I was hopeful that the end of last week’s episode might finally have lit the blue touchpaper on this show. I wasn’t wrong; this was comfortably the best episode since the first of the season. Henry Donovan is still claiming that he knows nothing about any leak of the whereabouts of the Rangers, so Rebecca concludes that it’s time to use “enhanced interrogation” on him. But she knows her husband won’t approve, so someone on Mullins’s staff will need to keep the Senator distracted while Henry is “released”, then snatched by Rebecca’s torturer of choice and taken to a black site.
Mullins signs off on the plan, but then makes the mistake of asking Rebecca who she has engaged for the job. And the really good news is that she’s contracted an old friend of the show, and very, very special guest star, the one and only Tony Almeida. “Almeida?!” splutters Mullins. “He’s a criminal! A lot of people are dead because of Tony Almeida!” Yeah they are, bitch, because the Almeida is the biggest, baddest mutha you and your pretend CTU have ever had to deal with. He even performs the extraction in a menacing obsidian-black van with tinted windows. And his current partner-in-torture – some popsy about half his age – correctly guesses that he used to be in a relationship with Rebecca, thus continuing Almeida’s impressive record of hitting it with just about every woman in every iteration of 24.
Can you tell I’m excited?
Almeida and Rebecca meet at the interrogation site, where he finds out that her husband doesn’t know what she’s signed her father-in-law up for. “That’s going to be an awkward conversation”, murmurs Almeida. And he’s right, and it is: the Senator finally works out that he’s being deliberately kept distracted and demands to know what the hell’s going on. “Your father… wasn’t responding to conventional interrogation”, he’s told, while Tony and his partner are futzing around with blood samples and counselling Henry on what’s about to happen to him: it’ll feel as if his skin is being burnt off, and that’s just the beginning.
Meantime, the other half of the show, now freed from the underperforming subplot with the teacher and the two murders of Drew, is finally able to hit escape velocity as well. Carter’s wife and brother have been kidnapped by Jihadi, Jr., who’ll trade their lives for someone who can repair the USB drive which holds the details of the terrorist sleeper cells. Unfortunately for Andy, who has of course already lost his job, he’s also the best tech guy available, so Carter grabs him and proposes that they head over to see the terrorists, secure the release of Isaac and Nicole, then make it look as if they’re fixing the USB drive while in fact erasing it. Of course, that’s a certain suicide mission. “There’s gotta be another way?” pleads Andy, who’s obviously never seen this show before. No, dude, you’re going to die. Think of the thousands of lives you’ll be saving…?
So Andy says her farewell to Tom, who discerns that there’s something going on, and catches up with Carter and Andy on the road, but is handcuffed before he can interfere. They get to the terrorist hideout and persuade Jihadi, Jr. to release Isaac and Nicole. “Take care of her, man”, says Carter to Isaac, who has already made his declaration of undying love to Nicole, so I think we can be reasonably sure that he will, uh, “take care” of her should she be widowed. Isaac and Nicole drive off, but Jr. then orders one of his henchmen to follow them and kill them. Tsk. Can’t you trust anyone these days?