Thursday, January 19, 2006

Season 5; Hour Four (10:00am – 11:00am)

I knew that Jack was sending some kind of signal. My wife knew Jack was sending some kind of signal. Even our cat seemed to look at the TV oddly when Jack said “I repeat, I’m in a Flank 2 position.” But that may have had more to do with the tequila-Friskies mix in her food bowl.

Now granted, we at home had the benefit of seeing Jack tied up and on his knees. So we might have had a greater sense that he was slipping CTU an informational mickey. But still, think about it: these CTU guys thought Jack was dead just a couple of hours ago. And an hour ago they thought (and may still think) that he popped the former President. But now that he’s in a position to put their lives at risk, they follow his directions with hardly a peep (Curtis’s brief objection notwithstanding)? Even after he disappears for 15 minutes? So I guess a little presidential pressure drains the brain, Mr. Buchanan?

Also, I seem to remember big glass windows as part of the airport entrance – don’t the police have any visual on what’s going on inside?

OK, so now maybe I’m being a noodge like Diane but hey, that’s what they pay me for. Bellyaching aside, the “Flank 2” communication fake-out does a great thing in setting up the dynamic between Our Little Hobbit Friend (OLHF), Lynn McGill, and steel-jawed, rumble-voiced Bill Buchanan. Like all interlopers from up the CTU chain of command in the past (hm, like Bill Buchanan for instance), McGill is a bureaucratic pain in the ass. But maybe, in a dramatic change of pace for the show, he’ll be the guy that proves that following protocols and paying attention to the details can actually work.

Nahhh…it’ll never happen.

One more little bit of trivial confusion for me before I move on: McGill is supposed to be from “District.” Buchanan (and Day 4 Dessler and Mason, etc. etc.) were from “Division.” How exactly is CTU organized? Does it have local, division and district offices all in Los Angeles? Are there CTU offices anywhere else in the freakin country? Did they set up this agency with the illogic that, while most of the terrorist activity in the country originates in New York, real estate is really expensive in California so we’ll set up everything out there?

Also, if your name was McGill, would you really rather have people call you Mr. McGill rather than Lynn? Sure, Lynn’s a girly name and all but Mr. McGill sounds like a cartoon character. I kind of expect him to speak in a funny voice and fall down a lot.

But here I’m rambling on while more innocent civilians are being gunned down. I have to say that, given events in the real world over the past year or two, those terrorists executions made my gut twist. Another critical part of 24’s success – along with the generally excellent acting, superb plotting and near continuous visceral thrills – seems to be the awareness that this shit isn’t completely out of the question. Change the channel to the news and you have a journalist pleading for her life via videotape. The two shots fired into innocent heads on '24' over the past two hours really brings that home.

This hour had a fair amount of White House back-n-forth going on, which always makes me pine for the days of President Palmer. The man just had the gravitas you’d hope a real president would have. I don’t even know what that word means, but I know he had it. [I think it means, "ability to control gravity." Yeah, that's it. -J]

President BirdNeck meanwhile, gets all wishy-washy because CTU hasn’t ended terrorism with a wave of a magic wand. As much as I already think Cummings is one of the stinkiest bad guys ever, he actually speaks something that resembles the truth when he says that the terrorists won’t ever release the hostages. I mean, I seem to remember a hostage situation at a school in Chechnya a couple of years back where the Russians had to ultimately raid the place and scads of students got mowed down in the crossfire. Once those explosive vests are all wired up, I’m thinking it’s pretty near impossible to just pack up your toys and go back home. And they didn’t help anything when they blew up their ride -- you think these guys stand a chance hitchhiking?


Anyway, Martha is seeming almost sane now that she's got paper tucked into her bra. I have to wonder why folks with big secrets like her don't let a couple of people...like her Secret Service babysitter Evelyn for instance...in on what's going on. After all, Palmer kept this stuff close to the chest and he got a messy tracheotomy for his trouble. And she knows everyone thinks she's several congressmen short of a filibuster already; wouldn't she benefit from giving people a glance at actual evidence and not just her cleavage? [Or hey, here's a radical idea: make some photocopies and store them in Evelyn's bra, too. - J]

Back at the airport, Derek gets struck by a sense of guilt for putting a terminal full of people in jeopardy, which isn’t really fair because Jack chose to expose his ass and come out of hiding. I was thinking Derek would say something like “Well, I hope my mom’s at least really good in bed.” Which just goes to show why I’m not a writer for ’24.’

So the bulk of the rest of the episode is a race between the signing of the treaty and the CTU assault on the airport. As our first large-scale shoot-out of the season, it was pretty darn cool. I loved the initial explosion with no CTU agents following behind, which seemed to totally confuse the trigger-happy terror boys. When the troops finally stormed in, it was too bad someone couldn’t have yelled, “Psyche!” or even “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo!”

So the book is closed on the first crisis of the season. Some random thoughts in the aftermath:

-- Jack is 1 for 3 in disabling but not killing potential information sources. He was able to secure the Palmer assassin (for as long as he needed to...) but he lost Chevensky and Beresch. Still batting over 300 right now, Jack, but don’t want to let that average drop much more.

-- Did you notice how Curtis positively towers over Jack? I’ll be interested in seeing how Jack measures up against McGill. If they’re face-to-face, it’ll explain how Jack has been getting out of all of these jams over the years: elfin magic.

-- Wanna take bets on a CTU cat-fight between Audrey and Diane once D&D (Diane and Derek) get back to the office? My money would be on Diane. Hell, maybe even Chloe will jump in – given what she’s been willing to do, you gotta be thinking Chloe’s holding on to a simmering lust for Jack.

-- So Logan is going to be pumped up thanks to his “victory” over the terrorists. How long before his bubble gets burst?

-- Poor Martha. Think anyone’s going to believe she was chloroformed? Bring on more meds for the crazy chick!

-- Nathanson. Will anyone ever actually speak his name? Where is his control room – looks like it’s in a submarine to me. Surprisingly, it’ll probably end up being in L.A.

-- Why would Jack agree to go back to CTU? Particularly with Yellow Tie Guy still on the loose?

-- In the coming attractions, we hear the canisters contain nerve gas. Why were the terrorists checking for radioactivity? Maybe the canisters actually have a terrorist cocktail inside: dirty bomb materials, nerve gas, a deadly biological agent, glass shards, and hell, maybe moldy cheese thrown in for good measure. That moldy cheese, it’ll stink up a place.

So we certainly have some intriguing places to go from here, unfortunately only one hour at a time from now on. Oh well, one hour of ‘24’ still equals about 3 of any other show in my book.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Fogg said...

How much of a ten year old boy does Lynn sound like??!

Great reviews, can't wait for more.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Melt said...

Great reviews & great reviewers!
Sigh,the show is great but I'm dangerously showing symptoms of boredom,after 5 years...but I repeat,it's not fault of the show

7:52 PM  
Blogger Phoenician said...

Hey again.

Just to let you know:

The CTU is located across the nation, according to 24 Declassified books, since 1993, after the World Trade Center was bombed.

As far as we know, there are CTU's located in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, New York City, Anchorage, and most likely (though not mentioned yet) Washington D.C.

I'm not sure, but I beleive there is a CTU in San Diego (according to Day IV)as well as in Chicago (according to the Day V Prequel)

Now to the structure of the CIA branch:

Division is supposedly what several CTUs in an area answer too. Now I wonder why Division in the "California Area" is in LA as well, but I guess that's because it's the largest city in that area.

But when it comes to District, which is what several Divisions supposedly answer to (Richard Walsh and Brad Hammond were apparently from District), I am REALLY surprised that's in an area near LA as well. However, maybe it isn't and perhaps Lynn McGill has been driving (or maybe flying) since they found out Jack's been alive.

After all, CTU has been getting a lot of 'heat,' as McGill says.

On the hour, I really enjoy Martha. Perhaps she did make copies?

9:12 PM  
Blogger J said...

Not only does "Mr. McGill" sound like a little boy, my first reaction was to how fat and puffy he looks. And also that he looks like he's wearing daddy's suit to work....

11:19 PM  
Blogger D said...

As I mention in the Prequel write-up, the 'mobisodes' on the Season 4 DVD are set at CTU -- Washington, DC. But that office hasn't been explicitly mentioned in the show itself yet, as far as I know.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Phoenician said...

Well, last night really got me confused with the whole Distcict thing. Apparently it's interchangeble WITH Division, since McGill just claimed to be from both.

Oy Vey.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous melt said...

Having no obvious inside that by now he would have been 30 years older,I thought Mc.Gill was actually the fat geek from Animal House: http://www.joblo.com/newsimages1/floundergeek.jpg

3:28 AM  
Anonymous nerve gas said...

Thought this interview of one of the writers from 24 was at least a bit of an interesting read.

http://www.slate.com/id/2134395/?GT1=7641

4:55 PM  

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