Air traffic scrambles to regain control, and contact the plane they know is being interfered with. They don’t know where the planes are headed, and hear a recording of Tony, intercepting air traffic communication. Now they know that Tony’s team is controlling air traffic. They call Agent Moss at the FBI and reveal that pilots are being controlled by people other than them. Cut to Tony’s team, and they give the plane a new runway assignment. Tony utters an infamous, “alright.” Plane is now changing course.
Meanwhile Jack and Renee are on site at the Schector shooting in the building, telling Moss that Schector was killed. Moss asks Renee if she’s ok. Jack knows there’s a “leak” in the FBI, someone helped the shooter find them and Schector. There was no way anyone could have known the FBI’s location or what they were doing with Schector otherwise. Jack tries to convince Renee, but she remains skeptical, believing that everyone on her team is a good agent. One of Renee’s underlings asks Jack to surrender his gun. Renee tells him to put Jack in his van and keep an eye on him. We see the shooter sneaking downstairs to avoid the FBI SWAT team.
Moss briefs Janis on the shooting, and Janis is concerned for Renee. Moss tells Janis to coordinate with SWAT team. Things are looking dire, as usual.
Back at air traffic control, Almeida’s group uses the CIP Override device to scramble ATC’s network so they can no longer monitor flights at JFK International. Tony and his lead henchman Masters direct a Sunrise Airlines flight to land on intersecting runway with flight GSA117, which has changed course. Tony calls the ATC Supervisor and taunts him: “I want you to see what we can do. Pull up surveillance cameras.” They watch the landing planes, horrified. They’re on a collision course. Tony watches. Masters smiles with creepy glee. Tony orders GSA117′s pilot to pull up at the last possible moment. The pilot obeys, and the two planes narrowly miss colliding. ATC is in stunned panic. Screens and com blink back online. Tony explains that it’s a “warning shot” and that their true intentions will be revealed soon enough.
Meanwhile, at the Schector site, Tanner, the shooter, is on his way down through building and sees SWAT assembling outside and overhead. He descends.
On a dock, a “bad guy” car pulls up through crates. Emerson, Tony’s boss from the previous episode, identifies himself to security camera and is let in. Tony orders his team to “get the module ready.” Tony also tells his men to get Michael Latham cleaned up so he can go with Emerson. Tony explains to Emerson that the offsite testing of module worked perfectly. Emerson examines the device and is satisfied.
Emerson questions Tony about how the FBI found Schector, and Tony explains his his ex-colleague Jack Bauer is working with the FBI to find him, but assure Emerson that Jack won’t be a problem, and that he will “take care of Jack Bauer”. Emerson doesn’t want Tony to be distracted. Tony pries for the next step in the game. Emerson explains that by now Tony should understand that he doesn’t need to know until it’s time. They’ve been at it for three years now. For Tony’s “safety”, Emerson doesn’t reveal anything.
Back at the White House, Taylor’s Press Secretary conducts a press conference announcing the President’s intention to intervene on Juma’s regime and the genocide in Sengala. Ethan Kanin gets a call about the airplanes. Taylor and Mtobo, the ousted Sengalan Prime Minister, are meeting, talking about cooperation and US intervention. President Taylor urges that Juma should be tried in court of law if democracy is going to succeed. No vengeance killing. No one outside of law. They shake hands. Kanin pulls Taylor away and tells her about the incident at the airport.
Tanner calls Tony to tell him that he’s trapped and needs helps getting through the FBI’s perimeter. Tony asks him his location and assures him he will get him out of there. Then we have a funny moment in the car where cute young FBI agent tells Jack he supports him and that the trial is a disgrace and that Jack shouldn’t be treated that way. Jack is stoic and noble and says all is as it should be, talking about how the people of America deserve to know the truth and judge for themselves whether they think the ends justifies the means.
SWAT member with a gun enters the basement of the west stairwell, looking for Tanner. He finds Tanner and they point their guns at each other. SWAT guy says Tony sent him, and that he’s here to get Tanner out. He gives Tanner an FBI jacket and keys to a getaway car parked a few blocks away. SWAT member advises Walker’s team that west stairwell is clear and Tanner escapes.
Jack sees Tanner walk out of the building and away from the milieu, so tells the agent watching him he “needs to get some air”. Jack notices his plain shoes and points him out to Renee, asserting that he’s the shooter, and tells Renee to check the grid. Renee does and confirms he’s not one of theirs. Jack convinces Renee they should follow Tanner, but keep it off the books because they don’t know who the leak is.
Emerson brings the CIP Module and Michael Latham to Dubaku’s operations center. One of Emerson’s associates advises Dubaku to deliver his demands to the White House. Dubaku asserts that the US will pay a steep price for killing his brother and meddling in their affairs.
Meanwhile at the White House, the President is debriefed on direness of situation. It’s explained that the national power grid is vulnerable leading to posible rioting. Water treatment and distritbution systems are also at risk, leading to contamination of drinking water and interruption of service. Deaths from dehydration and illness will occur, which will result in civil unrest. Kanin’s phone rings and he steps out to take the call. It’s Agent Gretch, the First Gent’s Secret Service detail, who informs Kanin that Henry is off on a “paranoid fantasy” about his son’s death and is going to see Samantha Roth, Roger Taylor’s girlfriend. President Taylor instructs her staff to raise the alert level.
Back at the friendly neighbourhood FBI, Janice tells Moss that they don’t feel like shooter is in there, and informs Moss that they don’t know where Renee and Jack are. Moss is infurated. He calls Renee, who is in her car with Jack tailing Tanner, and gives her the third degree. She lies to Moss, saying they are following up a lead on the weapon Tanner used. Moss lets it go, but is clearly suspicious. Renee tells Jack she doesn’t like lying to Larry. Jack tells her that if they are going to find Almeida, they’ll have to do it his way from now on. Meanwhile, Moss instructs Janis to locate Renee by triangulating the signal from her walkie.
Agent Gretch and Henry Taylor meet Samantha Roth on the roof of her office. Taylor questions her about the $400K she received in an offshore account 3 days after his death. She tells Taylor that they money belongs to her aunt and that she helped her aunt hide the money from the IRS. She states she did love Roger and begs Taylor to believe her. Taylor accuses her of lying, insisting she knows who murdered his son. She says tearfully that he indeed killed himself. She’s stressed. Taylor gets physical and Gretch pulls him off Roth and back to the car.
Tanner notifies Tony that he’ll be arriving soon. Tony gets his team packing up, instructing them to delete all of the files from their laptop. Jack is still in pursuit, closing in on Tony’s location, but stops before Tanner realizes he’s being followed, and he and Renee hide the car behind a shipping crate. Renee opens trunk and gets out weapons while Jack keeps eye on Tanner. Both armed, they flank Tanner. Tanner catches a whiff of Jack and closes in on Renee, when Jack pops out with his gun to Tanner’s head. Jack beats up Tanner to get Tony’s location, when Renee says the device is the priority, not Almeida. Jack refocuses. Jack takes out security camera and Tony notices, asking someone to check it out. Jack uses Tanner as human shield, and Tanner is shot by one of Tony’s henchmen. Jack is unhurt, he and Renee move in on the boat. Renee discovers that all the files are being wiped from Tony’s computer, but is powerless to stop it. She says DAMMIT. We drink. Jack looks around corner into the bunks, looking for Tony. He opens the door to the pilot house. Tony bangs open the door with his gun, but Jack knocks the gun out of his hand. Tony flees. Jack hollers at Tony to stop. Tony pauses just long enough to give Jack a vaucous, empty stare, much to Jack’s disbelief and confusion, then jumps off the side of the boat to low ground. Jack makes a fantastic flying leap in pursuit and jumps on Tony. They fight, and Tony busts out his Krav Maga moves. Jack overppowers Tony and pins him against a shipping crate by the throat, yelling at him to tell him the location of the device. Renee catches up and tells Jack the device is gone and locator files deleted. Moss, who by now has tracked Renee’s location, shows up in a helicopter. Jack stares at Tony, bewildered and angry. Tony, twitching and bloody, shakes his head. Jack asks, heartbroken, “what the hell happened to you?” twice. Tony — quiet, gritty and dark — stares back, unflinching.
This was a classic beginning-of-season nailbiter, in the best 24 style, reminiscent of the first season. If you remember, our first taste of 24 was Mandy bringing a plane down to obtain computer data. Opening the episode with a Tony-led air emergency of this nature was a great homage to the way 24 began, and a fantastic relief when he called off the disaster. I don’t think any of us were ready to believe he could do something THAT bad. I was thoroughly entertained watching Tony continue to be badass and wondered just how “bad” he had gotten.
Everything with Jack and Renee was quite good, and I do remember thinking that I was refreshed by how on the ball Renee is. I felt the frustration of having Jack’s talents reigned in by protocol, but of course, necessity won the day, and Jack mastered it as usual.
The Presidential tidbits were largely expository and dramatically negligible, although they did serve to show us President Taylor’s competency. They also got us into the Roger storyline, with Mr. Taylor running off and pursuing a nice little bit of conspiracy. I was thinking initially we were looking at a Martha reflection, but there was more urgency here, and Samantha’s response to Taylor wound up giving Taylor some crediblity sooner than Martha’s storyline did for her.
The whole meat of the episode was Jack zeroing in on Tony. Some have complained about the suddenness of this caputuring, but that’s the moment everyone was waiting for, and as Kasia stated, why wait. Any kind of delay would have simply been stalling and dramatic razzle dazzle. The final moment of the Brotherhood coming together again did NOT disappoint. Tony’s depth, darkness and genius was present in spades, and made me remember with full force how strong and brilliant he always had been. Jack’s total devastation and confusion was well played and powerful. A thoroughly satisfying meeting.
In the end, I felt that this episode left me with more than enough juice to get jazzed about the season, and left me aching for the third and fourth hours.
The very, very end. The shake of his head and his eye lock with Jack. Nothing more can be said.