Agent Larry's standoff with a platoon of Starkwood thugs ends without a shot being fired, but that doesn't mean this hour of 24 isn't action-packed.
The showdown does conclude with a little action at least — namely that well-timed punch Larry throws at one of the Starkwoodies, which creates the diversion Tony needs to slip away and continue his hunt for the bioweapon.
Back at the FBI, Jack manages to locate another defector within the enemy ranks — the Starkwood chairman of the board himself, Doug Knowles — who seems to really, really be willing to help them locate the weapon. Unlike that sneaky Greg and his empty warehouse.
Though Knowles subsequently gets himself picked up by Stokes' men, he finally gets Tony to the real location of the bioweapon. Suspicions are aroused, though, by the chairman's lame explanation for why he was roaming the base at midnight: just taking a walk. Right.
Of course, the Starkwood thugs quickly track Tony down — and, of course, he dispatches them just as quickly, managing to secure their gear and even an automatic weapon in the process. Chalk that up as a win for Almeida.
At the FBI, the infection starts to take its toll on Jack, and he collapses suddenly, all twitching and bug-eyed. And who's the first one rushing to his side? A stricken-looking Renee.
And here's how Kim will get back in the picture: Apparently there's an experimental treatment for Jack's illness that involves using stem cells from a blood relative. But Jack and Kim don't talk anymore, and he doesn't want to get her involved, yada yada yada. Renee pushes, but Jack seemingly closes the subject: "I'm the one who's dying. It's my choice." True enough, but I think he'll come around within the next couple hours.
As Tony is discovering where Starkwood is hiding the bioweapon — four stories below ground, beneath tons of concrete — Hodges is showing his true colors upstairs. When Knowles confronts him about the company possessing bioweapons, Hodges doesn't deny it.
Instead, he makes another conspiracy-theory-based speech about government persecution and Knowles' disloyalty after Hodges "treated him like a son." So what does "dad" do? Beats him with a liquor bottle and throws him over the balcony (the preferred method of execution this season, apparently). The former chairman lands — watch out for the obvious symbolism! — on a large map of the world. As Hodges later tells Greg, "It's a great day for Starkwood. Too bad Mr. Knowles can't be joining us."
Hodges' arrogance reaches new heights when he places a call directly to the president, then shows off his bioweapon-laden missiles, all lined up in a row and waiting to be fired if Taylor doesn't call off the air strike against Starkwood.
She complies, but it's the latest weak call this president has made, and it seems the staff — especially the military brass — is starting to lose faith in her ability to make the tough calls. And I'm with them on that; I've said it before, but as fine an actress as Cherry Jones might be, Taylor's no David Palmer. Or even a Wayne Palmer, at this point.
In other White House business, it seems that Olivia will finally get some comeuppance for all of her scheming. Apparently reporter Ken Whispers-a-Lot isn't satisfied with the guarded insider information she's been feeding him, and threatens to tell the world how Olivia stole poor Ethan's job.
So when she goes to a hotel to meet with Ken, then spills the beans about the bioweapon, then sleeps with him to stop the story from being run, it seems like he's got Olivia right where he wants her. Which leads to his overconfident (and icky) post-coital line, "You're a sport, taking one for the team like this."
Thankfully, her cell phone — which has to have Sprint service, right? — takes good video of her encounter with the married reporter. And that puts the blackmail right back into Olivia's hands. Hopefully she'll still get hers by the end of the day — though if all of this is really what she wanted, I think she's paying the price already.
• If anyone is still wondering why crazy Jonas Hodges does what he does, his angry speech to Larry pretty much sums it up: "I've got a government that I served faithfully for 30 years dreaming up B.S. accusations so politicians too cowardly to show their faces can dismantle my company."
• You know, it kind of takes away from the suspense and realism when Tony sends a picture of the bioweapon to the FBI, and it's topped with a huge yellow Sprint logo. I know everyone's got bills to pay, but the product placement and gratuitous logo shots are really starting to get distracting this season.
• Where is Chloe? I'm getting sick of watching Janis handle all the high-value operations that used to be run by our beloved sourpuss. Guess the FBI wouldn't put her in charge right after getting out of lockup, but still — we miss you, Chloe!
Agent Larry's standoff with a platoon of Starkwood thugs ends without a shot being fired, but that doesn't mean this hour of 24 isn't action-packed. Get the full recap after the jump.