Written by Joel Surnow & Michael Loceff
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Original Air Date: 7th May, 2002
There’s a darkly enjoyable sense of role reversal going on in these last few episodes. Jack is being held hostage and Teri is at CTU, and we even get a POV shot from Jack’s perspective with a black hood over his face that recalls a similar moment earlier in the season involving Teri.
There is a lot going on here and it’s all tremendously exciting. The series isn’t going full action mode but is instead on a tremendous thriller footing that is giving events a considerable sense of unbeatable odds as its hurtles towards its finale.
Right from its opening moments depicting the latest kidnapping of Kim Bauer, there is much here to get the adrenalin going, as Sean Callery’s music thunders over those opening credits, while the camera swoops into the sky for another of those wonderful aerial shots of LA at night.
As night falls again over the show, it’s a lovely reminder of just how evocative a Los Angeles feel the show delivers. The end moments even return to those oil drilling fields that Jack drove Nina to before shooting her at Ira Gaines’ insistence which seems so long ago now.
For the majority of the episode Jack is very much a hostage at the mercy of Victor and Andre, and even an escape attempt at holding hostage the daughter of Victor’s friend who is hiding him yields another dead body.
It’s a shocking moment when Victor kills his friend’s daughter and then his own friend, a reiteration of just how vile and evil Victor Drazen is. This isn’t a character with the nuances of his two sons (and the next episode will see a wonderful moment of acting from Zeljko Ivanek that I cannot wait to get into). Hopper is very much on overlord footing here. This isn’t a character in anyway like the more fascinating ones he played in Blue Velvet or Speed, but it does clarify why the character was one that Palmer and Bauer wanted to eliminate in the first place.
This is someone with little to no loyalty, even to his friends, and the fact that he holds Jack responsible for killing his wife and daughter and yet isn’t above doing the same thing on purpose to the man keeping him safe adds a layer of disturbing complexity.
We can scoff at Kim being kidnapped again, but it’s far from boring and it once again has gotten a lot of tension flowing through 24’s veins again.
On the other hand, it’s hard to know what to make of the Palmer/Patty storyline. Suffice to say I know where it’s going and the eventual destination does make it worth it, but adding in more manipulations and blackmail from Sherry who is trying to do her best it seems to get her husband and future President in the middle of what could amount to a sex scandal if it was ever revealed showed how much President Clinton’s scandal was still in the public eye.
We don’t expect Palmer to actually have an affair. The series and Haysbert have done too much of a good job with the character at this stage, so there is the danger that this could simply be a filler storyline, but then the Sherry/Patty scene where Sherry swipes a cherry from Patty’s drink without asking plays out and is not only deliciously funny, but also shows, once again, how much these scenes play out well thanks to Haysbert and Jerald.