Again, “Firebomb” (2:16) doesn’t give us much to elaborate on in the case of Jack--outside of the family column, anyway. As has been typical for the past few episodes, Jack has been participating mainly as exposition--he’s helped plan missions and describe technology. In this episode he also takes point on tracing the bugs found in Sydney’s house. However, watching this episode served to remind us that Jack hasn’t turned over a completely new leaf now that the Alliance has fallen. Twenty years of maintaining an emotionless mask has taken its toll on Jack. Marshall, thriving in his new role at the real CIA, seems to have lost a little of his fear of Jack, as their discussion of the Marshall-designed bug (complete with super-M insignia) at Sydney’s house shows. Jack asks if he can discover where the recordings are being sent and Marshall says he thinks he might be able to: Jack: Then do it. Marshall: Please would be nice. (Jack turns and leaves) Marshall: That’s all right. Never mind. Jack doesn’t consider it necessary to exchange polite or extraneous chit-chat over work, something that Marshall loves to do--in fact, polite chit-chat is something that Jack still fails miserably at. As far as Jack’s concerned, you don’t thank someone for doing his job. (Plus, Jack’s probably a little irritated that it was a Marshall special that turned up in Sydney’s house.) We may have had a few peeks at the man that existed before betrayal and SD-6, but Jack hasn’t changed all that much, not yet at least. In the Spy family column I mention that Jack still looks very uncomfortable in his role of father, but at least he’s practicing. He attempts to give his daughter a pep talk, even if he isn’t particularly successful. Random thoughts . . . The interplay between Marshall and Jack is particularly interesting. Although both are extremely intelligent, they mix like oil and water. Interestingly, Jack seemed to shoot the same type of look toward a nervous Will during the meeting. One still wonders what Jack and Irina could be discussing in their meetings. Obviously, Irina must know about Sydney’s decision to remain with the CIA by now. Discuss . . . Do you think Irina is angry with Jack for encouraging Sydney to consider staying with the CIA? Do you think the idea to use Irina as bait for Sloane will be Jack’s idea? Irina’s? Next: Jack goes fishing for Sloane--using his wife as bait?