By any standard, the first four hours of 24 were some of the best hours of television ever. After shaking off the rust, Jack had returned to become a one-man Rainbow Six team, calmly killing terrorists, and saving the son of his love interest. With such a great start, we were all prepared for another twenty hours of television, dipped in adrenaline, and hanging at the edge of our seats. Then came last night. I’m not necessarily saying that it was a bad episode, but most of the drama and the tension had to do with relationships instead of lots of gunfire. The episode had us examining our feelings and not the body count. I guess they were trying to show that 24 is more than just a bunch of snapped necks, sockets, and hard perimeters. That’s OK, and I’ll get in touch with my emotions, just bring back the violence.Every week, they give us the graphic violence warning. It used to be saved for episodes with particularly bloody scenes, but now it is at the beginning of every episode. Now when the warning comes on, I say to myself “due to some graphic content, this episode is going to kick ass”.
Despite rescuing all of the hostages AND killing all of the terrorists last week, CTU’s job was not done. Jack saw a guy with a yellow tie get a key card from one of the terrorists, and that guy with the yellow tie was not among the hostages rescued. He wanted to follow up on this, but Curtis told him that he was still wanted, and Buchanan was asking for him at CTU. But listen, Curtis knows how to get shit done, and look good doing it, so let him find Mr. Yellow Tie, and give Jack some time off. He can enjoy a nice little ride along the 10, at perhaps 10 miles an hour, back to CTU. By the way, this would be a great time to mention the Jacktracker, a helpful tool from the astute mind of our friend BoHan at Gridskipper. Jacktracker will “map Jack Bauer’s progress through 24 hours of travel, terrorism, and mayhem, generally committed in and around Los Angeles. But this is not the LA we know — time, space, and various laws of physical geography may be warped and broken with impunity, as we shall soon see.” Seriously folks, check it out, then you will understand why so many of us laugh whenever people from CTU drive.
We all know that the terrorists were busy removing canisters with nerve gas inside of them. I know that they tested the air any contaminants, but if it was your job to move these canisters onto the truck, would you do this without wearing any gloves or a mask to cover your face. The canisters may be sealed, but you don’t know where they came from. How do you know that they weren’t packaged in the same place that is sending anthrax to Tom Brokaw and human re-animation viruses to Canada for Mila Jovavich? We wash our hands before we handle chicken, so I guess I just don’t understand why these guys play fast and loose with nerve gas.
After the nerve gas is loaded, they remove some side markings from the side of the truck, which reveals that it is a SWAT vehicle. I never understood why SWAT teams drove around in those second hand FedEx trucks, but it looks like a good disguise. Since nobody at CTU has seen Ocean’s 11, they terrorists are able to drive out of the airport undetected. Curtis, who had been following Jack’s lead, used security footage to track the Mr. Yellow Tie as he made his way out of the terminal and into hangar BB. This should be easy, because they had searched all the hangars right? No, you’re wrong! Hangar BB was outside of the secure perimeter, so it wasn’t searched. We all now that you have to throw logic out of the window when it comes to perimeters and CTU, but you have to wonder, if this hangar was outside of a secure perimeter, how the hell did the terrorist get through it? I know he was going behind buildings and stuff, but if getting through a perimeter is easier than finding a hooker in Cancun, it is NOT secure.
Curtis gets to hangar BB, but of course it is empty; the only thing left is a big hole in the floor. By the way, whenever I am building secret rooms inside of airport hangars to store nerve gas, I always remember to build stairs. While on the search, Curtis notices that there are a lot of dead rats. He examines one of them and immediately puts in a call into Edgar. I love the way Edgar answers the phone and always annoy my friends with my Edgar impersonation [click here to listen]. Curtis lets Edgar know that he needs a full biopack. Got that? Not a half biopack, not a full handisnack, but a full biopack, and some spectrum analyzers.
Rat saw God
Back at the Presidential ranch, things are going pretty well, at least for the President. He signed his peace treaty, and he didn’t have to give in to terrorist demands. He looks strong and decisive. Nothing can ruin his day, although the first lady is going to try. Poor Martha, she had it all going so well. She flashed a little boob and was able to get conclusive evidence that David Palmer called to warn her about a matter of National Security. Before Martha can use the information, Walt sneaks up on her, uses some chloroform, and then completes a full body search in order to find the written transcript of the conversation Martha was talking about.
When Evelyn comes in to check up on the First Lady, she finds her unconscious and gets help. Evelyn apologizes to the President, but Logan tells her it is Evelyn’s fault for leaving her alone. Actually, I think it is President Logan’s fault for not having more security cameras in the place. Maybe if your wife is normal, you don’t really care about keeping tabs on her. Martha, however, is completely nuts. You sort of have to keep tabs on her. By the time she is awake again, the First Lady tries to plead her case. She didn’t pass out! She was attacked! See, she broke into the archive room and then hid the evidence in her shirt, but somebody came in, attacked her, and then took the evidence. Ah yes, it all makes sense now. So much sense in fact, that the President gets together with Walt and Mike, and decides that his wife is going back to nut house.
Walt really had a close call there. He has to be getting a lot of money to be sticking his neck out like that, and it’s going to get worse. Convincing people that the First Lady doesn’t make any sense is no more difficult than finding a buffet in Vegas. The real test is going to be stopping Jack Bauer. When Walt gets a call from the unidentified evil mastermind, still basking in the glow of his plasma screens and Bluetooth headset, that he has to do something about Bauer, Walt says it is no problem, because he has somebody on the inside. A mole? At CTU? I NEVER saw this coming. Hmm, I wonder who it could be? Perhaps a random new character that we never saw before this year? Nothing comes to mind right now, but I’ll think about it.
The biopacks and spectrum analyzers made it to Curtis, and now CTU knows they have another problem on their hands: nerve gas. And not just any nerve gas mind you, but military grade stuff. Immediately, Edgar races to tell Bill Buchanan. Before he gets up, which takes some time depending on when a tugboat is available, Chloe asks him to work on a shell script, but Edgar says “Not now!” which clearly throws off Ms. O’Brian. Edgar is supposed to keep his mouth shut while she comes back with the demoralizing put-downs, not the other way around. Edgar tells Buchanan, and suddenly CTU has another huge problem on its hands. Before, at least the terrorists were contained to one place, and although they had hostages, they didn’t number in the thousands. Now there are a dozen or so canisters out there, and officials have no clue where they are headed.
It’s about this moment in the episode where you expect CTU to pull up some more surveillance videos. They were able to track Yellow Tie enter the hangar, maybe if they pressed fast forward, they would figure out how Yellow Tie left? You see the SWAT vehicle, track it down using some sockets, filters, and satellites, and Curtis chases them down and takes care of business. This is going to be sweet!
Instead of checking video footage to see if anything was removed form the hangar, CTU instead decides to bring Curtis back, and we get to deal with politics inside of CTU. First up, we have to find that person that works on the inside. Perhaps if you didn’t watch the show until this year, you might not have been aware to look for a mole in these first few episodes. But once you heard Walt say he has somebody on the inside, you had to have some sense of who it was. Yes, we are talking about Spenser, the guy who we saw sleeping with Chloe at the beginning of the episode.
Chlenser, or Sphloe does not look like it will be a love for the ages. Chloe kind of regrets sleeping with somebody who works for her, and Spenser thinks that he should get some sort of special treatment for bringing a little sex into her life, but of course he is wrong. When he gets a verbal jab from Chloe after asking her if there is anything that he can do, Spenser responds by getting into Chloe’s face and saying “Nobody talks to me like that.” Chloe sort of looks at him with one of her sideways glances and then says “Really? I just did.” Ha! I do love me some Chloe.
Edgar is watching this whole thing and so he decides to ask Chloe a question, but instead of asking her a question, he kind of just sits there and stares at her. Chloe senses he wants to say something, and almost apologetically says, “I’m sorry that my private life hasn’t remained private”, but Edgar really cares bout Chloe’s feelings. She can have a private life, but she’s being too private. They’ve known each other for years, how could she keep that secret about Jack being alive. Well Edgar, maybe she you wouldn’t be able to run away from any assassins out to kill people who knew Jack’s secret. Or as Chloe put it, it had to do with a little matter we call “National Security”. Still, Chloe is really trying to be nice and tells Edgar that after they find the nerve gas, and after the alert level drops, they’ll head off to Souplantation, have some chamomile tea, share a cucumber salad, and talk about their feelings. Maybe get a pedicure and shop for a cute skirt at the Grove; there are endless possibilities.
We’ll get to the whole Spenser is working for somebody who is working for a terrorist thing later, but we have another love triangle to introduce. Diane and Derek are now at CTU, and somebody is going to need to ask them questions. How about Audrey Raines! She doesn’t have experience as an interrogator, but as Lynn says, she knew Jack well, so she may be able to form a rapport with Diane. See, they have decided that the key to finding the nerve gas is to figure out who is framing jack; figuring out if anybody left hangar BB with nerve gas comes later. Diane may have inadvertently said something to somebody, and although he knows it is going to be awkward, Lynn tells Audrey to give it a try.
Jack has finally returned to CTU, and Lynn meets up with him right away. Seeing Sean Astin and Keifer Sutherland on screen reminds you of how short each of them really are. Lynn tells Jack that he is no longer a suspect, and he will even have Level 2 access. Not too shabby for your first day back from the dead, and even better, the woman you were in love with when you were alive is here!
I know that Audrey has a lot of feelings for Jack, and there are a lot of things that she wants to say to him, but I find it hard to believe that she would see Diane as some sort of sexual rival. It’s not like Jack left Audrey for Diane; he had just faked his own death. Still, in her position as interrogator, Audrey can ask a lot of questions that might be difficult for her to hear, all under the guise that it is official business. Hell, Audrey could even torture her and say Diane wasn’t cooperating. It is a matter of natural security you know. Audrey is just getting to the juicy details, you know, figuring out if they were living together (he rented a room) or if they were sleeping together (none of your business!), whether they had any kids (one teenage son). It’s that last question that really gets Audrey. She hears that Diane had a son, and that Jack was nice to him, and is shocked. What? Jack didn’t beat him or electrocute him a lamp cord? How could that be?
Next, Audrey moves on to some things that might actually be helpful. Diane tells her that nobody was asking about “Frank”, but does neglect to mention that her son was suspicious of “Frank” and was asking a bunch of questions on his own. Any further details are going to have to wait because Audrey notices that Jack is watching them. By this time, I am really going crazy. We are approximately 40 minutes into the episode, and the only bodies we have are of rodents. Now I have to deal with more sentimental bullshit? Ugh!
Audrey was sad because she thought that Jack had died thinking that she was angry with him. Hey Audrey, Jack “died” during a gunfight. As much as I am sure he loved you, he was probably worried about forced labor at a communist prison, and not so much if you ad ever validated your love. As for Jack, he was upset he never got a chance to apologize for letting her husband die, even if CTU probably wasn’t the place for a person who had a life threatening spine injury. Before I fall asleep, Jack is reminded that there is that whole nerve gas thing to take care of, and Audrey goes back to her interrogation.
Sleepy enough? Wait, there’s more! Evelyn was told to pack up the First Lady’s things because she was going on a trip. While she started the packing, Martha woke up, and started asking some questions. When Evelyn tells her that they have to leave, but the President won’t be going with them, Martha knows that her husband is going to send her back to Vermont, where all of the best mental hospitals are, not to mention a heavy concentration of lacrosse players wearing J. Crew and Abercrombie. Martha hates mental hospitals, largely because nobody there cares how often they see her boobs, and said she would rather die than go back to one.
So, how does Martha get out of this one? Well, when her husband, comes to check on her, he goes into the bathroom where she was supposed to be changing. At first, I thought they would just notice that she had jumped out a window, but when he looks at a bottle of empty pills and head over to the shower curtain, I was seriously wondering if she decided to end her life, once and for all. Instead, the President opens the shower curtains, and the only thing he sees is a chair and an open window. Time to call the US Marshals; we have a fugitive on our hands! Now, I am not sure if she even snuck out. Much better to do the old, pretend to sneak out, but really hide somewhere else trick as a diversion. And even if she did leave, the President’s ranch is in the Palm Desert and there are still lots of reporters running around, not to mention a Russian or two. Just how far do we think she can get?
At this point, I am starting to wonder if anybody is going to die, but in the meantime, we get a little bit of explanation of what Spenser is doing for Walt. Walt needed to get another guy on the inside to do some work on Jack, so he gives his buddy Spenser a call. Spenser is in the CTU server room, which is really the official hiding place for any mole that doesn’t want to get caught. It’s also the official place where Chloe O’Brian catches people doing all sorts of funny stuff. After hanging up with Walt, Chloe walks into the server room. She tells Spenser that she was unfairly harsh, and you can see that our poor girl is really fighting the urge to say something too blunt and awkward. Spenser accepts the apology, even though, as Chloe said, it was more of an observation than an apology. Spenser needs to rush off to let this other guy in, and Chloe is mad at herself for yet another personal interaction blowing up in her face. You all know I love Chloe, but the beauty of her dialogue was that it was funny because it was so unexpected. Now that I am hearing it as often as her coworkers, I am starting to find it annoying. The computer will never leave you sad and lonely Chloe; stick to firewalls, shell scripts, and sockets.
Spenser went downstairs to meet a consultant that Walt had sent. Spenser takes him to another communications room, and shows the guy how to log onto their systems, and warns him that if anything is different from the way he found it there will be discrepancies. After that, Spenser gets nervous and leaves. I though that Walt would send a killer, but I guess I was wrong. What could a mere hacker want to do with Jack? And then it hit me. He’s going go get into Jack’s personal files, and find out he has as a daughter. Kim Bauer is going to get kidnapped, YET AGAIN! I can’t believe I was sitting through this entire episode, and the payoff was going to be a Kim abduction! Luckily, I was completely wrong. The guy was not a hacker, he was an assassin. His case full o’ hacking tools really housed a do-it-yourself silencer pistol. This guy was going to try and kill Jack? Yes! That means at least one person is going to die in this episode.
He’s a killer, but he loves his wife
But first! Spenser. You would have thought that a properly trained mole would have covered up his tracks, especially with Nosey McIntteruptsalot Chloe around, but this kid is clearly JV. When he returns to his console, he finds that he is locked out, and security takes him to the conference room, where Buchanan and Chloe start asking questions. Chloe saw that he was accessing systems he had no business sniffing around. Spenser first tries to deny it, and then tries to say that Chloe is getting back at him for hurting her, which is trued, but is not the only reason. Then they notice the person he was trying to follow. It was Jack!
Jack had been talking with Lynn trying to figure out who would frame him, when they got word from Dr. Paulson in the infirmary that Tony was awake, and he wanted to talk to Jack. Hey! Bang up job for CTU medical! I was positive that Tony would die. Never underestimate a man brave enough to wear a soul patch and drink from a Cubs mug. They are the salt of the earth, and they’re one of the backbones of this country. Well, the Cubs mug is magical, and the soul patch enchanting, but Tony was not awake. When Jack goes down to see him, he notices in the reflection on Tony’s heart monitor that Dr. Paulson is pulling a gun on him. It isn’t Dr. Paulson, of course, but the assassin. Finally! SOMEBODY IS GOING TO DIE!
Maybe it’s a testament on to how desensitized I have become that I need people to die on 24 for me to enjoy the show, but I just saw A History of Violence this weekend, and Jack was looking like a huge wimp compared to Tom Stalls. And maybe the hour it’s been since he last had to kill somebody has made Jack a little rusty, because Assassin Guy is getting quite a few good licks on Jack. Particularly gruesome was the sound of Jack’s rib cracking as the guy stomped on his chest.
I was wondering when the CTU security was going to come in and kill the guy on top of Jack, or perhaps for Tony to wake up from his coma and knock assassin guy out with the bed pan, but neither of those happened – Jack had to do it himself. While on the floor, the killer picked up a scalpel, and was trying to stab it into Jack’s face. Instead, Jack pulled off one of the best kills of all time. He fought off the “consultant” and flipped him over, doing a reverse neck stab at the same time. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Jack thrusts it into the jugular, leaving nothing but some blood gurgling out of the killer’s lips.
That’s not going to be good for business
YES! That was what I am talking about. We needed at least a dozen more just like that, but I actually was in a little bit of suspense for a few moments there. What a feeling!
Jack hates getting ambushed, so he decides to join the little party of people asking Spenser questions. At this point, there is not much Spenser can do and he admits that he was working for somebody, but he thought it was Internal Affairs. He didn’t know they had sent a killer. Walt told him that it was somebody who just wanted info on Jack. What was that? Walt? Walt Cummings? So now we know that there was somebody in the administration that may be in on it, but how are they going to get to Walt. Even if they tell Logan, would President Pussy risk a scandal by turning in his top advisor? Nobody from CTU would be able to get close enough to do anything.
But Jack isn’t from CTU. Give him a little ammo, a little tactical, and he’ll take care of this himself.
Obviously, this episode moved a little slow, at least compared to the first four hours. I was disappointed, but only because of previous high expectations and I think this episode was too much of a sedative at times. We sort of overloaded ourselves with Chloe comments to the point where they were almost not funny, and I think I want Mandy back just so Curtis can punch her in the face again. We know the nerve gas is supposed to be headed to Russia, and for once, we actually don’t know how they are going to find it, which makes for some interesting possibilities. Plus, there is crazy Martha. I love the First Lady, and hopefully she will be involved in Walt’s grisly death, or at the very least makes it out of the desert and into Vegas to become a showgirl.
What did you think of the episode?