Recap: "9:00 P.M.-10:00 P.M."

You can tell this was a "bridge" episode, joining the first half of Day 7 to the second because aside from a shocking event in the first five minutes - as has been the norm the lately - not much even happens before the first commercial break.

Still notable is Hodges' impassioned speech to his apparent protégé, Greg Seaton, as it reveals our newest villain may actually have - gasp! - a heart. "I get no pleasure from the knowledge that people will die at our hands," he tells Seaton. "The loss of one soul is tragic to me. ... But do not forget that every war worth fighting involves collateral damage, and what we're doing is fundamentally and absolutely necessary."

At the White House, Olivia's stature improves with her mother (AKA the president of the United States) as Ethan Kanin's declines. Tail firmly between his legs, Taylor's chief of staff confesses that he okayed Jack's seemingly fatal interrogation of Burnett without her approval. Not smart.

And to further lower Kanin's stock, Olivia soon is up to her old tricks, apparently leaking a story about the chief of staff releasing Jack from federal custody just to sic him on Burnett.

At the FBI Building, Morris O'Brian manages to get into the day's action — albeit reluctantly and briefly - by helping decrypt Renee's covert communication to Jack in exchange for the charges against his wife being dropped. Unsurprisingly, once freed, Chloe is not all sunshine and gratitude.

Meanwhile, our man Jack is up to his usual tricks - stealing cars, breaking and entering, holding people hostage. This time around, it's Sen. Mayer who's the target. But for a change, Jack chooses to employ reason over torture and takes the time to explain his belief that the company the senator has been investigating (obvious Halliburton stand-in Starkwood) is somehow linked to General Juma's brutal regime.

As Jack digs through Mayer's files, he picks up on the connection that the Senator missed — Starkwood was likely developing a secret bio-weapon, which it "lent" to Juma for testing in real-world scenarios in Sengala.

Then a knock at the door sends Jack into survival mode, and he gets all knifey and threatening again. Amazingly, Mayer is able to convince him that they can work together, above-board, to bring down Starkwood. "It's time for you to start trusting the institutions that you sacrificed so much to protect," he tells Jack, even calling him "son."

But this being 24, the minute something good happens, it has to be undone in a hail of gunfire. As soon as Mayer opens the front door for what he thinks is the Metro Police, the Senator is gunned down by Burnett's assassin, and it's goodbye Red Forman. And I was just starting to warm up to the guy.

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