After a few weeks of pretending that this show might be some sort of realignment of 24, this week’s episode returns the show to its roots with torture torture torture all the way. It’s hardly ideologically sound, of course, but I don’t come to 24 for that. Top of the bill once again is Tony Almeida, who at least holds off on filling Donovan père’s veins with pain juice until Senator John arrives to discuss it with Rebecca, his wife. It’s an argument that Almeida watches with just the faintest hint of a sneer; a sneer which unmistakably says “Yeah, dude, Imma torture your father and I banged your wife”. John eventually concedes the point, though, and the fun begins.
Meantime, Carter and Andy are with Jihadi, Jr. and his team. Andy is given the USB drive and, trying not to look too smug, connects it to his laptop, uploading the virus to the drive. But then Jr. reveals that the drive was a decoy, and that Andy had better do it properly this time. Andy says he won’t, but a knife in the thigh changes his mind.
While that’s going on, though, Isaac and Nicole are attacked by the other half of Jr.’s men. They survive, take one of the terrorists alive, and Isaac tortures him into giving up the location of his boss. But rather than call in CTU, Isaac summons his crew to, as he puts it, “lay some jihad on they asses”, something which they decline to do – it’s the government’s problem – until Isaac offers them money to persuade them to participate in his unilateral outsourcing of US domestic security. I’m sure there’s someone better qualified than me to write a #hottake on this show’s portrayal of African-Americans. But CTU has also managed to trace the whereabouts of the jihadis, and the Department of Defence orders a surgical strike on their compound, notwithstanding that Carter and Andy are still onsite.
Isaac and his crew get there first, though, and the jihadis discover that they’re no match for a good old American gang of drug dealers, which means that by the time the compound is bombed Carter and Andy have been rescued; Andy has managed to recover the USB drive; Isaac has taken a bullet; and Jr. has been captured; the last of which means that Rebecca calls off the torture of her father-in-law. I’m not sure any marriage could survive that little episode, to be honest, so I do hope Rebecca has someone in close proximity who could offer a shoulder to cry on.
A happy ending all round, then? Well, no: because Carter recognises one of the surviving jihadis as someone named Naseri, who gets away, much to his horror. “You know who he is and what he’s capable of!” he tells CTU, which is more than we do. The good news, though, is that Naseri is played by Oded Fehr, an actor I’m always happy to see around. A brutally exciting episode.