth of the matter. Backing her against the wall, menacing his former lover as he would any low-life terrorist unlucky enough to cross his path, Jack grips Audrey’s throat and starts to squeeze.
Her muffled protestations of innocence are at first, lost on Jack. But suddenly, looking into her eyes, searching her face for the Ultimate Truth, something passes between them – a recognition that they still love each other. In the crucible of crisis that is both personal and professional for each of them, it is fitting that they rediscover their feelings for one another while Jack is almost choking the life out of her.
Making a snap decision on her innocence, Jack announces that the interrogation is over. Granny Hayes has other ideas and sics Richard on Audrey. The clueless security guards fall victim to Jack’s interference but Richard tasers Jack into submission and Audrey is led away, piteously asking Jack and Bill to intercede.
In an effort to save Audrey from having her nervous system turned into jelly, Jack and Chloe try to hunt up connections between Collette and Henderson. Only then will Granny relent in her interrogation of Audrey.
Back at the ranch, Agent Piece begins to get worried about Wayne Palmer. The dead ex-President’s brother is late and Aaron decides to go looking for him when he finds out that Wayne was cleared through the initial checkpoint 30 minutes ago.
We meet Fat Geek Edgar’s replacement, Sweet Sherry who apparently was sexually harrassed by Miles a few years back. I’m sorry, but does anyone else think that the idea of that chipmunk Miles sexually harassing anything except perhaps the office rubber plant a little farfetched? The uber-bureaucrat is determined to make Sherry’s life miserable until Chloe, who was informed of Miles’ bad boy behavior, confronts the slimeball and tells him to get lost or she’ll report him to division. The cur retreats with his tail between his legs.
As I speculated last week, the terrorist target is indeed a gas distribution center. Confidently breaking in to the lightly guarded facility (I hope to God DHS was watching the show), Bierko saunters into the control room and orders that the pressure in the gas lines be lowered to 50% so that the nerve toxin can be delivered with all its deadly potency intact. As the terrified employee does the terrorist’s bidding, I was wondering why Bierko needed the schematics and access codes (to what?) if he was going to use an employee to help him deliver the gas. Could it be there is another target that the terrorists have already settled on?
Aaron finds Wayne wandering in the wilderness and as they make their way back to the President brother’s car, they come under attack. An RPG round detonates close to Wayne who is either dead or knocked unconscious. Aaron skeddaddles probably without whatever proof Wayne was going to give him about further skulduggery in the executive branch.
Chloe, using some geek legerdemain, discovers 8 calls between Collette and Henderson over the last few months. Since the terrorist pin up girl denied knowing him, Jack has his proof that Collette has been lying thus negating her presidential immunity. Telling Bill to retroactively get permission to interrogate Collette (sort of like getting a FISA warrant but without the sanctimonious posturing from civil liberties absolutists) Jack bursts into the holding room where Miss Terrorist centerfold is quietly awaiting her release. Cold cocking the US Marshall assigned to guard her, Jack skips the foreplay and dives right in to the meat of the matter.
Pulling his gun and pointing it at her head, he first gets confirmation from the squirming hottie that Henderson had indeed told her to use Audrey’s name as a contact at DoD. Pulling the hammer back with a satisfying click, he then inquires about the target. Realizing, as all terrorists do when Jack has the gun trained 2 inches from their skull that he is absolutely dead serious about killing them when he counts to 3, Collette spills the beans about the target being an unknown gas distribution center. The problem is that there are several to choose from so while Bill and Chloe try to find the exact target, Jack, Curtis and the CTU TAC team jump in a helicopter and take off.
Before leaving, Jack rescues Audrey from Richard’s tender ministrations. Just in time? There is a nagging feeling in the back of my head that Audrey may still be holding something back. Regardless, Audrey forgives Jack for the torture and the two have an affecting scene together as they tenderly kiss and make up.
Sweet Sherry, a Chem major at Cal-Tech, realizes that they should be looking for a distribution center where the pressure is being reduced. After discovering the specific target, Bill thanks her and as he brushes past her he gives her shoulder a familiar squeeze. We are now faced with the horrible conclusion that Miles was indeed telling the truth. The rubber plant was the target of his affections, not Sherry. Sweety complains that it was “wrong” for Bill to touch her like that. Chloe gives her a look that only Chloe could give, a mixture of wonder and disgust.
Sherry’s sexual problems will have to wait for the conclusion to this, the most exciting episode of the season. Racing the clock, CTU TAC hovers over the roof of the gas company and rappelles down. As the gang makes their way into the control room and their rendezvous with the elusive Bierko, a ferocious firefight breaks out. Seeing the meter fall to 50% pressure, Bierko releases the gas and tries to make his escape. After offing the last terrorist, Jack is informed by the frightened gas company employee that he can stop the gas by blowing up the main line that is conveniently located directly down the hall from the control room rather than where it should be which is the other side of the complex.
Chloe informs Jack that he has less than a minute to blow the line or its curtains for Burbank. Setting a 30 second timer, Jack, Curtis, and everyone else runs for their lives. Jack’s escape after the gas lines start to detonate is as good as action TV gets. A series of explosions rip through the plant with Jack only a couple of steps ahead of them. The immediate danger over, Jack glimpses Bierko making his escape and informs Curtis he’s going after him. Catching up with the terrorist, the two antagonists struggle while buildings all around them are exploding. The last we see is Jack getting in the car with Bierko subdued and a titanic blast covering the car in flame and debris.
After taking the night off last week, the Grim Reaper came back refreshed and determined to make up for lost time.
Bierko’s bums bop two cops. A guard at the gate is history. Two gas company employees meet their maker. The total from the firefight in the control room is grisly; two TAC teamers go down but our boys send 5 terrorists to hell. Jack has his best night of the year so far accounting for four souls faithfully departed.
Much chatter on the boards about DHS being the ultimate bad guys in the plot. Somehow, that just doesn’t compute for me. The Homeland Security folks seem too preoccupied with their little turf war at CTU to be involved in some kind of grand strategy.
I’d be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on that.
Make sure to check out the excellent round-ups, summaries, and speculation threads at Blogs4Bauer including an update on a casualty that I missed from last night’s show; one very dead fire hydrant.
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