Tony and his people are at the Al-Zarian residence telling Jibraan that his brother will die if he doesn’t do exactly what they tell him to do. It takes some convincing, but in the end Jibraan agrees to read a terrorist statement on camera and do bad stuff. Tony’s people prepare some fake evidence, including bank transactions, web site hits, the usual.
At the FBI, the search is on, based on the intel Jack got out of Hodges last week. He orders Chloe to check out every Muslim in D.C. and search a bunch of other databases, and Janis reminds everyone that it’s illegal and racist. Jack controls his emotions this time and calmly explains to her that it’s the only way to do it and she should shut the hell up if she doesn’t know of a better way to save lives based on her long career of doing so. Then Jack starts forgetting stuff and exits stage left. Janis accidentally reveals to Chloe that Jack was exposed to the pathogen. Chloe goes to see him and they have a talk. Chloe cries and Jacks takes his anti-seizure meds and explains how there’s no cure (which is why everyone will be so shocked to see him next season and later in the movie…). Chloe cries some more.
Cops show up at Jibraan’s place. Suddenly, Fake Lawyer spots the heat around the corner. Nosy neighbours called the cops, so they have to interrupt their recording session to get rid them. Jibraan makes up a lame story about drunk friends making noise and how he sent them away. The cops leave and Jibraan continues recording the terrorist video.
Chloe uncovers evidence that a certain someone, who got a buttload of money from a Muslim fund and visited some Jihad web sites, could be involved in the biothreat. It’s Jibraan! And they don’t have an address, so Jack and Walker go see his Imam, whose Mosque is a very short drive away. Meanwhile, Olivia meets with Martin Collier, the man who’s apparently behind the curtain of every dirty thing in DC. Olivia wants to get rid of Hodges, which Martin is surprised about, and he tells her once she gets blood on her hands, she’ll regret it for the rest of her life. She doesn’t buy it and wants to get the job done. Martin knows just the man. If you can afford him, and if you can find him, you could hire the Faceless assassin. Pierce watches.
Janis hands Hodges over to WitSec, or more specifically to U.S. Marshall Sullivan. He tells Hodges what the plan is (new identity, move to a different state … all you federal witnesses out there know the drill). Hodges doesn’t like his new name, Robert Tippet (granted, it really does sound like a dog) and he throws his case file on the floor.
Jack and Renee arrive at Jibraan’s Mosque and question the local Imam, who knows Jack from TV because EVERYONE watched the Senate Hearing that morning. That thing was bigger that football on any given Sunday. The Imam does not appreciate Jack’s methods, and just to prove him right, Jack acts like a total a-hole, screams at the Imam and arrests him on what I’d define as no grounds at all. And back with the Imam’s lost sheep, Jibraan is forced to tell his bro that he’s a terrorist that hated America all along, which the bro finds rather hard to believe. And Olivia’s on the phone with a deep throat-y individual – the killer! But just as she’s about to wire him $250,000 (tax payer money, I assume), she finds out her dad’s back and she decides against killing Hodges and doesn’t send the money. Chloe finds out the websites and transactions they had on Jibraan were fake and so Jack realizes he was wrong. And why is he so sure Tony’s blackmailing Jibraan? Because that’s what he would’ve done.
The Taylors have a heart to heart reunion as Colm Feore remains in bed but at least on screen. Then we get to see Hodges’ family on a photo from his wallet. (Yep, it’s a juxtaposition.) Agent Sullivan takes the wallet and tells him his old life doesn’t exist anymore. Jonas tells him he’s not done yet right before the car he was put in explodes. Taylor finds out, and Olivia freaks out thinking it’s her fault. She calls Martin and sets up a meeting with him for next episode. Pierce seems to know something. Or does he?
Jack and the FBI machos prepare to storm Jibraan’s house, where Tony’s goon is holding the bro hostage. All goes well until the bro smashes a mirror and stabs the goon, almost decapitating him from the looks of it. Meanwhile, Tony’s getting ready for their evil op. Is he evil or not? We’ll see later.
Let me get this one out of the way right now: Janis is back and she still hasn’t shut up. As Jack is ordering Chloe to check practically every piece of information ever recorded, she objects saying “Excuse me, has anyone ever heard of racial profiling?” Yes, we have, Janis. In Season 2. Tony and Reza told us all about it and it was super cool. Much cooler than bitching around about racial profiling when they already know the BFC’s plan specifically counts on framing Muslims, so they have no choice but to fucking racially profile them. I guess it’s pretty easy for her to comment on procedures and say how their efforts to save people are illegal when she’s in the safety of the FBI HQ. I was glad when the show was done preaching about torture, but this is even worse.
In following scene, Chloe finally learns that Jack is dying. While he shoots up his meds Bullwinkle-style, he explains how he’s going to die in no more than two days. So we’re good till season nine, then? It’s a nice moment for Chloe (or to be more precise, is a nice opportunity for Mary Lynn Rajskub) to show us a side of her we don’t normally get much of. But still, I couldn’t help thinking the scene was a bit too long and it happened an episode too late. And the question remains: Will Chloe find out about Kim and get her back to save Jack?
Before these two paragraphs, Tony and his gang were with Jibraan Al-Zarian (a name Ron Livingston would probably never get right) and Tony tried to make it perfectly clear to Jibraan that he has to be convincing as a terrorist or else his bro will die. I find that to be a somewhat empty threat. If you kill your leverage in the middle of blackmailing someone, the person will totally refuse to do what you want and you have to find a new guy. Of course, the situation was a bit too stressful for Jibraan to realize that. I guess one has to be a real razor to keep one’s cool in such situations. Later, after the FBI scenes, Jibraan is giving a terrorist style speech in front of a Jihad-style flag. Tony’s camera doesn’t run out of batteries, but otherwise the recording doesn’t really go well. Jibraan is about as convincing a terrorist as the guy playing his brother is a Pakistani, and then the cops show up.
Those guys were no blue steel. Jibraan gave yet another unconvincing performance in the doorway saying everything’s alright and sweating like a scared pig in the process. When Paul Schulze played a cop in a similar situation, he figured out something was wrong and asked the blackmailed victim to signal them somehow if there’s a gun pointed to her head. But not these two. Don’t cops have training for this kind of situation? I imagine it happens quite often. Anyway, it was lucky for Tony and the plan is back on. They woke up Jibraan’s bro and Jibraan convinced him he’s evil. Pretty good scene. If you want to over-analyze it too much, I could go out on a limb and say it reflected the situation we are in right now. The writers are trying to convince us that Tony is evil, but we knew him all his on-screen life and refuse to believe it. Wow. Bold TV.
Hey, Chloe’s at the computer, so you know there’s going to be some kind of magic, magic, maagiiic. She found Jibraan after 10 minutes! Talk about real time getting thrown out the window. Jack puts himself in charge of the op of the week and off we go to a Mosque.
There’s some stuff with Jack in this episode, but I think this one was really all about Olivia. I guess if I were a writer doing this episode, I’d call it an understated character study. You know, to hide the fact that it’s a bit boring. Olivia decided to get Hodges killed and the guy she called last ep turns out to be the same guy that gave her info on Noah Daniels during Taylor’s campaign. So that’s an unnecessary revelation right there. Anyway, he tries to talk her out of it, but in the end he sets the thing up with an assassin. Funny how some people can get anything done in under 20 minutes. And lurking in the shadows, Aaron pulls the first of his two Mike Novicks and looks at Olivia ominously. How much does he know? Does he have a plan?
Hey, Janis is back and this time my problem with her scene is not just based on the fact that it’s a Janis scene. Why is she the one placing Hodges into Marshal Sullivan’s custody? Isn’t she like a senior analyst who should be sitting at the fucking computer helping Chloe? She doesn’t even carry a gun! What authority does she have over Hodges that she can move him on to U.S. Marshals (1998)? If you want to give the actress more screen time because you just realized she’s a regular but you wrote her out like five episodes, please do so in a logical manner. Moving on, Hodges doesn’t like his new name or the attitude of Sullivan, but I sure liked the scene. Sadly, Hodges is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.
Loved it when Jack and Walker arrived and the Mosque and Jack wanted to break in, but Walker just rings the doorbell. It kinda reminded me of a scene with Mason in season one, when Jack climbed over a fence and Mason walked through a gate not two meters away. It just makes Jack look so ridiculous! As did the whole following scene. What was his problem with the Imam? Why did he yell at him so much? Was the rudeness all that necessary? What were the writers going for here? Perhaps they wanted to have us think Jack was going to exercise a bit of the old ultra violence on the Imam and have us wonder what will happen. Whatever the case may be, the scene turned Jack into a total jackass (not sure that’s a pun, but it was intended) and it felt forced. Still, the visit went pretty well: last time Jack stormed a Mosque, a guy burned himself alive.
Later, Chloe finds out the evidence they had against Jibraan was fake (how timely and convenient of her) and the Imam forgives Jack for acting the way he did. Jack says he doesn’t want his forgiveness, but the Imam has the last word anyway. And in the spirit of moving things along, Olivia sets up the hit, but when she finds out Daddy’s back from the hospital, she chickens out and doesn’t send the payment to the assassin. Taylor apologizes for her crappy scenes at the beginning of the season and Colm Feore reprises his old role to tell her she’s the President and so she doesn’t have to explain herself. Olivia enters, the whole family has a nice reunion and they’re in seventh heaven (that’s a cheap one, contestants). She tells dad she’ll be a good girl and leaves.
Hodges muses over his old wallet and Marshal Sullivan promptly confiscates it before taking him to the car. On their way, Hodges once again comes across as a total lunatic without any grasp on reality when he says he’ll rise again. And then he dies in a fireball and that’s the end of what used to be an awesome cameo but turned into a very strange old man with incomprehensible motives. I’m not sure how I feel about this departure. You already know what I think about dying in explosions from my review of Bill’s death, but this time Hodges got plenty of emotional scenes beforehand, so the execution was better.
This is getting longer than a Malmsteen solo, so let me finish by commenting on the final scene at Al-Whatshisname’s house. The bro stabbed Jack’s ONLY lead. Big Surprise. Yawn. Like we never saw that kind of thing happen before. And just so we know the stakes are high as a kite, Tony wants to attack a subway station. When? Zero hour, 5 am.
When he was telling Jibraan about what’s going to happen to them, and Jibraan refuses, Tony gets angry with him, scratches his forehead and says “M’okay. It sound to me like you think you have a choice!” in a priceless way.
Meh. I had more fun watching paint dry. Really. You know, with those chemical fumes in the air, it can be a total trip. “My god, it’s full of stars” territory. This wasn’t even a real transitional episode, just a character piece in a show that doesn’t know how to do character pieces. Big disappointment on account of the last OESR thing, and definitely odd given how close we are to the finale.