The episode opens with one of Fake Lawyer’s henchman fixing the canister up with a dispersal mechanism, and testing it to confirm that it’s functional. Fake Lawyer reports back to Wilson that they are on schedule. Tony fits Jibraan with communications and tracking equipment, then coaxes him into a Metro station, instructing him to take the Red Line westbound to Washington Center and reminding him that his brother’s life is on the line. Jibraan tries to be a hero and reports that terrorists are in control of his actions to a metro cop, but the cop turns out to be working with Tony. Tony says he’ll forgive this first indiscretion, but that his brother will die unless he gets with the program from now on. Jibraan boards the train and waits for further instructions. Shortly thereafter, Fake Lawyer — wearing a black wig and glasses — gets on the train and plants the canister with detonation set for 15 minutes, when the train pulls into Washington Center station.
In the meantime, Jack and Renee are torturing the operative they captured at the Al-Zarian home. They force him to call Tony’s cell, and he makes up some story about how one of the fake financial transactions was rejected. He keeps him on the phone long enough for Chloe and Janis to trace his location to the Adams Morgan District. Jack and Renee send their field teams over.
Over at Olivia’s meeting site with Collier, Pierce calls and confronts her about the fact that she left the grounds without reporting her destination for Secret Service detail. He tells her that the investigation into Hodges’ death has commenced, and they need her back to cough up her phone and internet records. Collier arrives and Olivia freaks out on him. Collier explains that when the assassin didn’t get his money, he advised the assassin to go through with the murder anyway and that Olivia was “good for the money”. Olivia informs him about the investigation and Collier advises her to cover her tracks, pay the assassin and keep her mouth shut to protect her mother’s administration. Olivia manages to pull herself together and heads back to the White House proper.
Cut to the airport. Kim chats with her husband and we enjoy some gratuitous cute baby footage of mini-Teri. She says her flight’s been delayed. When she hangs up, she notices a suspicious looking man watching her.
By this point, Chloe and Janis have managed to finish decrypting the security protocols for Tony’s phone, tracing his location to an intersection a convenient 20 seconds away from Jack’s current position. Jack and Renee ram their vehicle into Tony’s Ominous Black Van, forcing him into an accident. They yank him from the vehicle, but not before he smashes the handheld device he’d been using to track Jibraan and the weapon’s movements. Jack puts the sleeper hold on him and tells the backup teams to “lock this piece’o’crap down.” Chloe is skeptical that they will be able to recover any data off the handheld, as it was badly damaged, but Jack urges her to try. When Tony regains consciousness, Jack beats the shit out of him, punching him over and over again as hard as he can, demanding to know where the canister is. Tony takes this all wordlessly, no attempt to defend himself, an expression of blank vacuity on his face. Jack draws his gun and says he’ll kill Tony if he doesn’t start talking, as he has nothing left to lose. Tony responds with a chilling smile that he has nothing left to lose either, and urges Jack to put him out of his misery. Jack withdraws his weapon, heartbroken, unable to kill Tony.
Luckily, Janis is able to one-up Chloe and recover some data from the handheld. They identify Washington Center station as the target, and the FBI teams move out. Chloe connects Jack with Jibraan through the earpiece given to him by Tony earlier, and Jack talks Jibraan through identifying the weapon and getting it out of the train station. Jibraan carries it out and Jack takes it into a sealed Hazmat van with seconds to spare before the dispersal mechanism detonates. Washington is saved. Jibraan and his brother are reunited. Jubilance ensues. Renee and Jack engage in a weary embrace, congratulating each other on stopping the attack.
Back at the airport, Kim is still being watched by the suspicious looking man. She approaches a harmless looking couple in the waiting area and asks to sit with them. The man makes a phone call … turns out, he’s calling Jack, who sent him to keep an eye on Kim and make sure she doesn’t get into any trouble. Zing! But when Harmless Husband goes ot get some coffee, he takes a detour into the men’s room and promptly strangles Kim’s bodyguard. Oh crap.
Renee informs Jack of Hodges’ death, and Jack assumes he was killed by the same people Tony is working for. He instructs Renee to beef up security around Tony in case they try to take him out too. In the meantime, Fake Lawyer calls Wilson to tell him that the canister has been destroyed and the attack failed. Wilson orders her to kill Tony, but she says they still have one last play to make, and it involves Tony.
Back at the White House, Pierce reprimands Olivia for breaking Secret Service protocol by leaving the grounds unprotected, and tells her if it happens again, she can find someone else to watch her back. She apologizes and assures him that won’t be necessary. When he questions what she was doing, she makes up a story about taking a walk to clear her head. Aaron appears to accept this, but as soon as her back is turned, he phones up Kanin. He wants to know whether the voice-activated recording equipment in the Chief of Staff’s office is still running. Kanin confirms that it is, but they need his thumbprint to access the recordings. Kanin heads over to the White House. In the meantime. Olivia pays the assassin his money and ostensibly gets to work deleting the incriminating phone and internet records.
FBI agents load a bloody and handcuffed Tony into a transport van. Renee tells Tony bitterly that she’ll see he pays for killing Larry. Tony rolls his eyes. In the meantime, Jack receives a call from Fake Lawyer, who tells him that his man is down and sends the real-time video feed that her airport goons are taking of Kim to Jack’s PDA. She tells him that unless he helps Tony escape custody, Kim is gonna die. Jack climbs into the van and Tony shoots him a knowing glare. Boop beep.
This was a very fast-paced, intense episode and finally we feel like we’re actually building up to the finale. I’ll touch briefly on some highlights.
I liked the fact that the biothreat was neutralized quickly and we’re not going to have another cliche “chase to end the threat” in the final two episodes. All we really want is some intense Jack/Tony action, to take things down to their most personal level, and to find out what Tony’s endgame is for the remaining two episodes, so taking the canister out of the equation was a good move in my mind. Despite the fact that Tony evidently intended to go through with the attack, I’m still glad that he doesn’t have a bunch of civilians’ lives on his head.
The Jack/Tony Scene (you KNOW the one I’m talking about) was easily the most intense, most emotional, most engaging and best-acted scene of this season for me so far. Kiefer and Carlos absolutely killed it and it broke my heart. The look on Tony’s face when he says he has nothing to lose either and for Jack to kill him … it chilled me to the depths of my soul, seeing how truly broken and nihilistic he has become.
Glad to see Pierce is still in as fine a form as ever. I was impressed with Olivia’s ability to hold her cards close to her chest and offer up a very convincing lie, but Pierce has been around this block more than once. I thought it was great how Glenn Morshower almost had the audience convinced that Pierce bought it, but as soon as Olivia’s back was turned, immediately shifted to “suspicion” mode and called in Kanin. Also loved the Novick name drop. YAY Novick.
I know it’s highly trendy to hate “Kim in peril” plot threads, but I’m liking this one. I like that Kim is naturally guarded and aware of her surroundings, and it was a nice little twist to make the person she was actually suspicious of the person who was sent there to help her. I expect that the Kim we will see in this situation moving forward into the finale will be a much more capable and pro-active Kim than we’ve seen in the past. It’s heartbreaking to think of Tony using Kim as leverage against Jack after all they (Tony and Kim) have been through. But somehow, I have a feeling he might have a card or two up his sleeve on this front.
I think this goes without saying. The Scene. The punching. The bloody smile. The delivery of the dialogue. The heartbreaking pathos. Absolute perfection.
This episode was a thoroughly satisfying lead-in to the two hour finale, leaving us hanging on everyone’s next move and making the stakes as high as they’ve ever been, with Jack’s life, Kim’s safety and Tony’s soul all on the line. While nervous for Tony’s fate and broken-hearted over the brotherhood in shambles, I was thoroughly satisfied and await the finale with baited breath.