The entire hour was about Jack and the fact that he is inside the embassy trying to gather proof about the drone attack. There was a fair amount of watching people sit around and play with computers, but what gave this episode its punch was the emotional connections among the players.
The relationship between Chloe and Jack has been the heart of this show for a long time. Their friendship, the respect they have for each other, the trust they have in each other is compelling. What makes it work even better is that these two struggle to interact with anyone other than each other.
Jack is driven and completely focused on his objective. He will do whatever it takes to accomplish his mission, including shooting Marines and taking hostages. Underneath that drive, however, is a human being. He may have taken hostages, but he assures them that he will not harm them and he tells them how to protect themselves before the door gets blown in.
Chloe is driven as well, but her mission is to protect Jack. She becomes so focused on that single task that she is oblivious to everything else around her. She lashes out at Adrian when she realizes that he is part of the problem, and she looks absolutely shocked when she realizes that he has feelings for her. It has never occurred to her that jealousy might have been in play.
Jealousy also rears its head in the Boudreau marriage. Mark has kept what he knows from Audrey and she is less than pleased. The look on Audrey’s face when she realizes that not only Jack, but Chloe as well, are part of this scenario tells us everything we need to know. She is going to put her trust in them before even her husband or her father. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.
The conversation between Heller and Jack was classic 24 and contained the exchange of the episode:
Heller: “I’m told you shot two people outside of the embassy.”
Jack: “I barely grazed them, sir.”
Heller: “How do you know that?”
Jack: “Because I pulled the trigger.”
These two men hate each other, for good reason, and can’t keep a simple conversation from getting personal. Jack, emotionally exhausted, snaps at Heller, spilling emotions that I am sure have been part of his psyche for four years. Heller, unable to get past what Jack did to Audrey all those years ago, allows Mark to convince him of something he knows isn't true. Keeping in mind how often Jack has proven to Heller that he is right, the President’s disbelief requires a fair amount of the audience being willing to go along for the ride, but it does keep the Marines at the door.
It also allows for Kate’s character to become much more interesting. While I don’t think we need to keep being reminded that she missed the fact that her husband was a spy, this is a woman who does what she thinks is right, even if it means going against orders. Jack recognizes this trait in her and allows her to be the one to finally get him out of the mess he’s been in for the past hour.
The fact that we do keep being reminded about the mistake in her past makes me suspicious. Did she know? Is she this season's Nina Myers? I hope not, because I like her. Let's just say it wouldn't completely surprise me.
Mark is an interesting character. He is being set up as one of the villains, yet his motivations are understandable. He wants to continue to be Chief of Staff to the President, yet his boss has health issues. He loves his wife, but knows that she is probably not over her ex. He’s making bad choices, but why he is making them is clear.
Similarly, the motivations of the true big bad become clearer. While we have had hints in the previous three episodes, it becomes clear in this one just how committed Margot is to her cause. And, not just committed. She is a crazy lady. Yet, in a throw-away line, we learn that her husband died in a drone attack. She is driven by grief and the need for revenge. Plus, as I said, she is crazy.
As soon as Simone told Margot about the escape plan, I just knew that she would be the one to suffer. Naveed understands the sick dynamic between Margot and Simone and just wants to get his wife out of harm’s way. That particular plan may have failed, but I am sure he has another trick up his sleeve. The episode went out on the face of a very determined young man.
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.