At 5:37 a.m. in Washington, D.C., it appears that Jack Bauer has captured Tony Almeida, stopped the bioweapon canister from exploding at Washington Central Station (preventing “8,000-10,000 casualties”), and reunited beleaguered non-terrorist Jibraan Al-Zarian with his younger brother. Now he can peacefully slip off this mortal coil. Unfortunately, he has forgotten to check his watch and see that it has only been 22 hours, not 24, since his day turned into a series of increasingly exciting and perilous events. Two hours and one season finale to go. So close, Jack. Hello, Absurd-o-Meter.
3. Olivia Taylor is in a peck of trouble. Last episode, Chief of Staff/First Daughter Olivia Taylor put a hit on Jonas Hodges for killing her brother — and got cold feet just a second too late: The hitman ended up killing Hodges anyway. Given that only eleven people knew Hodges was still alive in the first place, the list of suspects is limited, and she’s even more screwed now that good old Secret Service agent, Aaron — who, for an agent, has been duped an awful lot of times since this series began — finally gets wise and realizes she’s the one that had Hodges killed. So he’s searching through clandestine surveillance tapes, Olivia is freaking out, and (if you have seen the previews for next week), you know that President Taylor’s going to find out soon enough. Absurd-o-meter: 5
2. Your public ad campaigns at work. When Jack finally apprehends Tony and swipes his communicator to talk straight to Jibraan — who’s on a subway with the bioweapon — he tells him he has to wait for everyone to get off the train, then grab the bioweapon and meet him outside. There’s a big show of some business-y white guy looking at Jibraan suspiciously, and right when Jibraan makes it off the train with the bioweapon, a cop stops him, because the business-y white guy (who we assume was laid off from his job months ago and just rides the train alone in a suit every morning, wondering where his life went wrong) turned him in. If you see something, say something! Unless, of course, you’re slowing down a guy who’s trying to get rid of a bioweapon. Jibraan escapes by pretending he’s a terrorist, which is convincing to the cop because he has a big bioweapon in his hands and, you know, the Arab thing. The show appears to be trying to say something about racial profiling here, but we don’t have the foggiest idea what it might be. Absurd-o-meter: 7
1. It all comes down to Kim. Most longtime fans of 24 were concerned when Elisha Cuthbert returned as Kim Bauer — not because she was so disliked all those years, but because anytime she shows up, she turns a kick-ass spy show into a stupid family drama. And she’s done it again! Right as Jack is cleaning up the mess of the last 22 hours, the vaguely outlined terrorist consortium reveals that it is about to kidnap Kim so that Jack will release Tony Almeida from custody. So now Jack has to bust Tony out, rescue Kim, and find some sort of Kim-related antidote for his bioweapon poisoning in the final hours of the day. We’ve gone through several terrorist attacks today, countless White House staff changes (which will happen when they’re setting off machine guns in there) and the death-slash-dramatic-role-reversal of some of the series’ most beloved characters. And in the end, as always, Jack ends the season trying to save his daughter. Well, things were fun while they lasted. Absurd-o-meter: 9