[With the events of 9.12 in mind]
On the upside
- The growing underlying tension between Jack and Mark culminates in a tacit semblance of mutual understanding and perhaps sympathy. Mark owes his last shot at rectifying the situation to Bauer. There are no cheap attempts at suddenly redeeming the character. He and Heller know well what he did was wrong. Then again it’s basically what Jack has always done; crossing lines and working beyond the chain of command, to do the right thing.
- Audrey panicking upon hearing the latest on Cheng, pays off when the guy takes her hostage. Questionable as Cheng pinpointing Audrey’s meeting spot might seem, the cliffhanger works well and makes its way into the finale, nearly taking the better part of it.
- So much happens in the first half of the episode and thanks to the real-time format and the way the show takes plot/character developments seriously, the final hours manage to become even more thrilling than the partly dull middle hours, even when the overall story runs in place and gives place to plot-driven action. There’s this cool slight shift in the narrative from Bauer to Mark, particularly when the plot majorly revolves around his secret being exposed and his chance at making it right. And Mark doesn’t hold back either, he wrestles with Anatol to death in return for all the pushing around!
- “The only reason I surfaced today was to try and protect your father…for you…” Jack’s motive is actually consistent with the way he and Heller left things unresolved back in the Day 6 finale. Perhaps part of Jack was disappointed in seeing his role model, Heller, sitting on his hands with regards to the presumed tactical position regarding him, as an expendable pawn.
- No unnecessary shenanigans involving Boudreau’s secret. Glad the show resolves it in mere seconds within Heller’s small circle of trust. “My job is to keep your hands clean. That means mine get dirty!” And by simply confessing to his forgery, Boudreau is pretty much painted as the pragmatically conflicted good-at-heart guy that we always assumed him to be. He could have dodged the truth with a simple lie, had he been Logan! Did he really think Bauer was going to shoot him back there?! Then again, it’s Jack, we’ve seen him do way more unexpected stuff in the places you’d least think of!