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Some people were wondering if 24 could possibly be as good as it was last season. Some people were wondering if it was going to be worth the wait. Some people were wondering what the hell had to happen for Jack to get to come back from the dead. I think all of those questions were answered last night, and more. With the lights and the phone turned off, and the tivo obediently recording the show in all it’s glory, I was set to witness the first two hours of another crazy day. The show comes in from a very different angle, but it isn’t so worried about being so different that we can’t enjoy all of aspects of the show that we have grown to love. The first ten minutes were unbelievable, and it just got better from there. Jack is back with a vengeance, and it’s got me twice as hard as any perimeter that CTU could have ever imagined.As I said in my last post about 24, Jack faked his own death at the end of the last season, which took place a year and half prior to when this season starts. There were a few suits that were going to let Jack be the political fallout for all of the shit we had to do to stop a nuclear missile from hitting Los Angeles. For some people, it may have been hard to give up your identity, and start over, but Jack is pretty good at this. His wife is dead, his daughter is in good hands (or at least in good hand, depending on how Chase’s physical therapy has been going), and he just killed his girlfriend’s ex-husband, so she’s probably not losing too much sleep. Jack has been spending his time working in an oil field, and has is now known as Frank. Times look tough, but at least he isn’t in some prison in the Guangxi province waiting for his organs to be harvested for a transplant.
Back in Jack’s old hometown, Los Angeles, President Palmer and his brother Wayne are hanging out. He is supposed to be writing his memoirs, but it looks like there is something on his mind. Wayne sees that his brother is distracted, but I think that his real problem is that it looks like he needs some action. No, I am sure he has had his share of hotties since he left office, and that doctor was pretty cute. “I used to be President and my ex-wife is dead, so she can’t bother you” has got to be a great pick-up line, and I am sure those big hands don’t hurt. No, Palmer needs the action from the executive branch, and when he picks up the paper and reads how President Logan is just about to sign a arms treaty with the Russians, you can see it hurts him that his legacy of saving the country three times might be overlooked. Then again, he doesn’t have to worry about if very long, because as he stares out the window, a bullet comes through, hitting him in the neck. It’s official, David Palmer is now a dead president, and I never saw it coming.
Wow. I felt sadness, anger, grief, and this guy really didn’t even exist. I didn’t cry though, but I am sure many people did. He’s been with us since our first moments of the show, has always stood behind Jack, and was great at making tough choices. He survived attempts on his life, and one very crazy ex wife. You might not agree with him, but you had to admire him, and that includes the current head of state, President Logan. I like to call him President Pussy and not because I am a Friend of Vaginas, but because he is always flapping in the wind. He can’t make a decision to save his life, and is always more worried about how he looks to others than actually doing anything that will make him look good. At the time of the shooting, he has been complaining that his crazy wife is going to embarrass him during the signing of this arms treaty. When he hears the news, even he is shocked into silence, but not to worry, CTU is on the case.
That’s right, CTU was called on the case, and whenever CTU has to find somebody, you know what that means! HARD PERIMETER! The time is 7:06 AM when we get our first hard perimeter, which means our first failed hard perimeter will be around 7:08 AM. In the CTU offices, it looks like some of our favorites are still around. There is Edgar, still packin’ a lisp, and there is Curtis, and I bet his friends call him Superfly. It’s time for an Interagency Protocol Level 5, which means nothing to me, but I bet that means our Homeland Security threat level is somewhere around “Awwww shit!” Bill Buchanan is still there, and he warns the president to call of the treaty, but the Logan is not having any of it. It took too much work to get the Russians here and the press is waiting. All of this “national security” and “lives of the American people” bull is going to have to wait.
OK, so we have Curtis, we have Edgar; I am sure you are all wondering about Chloe. Well, Chloe still works with CTU, and my dream of her having little babies with Edgar is just a dream. I know this because Chloe was in bed with another guy when she wakes up in the morning. I have to say that seeing Chloe in nothing but panties and a tank top, not to mention seeing she has a tattoo) might have been more shocking than seeing a bullet go through Palmer’s neck. When she wakes up, Chloe seems to be having some regrets. It turns out that Spencer, the guy she slept with, not only works with her at CTU, but also is one of the people that she manages. If you think that perhaps the afterglow of her tender moment may have made Chloe a little smoother around the edges, you should be happy to know that it hasn’t. When Spencer tries to convince Chloe that he had a great time, and starts nibbling a little on her shoulder, she says that she read that some girls are turned on by arrogance, but she is not one of them, and she sends him on his way.
Chloe got a call to go into CTU, and so did Tony and Michelle. They are now married and seem to be enjoying the suburban life, which involves a business what has nothing to do with terrorists. Although they are retired, level 5 interagency means that they should report in. Tony wants to help, but he wants to stick with his new life. He is about to let Michelle leave while he goes to a business meeting, but at the last moment decides to follow her out, and lucky for him, because a car bomb exploded while Michelle was in there, killing her. It was too bad because it looked like she had a hairstyle I could live with this year. As he holds her listless body in his hands, a secondary explosion completely engulfs him in flames. I wasn’t ready for that one either.
By this time, the news of Palmer’s death has reached the news, and all of the cable channels have complete coverage of his death. Because nobody even knows he is alive, this is how Jack gets the news of his friend. He loses his composure a little bit, and looks like he wants to cry, but I am not sure if he is crying about Palmer or his shitty apartment. Chloe had a nice loft, but Jack is living in a much humbler settling. He hears a knock on the door, and at first he thinks that somebody has found him, but it turns out that it is his girlfriend, or we assume it is his girlfriend, because she offers to make him breakfast, and he goes to her apartment to eat.
Obviously Jack had to tell a bunch of lies to the people around him, and this woman, who is sort of a low-rent Rene Russo, has a inquisitive teenage son. He doesn’t believe a lot of what Jack used to say, and to show his displeasure with his mom, he leaves the breakfast table. I can tell that Derrick is going to really suck this entire season. Hey, your mom is doing the best she can, so why be such a whiny bitch? I bet he leaves the toilet seat up when he uses the bathroom as well. Jerk. Derrick’s mom, Diane, doesn’t really seem to mind, and she apologizes to “Frank” for what her son had to say. She gives the whole “if you wanted me to know about your past, you would have told me” spiel, and right on cue, Jack gets a call. It’s Chloe, and she’s in trouble.
After Edgar learned about Tony and Michelle, he put a call into Chloe. I’m sure he probably calls her and hangs up before she can answer, being too scared to ask her to dinner or a LAN party, but this time he has to speak to her. He warns her about the car bomb, which makes Chloe pause and look around. There’s a guy in a strange white van that follows her. She runs into a mall, and is able to avoid him, but she’s scared and decides to call Jack. At first I couldn’t put together who would want Michelle and Tony dead along with the President Palmer, but Chloe spelled it all out for me. Everybody involved knew that Jack was alive, and his life might be in danger as well. That’s all that Chloe had to say. He goes to his room, picks up a bag of goodies, and puts on his official Aviator Glasses of Badness. If these people want to play, Jack has NO PROBLEM joining the party.
Jack told Chloe to meet him at an oil field just north of Los Angeles, but he is going to have to find a quicker way to get there. That’s no problem, because this is jack. He goes back to his job, knocks out some jab named Walt or something, and decides to take the air rescue chopper, and fly to Los Angeles instead. Unfortunately, Jack ran into a little trouble. Derrick, the stoner kid that was bothering about the veracity of his previous jobs, decided to follow Jack, and Jack caught him hiding nearby. Jack is probably still thinking he might sleep with his mom again, so he doesn’t put a sleeper hold on him, and instead decides to take the kid with him. Besides, if people have been able to get to people he knows, maybe Diane wasn’t safe either. He calls her from the helicopter and tells her to head to Los Angeles, no questions asked, and she can meet Derrick when she gets to Los Angeles.
This whole Palmer death is really beginning to piss President Pussy off a little bit. All of these questions about the death, and what they’re going to do, why doesn’t somebody care about his needs? He’s a person too! Still, he did admire David, and David did help him with the whole nuclear missile aimed at a American city thing, although he eventually cut David off when he figured out that Palmer had the balls to fuck with the Chinese Consulate. Logan is speechifying about President Palmer’s death, and he is doing a good job, especially considering his wife has gone a little crazy and is making a scene. The President’s assistant, Walt, played by that guy who gets the Presidential assistant role if Jane Kaczmarek doesn’t let Bradley Whitford out of the house, seems to be the only person who the first lady, Martha, will listen to. I suspect this is because she doesn’t like to talk with her mouth full, if you know what I mean.
Walt tells Martha, and she freaks out, or I guess freaks out more, because she was just getting her makeup done, thought she looked too much like a wedding cake, perhaps preferring her look to be called more of an hors doeuvre than a pastry, dunked her head in the water, and told her assistant to do it again. When Walt told her the news, something clicked in her head and she remembered that Palmer had called her about a security warning. Right in the middle of the press conference, she runs out, and has to be stopped by secret service. Later, she tells her husband that David had called her and told her about something concerning national security. She hasn’t been taking her anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, but David was a friend of hers, and she KNOWS that there may be a clue on that phone call; they just need to check the recordings. The President tells Walt to take care of her, and thanks him for helping him out with her. If Logan only knew that Walt was helping his wife scratch an itch as well, maybe he wouldn’t be so happy.
Things aren’t getting any better at CTU. They would like to figure out who killed President Palmer, and although Logan said he wants whoever did it captured or killed, he also wants to make sure that they focus plenty of resources on security for the conference. To make sure all of this happens, he has sent Audrey Raines from the Department of Defense as a liaison, and told Bill Buchanan to set her up with a station, and all the clearances that she needs. Coming back to CTU is tough on Audrey since she saw her husband die on the operating table (because Jack needed the doctor to help a witness), and then saw Jack die a few hours later. Speaking of those CTU doctors, because they are worried about providing security for Tony, they have brought him to CTU for surgery. The CTU infirmary is as effective saving lives as CTU human resources is at finding moles, so while we think he may be safe, there are really no guarantees. Hell, there may be even a mole working as a nurse.
As Tony is rushed in, Curtis asks if he is going to be responsive. It seems kind of funny to think that a guy who was just in a car bomb would seem responsive, but Tony was able to give answers when he was shot in the neck a couple of years ago, and after his 90 minute surgery, was able to come back and run CTU. Besides, the soul patch is back in full effect, and it gives him more power than Sampson. Anyway, Bill asks Curtis why he needs to question Tony, and Curtis tells him that he found that the last time Tony and Palmer talked; it was on the day that Jack died. Could they be hiding something about Jack’s death?
This entire time, Edgar has been worried about Chloe. Poor Edgar. It must be so hard to be a computer genius trapped inside the body, and possessing the social skills of a 35-year-old Ralph Wiggum. Edgar is a good friend though, and he is worried about Chloe. You know, maybe if he saves her, she’ll sit at his table at the CTU commissary. Never give up on your dreams folks. While Edgar has been complaining, Spencer has been telling him that Chloe is OK, and after dropping a lot of hints that he just saw her, and Edgar not catching on, he just said they slept together. His heart is broken, but he still thinks Chloe sounded a little strange, when Spencer said she always sounds strange, Edgar sort of shrugs it off, but is still worried.
How worried should Edgar be about Chloe? Well, Chloe has made it to her rendezvous with Jack. Although Chloe never likes to be in danger, I am sure she likes the fact Jack is saving her. She took a Taxi, so Jack has to start the helicopter again, but just as that is happening, two cars come onto the scene. Chloe was followed, and the helicopter rotors aren’t going to start in time for them to make an escape. Jack reached into his bag, and although I was hoping that he had an RPG launcher in there or something, it was really only some smoke bombs. He tells Chloe to take Derrick and hide. It’s time for Jack to do some crazy shit. The bad guys split up, and you have to feel sorry for the poor guy that had to look for Jack in the smoke by the helicopter. Again, I was thinking that Jack would slam his face into the helicopter rotor, but Jack has to be stealthy.
It’s 7:49 AM, and Jack has his first kill of the day. For all of you kids watching out there, that is why it’s important to have a healthy breakfast. When your mom tells you to finish your orange juice, there is a good reason. And that goes for you older guys as well. Maybe you don’t want to be seen eating an egg white frittata with your girlfriend, but if you have to kill a terrorist, will you be able to answer the call? The early returns are in, and it was a pretty badass kill. In the race for badass kills this year, Curtis is really going to have catch up quickly. Only minutes later, Jack shoots the front window out of a car filled with more people unlucky enough to meet up with the Bauer, causing the car to crash, and killing all of the guys inside. That just leaves one person, and it happens to be the guy who shot President Palmer.
Jack finds the guy just as he is about to find Chloe and Derrick, and he shoots him in the leg. The Bauer is smart and knows that he needs to get information from him, but Chloe isn’t thinking and turns around and shoots him a couple of times in the stomach. Hey, this guy just killed a President, would a shot to the leg really stop him? Jack knows he has to get to guy before he dies. He tells Chloe to take Derrick away, likely because he doesn’t want Derrick to watch him torture anybody, but Jack has another plan. He will get the guy to a hospital (he does have a helicopter, after all) if he tells Jack everything he knows. The guy talks, but of course he doesn’t know much, but he knows enough to say that Palmer was the primary target and the others were diversions. His job was to kill the primary, and the others were to set up Jack.
During this explanation, Jack hears something disturbing. No, not that people were trying to set him up, but that this guy he promised mercy to was the one who killed the president. That is a mercy veto in Jack’s book, and so instead of that ambulance, Jack just shoots him in the head. Hey, I said that a good breakfast would help you kill people with ease, not put you in a better mood when you meet your friend’s killer. By the way, we later learn that this guy was named Hoss, which is a pretty cool named for a trained killer, you have to admit.
When Jack told Chloe to leave, she must have been worried that there were more assassins out there, because she walked like ten feet behind Jack, which mean that Derrick saw Jack execute that guy. Chloe desperately tells Jack that he should just disappear and never show his face, but that isn’t the Bauer style. He wants to find out why the President was killed, and who was trying to set him up. He’s going to start at the beginning, meaning the scene of the crime. Considering there has to be about a million federal officers around that building, it is quite the risky move, but if Chloe can get some schematics, he should be fine. I love these CTU field agents. All they need are some schematics and a granola bar, and they’ll go into any building.
Unbeknownst to Jack, his job just got a lot tougher. There is some security video that is coming in, and after Edgar enhances it, it shows Jack’s face. Now we know that Jack couldn’t have been in the building at the time that the President was shot because, he was getting turned down for an oilrig job, but they don’t know that. Jack’s face on the video surprises a lot of people, including Audrey, who happens to be in the room discussing Presidential security. A little bit of analysis says that the video wasn’t doctored, so we know that there has to be somebody on the inside turning the screws, and my vote goes for that douche bag Spencer. Seriously, if you need somebody to double cross CTU, that guy’s for hire. Although there are a lot of practical questions about this that don’t make sense like why would Jack kill he President, and if the other people helped fake his death, why would he kill the people that help him, but that is not enough to prevent him from being the primary suspect.
Jack is making his way to Wayne Palmer’s apartment. I don’t know where the hell it is supposed to be, but as connected as Wayne was, you would think he would be chilling in Westwood or something. They have to get into the crime scene, so why not just drive in? Luckily Hoss and friends had plenty of good equipment in the van, and Jack has his bag, so they should be good to go. Chloe drives onto the scene, and only needs to flash her CTU badge to get in. Jack and Derrick are hiding in the back, and it would be too much trouble for the security to actually look in the back, so she gets through. Good thing Chloe wasn’t bringing a car bomb into the place.
They make it to the garage, and Jack has those cool little hearing aids that allow you to talk wirelessly undetected. Now they just need a way for Jack to walk around without people asking questions. Cue random FBI agent coming onto the scene poking around in the back of his car. It’s time for Jack to put on his magic aviator glasses and KICK SOME MORE ASS. Like Chloe says, he is really good at this. After subduing the agent and taking his jacket, ID, and badge, Jack is ready to enter the building. There are over 160 agents nearby, with 25 in the apartment alone, but Chloe is luckily able to open up a socket into the CTU computer, and coupled with those schematics she has, she can track the movements of all of the agents.
Jack makes it into the building, and with Chloe’s help is able to make it to the penthouse. He almost loses his composure when he sees the President’s body covered by the white sheet, even taking off of the Aviator Glasses of Badness for a moment, but pulls himself together, and finds his way to Palmer’s study. Palmer was writing his memoirs, and it looks like a file was encrypted. There was no talk about what cipher was used, but Chloe sent him an decryption program after Jack gave her the IP address, because, you know, the President’s iMac and the WiFi signal Chloe was using just happened to be on the same subnet. Oy, Brian Grazer, I’m still available as a technical consultant (for free!) if you need me. And since it appears Reiko Aylesworth isn’t going to be on the set at all, I probably won’t even need a security detail to track me.
While the Jack is waiting for the program to download and get started (while we are living in fantasy, why didn’t they just have Chloe make a remote desktop connection?), Wayne Palmer walks in. Since he isn’t a federal agent, Chloe wasn’t tracking him. Jack pulls a gun on him so he won’t talk, and it looks like Wayne wants to scream. He’s had a bad day. His brother was just killed in his house, and the person that all of the government agencies say is responsible just happens to be poking around. Jack tries to reason with him, saying there would be no good reason for him to be there if he was the killer, you know, besides trying to cover up evidence. Wayne doesn’t believe him, so Jack gives him the gun. Wayne looks like he wants to fire, but he knows that when Jack said he would have given his life to protect Palmer, Wayne knows it is true and decides to help out Jack.
Now, anybody who knows about opening a remote socket knows that socket has to be detectable, right? Well, Edgar is able to detect that Chloe is connecting remotely, and he is so excited to hear that she is alive, he goes to tell Buchanan. Edgar notices that Chloe has a those schematics and is tracking movements, but why would she do that? A ha! Jack has caught up with her and is forcing her to do this or he will kill her! It makes such great sense!
With a heads up on Jack’s whereabouts, the Secret Service and other federal agents begin to surround the building. By this time, Jack and Wayne had discovered that President Palmer randomly inserted an address into his memoirs. The address is 16 Transport Way, which puts it at the Ontario airport (that’s Ontario, California, sorry Canada, Jack is staying with us), and there is a name Chevensky. Hmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with the Russian President being in town? With this information, Jack tells Wayne not to tell anybody because they don’t know whom to trust. Jack makes his way down, beating up another FBI agent in the kitchen as well as one in the stairwell.
Unfortunately, by the time he gets to the garage, the Secret Service is crawling all over the place. How the hell is he going to get out? Time to drive through some roadblocks! The agents don’t want to shoot the van because there may be hostages inside. It’s a nice idea, but once they get outside, police cars block the van, and Jack has to get out. The only problem is that Jack wasn’t driving, it was Chloe. She was just distracting the agents while Jack sneaked out another way! You know, I would have to say it was the FBI’s fault for not setting up a hard perimeter around the apartment. It might not have worked, but if they had said hard perimeter, we all would have had another good laugh. Chloe is apprehended, and they soon realize she wasn’t under duress, and she won’t give up any more information to Buchanan. They decide to bring her back to CTU, hoping she will talk then, while Jack heads to the Ontario Airport. He is going to drop Derrick off there, and calls his mom to meet them at what I believe he said was the intersection of the 10 and the 210, which doesn’t exist because they run parallel, but since it would take Jack about an hour to Ontario under normal circumstances, why worry about the details?
Back at the President’s retreat, Martha has composed herself a little bit. She has new makeup on, and decided she might as well show some cleavage. Something tells me something is going to happen to her, because the history of the First Ladies on this show is long, but not really distinguished. Walt comes in, and she wonders why her husband won’t believe her. Walt says they are looking at the recording, but when Martha goes to meet President Pussy, he plays the tape, and there was a phone call. Martha feels vindicated until she hears the voice of President Palmer inviting her to a charity dinner. President Logan has had enough, tells his wife to take her medicine, and prepares to welcome the Russian President.
Chloe is in custody, and as she is walked into CTU, it looks like Edgar is going to cry. How could she keep a secret from him? How could she have sex with Spencer? He’s not even smart enough to parse his work log, or run a stack trace. Since Chloe won’t say where Jack is going, everybody assumes that he is going to attack the real President. The NSA has some chatter that says there is a 95% chance that the summit will be targeted, but despite all of this information, President Logan doesn’t want to diminish any part of the spectacle he has going, so he won’t delay the summit, and if they are worried about somebody taking out the Russian President’s helicopter, call in the Air Force. Don’t worry so much about security! Think about the television cameras!
Throughout the show, we have been catching glimpses of the mastermind behind all of this. You can tell he is a mastermind because he is in a dark room with lots of plasma screens, and only talks using a headset, because, you know, he’s so busy masterminding. The mastermind has been in contact with some random terrorist types. The leader, sporting a nicely generic death to America accent (I’m guessing Chechen), knows about Hoss, and is preparing to attack. His target is not the helicopter transporting the Russian President, which lands safely and without incident, but it’s the Ontario airport, the very same Ontario airport where Jack reunited Derrick with his mom.
After apologizing for all of his lies, he tells Diane to drive to CTU and tell them the truth. He was enjoying a hearty breakfast in Bakersfield or wherever he was when CTU thought he was killing the President. Jack leaves to find this Chevensky douche, but when Diane and Derrick are driving away, Derrick notices some guys jumping out of a SWAT-type van, running towards the direction Jack was headed. Despite all that whining about Jack, Derrick decides that he has to follow Jack into the airport to warn him; apparently forgetting Jack has a cell phone. God, Jack has his own kid who gets in the way of him kicking ass, when he started sleeping with Diane, he probably didn’t think he would get another dumbass to get in his way.
Jack has found Chevensky, but while he gets him to talk, the terrorists blow up their SWAT van, apparently thinking the more pedestrian practice of firing machine guns in the air and shooting security guards was too subtle. This distracts the Bauer just enough to give Chevensky time to take a cyanide tablet. The terrorists take control of the airport, and Derrick is inside. Diane tries to run in, but of course everybody is running the hell away from her and nobody is getting in.
Usually, the producers try to make us guess about a mole being in CTU, but this time, there was really no misdirection this time. There is somebody that isn’t playing nice. We’ve seen mastermind checking in with him the entire time, but who is it? It’s none other than Walt, Mr. “don’t call me Josh Lyman” himself. He’s been helping the mastermind, including doctoring the audio tape recording of the First Lady’s conversation with President Palmer. She wasn’t crazy, but now nobody will believe her.
It looks like the terrorists have got it all worked out. Plenty of hostages, a man on the inside in Walt (although I still think Spencer is involved in some way), and a President who is a huge pussy. They didn’t count on one thing, however, and that is Jack Bauer. I think we all saw Die Hard 2; there are plenty of places in an airport where Jack can take some bastards down. He’s got the Aviator Glasses of Badness and a bag full of goodies. The terrorists have NO IDEA the kind of shit storm they just walked into.
Exciting enough for you? The best part of this all is that we know this first crisis is only going to last another four or five hours before the real problems start. We have lots of scenarios, and I can’t wait. It’s going to be a great season folks.
What did you think of the episode? Have you bought your Aviator Glasses of Badness yet?