(Recap Via TVGuide.com)

(If you want to watch, I’ve embedded the show from Hulu.com below)

In this hour, Jack continues to hunt down anyone responsible for Renee Walker’s murder, while Logan and his underlings continue their hunt for Jack.

As the hour opens, Ortiz is brought in to identify the body of his former fiancée, CTU traitor Dana Walsh. When one of the on-scene cops asks, “Did you know this woman?” he hesitates tellingly before answering. It’s hard to even imagine the mix of emotions he’s feeling after the hellish 20-hour roller coaster he’s been on, but at least it will all be over soon.

Meanwhile, Jack is high-tailing it over to the “workspace” of an old buddy, Jim Ricker (Michael Madsen), who first and foremost wants to know what the heck is going on, what with Jack’s name all over the police scanners saying he killed some woman.

After a brief explanation that he accepts at face value, Ricker helps Jack identify a man seen talking with Walsh in a video found on the disk Jack took from her. And, surprise surprise, it’s another Russian “diplomat” — which, this season, seems to be just another word for terrorist.

With hard proof of Russian involvement in President Hassan’s murder finally in hand, Jack places a call to newspaper reporter (and former Hassan girlfriend) Meredith Reed, asking her to meet with him. And his simple argument proves convincing: “Miss Reed, yesterday I helped clear your name. Now I need you to help clear mine.”

Unfortunately, one of Pillar’s people is listening in on that call, which means President Logan and Novakovich are too — and now they’ve got a lead on Jack’s whereabouts.

Elsewhere in CTU, though, Chloe is up to her old tricks, having realized that the cover-up Jack tried to convince her of is indeed real, and that Pillar’s in on it. With Arlo’s help (at least he finally gets something to do other than leer at Walsh), Chloe manages to sneak into the interrogation room where Ortiz is being held and get a tip that points her toward Ricker.

Ortiz also offers Chloe a little reality check about her old friend, telling her how Jack apparently executed Walsh with two shots at point-blank range. “There are no good guys here. Jack, Pillar, if they end up killing each other, maybe it’s the best thing. … Everybody wants me on their side. Who am I fighting for?”

And Pillar does give killing Jack his best shot. As Jack is making his way through a crowded mall to meet with Reed, Russian sniper Pavel (Joel Bissonnette) is hiding in the air ducts, and is thisclose to putting a bullet in Jack’s head when Ricker gets the drop on him.

He’s not alone, though, as several other covert operatives come out shooting in Ladies’ Fashions. Of course, Jack is able to neutralize them with relative ease and slip away, but Reed, Ricker and, most importantly, Pavel are in tow.

This does not sit well with Pillar’s boss, President Logan — particularly when he advises Logan to distance himself from the treaty he helped keep alive in hopes of repairing his terrible, terrible reputation. But he can’t distance himself, because in 20 minutes, President Taylor’s press secretary will (at Logan’s request) issue a statement talking up his involvement in the treaty.

So, once again, Pillar is ordered to take out Jack at any cost. But it seems he and his assistant, Eden Linley (Julie Claire), have some type of fail-safe plan brewing.

Whatever it is, they better act fast, because Jack is leaning hard on Pavel, who does not seem to have a good attitude. In response to Jack’s first question, Pavel tells him to go to hell, to which Jack retorts, “You first.”

Turns out this is the very same sniper who killed Renee — maybe that was supposed to be obvious, but all these Russian are starting to look the same to me — so hell is exactly where Jack plans to take him.

“I watched her gasping for air as the blood filled her lungs. She died in agony, which is exactly what’s gonna happen to you unless you tell me what I wanna know,” Jack tells Pavel before plunging a knife into his guts.

When Pavel still won’t give up the names of his superiors, Jack gets out the blowtorch and goes to work, while spitting in his face, “All you had to do was leave us alone. Why couldn’t you just leave us alone?” If it wasn’t obvious before, his half-crazed delivery of those lines shows just how far over the edge Jack has gone this time.

Then he cuts the SIM card to Pavel’s phone (which Pavel had stupidly swallowed, thinking Jack would never look there) out of his stomach. But when he puts the card back in Pavel’s phone and dials the last number called, Jack finally gets the answer he needs and hears the words that may finally seal one very bad man’s fate: “You’ve reached the mobile phone of President Charles Logan…”

Stray Observations:

• The new CTU offices haven’t exactly been a fan favorite, but I have to admit, that little “glass shading” thing Pillar had Linley do with his office (“Can you make this room a little less public?”) was pretty cool.

• When Chloe told Arlo, “We’ll use this to create a mobile hotspot,” I just knew it was gonna be followed by a gratuitous shot of some product adorned with the Sprint logo — and, ugh, there it was. That said, the product placement hasn’t been quite as obtrusive this season as it was during the last couple.

• As a horror-movie fan, I have a pretty strong stomach for violence and gore, but the way Jack tortured Pavel was definitely pushing the limit, especially for prime time TV. With how far (and how low) the writers have taken Jack in these last two episodes, it will be interesting to see how they pull him back to humanity for the forthcoming feature film. Or maybe they’ll just call it Saw VIII and really let Jack go to town.

(Recap Courtesy TVGuide.com)

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