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I can’t remember the last time 24 actually gave me such a multitude of belly laughs. I mean, I usually crack up at the random deaths of anonymous henchmen, and of course there’s always Chloe’s personality disorder and its subsequent zingers, and every once in a while Jack will make a hilarious expression, but overall the show is not exactly known for its comedy. Until now!!
But we’ll get to that later. Right now, Logan is arriving at CTU, amidst many a harsh stare and a rousing chorus from the Presidential Trumpets of Distress. I’m hoping that someone will break the tension by shouting “LOGES! What’s up dude?” and executing a well-timed high-five, but alas, that pleasant scenario exists only in my head, so I just chuckle to myself. He is led into one of those torture chamber cells that CTU loves to utilize, but sadly I don’t think Burke will be making an appearance tonight. He’s probably still cleaning up the whole Graem Bauer mess. Chloe enters the cell and Logan asks who she is. “I’m just Chloe O’Brien,” she mumbles. JUST Chloe O’Brien?! That’s like saying, “Oh, I’m just the Queen of England. Scone?”
Logan starts to get testy, pestering Chloe about Jack and demanding to speak to Bill and asking why he’s in a holding cell. Chloe responds in kind, with a couple snappy remarks and the oddly-phrased “Sorry, I’m feeling ambivalent.” Huh? That was weird, even for Chloe.
Bill gathers his minions into the Situation Room, where he introduces Mike Doyle, the new head of Field Ops. Mike is played by none other than Rick Schroder, who has apparently decided to up his street cred by going by RickY Schroder again. He looks quite ridiculous, like some overcaffeinated overgrown child who’s pretending to be a secret agent and will soon be running around his backyard, shooting a pretend finger gun. I hope that happens. Anyway, Bill briefs everyone on the situation, and Mike, who is in charge of the assault on the Russian consulate, tells them that rescuing Jack is their secondary objective. Their primary objective is to capture Markov, since he knows where Gredenko is. Milo pipes up with an objection, something about starting a war with Russia, but Bill tells them all that it’s ultimately the VP’s call. And that call will almost assuredly be growled at some poor underling.
Bill leaves the room and Mike immediately starts demanding that the scenarios be “bracketed into threes,” or something like that. WELL. This highly offends our dear boy Milo, who seems fiercely determined to establish himself as the Whiny Bitch of the Day. He’s totally against all of Mike’s insane bracketing plans, but Mike loudly insists that he doesn’t care what Milo thinks. Hmm. I don’t enjoy RickyMike, but I like that he’s being rude to Milo, so now I don’t know what to think. I’m feeling ambivalent.
Milo zings back – “It’s so weird, because I had this thought…you might come here and not be a jerk…like you were in Denver…but you are!” Mike deadpans, “Yeah. It’s just like that.” Oooooh. This tiger’s got some claws! It’s like we’re watching some sort of high school drama and there’s a full-out War of Ridiculousness going down. Nadia whispers that she takes it Milo knows him (Nadia’s a little slow), and Milo says yes, and that he doesn’t like him but Mike does know what he’s doing. My guess: lover’s quarrel.
Back at the consulate, Evil Russian Henchman kicks Jack, who goes flying down a set of stairs and lands on a dead guy. ERH calls up Markov and informs him that he’s going to “terminate the American”. Do people really talk like this? I should go into government work so I can say badass things all the time, like instead of brushing my teeth, I will be “eliminating the Plaque Army”. While ERH is on the phone, Jack takes the dead guy’s belt off, in an effort to take the show in a drastically different direction. Oh wait, he’s only using it to loop around ERH’s arm as he attempts to shoot him. Head removed from gutter. Jack flips the bitch over and steals his gun, while ERH pulls out a knife, thinking perhaps that he might somehow end up on the winning end of a knife vs. gun fight. He’s clearly wrong, as Jack easily shoots the dude and he goes down. Markov watches via a security camera and irritably radios out Jack’s location.
The henchmen assemble and start searching the basement. Jack ducks into a side room that contains a phone, in addition to a lot of boxes. But before he can do anything, the men arrive (“He’s in the box room!”) to give the area a very cursory searching. Seriously, there’s like one guy glancing around, you can almost hear him saying out loud “Are you in this box? Nope.” They all run away and the camera pans to reveal Jack hiding on a high shelf. When will those Russians learn?!
The Lead Box Investigator radios back to Markov that they haven’t found him, but they’re setting up a perimeter. Awww, see we’re really not all that different. Russians can set up useless perimeters too! Jack falls off his shelf to reveal a pained I-have-a-broken-rib expression. He staggers over to the phone to call CTU, and holy crap Morris actually answers! Did they fire the temp? Jack is just about to tell him where Gredenko is when the phones cut out, as per Markov’s orders. Jack offers a pointed “Dammit!”, then destroys the electrical wires and the consulate plunges into darkness. I don’t know why he didn’t just start yelling “ShadowValleyShadowValley” as soon as Morris picked up, but then again I’m not Jack Bauer, and it’s probably all part of his master plan anyway.
Milo fills Bill in on the situation, and Bill tells him to inform Mike that Jack now has crucial information and is no longer dispensable. I’m sorry. Has Jack ever, in all of the six seasons we’ve known him, EVER been dispensable?! Has CTU descended into MADNESS?!
Bill barges into Logan’s room, telling him that the debriefing will have to be rescheduled because of a little Russian consulate situation. Logan, ever the nosy ex-President, whimpers about being able to help. Bill, who looks quite terrible under the harsh lighting of the room, gives him an update and tells him that they’re planning on taking Markov by force. Logan insists that this is a terrible idea and that they would be better off if they got help from Suvarov, but as we all recall VP did a pretty good job of scaring him away last week, so that’s not an option. So Logan has a better idea – his ex-wife!! She became good friends with Anya, Suvarov’s wife, so she may be able to get through to the Russian Duo. Bill agrees to call her, but is skeptical. As am I. I’m thrilled at the return of the Crazy, but I’m worried that Aaron Pierce will be returning as well. Because I’ve loved him just as long as I’ve loved Jack, and his presence means that there’s a chance he could die. I’m so scared! Hold me!
Mike the ManChild is stomping around the CTU office, demanding more teams and numbers and brackets! We need more brackets, STAT! Morris gives him some lip, so in accordance with CTU Standard Operating Procedures, Mike grabs him in a choke hold. He announces to the room that if anyone has problems taking orders from him, that they need to let him know right now. Fifty hands shoot into the air. Well, no, but they should have. Milo puts on his Big Boy voice and tells Mike not to touch his people. “Your people haaaave Cooooties!” Mike sings as he runs away.
Milo asks Morris if he’s alright, for what must be the fifty-seventh time today. Morris snarks, “The shirt’s a blend, it doesn’t wrinkle.” Hey-o! Welcome to CTU Comedy Hour!
Back at the Bunker, Tom Lennox and the VP are having their secret, liars-only meeting. Lennox agrees to fudge the details of the bombing for the sake of what’s best for the country. Daniels is delighted to hear this, until Tom adds that he is only willing to cooperate as long as the truth eventually comes out and Reed and Goon (Partners in Crime!) are punished. Daniels promises that they will be, but not at the moment – can’t show any weakness on the part of the U.S. government. Oh, and Tom? Would you mind telling the ambassador of the Unnamed Country that you saw Assad plant the bomb? K THX! This is a little too much for Tom, who refuses to lie to the ambassador, but this make Daniels mad! DANIELS SMASH!
He growls at Tom some more. When Tom tries to interrupt, Daniels snarls “I’M STILL TALKIN!” There is no G at the end of that word, folks. He’s a cowboy. He eventually wears the poor guy down and Tom agrees to lie to the ambassador. When he asks why, Daniels says that he’s going to tell the ambassador that he holds his MYSTERIOUS COUNTRY, which I will henceforth refer to as Iraqistan, responsible for the attacks and that the U.S. is ready to respond with a nuclear attack. Tom just stands there, looking like he has greatly upset Vigo the Carpathian. He’s sooo taking the fall for this. Mark my words, he’ll either be hauled away in cuffs by the end of the season or will crash a plane carrying a nuclear bomb into the desert, thereby totally redeeming himself. What? That’s already been done?
After the commercials, Fayed arrives at Gredenko’s desert hideaway. Gredenko “says” (read: voiceovers in post-production) “It’s about time he got here, we need to start loading the bombs.” Oh, THAT’S what they’re doing out there! Bombs, drones, brackets, I get so confused.
Bill gets Daniels on the horn and tells him that Jack is still inside the consulate. Ah, “Jack Bauer is still at large” – the scariest words in the English language. Bill fills him in on the two options – get Crazy to help, or storm the consulate. Daniels doesn’t believe for a second that the mentally-imbalanced ex-wife route will work, but as long as CTU prepares for the strike in the meantime, he’s willing to give it a shot.
Aaaand…it’s Aaron!!! Despite my fear of his demise, I sure am glad to see him. He’s been a constant, ever since the first season, and clearly must have an angel on his shoulder to have survived where many others have fallen. I’m a card-carrying member of his fan club. Anyway, enough gushing. He’s carrying a grocery bag into a house that contains what used to be Martha Logan. They exchange some pleasantries, and it’s pretty clear that they’re an adorable couple, if a little quirky.
He makes a little bit of a show out of his purchases – he got her magazines, and some raspberries and kiwi from Mel’s, an allegedly fantastic produce stand. I don’t really know what to think of their banter – it’s cute and all, but she seems really loopy and he’s being really careful around her, like the slightest snub of Mel might send her over the edge, which I’m guessing she’s constantly teetering on. Or maybe it’s just the ominous feeling in the air – I’m betting something terrible is going to happen in this very house very soon. But Martha dreamily feeds Aaron a raspberry and darn it, they’re just darling together. And damn, that is a very large porcelain pear in the kitchen. Martha LOVES produce!!
But then the phone rings, and Aaron happily chirps “Martha Logan’s Bungalow!” This immediately causes me and the rest of my 24 viewing party to explode into riotous laughter. It instantly makes my list of Best 24 Lines Ever, in fact it may even hover somewhere near the top. Martha Logan’s Bungalow?! I’m answering my phone with that from now on, no more of this Hello nonsense. Anyway, I hate to move on, but I suppose I must, because there’s more crazy to be had.
Of course it’s Logan on the phone, and he asks Aaron if he could speak with Martha. She’s not a fan of that, to say the least. Aaron tells him no but Logan keeps snipping away. “I no longer have to tolerate your sarcasm,” Aaron booms. This man is on FIRE! Logan calms down and explains that it has to do with the Suvarovs. Aaron relays this message, and Martha suddenly changes her tune. She grabs the phone and asks if Anya’s okay. Logan says that she’s fine and explains what’s going on with the Russians. She can’t believe he’s calling her and refuses to get involved. Also, she’s twitching a lot. Yay, incoming onscreen breakdown!!
Aaron picks up the phone, which Martha threw on the couch, and Logan tries to convince him that this is necessary, that he wouldn’t be playing around on a Day Like Today. Aaron says he knows. See, this is why the man has survived six seasons. He follows Rule #1 by always listening to Jack, and he always makes logical decisions. Somebody give this man a medal. Logan says he’s hopping on a chopper and will be there in a few minutes. So they’re just giving out free helicopter rides to ex-presidential traitors over at CTU now? Tony must be spinning in his grave. His sexy, wonderful, constantly exasperated grave.
After the commercials, Bill puts in a call to Logan, who is now in the air. He tells him that the special ops have been dispatched and they’re going to attack the consulate unless Logan is able to convince Martha to help. No pressure, Loges!
Meanwhile, Jack is still scurrying around the Russian consulate bargain basement. He runs into a room that contains a couple, clearly on their way to a little afternoon delight. Because what better time to engage in sexy relations than during an international crisis? Those Russians and their ironic timing! Jack bursts in, gun drawn, and takes them hostage. Jack HATES office relationships! He demands to make a call, and sends the wiry whiny guy off to retrieve a satcom phone.
Logan arrives and Aaron greets him at the door, but does not shake his hand. Dayum, cold! Well, the man did kill a bunch of people and almost destroy the country, I suppose a few handshake snubs are in order. Logan enters The Bungalow (The Musical!), and Martha quickly flees to her room and shuts the door. Aaron, looking totally annoyed with this entire situation, says that he’ll try and retrieve her. At this point I default to suspecting that she’s busy committing suicide, as I always thought, every episode last season. But the old girl never did, and this time is no exception. Aaron returns moments later to say that she’s changed her mind and she doesn’t want to see Logan. Logan starts whining to Aaron again, but is interrupted by Her Royal Crazyness, who has decided to emerge.
They exchange frostyness and she demands to know what he wants. Woman, he’s told you twenty-seven times! Pay attention, dammit! He explains the entire situation yet again, and when she starts to get testy he shows her his tracking bracelet and reminds her that he’s going right back to prison after this is all over. Martha smirks at his sprawling mansion “prison” but Logan attempts to steer her back to the matter at hand. She asks Aaron if she should do this, and he says yes. She says she needs a drink, and I’m really hoping she gets one, because more crazy is always welcome at Martha Logan’s Bungalow. She says it would be a small price to pay for “saving the world.” Hey, save the cheerleader too while you’re at it. But eventually she agrees to speak to Anya. Atta girl!
Daniels is now meeting with Iraqistan’s ambassador, who looks for all the world like the Oompa Loompas in the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I hope he does a little dance at some point. Anyway, Daniels starts in on the whole Assad-is-to-blame thing, and the ambassador is all like “bwaaa? But I thought – he said – when did we- bwaaa?” Daniels sneers that all that peacemaking nonsense was merely a “rrrrrruse”, and that he has evidence that Assad detonated the bomb. Including our special guest witness, Tom Lennox! Tom mumbles an assent. Oompa Loompa says that even if that’s true, Assad was certainly not working at the behest of the government. Daniels is all, “bitch please,” and informs him that he has troops within striking distance of every major city of Iraqistan, and he’s probably going to bomb the shit out of them. Oompa Loompa looks like a scared little puppy.
Nadia updates Bill on the status of Operation Consulate-Take-Down, and he mumbles that it’s going to come right down to the wire. Of course it is. Everything always happens at the :58 minute mark, right after the big swooping five-scenes-at-once-with-clock screen. In my circles, we’ve always referred to the big twist at the end as the “Fuck You moment”. As in, “Fuck you, audience! You think you had it figured out?! YOU FOOLS!” Bill reveals the whole Martha Logan plan to Nadia, who doubts that it will work, as does Bill. Great. Why are we doing this again? Oh right, to avoid a war with Russia.
And to make matters worse, Anya happens to be making a speech at this very moment, and because of “Russian politics”, Chloe explains, they can’t interrupt. I call it “common courtesy”, but whatever. This extra waiting time of course adds up to more awkwardness over at the Bungalow. Martha is clearly about to snap, screeching that “This is taking forEVER!” Poor Aaron consoles her, saying that he’ll stick by her. Aww. Logan apologizes for hurting her, and so she asks him if it bothers him to see her with another man. Ooh. Logan admits that it is but that he’s happy for her. “I’m sure you are,” she snarls, and heads for the kitchen. Hmm. I feel uneasy.
She begins to violently slice a kiwi, and starts in on how she has never been with a truly good man until Aaron came along. No arguments there. She yells some more, then yells about how yelling makes her feel better. Aaron tries to tell her not to get all stirred up, but she shouts, “Oh, we wouldn’t want THAT, would we?!” This is delightful. She sits back down, and Logan thanks Aaron for all that he’s done for her. Martha: “Now you’re trying to irritate me, aren’t you? Cut the CRAP. The sincerity, the new ENLIGHTENED SOUL. At least you used to be an HONEST CROOK.” And with that, she throws some kiwi at him. Best scene EVER!
Aaron calms her down and she apologizes, taking some plates and a knife back to the kitchen. There sure are a lot of closeups of that knife. Anyway, she gets halfway to the kitchen, gets a crazy look in her eye, and changes her mind, deciding instead to PLUNGE THE KNIFE INTO LOGAN’S NECK! Logan, who was just sitting there, cleaning off his shirt, thinking “Dammit, kiwi stains never come out,” is now bleeding all over the Bungalow Couch. He pulls the knife out, while Martha keeps saying “I did it! He wouldn’t stop!” Aaron calls for a medic, yelling that she hit an artery, which, of COURSE she did. And I’m really hoping that amidst all this chaos someone steps in with a phone and calmly says, “Mrs. Suvarov on Line 1 for you, ma’am.”
After commercials, the medics are hauling Logan away, saying that he’s going into shock. I like to think that they’ve responded to a Code 423 – Stabbing at the Bungalow. Aaron is on the phone with Bill, who says that the VP has authorized the team to move in on the consulate unless Suvarov intervenes. Bill asks, “Is Martha capable of having a coherent conversation with Anya Suvarov?” I think the answer to that is an emphatic NO, but Aaron says he’s not sure, so Bill will get back to him in a minute. Meanwhile, Martha is sitting, staring off into space, then asks Aaron why she’s wearing handcuffs. “I should be given a medal. He was one of the biggest criminals in history!” Someone give this woman her own show. Or at the very least an Emmy, she was totally robbed last year.
Aaron asks if she’s able to talk to Anya, and Martha chirps, “Of course! I’m not crazy!” Right. And I’m not ridiculously good looking. But there’s no time to dispute this, as Anya is on the line and it’s showtime! She and Martha have a little chitchat- it’s been a while, how is everything, remember when my husband tried to have you and your husband killed two years ago, etc. Ah, memories. Then Martha gets right to the point. Careful Anya! She’ll stab you through the phone! Anya doesn’t know much about what’s going on, so Martha begins to give her the details as we cut away to the consulate. Though for all we know she could just be going on and on about how she has to buy a new Bungalow Couch, as her old one has been irreversibly stained by some sort of unpleasantness.
At the consulate, lil’ Ricky and team are crouched behind the wall, waiting, probably throwing rocks at the windows or something. That kid and his crazy hijinks! Inside, Markov is on the phone with Suvarov, who tells him to surrender to the Americans and return Jack Bauer, unharmed. Markov doesn’t care for these orders, so he says he can’t do that and hangs up. Anya hands her husband another phone, which has Buchanan on the other line, and Suvarov gives the go-ahead for CTU to storm the consulate.
Remember Jack Bauer? He’s still in the basement with the girl he took hostage, when the wiry guy returns with the satcom phone. Jack asks him to unlock it, but before he can the door is kicked in and people start shooting. Jack fires back, and it’s totally unclear as to what is going on right now, except that bullets are flying, and wiry guy catches one. No matter, his girl will probably just move on to the guy in the next cubicle. That bitch.
Bill calls his bratty little nephew, I mean Mike, and tells him that Suvarov has given them the go-ahead. Mike and his team open fire, take down some Russians, and totally ruin a beautiful red carpet in the process. Jeez Russia, who were you expecting, Brad Pitt?! No, you’ll get Ricky Schroder and you’ll like it. Jack runs out of bullets in the basement, and the bad guys are just about to shoot him when CTU throws a bomb through the window and blows them all away. Except for Jack and the girl, of course.
Markov calls Gredenko and tells him that the Americans have arrived. Gredenko is upset, to say the least, but Markov tells him that he must launch the bombs right now. Then the CTU team arrives, and since Markov starts shooting at them, they shoot back and kill him up real good.
Mike arrives at Jack’s basement hideout, where he introduces himself and Jack tells him the location of Fayed and Gredenko. Mike yells into his headset to be patched through to Buchanan, and I swear the guy sounds like a twelve-year-old. I half expected him to add “Mom, I’m ON the PHONE!”
Meanwhile, in the five-shot-clock-scene Gredenko arms the bombs, Buchanan dispatches teams to Shadow Valley, and Daniels submits his Evil Proposal.
And it’s time for the big Fuck You! Logan is in the ambulance en route to the hospital, when he suddenly murmurs “Martha…” and then…crashes! Logan does, that is. Not the ambulance. Though that might be fun. Or better yet, they make it to a hospital…in Valencia! Wahp wahp!
So let me get this straight. All the business with Martha and Logan and the Suvarovs didn’t even work? That’s a lot of stress and work and dead ex-presidents to have to deal with for a plan that ended up being a total failure. Oh well. I’m just so happy to see Martha. Looks like she’s doing quite well these days. Thoughts? Comments? Is Logan dead? What are your feelings on delicious produce?