Let me make this clear, I had a very difficult time watching Rosie O’Donnell’s movie, Riding the Bus With My Sister, and it’s not because of the bad writing, bad acting, and bad direction. No, I get my fill each week watching the mentally challenged try and get things done, even when they know they are way over their heads. In every new episode of 24, some federal agent or government bureaucrat makes the case that they should be sterilized when it comes to trying and save our country. Some people just can’t handle the responsibility. Thankfully, somebody has decided the place needs adult supervision or a terrorist might, you know, detonate a bomb and kill millions. Enter former President David Palmer.We were never big fans of President Logan. He is spineless, can’t make a decision, and let’s his ego get in the way of his thought process. I like to refer to him as President Pussy. He’s such a huge pussy, he probably deserves his own Vagina Monologue, don’t you think? Luckily for us, President Pussy does have some common sense, and he calls in President Palmer to stop the effing madness that he has created during an administration that is only three hours old. By the time President Palmer gets back to the White House, things are a shambles. Logan is doing his work from the bunker. “From the Bunker?” Palmer wonders. “I didn’t try and find a bunker when the plague was about to hit LA, or when the plague actually hit me a few years back. He doesn’t even have to hide from Sherry. Why is he in the bunker?”
Everybody is happy to see the President back, including his favorite Secret Service agent Aaron. I am actually surprised they didn’t commission him as part of the President’s Secret Service detail when he declined to run for a second term, but whatever. Palmer meets Logan, and Logan basically hands him the keys to everything and makes him the decision maker for the operations involving the recovery of the missing warhead. Any awkwardness that might have been around with Mike Novick in the room was soon put to rest. The president did have a good reason to have a beef with Mike over that little “you had me impeached” thing, but says that he knows Mike has the country’s best interest in mind and that they will let bygones be bygones. How very diplomatic, or even Presidential of him.
In Los Angeles, Chloe was obviously in fine shape after her little run in with the guy trying to ram her into oblivion, reminding the paramedics she did the shooting, and that she was alright. She started working on the laptop that she had rescued in order to find as much information as possible on why this guy had all of these nuclear schematics on hand, or where he got them from. It turns out our Indian nuclear genius got his information from a Chinese nuclear genius, one Lee Jong. Oh man, you mean the communists are in on the deal? And it wasn’t even Castro? Shit is going to go down! What was that? He was thrown out of China for falsifying his research and is likely doing all of it for money? Damn! I was ready to name name, and point fingers, and well, name names! By the way, if a communist was going to seek refuge in Los Angeles, I would probably check in on Sean Penn or Tim Robbins first.
CTU is able to find Lee fairly quickly. He has sought refuge at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles. As we know from watching Lethal Weapon 2, the Simpsons, and for the particularly studious of you, books, a nation’s embassy is basically like having a piece of that nation on your soil. It’s sovereign territory and if you need to get somebody from the inside, you have to abide by the rules of that country. President Palmer knows this and makes call to the consulate, who tells the President that they do have Lee, but that he is a Chinese citizen and they must make go through the proper channels. Palmer assures him that his country will be greatly rewarded if they give up Mr. Lee. Well Taiwan, it was nice knowing you.
Back at CTU, Paul Raines is out of surgery. God, will this guy just die already? How long are they going to prolong his sad existence? Well, they are going to keep him around at least until he is able to be transported. Although the FAA has restricted air travel, Audrey is working on a clearance(being the daughter of the Secretary of Defense helps these things). Paul is going to participate in the Amherst Spine Program, and adjunct division of the Wesleyan Spleen seminar. Audrey even wants to go with him. Don’t you love it when 24 has there tender moments? “I can do this myself Audrey.” “No, you shouldn’t be alone, I want to do this, I’m going with you”. Did Ron Howard get a hold of this script? It sounds eerily like that part in Far and Away, it was right about when, well, THE WHOLE MOVIE.
Meanwhile, Tony and Michelle are taking in the president’s latest instructions. Palmer, the genius that he is, suggested that the Iowa National Guard help in locating the missing warhead. Wow! Use the military. Too bad nobody thought of that when they were, uh, TRANSPORTING THE WARHEAD. And speaking of the warhead, it turns out that it was an S-series, one of the most powerful around. Knowing that, Michelle was very happy that the National Guard would be helping the local authorities – all together now – “Set up a perimeter!”. I never would have guessed! In a moment of sheer brilliance Tony wonders if it might be too easy for somebody to slip through the perimeter. If CTU was trying to catch Harrison Ford in The Fugitive they would have to have made another three or four movies at least.
In the middle of all of this, Tony gets a phone call. Michelle answers (Edgar Stiles must be a fan of the courtesy flush), and it’s Jen, and she introduces herself as “The woman who’s been living with [Tony]“. Since this is the first time she is hearing it, Michelle is a little bit stunned – a couple of hundred situps a day and Tony would be quite the catch again. Jen simply called to say that she was worried (uh, no cellphone Tony?), and wants to know why his ex-wife is there. The roofies Jen put in Tony’s vodka must have been wearing off, because Tony suddenly realizes that Jen is kind of dirty and really annoying. He hangs up abruptly, but Michelle is upset. In another very tender 24 moment, Tony says that he never loved Jen. Oh really? We thought you moved to Valley Glen for the schools and to build a family. We never thought that you were washed up and shacked up with the first woman who enjoyed the whiskey aftertaste when you blow your load.
The show is only twenty minutes in, but I am wondering something myself. For instance, what in the hell was taking Chloe so long on her way back?. It took her about 2 minutes to get to wherever she went, but it was taking her ten times as long to get back. You can just never trust that Hollywood Freeway. When Choe does finally get back, nobody is more excited to see her than Edgar. He doesn’t know what it is, but he gets a happy feeling in his pants when Chloe is around, and wants to tell her how he feels. It might have been great to see Edgar and Chloe have yet another tender moment, and tell each other how much they care about each other, but instead they spend the next few minutes discussing how much Chloe might be traumatized after having to kill that guy. Don’t you really want to see them play a little “seven minutes in heaven” and lock them up in a supply closet for a while?
So the CTU team is back at full strength, but it looks like it won’t matter. Jack and Curtis were dispatched to the consulate in order to handle the transfer of Lee, but the consulate is saying the premiere of China has yet to make a decision, but he should have good news in two or three hours. Apparently, it is concubine week, and he has to try to have a son with six or seven poor farm girls. Considering Marwan wanted to drop the bomb before sunrise on the east coast, that is a couple of hours two long for comfort. President Palmer goes over his choices and calls Jack with the plan. The only way to get Lee would be to go in and extract him, which would be like declaring war on the entire People’s Republic. To limit the exposure to the United States government, the whole operation would have to be done off the record. If Jack was captured, the president would deny his existence and he would be tried in the Chinese legal system.
Jack takes a moment to soak it all in, but he’s got Curtis on his side, so why not just go in and give it a try? He leaves Curtis outside to take care of any trouble and prepare the getaway. Jack then puts his ski-mask on and goes all stealth into the Chinese Consulate. I guess it’s hard for other countries to find good security because Jack is able to sneak in. In honor of going into China, the producers turn Jack into a ninja, and the music sounds like it is straight out of Crouching Tiger.
Aiding Jack getting to Lee is Tony, the only person Jack can trust at CTU (Chloe has had enough excitement for a little while). He lets Tony know that he will need infrared imaging to help him track bodies through the building. Tony agrees to help, but I don’t think he quite understood when Jack requested absolute secrecy. Well sure, he took measures to prevent people from tracking things on his console, but doesn’t it sort of defeat the purpose when you do the tracking on the huge 42″ plasma screen that is hanging over your desk? It has all the subtlety of Jenna Jamieson shopping for a strap-on. He is able to keep everything a secret, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t happy when they find out after the fact. Buchanan is pissed he wasn’t told about the mission and did the “You don’t work for Jack! You work for me!” routine. I liked Buchanan when he was for torture, but now he is all pissy about “need to know” details. Even Chappelle was less of a control freak than this guy.
Anyway, Tony is tracking the Chinese soldiers (conveniently colored red, just in case you forgot they were communists) remotely, and helps Jack get to Lee. Once he is close, Jack takes out a few guards (knock out darts), and literally throws Lee over his shoulder and hauls ass outside. Luckily lee is the epitome of a stereotypical Chinese engineer, which means small and thin with greasy hair. Jack is able to run around the building with Lee in tow, dodging bullets pretty well. Unfortunately, Jack was not perfect with avoiding the bullets, as Lee took one in the back as Jack was running. Curtis helps him with the last few agents and we have what, the third CTU field team to come back without any body dying during the mission this season?
The mission was pretty successful. Lee was hurt, but it looked like he was going to make it. The only problem, and it was kind of a big one, is that Chinese consul was killed during the operation. Jack had been using kill darts, but the Chinese guards were using live fire, and the consul stepped in front of a few bullets. Now it doesn’t matter that the incident was friendly fire, the guy basically died because of an apparent act by the United States government. The communists LOVE a good cover up, and you know they were just so excited to have something to pin on the capitalist pigs that make up the United States. The vice consul calls Palmer and wonders if it really was a coincidence that he was rejected access to Lee and then Lee was kidnapped less than moments from each other. Palmer is able to deny it, but if there is any sort of record that this was an operation sanctioned by our government, somebody was going to pay.
Palmer also had to deal with Lee. Jack wanted to get Lee to talk, and perhaps he was sick of all of the torture, but he said the best way to get him to talk was to make a deal, and so Palmer has Logan draft an agreement not to prosecute Lee in American courts and to take him to a location of his choosing. He’s not scared of the Chinese, but he is scared of Marwan, and he isn’t going to talk unless he sees something in paper. God Jack, just torture him. A little thumb to the bullet wound should do. This guy is an engineer, not a commando, he is not going to last that long, and you never know how long he is going to be lucid anyway. Oops! Shouldn’t have said that out loud, because after a few minutes in the van, Lee is starting to fade pretty fast.
OK, so Lee was shot and there was no exit wound, and Jack is only realizing now that this guy might have internal injuries. Better get to CTU and have them stabilize him at the clinic. Normally, this would not be a problem whatsoever, but there are complications. Audrey was able to secure FAA clearance to transport Paul first thing in the morning. She was going to go with him and find an apartment in Amherst. At this point, you know that she really is starting to have feelings for Paul, because it would take a lot for anybody to get excited about moving there, unless, of course, Marcus Camby was still playing basketball. But before Paul got to enjoy the thought of winning his ex-wife back to help him recover, things got a whole lot worse. Fluid started building up around his heart and he was rushed to surgery for yet another operation.
As you may imagine, there becomes a sort of confrontation inside the CTU operating room. The surgery team has started on Paul when Jack wheels Lee in. The surgeon is sort of “first come, first served” about the whole thing, and is about to tell Jack to take a number, but Jack pulls a a gun instead and points it at the judges’ head. You’ve got to admit, that is a pretty good reason to switch during the middle of an operation. The surgeon takes a look at Lee, but needs the help of the rest of his staff to save the suspect. That leaves Curtis and Jack kind of looking at Paul hoping that he is stable for at least a little while.
Paul is stable for, oh, five seconds, which leaves Jack and Curtis trying to keep Raines alive until the rest of the doctors could assist. God, isn’t there an intern or something at CTU medical? Do they have to get approval from Paul’s HMO before they can call in another team? What is going on here? Jack and Curtis are good, but they are not good enough to save Paul. They shock him, give him some norepinephrine, but it is too late. Paul is down for the count. Audrey, who had not been happy when Jack came in, then really got upset when Jack pulled the gun, went completely ballistic. She started slapping him, and Jack kind of stood there. He was very conflicted because Paul did save his life, but I imagine he was also wondering what Audrey’s malfunction was. So you lost your spouse, these things happens on days like today. I also bet Jack was hoping she didn’t come after him and get her revenge like he got revenge on Nina.
The whole thing must have been pretty heavy on Jack’s mind. He basically had to let the guy who saved his life die, and they are not even sure what kind of information Lee is going to provide. And even if they do get Marwan’s location, they need to stop a nuclear warhead from killing millions of people. Oh, and even if they stop the nuclear warhead, the government is going to have to find a way to appease the reds, or we might be at war with 1.2 Billion people. I don’t know what going to war against China would be like, but it must be like wading through the Hollywood Freeway when the Cher concert is just getting finished.
Three episodes are left, and there is still a lot of loose ends to tie up. I’m sure it is going to be one tense and suspenseful last three hours of this show. The plausibility of the scenarios even improved a few notches. And we know there is going to be a least one more big twist and at least one more big death. I really can’t wait for it all to happen.