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The first four hours of 24 are now over, and with twenty hours left, it looks like President Wayne Palmer, CTU Los Angeles, and Jack Bauer are once again in the middle of a crisis that will test what everybody in the country is made of. When we started out at 6 AM, it looked like Jack just wanted to die, the worst thing that could happen in this country would be suicide bombers forcing us to rethink our stance on public transportation, and it could all be fixed quickly with some word and a few promises. By the time the clock struck 10 AM, it was obvious that our enemies were intent on causing unprecedented destruction on a mass scale, that it was going to take more than words and some ransom money to get them to stop, and Jack Bauer would once again be willing to do anything to put an end to it all. While the clock said last night’s episode was between 8AM and 10AM, we all know that it really took place between KICK and ASS.As of 8AM, Jack Bauer had been doing a pretty good job. While he hadn’t stopped the suicide bombings all over the country, he was able to stop one on the Los Angeles subway and after making the difficult decision to team up with former terrorist turned do-gooder Hamri Al-Assad, it looked like they were going to be able to track one of Fayed’s men back to his headquarters. That means that by the end of the four-hour premiere, Fayed would be dead and we would be introduced to another character that would be the REAL mastermind behind everything that is happening.
Sure this pattern gets a little repetitive, but I figure that by the time the 20th season of 24 rolls around, the producers will finally take my suggestion to have an zombie army full of Ninas, Mandys, Marie Warners, Sherry Palmers and Dina Arazs, and I supposed some Victor Drazens and Habib Marwans, terrorizing the country. This may seem far fetched, but it would be great for me personally because I believe this would be the easiest way to bring Edgar back (undead armies requires undead agents opening undead sockets to track them) and it would also be the easiest way to bring Mila Jovavich on as a guest star. But since that is another 15 seasons away, I guess I’ll stick to the reality, or should I say the surreality, of life this season.
Where were we? Oh yes. Jack meets up with Assad and they begin to track the guy back to Fayed’s place, but Fayed first tells his man that he needs him to make a stop in Newhall before coming back. And really, is there any better way to start your day than a quick run to the Santa Anita valley? Jack quickly realizes that the man they are trailing is heading North, which means that the traffic will thin out and it will become much more difficult to stay on his tail while keeping a safe enough distance so as not to be noticed. Now, this is still Los Angeles, and traveling to Newhall will put them on I-5 which doesn’t really thin out until you’re about to hit the Bakersfield exit, but whatever.
Jack uses the traffic excuse to convince Assad that it would be in their best interest to get in contact with CTU since they have the resources to track this guy by satellite and whatnot. Assad is a little apprehensive, because he is worried about working with the enemy, to which Jack says that he is already working with the enemy and if he is serious about the political process, he is going to have to start working with the enemy. And hey, once Assad gets a look at Nadia, maybe he’ll want to start sleeping with the enemy as well. And besides, we know nothing wrong ever happens when you begin to work with the enemy, just ask President Logan!
After making his case, Jack puts in a call to CTU, and I see now that the receptionist is the only person who gets a coffee break because Chloe is back to answering the phones. She is very excited to hear Jack’s voice, and I am sure he is excited to hear her, but he really needs to talk to Bill Buchanan. Bill goes on to tell Jack that they need to find Fayed by the end of the hour because the president is about to authorize the release of 110 enemy combatants, née freedom fighters, or else the attacks are going to continue.
I understand the president is having a very difficult day and everything, but after Fayed just fucked him over with their previous deal, why the hell would Wayne want to deal with Fayed EVER again? Why not just meet in Vegas, rent out the Honeymoon suite at the Bellagio, put on some Barry White? The president will still be getting fucked over, but at least there will be room service. As an added bonus, if the a bomb goes off, you can always tell people it’s just Steve Wynn breaking ground on a new casino.
So the offer was this: the president is to free 110 enemy combatants from the Palmdale detention facility and Fayed would think about stopping the attacks. Fayed has the upper hand because Wayne already capitulated, and despite the protests of his entire staff Wayne decides to go along with the request because they need to buy more time. Hmmm, if he had only listened to Jack Bauer an hour earlier, none of this would be happening. I know his brother has a legacy that will be nearly impossible for Wayne to duplicate, but if there is anything that his administration could do just as well as his old brother’s, it is to LISTEN TO JACK BAUER. It also didn’t help that the makeup folks put so much eyeliner under DB Woodside’s eyes it made me wonder if the President had a Tammy Faye Baker fetish.
With all of that in mind, Bill tells Jack that Curtis has a tactical team only a few minutes away, meaning that we get to have our pain infliction dream team together less than three hours into the day. Yay! The only trouble with this is that Curtis is not so hot on working with Assad, and when he hears from Bill that all of Assad’s current warrants are rescinded, it looks like Curtis is about to flip out.
Since it was going to take some time to get the satellites in position and Curtis was still a few miles away, Jack needed to come up with a way to buy some time. Like many great plans, Jack’s started out with pulling an unsuspecting civilian from his car. From there, Jack started barreling through the streets until he collided with the car of the terrorist that he and Assad were following. The goal was to have Assad pull up to this accident and after giving a sympathetic ear to his fellow Muslim brother who was being harassed by the inconsiderate American that bumped into, drive this guy to his destination. And that is exactly what happened.
Leaving his cell phone on so Jack could follow his conversation and CTU could track the location, Assad starts driving towards Newhall. I think it was a little convenient that this other random terrorist didn’t know what Assad looked like. I mean, Assad is the big traitor that they were all working against, you think he would have recognized his face from somewhere, even if it was just as a dartboard.
Curtis finally meets up with Jack, and while it is a happy day for me, Curtis seems to be a little upset. He still can’t believe that Assad is just going to be accepted as a diplomat after being a terrorist thug for so many years. But you know what they say, what’s good for Yasser Arafat is good for the gander. When I first started to watch 24 this season, I was a little worried because it listed Roger Cross as a guest star only, and when people on this show pop up as guest stars for an unexplained reason, it usually means that they are going to be dead. Curtis getting testy with Assad made me get all nervous again.
However, my jitters were nothing compared to what was happening with Ray and Jillian, whose only crime was raising a son that trusted people a little bit too much. After Scott received his little lesson on the proper pronunciation of foreign names, Ahmed brought him back over to his house, where Ray and Jillian learned that Ahmed really was a terrorist. If only Ray had given in to the pressure of his xenophobic wife and stayed inside and/or bought a shotgun, none of this would have happened. Now Ahmed was going to force Ray to make whatever delivery Ahmed was supposed to make because Ahmed leg was bloody. I know he was becoming delirious and everything, but why kind of an excuse is that? If he is going to move up the ladder of international terrorism, he is going to have to get a little bit of a pain threshold. If Ahmed was going to be tortured for information, his captors wouldn’t have to do much more than make him drink some orange juice after brushing his teeth and he’ll squeal like a pig.
In the grand scheme of things, it was probably a good idea to send Ray. When Ray drove to where he was supposed to deliver the package Ahmed had been hiding, he found a guy inside who said he had the item, but that it would take more money. Ahmed’s package contained money he was supposed to use for the sale, but this black market electronic weaponry components dealer wanted more. When Ray called Ahmed and was told that he had to bring whatever was in the box back or his family would die, Ray did perhaps the most difficult thing you can ask a man to do and beat the guy to death in order to get the box. You know, it’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have. But I guess he had it coming. I am not going to advocate sympathy for a black market arms dealer.
Back with Assad, we finally get to the place where he is supposed to drop off the little pocket terrorist of his. He goes in one direction and Curtis and Jack meet up with Assad since CTU now has the guy on satellite. Curtis introduces us to a new type of perimeter, the moving perimeter, even though I would think they should first master their standing still perimeters before going on to graduate level work, and says that he is going to take Assad out of the operation. Again, I wish they would explain to us why Curtis is being such a whiny whore. At least let him kill somebody so he has a way to get rid of some of these anger issues he has.
Pocket terrorist has moved to a local storage facility and the powers that be begin to wonder if he is ever supposed to meet up with Fayed anyway. They want to interrogate him because the deadline to release the enemy combatants is coming up soon. That means that there is going to have to be a raid on the storage facility. Now, I have never been in a situation as stressful as sneaking up on a terrorist, but if I were leading this operation, I probably would have refrained from sending too many people on the roofs of this storage facility since they are metal and even the smallest movement can make a big noise.
As expected, some idiot, we’ll call him Leeroy Jenkins, makes a sudden movement. The terrorist starts shooting and the tactical team starts firing back. Shit has already hit the fan and then you remember that pocket terrorist is taking cover behind a bunch of huge boxes labeled “C-4″. I know you are supposed to have a detonator for plastic explosives, but I know I wouldn’t take that chance. I’m not risking my life just because Leeroy Jenkins messed up. In fact, when we were all having beer that night, I’d say something like “Why do you do this shit Leeroy?” And then he would say something about chicken and we would leave him alone.
So the odds were only about two dozen to one, and not surprisingly, pocket terrorist went down, but not before he was able to blow up all of that C-4. At first, I thought that this was the point where Curtis was going to die because after pocket terrorist was shot he started walking in towards his storage unit, but Jack pulled him out of the way before the blast hit.
Although almost everything was destroyed, they were able to recover part of a laptop computer. The enemy combatants were being loaded onto the plane as all of this was happening. The computer contained some schematics for something and a bunch of writing in Arabic. Luckily, Assad was near enough to translate. The schematics were some sort of nuclear device and Assad also recognized the code name of a well-known terrorist, Hasim Numeer. Finally! Another lead. Find this Numeer guy and we’ll be able to track Fayed once again. And catching Numeer should not be hard to find because he sort of looks like the Arab version of Haywire from Prison Break.
The news got even better from there. Numeer was already in custody; he was one of the enemy combatants. That’s why Fayed wanted them all released. Ha ha! We’re too smart for you terrorists! Or maybe not. As the army guys swept the plane, they discovered that Numeer was nowhere to be found. Earlier, when they were lining the prisoners up, they cut to some sergeant and then a prisoner, which was random, but whatever. Then when they were on the plane, they cut to the sergeant getting on one of the buses and looking towards the back. Still random and then….
Fayed didn’t want to put Numeer in the air. He needed an excuse to get him off the base. Numeer head in the back of the bus and the sergeant double-crossed everybody, letting Numeer off. Now it’s bad enough news that a known terrorist is able to escape in broad daylight, but Numeer is a nuclear engineer, specializing in suitcase bombs from the former Soviet Union.
This news is, of course, very troubling for the President, but he decides to make the best decision of his life and asks Jack to lead the search. Jack doesn’t really want to do it, but desperate times and all that, so he agrees. Since he knows he is going to need all of his resources, Jack appeals to Curtis to stop being a whiny bitch and work with him. Curtis agrees, but Jack puts a call into Chloe and has him cross check Curtis’ name with Assad’s just in case.
After what seemed like only five minutes, Numeer met up with Fayed. Fayed had his nuclear device, and Numeer was ready to get working. The only thing left for them to get was…that’s right, the special device that for some reason this badass terrorist cell decided to let the most amateur member of their group be in charge of procuring. I am talking about Ahmed, and now that Ray had the device, he was making some demands of his own, asking Ahmed to let his family go first. Ahmed says he will release one person and after Ray picks his wife, Ahmed lets her go, knowing now that Ray values his son more.
Jillian leaves and gets in her car. Although Ahmed said he would kill Scott if the police came, I think that she saw Ahmed was fading fast and decided to call 9-1-1. That call makes it to CTU, which then makes it to Jack and Curtis. I didn’t think Ahmed had a chance against a couple of Girls Scouts, and now that Curtis and Jack are on the case, it looks like I won’t be making any White Castle jokes after this episode.
In order to get Assad’s cooperation, the President was going to have to grant him a full pardon, but after being burned twice now by Fayed’s promises, he decides to do a little background work, checking with an ambassador from an unnamed country in the Middle East trying to judge whether Assad is sincere and if his entry into the political process can help move things along. The ambassador agrees that both are true, and so Wayne decides to draw up the paper work.
Unfortunately, nothing can ever be that easy. Once again, Sandra Palmer is on the phone and she is having a few problems. Remember how she was arrested for obstruction earlier in the day (which reminds me, that might have been the most unbelievable part of the episode since nobody in Los Angeles works before 10)? They were taken to an FBI detention center where she and her boy Walid are supposed to be in custody. When they get there, she is allowed to leave because she is, you know, the first sister, but Walid stays behind.
Sandra called to complain, but since her brother was busy with possible nuclear weapon explosions so Thom answered instead. It sort of pissed Sandra off that she couldn’t speak with her brother, but it did give her a chance to tell Thom that if anything happened to Walid, she would hold him personally responsible. As it was, Walid wasn’t having such a bad time. That’s not to say that people were treating him well; he tried to stand up for another prisoner and the both of them were beaten. However, that act helped him gain trust, and Walid learned that while there are a lot of people being grabbed that are innocent, there are some who know things. The man he saved started to talk some stuff about how “before the day is over, they will pay”. Walid didn’t know what that meant, but he started listening to this guy talking to some other people and they started saying the same phrase over and over “Hamsa zawa zirada”. He didn’t speak Arabic, but when Sandra came to visit him later that day; he said that he didn’t want to leave because he thought that he could help by getting information.
By now I was pretty wound up. What the hell is going to happen? Is Ray going to deliver the components to the Fayed? Will they build the bomb? Will Curtis and Jack make it to save Scott in time? Will they be able to stop them from making a bomb? Will Pear get Sandra and Brenda out of jail before Mary finds out? Oh, sorry wrong show.
Yes, it was getting exciting, so why not shake up the excitement with a huge non-sequitor! I know that in the past, I have kind of made fun when CTU gets all schmoopy on us. I am really much more interested in 24 pulling me to the edge of my seat, much less so do I care that it pulls my heart strings. That being said, I do like the Bill Buchanan/ Karen Hayes pairing. Am I getting a little soft in my old age, perhaps, but they are cute in that “they finally found in each other, but let’s hope they never make a sex tape” kind of way.
The problem with CTU loves is that there is always a love triangle at one point or another during the show. At the very best, they humanize CTU by making it more like an every day workplace sort of drama. Unfortunately, most of the time it is just really annoying. This year’s drama comes courtesy of Milo, Morris, and Chloe. Yes, you heard me. Whenever Milo has a task for Morris, Morris gives him attitude. Whenever Morris is working on something important, Milo seems to give him things to do just because he can. Chloe has decided that she cannot bear to have them fight over her when there is so much at stake. I only say this because I am kind of obligated. So far, the CTU parts this year have been very weak.
And now, back to the show! Like I said before, Ray left his cell phone home, which made it impossible for his wife to call him and tell him not to deliver the component because she already called the police. Therefore, Ray makes it all the way to 351 Old Mill Road in Valencia. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Los Angeles, the only acceptable reason for you to say “I’m going to Valencia” is because you are making a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. And if you are made at me because you live in Valencia, then you are just in denial.
As soon as Ray got to the warehouse, I said to myself “This yuppie is so dead”. I thought that he would hand over the component one second and have a couple shots to the head the next second. Much to my surprise, Fayed decided Ray could be used for some leverage should the need a hostage and he survived.
Honestly, I think Ray thought that he would be dead as well, but I don’t think he really cares. As long as his wife and son were alive after the day was over, he would die happy. That, and he’s looking at perhaps a manslaughter beef for what he gone and done to that guy for the component. Unfortunately for Ray, when Fayed called Ahmed to say that he did a good job, he told Ahmed to kill Scott.
When Ahmed received the call, he didn’t really know what to do. For almost the entire time Scott was held hostage, he had a knife on him. Ahmed has been in pain and asked for some painkillers and managed to grab a knife. Whenever Ahmed would start to get testy, I thought that Scott would go over there and there would be a big struggle and they both would die or something. Well, that didn’t happen. The whole knife was all a misdirection and it appeared that Ahmed was just going to take care of Scott, execution style.
But there is hope for Scott! Remember, Curtis and Jack were on the case. Curtis is still itching to kill somebody and I am sure that some of you were thinking I was just making a joke when I talked about the Burke Williams rejuvenating spa for torture victims they set up at the airfield, but look at how spry Jack is now! He’s jumping over fences like he hadn’t spend the last two years with scorpions biting his junk while he was waiting for his fingernails to grow back.
Jack and Curtis did their thing. They saved Scott, but unfortunately had to shoot Ahmed in the process and we already knew that he was going to be down and out. Seriously, a hangnail would have been enough to put him under. Fortunately, Scott heard the location, meaning that CTU was able to send a tactical team in to stop those nasty terrorists before they could do any more damage. I did find it kind of strange that Jack and Curtis wouldn’t be joining them, but I am sure they were competent enough to stop these guys because once again, the drama was elsewhere.
While everybody had a chance to take in the suburbia of Grenada Hills, Jack took a little bit of time to print out the conditions of Assad’s amnesty/pardon, and have him review the documents. Curtis learned earlier that Assad was going to be pardoned and wasn’t very happy. However, now that it is all playing out in front of him, he can barely control his rage. Seriously, why does Curtis have so much sand in his vagina?
We found out a little later when Chloe called to tell Jack that when Curtis was in taking part in an operation in the Middle East after desert storm, his squad was ambushed. Curtis was injured and couldn’t follow, but later on, one of Assad’s top lieutenants beheaded several of his men. Curtis couldn’t handle that Assad didn’t even acknowledge what happened, and he wasn’t about to let bygones be bygones.
As Assad was about to leave, Curtis grabbed him and had a gun to his head just as Jack got outside. What followed was one of the more difficult scenes I have ever had to watch since the series began. Jack started pleading with Curtis to put the gun down, that Assad’s pardon or whatever was a direct order from the president himself and there was nothing that he could do about it. Curtis wouldn’t listen, and at that time, Jack knew that keeping Assad alive was more important than anything else.
Curtis went down.
Curtis. Went. Down. And then Jack broke down. All of the emotion of the day and the fact that he was just forced to shoot a friend in the line of duty was too much. In my head, the score from Platoon was playing and as I watched Jack curl himself up in that Post-Traumatic Stress Henley of Comfort and Reassurance, I really wasn’t sure if everything was going to be all right. Jack got a call from Bill, but he didn’t want to hear anymore. The team knows where to find Fayed and he is done. But then something shocked him back into consciousness.
As the tactical moved in on the warehouse in Valencia, they were making swift work of the terrorists, and not a moment too soon, because Numeer had finished with the device and now it was ready to go. The team moved in, and started killing the terrorists with efficiency, but they weren’t quick enough. Numeer had his hand on the detonator, and the nuclear device went off.
When the white light filled the television and the mushroom cloud followed, I was in a little bit of a shock. There have been nuclear plots in the show before and some nuclear reactors had melt downs that caused many people to die, but this explosion was sure to kill thousands instantly, and many more would be sick from the radiation. This was not like when Mason piloted that nuke into the desert. The cloud could be seen from Los Angeles. And I never got a chance to ride on “X”.
And then came the bad news. Fayed was nowhere in that building and we finally learned what that phrase that Walid was telling Sandra meant. The cells used “visitor” as a code name for a weapon, and that phrase meant that there were five visitors, and we now know that four are unaccounted for and Fayed is surely ready to use them.
I thought this was a good two hours. The nuclear thing has been done before, but this was different enough that it presents new challenges. It moved along much better, and while I think that somebody should hit Wayne in the head until he grows a sack, the previews for next week show that Jack still has his.
What did you think of the episode?