Isn’t it great when one of your favorite TV shows defies all expectations and turns out better than you could have hoped? So far, that is the feeling that I am getting from this season of 24. About the only thing lackluster so far is the performance of the President, but considering the actor’s most memorable role may have been as sidekick to a Bobcat Goldwaith-voiced cat puppet, I’m not going to complain. As long as the show sticks to the formula of palpable tension it has seemingly re-discovered for the rest of the season, I’ll let Bryan Grazer and FOX off the hook for depriving us of the show the other seven months of the year.Jack pretty has one goal in mind – save Audrey Heller. Yes, he loves her, but saving her is also going to make it easier to receive all of the pardons he is going to need after he spends a day breaking governmental protocol in order to get to her. What’s better? Make-up, conjugal visit, or post-captivity sex? Whatever it is, Jack is sure to have plenty.
It was fairly easy to predict that Ronny would die. Not only has he never been seen anywhere, but he also laid a fist on Jack Bauer. Don’t pull on Superman’s cape, don’t spit into the wind, and don’t mess around with Jack. After the terrorist, who CTU knows only as “The Hostile”, but we know as Kalil, kills Ronny and the MTA guard, he speeds off in his Lexus. See, he needs to find a safe place to interrogate and/or kill the computer programmer in order to find out how much he knows. While it might be Andrew’s best interest to have Jack save him as fast as possible, Jack decides that he doesn’t want to give up on trailing the kidnapper just yet. If Kalil is connected to the kidnapping, he just may lead Jack to the place where Secretary Heller and his daughter are being held
Unfortunately for Jack, his new boss doesn’t really agree with him. She wants him to bring the suspect back as quickly as possible. And for this one, I sort of have to agree. Just a little more than an hour ago, Jack was demonstrating just how skilled he was at intimidating people into talking. Why did he all of a sudden decide that this terrorist wouldn’t crack under the constant questioning and psychological torture? I am not sure, but he must of figured that Driscoll wasn’t going to let him anywhere near a subject after his little bullet wound to the femur fiasco the last time around. Jack pulled the old “you’re breaking up” over the cell phone, and proceeded to tail the evil Lexus, but not too quickly. Driscoll obviously didn’t buy Jack’s excuse, and informed everybody at CTU that Jack was rogue, and they would use all of their resources to find him. All of their resources except for Chloe O’Brian that is. Jack has been secretly contacting Chloe and pressing her to help him from the inside. Chloe wants to help her friend, and doesn’t trust Driscoll, so she helps him by tapping into the feeds of highway cameras.
The evil Lexus, for its part, is not stupid. Kalil doesn’t believe that anybody is following him, but pulls a triple lane change onto an off-ramp just in case. This surprises Jack, and he is forced to exit and the next on-ramp, which puts him head on with other traffick, including a school bus. But with no satellite surveillance, he had no other choice, and he still has a huge problem. Apparently the highway the Lexus is heading for is two lanes and lightly traveled. That means that Jack won’t be able to follow him as closely as he would like, and might even lose him before he gets to Heller.
Back at CTU, things are still pretty crazy. Driscoll has been trying to explain to the president how they lost an agent in the field, but have nothing to show for it. She’s also trying to explain why Jack is now a field agent. She begins discussing a contingency plan with the president. The major media outlets are cooperating by not showing the trial, but they are worried they can’t stop the internet feed because shutting down the internet would disable their command control. I am not a military guy, but I figure that most of our command control depends on satellites and we could make due if the internet went down. But forgetting all of that, they contemplate just how careful they should be Heller. When it comes down to it, national security is more important than the Secretary of Defense, so he might be collateral in the fight to take out the terrorists.
Apparently, CTU is a very efficient outfit, but when they need help on something, they hire some outside consultants. With the country on an elevated alert status, that means that the consultants get called in. One of the consultants is Marianne Taylor, played by the very scrumptious Aisha Tyler. OK, Marianne would have been one of the consultants except for Curtis, the CTU black guy made the list of consultants to umm, consult, and left Marianne off that list. We find this out because Marianne calls Curtis and let’s him know she has a problem with it. It turns out that Curtis and Marianne used to sleep together, but that Marianne seemed only interested in sleeping her way to the top. Curtis was fine with that until Marianne stopped returning his calls. Later, we find out that Marianne was able to squeeze some classified information out of Curtis in between blow jobs. Now I see why she is a consultant – she is very efficient. In order to get into CTU, Marianne goes directly to Driscoll, who puts her to work right away at a desk.
Curtis has is own problems. He is in charge of trying to get information out of Richard Heller, the scruffy son of the Secretary of Defense. They think he may have unwittingly gave somebody some information on his dad’s visit, since the trip to his son’s house wasn’t on Heller’s original agenda. Problem is, Curtis has all of these ethics and refuses to use drugs on Heller because he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he tries sensory deprivation. I wish that they actually tried torturing him, because Richard is really annoying, and a huge wimp. He is complaining about being detained, but terrorists have his father and sister. Still, he acts like he got the raw end of the deal.
Have I said how much I love Chloe? She has been trying to do all of her work, but still manages to help out Jack. Chloe is perfect for this kind of work because, let’s face it, she isn’t your average coworker. She is always been kind of strange, so if she becomes a little stranger due to the high stress of her friend about to be killed, nobody will notice. You see, Kalil pulled off of an overpass to interrogate his subject along with a couple of other thugs. Jack has them in his sights with a sniper rifer, but knows that evil Lexus man is going to lead him back to Heller, so he lets them rough him up a little bit. Chloe pleads for him to help her friend, but when Kalil leaves, Jack follows him. On his way, he gets a smattering of conscience, probably doesn’t want another death on his hands, and takes out the two thugs by shooting them in the chest, with plenty of time to pursue the subject, although he still needs his satellite imaging. Luckily for Jack, Kalil forgot to fill up his Lexus that morning and needs to stop for gas.
Jack again has a bit of luck. Instead of paying at the pump, Kalil decides to pay for his gas inside the station. This should give Jack plenty of time to do some stealthy shit like slash Kalil’s tires to delay him, right? Maybe sneak into the back seat or even the trunk of the Lexus? Oh, he is going into the back of his CTU truck, they must have a little device Jack can plant on the car that will be able to track him remotely. No, all of the above made too much sense. Jack needs to buy time, so he reaches into the back of his truck for a glock and a ski mask. He is going to fake rob the convenience store in order to buy some time.
As the masked man enters the store, Kalil is kind of surprised. Just imagine all the shit he’s going to get back at the terrorist cell for letting himself get abducted. And to top it off, he can’t just shoot Jack, because it would attract too much attention. Although I believed that Jack could have done something a little less outrageous to buy time, you have to admit, it was good for some things. For instance, he asked for the cell phones and wallets of all the customers, very convenient when you are trying to apprehend a criminal.
Chloe is still having her troubles at CTU. Driscoll knows that she is probably helping Jack, so she tells Sarah (who, BTW is not a bad dish herself) to firewall Chloe’s station and watch to see what she is doing. CTU absolutely LOVES anything having to do with firewalls, pipelines, sockets, and ports, and this year is no exception. Chloe knows that she is being watched, and recruits Edgars help. Now, it is clear that Edgar has a thing for Chloe, so when she pulls him aside and asks for his help with the satellites for Jack, he agrees, as long as Chloe says she forced him to do it. Clearly Edgar has been dreaming of Mistress Chloe forcing him to do many bad things. Now, if that wasn’t enough intrigue, it turns out Marianne had overheard the entire thing. God, wasn’t she supposed to be doing work? Wouldn’t my tax dollars be better spent on a consultant that actually consults? She is about as active as Carrie from a couple of seasons ago, who apparently came on to help, but was there simply to piss off Michelle Dessler.
While the tag team of Chloe and Edgar work on satellites, Kalil is still holed up with Jack in the convenience store. He has reason to be worried about being late getting back to his terrorist friends. Secretary Heller has not been standing idly by waiting to die. In fact, he has been far from a model captive. When asked to sign off on a list of war crimes, he refuses until they threaten Audrey. He then fakes a heart attack in order to club a guard. He manages to shoot a couple more guards before Omar, their leader, and some reinforcements come around to put an end to his commando lifestyle. He says that if Heller tries anything again, he is simply going to kill his daughter.
Speaking of concerned parents, remember how I said a few paragraphs back that Jack had to dodge a school bus? Well, apparently it must have been summer school, or some field trip, because Behrooz hasn’t bothered going to school, and neither has his girlfriend, who has become a huge problem for his parents. Earlier, he pleaded with his mother to talk his dad out of calling Debbie over to his house. His mom said she would, but she is too focused to let anything spoil her plans. She calls Debbie over herself. Behrooz knows that there is going to be trouble. Too bad for him his mom is evil incarnate. I always though Sherry Palmer was a great villianess, but Dina Araz is quickly giving her a run for her money. She is so calculating, and you know that as soon as Debbie walked in that door, she wasn’t going to be leaving alive.
Indeed, you knew it was just a distraction when Dina called her into the living room and had Behrooz show her some of his baby pictures. She then went off to prepare some some tea. Debbie was really enjoying her time there. She would finally be able to spend some time with Behrooz without sneaking around behind his parents. Well, that’s what she thought. You see Dina and Navi believed that since Behrooz caused the problem with Debbie, he should be the one to take care of it. While Debbie is amazed at how small Behrooz was as a baby (“Is that really you?!”), Dina pulled him to the side and gave him a gun. She said that he must shoot her, and calmly walks up the stairs, probably to find some house cleaner to get the brain matter out of her couch.
Behrooz, on the other hand, doesn’t buy into the plan. He tells Debbie she is in danger and she must leave. Luckily, Dina knew that her son wouldn’t be able to kill his friend, and decided to poison the tea that she gave her. Debbie ends up dying in the middle of the house, while Dina looks down from the stairs, happy that she got rid of the girl without making a mess. Now earlier, Behrooz did give a good reason not to kill Debbie. No, it wasn’t that it would make a mess, or because she didn’t see anything. He knew that Debbie’s parents would look for her, and that would cause attention. This didn’t worry Dina, because she said that after the day was over, their missing daughter would be the least of their worries. Dina underestimated the nosiness of American parents, and when Debbie’s mom shows up at the door at the end of the show, you know that there is likley going to be another cold Shohreh Aghdashloo-inspired death on the horizon.
Chloe has finally managed to get the satellites in position, and so Jack is ready to make his escape. He acquired a few more hostages and some unwanted attention along the way. A County Sheriff came by for some coffee and/or donuts, and Jack had to lock him up in the freezer with the rest of the customers in the store. Eventually, the sheriff’s department figured out what was going on, and sent some backup to get Jack out of there. Using Kalil as a hostage, Jack manages to escape from the gas station, and dumps Kalil on the side of the highway, knowing that CTU can easily track him while he is on foot.
It was really a perfect plan, except that Driscoll started to get wise to what Chloe was doing. (That reminds me, did we really need to introduce Mya, Driscoll’s schizophrenic daughter into the story line? I think we have enough things that can get messed up without having to add any mental insanity.) She arrests Chloe, and sends a team to bring in the suspect. But first, she watches Kalil for a little while longer on the satellite. He steals a truck, and makes a call from the driver’s cell phone back to the home base. He is late, but he will be there within the hour. It dawns on Driscoll that Jack was right, and so she decides to call off the extraction team and track Kalil instead.
You would think this is all good for Jack, but he is still rogue, and the LA County Sheriff wants him for armed robbery (even though there was like $200 in the store safe). Jack gets caught in a road block, and there is nothing else for him to do but surrender. Now, I don’t believe for a minute that Jack is in any danger. From the previews, he obviously needs to be free to do some more stealthy shit in the next episode. I am sure that he is going to play the angle of “your best field agent is dead, you need me right now”, and I am sure Chloe will be allowed to work in the interest of national security, with prosecution to happen later. Still, I wouldn’t worry about Chloe. Afterall, Chloe does know that Driscoll made a huge mistake by ignoring the information about the internet routers earlier in the day. Plus, Driscoll intervened with the LAPD on her daughter’s behalf, meaning she isn’t so squeaky clean herself.
So, it’s been a great couple of days with lots of suspense. Even though we are only going to get one hour a week of 24 from now on, it looks like there should be plenty of excitement to go around for the rest of the season, and we know that this whole Heller thing is simply an introduction to the season. The real bad shit is yet to come.