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.



Blogger Phoenician said...

Oh, this was a great hour, but not without its errors.

Myt biggest complaint, besides the many small one that you mentioned, J:

Seriously, what is up with the day time here? It's been thirteen hours, and its STILL not nightfall?? Granted, LA went from had dawn int he first hour, but we SHOULD be getting dark soon. Hopefully they will next hour (DC was dark as of 6.12, so LA SHOULD be catching up.)

I just typed "should" in all caps twice. Please excuse my fan-obsessiveness. I'm only human . . .

What I loved about this hour: Aaron. Yep, gotta love the guy, and I love the fact that he stiffed Logan -- if you don't have Pierce's loyalty, you've got zilch.

I loved Martha and Aaron together. I have a feeling J, that it was so creepy for you simply by how sweet it was. Seriously after what Martha just married, and after ALL that Aaron has witnessed, don't they deserve a decent retirement??

(granted, Tony & Michelle deserved life too a season ago, and we KNOW Jack isn't going to get a break anytime soon)

Personally, I would have LOVED the Russian fisaco to have gone larger. I don't care who you are: A White House conspiracy to cover up, a Russian/Middle Eastern duo with Nuclear Drones AND Russia to deal with would have simply been TOO MUCH for VP Daniels and perhaps make him realize now's not the time to be opportunistic. But I guess not -- shame too, I love it when CTU breaks international laws.

Speaking of CTU, I honestly believe this was one fot he few hours where CTU wasn't "off" as I have been saying since the beginning of Day VI. My only guess: Doyle.

The man is a jerk, I heartily agree, but there was such a good feeling about siding with CTU when Doyle was giving his little speech. I guess CTU just doesn't feel right if there isn't someone to hate (which REALLY hurts productivity). I mean look at CTU's past: Mason, Chappelle, Green, Hammond, Driscoll, (Michelle at a VERY short point)McGill, Hayes, Miles -- they've all had some beef with the CTU crew and we always loved it when they were defeated and/or humbled by CTU's "lippyness."

And when it comes to CTU being cheeky, where has Doyle been?? If he used to work at CTU: Denver with Milo, shouldn't he be aware that the people at CTU aren't the most sane bunch in the Intelligence community?? Unless of course, no other CTU really does as much as LA, and it's only CTU: LA that is losing it.

I loved Martha's stabbing -- seriously J, the moment I find the right looking medal and Jean Smart's address, I'm mailing her a present!

My only regret is that I won't see Itzen anymore on CTU if he dies. LOVED THE ACTOR (Both he and Jean should have earned Emmys), but Logan i'm still Aaron-spiteful towards -- he's responsible for Palmer, Tony, and Michelle, as much as Graem, Phil, and Henderson were, and I want him to pay -- "house-arrest" my rear end!

But maybe he'll live? Who knows?

Okay, I'm done.

(No I'm not -- Chloe was "Chloe" for the first time since her slap! -- keep it up!!)

NOW I'm done. :P

5:24 PM  
Blogger Phoenician said...

J . . . who's Abe??

1:09 AM  
Blogger J Money said...

Abe Froman?? He's "The Sausage King of Chicago"!

You gotta watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off sometime. You must be a youngun, Phoen. :-)

7:04 PM  
Blogger Phoenician said...

Not that young, but I am pathetically bad when it comes to films.

My real query was however, what happened to just "J," J? Why Abe and why J Money??

Just felt like a change, perhaps?

12:02 AM  

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