What is genius, I ask you?
In my estimation, it's seeing something no one has ever considered before- something that is divine in its beauty and simplicity. For example, take a simple hand towel. For most of us, we look at the hand towel as a (wait for it...) a towel you use to dry your hands. Enter the genius that is Jack Bauer. He looks at a hand towel a little differently... and it's the scariest friggin' thing you could possibly imagine. But more on that in a bit...
Ted Cofell is a smart guy in his own right. He makes a lot of money and he spends it well, on bullet-proof limos and private jets waiting to take him out of town at a moment's notice. Unfortunately for Ted, his limo isn't Bauer-proof. But Cofell isn't an easy man to break, according to Jack. I don't know where Jack gets this notion-- to me Cofell is kind of a wimp. But in Bauer we trust. Jack calls Nina and asks her to slap together an interrogation package. Yeah, bro, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!
Back at Gaines' Rancho Del Muerte, the Bauer girls are sitting on stacks of hay, reminiscing over cups of Celestial Seasonings about the days they were free from all this terror nonsense. The lighting is soft- it feels like it's been sunset in this friggin' barn for the past 4 hours. Does Ira Gaines operate in some trans-dimensional realm? Is this show being shot on a soundstage? Mind. Officially. Blown. Anyway, sensitive kidnapper Rick comes by to tell the girls he's really sorry about how stuff is going, but that he's still unable to help them escape. Thanks, Rick- can you maybe find another way to be useless? I bet you can.
Jack gives Nina practically no time to Google the guy and read his Linkedin profile, but nevertheless she provides Jack with a pretty good psychological profile on the fly- Cofell is left-handed, he cheats at cards, he only dates women from Wayne, N.J. and he cuts his own hair with a flowbee. All of this means he's scared of clowns. Jack Bauer, be a scary clown, Nina says (I think that's what she said, I was eating these chocolate covered pretzels during this scene and the crunching sound kind of cut out some key pieces of dialogue).
Before we go any further, I want to point out something nutty-- at 10:13AM Jack parks the limo, gets out and starts rolling up his sleeves, staring at Cofell through the window menacingly. The show cuts to break and comes back at 10:17AM and Jack finally gets into the back of the limo to start the interrogation. What was Jack doing with his sleeves for 4 minutes? What terror did Jack cause this Cofell guy with his fashion alterations? Did Jack take off his business shoes and throw on some tennis shoes a la Mr. Rogers? Did he wash the limo and wax it? We've seen Jack to two loads of laundry in a commercial break, but he can't open up a car door in that span of time? It's funny, I tells ya!
Now, what was that stuff I was saying about genius earlier? Ah, yes- the hand towel. So, it goes like this: Jack takes a hand towel, pours a bottle of water over it and ties a knot off of one end. As he does this, he tells Cofell about gulags in Siberia and how the Soviets didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing, but what they did have was an appreciation of simple pleasures- like stuffing hand towels down the throats of their prisoners. But Yuri, you ask, how can a prisoner tell you what he knows when there's a hand towel stuck in his throat? Wait, you impatient capitalists! There's more to this towel process! So, as the towel is accepted by your digestive tract, your stomach begins to slowly digest the end of it, but that's when your captor pulls the towel back out of your throat, taking the stomach lining with it! In Russia, towel digests stomach, da? Yikes. Well, the good part is you don't die instantly. The bad part is you die over the course of a week, and it's a painful death, not the kind where you can eat ice cream and party in Vegas with showgirls and mountains of cocaine (by that calculation, Oliver Stone's been dying for the past 30 years, but I digress).
Bauer makes his plan known, but Cofell throws him a curveball- he makes Jack open up Cofell's wallet and look at a picture of Ted's wife and two wonderful children. You have a family too, Ted? Dammit! That blows the whole interrogation plan out the water. Now, what is Jack supposed to do with this perfectly useless hand towel?
As this goes on, Andre Drazen arrives at Gaines perpetually Michael Bay-lit compound to tell Gaines that he's off the case. Gaines whines about how he's going to find Bauer and Drazen relents, giving Gaines 30 minutes to get things back on track, otherwise it's all about killing Kim and Teri and moving onto a contingency plan. Rick hears this and runs off. Meanwhile, Drazen opens up his stylish 2001-era cell phone and starts speaking some vampire dialect to someone. Oh boy, Jack has to contend with some Ann Rice-type villains now?
So, Jack takes the limo to another location, to have Cofell meet one of his associates- Kevin Carroll, hopefully giving Jack a new angle on the man who may (according to Nina) be the wrong Ted Cofell altogether. Jack gets Ted to a parking garage, jumps into the backseat and suddenly Ted attacks Jack with a Microtech Halo knife. This tells me this is the right Cofell. And then the right Ted Cofell starts speaking vampire too! Holy shit, Jack, do you have a crucifix and some garlic knots in that limo? This shit just got real... scary. Well, Cofell's eyes turn blood red and Jack tries to give the guy some meds to reverse the vampire transformation, but it's too late, Ted "dies" and Jack loses his only lead to finding Gaines' compound. Maybe the Wolfman will show up and help move the plot forward.
Enter the Wolf himself, Kevin Carroll, or should I say Alan York? Oh man, what a plot twist. I love this stuff- the evil Alan York, the fake one who killed the Zombie Janet York, shows up to meet with Cofell. Jack traps Kevin/Alan in the back of the limo, does some stunt driving and then smashes Kevin's face into the bulletproof divider by slamming on the car's brakes. And then Kevin and Jack enter into a pretty elementary lesson on contract law. Generally, a contract must consist of an offer to do some act and acceptance by another party of said offer. A bilateral contract is one where both parties exchange offers and they each accept the other person's promise. Jack and Kevin make a bilateral contract- Jack promises to let Kevin go if Kevin leads Jack to his family's location. Kevin doesn't accept Jack's promise at first, and this offends Jack because he gave Kevin his word. Jack reiterates that he's giving his word, and Kevin rolls his eyes and says "Yeah, yeah, okay, relax with this giving your word nonsense! I accept your promise to let me go. We have terms!" Jack then throws in a remedies clause- this is what you put out there if the other party breaches the contract. If Kevin fails to bring Jack to his family, Jack gets to find out how good Kevin is at withstanding pain. Kevin wisely does not offer his own remedies clause as Jack is the one who has the gun. In a negotiation, we call Jack's gun "leverage." Ah, can you tell what I do for a living?
Meanwhile, Gaines' 30 minutes are up and Eli (the rapist) is sent to kill the Bauer girls. Lucky for them, sensitive kidnapper Rick slipped Teri a pistol earlier in the episode. As Eli comes into the barn to rack up a few more felonies, Teri (after a failed first attempt) gets her act together and shoots Eli... twice, Kim's like "Woah there, big momma, take it easy" but then Teri tells her "Easy nothing, sugar- I had to shoot this cat twice, the bad dudes outside this barn are waiting to hear two gun shots, ya dig?" Pretty good scriptwriting, right? These 24 writers are dyno-mite!
Overall, this was a great episode- a connection between David Palmer and Jack Bauer was revealed as well as some badass thing called "Operation: Nightfall." You tell me that has nothing to do with vampires! Great plot twist. (I'm so confused!).