Jack Bauer Vs. The World (And Charles Logan)

I can’t resist posting a few words about last night’s episode of 24.  The episode featured a much-anticipated encounter of Jack Bauer and Charles Logan, and I have to say it was very satisfying.

We first got to see the smarmy Logan reveling in being acknowledged for his role in securing the peace agreement from hell, talking President Taylor into another titanically stupid decision, and then confidently assuring the Russkie ambassador that Jack Bauer posed no danger.  At that moment, he sees that traffic is stopped by a faceless man clad in black body armor wreaking havoc, realizes that Jack Bauer is coming for him, and sees that he is trapped.  Logan’s immediate freak-out in his presidential limo is one of the more believable depictions of abject terror I have seen on a TV show — kudos to Gregory Itzin — and he then gets gassed, further terrorized, and gut-punched before spilling the beans about his co-conspirators.  I think Logan is such a great character that I was even glad that Jack just put him a sleeper hold so that Jack could plant a hidden microphone in Logan’s collar and Logan’s no doubt gruesome death therefore could be plausibly postponed until the series finale.

The body count on 24 has jumped up impressively in the last few episodes, as Jack Bauer has become a completely bloodthirsty renegade who is perfectly willing to gun down innocent Secret Service agents and Russian diplomatic personnel alike.  No one seems to be safe from his killing rampage.  President Taylor, en garde!

Jack Bauer Vs. The World (And Charles Logan) (cont.)

Jack Bauer Vs. The World (And Charles Logan)

Jack Bauer Vs. The World (And Charles Logan) (Cont.)

As 24 draws to a close, the titanic struggle between Jack Bauer and Charles Logan is coming to a head.

Logan foolishly believes that he is on the cusp of redeeming his crippled reputation, but he knows Jack is out there somewhere, working to foil his conspiratorial plans.  Jack, meanwhile, has become a kind of depraved lunatic.  In yesterday’s episode alone, he recklessly endangered the life of an innocent civilian by using her as a decoy, repeatedly fired his weapon in a crowded department store, and then cruelly tortured an apprehended sniper.  The torture scene, which involved pliers, acid, an acetylene torch, and finally a torso gutting, was so graphic and disturbing that Fox ran a special warning immediately before it occurred. The episode ended with Jack learning that Logan is behind things.

This necessarily means that Logan is dead meat.  There is only one question to be answered:  what kind of horrible humiliation will Logan experience when he is captured by an unhinged Jack Bauer?  Will Logan begin with a show of false bravado, only to promptly wet his pants?  Will he burst into tears and shriek like a teenager at a Beatles concert?  Will he get down on his hands and knees, tearing his hair and begging for Jack to spare his sorry life?  Or, will he be a man about it, admit he has been a complete sleazeball who betrayed his country, and take the kill shot with a level gaze and some small measure of class?  Either way, I’m betting that Gregory Itzin, who has made Logan into a character for the ages, chews a lot of scenery in the next episode.

Jack Bauer vs. The World (And Charles Logan)

24 will soon run its course, and it is clear the the writers and producers want to end the series with a bang.  Recently we’ve seen one character dispatched with a gruesomely slit throat, and another got plugged after unwisely enjoying a few moments of passion with Jack Bauer.  So now Jack, once again, is on his own and battling the forces of evil pretty much unaided.  The only difference this season is that the faithful Chloe, who has been bizarrely elevated to head of CTU, may not have Jack’s back as he breaks the rules and flouts her orders while he exacts his bloody revenge.

As interesting as that plot development may be — and it holds great promise for all participants in this year’s 24 Death Pool, because we can only guess at the spectacular body counts Jack Bauer will rack up in his zealous quest for “justice” — the real pleasure of the most recent episodes has been the reappearance of former President Charles Logan.  You have to give great credit to Gregory Itzin, who plays Logan, because he has given birth to one of the great characters ever seen on TV.  Logan is evil, corrupt, smarmy, arrogant, devious, and craven, all at the same time.  When he is on the screen spinning his conspiratorial webs the sleaze just seems to pour out of him.  He is fascinating and riveting to watch, whether he is trying to wheedle the formerly upright President into taking her first step down the path to perdition or ranting that some flunky didn’t pay him the proper respect.

I expect that Jack Bauer will take out President Logan before this season is over.  I suppose that’s only right, but I hope it doesn’t happen for a while.  The machinations of watery-eyed and unctuous Charles Logan make an old favorite much, much better.