By Elaine B
Lesson learned: When you meet the enemy’s fearless leader, shoot him!
“Fearless Leader,” Rocky and Bullwinkle fans may recall, was the brains behind Boris and Natasha. To my recollection, we never saw Fearless Leader but the two incredibly stupid spies did his bidding without question. Jonas Hodges is Fearless Leader to his small army of minions and without him, they would likely shoot then scatter. But if Moss had done the instinctive thing and shot Hodges as soon as he threatened the country, the problem of the day would have ended and the final hours could have been spent watching Renee find a cure for poor Jack and plan Larry’s funeral.
Instead, Larry Moss, standing in for Jack (who is beginning to show signs of the nerve agent in his system) takes a more cautious stand and backs down. This gives Hodges a chance to arm his delivery missiles, and – in spite of the best attempt by Tony and Doug Knowles, chairman of the Starkwood board – force the president to call off the attack on Starkwood.
What raises this season to the top of my list is the intentional contrast between Hodges and Jack, both of whom have done their government’s bidding. The difference is that Jack never got the compensation that Hodges did or developed the greed and ego (and, to be fair, psychosis) that Hodges did. But when the clearly demented Hodges spouts his lines about the government, he says things Jack could easily have said himself. “I’ve got the government I served faithfully … dreaming up accusations,” Hodges says early in this episode. Later he adds, “All everyone wanted was results and we delivered. … I kept this country strong. I kept it safe and I will not be prosecuted for that.”
Funny how the guy who rarely got his hands dirty has turned into a raving psychopath while Jack, who has been in the trenches for years, is still sane and centered. And with that nasty WMD and delivery system, Hodges will die before Day 8 while Jack, we suspect, will be saved by his daughter Kim and her matching stem cells. This will lead, I hope, to a rare happy ending for another terrible day. It would also lead to another nice parent/daughter contrast, assuming Pres. Taylor realizes that her daughter has no ethics.
There can be more than one lesson learned per episode, so I would be remiss not to add this one: When you lie down with evil, you may get burned. So bravo to the crafty Olivia for recording her dalliance with corrupt newsguy Ken. We doubt he’ll want his wife to see the video, or worse yet, have it released on some X-rated YouTube where his ultra quickie (was it 10 minutes or was it less?) will show the world his shortcomings (pun certainly intended).
Next week: Renee finds Kim Bauer – we hope.