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.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Season 6; Hour Eighteen (11:00PM - 12:00AM)

Air Date: 16 Apr 2007
Reviewer: J

And so we return for Act 2 of the season, kind of a bit later than usual, with only seven hours to go. Jack, getting some meds for the pain he’s in (Careful! He’s a recovering addict!), sneaks over and swipes one of Fayed’s henchie’s cell phones to call back Cheng. This was an interesting move, given that, well, I don’t know. I’m just going to go with it. There’s a fair amount of that in this episode.

Cheng gets to the point: He and the Chinese want some SIM card or something from the suitcase nukes because, somehow, these scheduled-for-decommissioning bombs hold the key for Russian intelligence technology. I don’t get it, either, you’ll just have to accept it or we’ll be here all night. Cheng threatens to kill Audrey if Jack doesn’t get the card for him. It’s a good thing Cheng’s faith in Jack still wanting Audrey alive is accurate – if Jack had decided to bed Marilyn, he might just have hung up. Or, hey, what if Fayed had killed Jack? Would Cheng have let Audrey go once he learned of this?

At the White House, Tom and Wayne are discussing the VP and Wayne gets Tom to admit he has a recording of Daniels and his blonde assistant Lisa plotting perjury. Wayne smirks that he’d love to hear that tape very soon and I just love the way Wayne says that. Kind of like, “Wow! Delicious!”

Karen bustles in with the news that CTU took down Fayed and that they’ve got the nukes back. Wayne and Tom are thrilled and decide to move back upstairs to the Oval Office. Thank god they’re getting some more use out of that set this season; I was beginning to think it was a terrible waste. Of course, it’s very possible that they’re just borrowing the set from The West Wing since that show is no longer on.

Jack rings into CTU and gets Chloe on the horn. She seems happy to hear from him and then immediately Jack does what he always does and brings her into his secret little rogue game. I think it’s funny that Jack doesn’t even plead with her to help anymore – he just goes right into whatever illegal, untraceable activity he needs. In this case, he needs a schematic of the nuke so he can locate the guidance chip or whatever the hell it is that Cheng wants. Chloe has to break away from the little lovefest speech that Buchanan is giving the troops (shouldn’t he be dismissing them?) and heads to Morris’ computer because Morris is probably the only one without a classified version of the schematic. Because he filed a report with Defense. Just go with it.

Naturally, there’s some suspense and Chloe desperately tries to send the schematic to the cell phone Jack is currently using. She manages to pull it off just as Morris returns. She doesn’t even have to flash her titties to distract him.

In the sort of roundly shaped office, Wayne and Daniels meet to discuss their relationship. No, not that way you perverts. They sit opposite one another and Wayne speechifies about how Daniels was misguided but without his approach, Wayne wouldn’t have had the idea to bluff successfully like he did. Daniels looks sort of piqued for a minute, like, “Is he actually thanking me?” And for a minute I thought Wayne was going to be like his brother
when David forgave Prescott way back when Prescott basically overthrew the government. But then Wayne showed his peacock feathers and asked for Daniels’ resignation. What happened to him needing those who were loyal to Daniels? Didn’t Wayne say just like an hour or two ago that that was why he couldn’t get rid of Daniels? I don’t get that.

Anyway, Daniels refuses to resign, apparently forgetting what Tom had on him. Wayne chooses to remind the VP of that recording and asks for his resignation within a week. A week? This is a one-day season, people!

At CTU Morris realizes that someone has hacked his system. Chloe tries to discreetly birth her kittens at her station while realizing she’s been out-Chloe’ed. Morris about to report it when Chloe fesses up and asks him not to tell. He won’t accept that, though, and insists on reporting it to Buchanan. I guess all the covering for his possible drinking and lying that Chloe did earns her no points here. Nor does having given Morris who-knows-how-many hummers in their life together. She finally agrees to tell Buchanan herself and marches up there to tell him. It was so drawn-out, though, that I thought Morris was going to interrupt and save her from confessing… like that he’d come to his senses somehow. But he doesn’t.

At the location where the Marines are guarding the nukes, Jack shows up pretending he has a Presidential order to remove a circuit board from one of the nukes and when the Marines protest, he yells really loud and threatens to tell on them. This works, despite the fact that a Marine would NEVER go against an order he’s been given. Like I’ve already said this hour, just go with it.

Jack claims the location is compromised and that he wants the Marines to guard the area while he removes the circuit board. They do so and Jack pulls out the cell phone with the schematic on it and works on the nuke using the cell screen schematic as his guide. Shit, that’s a small map to work from, Jack. And if that phone is anything like my Razr, the screen will dim after just a few seconds of being open like that. And then where will you be?

Before long, Doyle is onto Jack’s little scheme and interrupts the proceedings, ordering the Marines to take down Jack. The Marines have no idea who to listen to but one finally rifle-butts Jack in the melon. Boy, wouldn’t Doyle have been pissed if that whack to the head had caused Jack to squeeze his trigger (not THAT trigger, pervs – the one on his gun; oh wait, I mean… dammit) and kill Doyle?

Back from commercials, Jack is coming around and Doyle lets him talk to Buchanan who flatly refuses to let Jack bring the component to the Chinese in exchange for Audrey, no matter how good she is in the sack. Perhaps Buchanan is just jealous because he only gets to nail Karen Hayes and not Audrey. Either way, he’s rather steely in his resolve not to give in to Jack this time. Jack then decides to tell daddy and asks to speak to the President.

Naturally, Jack is able to talk Wayne into allowing this little charade. Jack gives “his word” that he won’t let anything happen wherein the Chinese get the component, the Russians get mad, and we’re subsequently involved in a pissing contest with Russia. Yeah, because things are so good between us and them already with what happened at their Consulate a few hours ago.

Wayne doesn’t want to comply but Jack points out that Wayne “owes him.” Yeah, I suppose so, but still – this isn’t about personal favors, this is about avoiding conflicts with nuclear-equipped nations. I guess if it doesn’t work, though, and Cheng and the Chinese government end up with the mysterious component, the U.S. can just ask Martha Logan to call Anya Suvarov to smooth things over with Yuri.

Wayne ends up agreeing to this – and this is important – and Jack asks for Doyle to be his helper on this little mission of personal vendetta. Buchanan is told by Wayne to give Jack the support he needs. Well, this all sounds like an excellent use of government resources twelve hours after a nuclear device was detonated in the same part of the country.

Jack tells Doyle that he plans to rescue Audrey, destroy the circuit board, kill Cheng, and then make sweet, sweet love to Audrey in only the way a man who’s been caged for two years can. Well, he leaves out that last part, but he does say it about Cheng. Killing him, not making sweet love to him. Which is interesting, since Cheng is ostensibly a diplomat that the U.S. government has been treating as such.

On the way out, Doyle gives Jack some grief about how he’s risking a lot for Audrey and that he (Doyle) hopes she’s worth it. Jack gets all snotty about how she served her country with honor and deserves to be rescued and some shit like that. Right, Jack, like it’s not her sweet-as-buttermilk nipples or mouth-like-a-Hoover that are really on top of the list of reasons why she should be saved. I don’t think Doyle’s buying it, either.

Back at the White House, Daniels is confiding in Lisa, the blonde bitch who essentially has cost him his Vice Presidency, that he has to resign because of Tom’s recording of them conspiring to commit perjury. Lisa feels awful – and she should. But speaking of sweet asses, Daniels won’t hold it against her. He has other things to hold against her. He says he wants his resignation in Wayne’s hands immediately. Well, that only makes sense. Wayne suggested waiting a week to let the country absorb the recent attacks so it only stands to reason that Daniels would disobey the only thing left from Wayne that he can disobey. In addition, there’s about a paragraph of text in Daniels’ letter of resignation. Wouldn’t you just love to read that?

Daniels and Lisa head to the briefing room and respectfully look on at Wayne’s press conference where he is proudly telling the assembled media that the threat is under control. Of course, in the first hour we learned the country has been experiencing significant terrorist attacks for six weeks. How do we know it’s over? Couldn’t there be some Fayed splinter cells out there? I’m paying too close attention? Oh, okay.

DB Woodside does a good job in this scene, as Wayne misspeaks a couple of times but only slightly. He also calls a reporter by the wrong name, which was when I sort of began to think something bad was about to happen. Then his stuttering and stammering began. And then he collapsed. So either Wayne was having low blood sugar issues or he just stroked out. Daniels evily watches from the viewing area at the back of the room and evily puts away his resignation letter. Evily. Definitely not good that this happened on live TV.

Back in the Oval Office, there’s a somber gathering of Daniels, Lisa Miller, Tom Lennox, Karen Hayes and a very guilty looking Dr. Welton. Welton confirms that the Prez suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Despite being resilient so far today, Welton thinks Wayne is retiring for the evening. Everyone seems appropriately saddened, even Daniels. He carps a little at Welton but ends with telling him to do everything to save the President’s life. Welton shows more restraint than I would by not saying, “Oh, really? I was just going to feed him Tic Tacs but now that you ordered me to, I will give him actual medicine.”

Once Welton has taken leave of the room, Daniels strolls over to the desk and calmly requests that the cabinet be notified of his taking power back under the 25th Amendment. This time legitimately. He also seems to genuinely want to govern and maybe he is going to be okay since this is sort of a second chance. But then he learns about Jack’s mission and, well, maybe he’s not such a changed man after all. He learns of Wayne’s deal with Jack and the circuit board thingie in question and has a minor freak out. He, somewhat fairly, points out that it’s an unnecessary risk that Wayne allowed Jack to take. And Daniels certainly has a leg to stand on in terms of claiming Wayne’s mental state was altered, given what just happened on live television.

Karen and Tom can’t even argue that vehemently since they probably don’t think Daniels is all that far out of line with this call. Karen immediately calls Buchanan to break the news. Way to drag your feet a little there, Karen. Buchanan agrees since he’s become nothing more than a robot who exposits information and allows himself to be told what to do. He reverses course on the Jack/Audrey Reunion Mission and calls Doyle to let him know that, just kidding, they’re really not going to help Jack anymore. He even asks Doyle if Jack can hear him. No, Bill, Jack decided he likes riding down next to the driveshaft and so he’s clinging to the underside of the truck.

Doyle, to his credit, quickly and smoothly lies that there’s a problem on the freeway ahead and that they need to take a different one. Seems plausible enough. But Jack’s on to him quickly, since Jack knows there aren’t ever traffic problems in Los Angeles so Doyle must be lying. He pulls his pistol on Doyle and reminds us all that he killed his pal Curtis earlier in the day because Curtis wouldn’t let Jack have his way. So he’ll gladly do the same for Mike Doyle since he actually liked Curtis and only just met Doyle a few hours ago. Doyle seems to believe the nutbar in the passenger seat and secretly plots the objects with which he’s going to beat Buchanan when he gets back to CTU.

Jack has them stop and hijacks Doyle’s vehicle. He fails to put Doyle in a sleeper hold, though, and drives away. Doyle yells at him that he “can’t go against the White House!”

Oh yeah? Watch him.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Season 6; Hour Seventeen (10:00PM - 11:00PM)

Air Date: 9 Apr 2007
Reviewer: J

You could almost name every episode a “Return of [INSERT CHARACTER NAME HERE],” starting with Jack in the premiere. The end of this hour brought back the uncredited Kim Raver as Audrey Raines, as well as our old friend Cheng Zhi. But we’ll get to them.

It appears that something went on in the writers room while this episode was being created. Perhaps series creator Joel Surnow or maybe Kiefer himself came in and said, “That’s it! We need to wrap up this storyline!” Because that’s what happened in this hour. And these kinds of hours are often among the best because so much DOES finally happen.

As you’ll recall from the previous week, Wayne recovered well enough to stop the Vice President from nuking the Mideast. And then, to celebrate that victory, Wayne elected to… nuke the Mideast. We pick up this hour with Tom Lennox and Karen Hayes trying to get Wayne, again, to reconsider and I have to imagine Tom is wondering now who is actually fit for office. I mean, if you’re going to have a leader blowing up brown people at random anyway, perhaps it SHOULD be the one who was not recently blown up himself.

The somewhat freaked-out ambassador of this as-yet unnamed country (they keep calling it “Fayed’s country,” so I think maybe we should call it Fayedia) rings into the conference room to ask what the F is up. Wayne doesn’t have much to give him except that he’s retaliating and maybe, just maybe, if the ambassador helps out, Wayne will reconsider melting Fayedia.

The ambassador (also unnamed to this point, which is kind of obnoxious of the show) finally loses this rather high-stakes staring contest with Wayne and announces that they’ve “uncovered new information.” Yeah, I bet they have… oh look, it’s right here on my desk under my organizer!

Ambassador Nameless hastily explains that they think this general in their army, General Habib, has been helping Fayed. They’ve arrested Habib (that was fast) and they’re interrogating him right now. Wayne is more than a little pissed since it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (even Wayne figured it out) to realize that Ambassador Nameless has been lying about his Fayedia’s knowledge of Habib’s involvement. Wayne agrees to abort the missle but demands the Ambassador come BACK to the White House again (what is this, his third or fourth trip?) to provide intel on Habib. Ambassador Nameless agrees and takes leave to change his underwear. Look at the bright side, Ambassador Nameless; if your country is gone, you get to stay in sunny LA. Until Fayed makes sure that IT’S gone. So it goes.

It also turns out that had the ambassador had a bit more in the testicle department, he would have seen Wayne as even weaker than we all thought since the bomb was unarmed. Not armed with a nuclear warhead, that is. I imagine it still would have hurt, though, if it came through your hostel window.

Tom apologizes for doubting Wayne’s strength, something he could have read about Mike Novick doing in Season Two to Wayne’s brother. Wayne is magnanimous about the whole thing but perhaps that’s more to do with the fact that his hand is twitching and his brain is about to explode. We’ll see.

Somewhere in Santa Monica, Jack is whaling away on Fayed, who is tied to a chair. Well, that’s hardly sporting. Why Jack doesn’t start cutting off Fayed’s fingers is beyond me since Fayed was about to do that to Jack back in the first hour of the season. And it also worked on Markov so why not give it a whirl. There’s a somewhat funny moment when Jack appears to hurt his scarred and mangled hand while blasting Fayed. There’s some back and forth, blabiddy blah, where Doyle wants to have a go at Fayed but Jack won’t let anyone else play with his middle eastern toy.

The decision is made to bring Fayed back to CTU and to have Agent Burke, the incompetent torture guy, standing by with his kit of destruction. Doyle appears skeptical of pharma-torture being effective but Jack coldly replies that he’s seen it work. Well, sure, but you were pointing a gun at Burke and demanding that he increase dosages on your brother. And also, you held Tony in your arms and watched him die after Henderson injected one of Burke’s syringes into Tony’s chest, but I’d hardly call that “effective.”

Suddenly, the CTU van is ambushed and overturned. Second CTU van destroyed today – whoever runs the motor pool is going to be pissed. A firefight ensues and both Jack and Doyle are hit. Fayed is rescued from the van and fortunately, nobody comes over and puts a bullet in Doyle’s or Jack’s heads. And do you know why? Of course you do. This was a ruse! And if only Fayed knew Jack a little better, he’d know that.

Amid the chaos, Doyle cut himself and when Nadia hears this over the radio, she asks him (using his first name) if he needs medical assistance. He thanks her for her concern. Oh, just fuck already and make Milo blow his own brains out.

On the Faux Terrorvan, the CTU operatives posing as terrorists explain to Fayed that they were sent by General Habib to help him out. Fayed is suspicious, which is weird to me since he, like to many 24 bad guys, seems to have limitless henchmen so how could he possibly know each and every one? Nevertheless, Fayed asks for a gun which is given to him. He checks to make sure it’s loaded and then says he wants to talk to Habib. Now, the whole loaded gun thing – I’m going to assume the fake jailbreak that CTU staged was done using blanks and not live ammo; otherwise, that was hellishly dangerous to all involved. So why not have a gun at the ready with blank ammo in it for Fayed? That would seem to be quite the safety net when it comes to protection. Why am I analyzing this? Well, if you’ve seen the hour, you already know.

At the bunker, Wayne brings Ambassador Nameless up to speed and says they need to convince General Habib to call Fayed and get in on this major episode of Punk’d. Ambassador Nameless doesn’t think Habib is going to be cooperative. Well, Wayne could always fire another fake nuclear missile at him. Or maybe Martha Logan can call Mrs. Habib and broker something. Speaking of the Logans… oh, never mind.

Wayne’s actual suggestion is a bit more chilling – he asks if they’ve considered threatening to kill his family to make Habib talk. (Habib’s family, not Wayne’s.) Everyone in the room, including Ambassador Nameless, is aghast that Wayne would suggest such tasteless measures. Right, because Fayed, Habib and the rest of their crew wouldn’t resort to underhanded measures. Hypocrites.

Apparently, Fayedia’s government complies, because just a couple minutes later Habib is ringing up Fayed on the cell phone in the Faux Terrorvan. Fayed talks to Habib while Nadia listens in at CTU and translates. Good thing Buchanan talked her into staying.

The Fox summary states that Habib is calling from a “middle eastern holding cell.” Now why do we care which wing of the building Habib is calling from? Or maybe they mean a middle eastern holding cell instead of a middle eastern terrorist cell. Big difference.

Anyway, Habib chides Fayed for dropping the ball on their intended targets for the day. Fayed, to his credit, doesn’t lecture Habib for the beating he has recently endured, nor for the mental trauma and anguish he’ll long be feeling after having to take off Gredenko’s arm with an axe. Habib tosses in a stinger about how he should have sent “Samir” to do the job. Wow, way to twist the knife there, Habib. Everyone knows Samir is a putz.

Fayed appears satisfied and directs the Faux Terrorvan towards where he has the bombs stashed. However, Nadia seems to have uncovered the fact that Samir has been dead for several years and thus, this might be a distress signal to Fayed. You know, like
being in a “flank two position.”

CTU tells this to Jack who then calls this info in to the field team in the Faux Terrorvan. Suddenly (and predictably), while the van is in a tunnel, CTU loses audio and video and the van appears to stop in the tunnel. Jack orders the team on the other side to seal their end. They immediately begin closing up the end of the tunnel with bricks and mortar. Man, the morning commuters are going to be rather pissed. Maybe they’ll paint it to look like the road ahead and hilarity will ensure as people drive right into it, all cartoon-like. Okay, those last few sentences aren’t true.

Jack and Doyle race into the tunnel and come upon the Faux Terrorvan, which is light one actual terrorist. Most of the Faux Terrorteam are dead and Jack takes off looking for Fayed. And he finds him, hijacking a garbage truck. In a “boiler room,” according to Fox’s summary. That’s got to be the biggest boiler room I’ve ever seen.

Jack decides the best course of action here is not to tell CTU where Fayed is and to have them try to track the gigantic garbage truck careening through the city. Instead he climbs onto the undercarriage and decides to hang on. I sure hope Fayed isn’t driving to Las Vegas or something. Jack does decide after riding a few feet that maybe this would work better with some backup and so he tries to radio to CTU on his earpiece but the racket from the truck makes this impossible. Nice technology, CTU. I also have to think that clinging to the bottom of a moving garbage truck might hurt the rib muscles a bit.

Also, not to harp on Fox’s recapping abilities, but their summary says that “Jack is clinging to the undercarriage of the truck, just inches from the asphalt that speeds past his head.” I mean, really, I don’t think the asphalt speeds anywhere. In fact, I think it’s stationary and it’s Jack and the truck that are speeding over the asphalt. But hey, I’m no physicist.

Back at the bunker during all of this, Wayne has dismissed Ambassador Nameless and right after he is out the door and Tom and Wayne are alone, Wayne collapses, telling Tom to lock the door and the “nobody can know.” About what? The sweet love you and Tom are about to make?

Tom disobeys and sends for the harried Dr. Welton, who has be harangued by the VP and the P today. Wayne insists on some more adrenaline and Welton flatly refuses this time, saying that he shouldn’t have caved in the first time and that another injection could well kill the Prez. Wayne, with a blood pressure of 80/60 (I think) struggles to his feet, re-adjusts his tie, puts his coat back on and states that he’s getting back to work. Again, Wayne, I think you can lose the tie and jacket and nobody would think less of you.

Fayed gets to his warehouse which is fortunately just about eight minutes away from where he ambushed the Faux Terrorvan by himself. He and his men set about getting ready to depart on Fayed’s revised mission to simply decimate Los Angeles with the remaining two nukes. Ah, a scorched Earth policy, eh Fayed? Interesting. Jack finds this interesting as well and as soon as he sees the bombs he opens fire on Fayed and the Fayedettes. As usual, Jack and his pistol overmatch several men who are armed with superior artillery and are firing from superior positions. I think Jack’s hiding behind some cardboard boxes or something but, as usual, that’s enough. I also think it was awfully cavalier of Jack to just open fire. What if those aren’t the bombs but are in fact silver cases of used pinball machine parts?

As always, though, Jack’s Jacktics turn out to be on the nose. He takes out Fayed’s men and then bum-rushes Fayed, who is frantically trying to nuke the…warehouse? I guess it’s got to be close to downtown LA since it only took them eight minutes to get here in a garbage truck. It’ll have to do. But Jack gets to him and the two fight viciously and it’s a good fight. It really appears that these two hate one another and want to claw each other’s eyes out. As one would expect, Jack does manage to win and wraps a chain around Fayed’s neck and the strings him up. Rather than having him do time for what he’s done. I suppose that’s what we all wanted but Fayed’s happy to be martyred, one might think.

Jack again shows his cold side with his “Say hello to your brother” line right before he uses the chain to strangle Fayed. Very 1980s movie hero of you, Jack. I wonder if Fayed has any other brothers.

Right as Jack has finished the heavy lifting, Doyle and the cavalry arrive. Nice timing, boys. Doyle amuses us all as he looks at the carnage and comments, “Damn, Jack.” CTU is joyous that the remaining nukes are secured. So now they can focus on helping with the fallout from the Valencia blast from that morning, right? Or maybe everyone can go home, especially guys like Milo who has been shot and Morris who has been drilled.

You’ll note that I kind of ignored the Milo-Nadia angle to this point. That’s because this couldn’t get much stupider. Milo is now pissy that Nadia was sort of nice to Doyle in asking if he needed medical attention. When in reality, she should have done what, Milo? Offered medical attention to someone who isn’t bleeding? It’s so high-schoolish it’s kind of embarrassing.

At the site of Fayed’s last breathes, the teams are milling around and it looks like Jack has saved the day, leaving us with seven hours of report filing to watch to wrap up the season. Also, what will become of Jack? Will he officially come back to work now that he doesn’t have to hide from the Chinese anymore? Or will he now start his quest for the killers of his dead girlfriend, Audrey? These questions are, of course, rhetorical because suddenly Jack is getting a call routed through the CTU switchboard. And Jack still hasn’t learned taking calls with a minute or two to go in an hour – and especially when all seems well – can never mean good news. I was kind of thinking it might be Kim but there’s some silence and then….


It’s fucking Audrey. Alive. And sweaty. But sadly not in a bra and panties only. I guess once that shitty show that Kim Raver had got cancelled she was suddenly available to appear on 24 again. Suddenly, our old friend Cheng Zhi from the Chinese consulate (who apparently pulls, like, triple duty guarding the consulate, interrogating state prisoners in China and also overseeing hostage-nabbing in LA) comes on the line with his patented, “Hello, Mister Bow-air” routine. So I guess Audrey is indeed what Wayne traded to the Chinese to get Jack back. High price, indeed. Audrey’s a fine piece of tail. Tail that Jack suddenly has renewed hope he might be able to reacquaint himself with. Cheng tells Jack that he has to call back at President Logan’s cell phone number if he wants to see Audrey alive again. Only I guess it’s not supposed to be Logan’s cell number. Wait, didn’t Jack give that number as the CTU main switchboard to the Russian who was going to help him? Won’t Cheng get a good laugh when Jack tries to call back and it rings through to Chloe! Ha! Oh, that Cheng!

Really, though, Cheng’s got Audrey and while I’m assuming they’re in LA, you know that’s the only way this will work in the next seven hours. I guess we’ve got either an exciting ending to Season Six lined up or we’re headed towards another cliffhanger and the precursor for Season Seven. Only time will tell – seven hours of time, to be precise.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Season 6; Hour Sixteen (9:00PM - 10:00PM)

Air Date: 2 Apr 2007
Reviewer: J

So here we are at this season’s “Actual Hour,” a term I just made up for the hour that actually matches when the show airs. I think it would be amusing if we saw someone’s home and they had 24 on their TV, sort of like a self-aware in-joke. No? Okay, fine.

As you’ll recall, the previous hour ended with VP Daniels straying even further off the reservation and asking for the Attorney General so he can have Wayne removed from office. Interesting to me in all this is that of all the advisors sitting around in this room (considerably more than Logan seemed to have nearby during any of his crisis), nobody has the cojones to stand up to Daniels, or even to question his thinking, other than Tom and Karen. Are the Joint Chiefs really just that eager to nuke somebody?

Wayne is getting ready to head in to the situation room and he’s already back in his tie. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely go with the no-tie look for a situation like this. That situation being the rather rare one of needing to go back to work just a few hours after being blown up because your support staff are doing the complete opposite of what you need them to do.

Wayne wants to get out of his wheelchair because he doesn’t want to be seen as weak. I think waking up from a coma and coming back to work – again, mere hours after having been blown up – probably removes the idea that you’re weak, Wayne. Karen points out that FDR did just fine in a wheelchair. Oh, okay, so real Presidents existed in the 24 universe? Interesting. And, hey, Karen? Stupid point. The world was a little different in 1940 and FDR wasn’t ever on television. But I digress.

As part of Wayne’s not-looking-weak endeavor, he asks Dr. Welton to give him a shot of adrenaline. Welton hesitates at first but gives in. So I guess the President’s health is only…sort of your primary concern, doctor?

At the Hauser House, Jack is on the cellie with Buchanan saying he thinks Gredenko rolled over too easily and that something must be up. When he hears about the Presidential upheaval going on at the White House, Jack somehow deduces that this will make the amnesty papers non-binding so they can screw over Gredenko if they so choose. I’m not sure how Jack figures this. Although we don’t ever see either Daniels or Palmer agree to sign such amnesty papers. So maybe Jack fakes Palmer’s signature? Hard to say.

At the bunker, Wayne painfully strides into the conference room and is greeted with a handshake from Noah Daniels. And let me just say that DB Woodside does a very nice job of communicating to us, the viewers, the level of pain he is in.

Wayne and Daniels both make their case as to why they’re right with regard to the 25th amendment. Tom appears to be the moderator of this little tête-à-tête, and let me just say that I’m glad this is what our government is doing during a time of such national crisis. Nice show of solidarity, guys. Well-done.

The cabinet gets a ten-minute pee-break from Tom and is told to then come back and vote. While this break is happening, we see the happenings back at CTU, which are no less political. Milo and Nadia agree to forget about what’s happened so far that day but Milo doesn’t think they can forget about “the kiss.” Yeah, well, please let us try to forget about it, Milo. Thanks.

Doyle calls in Nadia and says that he’s moved onto someone else to blame for computer problems at CTU and he’s going after a lanky white guy instead of a Muslim so, hey, look at how non-racist he is! Nadia is annoyed when Doyle says he thinks Milo screwed up some security something-or-other and that he wants Nadia to obtain the proof from Milo’s computer. Nadia does it to potential save Milo the embarrassment of being arrested for his screw-up. Wow, that’s a dramatic penalty for someone making a mistake. Although I suppose if Milo focused more on his job than on what color panties Nadia wears, maybe he’d have done it correctly. I was kind of annoyed that Doyle used his nearly the same line on Nadia about Milo that he used on Milo about Nadia: “What, are you too busy trying to decide if you want to sleep with him?” Shut up, Doyle, seriously.

Of course, after Nadia screws up her courage and pushes away the guilt she’s feeling over doing it and gets the goods on Milo, she brings it to Doyle and confirms he was right – it was Milo who screwed up. Or maybe it was Nadia, since she was logged in under Milo’s login, right?? No? Oh, have we forgotten that, writers?

Doyle then makes his second magnanimous move of the past two hours and covers up Milo’s mistake in “the logs,” which seem to be awfully easy to change. I mean, this is, what, the tenth time we’ve seen this done, at least? We’re then shown that Doyle has read the Koran and other religious books because he’s still searching for his own answers. Is this supposed to make him a deeper character or something? I guess, but I’m not that interested in Mike Doyle’s internal strife. I mean, if you’re religious then good for you. But if you’re into your 30s and you still are “searching for answers” from religious texts, then maybe you’re looking in the wrong places, you know?

Back at the bunker, the vote comes up and the cabinet appears split on whether Wayne is fit for duty. And, for a change, I think this might be a fair projection. Wayne was indeed severely injured and was just in a coma. It’s reasonable to assume he might need more than a few hours off from work before he can think clearly. However, when you look at the alternative – Daniels – it’s hard to think he’s a better option. Again, I must ask – how do the Palmer brothers choose running mates? Do they look for the sneakiest, most-likely-to-overthrow-and-bomb man they can find? Or are we to assume Palmer really needed Daniels to win the election, which is the only possible reason these two would partner up?

Anyway, the vote (done by a show of hands like this is fifth grade, which, sometimes, it feels like it is) is indeed split right down the middle at 7-7. The Attorney General points out that this is not a majority so the President remains in office. The celebration is short, however, as Daniels points out that Karen Hayes resigned earlier that day and thus is no longer a voting member of the cabinet. Uh-oh, he’s got a point there. It’s 7-6, therefore, assuming the Attorney General doesn’t tell us that we have to appoint a new National Security Advisor and ask them how they would vote. Speaking of the AG, it’s not the same guy from last season who Chloe played the recording of Logan and Martha for that led to Logan’s arrest. If Logan has any political clout, that guy is probably the public defender in Barrows, Alaska at this point.

Naturally, there’s squawking about how Karen’s resignation never took effect and I can’t believe this is still going on. Are they just looking to fill half of the hour with something? This is kind of ridiculous. Now it looks like the Supreme Court is going to have to get involved and make a ruling on this. On what, exactly? On whether or not Karen’s resignation is binding? Wow, that sounds riveting.

We’re saved from having to deal with this – and from having to watch Sandra argue to the Supreme Court – when Daniels makes a critical mistake. Lisa (Daniels’ assistant/cohort/secretary/fluffer) comments that she’s not feeling real confident about their chances of getting Supreme Court support on their case. She then offers to lie to the SC and tell them that she was supposed to tell Karen she wasn’t being kept on as NSA but that with all the ruckus it hadn’t been communicated to her yet. Daniels, for his part, actually hesitates and points out that this is perjury and could land her in a bigger mess than perhaps she realizes. She acknowledges this point but says it’s for the greater good, just like nuking civilians in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. It takes about three seconds for Daniels to be convinced since, after all, it’s not his ass on the line; rather, it’s Lisa’s finely shaped ass that will be on the line. To that end, Daniels takes her hand rather…lecherously, and thanks her for this. Oh, it’s so sweet when women commit felonies for the men they believe in.

A couple minutes later, though, Tom strolls into the lounge and asks Lisa to take leave of the room. Miss Thing gives him one of her patented looks as she goes by and I know I’m not the only one who notices these. My bride-to-be said to me, “What’s with the looks this one gives everybody? She bothers me.” She is a smirking little bitch, isn’t she?

Tom moseys over to a bowl of some sort and shows Daniels a bug he planted in the room not long after he was compelled to lie to the ambassador of Unnamed Middle Eastern Country (UMEC) about having seen Assad plant the bomb. Daniels is clearly beaten here and I think he knows it but he has his one card to play and that’s his intimidating voice and hulking stature, something he’s already used on Tom more than once today. He warns Tom about what he’s doing but it makes me really want to cheer for Tom because it’s Tom who has Daniels beans in his fist now and all he has to do is squeeze. And to Tom’s credit, unlike almost any other character on this show, he doesn’t want something for himself first. He simply tells Daniels to stand down on taking over the Presidency. We don’t see it happen but we learn that Daniels complies. Wayne questions why he would back down, like that matters.

At the Santa Monica pier, where Fayed has ordered Gredenko to meet him, CTU agents bug Gredenko and also inject radioactive isotopes into his arm to track him. Why not just make him swallow a bug? Oh, we’ll see why, don’t you worry. When it’s time for him to go meet Fayed, they release him from the inconspicuous black van with government license plates on it that’s sitting alone at the pier. Gee, I hope Fayed is on the merry-go-round in the background and isn’t watching this unfold. Good god.

Gredenko follows text messaged directions to a tool shed of sorts that has various tools in it, including axes. Axes? Yes. Somewhere Chase Edmunds shudders.

Inside the tool room, Gredekno silently exposes his wiring from CTU and disconnects it. Milo however still has Gredenko tracked from the isotope tracker in his arm. And this is where I get a bit confused. Gredenko tells Fayed he has a way they can all escape. And then we don’t see the rest of the conversation. The next thing we know, Jack busts into the room and nobody is there. Which is a good thing, since Jack would have been a bit outnumbered. He does find part of one of the people – Gredenko’s arm, replete with the wedding band we seemed to keep getting shots of whenever Gredenko was on the phone with somebody. Icky.

So, do you think Gredenko’s plan to was have his own arm chopped off? And how is that possible? They clearly used an axe and they cut it off up near the shouder… that’s a hell of a chop. And remember when Chase’s hand was taken off with an axe? He lost consciousness from the agonizing pain, which I think is rather accurate. Gredenko, however, is able to walk with the others and is only sweating a bit as he gives direction on what they need to do. He couldn’t possibly have thought he was going to survive this, could he? Or is it possible his plan entailed a little less extremity-removal? Because based on their relationship thus far, I can’t imagine Gredenko was willing to give up an arm for Fayed. That seems a bit…incongruous, to say the least.

Anyway, after a shootout wherein Jack takes out a couple of Fayed’s men with deadly accurate pistol shots in the dark, Fayed and Gredenko make their way into a bar on the pier, at which point Gredenko outs Fayed to the bar patrons as “the terrorist on TV.” Fayed has a rather awesome look on his face like, “You Russky son of a bitch,” as the bar patrons begin to jump him. Fayed, though, is a tough dude and shoots down at least one patron and begins kicking some ass. It doesn’t last long, though, as brown people in the midst of a terrorist situation are no match for angry, mob-like Americans. Americans who are at a bar on the Santa Monica pier at almost 10 PM on the day a nuclear bomb went off less than 40 miles away.

Jack actually comes in and saves Fayed’s ass from probably certain death, clearing the bar (no last call?) and kicking Fayed in the chops, knocking him unconscious. Jack lets CTU know the situation, which is pretty much the same as it was last hour: he has a terrorist but no bombs. The only difference is that he has Fayed and no bombs instead of Gredenko and no bombs.

Under the Santa Monica pier, Gredenko stumbles along the beach and finally succumbs to what had to have been obvious from the beginning. His blood loss and the trauma of having an arm removed at the bicep area with a frickin’ axe prove to be too much for a man in his 50s or 60s and Gredenko collapses to the sand, presumably dead. Bye, Gredenko. Your day was pretty much a total waste, wasn’t it? You didn’t get to blow up anybody. Good thing you got that amnesty, putz.

We end at the White House bunker where Karen wants a truce with Tom. Hasn’t she sort of suggested this already today? Tom still clearly has no love for Karen and limply shakes her hand in agreement of the truce. She inquires about how the VP was convinced to back off and Tom lies that he doesn’t know and he lies extraordinarily unconvincingly. Even Karen can see this and says she’s love to know the reason someday. “Someday,” Tom agrees as he answers his cell...and is told that the President is actually ordering the strike that Daniels wanted to push through. Wait..wha?

Lennox rushes to the situation room and asks what the hell is going on. Wayne replies that the second adrenaline shot he just growled Dr. Welton into giving him has gone straight to his swollen brain and makes him want to blow shit up. Well, he didn’t exactly say that. Really, he said that he is tired of being seen as weak, including by Tom. Well, nuking the Middle East ought to fix that perception right up and also ought to realign Wayne very well with his Vice President. And maybe that’s the plan. But who the hell knows at this point?

Yes, that was a shocking ending but, well, I don’t get it. I’m sure we’ll abort the attack before it hits and everyone will be happy except for Daniels who really wants some brown people melted.

Officially declared missing by me, by the way, include the following:

Philip Bauer


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Season 6; Hour Fifteen (8:00PM - 9:00PM)

Air Date: 26 Mar 2007
Reviewer: J

Yes, yes, I’ve gone missing for a couple of weeks. Well, I’m back now and you get a double-dip of my witticisms this week. What can I say? Work life intervened with play life and as a result you didn’t get a review last week. Alternatively, we can blame D for this since he doesn’t work here anymore anyway. Just think of me and D as Palmer and Daniels. I’ll let you all decide who’s who.

But on to Hour Fifteen, from two weeks ago. There were some things in this hour that kind of pissed me off, though they had their virtues, which leaves me kind of torn. I’m of course talking about Rain Man Brady, but we’ll get to him.

In case you forgot, the previouslies show us how Gredenko and Fayed launched the drone plane that Jack managed to crash-land on the outskirts of San Francisco only to have the local firemen exposed to radiation. Well, as we roll into the eight o’clock hour, Gredenko and Fayed are beginning to wonder if something’s gone awry or if Google Maps was inaccurate in just how far away San Francisco actually is. There’s a standoff between the two that’s supposed to be intense and Gredenko goads Fayed about killing him when he still needs him. I’m sure this is supposed to make me think…something. But it just reminds me that both these guys are unlikable and they seem to trade episodes taking turns as to who is really in charge. They both blame each other for things going wrong and both seem to be right sometimes. Meh.

At the site of the drone pilot’s final minutes, Jack gets on the horn to Buchanan and learns that VP Daniels is planning to nuke the as yet unnamed Middle Eastern country in retaliation. For Jack’s shitty landing? That’s not really fair. Jack acts like Daniels is all nuts for using this level of force. I guess that’s fair. When compared to nuclear bombs, cutting off people’s fingers is considerably less drastic and has less collateral damage.

Buchanan basically tells Jack that he figures they need to wrap this thing up by finding Gredenko and/or Fayed before the nuke attack happens. And when is that? By the end of the hour. Well, what the hell would I do for the next nine hours, then? Review episodes showing Jack on the phone with CTU HR trying to collect backpay?

Gredenko, too, is back on the horn again and calls a new character, a scruffy thirtysomething dude named Mark Hauser. Good thing his name isn’t Maxwell. Gredenko wants better “security specs” than the ones Hauser already provided. Huh? Okay. Gredenko says he’s coming to Hauser’s house (the Hauser House?) to get the specs in about 40 minutes. Hauser goes to the kitchen where his brother Brady announces, “I hungry!” Oh, outstanding. We’re out of ideas so instead of an unwilling civilian being forced to play along with CTU, now we’re going to have a retarded civilian playing along. These are the moments when I think the writing staff are truly running out of ideas.

Anyway, Brady is Rain Man when it comes to breaking into Mark’s employer and stealing stuff so Mark dispatches him to do that while he improves the crap-ass meal he was making for Brady. Oh, the meal? Scrambled eggs with red peppers in them. Yuck. Brady says he doesn’t want the red peppers. I’m with you, Brady. He also says he doesn’t eat red food, but does no elaborate. I’d test Rain Man here by offering him some Swedish Fish and Jolly Ranchers.

Back at CTU, we see that Milo is spending yet another episode pensively watching Nadia in the interrogation room. Is he hoping she forgets the cameras are there and starts disrobing like the scene in American Pie? Her name was Nadia, too, let’s not forget. Bill interrupts Milo’s daydream (and mine) to tell him Nadia “being processed as an enemy combatant.” Whatever. We all know she’s too hot to be guilty.

At the same time, Chloe has fortuitously caught one of those CTU breaks. Good thing, too, cause things were looking bleak and Milo had nothing to do but stare at Nadia. Anyway, Chloe has intercepted Gredenko’s call to Hauser and has his address by pulling up his drivers license. How come whenever I see a California driver’s license on TV or movies, the person’s picture always looks like a professional head shot? They’re always sort of angled to the side whereas every other state I’ve seen has you looking straight ahead. I’ve held New Jersey and New York driver’s licenses and they looked like… well, licenses. But I guess California is different.
Another interesting tidbit I noted was the dating on Hauser’s license. It has him born in 1982 and the license expiring in 2014, if I’m not mistaken (which I could be since I don’t have the hour cued up in front of me as I write this). So we are indeed in around 2012 as has been widely reported. It also makes Hauser about 30 years old. Which is interesting when Chloe later pulls up his employment history and we see he had job listings back in 1997…when he was about 15. Must have been precocious. Nice work, continuity department. If I can spot things like this on one or two viewings, I would think someone working on the set might be able to pay attention to them. Especially seeing as how this show has a predominant focus on, you know, timing.

Buchanan orders Jack’s team to the address. Meanwhile, a new tech guy names Johnson calls Doyle over to show him a chip he found that, in a nutshell, exonerates Nadia. The baddies hacked into her computer using this magic chip and so Doyle’s roughing her up was actually unwarranted, although he didn’t know that when he did it. Smug Johnson (sounds like a good porn movie title) points out that this could land Doyle in some serious shit if Nadia decides to sue his ass. Which seems silly, given all that Jack is able to get away with on this show. Plus they’ve incorrectly tortured CTU employees before – that has to be part of the employment waiver you sign when you come to work there now, anyway.

It turns out Johnson has had his own ass covered in the past by Doyle and he wants to return the favor. He hands over the chip and says they’re even. Wow, it looks like Doyle really is a dick. A big dick. A big Johnson, if you will.

At the White House bunker, Karen Hayes goes to ostensibly comfort Sandra Palmer as Wayne lies in his bed looking dead. Karen is kind for about a minute and then gets down to the business of imploring Sandra for her permission to rouse the President to get him to stop the out-of-control VP. Which again makes me want to know how the Palmer brothers choose their running mates. It’s unreal.

Sandra eventually agrees to consent to this and when word reaches the smug VP, he rings the doctor up and insists that he stand down. The doc is surprisingly strong in his convictions and tells Daniels to stick it, which I loved. He makes it sound like he’s got the President’s best interests in mind but we all know he doesn’t. To that end, though, I really don’t think the President’s doctor would risk the President’s life just because his sister said it was okay. I think there are other people who would need to weigh in on that as well.

In Culver City, Jack and his boys raid the Hauser House and nearly kill Mark, whom they’re there to interrogate. Silly CTU, always shooting first and asking questions second. In their defense they did see Hauser wielding a shotgun, which is an interesting thing to have near your Rain Man brother. Is it there in case Brady suddenly decides he doesn’t like green foods either?

We’re then treated to Jack actually being nice for a change. He obviously realizes Brady is autistic (or a big faker) and talks to him in a calm tone. When Brady says he can’t talk to strangers, Jack actually smiles and says he’s a police officer (liar) so it’s okay to talk to him. Knowing he’s definitely got leverage on Mark in the form of his brother and two bullet holes that are quickly draining the blood from Mark’s body, Jack cashes in and gets Mark to agree to set up the drop of the intel Gredenko’s looking for. They agree to use Brady, which seems to anguish Jack. Jack has experience putting mentally challenged people in harm’s way for his own purposes – remember when he had Kim pose as Saunders’ daughter a few years ago?

At CTU, the sketchy Johnson who found the Nadia-exonerating chip goes to Milo and tells him about it. Whoa. Did he have a change of heart? No, he’s just messing with Doyle. Milo about freaks out and suddenly wills his five-hour-old bullet wound to heal enough to remove his sling and take a shot at Doyle. Doyle defends Milo’s weak swing and Milo is controlled by a security guard. Doyle admits Johnson did indeed come up with something but that he wanted it verified since he finds Johnson unreliable. Good you brought him into CTU then, dude. Morris confirms that Doyle gave it to him to verify about ten minutes ago and that it is indeed legit. Milo is mortified at himself and tries to apologize to Doyle, who is suddenly magnanimous and tell Milo not to sweat it. I guess we’re supposed to like him now, everybody. Make a note.

Johnson, who reminds me of an arrogant skiing jackass in Aspen, stands there looking bemused at the little ruckus he created. Doyle tells him he’s done being jerked around by Johnson. Johnson just smirks. Probably the last we’ll see of him. Remember, loose storylines trail off this show like entrails.

Nadia is released from holding and Buchanan gives her a papa bear talk where he makes her still feel needed. Since she hasn’t had truth serums injected into her veins by Burke, she’s forgiving and agrees to stay on. She’s cold to Milo, though, as he tries to apologize – even though he wasn’t the one who had her locked up or even suspected her in the first place. Milo chases her down and she cuts right to the chase, telling him whatever he “thought” might happen between them, well, he could forget it now. Huh? How is that relevant? And way to use your vagina as a weapon, Nadia.

Milo responds by forcefully grabbing Nadia’s head/hair and kissing her. She returns the kiss and appears to be really turned on. I’m not sure how. I mean, I’m not into men at all but if I was, I think Milo would be far down on my list.

At the medical unit at the White House bunker, Wayne begins to crash as a result of his brain swelling. Well, we definitely don’t want Wayne getting dumber, do we? It looks like he might die since crashing and losing a pulse is sort of a really bad thing to have happen, despite the fact that ER shows people recovering from this with regularity. We don’t get to see what happens though as we cut…

…back to the Hauser House, where Jack is still wrestling with his inner conscience about sending Brady into the fray. He puts an earwig (the electronic kind) into Brady’s ear and sends him to the meeting point. He briefs (or reminds) Alpha, Bravo and Charlie teams about their roles: Charlie “team” (a lone sniper) has a tranquilizer rifle to take out Gredenko. Everybody else gets real bullets from Alpha and Bravo. I guess they’re pretty sure Fayed isn’t coming to this meet, too.

Gredenko shows up and takes the dummy info Brady hands over. Jack hears over the earpiece that Gredenko says to kill Brady once he confirms the intel. However, Charlie team has no clear shot with the tranq dart. Why not just tranq Brady, too, then? What, do you only have one dart in the rifle, dude? What follows is a tense moment where Jack orders Brady to get down and Brady is slow to respond, almost taking a bullet in the melon as a result. But he ducks just in time and CTU takes out Gredenko’s men while Gredenko gets him with a tranq dart that appears to instantly knock him out. Shit, that must be powerful. I wonder when he’ll be awake.

The answer is six minute. Wow, that’s some fast-acting and short-lasting tranquilizer. Perfect for situations like this. Gredenko immediately rolls over and offers up Fayed, or at least the help of finding Fayed. Naturally, Gredenko wants one of those amnesty agreements that the US government has given people like Nina, Mandy and others. I imagine they just have a stack of them and you plug in the person’s name, right?

At the bunker, Lennox relays the news that CTU has Gredenko. Daniels barely acknowledges and then moves on to the business at hand: bombing brown people. Lennox suggests maybe they should wait since this might be the end of the chase. Daniels flatly refuses and wants to teach the world a lesson. And I’m assuming it’s not to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

Just before the launch is to occur, the submarine reports that they were called off. Daniels, feeling like he’s the ranking man on this operation, wants to know who the hell called it off. The answer is President Palmer. Daniels refrains from asking how David Palmer can call off anything with a hole through his throat and six feet of dirt on top of him.

Just then the phone rings and the VP takes it, only to hear Wayne intone, “Noah? It’s Wayne.” Noah says it’s a relief and a surprise to hear Wayne’s voice. Well, sure, since his heart was stopping and his brain was swelling him towards brain damage about 15 minutes ago.

After making his orders very clear to Daniels, Wayne hangs up and looks to be in severe pain and discomfort. His dippy sister just smiles back at him. Daniels decides the President is possibly in mental distress and is probably not able to dispatch his duties as President and he calls for the Attorney General and whoever remembers how the Season Two cabinet successfully removed David Palmer from office.

This cannot be good. And I don’t mean for Wayne. I mean that we’re recycling complete scripts now.