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So, with this week’s episode of 24, we learned that the total amount of Jack Bauer screen time is directly proportional to how awesome the episode is going to be. One could argue that this statement has been true since the beginning of the series, which I agree with, except that never has it mattered so much as it has during this clunker of a season. So here’s to hoping that Jack shows his pretty little soul-tortured face more and more often, because I’m getting pretty sick of staring at Milo’s ugly facial/pubic-hair mug.
Over in the Presidential Bunker, Wayne has just launched the nuke at Iraqistan. General Walsh, who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with giving updates every other second, informs the president that the missile has entered their airspace. Tom is flitting around, trying to convince Wayne that this is a terrible idea and that the Iraqistani government is not hiding anything, but Wayne won’t budge. Walsh continues to shout out updates over them. Hehe. I bet Walsh is the kind of uncle who, at family barbeques, is constantly informing everyone of exactly how many burgers are “up”.
Karen calls up her hubby and tells him that Wayne has decided to launch the nuke anyway. “It doesn’t make any sense!” she cries. “The writers have taken crazy pills!” Bill can’t believe it, but can’t give her any reason from his end to delay the strike, since Gredenko is dead and Jack hasn’t gotten anything out of Fayed yet. Karen is defeated. “I’ll call you later,” she sighs. “Oh, and honeypie – Hamburger Helper okay for dinner?”
Karen bounces back into the cabinet’s room, where Walsh (he’s so on TOP of things!) announces that Iraqistani troops are assembling, which means they’ve picked up the missile on the radar. Wayne is pleased with this. Karen once again tries to convince him to stop, but he won’t have it. “Why are you doing this?” she demands. I think the answer is pretty clear: brain transplant.
After a few moments of awkward silence and a truly necessary “four minutes to impact” update from General Walsh the Human Timepiece, Wayne gets a call from the Iraqistani ambassador, who calmly states, “My government has alerted me of the nuclear weapon heading toward my country.” Haha. Ambassador Oompa Loompa is so chill. He follows up with the even-keeled Iraqistani equivalent of “Could you knock it off, WAYNE?” He says that his country has identified a high-ranking officer named General Mohmar Habib, who has been in contact with Fayed and is believed to have orchestrated the attacks. He has been arrested and is now being interrogated. “Two minutes!” Walsh chirps. Wayne gets pretty pissy, accusing the Ambassador of knowing about this guy for a long time, and gives him a stern lecture with a lot of yelling. Finally, he calls off the strike and demands a full dossier on Habib and that the Ambassador return to the bunker so he can stick around for the rest of the show.
Okay, two things. One, we’ve already had a terrorist villain named Habib. Habib Marwan, season 4. Have they already run out of Arab names and now we have to start repeating? And two, either I’m unfamiliar with the subtleties of the Iraqistani demeanor, or the Ambassador is a really terrible actor. Even when pleading with the president to stop a NUCLEAR BOMB ATTACK, he just seems as if he’s asking to borrow a weedwhacker or something. Shape up, Oompa Loompa.
General Walsh aborts the mission, orders the nuke to be dumped in the water, and goes off to sulk because there’s nothing left for him to announce. Tom marvels at the fact that Wayne knew they had the information all along, then gets up to orchestrate the retrieval of the nuke. Wayne says that won’t be necessary. General Walsh, who has apparently stuck around in case someone asks for the time, relishes the fact that he gets to announce that the missile was actually unarmed. Tom, whose eyes are bugging clear out of his head by now, gasps “This was all a bluff?!” Wayne, putting on his Mr. Rogers sweater to give us the Lesson of the Day, says that Daniels was right in attempting to use force to get the information, the difference being that Wayne wasn’t willing to take innocent lives to do it. Well. WAHP WAHP. Everyone seems pretty happy with this. Now let us never speak of this plotline again.
Jack, meanwhile, is delivering a flying punch to our bloody friend Fayed. “WHERE ARE THE BOMBS?!” he yells. Awww, it’s just like old times! Fayed won’t tell him anything, so Jack punches him in the JUNK (really) and walks away. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Jack? Fayed tries out his new soprano voice while Jack confers with Mike “I like toys” Doyle, telling him that Fayed isn’t going to give them anything, that he wants to be martyred. Bill calls up Jack and tells him about the arrest of Habib, but since Habib doesn’t know the location of the bombs, they’re still shit outta luck. But Bill and Jack have an Idea.
As Jack keeps talking to Bill off camera, Mike starts to sass Fayed around. He tries to play up the fact that Fayed’s number two guy is probably going to get all the glory, since he’s going to blow up an even bigger city, but Fayed’s not biting. Mike of course goes all loose cannon and puts a gun to Fayed’s head, but Jack stops him. He tells Mike that they’re moving Fayed back to CTU so that Burke can break him with a “pharmaceutical package”. Ooh. Is it wrong that those two words and the prospect of seeing Burke turn me on a little? Mike insists that he can break Fayed himself, but Jack ignores this and smirks to Fayed, “NOW we’re gonna have a little fun.” Huh? That’s a little out of character. Is Jack taking Fayed to the circus?
Wayne looks over Habib’s dossier while Tom yammers on about something or other. He apologizes to Wayne for doubting him. But Wayne says that Daniels had the right idea, and that they never would have gotten that vital information if they hadn’t tried the attack. “I’m not David, Tom, and I never will be.” THAT’S FOR DAMN SURE, I scream, as I lovingly stroke my framed David Palmer photograph. He goes on to say, “But I am learning that who I am isn’t so bad.” I disagree. Tom goes to leave, when Wayne asks him what info he got on Daniels that made him drop out so quickly. But Tom isn’t one to Bug A Decorative Bowl and Tell. He leaves, and Wayne quells a small tremor in his hand. Paging Dr. Burke!
Jack and Mike are transporting Fayed back to CTU. Jack puts in a call, telling them to load up Burke with everything he’s got. Get ready for some FUN. Mike starts whining, and distracts Jack enough to allow a truck to head straight for them. The two vehicles crash head on (apply directly to the forehead!) and the truck rolls over. There is a firefight! Mike goes down! Jack goes down! Fayed is captured by the gunmen! I reach my exclamation point quota!
The gunmen speed away. Jack sits up rather perkily, as does Mike. A bunch of CTU cars pull up, Jack and Mike pile in, and they all start following Fayed. So it was all a clever ruse. Jack was right, that WAS fun!
Jack points out to Mike that he’s bleeding, which causes Nadia to pipe up and ask if he’s okay. This results in a FIERCE glance from Milo. Chloe gets the video and audio up and running, so Jack watches as the agents talk to Fayed. So I guess these guys are part of the CTU Middle Eastern Theatre Troupe? Always at the ready for some good old fashioned terrorism improv? I approve. The leader explains to Fayed that the General arranged for his pickup, and that they’re taking him back to his men. Fayed seems to buy this and asks for a gun, which they reluctantly give him. He then asks to speak directly to General Habib. Bobby the Improv Guy tells him that will be quite impossible, but Fayed isn’t going anywhere with them until he talks to Habib. Jack tells Bill that they have to make this happen, otherwise they’ll never find the bomb. Bill sneers that he’ll have to call the White House and involve the president. Yeah, I’d be annoyed too, Bill.
Bill calls up Wayne and explains the situation to him. Wayne promises to pressure the Ambassador into helping him. And for some reason it sounds like he’s being really sarcastic. Way to be a jerk, WAYNE. Tom tries to persuade him to get Fayed to cooperate, but Wayne says that Jack doesn’t think that will work, and he believes him. I guess all that brain swelling knocked some sense into the old boy after all. Or maybe it’s actually killing him, as at that very moment he keels over and Tom has to catch him. Why, I do believe our dear President has the vapors!
He heads into the other room, where the Ambassador is waiting. So…the guy was just hanging around upstairs or something? How else would he have gotten there in less than ten minutes? Whatever. Anyway, Wayne fills him in on the situation and Oompa Loompa says he’ll do whatever he can to help, but Habib is being less than cooperative. Karen balks at this. “I resent your tone,” he yawns. Seriously dude, an OUNCE of decent acting would really help your chances here. Don’t make us pull one of the guys from the Improv Van. He says that they’re doing whatever they can, in fact they’ve arrested his family. Um, have you tried threatening said family? Wayne then asks this VERY SAME QUESTION, which leads me to believe that I am now qualified to be a CTU agent or, failing that, President.
Nadia asks Milo to set up a terminal or something, but he snaps back that he’s busy and she can do it herself. She asks what’s wrong, and he whines about the way that she showed concern for Mike, what with the way he treated her and all. Jesus Milo, what are you, fifteen? Grow a pair. He continues to PMS all over the place, and Nadia becomes somewhat fed up with him, until Morris interrupts and asks in a charmingly British way if there is a problem. Also, fancy a spot of tea? Milo begrudgingly says he’ll set up her channel, and she stalks away, over to Morris, who asks if she’s alright. Milo glares at them, which leads me to believe that Milo is now plotting Morris’ death as well as Mike’s. I would not be surprised if at some point Milo is revealed to be a total psychopath and goes on a jealous shooting rampage, killing everyone that Nadia’s ever been in the same room with. He’s just that crazy.
Fayed is quizzing Bobby the Improv Guy on the details of Habib and the terrorism plots. Bobby does pretty well, if by pretty well you mean he recites the textbook definition of why one terror cell shouldn’t have knowledge of the other operating cells. If I were Fayed I’d ask for the check and leave. But at that moment Bobby’s phone rings…and it’s the General! Fayed takes the phone and they talk to each other, while Nadia translates over at CTU (and therefore Milo is probably adding Fayed and Habib to the list of men he must destroy). Habib plays along with the CTU plan, because his sons currently have guns pointed at their heads. Fayed says he still has two bombs left, and that he left them at the safehouse with his men. Habib tells him to go there and call him back, and then he will provide him with the next target. Wouldn’t it be funny if the target was an actual Target? Goodbye, good buy!
Back at the bunker, Wayne doesn’t look so good. He tells the Ambassador that he can go, which is confusing since about fifteen minutes ago he said he wanted him to stay put for the duration of this crisis. Meh. Brain damage can make you indecisive, I suppose. Sweating and stuttering, Wayne says goodbye to the Oompa Loompa. As soon as he leaves, Wayne falls over and tells Tom to lock the door so that no one will witness this crisis. You mean the big glass door that everybody can see right through? I guess anyone looking in will just assume that they’re rehearsing a play or something.
Nadia alerts Bill to a Problem. In analyzing the transcripts from the conversation between Habib and Fayed, she noticed that Habib referred to a man named Samir. Samir just so happens to be dead, but Habib was talking about him as if he were alive. Nadia says that she believes this was a sort of code to let Fayed know that he was talking under duress. Bill says he’ll warn Jack and Mike, then tells Nadia she did a good job. Milo begins to plot Bill’s death as well.
Nadia alerts Jack, and Jack calls Bobby the Improv Guy. He starts to warn him about Fayed, but then the signal is lost and the video screen goes to static. Chloe figures out that they’ve gone into a tunnel, but that they should have come out by now so something is clearly afoot. Seal the tunnel!
Jack approaches the vehicle, only to find that Fayed is gone and the majority of the CTU Theatre Troupe is dead. At least they died doing what they loved – impersonating a terrorist cell. Jack sneaks down a side hallway and finds Fayed, who has killed a guy and stolen his keys to a large garbage truck. He starts it up and drives away…with Jack hanging on underneath. Now don’t tell me there wasn’t a better place for him to grab onto that truck. It’s a GARBAGE truck, for Chrissakes, the only vehicle meant for people to actually STAND on it. But since it’s Jack, I’ll just go ahead and assume it’s the best decision for humanity.
Jack attempts to call Bill from UNDER THE TRUCK, but for some reason he can’t hear him very well. Go fig. The CTUers try and figure out what the hell happened, and Mike radios in that he’s found the dead garbage man but neither Fayed nor Jack are anywhere to be found. I think it would be funny if Fayed were out on the dead guy’s garbage route. All he ever wanted to do was help keep America clean!
Dr. Doctor is examining Wayne, and it doesn’t look good. He insists to the president that he get down to medical right away, but Wayne just doesn’t wanna, no matter how much of his brains are leaking out. He asks for another shot of adrenaline, which the doctor refuses to do, as it will probably kill him. If it were me, I’d just keep my mouth shut and give him the damn shot, because DAMN this Palmer is annoying. Though I suppose if he died Sandra would probably get to take over, as per the Palmer Succession Act, which would be even worse. Sigh. Can’t Tom just be President? Please?
Fayed arrives at his safehouse and informs his goons that it’s time to take out downtown Los Angeles. Why don’t the terrorists ever try New York, or D.C., or any other major city that doesn’t contain Jack Bauer? You know, the guy that foils their plans each and every time? I should go into terrorism, I clearly know what I’m doing. Jack pops out from his hiding place and takes down one of Fayed’s men. I think it would be funny if he were to steal the dude’s clothes and pose as one of the terrorists. But I guess Jack has a better idea. He continues to sneak around the complex as Middle Eastern music wails in the background. Thank you for that, show.
He follows Fayed to the room where the bombs are kept, then shoots another goon and comes out, gun blazing. There is yet another firefight. With many a gunshot and perhaps a little bit of magic, Jack manages to take down every single one of Fayed’s goons, until only he and Fayed remain. Fayed is trying desperately to detonate the bomb, but then decides that he should maybe do something about the man who’s shooting at him. They both walk towards each other while shooting, but both of their guns run out of ammo around the same time. So this is to become a Battle of Wits then!
Jack ditches the gun in a Badass Way and tackles Fayed. They fight each other sans weapons for a while. There is much kicking! And choking! It’s actually a pretty awesome fight. Jack grabs a Comically Enormous Wrench and goes to town on Fayed, who then tackles him again and it pretty much degrades down into a slapping contest. They both fall down and retreat to their corners.
After a small breather, Fayed gets up and kicks Jack a couple more times, but his heart isn’t really in it anymore. They’re both exhausted. Jack crawls over to a chain that’s randomly hanging in the middle of the room, then takes Fayed down yet again. Fayed gets up (how is he not dead yet?) and attacks again, but Jack defends himself with the chain, which is a move I’ve never seen before. Innovation! Jack, finally having had enough of this foolishness, manages to wrap the chain around Fayed’s neck and hands. He wickedly whispers “Say hello to your brother,” and calmly walks over to a controller. He pushes a button, the chain lifts up Fayed, and he’s hanged real good. Wow. Best Chain Death EVER.
Mike arrives, and even he cannot find the words to describe how Awesome that kill is. “Damn, Jack,” he marvels. Yeah, that’s right. You’ll never even come close to being that amazing. Go cry about it. He calls up CTU and tells them that the bombs are secure.
He hands the phone over to Jack, because apparently there is someone on the phone for him. And…it’s Audrey! I suppose this would have surprised me IF I had not called this very plot twist several weeks ago. I knew she wasn’t dead. They didn’t end the episode with the soul-crushing news of her death, and didn’t even focus on Jack’s Pain for more than a few minutes. Totally alive.
And in China! She pleads for his help until the phone is snatched away by…Cheng the Evil Chinaman! Ahhh! He tells Jack that yes, Audrey is alive, and if he wants her to stay that way he is to call him back in ten minutes at 310-597-3781. Oh, the 24 hotline. So far this season it’s been the phone number for CTU, Chloe’s direct CTU line, Chloe’s cell, Logan’s cell, and now Cheng’s cell. I bet it gets confusing when CTU accidentally gets all of Cheng’s calls (“Milo, did you order Chinese?”), or when Logan gets all of Chloe’s calls (“Morris, please stop calling me, I don’t know where your creepy girlfriend is.”) Anyway, if Jack makes any attempt to find out Audrey’s location, she dies. Thanks Cheng! Good to hear from you again!
Alright, so this week’s episode was worlds better than last week. Supreme Court Intrigue vs. Caged Chain Death Match – no contest. That was a pretty badass fight. I loved it. And the Audrey twist – again, somewhat predictable, but should make for some interesting plotlines for the rest of the season. Will there be any more terrorist threats? Or will it just be all about Jack and the quest for his one true love? So many questions. Thoughts? Comments? Ever killed a guy with a wrench?