Plot: So let’s see, what happened last night?
Michael Wincott sneakily rendezvoused with Benjamin Bratt. Wincott got the suddenly all-powerful device, Bratt got a passport but no car and then was immediately captured by Jack Bauer and assorted law enforcement officers.
Wincott gets away with the device and then explains his whole evil plan to Chloe about how he’s going to use the device to give all countries equal footing on the world stage and she’s on board for a few minutes, but then her inner ‘murca takes over and she tries to betray him. Wincott prevents the betrayal, and keeps stringing Chloe along instead of just killing her because he loves her or something and this is the “24” season where the bad guys choose the worst possible times to be noble.
Our star-crossed lovers go to meet up with the rest of Wincott’s team, but when they get there the rest of the team has been killed and the Chinese are now running the show. I think I’m supposed to remember the crazed leader of this gang from past seasons, but I don’t really so he’s Chinese Leader Guy.
Chinese Leader Guy doesn’t like Wincott’s plan to make everybody equal either, so he tricks Chloe into helping him reprogram the device then kills Wincott because we can’t have nice things.
Elsewhere, Jack gives a long impassioned monologue about how only he possesses the fortitude to crack Benjamin Bratt and find the all-powerful device before it’s too late. For only Jack is man enough to scare a battle-hardened warrior like Bratt, a man who’s been trained down to his very core to withstand all manner of punishment and torture and who in no way would ever spill his guts to one of the underlings he used to boss around. It would probably take a full 60 minutes of Jack-on-Bratt crime just to get Bratt to say when his own birthday is.
A few minutes after Jack says all that, Kate runs in with a gun, points it at Bratt and he tells her EVERYTHING. And he does that even though, by giving up the location of the device, he’s effectively sentenced himself to death for treason and murder. That was his only bargaining chip! No matter how PO’d Kate is at him for that whole framing her husband thing, she can’t kill Bratt, he’s the only one who can find the device. But yeah, squeals like a pig at the first sight of a mad blonde woman with a gun. Awesome.
Mark and Audrey are still fighting and no one cares, the Russians finally get a chance to capture Jack but they seem to be struggling and then the episode ends with the Chinese guys tricking a US sub to blow up a Chinese boat presumably setting the stage for a WWIII-style super power bro-down.
Bad: I don’t know, man, this whole thing. They shoulda just blown up the president. I’m sure that got me on some sort of watch list, but I’m still bummed out that President Heller is alive, Mama Stark is dead and there are still two episodes left. What was shaping up as a nice, fun little condensed season of “24” has instead turned into: “Well, maybe if they only did six episodes it’d be better …”
Bad: Seriously this Benjamin Bratt thing is aggressively dumb even for a show that once featured a cougar as a primary antagonist. Ah yes, the anger of an attractive blonde woman wielding a gun. The one thing his years of special forces training didn’t prepare him for.
Bad: RIP Michael Wincott. I'm not sure I agree with your politics but I'll forever love you and honestly, I'm really starting to not be able to stand any of the good guys on this show, but losing you hurts the most.
Bad: Jack. Is it just me or does it seem like “24” forgot how to do Jack right? He’s felt like a passenger for about half this season and he’s spent the other half of it gradually making me root against him. Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’ve … out grown him?
Bad: “Immunity’s not on the table, but your hand is” *smashes Bratt’s hand with a gun* Like, what the crap is that? Is Jack actually Schwarzenegger and is it suddenly the mid-80s?
Good: The return of the Two-Mustached Russian Guy. We need to take some positives from this.
Good: I have a vague memory of the season where Jack pissed off the Chinese by storming their embassy as being one of the best of the series.
Bad: I also have nightmares about the season that came after it being one of the worst.
Good: But man, that one season was great. Closed quarters extractions missions man.
Bad: Heller survives a flippin’ drone strike, comes home to have himself a little booze and Audrey, Chief Executive Nagger that she is, starts sweating him about mixing alcohol and his pills. Seriously? The guy nearly took a drone strike to the chest, let him have a drink! Straight to Guantanamo if I was Prez I don’t care if she is my daughter.
Good: Big Red Car Crash. I mean, a more graceful plan would have been nice, but whatever. The Russians are back in the game.
Good: Chief of Staff, or as I like to call him, Mark, bouncing wildly from being a sympathetic sad sack (He’s stuck married to Audrey) to being a treasonous heel (selling Jack to the Ruskies despite Jack having a Presidential mandate to save the flipping world). He’s a one man roller coaster, at least for me because I will automatically side against Audrey no matter what she says or does.
Bad: The balance is all out of whack. So, the Chinese can now conceivably start WWIII and that plotline will get two and a half episodes. Mama Stark threatening to blow up small parts of London got nine!?! We spent more time this season waiting for Simone to figure out if she was a good guy or a bad guy than we will with the possible end of the world plotline.