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.



Anonymous Dylan said...

The shark jumped in the moment we understood the sixth season would not be about Jack escaping China or whatever: what a waste of summer fan-fictions (and still,better than this!). I liked the first and the last 10 minutes of this episode,while the central 30 minutes bulk of it felt quite dragged and boring. Also,the Chloe's fight with her ex-husband seemed pointless to me: I thought they might eventually turn to the camera and say "writers of 24,we are in a crisis and we have no time to waste on your attempts to give characters more depth by throwing in non-existant rivalries during such emergencies!". Also quite out of the world Buchanan's reaction: he's the good old cowboy with the square jaw who also knows what's best,you can't make him go pissed-off mode just because politics are what they are.

My expectations to the end of season 6 are: good,but not brilliant.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't understand very well why Bauer wasn't able to trigger the C4!

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Phoenician said...

. . . Because he realized that Doyle had changed the scenario and realized there was now the chance to have everyone make it out alive (with the exception of Cheng).

Pity Jack didn't realized sooner that Doyle's an idiot.

Idiot Doyle -- If you're going to mess things up, at LEAST capture Cheng!

But all in all, a rather good episode. So much stuff is about to hit the fan! (and man, Audrey is REALLY messed up -- she's worse than dead.)

(I'm having a problem with my Blogger account -- Argh)

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

about Ep20 : well, and who might this person be with the knowledge to fix cheng's chip? someone with relationship problems, perhaps? I'm starting to lose interest.. the big story arcs are gone, it's just episodes strung together without a bigger concept. I bet they didn't have this role in mind with the vice's secretary when the season started.. *yawn*

5:17 AM  
Anonymous david h said...

Good point with Doyle getting that car. I think in a post-nuclear blast scenario that if someone came running in front of my car with a gun and a badge (that I probably wouldn't be able to see speeding along at at least 55mph I would be more likely to run that person over than stop for them. How realistic would it be for CTU to not have any contact with Doyle and have him rolling around on the ground in pain with broken legs and ribs? It would certainly be unexpected.

3:48 PM  

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