You gotta love 24. After all, it’s the only series whose idea of a Valentines Day episode involves a nuclear meltdown, someone’s face melting off, and a little old lady dying in a wheelchair. Man, you’d think they’d at least have Jack send Audrey some roses or maybe a little card with a train that says “I Choo-Choo-Choose You!”
That’s okay though because while Jack and Audrey may not have shared an afternoon delight, the producers were kind enough to send the fans a love letter in the form of yet another excruciatingly intense episode. We love you too, 24. Don’t ever leave us.Tonight’s episode began on a quaintly petty note as Curtis burst into Driscoll’s office with a smarty-pants “Told ya so!” attitude. Oh no he di’int! Unfortunately for him, Erin wasn’t about to take any bullshit from her underling. Why you be sleepin’ around with the mole, bitch? she said (except less Compton and more Calgary). The two finally realized they had both fudged up, and their best plan of attack would be to alter some records to make them seem less culpable under the scrutiny of Division’s mole investigation. Great. A cover up. Because those work so well at CTU.
Meanwhile, Jack Bauer called in to CTU with a cell number that needed tracing. Not so fast, said Edgar as he enumerated all the technical hurdles he’d have to face. In order to trace a cell number, they’d have to ping the source, triangulate the signal, get the De Lorean up to 88 mph, and then zap the Flux Capacitor with 1.21 gigawatts of electricity. You try doing THAT when the lunch run is already three hours late!
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, evil father of the year Navi Araz raided the home of Dina’s sister in law hoping to find his fugitive wife. Sadly, the best he could do was expose a lurid extra-marital affair. “Don’t tell my husband,” the woman pleaded as she quietly covered up her wardrobe malfunctioning bosom. Amazingly, Navi left without shooting anyone in the apartment. Instead, he called up his boss and gushed “Like OMG! Dina’s sister in law is having an affair! Can you even BELIEVE it? Tell Maryanne! Anyway, gotta do some terrorism. Toodles!”
While Pops was digging around all the wrong places, Dina and Behrooz checked into a hotel room and laid low. Unfortunately, mamacita was in extraordinary pain, what with the open gun wound and all, but luckily for her, Dina’s brother Naseem worked at a hospital just down the block. Behrooz offered to get some meds, but before he left, Dina’s cell phone began to ring. Uh oh. Was it Navi? No, it was Jack Bauer trying out that number he’d found. Behrooz let the call ring and ring, and while Jack contemplated leaving a passive aggressive voicemail (“Thanks for picking up. Very un-terrorist. Very. [long pause] Sarcasm was intended.”), Edgar managed to triangulate the coordinates for Dina’s cell phone. Why, they were in a hotel in Chatsworth. Just like the porn industry!
With a location pinpointed, Jack motioned for Tony to hop in the car with him. Not so fast. Tony wasn’t just about to jump back into the CTU life. He has demons, man! Baaad demons. He’s got to go home, watch some Futbol, play a little guitar. Smoke the peyote and remember when a man’s word meant something, dammit. “I gotta go,” he told Jack, who looked like his bride had just left him at the altar. B-b-b-b-but Tony! Luckily, if there’s anything we know about Jack, it’s that he’s so damn persuasive. After some coaxing and wheedling, Tony finally agreed to come along. I’m surprised he didn’t ask: “Can I bring my Chicago Cubs mug?” Yes, Tony. Of course. “How about apple juice? Will there be apple juice?” Anything you want Tony. We’ll even let you sit up front. “Awesome!”
Back at CTU, Erin Driscoll approached Secretary of Defense Heller gravely. “We have a meltdown,” she said, adding “And I’m not referring to my daughter (nudge nudge, wink wink). Sorry. Poor taste.” Yes, a reactor had blown and now all of San Gabriel island was at risk (a.k.a. about to be dead/turned into radioactive superheroes). Heller and Driscoll immediately videoconferenced the poor technicians in the plant to confirm that yep, there was a meltdown â€”Â on their faces. Seriously. Their skin was melting off. Ewww. Get the hell out of there, Heller urged them, but the guys solemnly informed him that they’d already been exposed. Really? Couldn’t tell! Thought it was just really bad eczema. Actually, I can imagine Edgar saying that. “Wow, that’s some real bad eggthema.” To which everyone would say “Huh?” “Eggthema! Eggthema, the thkin condithin! Never mind.”
A nuclear plant staffer tries to save face
Poor Edgar. Turns out our jolly little computer technician was the latest victim of 24 sadism as he discovered his wheelchair bound mother was stuck in the fallout zone. As we cast our eyes upon Momma Stiles with her oxygen tank and vaguely Rue McLanahan-ish looks, I wondered if a neon sign would flash behind her saying “YOU WILL CRY NOW! LOOK AT HER OXYGEN TANK. HAVE YOU NO TEARS?” Amazingly, Edgar’s mom had no Brooklyn accent. Dropping the ole heritage, huh? Apparently Lucy Stiles is the Madonna of Brighton Beach.
Speaking of parent/child relationships, Audrey and her dad had a nice little moment together. “How you holding up?” she asked. Heller summed it up pretty nicely: “Well, the bad news is the country is facing a huge catastrophe. But the good news: I got a new suit!” Actually, Heller didn’t seem to care about that last part, but he was dreadfully concerned about all that radiation and terrorism out there. “What can I do?” Audrey asked valiantly. Heller told her to coordinate the police and the National Guard so that they could better assist a widescale evacuation. Audrey complied, but with a look that seemed to say “Uh, I meant, can I get you any coffee.”
Out in the field, Jack, Tony, and the rest of the CTU crew closed in on Dina’s hotel room. A new dayplayer named Agent Castle offered resistance to Tony being present, but Jack stood up for his buddy by essentially stating “He’s with me, bitch.” He then turned to Tony and said, “You can be my wingman anyday.” Jack hearts Tony.
Moments later, Jack Bauer and the Funky Bunch burst into the hotel room where they found Dina about to blow her brains out with a pistol. Luckily the agents stopped her, and Agent Castle was ever so kind to jab his thumb into Dina’s bullet wound. Owwy owwy owwy!!! She may be a terrorist, but he’s a jerk. Somebody kill him off.
Elsewhere, wee Behrooz was stumbling into what surely would be a sticky situation. He arrived at the hospital where he found… Dave Attell! Oh, no, sorry. It was just his uncle Naseem. Behrooz asked for some painkillers, saying silly old Mom had thrown out her back again, but Uncle ‘Seem was suspicious. So what did he do? You guessed it. He called Father. Crafty Navi told Naseem that Behrooz was a drug addict and that he should keep the kid in the hospital until he arrived. Okily dokily said Naseem, unwittingly imperiling our big haired teen. Oh Behrooz. Too bad he’s not a baseball player. You know every time he’d step up to the plate, everyone would yell Behroooooooz. Sorry, random aside.
Back at CTU, Audrey presided over a conference room of extras, er, staff members. She wore some dark rimmed glasses which was her way of saying “I’m official and smart now!” Edgar, hoping to get Audrey to save his mother, waited patiently while she barked on the phone: “I’ve got 25% of the evacuees who weren’t going where they’re being told and another 25% that don’t even know they’re in the evac zone. However you need to do it, make sure it gets done.” The guy on the other end of the phone then replied “Hey, lady, I only asked if you wanted pepperoni or extra cheese.”
Meanwhile, in the hotel of sand and fog, Jack negotiated with Dina, who’d been pleasantly pumped full of morphine fun. However, not even the loopy high of an afternoon painkiller could derail this terrorist momma as she turned on her deepest, most gravelly voice possible. She insisted that she believed in the cause as much as Jack believed against it. Well, someone wants to throw down with Jack, huh? GOOD LUCK.
Amazingly enough, Jack did not shoot Dina in the leg. Instead he pulled out his compassionate card and basically said that if Dina talks, he’d protect Behrooooooz. After some babbling with the President, Jack and Dina worked out an arrangement and called Behrooz. Jack told the ragamuffin to stay put â€”Â CTU men and mommy dearest would be there to pick him up shortly. Ah yes, the ever classic CTU pickup. These always go off without a hitch…
Edgar Stiles, meanwhile, was in a dilly of a pickle back at CTU. Even though he had done like half a dozen things to save America, he still wasn’t worthy of Audrey’s time. I mean, how could she help his mother? She’s only coordinating the evacuation plan for all of San Gabriel island! Finally, she just gave him a passive aggressive look as if to say “What do you want, fat man?” to which he responded, “If my mother were rich and a politician, they’d find a way to save her.” Oooh. Edgar with the surprise PA! Bowled over by this loaded comment, Audrey decided that maybe she could help out Mrs. Stiles.
Unfortunately, Edgar’s mom was shit out of luck. Not even Audrey could help out. And so we were treated to a weepy scene as Edgar and his mom bade farewell. Poor Edgar. This guy just has no luck. Well, he wasn’t going to sit around while his mom died mid-Judge Judy. Edgar sprung up from his seat and headed for the door, but eagle-eyed Driscoll blocked his path. When she asked where he was going, he explained that he had to save his mother. Not so fast, E-Dog, said Driscoll. She gave him a whole pep talk whose cornerstone was “What would your mother like you to do right now?” Edgar: “Stay here.” Driscoll: “That’s right.” And so Edgar took a seat again, and order was restored. Driscoll then walked away smuggly, muttering “Just like my no good schitzo daughter. Piece of cake.”
As the episode roared towards the finish line, we returned to the hospital where things were going straight to the shitter for Behrooz. Naseem tried to hold him in custody, but the kid busted loose and ran down a desolate hallway where he came face to face with Navi. Blast. Naseem did a little “Oh, thank god you’re here!” action, which was amusing for us as he was predictably killed by Navi about two seconds later.
Eventually, the last two minutes boiled down to a foot race as Jack, Tony and the rest of the field agent friends bore down on the father and son. Despite the dangerous situation, Behrooz assaulted his father with a battery of Dr. Phil lamentations such as “I hate you! I’ve always hated you!” but Navi was immune to his son’s whining. The two wound up in a basement, trapped on all sides by CTU. And so ended this very special Valentine’s episode. Yay dysfunctional families!
Is it curtains for Behrooz?