This episode brings this season to a difficult crossroad. Jack has the evidence implicating Logan and is in the clear to bringing him down. The only problem is that there are still three episodes left in the season, so the writers had to come up with a way to send Jack two steps back again. Unfortunately, the contrivance at the end hurts what was otherwise a really good hour.
That contrivance is Miles erasing the only copy of the incriminating recording. The most common nitpick of this episode is why does no one ever think of making a copy or play the recording over one of the secure lines to more people. Chloe could certainly handle turning that into an MP3 file. This is more frustrating because only a few lines could’ve explained why they didn’t copy the recording. Something about how a duplicate couldn’t be completely verified would’ve worked well. But such an explanation doesn’t exist, which makes the characters appear dumb for the sake of the story, which hinders the characterization.
There is some really good stuff in this episode, particularly the first half with Graham contriving a reason to justify shooting down the plane while Jack and the CTU A-Team try to find a make shift landing strip. While it may be absurd that the plane managed to stop just before crashing into the overpass, it’s still riveting to watch (plus crashing into an overpass would be awfully expensive to stage) because “24” requires that suspension of disbelief.
With the evidence in Jack’s hand, Logan is trapped, and that has him considering suicide as a way out of a long embarrassing trial and implicating Graham and his co-horts. Logan committing suicide would be an appropriate way to end this tragic figure. However, there are three episodes left, and to kill him off now would be anticlimactic. Plus, he really needs to suffer, as Martha said earlier.
Novick in the last hours has been privy to a lot of suspicious behavior from Logan that you wonder why no one has gotten him involved in the counter conspiracy sooner, especially considering his relationship with David Palmer. Logan’s insistence on shooting down the plane is just another in an on going series of tells that something is deeply wrong with this picture.
Heller surviving is a relief, but I wonder why they decided to keep him alive. The bigger question is why no one at the Presidential compound has found out about what happened to him. The Secretary of Defense plunging into a lake should shake everyone, and validate those who know something is wrong.
Bierko was kept alive for a reason. Clearly, his gesture to the van driver foreshadows the entire escort team getting killed and him breaking out for one more thrill before season's end. I can't wait to see how Bierko and a potential strike will figure paired alongside the conspiracy. Perhaps Bierko's ultimate role will be the one to bring down the conspiracy with the tape destroyed. But how did one of Bierko’s allies happen to be the guy driving the transport? This could simply be another distraction to keep CTU from getting too close to the conspiracy.
Miles is certainly the least likeable agent CTU’s ever seen. Although he’s been a yes-man to Karen and claims his allegiances are solid, he goes against that by covertly helping Logan cover his back. Obviously, Karen keeping him out was a mistake, but would he have been willing to follow along had he known the truth earlier? Karen’s following is clear after some of Logan’s questionable actions, but Jack playing the recording for her would’ve given her a bit more ground to act the way she has, even though she admits she’s trying to remain skeptical.
Since this is the 21st episode and everyone is getting ready to unfurl the “Mission Accomplished” banner, there were going to be setbacks to halt the celebration. The only problem is that the ending underwrites the intelligence of the characters by not giving them any reason not to do what the audience thinks would be a logical contingency plan.