Oh man. Nothing ever goes right for Jack Bauer. Just when everything seemed like it was wrapping up all nice and tidy, some terrorist just had to come in and ruin everything. Why can’t terrorists just leave well enough alone? I mean, a President already died this season. Isn’t that enough? Apparently not. Yes, Jack Bauer’s bad day of gas continued last night on 24, and for all you diehard fans, the answers is yes, we finally had our first cringe-worthy torture scene of the new season. Just like old times…The show began with Jack Bauer vowing to out Walt Cummings, and by “out,” I mean “pummel his face into a soft pulp.” Unfortunately, arranging a one-on-one with the President’s chief of staff isn’t the easiest thing in the world — not even for Jack. The good news was that Jack could still work his David Palmer Fan Club connections and arrange for a clandestine moment alone with Mike Novick (the guy that everyone loves these days, despite the fact that he had poor Lynn knocked down a staircase in season two). Anyway, before Jack could take any action, he had to make sure everyone in the Situation Room was on board with him meeting Novick.
“I think it’s worth a try,” said Audrey. And we knew she meant business because she had her glasses on. Everyone agreed and filed out, leaving Jack and his former flame in the Situation Room alone. Might as well call it the Irony Room now, yes? Well, Jack asked Aud to pull up some coordinates (that’s like asking “What’s your sign?” in CTU), and she replied, “Jack, I’m sorry if I’m being a little distant it’s…” she said, trailing off. It’s okay, Audrey. We know you have to be distant when your glasses are on. Luckily, Audrey could barely stay distant for long; so she removed the lenses and said, “When Cummings finds out you’re still alive, he’s gonna come after you again.” Listen, just put your glasses on and do your work, Audrey.
Meanwhile, over at Rancho Del Presidento, Logan was pissed that his wife was still on the loose. Okay, it’s one thing for terrorists to sneak by perimeters, but a crazy old bat like Martha? I think this country really needs to reexamine its perimeter tactics. Nevertheless, there were more pressing things on the mind of the President, namely that pesky nerve gas everyone’s been looking for. Just in case we didn’t think nerve gas was as scary as a nuclear threat or that nasty biological strain in season three, we then got to see some poor writhing and foaming on a video. Funny, that’s what happens to me every time I watch Yes, Dear. Zing!
As the President watched this nerve gas demo, Mike received a text message from Jack saying to call him immediately from a secure line. Of course, the mere act of Mike walking out of the room caused Walt’s shifty eyes to go nuts, which we all knew would be a bad thing. Any time anyone has shifty eyes on 24, you pretty much know bad things are going to happen. Well, Mike went off and called Jack who told him that someone inside the administration was responsible for Palmer’s death and the nerve gas. At first Mike was all “This is ridiculous!” but then Jack mentioned Walt’s name, and dangit if Cummings just ruffles Mike’s feathers! As usual, Jack got his way, and the two agreed to meet up.
Elsewhere in CTU, Diane and Derrick were roaming around (when will they be abducted already?) when they encountered Jack. Derrick wanted to know if Jack would be coming back with them (no, you idiot), and poor Diane, she just wanted to know if Jack was in love with Audrey. Well, he said yes, and when Diane then asked whether or not Audrey loved him back, he said he didn’t know. Ultimately, Jack kissed Diane goodbye, and I was secretly hoping Audrey would see it, get the wrong impression, and start some silly drama. Too bad Carrie from season two wasn’t still around. You know she would have totally gossiped to Audrey about Jack kissing another woman.
Anyway, back to more pressing matters: we then cut to the shady man who likes to hang out in dark rooms with computer monitors. Apparently his name was Nathanson, and he had taken a break from playing World of Warcraft to record Mike Novick’s conversation with Jack. Furthermore, he had shared it with Walt. “What the hell am I supposed to do?” the duplicitous White House aid asked.
“At this point, there’s only one thing you can do,” Nathanson replied. And suddenly… THE TICKING CLOCK! But wait! What’s the one thing he could do? Get some fro-yo? Check out a matinee of Brokeback Mountain? Play some web sudoku? The possibilities are endless!
After the commercial break, we found our old friend Aaron (the Secret Service guy and one of the few actors to appear in every season of 24) poking through some horse stables. We knew Martha would be nearby because those shrill “Psycho Housewife Alert!” violins were playing on the soundtrack. Sure enough, there she was, hiding in a stable behind some generic stable objects. Martha was quickly taken away by the Secret Service, but not before telling Aaron that someone in the administration had attacked her for knowing something about Palmer. As she headed out of the stables, the camera then zoomed onto Aaron and his anti-shifty eyes — the sort that say, “I might just help out.” Nice to see Aaron playing into the plot for once.
Back at CTU, Buchanan was busy barking at Audrey. “The last thing we need is for the public to find out that the nerve gas is out there.” So… I take it the public’s gonna find out, right? Eh, it was inevitable. Meanwhile, at the docks, a shady bad guy put some sort of code on the nerve gas containers (which, by the way, were headed to Asia). Unfortunately for bad guy #1, bad guy #2 (a.k.a. the fake hostage in the yellow tie) caught him stepping out of the freight container. The two squabbled about payment, with bad guy #1 wanting money upfront instead of after the gas arrived at its destination. Hmmm… changing payment plans? Never a good idea. Eventually, the two guys parted ways, but not before fake hostage/bad guy #2 gave us some of the old SHIFTY EYES!!!
Meanwhile, in the parallel universe that is Diane-land, our favorite emotionally-wounded mom approached our favorite emotionally-wounded CTU agent, Audrey. “Do you still have feelings for Jack?” Diane asked. She then revealed that Jack was still in love with Audrey, which caused all sorts of water-eyed stammering from the DoD liaison. Before Audrey could respond — it always takes her about forty-five minutes to stop doing the goldfish face and say something — Diane then mentioned that since Jack has been living with her and Derrick, the three of them have sort of become a family. “If you don’t love him, let him go,” Diane said. Oh, you sneaky whore! Meddling and manipulating! Jack should know better than to have two of his bitches left alone in CTU. Need I remind you of the fatal showdown that was Nina vs. Terri?
As for Jack, well, he had just arrived at the President’s ranch, located a convenient ten minutes away from CTU. Just as he was about to step out of the car, his phone rang, and you guessed it, an emotionally fraught Audrey wanted to have a “talk.”
“When this is over, are you coming back?” she asked. You do remember that there’s a national security crisis, right? Somebody put Audrey’s glasses on her face. Still, she persisted, “Are you going back to Diane?” Seriously, this girl needs to be TASERed right now. As usual, Jack replied with tortured, noncommittal responses, thus prompting Audrey to become even more needy. “Don’t go away again, Jack, please!” she urged, but thankfully, Jack had had enough of this silliness, saying that he had to go. What’s so pressing, Jack? Oh, that’s right, there’s only a small NERVE GAS DILEMMA.
Meanwhile, President Logan was busy in his office saying “We can’t have any leaks about the nerve gas,” which of course meant that we were on the verge of some sort of leak. Before we could get to that, however, Walt Cummings entered and holy cannoli, he confessed everything! Turns out that yes, Walt was helping to smuggle the gas out of the country, but the plan was to detonate the canisters remotely once they arrived at the terrorist headquarters. Ah ha! So Walt is good. Kind of. Right?
Eh, not so much. You see, after the terrorists would be killed, then the world would have “proof” that WMDs existed in that region, and the USA would be able to place a military presence in the area AND ensure oil for a new generation to come! How very Syriana. So in the end, Walt remains a bad guy, but for entirely different reasons.
Well, Logan unsurprisingly flipped out — which is always fun, but not nearly as fun as when it’s for something irrational — but this time Walt flipped out too. “I AM A PATRIOT!!” Walt yelled, explaining that he was doing this all for the betterment of the country. It then only took a few seconds for Logan to realize that Walt was behind Palmer’s death, but before the prez could call in the guards to take his treacherous underling away, Walt noted that if the scandal were to become public, the entire administration would go down in flames. Drats.
Meanwhile, Mike Novick arrived for his rendez-vous with Jack (he drove his own Town Car too). The two shook hands, smiled, and shared some brief pleasantries, but before they could get down to business, a helicopter and various vehicles suddenly arrived, putting a kibosh on this little date. Great. Anyway, the two were taken to the ranch, and as Jack was unloaded, Aaron spotted him and again, his anti-shifty eyes went off like gangbusters. Must… help… Jack… Bauer…
I didn’t realize the Celebrity Fit Club guy was on this show.
Back at CTU, there was some minor squabbling going on as Lynn and Buchanan learned that the White House wanted to take over the nerve gas investigation. Furthermore, no one was able to contact Jack or Mike Novick, leading Buchanan to surmise that something was most certainly wrong. Feeling a sense of obligation unheard of for a CTU bureaucrat, Buchanan decided to disobey White House orders and continue the investigation, but Lynn was not on board. “I’m not about considering disobeying a direct order from the White House,” he said, causing Buchanan to lash back, “That’s because you don’t have the experience to know any better.” IN YOUR FACE, LYNN!! How’s that feel because you just got surrrved!
Over at the Presidential compound, Jack was holed up in a room that was not unlike the Mexican confines of the Salazar ranch. Anyway, trusty Aaron entered, and without missing a beat, Jack began pleading his case, explaining the whole conspiracy and saying that it was Aaron’s obligation to save the president from Walt. Amusingly, Aaron casually mentioned that the first lady seemed to know about this conspiracy also, but Jack simply brushed off the news as if Aaron had just announced the afternoon weather.
Well, Aaron approached some other Secret Service personnel and told them that Jack had gone missing (perimeter time!), but it was all a ruse for the two guys to barge into the President’s office and confront Logan. Sadly, some of Jack’s ta-da! factor was ruined, thanks to Walt’s prior confession, but that’s okay. He made up for it by savagely attacking Walt with a flurry of classic Bauer punches. “Stop this!” the President said in typical powerless form. Oh, silly President. It doesn’t work that way. Sure enough, Jack soon had his knife out and was ready to gouge out some eyeballs unless Walt told him where the nerve gas was.
“WHERE IS IT?” Jack said, forgetting to use his indoor torturing voice. Walt played dumb, and so Jack went put the knife right under his brow. I honestly thought this episode would be ending with an eye patch, but the little weasel finally ‘fessed up and divulged all the info. Okay, CTU! Set up a perimeter on that harbor, STAT!
You think this is bad?
Then you don’t know Jack!
With all the dirty work done, the guards dragged Walt away, and Jack and Aaron volunteered to be taken into custody. Oh, but that Logan, he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. He told the guys to forget about it, and by the way, Jack, when this is all done, would you be a lamb and disappear from society again? Thanks! (We’ll see how that works out.)
As for Martha, she quietly slipped into her limo bound for Vermont, tragedy strewn all over her face. “I’ll see you soon,” said the perky Evelyn. Oh, be quiet, you unfaithful servant!! Before Martha’s car could get two feet down the driveway, the President suddenly pulled her out and apologized for everything, saying that she was right all along. Unfortunately, Martha was still pretty bitter about that whole “Let’s ship you off to a psycho ward” thing and wasn’t about to let Logan off easily. A stumpy lady with a too-red Jew-fro then popped up and pulled the President off to some other obligation, leaving Martha alone by the car. And what did she do? You guessed it: SHIFTY EYES!
Anyway, the show approached its final minutes with a siege on the nerve gas barge. Edgar surfaced briefly to announce that he had located the specific freighter, and as he went off to gobble down three double-cheeseburgers, a field team closed in on the nerve gas. Okay, what will go wrong? Something has to go wrong. Every single other plot thread has (unfortunately) wrapped up.
Well, the team put on its masks and headed inside the freight box, and oh no! Bad guy #1 — the one who wanted his payment earlier — was inside and dead! Turns out he was Walt’s inside guy, the one who changed the detonation patterns on the gas. But even worse, all the gas was GONE! That shifty-eyed fake hostage had changed the location! Just when things couldn’t get worse, the bad guy then called up on Walt’s phone (the Secret Service had since brought him back) and said that now he was planning on using the nerve gas on the American people!! Oh, the nerve! (Wah wah wah)
And with that, the nefarious clock appeared on screen, and we were left in the lurch for another week. What did you think about this episode?