24 Rundown: "1:00 A.M.-2:00 A.M." - Featured

This hour might start a little slow, but it's the stunner of an ending - one too good to spoil here, on the off chance any 24 devotees haven't yet watched - that makes this one of the finest and most action-packed hours of the season. For now, I'll just say this: The episode was full of deaths, double-crosses and wow.

As we pick up at 1 a.m., the Joint Chiefs are starting to lose faith in President Taylor's decision-making abilities, and at this point, so am I. She just seems far too willing to cave into Hodges at every hint of a threat - albeit a serious one that involves missiles and a biological weapon.

Thankfully, Jack's still got enough fight left in him to try and talk some sense into the Pres, though it's not an easy job. Fighting through his unpredictable illness, Jack makes a call to the not-very-receptive Taylor, telling her, "Madame President, we need to talk." Her sharp retort? "No, Mr. Bauer, we don't. You need to listen." Not cool, Taylor, not cool at all. But Jack's proposed plan - to keep Tony on the Starkwood compound long enough to blow up the missiles and vaporize the bioweapon - eventually wins the President over, though she can't actually say as much, or officially authorize any action. Her nudge-nudge wink-wink approval - "There's not much I can threaten you with, is there, Jack? You'll do what you think is right" - is enough to get the ball rolling.

Once Jack assures Renee that he's essentially been given the go-ahead, she brings the plan to Larry, who is surprisingly gung-ho. I think this down-and-dirty field work is doing the former pencil-pusher some good.

He and Jack's plan approved, Tony does the "substitute Jack" thing: holding people at gunpoint, engaging in bone-breaking fisticuffs, and risking everything in a desperate play to spare thousands of innocent lives. It could almost be a Tony-centric 24 spin-off at this point, but as I mentioned last week, having Jack out of the field still seems like a nice change of pace to me.

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