Thursday, May 17, 2007

Season 6; Hour Twenty-Two (3:00AM - 4:00AM)

Air Date: 14 May 2007
Reviewer: J

It’s hard to believe we’re at this point in the season, isn’t it? I mean, it feels like we’ve headed down another season’s path for these past few episodes and that we’re just beginning to build the intrigue and suspense. Maybe that will simply lead to a cliffhanger ending. Or maybe it’s just been a weak season.

As you’ll recall from last time, CTU is has been overthrown by a group of sleeveless Asian gentlemen with pretty nasty machine gun pistols. They’ve come for Josh (instead of simply waiting for him and Marilyn to exit CTU on their own) so they can trade him off to Grandpa Bauer. Yeah, I know. Like I’ve been saying all season, just go with it. Oh, and Milo’s dead.

We begin by seeing Marilyn have a meltdown and, dammit, it’s annoying. Zhou agrees with me but, unlike me, he has the resources to make her caterwauling stop and he readies himself to blow her brains out, too. But Jack intervenes and promises he can keep her quiet. Oh, Jack, if you’re planning on making love to her on the floor there, you’re such a stud there’s no way she’ll be quiet. But no, Jack means he’ll kiss her cheek, stroke her hair, and gently rock her into calmness. Or maybe he means he’ll strangle her to shut her the hell up. Oh, no, he means he’ll be nice. Whatever. Boring. And annoying. If you’re worried about your kid, it’s probably best to not get yourself killed – it’s much harder to be a parent when you’re dead.

Zhou announces that he and the Zhouettes are leaving but that they have to put everyone in a secure room. That is, he wants them all locked up so they can’t follow him. Jack immediately hatches a hair-brained scheme to overpower the heavily armed Asian mafia currently inhabiting their place of business.

Jack sidles up to Nadia and tells her they need to make a move now and to follow his lead. I realize she’s the boss at this point, but why would you pick Nadia to help you with a physical attack? She’s what? Four feet, 93 pounds? If you listen closely, you also hear Jack say, “Morris, stay alert…”

And then it’s on… and it’s a cool fight scene. Jack grabs a guard and the fight is on. When another turns to see what’s going on, Nadia grabs him from behind, presumably with the intent to scratch his eyes out. Down the hall, Morris fortunately joins in and attacks a third guard before he can shoot Jack or Nadia. Glad that all fell into place nicely. There’s a lot of struggling and we see, alternately, Jack battling with a guard and then with Zhou; Nadia eventually being flipped to the ground by her man and having a struggle to keep him from shooting her in the face; and Morris waltzing with his man. Jack manages to strangle Zhou to death and just as it appears Nadia might lost to her combatant, her possible-boyfriend Doyle is on the scene and shoots the guy dead. In a strange (and poor) bit of editing, we don’t see Morris’ fight end. For a few minutes I thought we were going to learn in some dramatic reveal that his man had killed him but, no, it was just apparently left on the cutting room floor. Nicely done, 24.

What’s kind of amusingly ironic is that Jack, Nadia and Morris didn’t need to risk their lives at all since it turns out that Doyle and his team materialized at CTU just seconds after they would have been locked up anyway.

They immediately get to business and Jack and Doyle begin to regroup. Jack wants to head after Josh and, by extension, Cheng. Nadia, bleeding and out of breath, comments that Jack’s still under arrest. Good gracious, she’s tenacious! Bill would have simply forgotten he was under arrest at this point, but Nadia is impervious to Jack’s charm. Jack makes his case for helping Doyle look for Josh by pointing out that he (Jack) knows the CTU building better than anybody. Really? By my count, Jack has spent part of three days in this building over the past 44 months (last 20 months in China; previous 18 months on the lam from the Chinese; previous six months before that working for DoD). But it’s good enough for Nadia, who like an exhausted parent finally gets tired of telling Jack no.

Doyle asks Nadia how many casualties they took. “One,” she replies, “Milo Pressman.”

And, what, a half-dozen security guards, at least, right? Or do they not count as casualties? Maybe they’re not even invited to company picnics. Or maybe Nadia was going to count them in some sort of itemized order, like:

“One, Milo Pressman.”
“Two, Guard Peter Smith.”
“Three, Guard John Jones.”

No? Probably not? Yeah, you’re right.

Jack tells Nadia she did great and Chloe, too, comes by to tell her how brave what she did was. How about mentioning that to your PTSD ex-husband, Chloe?

At warehouse where Cheng is, Josh is given a cell phone and told his grandfather is on the line. Josh takes the phone with a constipated look on his face and says… “Grandpa?” Which is just hilarious to me, that this guy has had a gun on Josh several times and made several very real-sounding threats about killing him and yet Josh still calls him “Grandpa.” It’s classic. I think I might instead say, “What?” Or “Yes, Douchebag?”

Anyway, Phil Bauer wants to take Josh away from this fallout-ridden country and take him somewhere that they’ll have a real future together. And where is that place? The Bahamas? Brazil? Switzerland? No. China. The hell?

Josh pretty much agrees with me, as his face is kind of scrunched up like he’s trying to do long division in his head. Phil talks about how their future will be better in China, and blahbiddy blah blah. Phil ends by saying he’ll “explain everything” when they’re together. Everything? Like, starting from where? Because I wouldn’t mind being there to hear all this and how Phillip Bauer is seemingly connected to everything and everyone.

Josh looks at Cheng’s phone after his grandpa hangs up. Cheng notices this and hurries over to snatch the phone back and hustle Josh into a car. Josh tries to protest by saying he doesn’t want to be with his grandfather. As though Cheng gives a flying fuck.

Fortunately, Jack and Doyle are quick followers and they pop up through the same sewer access that Cheng’s men used and they open fire on Cheng’s Mercedes motorcade. This upsets the Chinese, who just had the cars detailed, and they stop driving and get out to return fire instead of, you know, driving away. Excellent idea. Cheng uses Josh as a human shield to get away, which is kind of odd since Josh is his one chance at this “sub-circuit board” that Phillip is fixing.

Anyway, the chase goes to the roof – where all villains inexplicably head – and Josh is able to break free from Cheng by giving him a swift kick to the chops. Jack takes down Cheng’s last bodyguard and comes up on the roof, pinning an out-of-bullets Cheng down on the catwalk. On the catwalk. He shakes his little tush on the catwalk. (Sorry, I got lost in song there for a minute.)

Amazingly, Jack resists the urge to put fifteen holes in Cheng. Perhaps he’s not sure where to begin – for what was done to himself or to Audrey. But just to prove he’s a Bauer offspring, Josh manages to slip from his hiding place just under the catwalk and is hanging on to a chain for his life. Jack has to choose to take down Cheng or save Josh. He chooses the latter, although I would have suggested simply shooting Cheng in the thigh and then saving Josh.

Josh relays Grandpa Bauer’s involvement and Doyle wonders what he could possibly have to do with the Chinese. You and me both, buddy.

In Washington, Karen and the VP have a heart-to-heart. My, how things have changed from a few hours ago when the VP was trying to overthrow the government. I bet he wishes Palmer was still awake to deal with this mess with the Russians.

Anyway, Daniels lets Karen in on his secret about Lisa. Karen is a little surprised, too, but points out that they were consenting adults and he had no way of knowing she was inadvertently spying. Daniels, in his newfound standup-ness, still is feeling responsible for the fact that his need to nail a young blonde might be bringing us to war with Russia. I guess his job is a bit more perilous. It’s unlikely that if there was a blonde in my office that I wanted to nail, that it could lead to an international incident.

At 3:28 AM (6:28 in DC) we cut to the surveillance van where Tom and Agent Hollister have been watching Lisa and Bishop get it on. There’s no discernable evidence that Lennox and Hollister have spent any of the half-hour since we’ve seen them making out. The funniest part of this episode is delivered by Tom, again, as he very demonstratively says, “Annnnd we’re finished,” as he sees Bishop roll off of Lisa. I laughed out loud at that. Good stuff from Peter MacNichol.

And then everything happens kind of fast, unlike Bishop’s lovemaking. Lisa heads into the pooper to clean the Bishop off of her. Bishop finally makes for her PDA and Tom gets an erection all over again. Only Bishop suddenly wises up to what might be going on and he doesn’t upload the info. Alert guy, for it being 6:30 in the morning and his having just plowed Lisa for the second time in three hours.

He confronts Lisa – or begins to – as they sip white wine from red wine glasses. Heathens. But before he can get very far, Lisa smashes the glass over his head, stunning him. I assumed it was because, as I mentioned, Bishop poured her white wine in a goblet but it apparently has more to do with the fact that she’s PISSED that Bishop has been nailing her just to spy and gather intel. She continues hitting him until he slaps her back and grabs her by the throat. The surveillance van disgorges Secret Service and Tom Lennox and they quickly enter the house, pulling Bishop off of Lisa, who is now unconscious. Wow, that was fast for her to lose consciousness. I guess Bishop was going to…kill her? Seems like that could blow his cover.

Anyway, Tom asks for a minute alone with Bishop. I think I might have asked him to be cuffed for that minute. Anyway, Tom introduces himself. To a lobbyist. I’m fairly certain a DC lobbyist would know the Chief of Staff immediately. Tom very effectively gets down to business, telling Bishop he has to upload the phony info to his Russian contact and comply with every request, or else he’ll be facing the death penalty for treason. I’m trying to imagine Andy Card doing this.

Cheng, on the run, has managed once again to elude CTU. Somehow he’s gotten down from the roof to the ground in 15 minutes and is not currently being tackled by a phalanx of CTU agents. Nice perimeter.

Anyway, Cheng has gotten Phillip on the blower and tells him he lost Josh, and then he’s gobsmacked when Phillip in turn declines to turn the component over to him. Why is Cheng surprised here? He knows how critical Josh was to this trade – he just send in an armed unit of commandos to attack a government agency. Nevertheless, Cheng is miffed and makes some vague threats at Phillip, who in turn threatens Cheng right back not to threaten him. God, it’s dizzying.

Back at CTU, Division has finally managed to send someone over to relieve Nadia of her command. How thoughtful. The head jerkwad’s name is Ben Kram. He’s just about the very definition of smarmy as he confronts Nadia and doesn’t even ask how she’s doing. We get it, writers: Kram’s an asshole. He further illustrates this by flatly blaming Nadia’s poor leadership for the loss of life during the raid on CTU. The raid on the supposed secure government facility. Yes, that’s clearly her fault. Imbecile.

Morris witnesses this and heads over to console a clearly rattled Nadia. She is obviously blaming herself for Milo’s death since she didn’t stand up when Zhou asked who was in charge. Well, that says more about her common sense than her lack of courage. And about Milo’s stupidity. But that’s neither here nor there, I guess. I agree that I’d feel quite responsible, too. Morris gives her a good bucking up speech and it’s a nice moment between these two. Especially after their rather frosty exchange two hours ago when Nadia first took over and denied Morris’ transfer request. Morris really is a good guy and I like him. I know a lot of people are mixed on him but he redeems himself more than he digs a hole. Not a lot more, but just enough.

Morris also uses the old “He would have wanted…” line to Nadia about Milo, saying that Milo would have wanted her to stay “strong and in charge.” Well, yeah, either that or “naked and beautiful.”

Lennox has informed the VP and Karen that the info was successfully planted with the Russians. He also matter-of-factly tells Daniels that Lisa may have suffered some brain damage when Bishop nearly choked the life out of her. Daniels is clearly distraught at this and begins to thunder at Tom about letting it happen. Tom tells the truth that they moved as quick as they could but that it happened really fast. He tactfully restrains himself from pointing out that Lisa had just screwed another man for the second time that night. Although I think that might have done a little bit to ease Daniels’ concerns by reminding him of what a little tramp she was. Not that tramps don’t deserve to breathe.

A couple minutes later, Daniels and Karen are on the teleconference with Suvarov again. Daniels tells the Russian Prez that the component has been destroyed in a raid on the Chinese agents who held it. Suvarov, probably an excellent poker player, calls this bluff convincingly and is positive he’s correct since he knows the stuff from Lisa’s PDA was fake. He was having Bishop watched himself! Oh, what tangled webs we weave! I guess nobody bothered to check the street for a van with Russian license plates, eh? And weren’t all the Russians in LA killed back at the consulate?

Suvarov is more than a little pissed at this attempt at deception by the Americans and he gives Daniels a suspicious two-hour window to recover the component. If this is not met, the Russians will attack the American base in Central Asia. Daniels has had about enough threats and attempts to make his own but is cut off by the Russian President who then disappears from the screen in a fuzzy haze. Shit, he’s like the Wizard of Oz.

Daniels is pissed that now Lisa may be a drooling vegetable and all for nothing. I’d be more pissed that the damn Russians are threatening to attack a US military base. In fact, I think that might be my very next call – to that base, to say, hey, how are things and oh, by the way, heads-up.

Lennox soon returns to the White House and is walking through the hallway on his way to a military briefing when his cell phone rings and an operator tells him she has “Phmmhmm Bmmhmm” on the phone for him. And that’s exactly what it sounded like. You can clearly hear, “I have” and “on the phone for you.” But the name is obscured. It must have sounded like Phmmhmm Bmmhmm to Tom, too, because he very demonstratively says, “Who?” And then he’s told again: Phmmhmm Bmmhmm, dude. It’s Phmmhmm Bmmhmm!

Phmmhmm Bmmhmm, of course, turns out to be Phillip Bauer. He wants to talk to Daniels and offer the component up. In return for what? Yeah, you guessed it: Josh. Man, I guess he really loves that kid.

Daniels then confers with Karen and Tom and is again really appearing to seek opinions. This is a nice shift in policy for the man who previously ignored everything his top advisors said and did whatever he pleased. Just a few hours ago, in fact.

Tom and Karen hypothesize that Suvarov isn’t this aggressive a leader and isn’t interested in this kind of conflict. Especially since he gave in earlier in the day and gave the green light to take out his non-cooperative Consulate. They figure maybe Suvarov is getting pressure from generals in his military that, like Gredenko before them, were borne to the old Soviet regime and simply want to fry Americans at any cost. Hey, get in line, Russkys.

Tom reasons that, despite the fact that Phillip is a nutjob, they probably should make this deal. Sure, Josh is a young kid but if this saves many other Americans and the country in general from a war with Russia, that’s probably a reasonable price to pay. And I would agree. Though I imagine Josh, Marilyn and Jack won’t.

Offscreen Daniels gives the quick order to make the deal and it is relayed to CTU. They then get to Doyle (again, all this is offscreen) with the news. Back at the site where Jack rescued Josh, Jack is telling Josh he’s going to be safe and back with his mom soon. Just then, an agent calls out to Jack that he has a phone call. Wait, haven’t
we seen this before? Apparently, Jack has not learned that those random phone calls with a minute to go until the end of an hour are never good. And in this case, it’s a complete dupe, since as soon as he’s away from Josh, Doyle whisks him to a waiting helicopter. Uh-oh! It’s a double-cross! I’ll say this for CTU – at least they’ve finally figured out that to do anything you want that’s against Jack’s wishes, you simply need to trick him and then run like hell. Doyle tells Jack he’s got his orders and takes Josh away in a helicopter, while Josh is screaming “Uncle Jack!” the whole time. This kid and the formalities… “Uncle Jack,” “Grandpa.”

And we leave this second to last week of the sixth season of 24 with that ending. Josh being sent off as a trade for the component. And Jack probably not too happy about it. But instead of punches Doyle the next time he sees them, I’m sure the two will be friends again.

Next week is the two-hour finale. And once again, Fox has shown the complete opposite of wisdom by starting the finale at 8 PM instead of 9 PM. So for those of you who miss the first hour, don’t worry – I’ll be here to clear things up.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chinese attack on CTU summed up everything that has been wrong and poorly realized since minute one of Day 6. It started as the unstoppable force in last episode's cliffhanger, and now that the useless and meaningless shock has settled, it is just solved with a stupid gimmick mere minutes later: forever forgotten. Fire these writers, my dog can write a better plot than this one. How they could so badly neutralized the immense popularity the show gained through season 2-5, it is beyond me. Power of the written word, or lack of it.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

A source close to the studios revealed me the beginning of Day 7. Spoilers ahead. Jack wakes up in a chinese season and says: "what a messed up dream". Then we start again from when Day 5 ended.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who's with me? jack jumped, silent clock, the two more seasons were a smokescreen....

6:54 PM  

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