Bad news everyone. Apparently the standards for a terrorist attack have been greatly raised. After a day that’s seen the Secretary of Defense abducted, a nuclear reactor melting down, an EMP going off, and even a train exploding pre-dawn, the terrorists on 24 STILL haven’t put down their guns and martyred themselves. How are these attacks not good enough? I mean, a nuclear reactor melting down and spreading radioactivity throughout the region — that’s considered a legitimate terrorist strike! Now let these poor CTU workers sleep, or, I don’t know, maybe grab a milkshake at Mel’s Diner.
Sadly, it’s never that easy on 24. The bad guys always have a contingency plan which means more crazy antics every week. This time around, our old friend Behrooooooz returned to the spotlight as he became the centerpiece of some impromptu Habib Marwan scheme. No one ever likes to see a frightened kid, but somehow the dynamic duo of Curtis and Behrooz warmed my heart in ways that are fairly indescribable. I think it’s time this odd couple got their own show. All they have to do is survive the day. Needless to say, it’s not looking good for Behrooz.The episode began with a swift response to all the conspiracy theorists who’ve been chattering since last Monday: Yes, Dina Araz is dead. CTU found her body in a van. So it’s official, people. No more Shohreh. It’s really a shame. Since January, she was probably one of the best, if not the best, actress on network television. If Fox doesn’t manage to launch a successful Emmy campaign for her, well, then I’ll be peeved. And no one likes to see me peeved.
Anyway, after some general discussions at CTU brought us back up to speed (yes, Jack is being held by Marwan; yes, the terrorists still have something up their sleeve; yes, The OC has been better the past few weeks), we returned to Mitch Anderson, a.k.a. the homicidal version of Eric Stoltz who seems to be infiltrating the Air Force unimpeded. Mitch was set to take off in a bomber, but wouldn’t you know it? The tail light was out. Actually, it was far worse than that. There was a crack in a strut, I believe, meaning that the plane would most likely transform into a giant fireball upon landing (not that Mitch cared about that). A friendly mechanic informed Mitch that the repair would take about an hour, and then after that he’d be off to Ventura for some “R & R” (if you’re thinking he meant “rest and relaxation”, you’d be wrong. Apparently there’s gonna be a huge Rita Rudner show. He’s a fan). Sadly, we knew this smiley guy would be no match for faux-Stoltz, and moments later, Anderson shot him in the back, brutally ending a young actor’s payday. It’s okay though. I guarantee that wherever the mechanic was heading to in Ventura has most likely been destroyed by a mudslide. So you see, it’s good that he died. That way he wouldn’t be disappointed.
Back at CTU, Audrey was still hanging around the company infirmary/trauma unit, certainly dreading a feeding tube future for Paul. While she fretted, Michelle and Tony debated whether or not tell her that Jack was missing. Tony wanted to, noting that she has a right to know, but Michelle was more reluctant. I suppose now would be one of those moments to tell Audrey a CTU white lie, yes? Well, Michelle didn’t have much time to think of one because seconds later, Audrey materialized right in front of her. “Jack is missing,” blurted out Michelle. Nice cover-up, Michelle. She then added, “Did I say that? I meant, Jack is missing a… a… tooth! Jack is missing a tooth!” She and Tony then laughed uncomfortably and offered Audrey a muffin and two free tickets to “Mamma Mia!” just to get out of their hair.
Actually, that didn’t happen. Instead, Michelle simply informed Audrey that her other love of her life was at the mercy of the terrorists. Tough day for Aud. Maybe she should step into a CTU holding cell and get tortured just to top it off.
Luckily for Audrey, she just so happened to be dating the closest thing we have to a superhero out there. At that very moment, the oft bound-and-gagged Jack was handcuffed to a railing, trying so very hard to fix his situation. Habib Marwan, fresh from his Dr. Evil class, approached him and boasted about his accomplishments for the day (note my opening paragraph). Jack flat out rejected Marwan’s claims, saying that the American people are strong willed, and we won’t remember the deaths of today but instead how we defeated the terrorists and rah rah rah Go Team! Honestly Jack, let’s not overlook that meltdown. That’s some pretty grim shit. Besides, the last thing you want to do is make the terrorist take out another target just for pure machismo purposes.
Somewhere around this time, a random bearded man with a penchant for exposition approached Habib and informed him that they had a problem. Remember that military pilot whose family bit it last episode? Well, some neighbor or relative checked in on the fam, found the dead bodies, and, you guessed it, called the police. Uh oh spaghetti-oh. The last thing these terrorists need is for something to go wrong. Again. An LAPD report could be just enough to stop Mitch Anderson and whatever nefarious plans he has up his sleeve. Habib decided he would have to distract CTU so that the LAPD report would fall the bottom of the department priority list. But how could they divert their attention? Hmmm… Maybe crosswords? I can just imagine it: Habib tenting his fingers while Edgar searches for a five letter word to describe Chilean pottery. Habib would then laugh and say “The only thing better than doing the New York Times crossword is finishing the New York Times crossword! Am I right people? Now, who knows a four letter word that’s used in fencing’?”
Actually, Marwan decided to nix the whole crossword idea in favor of a more visceral plan. He asked Jack who CTU had in custody. Uh oh. This won’t be good for Behrooz. Personally, I didn’t know why Marwan was going through such trouble for his distraction. It’s not like CTU is the bastion of clear thinking. Let’s not forget all the staff turnover due to suicides and accidental torture. Edgar and Chloe meanwhile were doing nothing to dispel the notion that CTU wasn’t a well-oiled machine. The two computer oddballs went at it like snarling poodles as they battled for superiority. Turns out Chloe thought she was still Edgar’s boss, but sometime between her firing and Edgar’s saving the entire country, he got a promotion. When Chloe claimed that Edgar works for her, he retorted “I worked. Worked. With an ‘ED’ at the end.” He then went on to add, “Now I have a lot of actheth to thtuff. Did you hear me? Actheth – with an ‘eth’ at the end. If you underthtand me, say yeth.”
Still, despite his insistence on having the higher position, Chloe continued to whine to any authority figure who would listen. “Edgar works for me!” she complained in what was shaping up to be one of the best CTU power squabbles EVER. Alas, Chloe was shot down and with her patented scowl, she returned to her desk, ready to deliver all her passive aggressive might onto Edgar.
Edgar however seems to have earned a little niche for himself as the CTU receptionist, fielding calls from everyone, including Habib Marwan himself. Was it just me, or was he completely too blasé about the fact that the most dangerous terrorist in the country was on the phone with him. And another thing, if Habib is so powerful and strong, why does he call the lowly computer guy instead of the CTU director’s personal line? It’s like calling the White House janitor to reach the Oval Office.
Well, Habib got on the phone with Michelle and informed her that he wanted to trade Jack for Behrooz. The big plan? To fashion a wig from Behrooz’s curly fro to cover up Marwan’s unsightly baldness. That’s at least what I would have surmised. Needless to say, I’m not a government super agent. Unfortunately for Behrooz, Marwan asking for him led CTU to believe the poor kid had information that was actually valuable (silly CTU. It was only red herring!). Anyway, if it’s information you need, CTU’s always got a plan. Curtis, rev up the Torture-Tron 2000! Yes, it had been a good two episodes since we had seen any significant torture; so why not go after another innocent person? Minor prediction: Behrooz will crumble under the mighty hand of Curtis.
Everyone at CTU met in the boardroom to discuss a plan, and as the various workers dispersed to tackle the logistics of the Behrooz/Jack exchange, Audrey cornered Tony and began assaulting him with questions. Where is Jack? They want to trade him for Behrooz? How will that happen? Will Jack be safe? Good god WOMAN! Just go to the meeting next time!
Anyway, our orphan Behrooz sat anxiously in his chamber, waiting to be released. He kind of looked like a trapped bunny — scared, nervous, and fluffy (it’s the hair, really). As predicted, he was a total mess at the hands of Curtis. You know, he’s been through a lot today. First his mom kills his girlfriend. Then his dad sends a guy to kill him. Then his dad tries to kill him on his own. Then he actually has to kill his dad. And now his mom his dead (although he doesn’t know it) and a big man with a scary voice is torturing him. Man. It’s a bad day to be Behrooz.
Meanwhile, that inconvenient LAPD report about the military pilot’s dead family finally surfaced at CTU, but unfortunately, our techies were in the middle of a stupid feud. Edgar tried to offload the report to Chloe, but she pulled a little “I’m not the boss. This isn’t my responsibility.” As a result, some pleasant girl named Meg got stuck with the police report, and she was none too happy. Listen Meg. Just do your job and be happy you haven’t gone the way of other CTU computer experts: dead (or mourning a dead family member/friend. What’s up Adam, Edgar, and Chloe).
Hey, remember Mitch Anderson? Well, since we last left him, he’d disposed of the mechanic’s body, jumped into his uniform and assumed his identity. The shapeshifter assassin reported to some military guy that the plane was all ready to go. The supervisor was a bit suspicious, but Mitch flashed a grin and handed over a full report. He then added, “By the way, if you don’t mind, I know I’m only a mechanic, but I’m going to hop in and fly away in the plane. Mmmkay?”
At CTU, Chloe left her busy desk to bring some forms to Audrey. We must all send the writers some thank you notes as we once again were given the gift of yet another incredibly awkward scene as Chloe yammered on about Paul being injured and Jack being lost and how hard it must be for Audrey. “Just SHUT UP!” Audrey seemed to want to say, but instead she quietly told Chloe to zip it. “I was inappropriately blunt, wasn’t I?” said Chloe in what I think was the very first unabashedly obvious comedy line in the history of 24. I mean, they’ve had funny lines before, but never with such sitcom zest. Bravo. Bravo.
Later, Chloe and Edgar went at it again, this time after he asked her for help on something. Chloe simply snapped that what he needed done was something that the boss should be doing, and “isn’t that what you think you are?” To which Edgar replied “I don’t need your tharcasm!” You know, these two should just make out already. Hey, random aside: remember last year when Chloe turned out to have a baby under her desk? Man, that was ridiculous.
With the Behrooz trade impending, Division sent in a new bureaucrat to aid Michelle. His name was Bill Buchanan, and surely he exists solely to be the next great CTU asshole. Clearly Michelle couldn’t be the sole authority figure in the office. We have to like her. Personally, I think they should bring back Driscoll. Alberta Watson seemed to be the only actor willing to make the CTU bureaucrat NOT a ridiculous caricature. Well, Xander Berkley’s Mason from the first two seasons was pretty good too. Anyway, CTU made an official decision to trade Behrooz for Jack — with any luck, the boy will lead them to Marwan, they rationalized. Methinks not.
As for Jack, he was futzing around with wires in his holding cell. A few guards came in to load him up in a van, but as usual, he kicked viciously and managed to take them all down. Unfortunately, more guards came and ended his little kicking spree, but hey, it was a good try, Jack. Not all was lost though. As Jack was dragged out of the room, we saw that a few wires in the wall had been cut. Oh, what tricky antics was Jack up to now??
Hey, remember Meg? Well, turns out there’s a reason why she’s working in the CTU basement. She’s an idiot. She went through the LAPD records and found the flagged military homicides, but when Edgar told her to bring the report up to him, she copied the files onto an unlabeled CD. Bitch, use a Sharpie! To make matters worse, our techie ingenue left the CD on top of Edgar’s gigantic stack of other blank discs. It’s just begging to get lost. Way to go, MEG.
As the swap approached, Curtis needed to prep Behrooz. This was done by implanting two tracking devices under Behrooz’s skin. Yowsahs! “Does my mother know about this?” Behrooz asked.
“Yes,” replied Curtis stone-faced, adding “Well, she’s going to be with us. I mean that spiritually. She’s dead.” Actually, Curtis didn’t say that, but it didn’t really matter. Behrooz was about to have the adventure of a lifetime. Once again, Habib called CTU via Edgar (“Hello, Thee-TU”) and announced that he wanted to do the exchange on top of a dam. Moments later, Curtis and Behrooz were in a van driving to the “exposure point”. You know, Curtis’s steely facade and Behrooz’s scared innocence really mesh well. I’d like to see them on their own spin-off show, driving around the country and making wrongs right. It would be like Walker Texas Ranger meets Highway to Heaven. I think.
Anyway, somewhere around here Marwan’s cellphone rang, and I couldn’t help noticing his extremely cheery, effeminate ringtone. Is he like a Jamster fanatic? Does he have a cellphone wallpaper that’s like Sprewell rims spinning (“Bling Bling Rims”, if you will)? I half expected Habib to turn to a henchman and say “You like this ringtone? It’s Omarion’s latest single. I believe it’s called ‘O’. It’s quite catchy. Anyway, I got to take this. Terrorist stuff.”
After much hype, the exchange finally took place, despite the fact that Behrooz felt scared. Just when the ragamuffin was in the terrorists hands, a sniper took aim at Jack, ready to take him out. Then suddenly, a CTU gunman shot out and saved Jack! Wow! A CTU security detail that actually provides security! We knew those perimeters would work someday!
Unfortunately for Behrooz, the terrorists found the tracking devices on him in about, oh, ten seconds (great plan, CTU. Whose came up with that idea anyway? MEG?). His captors told Behrooz his mom was dead and about two seconds later shoved a knife into the back of his neck. Don’t worry though. They were only scraping out a tracking device. Our puffy haired kiddo was still alive. The bad news out of all this though was that Marwan managed to successfully distract CTU away from the LAPD report, which, despite a few moments of hope, were sadly ignored by Edgar. This meant that as we approached the cliffhanger, Mitch Anderson was able to board his bomber and prepare for takeoff. The good news though is that those wires Jack cut helped CTU find Marwan’s location. Oh, but will he still be there? Those terrorists are quite wily! Next week Fox says a twist will happen so big, IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. I’m putting my money on Mitch Anderson taking down the Prez. After all, if 24 is willing to knock off an Academy Award nominated actress, surely they’ll have no problem doing away with a guy whose previous track record includes That ’80s Show and Unhappily Ever After, a show that had him talking to a puppet voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait.
What do you think? Is it curtains for Behrooz?