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.



Blogger Tom said...

Hmm, J - sex on the mind much?

This second act is certainly a refreshing change, but as always you are very right to point out all the little "Just go with it" moments. The more of those we have, the harder it is to suspend our disbelief & even care about this.

As far as the Audrey situation, I don't get it. The stakes seem so low. Is Jack really a changed man? By that, I mean, Jack has always in the past put his duty to the country over his personal life (sort of his tragic flaw & the overall theme of the series so far). Or, in the best scenarios, he's found a way to make both work temporarily (e.g. in season 1, following Gaines' orders but still finding a way to save Sen. Palmer). This Audrey mission seems altogether too risky, and does Jack really love Audrey that much? They were just starting to get to that point in Season 4. Then he killed her husband & faked his death. Then they had a few strained tender moments 18 months later in season 5 over the course of less than 24 hours. Then he got kidnapped & imprisoned. 20 months later, he seemed to take her death surprisingly well. Now he is willing to sacrifice his own life & starting WWIII (after just finishing thwarting such an incident) for her? Doesn't add up. It isn't the Jack Bauer we know. 24 has always been an ends-justify-means show (much to my mom's chagrin), but these theoretical ends justify very scant means. Come on, writers; you can do better than this.

On a different note, I know we've all probably given up on Logan, but is there any way that he "faked" a death (a la Jack end of S. 4) or at least "faked" a hospitalization, & now he's on the lam? Maybe with Philip Bauer or something? I think it would be an interesting scenario that could set up another different-sort-of conspiracy for S. 7. As long as the writers start actually THINKING before they write.

At this point I'm kinda glad they left some loose ends there so maybe they can actually BRING CHARACTERS BACK in the future rather than killing them all off. My buddy still holds out hope that Tony Almeda's out there somewhere. Let him go, John.

The writing has gone steadily downhill since S. 3, but I won't give up yet. There are a number of problems with the format now -- namely that it's too episode-oriented rather than arc- or goal-oriented -- but I hold out hope that the writers can weave their episode-based drama into an overall plot arc that makes a little more sense for season 7. All it would take would be a little planning. I refuse to believe it would be that hard.

3:44 PM  
Blogger J Money said...

Couldn't agree more, Tom. And that's been a major criticism of this show over the years and of this year in particular; the writing seemingly being done on a weekly basis. And yet every year, there are stories and rumors about how THIS TIME, we're going to map out the whole season. It's getting harder and harder to believe. I mean, for example, was Sandra Palmer really introduced to us for the menial role she has played?

As for Tony, your friend isn't the only one. Many think that because he didn't get a "silent clock" that he's actually still alive. He isn't, folks. As much as I loved him and he was certainly my favorite character... we all have to let it go.

I do hope we learn about Logan before it's convenient for the writers to have him make a cryptic phone call in a future season but that might be wishful thinking. I did notice that when he was taken away in the ambulance, there were no police cars or secret service vehicles surrounding the ambulance so perhaps your conjecture isn't far off. We shall see.

And yes, sex is always on my brain.

11:35 AM  

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