Friday, May 25, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty-Four (5:00AM - 6:00AM)

Air Date: 21 May 2007
Reviewer: J

So I hope everyone enjoyed our very special guest star this week, our former regular cast member, D. I thought it might be a nice way to wrap things up and bring some closure to this fun ride we’ve had here at The Unofficial 24 Page. You know, since our toiling away here hasn’t landed D or me a job writing for 24, it’s simply just time to pull the plug. Kidding, of course. Pretty much.

So D did a great job on Hour 23, as always, and I just have to say that maybe being interested in Nadia is hazardous to one’s health. Milo’s dead because of if, Doyle’s blind because of it, and Milo’s brother made eyes at her and then he simply vanished into thin air.

As we begin the episode, we see Josh and his captors arriving at the oil rig. You know, if I were Josh, why not just roll off that inflatable boat in the dark? How could they find you? Doing this when Jack was on the beach would have been particularly helpful, since Jack could have opened fire on the boat. But hey, he’s a Bauer offspring.

Speaking of offspring, was there any doubt as to what was wrong with Chloe? I mean, whenever a woman faints in a television show, doesn’t it automatically mean that she’s preggo? Not that women necessarily do this in real life, but it would be good if they did, right? It would make things so much easier.

“She fainted… holy moly, we’re having a baby!!”

But seriously, folks, was there every any doubt? I knew it the moment she started fuzzing out in Hour 23. But then, I’m an idiot savant. Without the savant.

At the White House, Tom Lennox conveys to the VP and others that CTU has determined that Phil Bauer and the component are on an oil rig off LA’s coastline. I’m not quite sure they can say this with certainty, given that all they know is that on a thermal scan from CTU, a boat was shown pulling up and there are other people on a decommissioned oil rig. I mean, this is conclusive? It is for Daniels, who agrees with the Warden from The Shawshank Redemption that an air strike is the cleanest way to take care of this. Less risk to the assault team and a guarantee that the component doesn’t make its way offshore. Or more offshore, as it were.

Lennox points out that Josh is an innocent boy and would probably be charred in the assault. Daniels, probably correctly, notes that this kind of sacrifice is probably worth it to avoid a military base being attacked by Russia and thus causing a war. A tough call, but Daniels seems to be finally realizing how hard this job is, witnessed by his open comments last hour about how he misjudged Palmer and how ultimate responsibility is so ultimately difficult.

Nadia relays this decision to Jack on the shoreline, as Doyle exits for the season in an ambulance. Bye, Doyle. Hope it’s not the same kind of space-time continuum ambulance that Logan disappeared through.

Anyway, Nadia tells Jack about the air strike and that she wants him and Buchanan back at CTU for an immediate debrief. And to perhaps fire Buchanan again? Jack says okay on the phone. But he’s lying. As always, he’ll do whatever he pleases.

Jack tells Bill the story and tells him he’s taking the chopper behind them to go get Josh within the 30-minute window they have. Bill, realizing he’s already lost his career, figures what the hell and tells Jack he’ll fly the chopper. He can fly choppers? Cool.

This is also a good time for me to mention that I was psyched to finally see Bill out in the field. I’ve been hoping this could happen for quite some time, simply because I thought it would be cool to see. Also, Bill’s background profile on the Fox Website says that he was originally a field agent in New York. Would it have been so hard to write in some dialogue wherein Jack asks him how long it’s been since he was in the field and Bill replies with something about how many years and how it was in New York? Really? I mean, come on, writers, these are cool little touches that used to make 24 unique.

Anyway, the two get into the chopper and Jack forces the pilot out at gunpoint. He obeys, wordlessly, probably because he’s used to this by now. Jack pulls guns on anyone who gets in his way.

The White House and the Kremlin, meanwhile, are playing nice for the time being. Suvarov has gotten intel that shows him that Daniels is telling the truth this time about the component’s whereabouts and how they plan to eliminate it. Daniels gives Suvarov a real-time satellite feed of the happenings so that Suvarov can see the situation unfold and, hopefully, call off his minions who are approaching a US base in central Asia. Hey, anyone think to call those guys at that base and tell them they’re about to be on the lousy end of a really poor ratio?

CTU learns of Bill and Jack’s Butch and Sundance routine and Nadia refers to it as a suicide mission. She quite rightly points out that the F-18s are on their way and will not be recalled and so all that Bill and Jack are doing is heading to their own deaths. Bill tells her what they’re doing is the right thing to do and she suddenly relents. At first I found this odd, but also remember how much she respects Bill and his soothing tones. She acquiesces to their demands and sends them the satellite feed so they can have at least a chance. After all, if she’s right and they’re about to be vaporized anyway, what harm is it to share a little intel?

On board the oil rig, Phillip and Josh are debating the value of going to China. Josh is still so not on board and I really can’t blame him. He’ll be the only vapid-eyed blonde teenager in a sea of people who look nothing like him. On the other hand, if Josh has a fetish for Asian porn or Asian women (or both), then maybe it is the place for him. Considering Josh is 16, Phillip would be wise to try this approach.

Cheng’s men alert the gang to the fact that the CTU chopper is approaching. So much for stealth, eh, Bill? Cheng, interestingly, gives the component back to Phillip and tells him and Josh to board an inflatable boat and move away from the rig. He tells them that the submarine on its way to get them all will find the locator beacon on the inflatable boat. I was intrigued that he gave the component back to Phil, perhaps knowing that it’s Phil’s ticket to safe passage to China so where would it be safer?

Jack and Bill descend upon the platform, with Jack mowing down Chinese gunmen with his machine gun fire in order to let Bill land. The two hop out and continue laying down fire, hitting some rather flammable barrels that the Chinese have chosen to take up cover near. One of the exploding barrels knocks down Cheng and burns his face. Jack confronts him about Josh’s location and, amazingly, chooses not to kill him. Could Jack be turning a corner here?

Bill lugs Cheng back to the chopper as Jack takes off looking for Josh. I was very worried this whole hour about Bill’s safety because, let’s face it, Bill is very likable and it would upset a lot of viewers if he were to be killed off. Which is precisely why I thought it might happen.

Elsewhere on the rig, Josh and his grandfather are still arguing as they make their way to the inflatable boat. I’m still not clear on why Phillip wants Josh to come along so badly. It’s hard to believe this sociopath actually loves his grandson but I guess that’s what we’re expected to believe. But to think that he can simply convince Josh to go along with things is a bit short-sighted for a man who has had the foresight to plan out so much today.

As they get to the moored boat, Phillip turns his back to Josh to work on the ropes and puts down his pistol. Josh, finally showing some sense, whacks Phillip on the head with a wrench and grabs the gun. Phillip looks like his melon really hurts as he tries to talk Josh into turning over the gun. Josh repeats that he doesn’t want to go with Phil, of course not realizing that staying on the rig will result in incineration by F-18 sidewinders.

Josh underlines his point of not wanting to go by shooting Phillip. Well, if I had to choose a Bauer to shoot another Bauer, this wasn’t the one I would have expected. Jack arrives on the scene and asks Josh to lower the weapon. Josh doesn’t seem to want to, and for a few seconds I feared Jack might actually have to put down his own nephew. Or son. Wink, wink.

Jack tells Josh the news about the F-18s and sends him up to the CTU chopper. I guess Jack is confident that all the Chinese gunmen were taken out, huh? Phillip says he’s not going anywhere and quite accurately points out that Jack doesn’t have the time to carry him to the chopper. Jack tells him he’s getting off easy and exits. A sad finish for Phillip Bauer.

Bill lifts off the helicopter with Cheng and Josh on board. Josh has another freakout as he thinks they’re leaving “Uncle Jack” behind. Bill, calmly, explains that he’s not leaving Jack and radios to Bauer that he’s swinging around with a rope ladder to pick him up. Jack complies and leaps onto the ladder and the chopper whisks them all away from the platform just as the F-18s detonate it. I’m sure glad those weren’t heat-seeking missles, too, or else we would have really seen Bill’s chopper piloting skills put to the test. Outrunning a heat-seeker in a chopper with the doors open and someone hanging from a ladder would be tricky.

Suvarov and his gang of merry gentlemen at the Kremlin see the destruction and agree to pull back their troops. He and Daniels seem to clear the air a bit by both being somewhat understanding about each other doing what they had to do.

Back at the coastline, Jack suddenly falls into the ocean from the rope ladder. Josh, AGAIN, has a bit of a meltdown but they see that Jack is okay and just wanted to go for a dip. Jack does some body-surfing and then, once on land, waves off Bill. Bill obliges because, what else is he going to do besides oblige Jack?

At the White House, the VP is accepting congrats from his cabinet members and Tom decides to be the wet blanket by saying the Chinese cannot go unpunished for their actions today. Daniels had just told the Secretary of Defense, I believe, to track the Chinese submarine as it bugs out back to China so that they know that the Americans are on to their tomfoolery. Speaking of tomfoolery, Tom suggests that perhaps Daniels should let Karen and Bill resign quietly so that there isn’t any hubbub about what went on and how Daniels and the administration made the wrong call with regard to trusting Phillip Bauer. Daniels thinks about it and agrees to let bygones be bygones. Sadly, Peter MacNicol does not say this in his John Cage voice.

Tom, having achieved what he wanted in this conversation, hands over the recording he made earlier in the day of Daniels and Lisa Miller conspiring to commit perjury. Daniels kind of smirks as Tom leaves the room, perhaps realizing that the decision he just made giving leniency to Karen Hayes and Bill Buchanan is what just bought him the recording back from Tom. Good work from Powers Boothe here, and I think throughout his time on the show as well. He didn’t always have a lot to work with but his mirthless smirks and eye-rolling looks of disdain were welcome, in my opinion. That kind of stuff made him more human and made him more like you and I. I kind of hope we see him back next year and with a continuation of the path he seems to be heading down wherein he respects the awe-inspiring responsibilities of the office even more.

Back at CTU, since this is the time to tie up whatever loose ends are going to be tied up this season, Morris checks in on Chloe in the CTU clinic where, miraculously, she’s not dead yet. Morris talks about how much he loves Chloe and doesn’t want to lose her and is hoping everything’s okay. Chloe gives him the news that he’s going to be a papa. Well, let’s just hope that’s the news and not that it’s going to be Milo’s baby or something like that. And let’s also hope the baby isn’t worked into the storyline next season, for the love of all that is holy.

At the White House, Tom visits Karen in her dank holding cell and reports that she’s free to go. Karen looks like she wants to hug Tom and he simply tells her she’s free to go as long as she is willing to resign quietly. She laughs that those terms are acceptable and thanks Tom earnestly, knowing he played a part in this. Quite a switch from their acrimonious relationship earlier in the day when Tom blackmailed her into quitting. More good work from Peter MacNicol as he says he might actually miss Karen but that he’ll only know once she’s gone. As far as we can tell, they don’t make out.

We swing back to CTU, where Bill has managed to not crash the CTU chopper and he orders Cheng sent to a detention facility. I guess old habits die hard as Bill really is in no position to be giving orders around CTU anymore. Cheng gets off a stinger, though, as he seethes, “My people will not abandon me like you abandoned Jack Bauer.” I loved the hatred in Bill’s normally calm eyes as he stares down Cheng before sending him away. I also kind of like the full-circle nature of this staredown. In the early minutes of Hour One, Bill and Cheng faced one another at the airport when Jack was being released to CTU’s custody. And now here we are, the same two men facing each other, both in very different situations.

And since I’m talking about that exchange 24 hours ago, did we ever fully figure out what the U.S. gave up for Jack? What the “high price” was that President Palmer paid for Jack? In the absence of any real information on this subject, I’m going to simply assume Wayne Palmer had a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card that he traded for Jack.

And hey, while we’re on the subject of unanswered issues, what’s Lisa Miller’s status? How about Charles Logan’s? As D mentioned, what ever happened to Agent Johnson, the double-crosser from Denver? And how about Reed Pollock? Carson? Martha Logan? Aaron Pierce? Hell, what’s Wayne Palmer’s status? Is Sandra by his side or Walid’s? Was there a less useful character than Walid? Oh, yes, that’s right… Sandra. And where the hell are those pukes from Division who were sent over to replace Nadia and blame her for everything that went wrong, rather than, you know, the Chinese mercenaries, Phillip Bauer and his superhuman hacking skills (which are exemplary for a 60-something year old man; my father can barely figure out his cell phone), and the rogue agents whose names rhyme with Doocannon and Schmauer?

Who am I kidding? These things don’t get answered. Anyway, Nadia comes up to Bill and asks where Jack is. Bill tells her how Jack fell into the ocean and, for a minute, I thought he was going to say Jack died but he doesn’t. When Nadia asks incredulously why Bill didn’t pick him up, Bill replies, “Because he didn’t want me to.” And we all know Bill does exactly what Jack wants at all times. You’d think Nadia might have picked up on this by now. And this is all for Bill and Nadia for this season. Gosh, what’s left for the final twelve minutes?

We change scenes to a house that, according to the Fox Website, is James Heller’s Pacific Palisades home. Wow, it’s fortuitous that Heller has a place within eleven minutes on foot of where Jack walked onto the beach. I wonder if Heller saw the tremendous explosion of the oil rig offshore?

Heller himself is at the house on the phone with someone. At 5:48 in the morning. Well, maybe they’re on the East Coast. After hanging up the phone, Heller hears a noise and his spidey-sense pings. Doesn’t the former Secretary of Defense have Secret Service detail assigned to him?

Before he can ring for help, Jack moves into the room, gun at the ready. Silenced gun, I might add.

Heller reads the situation and immediately asks if Jack is there to kill him. Wow, that’s a leap. Did I miss something? My father was watching this episode with me and was convinced Heller was somehow involved and Jack had figured it out. I, of course, was hoping this was not the case. Jack’s answer to Heller’s question was classic: “That depends.”

Then we have a rather tense exchange, where Jack blames Heller and people like Heller for making him the person he is. Jack quite rightly points out that all he’s ever done is follow the wishes of people like him. Well, except when you disobey Presidential orders, Jack, but hey, I’m still with ya. Jack has sacrificed his entire life and family to this country and to his lifestyle and he basically doesn’t want to walk away empty-handed. He wants Audrey. And this is an interesting way to try to achieve that goal. I mean, will they ever go there for Christmas? (“Hey, Jim, remember when I held you at gunpoint over there on the sofa?”)

Heller, to his credit, remains pretty resolved to keep Jack out of Audrey’s life, even with a gun pointed at him. Jack for the first time appears to be angry at being left to rot in China and he wants to know why Heller didn’t do more to get him out, given the considerable power Heller had. Wait, did Jack even know Heller survived that car crash last season before he himself was kidnapped by the Chinese? I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter because Jack knows he’s alive now and could have helped him. Heller claims he did try to get Jack out of China, to which Jack bellows that he didn’t try hard enough. Good stuff from Kiefer here, some real acting and emotion and anger in his voice and face. I definitely wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out and that’s the mark of a good 24 scene. I thought there was a chance Audrey wouldn’t be there or he might actually shoot Heller or Heller might actually attack Jack or maybe there actually would be some security detail who might take down Jack in some way.

Jack goes on to accuse Heller of being upset at Audrey for going to look for Jack despite Heller’s protests. I’m not sure how Jack knows for sure that Heller protested but Heller doesn’t deny that he did so I guess Jack’s instinct is right (as always). Jack then accuses Heller of not understanding that kind of loyalty and caring for another person.

Jack goes on to demand his life back, by which I am not sure what he means. Does he want his driver’s license or something? He clarifies that Audrey is all he’s got and that he will take her away and disappear, commenting that he’s gotten pretty good at that. I’d point out that Jack has disappeared twice that we know of – one time, he was hiding 15 minutes from LA and came out of hiding and the other time he disappeared unwillingly, at the hands of the Chinese. But hey, I won’t make that point too loudly to the sociopath with the handgun.

Jack further states that he’ll kill anyone who comes after them, snarking, “Pretty good at that, too.” Heh.
Heller, again showing balls of steel, risks antagonizing Jack by pointing out that he can’t leave this lifestyle and that he’ll inevitably be pulled back into it again and if that happens Audrey will pay the price, just like Teri did. Nice throwback reference to many years ago. I thought, again, that Jack might simply shoot Heller, or at least crack him on the head, for that remark, but he doesn’t. Maybe Jack was slowly realizing Heller is right.

Regardless, Jack again demands to see Audrey. As the Fox summary says, “Heller leads him to the bedroom.” Uhhh, I hope they’re not going to do it.

Oh, phew, it’s Audrey’s bedroom. And she’s evidently comatose on some heavy meds in the makeshift hospice that is set up here. Heller actually leaves the room to give Jack time with her which, again, I thought might result in Jack letting his guard down enough for Heller to attack him.

But no, that doesn’t happen. Jack instead looks at the shell of a person that his pretty girlfriend has become and the gravity of it all hits him. Audrey is laying there, hooked up to a heart monitor, having a medicine drip of some kind, and recovering from god-knows-what kind of abuse in China. And it’s because of him, regardless of whether it’s his FAULT or not. And Jack comes to understand this. He says goodbye and kisses her on the forehead. Kim Raver makes yet another appearance where she does and says very, very little. Still, it’s impactful because we know the history of this character and we care about her.

Jack leaves the room and walks past Heller wordlessly. He exits the house and walks out to the fence in the backyard that overlooks a cliff and the ocean below. Jack surveys the scene and we see his perspective, looking at the rocky cliff below him and you can’t convince me even for a second that Jack didn’t think about ending it all and jumping right there. His face is marked with pain and sadness as he looks out into the distance, not really seeing anything. And for perhaps the first time ever on this show, the screen fades to black rather than simply cutting to black. We see
the silent clock for the first time since Edgar’s death last year, and it soundlessly ticks off the seconds to 6:00 AM.

Stay tuned for my final thoughts in a post next week.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty-Three (4:00AM - 5:00AM)

[...with a "Special Guest Star," for this hour. Of course, Michelle Dessler was listed as a "Special Guest Star" for the first hour of Season Five and we all know how that turned out. -- J]

Air Date: 21 May 2007
Reviewer: D

OK, so I’m not William Devane, but I guess I’m the most special special guest that J could get at the last minute. Yes, it’s me – D – back to lend some additional snarkiness to 24’s penultimate hour and honored that J has given me the opportunity to ramble on again upon these virtual pages in a final swan-song kind of way. And while I don’t have Audrey tanked up on happy drugs in the next room, I did share a Black and Tan with my wife a couple of hours ago and she’s now mumbling “Bloomfield” on the couch next to me. At least I think it’s “Bloomfield;” it could be “Orlando Bloom” or “Bonehead Husband,” it’s hard to make out exactly.

Anyway, as some of you might have noticed via my very occasional comments posted on this here site, I’ve been one of those people who are less than enthralled with this day in 24-ville. For all of the hoopla about Jack being a changed man at the beginning of this season, I’ve thought there were really only a limited amount of new ideas mixed in with various nuggets from seasons past, tossed together in a not-always-appetizing slapdash salad of a plot. While we didn’t have anything that seems destined to be as iconicly stupid as the Kim-Cougar incident, we had plenty of other wacko things to shake our collective heads about. In fact, just for fun, here’s my quick list of the top three near-cougar-like absurdities from this season:

3. The General’s arm (and Russian appendages in general).

Did Grendenko (or Fayed, it wasn’t totally clear whose idea it was) really think he’d live more than a half-hour after getting his arm whacked off? And wouldn’t you pass out nearly immediately from the pain and shock? And by the way, did that Russian ambassador’s pinky magically stick back in place after Jack sliced it off?

2. Where’s Jack?

Why did Kiefer seem like a guest star during so much of this season? I think some weeks they were hard-pressed to find a scene of him to fit into the previouslies …

1. Logan in, Logan out, Logan: what was that all about?

Certainly the most egregious misstep of the season was bringing the Logan family (and new hanger-on Aaron!) back for a tantalizing reminder of how great last season was, only to unceremoniously drop them by the wayside after their very marginal usefulness was played out.

But hearing me grouse is not why you’re here, is it? You want a succinct, entertaining recap of hour 23, don’t you? Well, I hope you’ll be happy with sarcastic and sophomoric instead…

Mostly, I thought this hour was actually pretty good, though it was occasionally interrupted by reminders of how off-base this season was. For instance, right off in the previouslies, we have way too much background on the Karen-Bill situation, a reminder of how ludicrous it was for Karen to feel compelled to fire her head of CTU / love puppy RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT because “the press and the pundits” might eventually get a hold of some information buried in some blue file somewhere in the midst of a nuclear crisis. For perspective: remember how all of those heads fell WITHIN MINUTES of the moment when “the press and the pundits” got a hold of the fact that someone in the White House leaked Valerie Plame’s name and role to the press? Oh wait, that’s right: those minutes were more like three years…

We also get a reminder that the Russian president is itching to attack an American base in central Asia within two hours because apparently he’s got a time-released army of clones or something that will evaporate 2 hours after adding water. And we also get Jack yelling to Cheng that “it’s over” – a clear indication that the fun has just begun. Or at least for Joshie it has, as he seems destined to be a squinty-eyed bargaining chip in Philip Bauer’s game of circuit board pocket hockey.

But then we start the hour with the kind of interlude that I’ve always enjoyed on 24: a majestic helicopter flies through the air with strains of angel chorus music accompanying it. Shortly thereafter Ricky (as Doyle) does his best imitation of Kief so far this season in his little pep talk to Josh. Though frankly, if I was Joshie and someone was talking about “recovering” me like I was a mashed up piece of scrap metal, I’d be a little nervous. In CTU’s “Bedside manner for soon-to-be hostages” class they might encourage using words like “rescue” instead of “recover.” Just a suggestion.

Also, you don’t want to mention what happened to the last person they injected with a tracking device. It’s going to be hard to hug Uncle Jack with just one arm...

Speaking of Jack, as soon as our hero gets a chance he calls his girl-Friday Chloe who quickly fills in any plot holes we might have missed while we were snoozing through the previous episode. Then, in case we still haven’t had the outline of what’s going on hammered into our heads hard enough, it gets reiterated twice more as Daniels fills in Suvarov and Jack calls Karen. By the time Karen told it all to Bill (while he was entertaining an FBI contingent anxious for a look at his Karen-in-a-thong Polaroids), I almost passed out from redundancy poisoning. (Thoughts of Karen in a thong then nearly killed me outright…)

Now lets just pause here for a moment to consider a newly introduced absurdity. Just a few hours ago, Karen is so intent on keeping her job in the face of a specific DOJ threat that she’s willing to kick her own husband out of CTU. And yet now she’s willing to lose her job and potentially her freedom by helping Jack and his buddy Bill – CTU’s version of Butch and Sundance – carry out a vague non-plan that circumvents the Vice President in what I guess could be labeled (and prosecuted) as treason. There’s a nice chunk of inconsistency to chew on.

Eventually, we’re back at CTU and hot Nadia is wearing a nice, body-hugging black sweater. Has she been in that thing all season? [No, it was a no-nonsense, take-me-seriously suit until she bloodied it when battled Chinese mercenaries twice her size. –J] I don’t think so or I would’ve had to pause the Tivo more often to…um…shake hands with Mr. Willy during previous episodes. Another problem with this season: They give the hottest actress on the show not just one, but two, romantic interests and yet she doesn’t end up half-naked even once. I don’t see why she couldn’t have flown out to DC to work Bishop over for information instead of Lisa “Stiletto Nose” Miller; it wouldn’t have been any less plausible than anything else this season.

So of course uber-villain Phil Bauer has hacked into CTU’s system – oh, Phil, we barely got to know you enough to truly loathe you. And too bad, too, because you seem quite loatheable. Phil will eventually render CTU helpless to do anything but wait for Jack to save the day again. I guess CTU staffers will just have to sit around playing canasta for the rest of the day… Hey, I know, why not give some way-up-the-food-chain bureaucrat access to Jack’s whereabouts for no real reason. Great idea! That’ll keep ‘em busy.

Oh but wait, why not fill the space with a couple of inane interpersonal moments? Marilyn Bauer gets all Britney-on-a-bender hysterical, forcing hot Nadia to confront her and lie to her. Which is too bad because the truth would have sent Marilyn over the edge – “So you know that place where the man you really love just got back from, well, now your son’s going there as a hostage of your husband’s murderer.” When you write it out that way, it seems a little “extreme daytime soap opera”-esque, doesn’t it?

Truthfully, the site of two hot brunettes in each other’s face got me wondering if CTU has a mud-wrestling ring hidden off somewhere…

Then Morris and Chloe continue in their idiotic sniping at each other, which at least resulted in one of the best lines of the night, as Doyle essentially tells Morris that he liked him better as the snarky Brit genius he’s supposed to be rather than an earnest and supportive coworker. Nearly unseen in the background of this scene is a look from “anonymous blonde coworker” at Morris, as if to say, “Is this a government agency or a preschool playground?”

Bill shows up on the road and springs Jack from custody. Was anyone with more than a third-grade education surprised by this? We learn that Bill trained “Turner.” Is this important backstory to enhance our understanding of Bill and Turner and add tension and gravitas to this scene? No, it’s something some desperate lame-ass writer inserted because, well, why else isn’t a federal agent going to do what he’s supposed to do and blow away some strange man that runs him off the road?

Back at “As CTU Turns,” Milo’s brother, Stu, has showed up because, where else should he be at 4:30am? Stu tells hot Nadia that Milo loved her and she makes that constipated look she gives when she’s confused. Then he disappears. I was pretty near convinced that Stu would show up later, maybe exacting revenge on some CTU staffers in the name of Milo. Instead, Stu falls into the same discarded character bin already overflowing with the likes of the Logans, Wayne Palmer, Lisa “Pinocchio” Miller, that agent from Denver that double-timed Doyle, Berooz, etc., etc.

Hey, and it just occurred to me: where’d those guys go who were sent over from Division? Did I blink and miss the part where they were relevant / were sent away / broke into song / vanished like freeze-dried Russian army men? [I know, what the hell? – J]

Doyle gives Josh his word that he’ll get him back. Hmmm, didn’t Jack give his word that he’d destroy that circuit board thingie? I’m thinking that the next time a CTU agent gives me his word, I’m going to ask for him to inscribe it on an AK-47 or a brick of gold bullion first.

So, while much of the first 45 minutes of this hour continued in the rambling, shambling manner of much of this season, I enjoyed the last quarter-hour. I didn’t expect Doyle to get blasted in the way that he did and I’m already looking forward to Ricky done up with an eye-patch and looking all pirate-y next season. Walk the plank, matey! Arrrr….

And the scene between Daniels and Lennox was also good; it’s the kind of reflective, “true nature of leadership” conversation that I seem to remember happening more regularly during the David Palmer years. And it let Powers Boothe do something more than glower and intimidate and nuzzle Lisa “Don’t Point That At Me” Miller.

Near the end of the ep, we see that Cheng is not out of the picture yet. This is nice because in him, we’ve got a character that we’ve had plenty of time to build up a healthy loathing for. The only thing missing was a shot of him and Phil holding hands and making goo-goo eyes at each other. Now THAT would have been a true 24 shocker! A little derivative of Saddam and the Devil in “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut” but still, it would have been a nice touch.

And I’m intruding into J’s coverage of next hour with this, but when the henchies delivered Josh to the platform, don’t you wish Phil Bauer would have said to the leading henchie guy, “That’ll do pig.” I’m sorry but James Cromwell will always be the farmer from “Babe” in my mind. I would have sprayed Black and Tan out my nose laughing if he had said that.

As this hour chugs to a close, Chloe starts to go all fuzzy and it’s apparently not because Stu Pressman slipped her a mickey when they shared that poignant embrace a half-hour ago. No, it’s because she hasn’t eaten in 24 hours, right? No, it’s because some of that Xanax or Xerox or whatever gas from last year is still encapsulated in some of the chairs, right? No, it’s because the polyjuice potion she took has worn off and she’ll soon return to her real shape, that of Tony Almeida, right?! (Sorry, mixing my pop culture references with that last one.) No, it’s not any of those. But I’ll let J fill you in on THAT startling revelation, just a few previouslies away…


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty-Two (3:00AM - 4:00AM)

Air Date: 14 May 2007
Reviewer: J

It’s hard to believe we’re at this point in the season, isn’t it? I mean, it feels like we’ve headed down another season’s path for these past few episodes and that we’re just beginning to build the intrigue and suspense. Maybe that will simply lead to a cliffhanger ending. Or maybe it’s just been a weak season.

As you’ll recall from last time, CTU is has been overthrown by a group of sleeveless Asian gentlemen with pretty nasty machine gun pistols. They’ve come for Josh (instead of simply waiting for him and Marilyn to exit CTU on their own) so they can trade him off to Grandpa Bauer. Yeah, I know. Like I’ve been saying all season, just go with it. Oh, and Milo’s dead.

We begin by seeing Marilyn have a meltdown and, dammit, it’s annoying. Zhou agrees with me but, unlike me, he has the resources to make her caterwauling stop and he readies himself to blow her brains out, too. But Jack intervenes and promises he can keep her quiet. Oh, Jack, if you’re planning on making love to her on the floor there, you’re such a stud there’s no way she’ll be quiet. But no, Jack means he’ll kiss her cheek, stroke her hair, and gently rock her into calmness. Or maybe he means he’ll strangle her to shut her the hell up. Oh, no, he means he’ll be nice. Whatever. Boring. And annoying. If you’re worried about your kid, it’s probably best to not get yourself killed – it’s much harder to be a parent when you’re dead.

Zhou announces that he and the Zhouettes are leaving but that they have to put everyone in a secure room. That is, he wants them all locked up so they can’t follow him. Jack immediately hatches a hair-brained scheme to overpower the heavily armed Asian mafia currently inhabiting their place of business.

Jack sidles up to Nadia and tells her they need to make a move now and to follow his lead. I realize she’s the boss at this point, but why would you pick Nadia to help you with a physical attack? She’s what? Four feet, 93 pounds? If you listen closely, you also hear Jack say, “Morris, stay alert…”

And then it’s on… and it’s a cool fight scene. Jack grabs a guard and the fight is on. When another turns to see what’s going on, Nadia grabs him from behind, presumably with the intent to scratch his eyes out. Down the hall, Morris fortunately joins in and attacks a third guard before he can shoot Jack or Nadia. Glad that all fell into place nicely. There’s a lot of struggling and we see, alternately, Jack battling with a guard and then with Zhou; Nadia eventually being flipped to the ground by her man and having a struggle to keep him from shooting her in the face; and Morris waltzing with his man. Jack manages to strangle Zhou to death and just as it appears Nadia might lost to her combatant, her possible-boyfriend Doyle is on the scene and shoots the guy dead. In a strange (and poor) bit of editing, we don’t see Morris’ fight end. For a few minutes I thought we were going to learn in some dramatic reveal that his man had killed him but, no, it was just apparently left on the cutting room floor. Nicely done, 24.

What’s kind of amusingly ironic is that Jack, Nadia and Morris didn’t need to risk their lives at all since it turns out that Doyle and his team materialized at CTU just seconds after they would have been locked up anyway.

They immediately get to business and Jack and Doyle begin to regroup. Jack wants to head after Josh and, by extension, Cheng. Nadia, bleeding and out of breath, comments that Jack’s still under arrest. Good gracious, she’s tenacious! Bill would have simply forgotten he was under arrest at this point, but Nadia is impervious to Jack’s charm. Jack makes his case for helping Doyle look for Josh by pointing out that he (Jack) knows the CTU building better than anybody. Really? By my count, Jack has spent part of three days in this building over the past 44 months (last 20 months in China; previous 18 months on the lam from the Chinese; previous six months before that working for DoD). But it’s good enough for Nadia, who like an exhausted parent finally gets tired of telling Jack no.

Doyle asks Nadia how many casualties they took. “One,” she replies, “Milo Pressman.”

And, what, a half-dozen security guards, at least, right? Or do they not count as casualties? Maybe they’re not even invited to company picnics. Or maybe Nadia was going to count them in some sort of itemized order, like:

“One, Milo Pressman.”
“Two, Guard Peter Smith.”
“Three, Guard John Jones.”

No? Probably not? Yeah, you’re right.

Jack tells Nadia she did great and Chloe, too, comes by to tell her how brave what she did was. How about mentioning that to your PTSD ex-husband, Chloe?

At warehouse where Cheng is, Josh is given a cell phone and told his grandfather is on the line. Josh takes the phone with a constipated look on his face and says… “Grandpa?” Which is just hilarious to me, that this guy has had a gun on Josh several times and made several very real-sounding threats about killing him and yet Josh still calls him “Grandpa.” It’s classic. I think I might instead say, “What?” Or “Yes, Douchebag?”

Anyway, Phil Bauer wants to take Josh away from this fallout-ridden country and take him somewhere that they’ll have a real future together. And where is that place? The Bahamas? Brazil? Switzerland? No. China. The hell?

Josh pretty much agrees with me, as his face is kind of scrunched up like he’s trying to do long division in his head. Phil talks about how their future will be better in China, and blahbiddy blah blah. Phil ends by saying he’ll “explain everything” when they’re together. Everything? Like, starting from where? Because I wouldn’t mind being there to hear all this and how Phillip Bauer is seemingly connected to everything and everyone.

Josh looks at Cheng’s phone after his grandpa hangs up. Cheng notices this and hurries over to snatch the phone back and hustle Josh into a car. Josh tries to protest by saying he doesn’t want to be with his grandfather. As though Cheng gives a flying fuck.

Fortunately, Jack and Doyle are quick followers and they pop up through the same sewer access that Cheng’s men used and they open fire on Cheng’s Mercedes motorcade. This upsets the Chinese, who just had the cars detailed, and they stop driving and get out to return fire instead of, you know, driving away. Excellent idea. Cheng uses Josh as a human shield to get away, which is kind of odd since Josh is his one chance at this “sub-circuit board” that Phillip is fixing.

Anyway, the chase goes to the roof – where all villains inexplicably head – and Josh is able to break free from Cheng by giving him a swift kick to the chops. Jack takes down Cheng’s last bodyguard and comes up on the roof, pinning an out-of-bullets Cheng down on the catwalk. On the catwalk. He shakes his little tush on the catwalk. (Sorry, I got lost in song there for a minute.)

Amazingly, Jack resists the urge to put fifteen holes in Cheng. Perhaps he’s not sure where to begin – for what was done to himself or to Audrey. But just to prove he’s a Bauer offspring, Josh manages to slip from his hiding place just under the catwalk and is hanging on to a chain for his life. Jack has to choose to take down Cheng or save Josh. He chooses the latter, although I would have suggested simply shooting Cheng in the thigh and then saving Josh.

Josh relays Grandpa Bauer’s involvement and Doyle wonders what he could possibly have to do with the Chinese. You and me both, buddy.

In Washington, Karen and the VP have a heart-to-heart. My, how things have changed from a few hours ago when the VP was trying to overthrow the government. I bet he wishes Palmer was still awake to deal with this mess with the Russians.

Anyway, Daniels lets Karen in on his secret about Lisa. Karen is a little surprised, too, but points out that they were consenting adults and he had no way of knowing she was inadvertently spying. Daniels, in his newfound standup-ness, still is feeling responsible for the fact that his need to nail a young blonde might be bringing us to war with Russia. I guess his job is a bit more perilous. It’s unlikely that if there was a blonde in my office that I wanted to nail, that it could lead to an international incident.

At 3:28 AM (6:28 in DC) we cut to the surveillance van where Tom and Agent Hollister have been watching Lisa and Bishop get it on. There’s no discernable evidence that Lennox and Hollister have spent any of the half-hour since we’ve seen them making out. The funniest part of this episode is delivered by Tom, again, as he very demonstratively says, “Annnnd we’re finished,” as he sees Bishop roll off of Lisa. I laughed out loud at that. Good stuff from Peter MacNichol.

And then everything happens kind of fast, unlike Bishop’s lovemaking. Lisa heads into the pooper to clean the Bishop off of her. Bishop finally makes for her PDA and Tom gets an erection all over again. Only Bishop suddenly wises up to what might be going on and he doesn’t upload the info. Alert guy, for it being 6:30 in the morning and his having just plowed Lisa for the second time in three hours.

He confronts Lisa – or begins to – as they sip white wine from red wine glasses. Heathens. But before he can get very far, Lisa smashes the glass over his head, stunning him. I assumed it was because, as I mentioned, Bishop poured her white wine in a goblet but it apparently has more to do with the fact that she’s PISSED that Bishop has been nailing her just to spy and gather intel. She continues hitting him until he slaps her back and grabs her by the throat. The surveillance van disgorges Secret Service and Tom Lennox and they quickly enter the house, pulling Bishop off of Lisa, who is now unconscious. Wow, that was fast for her to lose consciousness. I guess Bishop was going to…kill her? Seems like that could blow his cover.

Anyway, Tom asks for a minute alone with Bishop. I think I might have asked him to be cuffed for that minute. Anyway, Tom introduces himself. To a lobbyist. I’m fairly certain a DC lobbyist would know the Chief of Staff immediately. Tom very effectively gets down to business, telling Bishop he has to upload the phony info to his Russian contact and comply with every request, or else he’ll be facing the death penalty for treason. I’m trying to imagine Andy Card doing this.

Cheng, on the run, has managed once again to elude CTU. Somehow he’s gotten down from the roof to the ground in 15 minutes and is not currently being tackled by a phalanx of CTU agents. Nice perimeter.

Anyway, Cheng has gotten Phillip on the blower and tells him he lost Josh, and then he’s gobsmacked when Phillip in turn declines to turn the component over to him. Why is Cheng surprised here? He knows how critical Josh was to this trade – he just send in an armed unit of commandos to attack a government agency. Nevertheless, Cheng is miffed and makes some vague threats at Phillip, who in turn threatens Cheng right back not to threaten him. God, it’s dizzying.

Back at CTU, Division has finally managed to send someone over to relieve Nadia of her command. How thoughtful. The head jerkwad’s name is Ben Kram. He’s just about the very definition of smarmy as he confronts Nadia and doesn’t even ask how she’s doing. We get it, writers: Kram’s an asshole. He further illustrates this by flatly blaming Nadia’s poor leadership for the loss of life during the raid on CTU. The raid on the supposed secure government facility. Yes, that’s clearly her fault. Imbecile.

Morris witnesses this and heads over to console a clearly rattled Nadia. She is obviously blaming herself for Milo’s death since she didn’t stand up when Zhou asked who was in charge. Well, that says more about her common sense than her lack of courage. And about Milo’s stupidity. But that’s neither here nor there, I guess. I agree that I’d feel quite responsible, too. Morris gives her a good bucking up speech and it’s a nice moment between these two. Especially after their rather frosty exchange two hours ago when Nadia first took over and denied Morris’ transfer request. Morris really is a good guy and I like him. I know a lot of people are mixed on him but he redeems himself more than he digs a hole. Not a lot more, but just enough.

Morris also uses the old “He would have wanted…” line to Nadia about Milo, saying that Milo would have wanted her to stay “strong and in charge.” Well, yeah, either that or “naked and beautiful.”

Lennox has informed the VP and Karen that the info was successfully planted with the Russians. He also matter-of-factly tells Daniels that Lisa may have suffered some brain damage when Bishop nearly choked the life out of her. Daniels is clearly distraught at this and begins to thunder at Tom about letting it happen. Tom tells the truth that they moved as quick as they could but that it happened really fast. He tactfully restrains himself from pointing out that Lisa had just screwed another man for the second time that night. Although I think that might have done a little bit to ease Daniels’ concerns by reminding him of what a little tramp she was. Not that tramps don’t deserve to breathe.

A couple minutes later, Daniels and Karen are on the teleconference with Suvarov again. Daniels tells the Russian Prez that the component has been destroyed in a raid on the Chinese agents who held it. Suvarov, probably an excellent poker player, calls this bluff convincingly and is positive he’s correct since he knows the stuff from Lisa’s PDA was fake. He was having Bishop watched himself! Oh, what tangled webs we weave! I guess nobody bothered to check the street for a van with Russian license plates, eh? And weren’t all the Russians in LA killed back at the consulate?

Suvarov is more than a little pissed at this attempt at deception by the Americans and he gives Daniels a suspicious two-hour window to recover the component. If this is not met, the Russians will attack the American base in Central Asia. Daniels has had about enough threats and attempts to make his own but is cut off by the Russian President who then disappears from the screen in a fuzzy haze. Shit, he’s like the Wizard of Oz.

Daniels is pissed that now Lisa may be a drooling vegetable and all for nothing. I’d be more pissed that the damn Russians are threatening to attack a US military base. In fact, I think that might be my very next call – to that base, to say, hey, how are things and oh, by the way, heads-up.

Lennox soon returns to the White House and is walking through the hallway on his way to a military briefing when his cell phone rings and an operator tells him she has “Phmmhmm Bmmhmm” on the phone for him. And that’s exactly what it sounded like. You can clearly hear, “I have” and “on the phone for you.” But the name is obscured. It must have sounded like Phmmhmm Bmmhmm to Tom, too, because he very demonstratively says, “Who?” And then he’s told again: Phmmhmm Bmmhmm, dude. It’s Phmmhmm Bmmhmm!

Phmmhmm Bmmhmm, of course, turns out to be Phillip Bauer. He wants to talk to Daniels and offer the component up. In return for what? Yeah, you guessed it: Josh. Man, I guess he really loves that kid.

Daniels then confers with Karen and Tom and is again really appearing to seek opinions. This is a nice shift in policy for the man who previously ignored everything his top advisors said and did whatever he pleased. Just a few hours ago, in fact.

Tom and Karen hypothesize that Suvarov isn’t this aggressive a leader and isn’t interested in this kind of conflict. Especially since he gave in earlier in the day and gave the green light to take out his non-cooperative Consulate. They figure maybe Suvarov is getting pressure from generals in his military that, like Gredenko before them, were borne to the old Soviet regime and simply want to fry Americans at any cost. Hey, get in line, Russkys.

Tom reasons that, despite the fact that Phillip is a nutjob, they probably should make this deal. Sure, Josh is a young kid but if this saves many other Americans and the country in general from a war with Russia, that’s probably a reasonable price to pay. And I would agree. Though I imagine Josh, Marilyn and Jack won’t.

Offscreen Daniels gives the quick order to make the deal and it is relayed to CTU. They then get to Doyle (again, all this is offscreen) with the news. Back at the site where Jack rescued Josh, Jack is telling Josh he’s going to be safe and back with his mom soon. Just then, an agent calls out to Jack that he has a phone call. Wait, haven’t
we seen this before? Apparently, Jack has not learned that those random phone calls with a minute to go until the end of an hour are never good. And in this case, it’s a complete dupe, since as soon as he’s away from Josh, Doyle whisks him to a waiting helicopter. Uh-oh! It’s a double-cross! I’ll say this for CTU – at least they’ve finally figured out that to do anything you want that’s against Jack’s wishes, you simply need to trick him and then run like hell. Doyle tells Jack he’s got his orders and takes Josh away in a helicopter, while Josh is screaming “Uncle Jack!” the whole time. This kid and the formalities… “Uncle Jack,” “Grandpa.”

And we leave this second to last week of the sixth season of 24 with that ending. Josh being sent off as a trade for the component. And Jack probably not too happy about it. But instead of punches Doyle the next time he sees them, I’m sure the two will be friends again.

Next week is the two-hour finale. And once again, Fox has shown the complete opposite of wisdom by starting the finale at 8 PM instead of 9 PM. So for those of you who miss the first hour, don’t worry – I’ll be here to clear things up.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Unofficial 24 Page Programming Announcement

If you're a loyal reader, then you know that I've been writing these (hopefully unique) reviews for about five years now. When I began doing it, starting with Season Two, I was simply hoping to continue to polish my writing skills and to share my thoughts and whimsy about what I felt was the best show on television. I wasn't sure how things were going to go at first and I found myself analyzing episodes in painstaking detail, pointing out nerdy things I would notice and trying to figure out how things fit into the overall plot and development of the show and/or the characters. Then the reviews kind of began to evolve to where they ended up -- wise-ass ramblings on a guilty pleasure kind of TV show.

Season Three, D came on board and instantly made things better around here. He took some of the pressure off of me to come up with insight and wit every week and he only further improved the situation by taking on 50% of the reviewing for Seasons Four and Five. There's absolutely no way that the reviews here would have been nearly as good (or as possible) without his dedication and brilliant writing (paid only in compliments from you). I know many, if not all, of you agree with this assessment but I just wanted to say it again here.

I began
Season Six all lone wolf again, which made me more like Jack Bauer than I had been in several years. And while I do still enjoy the writing and the show, I feel like maybe the usefulness of this site has run its course. I can't help but feel I don't have as much funny left in me or as much insight as I used to. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the writing staff for the actual show is lacking insight as well. Hard to be sure.

Over the course of these past five years, by my rough count I've written 86 reviews of this show, with another three to come to finish out this season. That rounds out to (very roughly) a quarter of a million words written about 24 by me. That's a lot. And I think I've used almost all of the words available to me. Except for "ukulele." And now I've used that one.

The point of my latest ramble is that I think The Unofficial 24 Page is going to be put to rest at the conclusion of Season Six. New programming, in all likelihood, will not be produced here.

I just think that, while I still enjoy 24 every week, it's not nearly as gripping as it once was. Maybe it's because of the writing laziness, as many of us claim, or maybe it's got more to do with the fact that this kind of format and urgency can only be maintained for so long, no matter how hard you try. Regardless, I do believe I'm done after this season.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate the feedback I've gotten from readers. The mere fact that people read this site (as well as the old one) is amazing to me and indescribably flattering. I am so glad that I was able to entertain a select group of people who were willing to wade through the wordiness and lengthy babble of a writer who operates without an editor. So thank you, thank you, thank you. You're the best.

If for some reason you want to continue reading what I write down, I'll be glad to send you my high school term papers. No, just kidding. In reality, I write for two other blogsites: My personal one, known as the
NotTheRock Musings, as well as a sports wise-ass site called Boiled Sports. I've also been known to show up on sites like Ranger Fan Central or Four Magazine. My personal blog should always be able to keep you up to date on that sort of thing.

However, this is not goodbye. This is merely to let you know that you should enjoy the final three reviews in a very extra-special way -- kind of like the way we all enjoy Kim Bauer in her underwear. Only I don't want you looking at me that way. So maybe that's a bad metaphor.

I've got it! Enjoy these swan song reviews the way that Jack enjoys smack. Yeah, that's it.

Thanks again for reading,

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty-One (2:00AM - 3:00AM)

Air Date: 7 May 2007
Reviewer: J

The previouslies remind us of how awesome it was to have James Heller back for five minutes and give us some odd freeze-frame intros. Josh Bauer, for one, is the first one shown. Wait, what? Who the hell cares about Josh Bauer? I guess we’re supposed to. We also see Lisa Miller in her own freeze-frame for the first time. Let’s get rolling. Only four hours left.

We pick up right back in the holding room, with Jack still looking rather shaken at his short exchange with Heller. Good work from Kiefer here, looking zoned out as he tries to sort out in his head what his life has become and where he goes from here. Besides maybe prison for disobeying a Presidential order.

Nadia comes in to tell Jack that Heller has taken leave of the premises with his daughter in tow and that he’s filing a restraining order against Jack. Way to rub the salt in there, Nadia.

Apropos of nothing, Nadia decides to tell Jack what’s going on. Sure, she’s only the acting director of CTU; I’m sure she’s got nothing else to do but brief suspects who are under arrest in a holding room. When Jack learns there’s a raid planned on Cheng’s suspected hideout, he wants to play, too, but Nadia flatly refuses. She reminds him he’s still under arrest, which strikes me as kind of funny since, yeah, this show sort of ignores that sort of detail most of the time. Buchanan would have folded by now and had Jack leading the team. Don’t believe me? See “Consulate, Russian” in your textbooks.

Jack goes into his whole word-giving routine and tells Nadia that he gave Wayne Palmer his Word that nothing would go wrong and he wants to set it right. Well, I think that ship has sailed, Jack. In fact, it sailed over the mountains in a black Hummer. Nadia again refuses and I really can’t blame her. Her new crush, Doyle, can handle the raid. Jack casts a wary and very conspicuous eye on the two CTU guards in the room with them and it’s so obvious even Nadia picks up on it. She warns him not to even try it or she’ll have him put in restraints. Will she do it personally? Because if Jack is overpowering the two men in the room, that ought to be amusing to see 4-foot Nadia pinning Jack down and cuffing him. It’s also interesting to me that Jack’s FIRST thought when he doesn’t get his way is to psychopathically mow down anyone in his way.

Jack, chastened, sits down and says maybe he can help from there. From that very table? No, probably not so much, Jack. Oh, he means he can “run tactical,” that nebulous term that often was affixed to Tony or Michelle. I guess it kind of means making the calls from CTU from a tactical point of view when there’s a raid going on. Isn’t that sort of like being in charge of CTU? So Jack is offering to do Nadia’s job… interesting approach, Jack. Nadia repeats what we heard last hour and the hour before, which is that a new acting director will be heading over from Division as soon as they can A) wake someone up, and B) unpry their hands from the nearest stationary object since you just know nobody wants to be sent over to CTU from Division because of the certain death it leads to. (I’m personally hoping to see Brad Hammond.)

Nadia heads over to the staging area where Doyle’s men are buckling their belts and whatnot getting ready to head out for the raid on the Bloomfield Copper Facility & Chinese Hideaway Plant. She gives a little motivational speech telling them what their mission is, should they choose to accept it. What amuses me is that I think Marisol Nichols screwed up a line or else it was just really poorly written. She begins with “Your objective is the Bloomfield Copper Plant…” Wait, what? Their OBJECTIVE is the plant? That doesn’t make sense. I even looked up “objective” and it’s got several definitions that almost make it work but it just sounded clumsy. I assume she meant their objective is to successfully raid the plant. Their objective is some activity, not a building – do you see what I’m saying? I know, I know, why am I spending time on this?

Anyway, after Nadia rallies the troops with confusing dialogue, Doyle tells her that she’s doing a good job and that she’s got a hot ass in that suit. Okay, he only says the first part. Nadia tells him to “be careful,” as though they’re dating or something. This isn’t lost on Doyle, who accepts the kind words but looks piqued. It’s also not lost on Milo, who happens to be lurking nearby and can see tender moments from 25 yards away. You know, Milo’s becoming quite a bit of a stalker.

Meanwhile, Cheng is putting together a motley crew of Chinese thugs in preparation for a raid of their own. Hmmm, do they know Doyle is coming with CTU men? What could it be that Cheng wants to attack? The Russian Consulate?

At the same time, we see Josh and Marilyn again for the first time in hours. Josh is still watching the news and is making mumblings about wishing he wasn’t ever born into his “sick family.” Well, nobody can argue that point, Josh, although Marilyn tries. She also tries to convince Josh to get some sleep and we see Josh lie down on a leather couch with those hard, angular arms that really don’t serve well as pillows.

Chloe has now come to the room to have Marilyn review her statement for accuracy. Why? Do CTU transcribers sometimes add in saucy paragraphs out of boredom? While Marilyn’s looking over the statement, Chloe awkwardly tells her that she knows she and Jack are close and then she tells Marilyn about Audrey still being alive. What this has to do with the price of rice in China, I do not know.

At the White House, Lisa Miller has made her phone call to Fatty Bishop, he lover, and told him she’s coming over again for some more lovin’. She expresses hesitation at being with Bishop knowing what she now knows. Daniels isn’t sympathetic since she’s been basically doing it to him for the past year. Lying, that is.

Marilyn rushes into Jack’s holding room (those CTU guards at the door really are worth their salaries, aren’t they?) and apologizes to him about Audrey. Again…why? What does this have to do with anything? Jack says as much and is clearly a little awkward since we all know he boned Marilyn at some point in the past, too. Marilyn keeps going on about things until Jack tells her he really doesn’t want to talk about it. She finally gets the point but also asks if she can bring Josh by to talk to Jack. Jack says that’d be fine. He is likely Josh’s father, after all. Only he doesn’t say that.

We swing back to Cheng and his main man, Zhou, and they continue to speak vaguely about their target and about “obtaining the package.” Whatever, guys. It was about at this point that I begin to be sure it was going to be CTU they were attacking. I mean, Jack wasn’t allowed out on the mission with Doyle so SOMETHING had to hit the fan while he was in CTU. Last year, he was there for what, an hour, when the nerve gas was let go.

At the copper plant, Doyle finds evidence of heavy artillery and radios this to Nadia who wonders what Cheng would possibly want to attack in LA….

…just as Zhou and his men get to the sewer grate beneath…dum dum DUMMMMMM… CTU!

Upstairs, Chloe and Morris are continuing to work together – Morris is doing a good job of remaining professional. Chloe? Not so much. There’s some more meaningless back-and-forth about WHY he broke up with her. Oh, god, kill them already Cheng.

In Georgetown, Lisa Miller is being prepped by what appears to be one lone Secret Service agent and…Tom Lennox. Really? Tom’s dutes, as Chief of Staff, include espionage and sitting in a surveillance van on K street? I don’t remember Leo McGarry ever doing that.

Lennox isn’t all that sympathetic when Lisa comments on being scared. I kind of love him for telling her to “get a grip” and head in there, lest she wants to face treason charges. Which, not so much, really. I mean, can you really be charged with treason if you didn’t knowingly reveal state secrets? I guess it’s the “knowingly” part that can get sticky.

And then, the funniest part of this spy versus spy routine happens. A car pulls up and Lisa gets in. The car then drives about 50 feet and she gets out in front of the brownstone that Bishop is waiting for her at (hers? his? Who knows?). I sure hope Bishop wasn’t looking out his window as the two men in suits prepped his girlfriend with a camera-bag next to a van.

Lisa heads into the hours and Lennox relays this to Daniels. So the Vice-President and the Chief of Staff are running tactical on this, eh? What if it all goes to shit? Do they have anyone at the ready to raid Bishop’s place or would Tom grab a pistol and do that, too?

Daniels does realize that pickier viewers such as myself will be wondering why Tom is doing all this and so he thanks Tom for it and acknowledges it’s outside of Tom’s job description. Yes, so is lying to foreign ambassadors but you had him do that, too.

Lisa tries to leave the room so Bishop can access her PDA but he’s more interested in accessing her panties. She tries again, saying she feels grubby, but Bishop points out she showered just an hour or so ago. First time I’ve seen someone make a salient point like that on this show. But really, Lisa… just tell him you have to pee. I know my future wife likes to use that one right when we’re ready to jump in the sack. Really lights my pilot light. By the time she gets back, I’m usually into Sportscenter.

So anyway, Bishop lays her down on the bed and removes her top for the second time in an hour. Yes, yes, Bishop, we get it – you’re a stud and can go more than once in an evening.

Tom watches from the van and is able to see the proceedings because of the concealed camera they planted in Lisa’s bag. Tom begins to feverishly masturbate. No, just kidding. (Though if they start talking about interment camps, I wouldn’t bet against it.)

Back underneath CTU, Zhou has accessed some panel or another and it somehow, magically, allows Cheng’s A/V guy to have access to CTU’s security system. Whatever. That makes even less sense than usual since all we saw Zhou’s men do was blow up an over head sewer grate. That would be a secret place for CTU security access, though, wouldn’t it?

Above them on the CTU floor, Nadia tells Milo she knows he was unhappy when she was talking to Doyle. Was she undressing Doyle with her eyes? If not, then Milo needs to stop being such a bitch since, you know, part of Nadia’s job entails talking to Doyle. Milo tries to be magnanimous, even though it’s totally forced and fake, and tells her if there’s something going on with her and Doyle it’s okay. Wait, WHAT?? We’re making that leap here that “something’s going on,” when those two were ready to claw each other’s eyes out…what, last HOUR? This is idiotic.

However, it’s not so idiotic apparently, because Nadia acknowledges she doesn’t know what she feels and needs time to “sort it out.” Ohhhhh, boy. When a woman gives you the “I need to sort my feelings out” routine, it’s never good. We’ve all been THERE, haven’t we boys? No? Just me? Oh, ahem… anyway, moving on.

While this heart-to-heart is going on, Chloe has been able to backtrack the satellite footage and sees Cheng’s men escaping the copper plant in cars. Okay, we knew that already, but what we didn’t know (or, CTU didn’t know) was that those cars then headed to another address… just six blocks from CTU. This flummoxes Chloe but before they can think on this, Nadia realizes she can’t get through on the comm link to Doyle. Milo tries to get an outside line but forgets to dial 9 first. Actually, Cheng’s A/V guy has taken command of, apparently, all things communicative in the CTU-osphere, including security cameras. This is not good.

Nadia tells everyone their in a code red lockdown, yet nothing seems to change. Then they hear gunfire and she tells them to run to their assigned safe rooms. “Assigned” safe rooms? I think I might just fucking run, period, regardless of my assignment.

However, nobody is able to run more than three inches as Zhou and his men descend upon the middle of CTU. At Jack’s holding room, he hears the gunfire and is begging the guard assigned to his room to let him out. The guard is desperately trying to check in with what I assume must be the security command center, which is probably the first thing Zhou’s men took out. The guard opens Jack’s holding door and seems to be figuring that it might be good to be armed with no only his Glock but also a field agent. Before he can make his official decision, the guard is shot dead by a henchie of Zhou’s. Fortuitously for Jack, the door is still open and Jack loots nameless guard of his piece and takes down the henchman.

Making his way through the halls of CTU, Jack takes out another henchman and takes his assault rifle. Well, hell, Jack should have this under control in a few seconds then. He can take down terrorist cells with one 9 MM clip and his bare hands so with an assault rifle I imagine he could invade Poland.

Jack heads to where Marilyn and Josh are being held but Zhou’s men get there first. They’re clearly there for Josh, which startles Marilyn even more but before anything can happen Jack arrives on the scene and kills the two men. Marilyn tells him they were there for Josh which also throws Jack a bit. He even asks for confirmation, perhaps wondering if they were there for him and just mistaked one Bauer for another.

Down on the CTU floor, Zhou asks who is in charge. No one answers and Zhou asks again. Right as Nadia is about to stand up, Milo pipes up that he’s the acting director of CTU. Zhou tells him to come forward and Milo does so as Nadia looks at him with her puppy dog eyes. Wow, I know you want to wear her panties on your head Milo, but this is above and beyond the call of duty.

It turns out to be a bad decision by Milo as Zhou quickly raises his gun and blows Milo’s head off. Zowie! Didn’t see that coming, I will admit. However, on the plus side, Nadia’s decision on whom to date just got a whole lot less complicated.

Jack jams open a ventilation fan and has Josh climb in to get away. Just after he does, though, Zhou’s men come in and capture the bulletless Jack and Marilyn. They’re brought down to the floor, where Marilyn sees that Milo has taken a second bullet for the day, this one in a far less fleshy place than the first. We also see that Nadia is holding Milo’s hand as he lays there dead. This is kind of…eerie. And sad.

Zhou’s man tells him that Doyle keeps calling in and says they really ought to answer or he’ll catch on. Zhou looks at a roster of some sort and figures out that Nadia is really the ranking officer. She fesses up to this and is told to – GULP – step forward the same way Milo was. Zhou decides not to shoot little Nadia, though, and instead tells her to deflect Doyle or Zhou will kill everyone in the place, starting with her.

Nadia tells Doyle there was a communications problem and that they’re back online and she’ll let him know when she has a location on Cheng’s men. She does not, sadly, advise Doyle to get into a “
flank two position.” Because THAT would have been some awesome continuity.

Doyle’s spidey-sense clearly pings a little bit but he allows the phone call to end. Will he head back immediately now or what? Like I said, this would have been the PERECT opportunity to inject some distress code wording into the conversation.

Zhou then gets on the PA system all nice-uncle-like and tells Josh they really don’t want to hurt him but want to take him somewhere safe. Yes, yes, safe – away from all these automatic weapons. Zhou says Josh needs to come out of hiding and he underscores his point by saying he’s going to count to ten and then shoot Marilyn. I assume he will reconsider if Josh gives up. Zhou’s poor choice of words is “Show yourself to one of my men.” I half-expected Josh to come to the end of the ventilation duct and open his pants.

Anyway, it works and they get Josh. Zhou relays this to Cheng who relays it to…. Phil Bauer, who has got someone fixing Cheng’s prized little Russian nuke chip. Phil is going to trade it for Josh. Wait, so he suddenly cares about Josh now?

And didn’t Phil Bauer eschew the opportunity to kill Jack and instead left him a cell phone with Chuck Logan’s number on it? Was that to help him? Was there any point to that? Was that phone just randomly left there? Did the writers have any idea what they were doing when they did that?

Who knows. All we know now is that Cheng and Bauer are somehow in cahoots and that they will be meeting in the next hour to exchange Josh for the chip. How Zhou and his men exit CTU is going to be interesting, especially when the new acting director from Division shows up and repeatedly tries to wake up Milo.

You know, it’s a DAMN good thing Heller took Audrey out of that place when he did. I’m just amazed this wasn’t the day Kim decided to visit her old stomping grounds at CTU.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty (1:00AM - 2:00AM)

Air Date: 30 Apr 2007
Reviewer: J

We return to 24-world at the No-Tell Motel where Audrey is fetally rocking in her chair as Doyle tries to talk to her. She simply repeats her line of dialogue: “Help me, Jack. Don’t let them do this to me.” Doyle thinks to himself that he really has to start using some anti-wrinkle cream if he’s looking as worn and leathery as Jack.

At CTU, Nadia is stressing about her role as Buchanan, whom, apparently, is off licking his wounds and ignoring his wife. Nadia, as part of her new role, denies Morris’ transfer request which pisses off Morris. But seriously, Morris? How about you wait until the next “regular” workday.

Jack and Audrey are sent back to CTU in separate helicopters. Doyle’s beating himself up over foiling Jack’s plan which is odd, considering Doyle was following orders and Jack was disobeying, as per usual. So really, yeah, Jack’s plan was to detonate the No-Tell Motel with C4 but if he had succeeded, I’m fairly sure Doyle would have felt the impact since he was hiding against the side of the motel. Just saying.

At the White House, Daniels is continuing to reform himself and act more like a decent leader, going so far as to thank Karen for her sacrifice in firing Bill. He could of course have some mean, underhanded reason for this but I don’t think so. Meanwhile, President Suvarov is on the blower for the VP. Hmm, wonder what he could want.

Suvarov, it turns out, wants to threaten the United States with military action since he already knows that the component has fallen into Cheng’s grubby little hands. Well, that’s interesting, since it’s only been about ten minutes since Cheng made off with the component. Word travels fast to the motherland. Daniels is a bit gobsmacked that Suvarov could know this and he and his team (well, Lennox and Hayes, anyway) make the valid point that Gredenko and Markov were sort of involved in the nuclear attack (and further attempted attacks) on the United States. Suvarov is all like, that was yesterday morning, dude. But seriously, I think the U.S. has a point and I think I might make that even more forcefully, ESPECIALLY given the Russian consulate’s involvement in all this mess. But Suvarov doesn’t wait for a polite rebuttal and fades to black on the videoconference screen.

Lennox immediately believes there’s a leak since few people even knew about this and he immediately deduces that it’s either the White House or CTU. Well, that’s easy to figure out – I think even Audrey could tell you that whenever there’s a mole that they’re usually employed by CTU.

In Cheng’s Hummer, Cheng is on the phone with a minion who says the component is broken in some way. I would give Jack credit for breaking it intentionally but I imagine he would have told CTU that if he did it on purpose. Cheng reacts by saying, “Can you fix it?” in a very white-man-sounding way. I don’t know why I noticed that but it was kind of funny to me since Tzi Ma has always put on his thick Chinese accent in most of his scenes.

It turns out they can’t fix the chip themselves which makes Cheng mad and makes me giggle. Ha ha, frustrated Chinese man if funny. And perhaps more dangerous, though, since he’s now going to suddenly turn desperate.

Meanwhile, Lisa Miller, the point-nosed blonde who Daniels likes to grope, is back at her apartment macking with some dude named Bishop who looks like one of those frat boys who really thinks he’s a stud and doesn’t realize he’s beginning to be a little bit fat. When Lisa heads to the shower to clean his spunk off of her (presumably so Daniels can put his on her), Bishop lifts her PDA and uploads the info to some Russian contact, unbeknownst to Lisa. Ah, so THAT’S how the Russians are getting their info. Espionage. What is this, 1984?

At CTU, Morris and Chloe break up, this time at Morris’ behest. Chloe sobs and apologizes over and over and, wow, I don’t even care at all. I mean, I think she’d be a more tolerable person if she was getting regular ass so maybe I should care a bit but, really, given the stakes of all that is going on, I don’t care about this relationship as much as I’m sure I’m supposed to.

A Dr. Bradley has been brought in to assess Audrey and to see what they can get from her. He finds lots of injection marks all over her body and realizes she’s catatonic from all the pharma work. He suggests they do some pharma work of their own to “shock” her out of this state. Yeah, I’m no doctor but that doesn’t sound like a good idea. Doyle agrees with me but Bradley basically pulls rank and tells him to piss off. Doyle and Nadia then go nose-to-nose and Doyle implies Nadia doesn’t have the balls to be acting director. I really liked how this scene was shot for some reason. The camera kind of pans around them as they, like I said, stand nose-to-nose with hard looks on their faces. If this was Milo, he’s probably take the opportunity to plant one on Nadia again. I suspect Nadia wouldn’t mind if Doyle did just that but he doesn’t. Oh, just do it already, you two.

Daniels rings Lisa Miller and summons her and her fine ass back to the White House. She agrees to go and Bishop sketchily checks in again with his Russky contact.

Meanwhile, Lennox has pinpointed the leak in just twenty minutes. Damn, he IS good. He’s figured out what we all learned just this hour – it’s Lisa. Daniels, of course, is sad to learn she’s boning a much younger and less battered-looking man and he admits his relationship with her to Tom. Tom’s face is fricking priceless as he tries to wrap his mind around the idea of Lisa and Daniels getting it on. Daniels, it turns out, is a widower so it’s less egregious than we all originally thought but no less gross. Tom reassures him that she’s just a girl and they can push her around.

Doyle has now spent enough time with Jack that he is starting to operate just like him. He comes into Jack’s holding room and uncuffs Jack, telling him what Bradley is planning to do to Audrey. Jack puts Doyle into a sleeper hold, which, from what I’m told, can result in a hellish headache.

Jack’s next move is to punch the CTU guard in the hallway, loot him of his gun and then teleport to medical, which is what it seems he does. Jack decides to physically assault the doctor (Bradley) attending to Audrey, which surely is the way to deal with someone this traumatized. He then rushes Audrey out of the room and into the bowels of CTU, interrogating her the whole time. Nadia is pissed at Doyle for allowing it to happen and he doesn’t even seem to deny it, saying he did what he thought was right. Ah, I see. Instead of following orders, you mean? It’s really hard to keep up and know when you’re supposed to follow orders and when you’re not around here. I wonder if Doyle has a chart that helps him decide.

Adding to the anvil that is supposed to make us realize that Nadia isn’t handling her duties all that well is Milo’s terse (and disconnected) remark that if she had just let Jack talk to Audrey, none of this would have happened. Yes, that’s fair Milo, you little whiny bitch.

Eventually they do figure out where Jack and Audrey are and they blowtorch their way into the room. Suddenly Doyle is aiming a gun at Jack again and has apparently come to his senses and is obeying Nadia. Which is interesting. Audrey chooses this moment to remember “Bloomfield,” which Jack immediately says must be where she was being held by Cheng. Bradley is all negative and Nadia boots his ass from the room, deciding to start taking matters into her own hands, too, and she promises Audrey will not be subjected to pharmaceutical treatments. Jack relents and is arrested. Again.

Back at the White House, we seem to have reached that point in the season where there are totally disconnected stories going on at once. Lisa Miller enters and the VP confronts her about Bishop. She tries to feign ignorance (which isn’t totally made up since she didn’t know he was duping her for intel) but folds when Daniels plays a recent phone recording of Bishop talking about downloading info from Lisa’s PDA.

Daniels is more than a little pissed. He growls that she’s in deep shit and that she’s going to help them with this Russian situation by going back to Bishop and getting him to believe the US has recovered the component that has Suvarov’s panties in a major bunch. He even gets in a dig about how if she tries to expose their affair (hers and Daniels) that he’ll have her mark her as an “enemy combatant” and that she won’t see daylight, let alone a courtroom. I have to say that was a pretty awesome scene from Powers Boothe, who doesn’t have to try real hard to come across all thundery and angry and growly. But still, good stuff, and good stuff out of Kari Matchett who plays Lisa Miller. Matchett looks genuinely scared, confused and defeated all at once. Well done.

And speaking of awesome scenes, we spin back to CTU now. Nadia and crew have learned that Audrey’s “Bloomfield” comment might lead to where she was being held. Nadia feels she should have stood up to Bradley sooner but Doyle bucks her up by saying she did when it mattered. And then we see that our old friend James Heller is at CTU. I wonder when he came to Los Angeles.

He’s no longer the Secretary of Defense and the last time we saw him, he was plunging his car off a ravine not far from Logan’s retreat. Speaking of Logan…. Oh, never mind.

Heller tells Audrey he’s taking her away and then decides to go speak to Jack. I wonder how this will go. Jack is stunned to see the former SecDef and, in a cool bit of consistency, still seems humbled in his presence. I like to think it’s a combination of the fact that Jack respect Heller greatly and yet is also dealing with the awkwardness of having seen his daughter naked. Oh, and having gotten her kidnapped by the Chinese, sort of indirectly. And this is what Heller chooses to focus on. He blames Jack for what happened to Audrey and, while it was certainly Audrey’s choice to go looking for Jack, I can see how a father might react this way when learning their daughter is in the broken state that Audrey is in.

Jack tries to protest and says he can help out Audrey but Heller flatly refuses, even leaning in to intimidate Jack (which actually seems to work a bit, which is awesome) and repeating that he is to go nowhere near her. Heller leaves Jack with the stinger that no matter what Jack touches, it ends up dead. Ouch. And thank you, William Devane for agreeing to come back for one scene to drive home the whole thing. It’s a cool nod of continuity and they didn’t even hit us over the head with the fact that Jack and Heller have a history. They just trusted us as a viewing audience to KNOW their history and to remember how he is. Although, if you just started watching this year, it must have seemed off for Devane to guest star for one scene.

I loved it, however. A pretty great episode with some solid, well-acted scenes.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Season 6; Hour Nineteen (12:00AM - 1:00AM)

Air Date: 23 Apr 2007
Reviewer: J

Incredibly, as we begin Hour Nineteen, Doyle has made it from the place where Jack left him to the side of the highway in literally seconds. What, did he teleport there or something? When last we saw him, he surely wasn’t by the side of the 101. But I guess that’s not important. The space-time continuum stopped mattering about five seasons ago on this show. If you look back at Season One, you see clocks and watches onscreen all the time and they’re all strictly accurate. Now you see watches on character accidentally (aided by HDTV) and they’re never even close to right.

Doyle does happen to be able to stop a car using his mind powers. Remember, Jack made him relinquish his cellie at the end of the previous hour so how will he call CTU – oh, he steals the nice man’s cell phone in addition to his car. Yeah, so now that poor schlub is out standing on the side of the highway, after midnight, light one car and one cell phone. I sure hope he wasn’t heading to see someone who might be worried about him after, you know, the nuclear blast earlier in the day.

CTU flips the switch from helping Jack to hunting down Jack and is busy tracking his movements. Doyle follows in his hijacked car as Morris heads over to Chloe, who’s still pissy that Morris didn’t trust her last hour when she said Jack would give his life to keep the mystery component from the Chinese. Morris makes perhaps his most salient point ever when he asks Chloe if she thinks Jack would also sacrifice Audrey’s life to keep the Chinese from getting that component. A good question, to be sure, and one which Chloe responds to by screwing up her face as though she just let go a really nasty fart. Morris says, “That’s what I thought.” What? That Chloe shouldn’t have had the bean burrito for lunch? Speaking of food, when is dinner around this joint? Wouldn’t you love to see Morris doing his work with egg noodles hanging out of his mouth? No? Neither would I, I suppose.

Daniels and Lennox have a moment alone back at the White House, wherein Daniels asks Tom just how long Tom plans to keep his balls in a vise. Daniels’ balls, not Tom’s. Just so we’re clear. Tom points out that he only wanted to save his own ass (something you’d think Daniels would know by now) and that he doesn’t plan to use the evidence against Daniels even if they come “out of alignment” on their views of how best to discriminately limit the civil liberties of Americans. Daniels seems relieved to hear this and seems to accept it. He also earns a point or two in my book for asking about Karen Hayes and whether she should be kept around. Tom says she’s good to have, despite the fact that she’s a ninny, tree-hugging liberal. Or something like that. Daniels grunts that she can stay then.

On the run, Jack calls his buddy Cheng and tells him they’re doing the meet and swap his way since CTU is on his tail and he can’t jump through Cheng’s silly hoops. Cheng, knowing we have only 45 minutes left in the episode, agrees. Jack gives him the location of a seedy, no-tell motel that’s abandoned. Now, how the HELL does Jack know this place is abandoned? He’s been in China for TWO damn years prior to today. And before that, he was hiding in between Diane’s thighs out near the oil fields. Unless maybe this was a motel Diane used to run? Who knows. Again, let’s just go with it.

At the White House, well, just when you thought Daniels couldn’t get any creepier with Lisa, his aide/chief/sexslave/whatever, it goes even further over the line. Alone in the Oval Office, Daniels gets horny and tells Lisa as much, groping her and essentially forcing her into making out with him. It’s kind of icky. Her nose looks particularly pointy, too. She confirms that he’s a dirty old man but agrees to go home and get a change of clothes so she can spend the night. Presumably, she’ll be returning with a chastity belt and hazmat suit.

Doyle finds Jack’s tire tracks near the power lines. He confirms Jack must be heading East. Now, I’m no counter-terrorist agent, but how can you tell which way someone is going from their tire treads? I don’t think the Toyota Tundra Jack’s driving has unidirectional rubber. Nevertheless, CTU narrows things down to two highways, one of which has traffic cameras, which leads Doyle to deduce that Jack would never take that one because he would know that. Again, not to harp on this, but apparently the world freezes while Jack’s away. And he remembers every minute detail, like a frickin’ elephant.

At CTU, Chloe and Morris bicker some more. I think I might need a macro for that. The long and short of it is they’re pissed at one another and keep antagonizing one another until Chloe trumps anything Morris has got with a barb about him having armed a nuke for a terrorist. Morris is hurt and won’t accept Chloe’s apology. I yawn. Run now, Morris, run now.

Karen gets a visit in her office from Peter Hock, from the Department of Justice. They two seem chummy as Hock explains that he’s been interrogating Reed Pollack for the past few hours and that Reed is spilling the dish about Karen and her hubbie Bill Buchanan covering up the release of Fayed two years ago when they had him in custody. Karen acknowledges it happened but that they didn’t have enough to hold him. Hock goes from seeming like her friend to seeming to want to hang her. She’s worried about how this will reflect on the President. And who is Hock worried about? Himself? Shouldn’t he want to protect the President a bit, too? And, more to the point, if Hock is from DOJ, it’s probably his department’s protocols that allowed Fayed to be captured under false pretenses and then released as well. Whatever, I’m thinking about the real world. Hock lays it out for Karen in simple, television show terms: either she goes down or Billy Boy goes down. And I don’t mean the way he did on their honeymoon.

She gives Bill a ring in LA and asks if he has time to talk. Uh-oh, that’s never good when the woman wants to “talk.” Bill either misses this or decides to avoid it by saying he’s really, uh, busy, um, organizing his tie collection. He does ask if something’s wrong and she just tells him to call when he has time. Yeah, well, you know, Karen, if he doesn’t have time to talk at 12:30 AM then there probably aren’t very many good times. Why don’t you send a calendar invite for 2:45 AM?

Karen then goes to speak to an ally – Tom Lennox. Wait, what? Weren’t these two mortal enemies just this morning? She brings up the reason that Tom got her to resign and Tom goes all, “Hey, sorry, lady, can we move on?” Karen says it’s not about apologies and tells her what’s up with Reed trying to get some leniency on himself by exposing the Buchanan/Fayed/Hayes love triangle, or whatever it was. Tom is kind of freaked about Reed getting any sort of a break (where’s Carson, by the way?) but ultimately points out to Karen that if/when the public learns that they had Fayed in custody at one point, they’re not going to care that there wasn’t enough to hold him. A point which I kind of can concede. As clumsy as this plot point is, there is some truth to that. Tom basically tells her to cut her husband loose (professionally) and then signifies the end of their conversation by picking up his phone and pretending to talk to someone at 3:30 in the morning.

At the No-tell Motel, Jack has rigged a wall with enough C-4 to put a hole in the Earth. I think that should cover it, Jack. And does he just travel with C-4? Or maybe it was in the rather fully-stocked CTU pickup truck he boosted from Doyle. Jack then calls Bill’s voice mail and leaves a message about how the circuit board will be incinerated in the blast he’s going to trigger so there’s no need to worry about the piece falling into the wrong hands. Yeah, that sounds foolproof.

Jack goes on to thank Bill for being such a good friend, which is kind of nice, even though Bill would have Jack killed if that was the order he was given. Though, the more I think about it, Jack would kill Buchanan even if nobody ordered it and Jack caught Bill eating his pancakes. PTSD ex-junkies are kind of unpredictable.

Morris goes into Buchanan’s office and asks for a transfer “out of Comm.” What does that mean, exactly? He wants to be transferred across the floor to one of the non-speaking roles? Buchanan looks like I might look if I had to play kindergarten cop to these children but agrees to it. I think Morris needs to be dismissed for the day.

Karen picks this time to call her husband back. It’s only been about nine minutes since she told Bill to call her when he had some time so apparently she’s as patient as most wives. She tells Bill the story about how the Justice Dept wants someone to take the fall for Fayed’s release two years ago and she agrees with him about how it really was by the book and that they didn’t do anything wrong. However, the blowback is what everyone’s afraid of, and this is politics after all. What doesn’t quite make sense, and I wish Bill had said this, is that neither Bill nor Karen are politicians and, thus, they should be able to operate in the best interests of the country’s national security. But alas, Karen fires her husband over the phone (not even waiting until Friday afternoon). Bill’s more than a little bit pissed off about his career ending like this. Hey, maybe he can take over Michelle and Tony’s private security firm. And look at the bright side, Bill. You’ll be able to take a nap for the first time in like four years.

Bill’s next move is to bring in Nadia to tell her what’s happening. He’s already packed up and ready to leave when CTU security comes to escort him off the premises. Damn, I guess Karen’s next call was to CTU security to start the firing paperwork. Cold.

Bill tells Nadia he’s stepping down and that she – all 4’11” of her – will be calling the shots. That is, until Division can send over a replacement. Nobody points out that Bill was that Division-appointed replacement a few years ago. And speaking of Division, they’ve been awfully quiet this year. Not that I’m complaining. But after the way that Chappelle, Michelle and McGill worked out after being sent from Division, maybe they decided nobody could survive (literally) the transition to the field office.
Nadia speaks for all of us when she tells Bill how he’s the most principles and honorable man she’s known. I agree. And I hope this isn’t all for Bill Buchanan. In fact, I still hold out hope that we’ll get to see him in the field since, according to his Fox profile, he began as a field agent in New York.

Back at Jack’s No-Tell Motel, Doyle has spied Jack’s shiny product-place Toyota pickup and raids it for a gun and some ammo. He also locates an earwig and gets on the horn to CTU that he thinks he’s found Jack. Before long, Cheng’s inconspicuous limo rolls up and Cheng gets out and heads into the motel. He’s awfully confident that Jack’s not willing to risk Audrey, isn’t he? I mean, I don’t know that I’d be THAT confident.

Doyle continues giving play-by-play as Audrey is brought into the motel at Jack’s insistence. Audrey looks awful and Jack looks destroyed as he sees her for the first time in a couple of years. He tells Cheng that they need to let Audrey walk away and out of the snipers’ range and then Jack will hand over the component. Why Cheng doesn’t just kneecap Jack at this point is beyond me since either Jack has the component on his person, which case they can just take it from him, or he doesn’t, in which case they won’t want to lose Audrey, their leverage. However, Cheng’s not as quick on the uptake and agrees, letting Audrey stagger down the road. I perhaps would have sent her around back and into the pickup truck and had her drive away. Although Jack has a cab waiting for her down the road to take her to CTU. But still, how reliable are cabbies at 1 AM?

Outside, Cheng has planned a double-cross because he’s a sneaky Chinese man who we’re supposed to hate more and more every time we see him. Doyle notices the army of Chinese surrounding the building and preparing to shred Jack and continues badgering Nadia about where the backup field teams are. She has already sent several teams and at least one helicopter. But apparently those guys were sleeping or something because they haven’t arrived yet. Hey, Doyle, remember when Jack needed your backup and you arrived after the fun had happened?

Right as Jack hands over the component and prepared to detonate the No-Tell Motel, Doyle can’t hold his wad anymore and opens fire on one of the Chinese gunmen. This ignites a firefight and, thankfully, CTU arrives on the scene at this point. However, someone was clearly watching Cheng’s ass because Jack is dropped almost immediately by a bullet to his vest. Lucky they weren’t aiming at his head. Although this is Jack we’re talking about. He’d probably catch the bullet in his teeth.

In any event, Cheng scurries outside and somehow his limo has metamorphosized into three Hummers! Damn, Cheng has the
Transformers on his side, too! He IS prepared.

Cheng and some of the remaining Chengettes high-tail it to the waiting Hummers and away from the scene. The Hummers veer into different directions so as to make it harder to tail them and as the chopper overhead tries to keep tabs, one of the Chengettes fires a bazooka at the chopper and hits it, sending it spiraling out of control. Uh-oh.

Jack gets up after being shot in his bulletproof vest for the second time in three hours and is apprehended by Doyle and CTU. He’s all kinds of pissy at Doyle for ruining his tea party for Cheng. Doyle seems to realize Jack had the situation under some form of control yet shows restraint in pointing out that they probably would have either re-taken or killed Audrey if Jack’s blow-up plan had succeeded. Nadia helpfully radios that the black Hummers that just took down one of their choppers are fleeing in various directions into the dark mountains and that Cheng’s in one of them. Yeah, thanks for the news, Walter Cronkite.

At the close of the hour, Audrey is being brought back into the motel and keeps repeating the following: “Help me, Jack. Please don’t let them do this to me.” Jack slowly realizes that she’s broken in some major ways. I think what tipped it off for Jack is that she’s now dumbed down to his daughter Kim’s level of intelligence. And Jack knows that blank, vapid stare.

Meanwhile, Cheng is enjoying his Hummer (the vehicle, pervs) as he flees and he evily admires the circuit board he procured from Meesta Bow-air. How Cheng knows just from looking at the chip that it’s not simply the sim card from Doyle’s cell phone is beyond me. But I guess we’re to assume it’s indeed the real deal and that Jack allowed exactly what he promised wouldn’t happen.

Plus, the Prez is near-dead, Bill’s out of a job, Karen may have lost her husband and during all this, the VP is grossly making out with his pointy-nosed sidekick.

Watch out for that shark.