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24: Guess Who’s Actually Evil

As much as we enjoyed the discussion last week in the comments about whether 24 was actually turning Tony Almeida into a bad guy — after an entire season, lo, series, of him being the exact opposite of that — the show took just one episode to answer the question: He’s a bad guy. Unlike TonyIsEvil's amusing theory, though, Tony’s not out for revenge against Jack or even eager for some anti-government fury bombing. He just wants cash. Spending your entire career fighting terrorism only to sell one canister to some shadowy group seems like a lot of trouble to go through, but hey: Times is tough all over. To the Absurd-o-Meter!

3. Jack Is Onto Tony. Almost. While being debriefed in a back room &mdash which sounds pretty dirty — Jack stumbles over the detail that Tony admitted he killed a suspect earlier in the day while interrogating him. (Bummer when that happens.) Turns out, Tony was lying, and Jack realizes it just in time to have a massive seizure. (Remember, Jack’s “dying.” He’s in “mortal danger.” “Really.”) The timing on that never works out. Tony looks legitimately pained to see Jack suffering … but not pained enough to give him his meds back. Absurdity Factor: 4

2. Jonas Hodges, RIP. Wait … what? Just so we’re clear here: Starkwood and Jonas Hodges have been the super–Speed Villain bad guys all season, but once they get busted, it turns out they’re just following orders from some higher-up conspiracy of shady American baddies. Whatever, we’ll buy it. What we WON’T buy, though, is this group of baddies being so organized and brilliant that they can orchestrate all the day’s events — or most of them, anyway — but can’t produce a decent suicide pill. In order to save his family, Hodges takes the pill they give him to shut up … and even though he looks dead, the preview for next week shows that he’s not dead, he’s just very, very pale. And let’s face it, gang, Jon Voight was rather pale already. Absurdity Factor: 6

1. Grandpa Jack. Obviously, Jack isn’t going to die at the end of this season, because 24 is coming back next year, and it might look a little silly without him. (Also, none of his friends could take over for him, because they are all dead.) It’s just as obvious that he’ll end up being saved by his daughter, whom he ran off from her Super Secret Super Dangerous Stem Cell Procedure That Would Save His Life because he just couldn’t bear for her to take that risk. How are they gonna get her back to save him? Well, it turns out, Kim Bauer has a daughter with (presumably) a husband back in Los Angeles. (Touchingly, they named the daughter “Teri,” after Jack’s screeching, short-haired, perpetually endangered, memory-losing late wife.) That’s right: Jack is a grandpa. (Jack’s 43 years old now, and Kim’s 21; they really shoot out the kids in the Bauer family.) Next season’s inevitable Jack-and-his-grandkid Crime-Fighting Duo should be rather awesome. Absurdity Factor: 8

Photo: Courtesy of Fox