Holy cow, what a ride! I watched this episode knowing that a certain blonde would finally meet her maker (read Michael Ausiello’s excellent interview with Katee Sackhoff here) but the way in which she departed was both poignant and satisfying. Why poignant, you ask? As a longtime member of the Jack Bauer fan club, I can’t remember the last time our hero showed a combination of despair/resolve/regret/anger in one split-second, but he displayed it all before firing two bullets into the very deserving Dana. (Oh, and by the way? SPOILER ALERT for those of you who would even think of reading this recap before watching this high-octane episode. And you call yourself a 24 fan….) As for the satisfying part, it’s always more entertaining when Jack deals with villains like Dana quickly and definitively — just like he did with the blink-and-he’s-gone D.B Sweeney (d’oh!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I have to hand to Ms. Sackhoff; superb work looking like she was choking to death at the start of the episode. I’m not sure how they filmed that faux water-boarding moment but it certainly had me gasping for air. Unfortunately for Sweeney’s Bledsoe, Dana was willing to take what he was dishing (or pouring) out, yelling “bring it on, you son of a bitch!” I admit it, she had me for a moment, though. Her plaintive wails about not having any proof were pretty convincing — but then so were her desperate attempts to “get into Cole’s head” about Jack wanting to seek revenge rather than truth and justice (hey, she’s not entirely wrong there, kids; we know he’s beside himself over Renee’s death). By episode’s end, I didn’t know what to believe about Dana anymore, which is testament to Sackhoff’s mad skillz as a villain.
But let’s get back to the clever use of “son of a bitch” in the episode. Moments after Dana cursed out Bledsoe, Cole was uttering his own “son of a bitch” after discovering how Jack slipped a sleeve of bullets out of his gun while Cole wasn’t looking. “Yeah, I know,” replied Jack — and that’s when I whispered a well-deserved “nice” to exec producer Howard Gordon and his band of 24 writers. This whole sequence was pretty legit — starting with how cool Kiefer looked while dashing down the alley to the way he killed Bledsoe before the dude could even utter 20 words. Good thing Sweeney wasn’t paid by the line for the last two episodes because I’m thinking he had six, maybe seven at most. If you want more of the D.B, however, I’m pretty sure The Cutting Edge is repeating almost nightly on Encore Love these days.
Dana did have the proof that Jack was looking for; it was hidden on a memory card in a safe deposit box that she and Cole had rented while they were (supposedly!) in love. Again, Sackhoff’s bad girl had me giving her the benefit of the doubt here: I bought her pleas to Cole that Jack’s motives weren’t pure, just like I believed she still harbored feelings for the guy whom she totally screwed over. But then the episode packed another punch I wasn’t expecting: Dana hid a gun and a strange little flashing thingie in the box, so she overwhelmed Cole and pulled off a particularly clever exit from the bank (“There’s a guy by the front door…I think he has a gun … OMG he’s looking in my direction!”). What a conniving little bitch! Too bad she fell for Jack’s throw-the-jacket-up-the-stairwell-ruse-so-she’ll-use-up-all-her-bullets. Works every time! So goodbye, Katee; it was super fun hatin’ on your character!
Meanwhile, my predictions came true with regards to Reed Diamond’s Jason Pillar; the writers had much bigger plans for a guy who started out as Logan’s mere administrative assistant. After managing to finagle Taylor (sheesh, the ol’ girl is digging herself one colossal hole), Logan installed Pillar at CTU as the new point person in charge of Bauer’s capture. Chloe can grimace all she wants but there’s no denying she got majorly hosed by the President, so maybe now she’ll start to wonder if Jack is on the right side of the law. But she better think fast; Pillar’s got a magic phone that rings up Renee’s assassin, and he’s ”vaiting for the call” to eliminate Jack.
Two other thoughts about tonight’s frst-rate episode: nice shot of Cherry Jones’ Allison while Dalia was “expressing gratitude to President Taylor, whose integrity and model courage .. have been unshakable.” Yeah, right; can’t wait until she learns the real truth there. And I had no idea that short, shallow breaths could help one endure a painful bout of water boarding. Good tip, Bledsoe; I’ll keep that in mind! What did you think of Jack’s final expression? Were you sorry to say goodbye to Sackhoff and Sweeney? And how ’bout when Taylor hung up the phone on Logan’s sorry ass?