Tonight’s episode of 24 was marvelous simply because in the middle of any given tense situation, loopy Maya would pop up like a psychotic prairie dog and completely sideline the show in such a bizarre, campy fashion you had to enjoy it. I guess her character was sort of like an ode to the perennially tangental Kim, but unlike that imperiled daughter, every time we cut to Maya, we somehow knew she was this much closer to biting it. We never had that luxury with Kim. The best we got was an occasional amputation from one of her boyfriends, and while we appreciate that, it’s not the same as Kim dying. Thankfully, Kim is gone now, but how much longer will Maya being lurking around for? I’ll give you a hint — broken mirror shards are NOT conducive to a long, healthy life.Before we get to the saga of Maya — which honestly was a very small portion of last night’s episode — we have to deal with some housekeeping, i.e. Paul Raines. When last we left our lovable Brit, Jack had knocked him out in his hotel room. It was sort of like Jack’s torture foreplay. For those who may have forgotten, Paul’s name was on the lease of a house involved with the day’s terrorist activities. And so we opened up this latest episode with the promise of torture. Mmmm… I was a little afraid that we hadn’t seen enough graphic interrogation this season. After Sarah’s taser to the neck bit, I thought for sure our torture days were behind us. Silly me. This is 24. MORE TORTURE PLEASE.
After tying Paul to a chair, Jack turned to Audrey and asked her to leave the room. In true 24 Love Interest fashion, Audrey refused, wishing to stand by Jack’s side like a good little girl. Yes, Audrey likey the torture and watched as Jack transformed the power cord of a lamp into a makeshift defribilliator. Paul, ever the charming Anglo-Saxon, rebuffed Jack’s interrogation, sneering “I’ve got nothing to say to you!” He then shrugged and added, “Well, I will say that Oasis rocks.”
Of course Jack did not appreciate this attitude and brought the electrical wires ever closer to Paul’s chest. “You’re bluffing!” cried out the captive Brit. Um, Paul, clearly you haven’t seen the first three seasons of this show. Jack will torture anyone. He even tortures the local librarian when he wants to find a book. Sure enough, Jack zapped him a few times until finally Paul revealed he had a lease on his laptop. The scene became immediately awkward though when Jack turned on the computer and found fake nude pics of Camilla Parker Bowles. “My good friend John Cleese must have left those there!” said Paul nervously. Okay, I’ll stop now.
Elsewhere, big bad terrorist Habib, aka High Priest Imhotep from The Mummy, popped up in an office building to have fun with his nuclear reactor override. Quietly blending in with a floor of corporate bumble bees, Habib got to work in a random cubicle. Poor choice. Moments later a middle manager had him faxing documents and printing interoffice memos. Can’t you see he’s trying to be a terrorist?
Downstairs from Habib and his IBM commercial was Curtis who quickly established himself as the latest CTU badass. He efficiently broke free from his two captors by busting out some nifty martial arts moves that clearly would benefit some of these fallen CTU agents (seriously, CTU field teams go down faster than Paris Hilton in a fraternity basement). Nevertheless, Curtis slayed the guards, opting for the old twisting neck technique. Beautiful choice. Quiet, bloodless, dignified. I’d expect nothing less from Curtis.
Back at CTU, Tony Almeida got back into the groove of things by interrogating Dina Araz. He struck an imposing stance, brushing back his jacket so she could see his ballooning gut. “I want names,” he stated, adding “and a donut too.” Erin Driscoll watched quietly behind the glass, but wouldn’t you know it, the infirmary called to say that wee Maya was acting up. Perfect timing, as always.
Down in the medical area, Maya thrashed and screamed at the nurses trying to keep her under control. “Why not use a sedative?” Erin asked. The presiding doctor explained that they had, but Maya was fighting it. Um, is that possible? We later found out they had only injected her with maple syrup.
Meanwhile, Sarah tried desperately to get in contact with Curtis. Come on people. When CTU agents don’t pick up their cell phones, you know they’re dead or captured. Maybe Sarah’s head was still a little foggy from her late afternoon torture session. Nevertheless, she received Curtis’s voicemail, and honestly, I would have liked to have heard that message. I imagine it was something like “Hey, what’s up. It’s Curtis. I’ve been abducted so I can’t come to the phone right now. Leave your name and number, and if I’m alive, I’ll give ya a call! Toodles!”
As for Curtis, he seemed to be doing okay. A bearded man resembling Hector Elizondo tried to hunt him down, but Curtis hid in the last place the guy would look — behind a bookshelf! Keep up the good work, my man.
We now interrupt this plot to once again check in on Maya Driscoll. Our favorite nutcase now wants a) to go home; b) her mom to go away; and c) a tinfoil hat of some sort. Probability that Maya will kill someone or commit suicide this episode: 3:1.
Remember Jack? Well, turns out that the info on Paul’s computer traced back to an alias, Habib Marwan, and hey! That’s the name of the terrorist mummy guy! Sarah suddenly put two and two together and she informed Jack that Curtis had gone off to Habib’s address with Marianne. What to do? Set a perimeter, baby! That’s right, Jack gave that glorious order as he and the Raines headed to downtown. In the SUV, the three tried to figure out why Habib would ever purchase real estate through Paul’s company. First obvious reason: Paul is the Secretary of Defense’s son-in-law. Of all the people to work with, “it’s a hell of a coincidence,” Audrey said. “It might not be just a coincidence,” Jack replied gravely. OH REALLY. Maybe you didn’t hear Audrey’s sarcastic tone two seconds ago! I would have liked Audrey to have snipped back, “Yes, Jack. I know it’s not a coincidence. I’m not an idiot. That was sarcasm. Maybe you never heard of it. Oh, and that was sarcastic too.” Sadly though, Audrey simply asked, “He chose Paul because he’s my husband?” WTF? Weren’t you the one who just made the snide “coincidence” remark? Sounds like Audrey’s got a case of the Kate Warners. “Jack, I don’t understand!”
Nevertheless, Paul reiterated to his wife that he would never do anything that would put her in harm’s way. Audrey placed her hand on Paul’s shoulder in a “Gee thanks, but I’m still gonna ditch you for the guy in the next seat over” gesture. By the way, it’s good to see her manicure is holding up so well. You’d think that a morning spent in a terrorist compound would be hell on the nails, but hey, they’re pretty stellar. There’s not even any dirt in the cuticles. Maybe CTU has an in-house manicurist next to the in-house mental hospital.
With Paul Raines doing just brilliantly now, a severe torture vacuum descended on the episode. Luckily, Tony still had Dina holed up in the interrogation cell. He quickly shoved her against a wall and said that he’d send Behrooooz to jail where he’d most likely commit suicide after three months of sodomy and shivving. Tony should really write for Hallmark. Anyway, Dina talked and said that Habib was the head of various terrorist cells and blah blah blah, he’s really bad and the override is in that downtown building.
Speaking of that downtown building, Jack arrived at his much-loved perimeter ready to kick some terrorist ass. After pulling a few guns and gadgets from his trunk/goody bag, he told Audrey “I’ll be right back,” which of course means that he’ll probably be abducted fairly soon. As for Curtis, he finally emerged from his bookshelf and pistol whipped Hector Elizondo into submission/death. Eh, it was inevitable.
Remember those nuclear reactors? Well, guess what? They’re gonna all meltdown by the end of the episode unless CTU can find that override. Erin and Heller video-conferenced in with the President, who was still flying the friendly skies. I guess the producers were too lazy to build some type of cheap Oval Office backdrop. The Prez reasserted the importance of finding the override (we know, we know) and then signed off. Uh oh. We got a Maya problem. Once again Erin trotted over to her daughter who now seemed placid and ready to embrace life. Probability for a Maya murder: 7:1. Probability for suicide: 3:2. You know, maybe if Maya didn’t have Kim’s old bangs from last season she’d be a little less depressed.
Anyway, over in the terrorist corporation, Jack and Curtis met up with each other in the hallway and closed in on Habib, who was revealed to have been on the next floor up. As the two walked into a busy floor full of cubicles and corporate types, they suddenly realized they had no physical description of the terrorist. Oops. Well, here’s a hint. Look for the only guy who’s wearing a menacingly black turtleneck instead of a white shirt and tie.
Trying to blend in, Curtis grabbed some files to hide his gun. His cover was blown, however, when Peggy from accounting yanked the documents back, saying that the St. Patrick’s Day Potluck Lunch flyers were not ready for distribution yet. Actually, that didn’t happen, but if you visualized it, please know that I cast Edie McClurg as Peggy.
Eventually Jack and Curtis closed in on some guy of non-white descent, but they lowered their guns when they discovered this office worker’s greatest criminal activity was playing a game of solitaire on the job. Little did they know that the terrorists use solitaire as their user interface. Nine of hearts on ten of clubs = MELTDOWN.
Nevertheless, Jack and Curtis managed to smoke out their man, and while Jack chased after The Mummy, Curtis took over his workstation and hooked CTU into the override. With only minutes to go and the reactors beginning their meltdowns, Edgar swooped in to the rescue — again — and saved the day. The reactors stabilized, causing our portly computer programmer to exclaim “YETH!” He later commented “That wuth thuthpenthful. I’m going to eat thome thathafrath and watch a Thithy Thpathek movie.”
Unfortunately, Edgar wasn’t able to prevent one meltdown: Maya’s. Erin returned yet again to her daughter’s room, but this time found her dead on the bathroom floor, wrists slit. The doctors meanwhile all stood over the body as if they had no idea what to do. How about some gauze? I guess it didn’t matter at that point, seeing how she was dead and all. So ended the journey for Maya Driscoll, our misunderstood schizophrenic friend. Cosmic justice of Edgar’s dead mom.
The final twist of the episode was that Habib not only escaped, but he stole a CTU agent’s clothing. So now he’s within their ranks. I wonder how long it will be before so-eone says “Hey, Johnson’s looking a little chubby and Middle-Eastern these days.” Until then, we’ll just have to hope for the best…