Dare I say it? We have reached what some may consider a mid-season lull, of sorts, on 24. Some may say that the show is reverting back to old form, but I for one cannot complain. As fast-paced as this season has been, you know there were have to fit a few moments when you weren’t on the edge of your seat trying to suppress the oncoming heart attack as your pulse races with every passing minute. Phew! I am tired just thinking about all of that other action. Besides, I thing we can make a argument that this is the calm before the oncoming storm of action that will take us through the last several episodes. And although I believe it all would have been better if Dina Araz was still stirring shit up, I’ll shut up about that now and get on with the rest of our story.Air Force One, it’s just been kind of flying in the air for a long time without worrying too much about what was on the ground. And really, why would you leave? I am sure you got all the booze you need, you got a nice office and a plasma television. We find out that the President’s son was on board, so it likely has a Playstation. Refuel in mid-air a couple of times, and you are good to go. The president has other ideas though. He thinks that the American people will want to hear from him, and he is right. Americans would have loved to have heard from him, 10 HOURS AGO! Wouldn’t it have been better to land at some air force base right after Heller was captured? Perhaps when the nuclear reactors were melting down? Why the sudden urge to get on the ground?
We all know why he should have a sudden urge to get back down, because we know that their is an F117 out on the loose, and it has the president’s plane written all over it. You have to hand it to Marwan, he really knew what he was doing. He knew that you could count on government bureaucracy to fail with only the smallest bit of distraction. Behroos was that distraction, and it looked like Marwan’s plan was going to work better than even he had expected.
If there was one thing that Marwan didn’t plan on, it was the resourcefulness of Jack, who was able to take two wires from the phone system and create an overload that CTU would be able to see on the phone companies grid layout. He was happily conducting his business, unaware that CTU was bearing down on him, and there was quite a few things that he had to take care of. Our pilot, Mitch Anderson (sad that I can only think of Baywatch when I hear the name Mitch) had a roommate, and this roommate was a little sloppy. Apparently he had left a hard drive around that may contain some information about the mission. Marwan sent Nicole, the woman who had slept with the original pilot, to check out the apartment, and she was having trouble finding anything. She suggested that Marwan contact Mitch.
So, what to do when you need to reach a pilot who is miles away and happens to be flying in a stealth fighter? You use his cell phone of course. Now, I am sure that the people at Imagine did some research, and maybe we are supposed to suspend some disbelief for a minute, but with all of that Stealth technology that is supposed to block any sort of transmission from tracking it’s location, how does a simple cell communication get through loud and clear? Well, I am not sure, but it happens, just long enough for Mitch to say that he has no idea what Nicole is talking about.
While all of this was happening, Jack was patiently setting up his strike. He was indeed very happy to hear Chloe’s voice on the other end of the line, and since there probably wasn’t anything he could be doing to remind his crack strike team before they went in, he decided to have a little chat with Audrey. Hmm, Marwan has already escaped when I had an office building surrounded, there could be no way that he would have any surprises waiting at his hideout. Don’t worry that Marwan would have planned for this like he planned for almost everything else, check up on your girlfriend’s husband. You never told him to take a bullet for you, it was his own damn fault. And if he had just told you what he knew about his damn companies, he would have saved himself torture. Why doesn’t Audrey just deal with this shit at the end of the day? Thank god she is at CTU, or she would be in a bear trap somewhere with Kim.
Now, as improbable as it was for Jack to short out a whole telephone grid by crossing a few wires, it was just as funny to watch Marwan happen to look at this junction box randomly and instantly know something is wrong. Sure he knows that Jack was just there, and that some wires look like they are shorted out, but his hideout is in a dank warehouse. Maybe an enterprising rat happened to mess shit up. Anyway, Marwan senses that something is amiss, and sets some charges, right before Jack and crew storm in with their Humvees and start shooting up the place.
Since this was an all out mission, about a dozen people were in the room shooting at people, but it seemed like Jack was the only person who was hitting anything. I am not sure what the terrorist strategy was, but I think it was along the lines of “Kill the guy with the Kevlar last, because he’ll go down quicker”. As you might have guessed, that idea worked all of about 5 seconds. Jack had killed just about everybody himself (including an excellent knife job to one of them), and was just about to start deciphering what was on the computer that the terrorists had left over.
After a quick call in to Edgar, Jack was just about to get into some of the files when he noticed one of the charges that Marwan set. He had everybody run, and I thought the whole place was coming down, but Marwan apparently likes to rub it in. The charges were small, and set up just enough to blow the hard drives of all of the computers in the room. Jack notices that Marwan’s assistant is barely alive and tries to get him to talk. Knowing that Jack can’t do anything anyway, he tells Jack that with…in…..the……..hour. Within the hour what?! God, don’t die on us you bastard.
Again we all know what is going to be happening within the hour. The president said that he wanted to hold a press conference, and God dammit, he was going to make the news at 11. He was going to bring the news to the people, and John Beard and Christing Divine were going to help him.
But before we get to any of that, why don’t we check back in on Audrey Raines? She was nervous about her husband’s surgery, and the doctor came out to giver her the good news “Your husband is alive and recovering” and the bad news “Uh, he might be paralyzed”. This paralyzation was not something that Viagra could cure, but the doctor did give Audrey some advice. He said that Audrey could help by keeping his spirits up. His attitude, support system, and mental health were very important in his recovery. Yes, that and about twenty years of stem cell research. In any case, if Audrey was a little bit squeamish about watching Jack kill all these people and torture her husband, caring for a paralyzed spouse is not a bad way to get out of a relationship.
As exciting as all of that is, we still have to find Marwan. I wonder what CTU will do. Now that Michelle is in power, she is going to try something that the incompetent Erin Driscoll would have never believed. Set up a hard perimeter! I think that the next batch of CTU cadets should have Hard Perimeter class as a requirement and not an elective. See, Torture and Hard Perimeter are the same period, so everybody has been choosing torture, but unfortunately, they don’t have the skills to make sure the people they want to torture don’t escape on foot, or by that city bus they let through. I guess it is a chicken and egg type of deal.
The trip to Marwan’s hideout was not a complete disaster though. Jack’s team was able to recover some items that were used to forge some documents. Although that was a lead, it wasn’t really good enough for the other guy from division, Bill Buchanan. Bill let Michelle Dessler have an earful, but at the same time he was a little too affectionate. Maybe it was just a random bit of contact when Bill put his arm on Michelle’s shoulder, but you know that wasn’t going to be enough for Tony. After Chloe gave him some of the details about Buchanan’s past, Tony decided to confront Michelle. It turns out that before Mr. Buchanan came to division, he had worked in the same Homeland Security office that Michelle was in. Tony was in jail at the time, but he was still married.
Of all the things that you need to be bothered with when terrorists are running amuck around the country, your past sexual history is probably the last of them. I can understand why Tony would be upset, but take a chill pill. You really let yourself go after your stint in prison, so let her move on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get even. Have sex with her sister, and if that is not possible, try her mom. Having sex with your ex-wife’s mom, if you have the stomach for it, always pisses them off.
The forged documents led to enough information that they were able find the address of Mitch Anderson’s apartment, the same one Nicole has been trolling around. Nobody from CTU was very close, but the FBI had agent Drake in the neighborhood. I love the Drake. And speaking of agent Drake, she looks like Teri Bauer. A LOT like Teri Bauer, like if Teri Bauer’s dead, agent Drake must be her sister. Glad to know that 24 brings back the short cropped haircuts back every year. After Nina died last year, I was not quite sure how they would pull it off this year. I was sort of surprised to learn that the FBI goes to the CTU school of breaking and entering. She goes into the apartmen of an alleged terrorist and kind of says “Hellooooo, anybody home?”. Wouldn’t it have been smart to have your sidearm ready to go? Aren’t you supposed to sweep the room or something? I know what you are not supposed to do is get shot because you were dumb, and that’s what happened to the Drake.
CTU, in the hope of coordinating with other agencies and whatnot, gives Jack agent Drake’s cell phone number. When Jack calls, Nicole answers, pretending to be the FBI agent. She knows that FBI snooping around was not a good sign, and unless she found the hard drive, she just can’t leave. Marwan would have her killed without a second thought. With that in mind, she tries to get some information out of Jack. Although she is a great killer, she isn’t that smooth. The questions she was coming up with practically screamed COME AND ARREST ME NOW. Considering she was the first person on the scene, you would think that perhaps she would be able to give Jack information instead of having him answer all of her questions. “So, what does this mean?”, “Is this significant?”. I am surprised she didn’t say something like “If you didn’t have the hard drive, would that make it harder to find the terrorists?” or “How close are you to catching Marwan”. Oh wait, she did ask that last one.
So Nicole had to play it cool, she was the fake Drake. Jack gets there, and there is a little bit of a showdown while everybody musters their credentials. Jack noticed that the place had been ransacked, almost as if there was a criminal going through things, and not an FBI agent trained in forensics. When Nicole tells him that she was the one looking for stuff, he has a suspicious look on his face, but kind of shrugs it off.
When Jack entered Mitch’s apartment, a random bald game came with him. Although I had no pretenses he was going to stay alive for very long, he didn’t die in a shootout as soon as he came in, so he is already better than 99% of CTU. Maybe this guy has a chance? Jack finds some evidence in an upstairs closet and gives it to the random CTU agent to scan in his computer and send back to the headquarters. While Jack is searching for more evidence, Nicole pulls a move that would make Jack proud, stabbing the random CTU agent in the neck so he can’t scream, and sits waiting for Jack. See, while the bald guy was looking for a place to plug his laptop in(thank god he didn’t have battery power), he noticed that the wall outlet had a fake panel, and behind it was the hard drive they were looking for.
Jack notices something is wrong. I am beginning to think he left CTU not because of the reasons he gave, but more likely he was sick of working with idiots that got shot and killed all around him. When it comes to one on one battles, we know that Jessica is no match, and although she killed like a professional, she hadn’t learned the domestic warfare part of the Al-Qaeda manual where it teaches you how to take cover in people’s homes. For one, don’t hide behind a wall that is nothing more than some sheetrock and paint, bullet’s go through that shit, and you will get killed. Jack did know that, and so he tapped her three teams in the torso, found the hard drive, and started to decode.
On Air Force One, the President was preparing his speech, but it just didn’t seem right. Luckily, he called in his heavy hitter, to make things right. Yes, his son has joined him on the plane and is going to help him write a speech. I know that his mom died, and you don’t want him to turn out like Heller’s son, but don’t you think letting him in on the speech writing was a little much? Nothing like being with your son, nice and safe on your plane with armed escorts and a bunch of jet fighters outside. The president also calls the VP, who is not at some undisclosed location, but instead looks like he is watching the all-night Masterpiece Theater marathon on Bravo or something. (But seriously, who can’t get enough of George Plimpton?). The
Vice President doesn’t really want to do anything, probably thinking he would just Dan Quayle his way through office. Where is that Senate Pro-Temps when you need him (or her)?
Jack is finally starting to decode some of the files. He called in Edgar, who has been holding up pretty well considering everything that happened so far. He also had the pleasure of Chloe telling him that they wouldn’t be able to recover his mom’s body for some time. Something about half-life and deadly radiation or something. Despite all that, Edgar wouldn’t lighten his case load, and Chloe actually showed some compassion and saved his ass when he was about to hand in some files to Michelle. If Edgar and Chloe kiss at the end of the season, it may be the most romantic thing on television all year.
When Jack gets into the files, he is of course shocked to see what is inside. Looks like schematics for an F117 stealth fighter and a flight simulation program. Talking with CTU, they find that an F117 has made a scheduled flight from a nearby base. They have also done all of this background on Mitch Anderson, and they learn he is ex-military, was dishonorably discharged, and is now a mercenary. Put two and two together and you get KABLOOM.
Jack is able to get connected directly to Mitch’s plane, and he tries to talk him down. Ealier Mitch had said that he wanted his identity to be a secret, because he won’t be able to show his face because of what he is about to do. Jack tried to reason with him to land at another base, and take it from there, but something else was driving Mitch. He turns off all communications and heads for Air Force One.
Now this next part requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. If you want to live sort of oblivious and want to skip my quick and dirty military lesson, skip to the next paragraph. So, the F117 is called a Fighter, but it is really a bomber. It is not meant to engage other airplanes, and there is some doubt that it can even fire air-to-air missiles, or says my military friend. And if they were able to mount these air-to-air missiles, the radar necessary for the F117 to lock on to another plane would be a dead giveaway for people to track the plane, negating all stealth. But other than that, all of this is plausible.
Anyway, Mitch fires his missile, and we only get to look at some ominous radar images. Will it hit? Will it miss? Will one of the escort planes be able to protect the President? Either the President was resigned to his own death, or he is a really cool customer, because as the missile hit his plane, he simply crossed his arms, and stared at his son with a “So that was a great report card” type of look.
Everybody is stunned at CTU, and Chloe notes that there was an indirect hit of Air Force one, and pieces are falling to the ground, and it’s not like Ed Harris is around to tell them how to make a new wing with manilla folder, white out, and silly string. Looks like it might be time to swear in the VP.