For about fifteen minutes, Janeane Garofalo is actually relevant. Turns out there is a mole at the FBI feeding information to Colonel Dubaku and company, and, briefly, 24 makes us think it’s Janeane. This would explain why Garofalo was on the show in the first place. Alas: The mole turns out to be Entourage’s Billy Walsh. We should have known. And now, to the Absurd-o-Meter.
3. Who Needs the Secret Service? It has only been an hour since Jack, Bill Buchanan, and company busted into the Oval Office warning President Taylor of spies, moles, and puppy-dog tails, oh my. That doesn’t stop President Taylor from fully trusting Jack to save her husband’s life — oops! He ends up getting shot! — and it doesn’t stop her from completely disregarding the Secret Service and allowing disgraced former CTU agent Buchanan, whom she has known for an hour, to be her exclusive protection as she tends to her ailing husband. Absurdity Factor: 4
2. Waitresses Make Lousy Spies. As predicted, Colonel Dubaku’s girlfriend, an unwitting waitress, learns from Jack and Renee that her lovey-dovey wubby-wubb is actually a ruthless terrorist. And, as Jack has done at least twice in the series so far, he sends her out to serve as his spy even though she has no training, just learned she’s been schtupping a murderous tyrant, and can’t seem to stop herself from crying. Nevertheless, Jack sends her to the wolves, because THAT’S THE ONLY CHANCE WE’VE GOT! Obviously, Jack’s promises to protect her are pointless, because he loses track of her by the end of the episode and Dubaku, who’s clued in now to her deception, gets to kill her. Jack just has the darndest time understanding women. Absurdity Factor: 5
1. The Prodigal Presidential Daughter. Were you wondering if President Taylor and henpecked First Dude Henry Taylor had any kids other than the suicidal, no, murdered, Roger Taylor? No? Well, we weren’t either, but because we’re only halfway through the season and running out of plotlines … meet Olivia Taylor! She’s the estranged daughter of the Madame Prez, and we mean estranged: President Taylor mentions that they haven’t spoken “in years.” But the Secret Service — look! Glenn Morshower’s Aaron Pierce has returned! Keep that guy away from the president, because he’s a lady-killer! — scoops her up after the First Dude is shot. She’s played by Sprague Grayden, who had meaty roles on Six Feet Under and Jericho and Joan of Arcadia, so one gets a sense she’ll be at the center of the second half of the season. But an out-of-nowhere estranged daughter? For the president? One suspects this would have come up in the campaign, motherhood being so important in the Oval Office. At least President Taylor didn’t name her Bristol.