One thing about Jack Bauer is his willingness to cross outrageous moral boundaries to get what he wants, and when he tells the gangster that Renee was “family,” the look of realization on his face is near priceless. With these threats and the guarantee of witness protection for his family, the gangster fingers Moscow as the backers of the terrorist plot, and the puppet master of Dana Walsh. Jack is immediately on his way to CTU, demanding Chloe cater to his needs and wants. After an admittedly half-hearted beating, Walsh agrees to tell Jack everything for Presidential Immunity.24 presents one of the best episodes of the entire series, relying completely on character studies with minimal action. It is a sure credit to the writers to be able to build up so much tension and forward momentum with nothing but people talking to each other. You have to wonder what happened to kick the scripts into high gear from the tedious doldrums that were the first episodes of this season (cancellation?). Jack Bauer has crossed the threshold from the terrorist threat and is now facing the governmental forces which always beset him at the end of his days. The show spends a little time at the beginning showing Jack staring at dead Renee and looking befuddled in front of the nurse (give me those clothes, intern!). The first thing Jack does is call up Chloe to walk all over her and demand the location of the Russian gangster from the earlier episodes. Jack immediately arrives at a well-done Federal Court set, and proceeds to threaten the gangster’s wife, daughter-in-law, and baby grandchild if he doesn’t give up Renee’s killer.
Of course, former President Charles Logan is talking to the Russian Foreign Minister already, threatening to reveal evidence of Moscow’s involvement–unless they agree to the peace deal, of course. Charles Logan has really changed as a character, and for the better. The timid, bumbling Logan has been replaced by a manipulator of pure confidence and subtle aggression. Logan has put on weight, and has lost some of his remarkable resemblance to Richard Nixon, but stands tall as one of the final great 24 bogeymen left. Logan turns the screws on the Russians tight and secures their cooperation, and immediately a shadow of assassination falls over him. The show is genius at working the lights to cast literal darkness over Logan as his car enters a parking garage. The tension is palpable, but in a rare case of rational thinking, Logan points out a very ominous security guard and demands his removal. Way to point out the elephant in the room, Charles Logan; you would think security guards would avoid stabbing daggers at their VIP.
Logan is a master manipulator, and manages to get President Taylor to drink his poisonous cup, all by appealing to her commitment to peace. Taylor acts like a real politician by agreeing to a cover-up, but betrays her character up to this point; this is the same woman who sent her daughter to jail for murder, and who would have allowed hundreds of thousands of innocents to die in Manhattan for the life of a dictator. Suddenly she is willing to break the law and cover up the murder of that dictator for a tenuous peace agreement, all at the urging of known asshole Charles Logan. She wastes no time going to CTU and dressing down Jack in person, giving an oddly maternal speech to him about letting things be. As Peter Tosh once said, “I don’t want no peace, I want equal rights, and justice.” Jack follows this principle as he is taken to a helicopter to be flown to the Air Force base for debriefing.
We all know that Jack is liable to hijack every helicopter he gets close to, and he doesn’t disappoint, easily overcoming armed guards. After taking over Marine One, this is a cake walk. A tear falls from Chloe’s eye as she watches him fly off, because, as head of CTU, she must hunt him down. Bravo, 24, for pitting these two timeless allies against each other; this is a fine way to finish off the series. Logan is also a reminiscing about his own history with Jack and is eager to put the brakes on him as quickly as possible. I am hoping for Tony to be called in as the only person who can hunt down Jack, in return for immunity, of course. You have to point out Jack’s own hypocrisy in this matter, as he was unwilling to break the President’s orders when it came to allowing a dirty bomb to go off in Manhattan; Jack was steadfastly ready to allow hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians to die in order to stay true to the President’s word. However, when someone Jack cares about is involved, following orders isn’t even a concern.