24: 5:00AM - 6:00AM
(S07E22) "Why did you betray me?" - Jack
Since next week's finale is actually the last two hours of the season back-to-back, I think it's safe to refer to tonight's hour as Day 7's penultimate episode. As is so often the case with pivotal installments that precede a finale (especially with 24), going into it, I couldn't help shake the feeling that the bio-terror threat would be erased for good only to reveal one more crisis ready to spill over into next week. I'm not trying to say that it was predictable, but ... well ... nevermind. It was predictable.
The driving factor behind that reasoning? Kim Bauer. We all knew she was going make a comeback after her brief appearance a few weeks ago and a Kim/Jack reunion wouldn't be complete without "The Cougar Factor." Last time we saw her in season five, she got holed up in a CTU conference room while Sentox nerve gas wiped out the rest of the building. When she left, Kim said something along the lines of leaving Jack alone because being near him always led to bad things. Well ... yeah. So it comes as no surprise that Kim ended up being Tony and Cara's contingency plan.
Jack, in his never ending bad-ass wisdom, sent an FBI agent to tail Kim until she safely made it on to her flight back home. However, Tony's goons eliminated the agent and then proceeded to befriend Kim, posing as a nice married couple. The price of Kim's life? Tony's release from FBI custody. Jabraan was stopped, the bio-weapon was neutralized, and Tony's life is all that remains. It's not that I don't find this whole twist riveting, but there are still a few things that kind of bug me about it:
- The only reason the contingency plan seemed to exist was in the event that Tony got captured. It had nothing to do with Tony, Cara, and Alan's ultimate end game. The contingency plan seems to have resulted entirely out of Tony and Cara's romantic involvement and in any other situation, Tony would be expendable. Cara has proven thus far that she's a company girl and doesn't really give a damn about who lives and who dies as long as the job gets done. But now she's risking it all for Tony. Seems out of character for her.
- This essentially makes things personal for Jack and that, more than anything, was one of the biggest pitfalls of Day 6 - it become too personal and the family involvement was way over the top. I'm not saying that's the case here and I don't think in the final two hours it could every reach the absurd levels of Graem and Phillip. However, putting Kim's life on the line in a way sort of negates the rest of the season. For Jack, nothing else at this point really matters now. Regardless, like I said, the whole twist was still riveting and I'm pumped for the finale.
As for the rest of the episode? It was still very solid. The continuing nerd battle between Chloe and Janis provided some great comic moments, but the best sub-plot by far is Aaron turning to Ethan for help in nailing Olivia for putting the hit out on Hodges. Obviously, Aaron doesn't know the truth yet, but he obviously knows something ain't right. I'm a little annoyed at how easily Olivia has crumbled, especially considering how much of a conniving bitch she was earlier in the day. But if anything, that's just making me look forward to her downfall even more.
What did everyone else think? Any predictions for the finale? Will Jack be able to save Kim and still get his revenge on Tony? Could Olivia possibly have one more play up her sleeve to cover her tracks? Only two hours left!