Monday, March 26, 2007

Season 6; Hour Fourteen (7:00PM - 8:00PM)

Air Date: 19 Mar 2007
Reviewer: J

Wow, can you believe what happened to Logan? Oh, wait. You didn’t see what happened to Logan? I just assumed I nodded off or got distracted by a shiny object and missed it.

This kind of thing pisses me off because, much like Jack’s father, why the Palmer brothers are so bad at choosing running mates, and why Charles Schwab insists on those stupid, creepy-ass pseudo-cartoon commercials, this will likely never be explained. The writers aren’t sure what they want to do with Logan so let’s just leave it hanging out there. This works on a soap opera but it’s hard to make work on a show like 24 that purports to unfold right in front of us and, thus, we supposedly can expect to see what happens to people. I suspect we’ll hear about Logan before the end of the season but it’ll be something like the way we heard that Heller survived his Ted Kennedy experience last season.

As for this hour, I did enjoy it and we saw Jack once again have something of a lesser role in the hour. This is leading people in some arenas to speculate that they’re prepping for Jack’s eventual departure. This is false, let me assure you. Sutherland is signed on for at least another two seasons plus a potential movie AND he’s a producer of the series now. So he’s not going anywhere.

At the beginning of the hour, the CTU crew is cleaning up the corpses and aftermath at the Russian consulate. Jack is insisting he’s fine but Doyle isn’t having it. The on-site doctor says Jack has some floating rib fragments. Hard to say when those happened but I think we’re to believe they happened when Jack got knocked down the stairs by Vasili, the Russian guard who got a name in the script even though he was killed moments later.

Jack wants to remain involved in the mission, but Doyle orders him to CTU medical. Jack, realizing it’s more dangerous there than pinned down in the Russian consulate without any bullets, looks around fervently as though he’s trying to think of some way in which to get his own way. Seeing that there’s really no longer a Russian consulate to invade, he seems to agree to go back to CTU and see if he can cause more headaches there.

Speaking of CTU, they’ve realized that at the same time, Gredenko and Fayed have managed to launch one of the drone planes out in the desert. Where the hell is the attack team? Wasn’t the whole point of murdering all those Russians so they could get intel on where Gredenko and the nukes were located? And Jack got that info and relayed it to CTU and they…. didn’t go? Well, nevermind, because now the drone is in the air and headed somewhere.

Chloe tracks it and CTU notified the Air Force to get some fighter jets up and ready to intercept this thing (although I would think detonating it in the air could be bad for the environment, too). As this is being discussed, CTU loses the drone off radar because it’s small or impervious or some such gobbeldy-gook.

Actually, it’s because Gredenko’s drone pilot, operating the drone just a few blocks from CTU as we’ll soon learn, has somehow disabled CTU’s tracking capabilities. How? Good question. Put it in the Logan bin of unanswered wonderments.

The VP decides that the best course of action is to threaten a nuclear strike on the country Fayed is from. Interesting to me that he doesn’t want to strike Russia since we pretty much have 100% confirmation that one of their nationalists is in on it. I guess that would make things kind of awkward for the Presidents of our respective nations, though. Plus Anya and Martha might be a little hamstrung to go shopping together. Oh, and we’d annihilate each other nuclearly, too. There’s always that issue.

At CTU, Jack and Marilyn have a moment in the hallway. Remember all those times where it looked like Jack was ready to jump Marilyn’s bones? Well, if she hadn’t already sent more signals than a homing beacon, she gives him the full-on green light as she goes in for a kiss. Wow, really cashing in on being widow quickly, eh Marilyn? Jack, though, gives her the old eighth-grade brush off of turning your head to the side. Nothing worse than that. Jack explains that he still has a pocket rocket for Audrey, to which I can only reply, “So what?” You weren’t married to her, Jack, and Marilyn probably hasn’t had sex in a long time. Which, neither have you, come to think of it. Cash in, brotha.

Marilyn then drops the bomb that Audrey is dead. How the hell does Marilyn know this? How does everybody seem to know everything about the details of Jack being in China and Audrey being killed in prison, etc.? Way too much for Marlyn frickin’ Bauer to know.

Jack is of course gobsmacked and goes to Chloe to snarl at her for not telling him. He demands her file and, sure, Jack, you can have classified intel even though you don’t work here anymore. He promptly has the file and learns that she was the one who put together the fact that he was in China and she was “going through backchannels.” Like who? Marilyn Bauer?

Anyway, she was in a horrific car accident, of which we see some pictures, including one of Audrey’s charred remains. Yikes. That sucks. I guess Kim Raver really isn’t coming back. Or else it’s all a ruse and she’s in prison over there right now. Maybe that’s what was traded for Jack? Would Wayne do that? Maybe.

Earlier out on the CTU floor, Milo asks Chloe to “make sure” Morris isn’t drinking. Chloe goes over and plants a wet one on Morris, who seems to take advantage which only makes sense given his weirdly moody ex-wife/current girlfriend. Chloe tells him directly that she’s just checking his breath as Milo looks bemused at the situation. Hey, Chloe did tell Morris she’d be keeping tabs on him. From Morris’ point of view, this isn’t a bad way to have tabs kept on you.

We soon learn that there’s a leak in CTU. Shocker. If there isn’t one per season, that’s more of a news flash. Doyle, in keeping with his role as a dickhead, immediately suggests they check Nadia’s station. Milo gets mad at Doyle for disrespecting his crush but, as Buchanan points out, if they have to check everyone, what difference does it make who they start with? Plus, if it comes to it, just tell Nadia’s civil rights lawyer that you were checking everyone alphabetically and backwards.

In a typical stroke of CTU luck, it is indeed Nadia’s computer that is hooked up to the baddies. Maybe she has Nina’s cube from Season One and it’s just an unlucky cube, eh? Doyle goes and takes her into custody as everyone just seems disappointed. There’s no way she’s actually guilty and I think we all know that. And it kind of sucks that I think it’s that obvious that she’s not guilty.

Gredenko is seen getting word that San Francisco will be nuked very soon. Man, San Fran gets the shaft on this show all the time. Wonder if it’s something the LA-based crew has in their heads.

At the White House bunker, Karen Hayes wants Wayne to help stop VP Daniels from his nuclear strike attack on the unnamed middle eastern country that Fayed is from. This is kind of stupid, I must say. But nevertheless, Daniels is going to go ahead with it and Hayes, as I said, wants Wayne to stop him. However, Wayne’s in a coma so he’s going to have a hard time winning any arguments. Karen, clearly not familiar with what a coma is, wants to have him woken up. Well, it’s not that simple, Karen. And your parents didn’t send your first dog away to live on a farm in upstate New York, either. Sheesh.
Anyway, Wayne’s doctor says he’d need consent from Wayne’s family to wake him from the coma because it could be life-threatening. While this may be the case with most patients, I don’t think the President falls under the same guidelines. I imagine the mandate is to save his life at all costs, regardless of whether his crazy-ass human rights lawyer sister says its okay to wake him or not. Because you know the impassioned plea from Karen is coming soon.

At CTU, Doyle is enjoying interrogating little Nadia and I’m amazed they don’t have Burke in there yet. Maybe his shift is over? Nadia antagonizes Doyle by commenting on how she knows about “what happened in Denver” and how he likes to hurt people. Well, so does Jack but you guys keep trusting him to get the job done, don’t you? And what the hell did happen in Denver? (I asked that because you know Fox wants you to wonder it so fine, I get it, there’s a past history there. Can we move on now?)

Right about the time Doyle is thinking about popping Nadia’s head off with his bare hands, Milo comes in to tell him to stop. Not because he’s defending Nadia but because they have the location of the drone pilot and they need Doyle to head the mission. Because they’re low on field agents, I guess.

Jack sees everyone assembling and decides he’s going. He asks Bill to please approve it, as though anything Bill says could impact Jack’s decisions. Jack wants to “finish this” and avenge Audrey’s death. On the drone pilot? What does he have to do with things? Man, I must have dozed off if this makes sense to anyone else. Wouldn’t those responsible for Audrey’s death, if it is indeed not an accident, be somewhere in China? Or has Jack already deduced who is to blame for this? What if it’s Wayne? What if it’s Logan? I kind of hope it is since those would present different ethical challenges for Jack instead of if it’s actually Fayed or Cheng or someone like that.

Regardless, I don’t see how this current situation has anything to do with Audrey’s death while trying to find Jack while he was imprisoned for something he did to another country years ago. Bill probably doesn’t get it, either, but knows things are always infinitely more fun when Jack’s out in the field and you never know when he’s going to call in and demand a helicopter or announce that he’s stuck inside another foreign embassy looking for illegal help. Right, Bill? Bill?

Bill agrees with Jack’s approach so much that he says he’ll tell Doyle that Jack’s running point on this operation. Yeah, that makes sense. It also makes sense that Doyle would accept this with no backtalk since he’s such a reasonable guy. Yeah, this whole paragraph makes complete sense.

Anyway, they get to the location of the drone pilot within about four or five minutes, if that. I can’t even get from my office to my car in four or five minutes.

As they’re getting ready to move in, Jack is wincing in pain from his many injuries and Doyle asks if maybe he or Sipiwicz should take over. Jack says he’s fine and Doyle gives him a “whatever.” What ever happened to all that “my men’s lives are on the line” crap, Doyle?

They move in and, naturally, take down the hostile. Maybe they should have kept him alive long enough to question him, though. Just an idea. Jack takes control of the drone and begins steering away from San Francisco. However, Jack’s apparently turned into a lousy pilot because he can’t keep the drone from stalling and he announces that he needs a place to touch down. Chloe first locates a strip of residential road. Yes, smart, Chloe. Jack tells her that’s a no go and she finds an industrial park that appears to be right along the water. Why not just splash into the water itself? Wouldn’t that have been easier and probably safer?

Jack brings the toy plane in for a rather shitty landing and the plane bounces around and pinballs off of several things on the ground, eventually coming to a fiery stop with its nuclear core busted open and the nuclear gunk oozing out.

I did find it funny that the Fox summary online says that “None of the first responders have reported a detonation.” Well, I don’t think this is a good way to judge whether it went off or not since I’m fairly certain none of them would report a detonation if it actually did happen, either. They’d be too busy turning into vaporized molecules of human beings to get on the horn to CTU.

At the White House, word comes in that Jack saved the day again, although Daniels perks up when he learns that the radioactive material has almost certainly released fatal doses of radiation to the first responders. That’ll teach them to volunteer for their local fire department.

Daniels decides that this is close enough to a nuclear attack and decides to unleash hell on whatever country Fayed is from. While I understand the horrific looks he’s getting from Lennox, Karen and others, I also can sort of see the point here. If we suffered multiple nuclear attacks in one day, I’m fairly certain the American public would demand retribution. They’d also probably begin lynching Muslims in the streets, which I imagine Daniels would sanction, too.

Anyway, the VP orders the nuclear missile strike on Generic Middle Eastern County (GMEC) over the protests of even Tom. Daniels, of course, is doing exactly what Gredenko said the Americans would do – blame the Arabs. Of course, Wayne wouldn’t have done this so Gredenko is clairvoyant to have predicted that this would happen.

As for Logan, still no word. His horses back at Camp David Palmer are probably getting lonely.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Season 6; Hour Thirteen (6:00PM - 7:00PM)

Air Date: 12 Mar 2007
Reviewer: J

What shall we call this? The Return of Aaron? The Return of Martha? Ricky Schroeder Acting Like An Insufferable Asshole? So many choices.

For the second hour out of the last three, Jack seemed to have considerably less screen time. I’m not necessarily complaining, since most of the people who have been on screen instead have been at least interesting characters, if not terribly helpful insofar as advancing the plot. Seriously, we just spent another hour not trying to find the nukes but instead dancing around political issues and marital discord in order to try to maybe get some information about where a certain Russian might be hiding and might be involved in this attack. Remember, there’s no hard evidence at this point as to Gredenko’s involvement in Fayed’s terror plot. We know Fayed was responsible for the nuke that went off and we know he has others. And you and I also know Gredenko’s involvement but up until Jack cut off Markov’s finger, nobody in CTU’s inner circle knew any of that. And they still don’t during this hour, since Jack is trapped in the Russian consulate without access to an outside line. Or a beverage.

In the previouslies, “Former President Charles Logan” gets a freeze-frame intro, and to my memory is the first one to get a title other than “President” or “Vice President.” In fact, if you remember back to Season Two when David Palmer was temporarily ousted, his intro card read “David Palmer,” sans “President.” I know this is irrelevant but thought I’d mention it. Because I do those sorts of things. And that’s why you love me (and, likely, why you also hate me).

Also notable in the previouslies was the absence (unless I missed it) of the murder of the consulate security dude who was about to call CTU and tell them the info Jack had. Not sure why they would leave that out but they did.

And then we open up in the consulate with Jack being pushed down the stairs by Vasili, the sketchy dude who shot his comrade last hour. Jack lands on said dead comrade and hears Vasili on the phone, making the James Bond villain mistake of talking too much instead of just killing the hero. Jack takes off the dead dude’s belt…with his teeth. No wonder Audrey missed him so much.

As Vasili comes over to shoot him, Jack lassos Vasili’s wrist and yanks away his gun and flips him over. Before Vasili can recover, Jack has the gun and caps Vasili. Markov sees this on the security monitor and can’t feel good about his chances at this point. It should be noted that he has his hand bandaged up and it appears he might have re-attached his own pinkie. But with what, super glue? Damn, these Russians are tough.

Downstairs, Jack has taken leave of the hallway in a supply closet. Which has a phone. I don’t know, either. Maybe this is standard in consulates. I don’t have a phone in my closet, though. And I damn sure would install one in the pooper before the closet, but that’s just me. Anyway, Jack uses the phone to call Morris, just as Markov is ordering phone and Internet lines to be cut. The lines are duly cut and Jack has only gotten out, “I know where Gredenko is –” before he’s cut off. Nice going, Jack. Next time, start with the pertinent info.

Logan, his work appearing to be done, has been brought back to his retreat….right? Only it looks a lot like CTU’s antiseptic halls. And it is! Logan is at CTU. For what reason, I do not know. Oh, he’s going to debrief Buchanan. And I cannot ever type that without thinking it’s a dirty term.

Logan learns about the fact that Jack is nailed down at the consulate and that Bill is considering a military approach. Logan beseeches him to reconsider, saying the raid is a mistake and that he thinks he can get through to Russian Prez Suvarov to talk some sense into the senseless, terrorist-cavorting consul he has. Right, that’s likely.

Oh, and how does Logan think he can do this? By having his wife talk to Suvarov’s wife. Seriously? I mean, seriously, writers, this is the best way you could think of to bring Martha Logan back into the fold? Seriously?

So we spend the better part of the hour dealing with the edge-of-your-seat drama surrounding whether or not Martha Logan is too batshit crazy to make a phone call that could save millions of people’s lives. Smattered in there is the appearance of Ricky Schroeder whom I recall wanting to be known as “Rick” when he joined NYPD Blue’s cast but whom I see here is credited as “Ricky.” Hard to take a man named Ricky seriously.

Anyway, he plays Mike Doyle, who Buchanan introduces as “The new head of Field Ops, just in from Fort Bragg.” Wow, that was quick, considering Curtis was just shot dead about eight hours ago and Fort Bragg is in North Carolina. And what does he mean, in from Fort Bragg? Is Doyle a CTU operative or is he an Army man?

Doyle is a douchebag, to put in plainly. He barks out orders and mouths off to Milo Pressman who, really, isn’t a very sympathetic character, either, so it’s hard to root for either of these idiots. Just what we need – a pissing contest during a national crisis.

Doyle is then seen being brusque with the floor staff, including Morris, who in turn gets cheeky right back to him. Doyle, having a small pecker, doesn’t like this and grabs Morris by the throat, asking if he’s got his attention now. Now, if that were me, I’d consider kicking Doyle in the beanbag and I’d only be slightly slowed by the fact that Doyle is armed. Fuckwit.

Doyle then goes into some asshole-ish speech about how soldiers lives are on the line and everyone needs to do what he says. Fair point, but not one that needs to be made to people who work for the Counter Terrorist Unit, especially since one of their own is currently trapped in the Russian consulate and, oh yeah, Mike, you’re replacing a beloved head of field ops who was killed that morning. So save your lecture and posturing, jackhole.

Milo tells him as much, telling him to keep his hands off his people. Doyle seems to agree, but appears to be no less of an assclown. I can’t believe I’m liking Milo over someone. Morris must feel the same was as Milo comments to him, “You thought I was a pain in the ass.” Well, you are a pain in the ass, Milo. Doyle is a douchebag. It’s a sliding scale – let’s keep it straight.

At the White House – or rather, below the White House – VP Daniels and Tom continue their back and forth about whom to blame for the Prez getting blow’d up. And I have to say that Powers Boothe is doing his best with the character of Noah Daniels. He’s blustery, intimidating, arrogant and confident. And sneaky. Sadly, this is probably the most accurate portrayal of a US politician yet on 24. The one thing I can’t see Daniels being good at, though, is campaigning and, well, sucking up. But that was probably Wayne’s job on the campaign trail.

Daniels is also slippery in the way he ropes people into things. Remember how he tried to get Tom on board with not shouting Assad’s innocence from the rooftops? Daniels said, at that time, that he just didn’t want to publicly say Assad had nothing to do with the assassination attempt. Tom has relented this hour and agreed that to get the security measures in place that they both want, he’ll look the other way. Of course, Daniels parlays this into flat-out blaming Assad and as if that wasn’t enough, he also wants Tom to tell the ambassador of Assad’s unnamed Middle Eastern country that he, Tom, saw Assad plant the bomb. Well, that’s a hell of a lot more than “keeping quiet,” don’t you think, Noah? Regardless, Tom eventually complies and we’re treated to a scene with the ambassador being bullied around by yet another US President (his second one today) while Tom looks on. I don’t really see why Tom needed to lie in such a way – if Daniels wanted to play this game with the ambassador, and I’m not saying it was entirely the wrong card to play, why not just lie on your own and say you have “credible evidence” that Assad was at fault? Why must Tom also lie? Seems fishy to me, as though Daniels might have Tom take the fall if it goes FUBAR.

Wrapping up the Daniels angle for this hour, I did enjoy his reaction to the news that Martha Logan might become involved in things. As Bill relayed the ludicrous plan to Daniels about how maybe Martha can maybe convince Anya Suvarov to maybe convince her husband to maybe talk down Markov who maybe will know Gredenko’s location…. well, Daniels laughed mirthlessly, just as any of us would who were suddenly thrust into the Presidency and then got to have our first hour of it consist of approving a marriage counseling session.

Daniels conveys his skepticism by saying that’s about as likely to work as it is likely that the terrorists will “knock on [his] door and surrender.”

His assistant, Lisa, doesn’t bother to check the door.

Bill actually agrees immediately, which I love, and agrees that they should proceed with the military option. Daniels initially doesn’t like that option, either, but recognizes what has to be done to get the info that Jack reportedly has. And for this, I will say that I like Daniels a bit. He may be a bit of a liar and too opportunistic, but it at least appears that he still wants to stop the terrorists, first and foremost.

Ah, so now I have to talk about Martha again, don’t I? I managed to go twelve reviews without her appearing but here she is. But before we see her, we see…Aaron Pierce! Holy moly! Aaron continues his record of managing to appear in every season of 24 thus far, something that only Jack has done (readers, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments).

Earlier, we had learned that Martha Logan had been “institutionalized,” as Bill so delicately put it. I was expecting Bellvue, but she’s apparently at some kind of country club for crazy people. Hell, send me there. We see Aaron – for the first time not in a suit and tie – approaching her place of residence. So is she committed or not? The Fox Website identifies her location as “Meadowcreek, a private retreat for the wealthy undergoing emotional convalescence.” Well, that clears that right up.

Aaron enters and brings her some goodies from “Mel’s” produce market. He also calls her “hon” at one point and we see a picture of them on a table. So are they doing it? Because that’s kind of… well, weird. But I’ve often heard that the crazy ones are the best in bed. Maybe Aaron’s got a freaky side.

Martha gets nearly orgasmic over the fact that Aaron went to “Mel’s,” and he announces this to her with a non-Aaron-like, “I also went to Melllllllllls…” Martha nibbles on some of the berries and gushes, “What would I do without Mel’s produce?” No word yet on what she’s been doing with Aaron’s “produce.”

But then Martha feeds Aaron a berry and it’s kind of…creepy. So I guess they’re definitely doing it. But does Aaron live there with her? Or does he just swing by for conjugal visits? Is he still in the Secret Service? I’m just brimming with questions.

Whatever the situation, Martha looks bedraggled as the phone rings and Aaron answers it with “Martha Logan’s Bungalow,” which sounds like a good name for a B&B, doesn’t it? Chaz Logan identifies himself and asks for Martha. Pierce has a good time telling him she isn’t interested and is, not for the first time, put between the Logans. Martha refuses to talk to him and Pierce relays this info, more than once. Logan says it’s about the Suvarovs and this gets Martha’s attention. She takes the phone and learns about what Charles wants her to do. Eventually, she can’t talk to him anymore and drops the phone, which Aaron picks up. I imagine Aaron picks up after Martha a lot in this relationship. Logan somehow convinces Aaron to help coordinate a meet, using the line, “Aaron, you know I wouldn’t play games on a day like today.” Wait, he does? Charles Logan? Play games? You mean, like subverting the government, organizing the hit of a former President, supplying nerve gas to terrorists…that sort of game-playing? Or does he mean like Backgammon? Maybe that’s it: Charles is insisting he wants to come over for something more important than a spirited game of Backgammon.

Anyway, Charles heads her way and says he’s coming via helicopter. Making yourself comfortable with demands again, aren’t you Charles?

Back at the consulate, Jack sneaks up on a couple of lovebird co-workers and demands the male lovebird goes and fetches Jack a working phons – a SatFone, as it were. And that’s about all Jack does for the rest of the episode. That and grimace in pain. From what? The kidney punch Markov gave him last hour? Or the tumble down the stairs at the beginning of this hour? Or was it the knife that was buried in your shoulder in the first hour, Jack? Hard to say.

Logan arrives at Shadymeadowfarmbookcreek and hustles up to Martha Logan’s Bungalo, premiering this Fall on Fox!

Charles actually has the cojones to reach out to shake Aaron’s hand. The same Aaron Pierce that Logan ordered murdered to keep him quiet last season. Aaron, predictably, ignores the handshake offering and leads Logan inside Martha’s bungalow. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

Inside, Martha slams her door like the petulant child we all remember. Aaron tries to retrieve her but she doesn’t want to talk to Charles. While Charles and Aaron go back and forth, Martha again changes her crazy-ass mind and appears in her doorway, observing, “You’ve lost weight.” Charles and Aaron stare back at her, perhaps befuddled as to whether the crazy woman they both love is talking to either one of them, the Secret Service agent behind them, or the goldfish in the aquarium.

Logan lays out the stakes and asks Martha to make the call to Anya to convince her to convince Yuri to convince Markov to surrender so that CTU can convince Markov to convince Gredenko to convince Fayed to convince his legions of followers to stand down. Got all that? Sounds simple enough, right? Sheesh.

Martha asks Aaron what she should do, which was a nice touch I thought and shows how much she relies on him, and Aaron says he thinks she should make the call. I don’t really get all this big decision crap. Logan’s not asking for a personal favor and I wish Aaron had pointed that out to Martha. It’s the country in general and Los Angeles in particular that needs the favor. Logan’s just the messenger. And a poorly-chosen messenger, but Jack can’t do everything. And since he’s trapped in the consulate with no means to communicate, he can’t tell Bill how to do his job, either. Thus, Logan was allowed on his second field trip of the day.

And now, in a touch of reality, the US cannot get Anya on the phone because she’s giving a speech somewhere in Russia. Logan wants her interrupted but that’s not happening so Logan, Pierce and Martha get to have tea and wait together. Awkward!

Martha goads Charles by asking if it’s hard for him to see her with another man. Knowing Aaron could kill him with his pinkie, Logan admits this is indeed the case but that he’s happy for her. And to his credit, he hasn’t been very antagonistic in his visit. Martha keeps pecking away at him, even throwing some of Mel’s famous produce in Charles’ face, earning her an “Enough!” from Aaron. And all Charles does is keep saying the right things and not being as much of an ass as he’s been in the past.

Martha is clearly going through a slow-to-quick boil and she gathers up the dirty plates and the GIANT knife she was using earlier (and which I thought she was going to cut herself with) and heads to the kitchen. She gets a bit past her ex-husband and seems to realize she has an opportunity here. She wheels around and very deftly sinks the kitchen knife deep into Charles’ right shoulder, somewhere around his collarbone. He looks shocked immediately and pulls it out (eek!) and is tended to by Aaron as Martha screeches like she’s on Grey’s Anatomy in the background. Aaron, professional as always, tries to stem the bleeding and bellows for a medic. I wonder if they brought one along.

Pierce relays this news to Buchanan and it looks like the already slim hope of persuading the Russians to behave themselves is slipping away. However, Martha (who doesn’t understand why she’s handcuffed after ridding the world of her criminal ex) pulls her shit together and talks to Anya. She gives Anya the dish and Anya says, “Tell me more.”

And apparently Martha talks fast and Anya is a coherent sponge when it comes to sopping up intel and making a judgement call in a hurry. Because like a minute later, Suvarov is on the horn to Markov, telling him to stand down. Markov, the ballsy bitch, refuses and actually hangs up on the Russian Prez. Not cool, Markov, not cool. See if you get your shipment of Popov this month.

Suvarov, who we’ve all loved since he first showed up, calls Bill Buchanan and relays what happened. Now, I kind of expected him to put up some kind of request to still try to do this diplomatically since, you know, this impending siege is all based on the word of Jack Bauer. But we all know how Jack is with his word, so I guess Suvarov is convinced. He personally gives the green light to take his consulate by force. Although I have to wonder if he knew that meant the US soldiers would go in shooting and mow down any Russian in their path. If word of this gets out, it’d be hard to imagine Suvarov being President for another term once he’s labeled as having sanctioned the murder of his own soldiers. Which he kind of just did.

Doyle’s team, as mentioned, makes short work of the overmatched Russians. There’s an impressive shootout scene, as automatic weapons are fired all over the place during daylight hours in what I am assuming is downtown Los Angeles.

Doyle and Jack meet in the room where Jack’s been hiding and Jack tells them Gredenko’s location in the desert. Hell, after all the shit that’s gone on in the Mojave over the years, I think maybe there should be a CTU location there. CTU Mojave.

We close the hour with Logan’s ambulance screaming along the deserted road. There’s one EMT in the back and one driving and apparently no Secret Service. And like I said, the bus looked to be traveling without an escort of black sedans so, hey, nice security detail. As they’re driving, Logan calls Martha’s name with what might be his last word as his heart monitor begins to flatline. It’s possible that he just yanked off the electrode that monitors his heart but I don’t think so.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twelve (5:00PM - 6:00PM)

Air Date: 5 Mar 2007
Reviewer: J

And we now reach the halfway point of Season Six with something of a different-feeling episode. There was a lot of back and forth including characters we don’t know at all or very well and that gave this hour a very different feel, in my opinion. So let’s get to it.

We pick up with the aftermath of the explosion which cost the lives of some nameless Secret Service agents as well as Assad. This feels kind of cheap since we all know Assad was a bit deeper than the typical 24-land Islamic terrorist. Kind of reminds me of Yusuf. Remember him? The last man of middle eastern descent that wasn’t completely evil?

Wayne is brought into surgery but at a rate of speed that seems slower than the typical activity on a show like ER. Not sure why it jumped out at me but it just seemed like they weren’t in as much of a hurry as they should have been.

Over at Camp David Palmer, Jack and Logan finally get around the leaving in their snappy suits. You know, it’s not like there’s the potential of another nuke going off any frickin’ minute, right? Oh, wait, there is! Anyway, Jack and Logan get into a limo and Jack learns about the attempt on Wayne’s life, to which Logan reacts with the appropriate horror. Kind of like he did when he learned of David’s assassination.

Back at the bunker – which has apparently been deemed “secure” again by the Secret Service – the Secretary of Defense (not Heller) is telling the conferenced-in VP Noah Daniels about the sitch and how things don’t look great for Wayne right now. As such, Daniels will become, like, the 15th President to hold office for at least part of a day in the last ten years. I’ve lost track. One thing I did find interesting in this hour was that Daniels was never sworn in as President and continued to be referred to as “Mr. Vice President.” Two seasons ago, when Keeler was shot down, Logan was sworn in as the #1 man. It doesn’t really matter but it’s something I noticed.

Anyway, the Secretary of Defense (who is played by the warden from The Shawshank Redemption) questions Reed as to Lennox’s whereabouts and he uses the line I was kind of expecting him to use: “Where the hell is Tom Lennox?” Hee. Reed, basically out of bullshit excuses besides “He’s taking a massive dump, Mr. Secretary,” says he doesn’t know where Tom is. The Secretary finally notifies the SS that Lennox is “missing” and to do a sweep of the bunker and look for him. The Secret Service does not ask if they should check the holes in the briefing room.

We’re then treated to a weird scene in the boiler room wherein Reed refuses to let Carson kill Lennox. Reed thinks he’s able to talk Lennox into keeping quiet and implementing his security measures under the new acting President. Lennox at first continues to be bitchy (smart, Tom, with a guy across the room who has no qualms about murdering you) but eventually gets cagey and tacitly agrees to be quiet.

And just in time, too, as three agents are right outside the room and see the three men come out of the Boiler Room of Illicit Sexual Escapades. I mean, that’s the only logical explanation for this room having easy, direct access to the main hallway and yet not being a room with any security measures or a place where anyone would look for missing chiefs of staff.

Lennox at first looks like he’s going to go along with things and tells the agents that he’s okay. Then he casts a withering glare at Reed and turns in the two-man conspiracy. Reed looks hurt. Carson looks gobsmacked. Whatever, guys, did you really think he wasn’t going to say anything?

To his credit, and also showing he has an idea of how things work, Lennox remands himself into custody as well and asks to speak with the Attorney General.

At the airport, Daniels has landed from wherever he was flying in from and immediately gets on the horn to Buchanan to find out why the hell Logan’s out on the loose. Buchanan assures Daniels that “one of our agents” is chaperoning Logan’s field trip. Interesting choice of words, Buchanan. Is Jack really one of your agents? Better think that one through, although I guess he doesn’t have much choice, just like anything with Jack. Daniels orders that Logan be put back in his playpen as soon as CTU is done with him. Instead of…what? Going to Chuck E Cheese?

Speaking of Logan, he and Jack get to the Russian consulate and in they go. Logan insists on speaking to Markov alone and Jack pissily agrees to it. Logan and Markov act like they’re old friends and let me just say that Anatoli Markov looks the part of an old-time, cold war Soviet. He offers Logan a cigar and then cuts the tip off his own (cigar, that is) with a handy cigar cutter. Hmm, wonder if we’ll see that device again. Logan implies that Markov knows where Gredenko is and repeatedly asks for this information, even going so far as to hint at implicating Markov in last season’s Sentox nerve gas fiasco. Markov is visibly pissed and continues to deny any knowledge of the rogue Gredenko, saying they had a lover’s spat – err, falling out. Or something like that. Logan eventually backs down and thanks Markov for his hospitality and leaves. Wow, great work, Charles.

Outside, he tells Jack that he thinks Markov is lying about things and that he definitely knows where Gredenko. I don’t know where Logan got his criminal psychology degree but maybe it was during his time under house arrest in between beard trimmings.

Turns out Logan is right as Markov is already on the horn warning Gredenko about the nosy Americans, all poking around about nukes going off on their soil and all. And let me just ask this, too – if Markov knows that there are plans in place to nuke a lot of America and that this includes Los Angeles (as evidenced by this morning), why isn’t he a bit more eager to get out of town? Or does the Russian consulate have immunity against nuclear radiation?

Outside the consulate grounds, Jack asks the driver to pull over so he can hop the fence and sneak back into the consulate. What, did he realize he has to pee? Jack calls Chloe and has her get moving on arranging to blip the power at the consulate for 60 seconds so he can slip in undetected. Logan is aghast at Jack’s plan to infiltrate yet another consulate and echoes what we’ve all been saying, pointing out how he just did some hard time in a hard place for a similar violation. Jack ignores him and heads out. So this is twice now that Jack has done this and both times Logan has been vehemently and vocally against it.

We get our first glimpse of Karen Hayes in the last few hours and it turns out that she didn’t pass Assad’s plane in somewhere over Iowa. Instead, she’s been sitting at Andrews Air Force Base waiting for her plane. When she hears from Buchanan that Wayne’s down, she decides to head back to the bunker to help out. With what, Karen? You gonna bring a hammer to help put the briefing podium back together?

At the Blow’d Up Bunker, Daniels walks into the room where Lennox is being questioned by a suspicious Secret Service agent. What’s interesting is that he does make the fair point that Lennox probably should have notified Secret Service as soon as Reed first intimated the assassination attempt. Which is definitely, absolutely, positively true. Lennox claims he didn’t have any evidence but if someone even discusses assassinating the President, I believe that’s grounds for detainment. And you’d think Tom would understand that, given that his now-famous security plan hinges on arresting people for no more good reason than the color of their skin. Where’s the evidence there, Tom? See the parallel everyone? Good.

Anyway, Daniels talks to Lennox alone. Lennox refers to the VP as “Noah,” so I guess they’re buddies. Daniels basically agrees to clear Tom of the charges as long as he doesn’t go blathering that Assad was set up. This is an interesting conundrum to put Tom in. Tom never did trust Assad and he really is the architect of the security measures that Daniels wants to implement and they definitely would go into place a bit easier if Assad was public enemy number one. But Tom is again struggling with the morality of all this since he knows that Assad was innocent and was set up by Carson and Reed. Oh, the shenanigans of politics.

Speaking of shenanigans, back at the Russian consulate, Jack busts in and coldcocks Markov, who still manages to hit the panic button. Jack readily admits through the locked door that he has Markov hostage and for the Russian security detail to not come in. Jack, realizing he’s fucked, calls CTU to tell Bill what he’s done. Oh, nice position to put Bill in, Jack. Buchanan already told you that you had no jurisdiction there, putz. Whatever.

Buchanan lets the White House know and Daniels rolls his eyes but doesn’t outright condemn the actions. I think I’m secretly liking Daniels a lot more than I’m supposed to. And this enjoyment of Daniels only increases when he gets a call from Russian President Suvarov (hey, remember him from last year?! Nice continuity!) while he’s talking to Buchanan. Daniels’ look is kind of priceless as he realizes the uncomfortable conversation he’s about to have. He tells Bill he’s got to go and that he doesn’t know how long he can hold off the Russians. I liked this because it’s a lot different from the out-and-out freak-out that Logan would have had last year or the year before.

Daniels gets on the phone with Suvarov who, to his own credit, doesn’t scream at Daniels about the consulate sovereignty breach, but rather suggests the very reasonable suggestion that Jack should stand down and this should be handled diplomatically. Of course, there is the pressing issue of the nukes so I guess that justifies Jack’s actions. Which makes me wonder, how is Jack when there’s not a major threat to the United States going on? Does he go to his local cable company office and torture the people until he gets HBO? Building on that idea, wouldn’t you like to have Jack with you at your state’s department of motor vehicles? But I digress.

At the consulate, Markov is being beaten to a pulp by Jack, who has definitely gotten back his taste for torture. Markov keeps insisting he doesn’t know squat about Gredenko, even when Jack puts Markov’s pinkie finger in the aforementioned cigar cutter and – SNIP – takes it off. Aieee!!! That kind of stuff makes me actually flinch when I’m watching. Markov screams but doesn’t give in. Of course, then Jack threatens to kill Markov straight out with his gun and Markov spills the beans: Gredenko is in the high desert and is in the process of launching drone planes to distribute the nukes to strategic targets in the US. Jack goes white and gives the snickering Markov another punch in the chops.

Of course, before Jack can get this info to CTU, the Russian security team blows the doors and knocks Jack out, not for the first time today. Markov is more than a little pissed and I’m surprised he doesn’t go get his cigar cutter for retribution use. His security dude, by the way, is named Vasili. Russian for “Vaseline”? Who’s to know?

At CTU, we see Morris for his only scene of the hour and he seems to have gotten his shit back together. He has interrupted some communication from the Russian consulate and he reports that they’re saying their have an American agent in custody. Knowing this can’t be anyone besides Jack (because, for as good as he is, nobody gets pinched as much as Jack), Buchanan appears hesitant for a moment but then decides to hold off on telling Daniels about this just yet. Really? Wow, Bill doesn’t follow any procedures anymore. No, instead he asks his crew to put together a special ops team so that they can be prepared to take the Russian consulate by force if they need to. Good idea. Tell Curtis to – oh, wait, that’s right. I’m actually wondering if we’ll eventually see Buchanan in field action soon. According to his profile, he began as a field agent originally. In New York, of all places.

As we close the hour, Jack pleads with a Russian consulate agent to simply report to CTU LA that Gredenko is in the Mojave Desert (that damn Mojave again!) and is ready to launch drone planes with the nukes aboard. Skeptical Russian is skeptical but eventually is convinced to give it a go. Jack recites the number he needs to call to get to Bill Buchanan… and it’s Logan’s cell number! Oh, wait, I guess we’re not supposed to know that.

Anyway, Skeptical Russian goes to call Buchanan but makes the critical movie/TV mistake of not closing the door behind him AND keeping his back to the door. Vasili slips in behind him and blows his brains out before he can get Bill on the line. Not nice, Vasili.

So Gredenko and/or Fayed have a man inside the Russian consulate besides Markov? Wow, these guys are thorough. Speaking of Fayed, he’s apparently stopped off for a beer because we don’t see him this hour.

Damn good hour – looking forward to what comes next.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Season 6; Hour Eleven (4:00PM - 5:00PM)

Air Date: 26 Feb 2007
Reviewer: J

Hour Eleven; The Return of Logan.

Only it wasn’t nearly that exciting. We pick up with Gredenko being evil at some airplane area and seething about how the Arabs and the West will destroy each other. I’m not really sure that’s true. In fact, I think it’s a lot more likely that if the “Arabs and the West” truly went to war, there’d be something of a scorched Earth policy in place akin to what I described a few reviews back. That is, we’d scorch their Earth. But that’s neither here nor there. Gredenko is a Russian villain straight out of 1985. I’m bored with him.

What we do know is that Logan is back in the mix. He’s confined to his retreat in “Hidden Valley” California, the place we referred to last season as “Camp David Palmer.” It’s almost jarring to see the images from the retreat and the white, split-rail fence and the stables where Martha hid last year from Aaron. Speaking of Aaron, I hope he’s not still assigned to this post. And on the subject of Aaron, if it came out how Logan had planned to have Aaron killed, I wonder how eager the current Secret Service men will be to throw themselves in front of bullets for the deposed President. All questions that will have to be answered another time or, more likely, never.

We learn that the President somehow brokered a deal where he was never publicly exposed as the traitor and murderer that he kind of was. The public doesn’t know that he was involved with terrorists or the nerve gas or any of that. Which makes me wonder how his removal from office was explained. I did like how Jack learned about this and was more than a little bit pissed off… what’s neat is that because we don’t see much of what goes on between seasons, we’re learning the current situations just as Jack is.

At Camp David Palmer, Jack and Logan have an interesting exchange, during which I remembered how much I loved having Greg Itzin’s acting on the show. He really makes Logan Logan and I was enjoying him immediately, even if the need for him on this season is kind of contrived.

I enjoyed Jack smirking at Logan when Logan said he just wanted to help them with their investigation along with his “I’m listening.” I also like that they’re doing their best to tie this season into last season. Graem, Gredenko, Logan, Phillip Bauer… all supposedly connected to last season’s plot. Graem and Logan are really the bridge to it and the writers are doing a good job of cobbling it together as they go. Because you know they are.

Logan explains that the Russian Consul General, a Russky named Markov, is connected to Gredenko and that Logan can exploit him because of his involvement in the conspiracy last season. Logan didn’t give him up so he expects to use this against Makov. Frankly, to save his own ass, I have a hard time imagining Logan not giving people up freely, but then I harken back to last year when Charles was ready to commit suicide in order to protect Graem and others in the Bluetooth Gang. So maybe Charles is indeed deeper than the nearest puddle.

Jack doesn’t like where this is headed but agrees to talk to Wayne about things. Wayne has to grant the temporary furlough for Logan and obviously has some reservations about doing so. The phone exchange between Logan and Wayne was one of the chill moments of the season, I thought. Logan reminds Wayne – and all of us – about two seasons ago when David Palmer came to the bunker to help out the floundering Logan. And Wayne points out that he repaid that help by having David killed. Logan claims to only want to help the situation and to help Wayne’s Presidency much like David helped his. This rings bit hollow to Wayne (and everyone else with a heart and brain) but Wayne grants the brief release. Which makes me wonder who the hell agree to this sequestering of Logan in the first place. It couldn’t possibly be Wayne, who must have wanted Logan in a jail cell.

In our current round-and-round-we-go plot, Morris is still fighting the urge to get hammered at work. Morris, I feel you, man. Chloe does some snooping and calls his AA sponsor, who turns out to be the wrong one, she storms in on Morris taking a deuce in the mens’s room…blah blah blah. Morris manages to defend himself but then dumps out his whiskey bottle. So he was hitting the bottle? He wasn’t? He was about to? I can’t quite tell. What we can tell is that Nadia thinks Morris is a liability but Bill agrees to keep Morris on his tasks – for now. After all, Nadia has restrictions because she’s got a middle eastern background, Milo has a hole in his arm and Chloe is…well, Chloe. So who the hell else is going to do Morris’ tasks? One of these extras milling around?

At the bunker, the WASPY Carson (“Bruce” Carson, according to the Fox Website) is apparently also good at assembling bombs. What is he, exactly? A policy advisor who is a quick stuffy at building bombs out of tape recorders and highlighters? I’d say he’s more MacGuyver than policy wonk. Or maybe he’s both. Maybe we should put Carson on a ballot. In addition to his practical skills, he’s got helmet hair and is dashingly, Duke-lacrosse-team handsome. Heh.

Tom Lennox is chained to a pole in a rather compromised position for a chief of staff. Wayne keeps asking about Lennox’s whereabouts and Reed keeps running interference. You’d think this would eventually alert someone that there’s an issue. Like, oh, I don’t know, the Secret Service agent whom Tom called and said he HAD to see him. I mean, I know that missive was cancelled but still.

Carson, cold-blooded Washington insider that he is, wants to kill Lennox and make it look like a suicide. Reed defends Lennox and tries to persuade Carson not to do this since he thinks they can get Lennox to come around once the VP is in power. Wait, did someone hit Reed in the head with a Maglite, too? What does Tom have to do to prove he’s going to rat them out? Shit, Reed, you can’t really still be hoping for a reference, can you?

Carson and Reed talk some more about being patriots throughout this episode. Wait, they play for the New England Patriots? I’m not sure tom Brady would approve of this President-killing nonsense. Wait, he means the other kind of patriots. The kinds that will kill the US President in a demonstration of their patriotism. Oh, those kinds.

Reed is having clear hangups about killing the President and possibly killing Tom, which means to me that he’s not long for this world. But we’ll see. He does regain his resolve enough to get into the press briefing room and plant the tape recorder bomb in the podium. I did like Tom’s slight look of “What the hell’s he doing there?” as he entered the room and saw Reed behind the podium looking shifty. Naturally, the Secret Service looked into this. Only they didn’t.

Poor Assad, who’s being set up to take the blame for all of this and just a few hours ago was operating quietly at his house in L.A., has a nice moment with Wayne where the two appear to be forming a bond. Of course they are. Because one of them’s about to die.

This episode was notable for the limited amount of Jack it contained. After his initial convo with Logan and then Wayne, Jack spent the rest of the hour at Camp David Palmer getting into a sharp suit so he could enter the Russian Consulate disguised as one of Logan’s Secret Service agents. I guess they happened to have a 38 Short suit with 26 inch pants on hand.

Oh, and the consulate? Really, Jack? You really think that’s the best idea? When he pitched the plan to Bill, Bill understated that they “don’t have jurisdiction there.” Um, yeah, Bill, if there’s one person who knows that I think it’s Jack. As always, this doesn’t deter Jack. And why would it? How much worse could a Russian prison be from a Chinese prison?

While Logan’s getting ready in his own room, he looks at a picture of him and Martha longingly. Oh, jesus, just the vision of Martha is making me shudder. I hope she’s off making sweet love to Aaron somewhere. Somewhere far away.

Back at the bunker, we have the climactic scene of the hour. Wayne demonstrates for us why he’s not worried about Tom – he thinks Tom’s just being petulant in his disagreement with the President’s policies which is actually kind of accurate. Reed assures him Tom will be there for the speech, although I’m not sure why Wayne is so hell-bent on this. Does Tom normally blow Wayne kisses while Wayne’s on the air to make him feel loved? Does he remind Wayne to smile and angle his head just right so the light glints off it in a Presidential way?

Assad steps up to the podium to give it a whirl and Reed slips out and punches in the activation code to a PDA that Carson rigged up for him. Assad, ever-alert, notes the explosive liquid running down the podium and sees the blinking tape recorder. He yells “bomb!” just before it goes off but wouldn’t it have been funny if it was just a regular tape recorder? Everyone would have freaked for nothing. But it’s not a regular tape recorder. It’s one that you probably cannot get at Staples. It explodes and it looks like there are casualties. Sure enough, agents are down and so is Assad. In fact, so it the President, whom we learn is code-named “Citadel.” He’s alive, but conscious? Not so much.

If you’re waiting for a final set of split-screens and a last scene, you’re out of luck. We end on Wayne being down and knowing this probably means VP Daniels will take office, possibly just as he’s landing in D.C. (Unless he’s on one of those Keeler-length flights.)

Will Daniels wonder where Tom is? Will Reed turn himself in? Will Jack be involved in the death of another consul general? Will he use Agent Bern on this mission since Bern has experience with consul raids? Will Carson’s hair move?

We’ll find out, maybe, next week.