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Dirty Presidents Club

By Cindy Davis | TV | April 30, 2010 |

By Cindy Davis | TV | April 30, 2010 |

Oh my Godtopus, was this the most boring episode yet? I think it must have been, because my brain kept drifting off to a fantasy land. A land where Gregory Itzin was strapping a pair of antlers (what did you think I was going to write?) onto Cherry Jones’ head, and harnessing her to a giant sled filled with dead bodies. Also, Cherry might have been wearing a bustier and enjoying Greg’s whip snapping. Anyway, Logan was clearly the best part of this episode, what with his successful proselytizing and induction of President Taylor into the Dirty Presidents Club. His sneering and smarmy manner remind me of a certain green fellow, but Itzin is so good at this that I actually hope Logan’s heart will stay very, very, very small.

Jack flies the chopper over Manhattan as Chloe tries to no avail to get him to answer his radio. Suddenly another chopper is alongside him, with the pilot ordering Jack to land the aircraft. Jack descends toward a rooftop with several other choppers in pursuit. Jack quickly exits the helicopter and begins to make his way down a ladder on the side of the building. NYPD cars head toward the building to apprehend Jack, but he jumps onto a sliding fire escape ladder and gets to the ground quickly. Jack be nimble. As the police cars drive up Jack walks calmly away, just another face in the crowd.

Ortiz asks Chloe what Jack is doing; Chloe thinks Jack will try to get to Starbuck. Chloe informs Ortiz she wants him in the field working with the NYPD and orders Arlo to use the satellite and traffic cameras to attempt to locate Jack.

Ethan gets a telephone update on Jack’s status and reports on Jack to the President. When President Taylor tells Ethan she’s worried about the peace agreement, he tells her it may not be the only casualty - that she has committed an impeachable (and possibly criminal) offense by covering up the Russian’s involvement in the day’s events. He advises the President to expose the Russians and give Starbuck immunity in exchange for evidence against them. President Taylor must still be PMSy because she sobs a little bit over how close she was to accomplishing the peace accord. She reluctantly tells Ethan to prepare a statement, and Ethan assures her that she’s doing the right thing. The President gets onto an elevator and goes to another floor where Logan is waiting to speak with her. President Taylor tells Logan she’s decided not to go through with the peace deal, and when he asks if it’s because of Jack, she asserts it’s because the evidence of her cover-up is out there and is potentially lethal to her presidency. Logan pretends to go along with President Taylor’s decision, mourning that it’s a loss for the world, and the President agrees. She says she needs to call Dalia Hassan and hopes Mrs. Hassan will forgive the President. (Seriously? She’s not your best friend, honey.) Logan suddenly (not) comes up with a suggestion that President Taylor “control” the evidence. He offers to have Starbuck incarcerated by a private security firm (which he just happens to have standing by) and coerced into relinquishing her information. Logan claims that once Starbuck gives up her evidence, it won’t matter what else she claims. President Taylor is shocked that Logan would suggest torture, but as usual, Logan is persuasive in his arguments, iterating that she must acquire and control the evidence. He admits to President Taylor that while he regrets many of his actions in office, in hindsight, he is wiser. Logan declares that morality is relative when discussing what is at stake, and that sometimes, with great power comes impossible decisions that must be made to effect change. If the President isn’t willing to make those decisions, Logan suggests she go with Ethan’s plan.

Arlo closes in on Jack’s location with the aide of traffic cameras and Chloe directs Arlo to pass on the information to Ortiz, who can redirect the search. President Taylor calls Chloe for a Jack update. The President informs Chloe she wants Starbuck transferred to another facility by a private security firm. She suggests to Chloe that Jack has contacts within CTU and other government agencies that might be sympathetic toward Jack, and says she would feel more comfortable if Starbuck was transferred. When she ends the call, Logan tells the President he knows this was hard for her but that she is doing the right thing. President Taylor instructs Logan that Starbuck’s interrogation is to be non-coercive and Logan plays along, saying he’s already given that standing order, but I can hear his internal chuckling.

Jack is at a store purchasing several throwaway cell phones. His first call is to Chloe, who tells Jack he has to stop. Jack states that he needs access to Starbuck and that the President is covering up the Russian government’s scheming. Chloe tries to dissuade Jack, but she’s predictably unsuccessful. As he’s ready to hang up, Chloe asks Jack what he’d do with the evidence if he got it. Jack replies that he just wants the people responsible to be held accountable. Chloe alerts Jack to the planned transfer and Jack asks why, and where the private security firm is taking Starbuck. Chloe doesn’t know, so Jack asks her to find out and says he’ll call back.

Jack next phones an old friend, Jim Ricker (Michael Madsen) and asks for help getting weapons and equipment quickly. (What the hell happened to you Mr. Blonde? You look like shit and I’m not talking about those fake burn scars on the side of your neck.) Jim asks a lot of questions that Jack doesn’t answer. When Jack says he’s calling in a favor, Jim gives in and Jack starts listing the things he needs.

An agent from the private security firm has arrived at CTU and telephones Jason (Logan’s assistant) to discuss Starbuck before he takes custody. The agent suggests that even without evidence, something Starbuck says could be harmful, so maybe they should kill her and claim she tried to escape. Jason says that wasn’t the plan and the idea must be discussed before any action is taken. (Don’t hold your breath, dude.) Chloe comes out to meet the agent, Mark Bledsoe (D. B. Sweeney) and asks where Starbuck will be taken. Bledsoe refuses to give the information, and Chloe asserts she is responsible for the prisoner and can’t give up custody without seeing the Presidential Order. Bledsoe pulls up the information on his phone and hands it to Chloe. Chloe quickly downloads information onto a portable drive as she pretends to read the order, then hands back the phone with Bledsoe none the wiser. They walk into the room where Starbuck is being held and Bledsoe informs her she’s been designated an enemy combatant by Presidential Executive Order. Starbuck asks Chloe what’s going on and gets frantic about the transfer, begging Chloe to help her and screaming that she’ll be killed. (Yes please and thank you!) As Bledsoe walks out with Starbuck, Chloe views the information she downloaded and then calls Ortiz. Chloe tells Ortiz that Jack wants to know where Starbuck is being transferred and that she was about to send the information to Jack, but she didn’t because they’re under Presidential Orders. Ortiz wonders if they’re on the wrong side, but Chloe sticks to her guns. She announces to everyone at CTU that Jack is now their primary target.

Jack’s friend Jim/Mr. Blonde has a fancy security system that alerts him Jack has arrived. (Keep your ears covered, Jack!) Mr. Blonde lets Jack in and starts with the questions again; all Jack wants to know is if Mr. Blonde got what he needs. Mr. Blonde tells Jack the police scanners say everyone is looking for Jack, what did he do? Jack says he hasn’t done anything yet. Jack calls Chloe and asks for Starbuck’s location, but Chloe gives him false information to a location where she will have a CTU ambush team ready.

Ortiz arrives at a warehouse and gives his team orders on how they’ll handle Jack. Chloe phones Ortiz, gives him the ten minutes to Jack warning and reminds him to use non-lethal force. Ortiz says he has to let his men defend themselves.

Ethan hands President Taylor a statement and begins to explain what he wrote. The President interrupts and advises Ethan that she’s decided not to pull out of the peace agreement, and has authorized the transfer and questioning of Starbuck. She again brings up the greater good as the main factor in her decision. Ethan asks if Logan was behind the idea and he tells President Taylor she’s lost her way. But the President says the debate is over and it’s time to move on. (She cries! She’s tough! If she cries again, give her a pill!) Ethan informs President Taylor that if she doesn’t stop, he must resign and that he’ll use his poor health as the excuse. President Taylor emotionally begs him not to abandon her and Ethan imparts that he must follow his conscience - there isn’t room for both he and Logan.

Dalia Hassan is with Jamot, shaky and nervous waiting for the press conference. Kayla, aka psycho chick number 3 this hour, (1: President Taylor, 2: Starbuck) enters the room to reassure her mother with words her father once used. Clearly the moon has brought all these women’s cycles together and they are all experiencing horrid PMS with swift mood swings. Kayla apologizes for her behaviour and Dalia says she understands that Kayla was afraid.  Kayla wants to know why people are so afraid of peace, and Dalia says that some people are so invested in fear and hatred that peace is the most threatening thing they can imagine. Touché.

Jack speaks via earpiece to Chloe, near what he thinks is the building where Starbuck is being held. Chloe gives Jack information on an entrance and Jack tells her he’s moving in. He runs toward the building as Chloe contacts Ortiz to let Ortiz know Jack is almost there. Jack arms himself and distracts the outside guard, luring him behind a van so Jack can knock the guy out. Chloe tells Jack to be careful. Chloe notifies Ortiz that Jack is almost inside. (It’s a wonder she never gets mixed up with whom she’s speaking.) Jack sends in the knocked-out guard’s limp body draped over a bag on a pulley line, temporarily distracting everyone, then grabs another guy, holding a gun on him. Jack and Ortiz have a mini-standoff, Jack wins and then he demands Ortiz call Chloe to falsely report they have Jack locked down. Ortiz asks how Jack knew, and Jack says he knows Chloe. Ortiz calls in and lies that they have Jack in custody; Chloe says she should feel relief but she just feels badly - but she’ll talk to Jack when he arrives. After Ortiz hangs up, Jack commands Ortiz to lock down the rest of his men.

Ortiz completes tying up all his men and Jack orders him to sit at a table out of their hearing range. Jack says that Ortiz is the only reason he risked coming. (I’m sorry, but I don’t find Ortiz all that compelling as an agent. He does okay in the field playing soldier, but his instincts are off, and he never knows what the hell is going on.) Jack explains the whole situation with the Russians and President Taylor’s lies and says that Ortiz was partly responsible for what happened during the day in his involvement with Starbuck.. Jack plays up that this is Ortiz’s chance to make things right and lays a gun on the table. Jack says he can’t do it on his own and it’s Ortiz’s call. As we and Jack expect, Ortiz decides to help Jack. He informs Jack that Starbuck is being held nearby, and Jack pretends to take Ortiz hostage as they leave.

Logan continues to watch news reports as Ethan walks into the room, shooting Logan a dirty look. Logan divulges that he heard about Ethan’s resignation (How does he know everything before everyone?) and that all he wants is for Ethan to get well. Ethan informs Logan he’s leaving because of him. Ethan knows Logan has played President Taylor. Logan puts the responsibility on the President, saying she knows exactly what she’s doing and she smart. (Eh, not so much.) When Ethan offers his counsel, proclaiming that there’s too much blood on the treaty for it to hold. Logan counters that every treaty ever written has had blood on it. Ethan claims President Taylor was never like Logan, and Logan retorts that she’s finally gotten teeth. (Like this? Ethan threatens Logan that if President Taylor is ruined, Ethan will come after him. Sorry Ethan, my money’s on Logan for the win.

The security group has brought a black-hooded Starbuck to a nifty torture room. She looks like a nervous cat, about to be thrown into a full bathtub (not too far off). Bledsoe gives Starbuck the facts: he knows she has information and he wants it. She claims she knows nothing, and Bledsoe is all “Fine, if you want to play it that way,” and the other men drag her sniveling and trembling to a nice table to be strapped down. So wait, is this the same Starbuck that a few hours ago was strangling a guy - almost two guys? Come on writers, this character makes no sense whatsoever. Starbuck resembles an animal mole far more than she does a spy mole.

Dalia Hassan quickly thanks President Taylor for helping with her speech as the President walks toward the podium to begin her speech. President Taylor talks of President Hassan’s death and asserts that peace will prevail no matter the cost, as she catches Ethan’s eye. Simultaneous windows allow us to hear the speech while back at the offsite location, Starbuck’s waterboarding spa treatment begins. President Taylor introduces Dalia Hassan and the new IRK leader steps up to applause. Blah! Blah! Blaaaaaaaaaah!!!

For your Enhanced Recap Experience (ERE), please open this link in a new tab and listen to the music while reading the final paragraph.

Isn’t it too late in the day for an episode this boring? What the hell do the writers smoke before they write for the women characters? What is supposed to be wrong with all these women? How can President Taylor be so dumb and so easily manipulated and what kind of president is crying all the time? Can’t she get a pill for that? Why is Ethan always touching President Taylor’s hand - why doesn’t he just make his move for crying out loud? Does Jack really think Ortiz is a crack agent? Wait, did that come out wrong? Who is Logan’s information source and how does he know everything that’s going on before anyone else? Could it be that Nina Meyers evil twin is behind EVERYTHING?? Is Starbuck going to turn bad-ass again the next episode, because maybe SHE is twins? She are twins? She be twins? For these answers and more, please stay tuned to Pajiba until the next recap of As Jack’s World Turns.

Cindy is holed up in a bunker in the northeast sector of the country, and that’s all you need to know. You can reach Cindy here

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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