On “24,” the third and fourth hours of Day 6 are tense and shocking! Just when I was getting used to the pace of the show, Monday night’s ending rapidly accelerated the story line. Not that I’m complaining, because it’s very exciting. (In case you missed it, check out my recap of Part I of the season premiere.)
As the third hour begins, Jack and Assad are following the suicide bomber’s handler, Masheer, while CTU scrambles to track their location. Assad and Jack take separate cars and Jack crashes into Masheer, totaling his car. Assad pulls up behind the “accident” and offers to give Masheer a ride. When Masheer’s not looking, Assad calls Jack and secretly keeps the phone on, so Jack can patch him through to CTU and Assad can convey, through conversation, clues about his whereabouts. When Assad drops off Masheer, CTU sends in a team, and Masheer chooses to detonate a hand grenade, killing himself and destroying much of his laptop. Still, Jack and the team manage to search the computer’s hard drive.
Amidst this physical drama, Curtis can’t seem to get past Assad as a known, ruthless terrorist. Jack suspects Curtis has some kind of a past with Assad and asks Chloe to investigate. To find out what happens,
Back in the Oval Office, Fayed has offered President Palmer a new bargain: Fayed will cease his attacks on the U.S. if the President agrees to release 110 terrorists from a detention facility, and the President ultimately agrees. As the detainees line up and board buses, one sketchy prison guard gets on an empty bus and drives away.
From the remnants of Masheer's hard drive, CTU discovers information in Arabic and Russian about “suitcase nukes,” nuclear weapons developed by the Soviet Union in the 1980s. All but one were destroyed years ago, and the remaining nuke was obtained by a nuclear scientist, Namir, who also happens to be one of the terrorists being released from the detention facility. Assad figures out that Fayed already has the suitcase nuke in his possession; he only needs Namir to reprogram the trigger. Assad points out, “The bombings were designed so your government would free this man,” to which Jack responds, “Son of a bitch!” In the next scene, the sketchy prison guard goes to the back of his bus and opens a door to reveal a crouching Namir. The guard tells him to go, that Fayed is waiting for him.
Meanwhile, Ahmed has taken the Wallace family — including the teenage Scott and his parents, Ray and Jillian — hostage. Having badly injured his leg, Ahmed is unable to deliver “the package” to Fayed, so he forces Ray to deliver it for him. Ahmed tells Ray that if anything goes wrong, or if he calls the police, his wife and son will die. Ray goes to the designated place and hands a box full of money over to a man who then demands more money. Ray, unable to get more money, asks the man if he can see “the item” to make sure he has it. When the man shows him the component, Ray kills the man and flees.
He then calls Ahmed and demands Ahmed release his wife and son, saying that if he doesn’t, he won’t bring the component to Fayed. Ahmed agrees only to releasing Jillian, who promptly calls the police when she gets into her car. She speaks with Jack Bauer himself, and he and his team head over to the GN’s house.
Having met with a highly respected Ambassador who knows Assad and his history, the President feels assured that Assad is in the U.S. to seek peace. He offers Assad full pardon if he will help the U.S. find and destroy Fayed. Assad says he will need the offer in writing.
Back at CTU, there’s some more bickering between Milo and Morris, and Chloe thinks it’s because there’s jealousy there: She used to date Milo and now she’s with Morris. At the same time, she and Nadia have their own catty power struggle going on. Anyone else think Chloe sounds like Napoleon Dynamite sometimes? When Nadia suggests something, Chloe says, “Like I’m already doing?” I half-expected her to follow with an exasperated “God!”
While in the detainment center, Sandra Palmer's boyfriend Walid has a new buddy who makes this ominous comment: “By the end of the day, they will pay.” Hearing the man speaking Arabic with another detainee, Walid notices that they repeat one phrase in particular, and he tells Sandra to find out what it means.
Ray has successfully delivered the component to Fayed, and his men take him hostage. Ray begs Fayed to call Ahmed and release his son, so Fayed calls Ahmed but tells him that the boy knows too much, and he needs to kill him. Fortunately, Jack, Curtis, and company bust in and take control. Jack shoots Ahmed and Scott tells everyone Fayed’s address, which he overheard Ahmed tell Ray on the phone. A squad moves out toward Fayed’s location, and the written offer for Assad’s pardon arrives at the house. Jack receives a phone call from Chloe, who tells him that when Curtis was in the army just after Desert Storm, Assad’s men ambushed Curtis’ squad, injuring Curtis. The next day, Assad sent a video of the soldiers begging for their lives before Assad personally beheaded them.
Jack runs outside to find Curtis holding a gun to Assad’s face. Jack, raising his gun, pleads with Curtis not to “do this,” and Curtis says he “can’t let this animal live.” The two have a tense standoff before Jack shoots Curtis in the throat! Now, “24” asks a lot of me – both time-wise and with the suspension of disbelief. This was a trying moment. Why on earth couldn’t Jack have hit Curtis anywhere else but the throat? The leg? His bulletproof vest, perhaps? Anyway, Curtis goes down and Jack freaks out: throws up, cries, talks to Bill Buchanan about how he just can’t do this anymore, etc. In that moment, the government team goes in shooting Fayed and his men. Namir, having sufficiently wired the nuke, detonates it, and a mushroom cloud appears.
As the team at CTU watches the explosion on the news, Nadia translates the Arabic phrase overheard by Walid, which basically works out to “Five visitors,” with “visitors” being code for “weapons.” Thus, Bill Buchanan rapidly determines, there are four more suitcase nukes out there, and they have to find them.
Photos courtesy of Fox