Friday, May 25, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty-Four (5:00AM - 6:00AM)

Air Date: 21 May 2007
Reviewer: J

So I hope everyone enjoyed our very special guest star this week, our former regular cast member, D. I thought it might be a nice way to wrap things up and bring some closure to this fun ride we’ve had here at The Unofficial 24 Page. You know, since our toiling away here hasn’t landed D or me a job writing for 24, it’s simply just time to pull the plug. Kidding, of course. Pretty much.

So D did a great job on Hour 23, as always, and I just have to say that maybe being interested in Nadia is hazardous to one’s health. Milo’s dead because of if, Doyle’s blind because of it, and Milo’s brother made eyes at her and then he simply vanished into thin air.

As we begin the episode, we see Josh and his captors arriving at the oil rig. You know, if I were Josh, why not just roll off that inflatable boat in the dark? How could they find you? Doing this when Jack was on the beach would have been particularly helpful, since Jack could have opened fire on the boat. But hey, he’s a Bauer offspring.

Speaking of offspring, was there any doubt as to what was wrong with Chloe? I mean, whenever a woman faints in a television show, doesn’t it automatically mean that she’s preggo? Not that women necessarily do this in real life, but it would be good if they did, right? It would make things so much easier.

“She fainted… holy moly, we’re having a baby!!”

But seriously, folks, was there every any doubt? I knew it the moment she started fuzzing out in Hour 23. But then, I’m an idiot savant. Without the savant.

At the White House, Tom Lennox conveys to the VP and others that CTU has determined that Phil Bauer and the component are on an oil rig off LA’s coastline. I’m not quite sure they can say this with certainty, given that all they know is that on a thermal scan from CTU, a boat was shown pulling up and there are other people on a decommissioned oil rig. I mean, this is conclusive? It is for Daniels, who agrees with the Warden from The Shawshank Redemption that an air strike is the cleanest way to take care of this. Less risk to the assault team and a guarantee that the component doesn’t make its way offshore. Or more offshore, as it were.

Lennox points out that Josh is an innocent boy and would probably be charred in the assault. Daniels, probably correctly, notes that this kind of sacrifice is probably worth it to avoid a military base being attacked by Russia and thus causing a war. A tough call, but Daniels seems to be finally realizing how hard this job is, witnessed by his open comments last hour about how he misjudged Palmer and how ultimate responsibility is so ultimately difficult.

Nadia relays this decision to Jack on the shoreline, as Doyle exits for the season in an ambulance. Bye, Doyle. Hope it’s not the same kind of space-time continuum ambulance that Logan disappeared through.

Anyway, Nadia tells Jack about the air strike and that she wants him and Buchanan back at CTU for an immediate debrief. And to perhaps fire Buchanan again? Jack says okay on the phone. But he’s lying. As always, he’ll do whatever he pleases.

Jack tells Bill the story and tells him he’s taking the chopper behind them to go get Josh within the 30-minute window they have. Bill, realizing he’s already lost his career, figures what the hell and tells Jack he’ll fly the chopper. He can fly choppers? Cool.

This is also a good time for me to mention that I was psyched to finally see Bill out in the field. I’ve been hoping this could happen for quite some time, simply because I thought it would be cool to see. Also, Bill’s background profile on the Fox Website says that he was originally a field agent in New York. Would it have been so hard to write in some dialogue wherein Jack asks him how long it’s been since he was in the field and Bill replies with something about how many years and how it was in New York? Really? I mean, come on, writers, these are cool little touches that used to make 24 unique.

Anyway, the two get into the chopper and Jack forces the pilot out at gunpoint. He obeys, wordlessly, probably because he’s used to this by now. Jack pulls guns on anyone who gets in his way.

The White House and the Kremlin, meanwhile, are playing nice for the time being. Suvarov has gotten intel that shows him that Daniels is telling the truth this time about the component’s whereabouts and how they plan to eliminate it. Daniels gives Suvarov a real-time satellite feed of the happenings so that Suvarov can see the situation unfold and, hopefully, call off his minions who are approaching a US base in central Asia. Hey, anyone think to call those guys at that base and tell them they’re about to be on the lousy end of a really poor ratio?

CTU learns of Bill and Jack’s Butch and Sundance routine and Nadia refers to it as a suicide mission. She quite rightly points out that the F-18s are on their way and will not be recalled and so all that Bill and Jack are doing is heading to their own deaths. Bill tells her what they’re doing is the right thing to do and she suddenly relents. At first I found this odd, but also remember how much she respects Bill and his soothing tones. She acquiesces to their demands and sends them the satellite feed so they can have at least a chance. After all, if she’s right and they’re about to be vaporized anyway, what harm is it to share a little intel?

On board the oil rig, Phillip and Josh are debating the value of going to China. Josh is still so not on board and I really can’t blame him. He’ll be the only vapid-eyed blonde teenager in a sea of people who look nothing like him. On the other hand, if Josh has a fetish for Asian porn or Asian women (or both), then maybe it is the place for him. Considering Josh is 16, Phillip would be wise to try this approach.

Cheng’s men alert the gang to the fact that the CTU chopper is approaching. So much for stealth, eh, Bill? Cheng, interestingly, gives the component back to Phillip and tells him and Josh to board an inflatable boat and move away from the rig. He tells them that the submarine on its way to get them all will find the locator beacon on the inflatable boat. I was intrigued that he gave the component back to Phil, perhaps knowing that it’s Phil’s ticket to safe passage to China so where would it be safer?

Jack and Bill descend upon the platform, with Jack mowing down Chinese gunmen with his machine gun fire in order to let Bill land. The two hop out and continue laying down fire, hitting some rather flammable barrels that the Chinese have chosen to take up cover near. One of the exploding barrels knocks down Cheng and burns his face. Jack confronts him about Josh’s location and, amazingly, chooses not to kill him. Could Jack be turning a corner here?

Bill lugs Cheng back to the chopper as Jack takes off looking for Josh. I was very worried this whole hour about Bill’s safety because, let’s face it, Bill is very likable and it would upset a lot of viewers if he were to be killed off. Which is precisely why I thought it might happen.

Elsewhere on the rig, Josh and his grandfather are still arguing as they make their way to the inflatable boat. I’m still not clear on why Phillip wants Josh to come along so badly. It’s hard to believe this sociopath actually loves his grandson but I guess that’s what we’re expected to believe. But to think that he can simply convince Josh to go along with things is a bit short-sighted for a man who has had the foresight to plan out so much today.

As they get to the moored boat, Phillip turns his back to Josh to work on the ropes and puts down his pistol. Josh, finally showing some sense, whacks Phillip on the head with a wrench and grabs the gun. Phillip looks like his melon really hurts as he tries to talk Josh into turning over the gun. Josh repeats that he doesn’t want to go with Phil, of course not realizing that staying on the rig will result in incineration by F-18 sidewinders.

Josh underlines his point of not wanting to go by shooting Phillip. Well, if I had to choose a Bauer to shoot another Bauer, this wasn’t the one I would have expected. Jack arrives on the scene and asks Josh to lower the weapon. Josh doesn’t seem to want to, and for a few seconds I feared Jack might actually have to put down his own nephew. Or son. Wink, wink.

Jack tells Josh the news about the F-18s and sends him up to the CTU chopper. I guess Jack is confident that all the Chinese gunmen were taken out, huh? Phillip says he’s not going anywhere and quite accurately points out that Jack doesn’t have the time to carry him to the chopper. Jack tells him he’s getting off easy and exits. A sad finish for Phillip Bauer.

Bill lifts off the helicopter with Cheng and Josh on board. Josh has another freakout as he thinks they’re leaving “Uncle Jack” behind. Bill, calmly, explains that he’s not leaving Jack and radios to Bauer that he’s swinging around with a rope ladder to pick him up. Jack complies and leaps onto the ladder and the chopper whisks them all away from the platform just as the F-18s detonate it. I’m sure glad those weren’t heat-seeking missles, too, or else we would have really seen Bill’s chopper piloting skills put to the test. Outrunning a heat-seeker in a chopper with the doors open and someone hanging from a ladder would be tricky.

Suvarov and his gang of merry gentlemen at the Kremlin see the destruction and agree to pull back their troops. He and Daniels seem to clear the air a bit by both being somewhat understanding about each other doing what they had to do.

Back at the coastline, Jack suddenly falls into the ocean from the rope ladder. Josh, AGAIN, has a bit of a meltdown but they see that Jack is okay and just wanted to go for a dip. Jack does some body-surfing and then, once on land, waves off Bill. Bill obliges because, what else is he going to do besides oblige Jack?

At the White House, the VP is accepting congrats from his cabinet members and Tom decides to be the wet blanket by saying the Chinese cannot go unpunished for their actions today. Daniels had just told the Secretary of Defense, I believe, to track the Chinese submarine as it bugs out back to China so that they know that the Americans are on to their tomfoolery. Speaking of tomfoolery, Tom suggests that perhaps Daniels should let Karen and Bill resign quietly so that there isn’t any hubbub about what went on and how Daniels and the administration made the wrong call with regard to trusting Phillip Bauer. Daniels thinks about it and agrees to let bygones be bygones. Sadly, Peter MacNicol does not say this in his John Cage voice.

Tom, having achieved what he wanted in this conversation, hands over the recording he made earlier in the day of Daniels and Lisa Miller conspiring to commit perjury. Daniels kind of smirks as Tom leaves the room, perhaps realizing that the decision he just made giving leniency to Karen Hayes and Bill Buchanan is what just bought him the recording back from Tom. Good work from Powers Boothe here, and I think throughout his time on the show as well. He didn’t always have a lot to work with but his mirthless smirks and eye-rolling looks of disdain were welcome, in my opinion. That kind of stuff made him more human and made him more like you and I. I kind of hope we see him back next year and with a continuation of the path he seems to be heading down wherein he respects the awe-inspiring responsibilities of the office even more.

Back at CTU, since this is the time to tie up whatever loose ends are going to be tied up this season, Morris checks in on Chloe in the CTU clinic where, miraculously, she’s not dead yet. Morris talks about how much he loves Chloe and doesn’t want to lose her and is hoping everything’s okay. Chloe gives him the news that he’s going to be a papa. Well, let’s just hope that’s the news and not that it’s going to be Milo’s baby or something like that. And let’s also hope the baby isn’t worked into the storyline next season, for the love of all that is holy.

At the White House, Tom visits Karen in her dank holding cell and reports that she’s free to go. Karen looks like she wants to hug Tom and he simply tells her she’s free to go as long as she is willing to resign quietly. She laughs that those terms are acceptable and thanks Tom earnestly, knowing he played a part in this. Quite a switch from their acrimonious relationship earlier in the day when Tom blackmailed her into quitting. More good work from Peter MacNicol as he says he might actually miss Karen but that he’ll only know once she’s gone. As far as we can tell, they don’t make out.

We swing back to CTU, where Bill has managed to not crash the CTU chopper and he orders Cheng sent to a detention facility. I guess old habits die hard as Bill really is in no position to be giving orders around CTU anymore. Cheng gets off a stinger, though, as he seethes, “My people will not abandon me like you abandoned Jack Bauer.” I loved the hatred in Bill’s normally calm eyes as he stares down Cheng before sending him away. I also kind of like the full-circle nature of this staredown. In the early minutes of Hour One, Bill and Cheng faced one another at the airport when Jack was being released to CTU’s custody. And now here we are, the same two men facing each other, both in very different situations.

And since I’m talking about that exchange 24 hours ago, did we ever fully figure out what the U.S. gave up for Jack? What the “high price” was that President Palmer paid for Jack? In the absence of any real information on this subject, I’m going to simply assume Wayne Palmer had a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card that he traded for Jack.

And hey, while we’re on the subject of unanswered issues, what’s Lisa Miller’s status? How about Charles Logan’s? As D mentioned, what ever happened to Agent Johnson, the double-crosser from Denver? And how about Reed Pollock? Carson? Martha Logan? Aaron Pierce? Hell, what’s Wayne Palmer’s status? Is Sandra by his side or Walid’s? Was there a less useful character than Walid? Oh, yes, that’s right… Sandra. And where the hell are those pukes from Division who were sent over to replace Nadia and blame her for everything that went wrong, rather than, you know, the Chinese mercenaries, Phillip Bauer and his superhuman hacking skills (which are exemplary for a 60-something year old man; my father can barely figure out his cell phone), and the rogue agents whose names rhyme with Doocannon and Schmauer?

Who am I kidding? These things don’t get answered. Anyway, Nadia comes up to Bill and asks where Jack is. Bill tells her how Jack fell into the ocean and, for a minute, I thought he was going to say Jack died but he doesn’t. When Nadia asks incredulously why Bill didn’t pick him up, Bill replies, “Because he didn’t want me to.” And we all know Bill does exactly what Jack wants at all times. You’d think Nadia might have picked up on this by now. And this is all for Bill and Nadia for this season. Gosh, what’s left for the final twelve minutes?

We change scenes to a house that, according to the Fox Website, is James Heller’s Pacific Palisades home. Wow, it’s fortuitous that Heller has a place within eleven minutes on foot of where Jack walked onto the beach. I wonder if Heller saw the tremendous explosion of the oil rig offshore?

Heller himself is at the house on the phone with someone. At 5:48 in the morning. Well, maybe they’re on the East Coast. After hanging up the phone, Heller hears a noise and his spidey-sense pings. Doesn’t the former Secretary of Defense have Secret Service detail assigned to him?

Before he can ring for help, Jack moves into the room, gun at the ready. Silenced gun, I might add.

Heller reads the situation and immediately asks if Jack is there to kill him. Wow, that’s a leap. Did I miss something? My father was watching this episode with me and was convinced Heller was somehow involved and Jack had figured it out. I, of course, was hoping this was not the case. Jack’s answer to Heller’s question was classic: “That depends.”

Then we have a rather tense exchange, where Jack blames Heller and people like Heller for making him the person he is. Jack quite rightly points out that all he’s ever done is follow the wishes of people like him. Well, except when you disobey Presidential orders, Jack, but hey, I’m still with ya. Jack has sacrificed his entire life and family to this country and to his lifestyle and he basically doesn’t want to walk away empty-handed. He wants Audrey. And this is an interesting way to try to achieve that goal. I mean, will they ever go there for Christmas? (“Hey, Jim, remember when I held you at gunpoint over there on the sofa?”)

Heller, to his credit, remains pretty resolved to keep Jack out of Audrey’s life, even with a gun pointed at him. Jack for the first time appears to be angry at being left to rot in China and he wants to know why Heller didn’t do more to get him out, given the considerable power Heller had. Wait, did Jack even know Heller survived that car crash last season before he himself was kidnapped by the Chinese? I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter because Jack knows he’s alive now and could have helped him. Heller claims he did try to get Jack out of China, to which Jack bellows that he didn’t try hard enough. Good stuff from Kiefer here, some real acting and emotion and anger in his voice and face. I definitely wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out and that’s the mark of a good 24 scene. I thought there was a chance Audrey wouldn’t be there or he might actually shoot Heller or Heller might actually attack Jack or maybe there actually would be some security detail who might take down Jack in some way.

Jack goes on to accuse Heller of being upset at Audrey for going to look for Jack despite Heller’s protests. I’m not sure how Jack knows for sure that Heller protested but Heller doesn’t deny that he did so I guess Jack’s instinct is right (as always). Jack then accuses Heller of not understanding that kind of loyalty and caring for another person.

Jack goes on to demand his life back, by which I am not sure what he means. Does he want his driver’s license or something? He clarifies that Audrey is all he’s got and that he will take her away and disappear, commenting that he’s gotten pretty good at that. I’d point out that Jack has disappeared twice that we know of – one time, he was hiding 15 minutes from LA and came out of hiding and the other time he disappeared unwillingly, at the hands of the Chinese. But hey, I won’t make that point too loudly to the sociopath with the handgun.

Jack further states that he’ll kill anyone who comes after them, snarking, “Pretty good at that, too.” Heh.
Heller, again showing balls of steel, risks antagonizing Jack by pointing out that he can’t leave this lifestyle and that he’ll inevitably be pulled back into it again and if that happens Audrey will pay the price, just like Teri did. Nice throwback reference to many years ago. I thought, again, that Jack might simply shoot Heller, or at least crack him on the head, for that remark, but he doesn’t. Maybe Jack was slowly realizing Heller is right.

Regardless, Jack again demands to see Audrey. As the Fox summary says, “Heller leads him to the bedroom.” Uhhh, I hope they’re not going to do it.

Oh, phew, it’s Audrey’s bedroom. And she’s evidently comatose on some heavy meds in the makeshift hospice that is set up here. Heller actually leaves the room to give Jack time with her which, again, I thought might result in Jack letting his guard down enough for Heller to attack him.

But no, that doesn’t happen. Jack instead looks at the shell of a person that his pretty girlfriend has become and the gravity of it all hits him. Audrey is laying there, hooked up to a heart monitor, having a medicine drip of some kind, and recovering from god-knows-what kind of abuse in China. And it’s because of him, regardless of whether it’s his FAULT or not. And Jack comes to understand this. He says goodbye and kisses her on the forehead. Kim Raver makes yet another appearance where she does and says very, very little. Still, it’s impactful because we know the history of this character and we care about her.

Jack leaves the room and walks past Heller wordlessly. He exits the house and walks out to the fence in the backyard that overlooks a cliff and the ocean below. Jack surveys the scene and we see his perspective, looking at the rocky cliff below him and you can’t convince me even for a second that Jack didn’t think about ending it all and jumping right there. His face is marked with pain and sadness as he looks out into the distance, not really seeing anything. And for perhaps the first time ever on this show, the screen fades to black rather than simply cutting to black. We see
the silent clock for the first time since Edgar’s death last year, and it soundlessly ticks off the seconds to 6:00 AM.

Stay tuned for my final thoughts in a post next week.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Kitty24 said...

You guys are terrific. I laughed out loud (again) reading your comments on the final two hours of Day 6. Will sorely miss this site, but look forward to your final thoughts. Great work!!

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been away for some time and only now I can get a hold on the final 2 hours and check the review. I would have never left you without a final goodbye, D & J! :''')

9:26 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

It was all true, about that actress bringing bad luck to shows she's in. I talk about the brunette playing the wife of Jack's brother.

Exorcise her!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

final thoughts J???

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

knock, knock...is there anyone here to review brand new season 7 ??

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2: Would love to read a blog about season 7. D... J... we miss you

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we miss you but 24 is frankly an undead show.

7:58 PM  

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