Though this episode is largely an extended cat-and-mouse game between Team Al-Harazi and Team Bauer, there are a few crucial moral moments. In one particular scene, Jack is hurriedly escorting a wounded Simone out of the hospital, reporting that Simone’s mother is sending a drone to destroy the hospital to eliminate her. When Simone expresses doubt, Jack drops her to the floor and continues down the hall toward the exit, telling her to stay if she really believes her mother loves her.
In a low moment of pain and doubt, Simone cries out, “Please don’t leave me here!” The camera focuses on Jack’s face, filled with relief (that his tactic worked), perhaps some compassion (seeing her brokenness), and disgust (for what Simone and her family have done). Viewers wonder if Jack would have left her if she wasn’t the only lead on her mother’s location. It is a moment of choice, and Jack does go back.
Ever since Jack followed the lead (the location of the phone number gained from the virus entering Rack’s account) Chloe tracked, and found Simone in St. Edwards Hospital, he has been trying to work the situation to get Simone to talk. First he gets President Heller to get him authority at the British hospital. Then he pushes the doctor to revive Simone rather than treat her wounds. Then when Kate speaks to Yasmin and tells Jack there may be a chance to turn Simone, Jack tries reasoning with her, but falls back on torture (squeezing Simone’s wounded hand) when she resists. These tactics fail. Only the threat of leaving her in the hospital weakens Simone’s resolve.
Jack, though, does not care for Simone; he knows she is still the enemy. In a rare moment for Jack, he apologizes to Kate, who witnesses his spontaneous torture, saying he “probably” shouldn’t have done what he did. Then he seeks to justify his actions, “I just hate these people for thinking there could be anything to justify what they are doing.” (This statement resembles something Jack said in an earlier season, when he had to torture a terrorist, who stubbornly refused to cooperate: “I despise you for making me do this!”)
All these moral judgments inform Jack’s doubling back to save Simone as well as his subsequent risking of his and Kate’s lives to get Simone out of the way of the drone’s missiles.
While this harrowing mouse chase unfolds, clips to other plot lines show us Navarro setting a trap (which almost works) for Jordan at Adrian Cross’ command (viewers discover Cross is the one Navarro has been calling), Chloe going on the run from the police, Mark meeting with the Russian politician, who reveals he knows Mark forged President Heller’s signature on the transfer order, and President Heller, who doubts his effectiveness now Prime Minister Davies’ knows of his deteriorating health, beginning the process of handing himself sacrificially over to Margot Al-Harazi.
It is an action-packed episode, building up to next week’s crucial turn: how far will Heller go in his sacrifice? I think the setup hints toward tragic sacrifice, but we have yet to see if Jack has his own play. We know he’ll continue pressuring Simone even if her life hangs in the balance.