Well, here we are. A mostly unsatisfying end to a mostly shitty season. What else can you say? The Lost finale schooled you, 24. It schooled you good.
That’s not to say there was a shortage of hijinks. But the hijinkry just wasn’t as, oh I don’t know, as groin-grabbingly amazing as it has been in seasons past. God, remember Nina? Still, for my money, the best television twist ever. I’m still vomiting in angst and disgust over that one.
Sigh. Fine, back to Grandpa. He’s at it again. (By the by, this week’s intro went a little something like this: “The following takes place between 4 am…pause…pause…go grab a sandwich or something folks…pause…pause…and 5 am.”) So Josh and Mike “I eat Play-Dough” Doyle are in a helicopter. It’s awkward. I keep waiting for Mike to turn around, all fatherly like, and say something like “You know, Josh, I hear China’s pretty cool!” But instead Ricky Schroeder puts on his Acting Face, and tells Josh what’s going on – that they’re going to pretend to transfer him over in order to get the component. He shoots a tracking device into Josh’s arm (goodbye Josh’s arm) and promises him that they’ll get him back (goodbye Josh).
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to my bitchin’ tunes.”
Jack tries to argue with the other agents but they tell him he’s going back to CTU to be placed into temporary holding. Ha. Does Jack experience any other kind? A whiny agent puts him in a car, where Jack gives Chloe a jingle. She explains the situation with Grandpa and Josh to him, and after a used-one-too-many-times bark of “Dammit Chloe, we have to stop this,” he asks to be put through to Karen.
Over in the Oval Office, Daniels is on the phone with Suvarov, apologizing for that whole lying-to-your-face thing. He also tells him about Grandpa, and how they might have a chance to destroy the component after all. Suvarov, being one of those “fool me once” head of states, says that his forces won’t call off the strike until he knows for sure that the component has been destroyed. Karen gets a call in the middle of this Meeting of Intrigue, so she takes it out in the hallway. It’s Jack, and he informs her that whatever they’re planning, Grandpa already has a better plan, and he’s going to keep both the circuit board and Josh. He pleads with her to come up with a way to stop this, then hangs up as Agent Goofus gets back into the car and whisks them both back to CTU.
Tom catches up with Karen in the hallway, and she tells him what Jack told her. When he asks if she thinks Jack’s concerns are warranted, she chirps, “Absolutely!” Congratulations, Karen, by trusting Jack you are now more intelligent than 95% of the other people on this show. You win. Karen hatches a plan, and although Tom won’t be able to join in the shenanigans this time, he promises to look the other way while she’s Scheming.
“Karen, do I detect a Scheming Face?”
“Can you BELIEVE this woman, audience?”
Bill, meanwhile, is currently suffering the indignity of having random CTU interns paw through his Precious Memories photo albums at his house. He tries to protest, saying that that stuff is personal, but they continue anyway. Come on! There are some quality honeymoon pictures in there – Bill and Karen at the beach, Bill and Karen having drinks on the veranda, Bill and Karen opening up a class-3 socket with Level 5 clearance! SEXY! Karen calls twice and he ignores her, but finally picks up. She explains the situation and tells him to do whatever it takes to help Jack. Huh. Well, bye Bill.
Mike and Josh copter onto a beach and set up shop at a table on the beach. How romantic. Grandpa calls and tells Mike to tell CTU to turn off their satellites, since he has an uplink and he knows when they’re watching. A-HA! Mole! Mole mole mole! Excellent. I look forward to later in the episode when the mole is revealed. Morris confirms that Grandpa is watching, so they all go offline while Grandpa opens up a can of mashed peas. His next demand is that the copter leave, which it does. Mike asks how the exchange is going to work, though it seems rather obvious to me. Just shove Josh into the ocean, and Grandpa will catch him in China.
“Fancy a picnic, Josh? Hand me that slaw.”
But Grandpa decides to make this difficult, and says that someone will come for him. He wants to speak to Josh on the phone, so Mike gives his cell to Josh and tells him not to resist him, to just go along with it so he’ll think everything is going smoothly. Josh takes the phone and immediately screams “I hate you!” Right. Perhaps not a true Bauer after all. Mike rolls his eyes. “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed,” he fails to say. Grandpa yammers on anyway, saying the exact same thing he said last episode, about how China is a wonderful land of happiness and lollipops and leprechauns. Looks like the dementia is setting in. Back to the nursing home with you!
Contemplation: From the Mike Doyle Collection
After the commercial, Mike tells Nadia that if he sees a chance to get Josh back, he’s going to take it. She tells him no. That love sure is blooming. Karen calls up Nadia and says that she needs the satellite tracking clearance to oversee Jack’s transfer back to CTU. Nadia doesn’t want to, but then does. Damn. Worst CTU director ever. But there’s no time for pointing fingers, because Marilyn is currently having a Class 5 Freakout. She wants to see her son, NOW! Nadia makes up some cockamamie story about Division questioning him, but Marilyn decides to yell and flail some more, as if this will help. Nadia calls for additional security to escort Marilyn to holding. Finally, a sound decision! Then Chloe and Morris squabble some more. Fascinating.
Jack and a couple wimpy agents are en route to CTU, when they are run off the road by a Mysterious Stranger. Jack easily steals the gun from the agent in the car, while the other one gets out and starts yelling at Bill. Wimpy Agent tries to be threatening, then proceeds to fail miserably. Jack knocks out the guy in the car, then sneaks up behind Wimpy Agent and does the same. Then they’re off to the Billmobile, where Bill says that he hopes Jack is right about his father. “Unfortunately…I am,” says Jack. I gag and begin plotting the death of yet another writer.
A rather good-looking man enters CTU, and Chloe goes over to hug him. I have a brief thought that she does not know this man, that she has just abandoned all laws of normal human interactions and decided to sidle up to any attractive guy she sees, and how much more fun the world might be if this became the case. Nadia asks Morris to find out who it is. Shouldn’t you already know this information, CTU DIRECTOR?! Did you let the security team go home early?! Chloe identifies the handsome stranger as Stuart, Milo’s brother. I call shenanigans. There is no way this hot guy came from the same family as Pubic Facial Hair Milo. It’s just not possible. Chloe leads him off to do some paperwork, and I wonder what role he will play in the rest of this day. Surely he must have some contribution to the plot, right? Right?!
Colin Farrell’s brother, perhaps. Milo’s brother? HELL NO.
Karen, who has been following Jack and Bill’s progress, loses the satellite connection. She calls up Bill to tell him that someone has caught on and that they’re probably coming to arrest her. Since it might be the last time they can speak, she tells her dear hubby that she’s so sorry, and that she loves him very much. Aaand then the Secret Service shows up. How many marriages must they ruin?
Stuart would like to know how his brother died. Nadia confesses that he sacrificed himself to save her life, to which Stuart replies that Milo was really in love with her. Haha. The Guilt Train has pulled into the CTU station! All aboard! Nadia gets a page and Stuart glares at her as she leaves. Oh, he is SO a mole or something devious. Chloe tells Nadia that Bill helped Jack escape. Nadia barks a couple more orders, then returns to the locker room to find that Stuart has…disappeared. Sweet! I can’t wait to find out where he is and what he’s up to! I hope it’s something nefarious!
Nadia calls up Mike to tell him that Jack has escaped and that he’s probably on his way over to stop the exchange. Mike utters a very wimpy “Dammit!” Oh, my dear Mikey. Don’t. Even. Try.
Daniels meets Karen in holding to ask her what the hell she was thinking. She tells him that she learned from earlier today, when dealing with Fayed, that you should never negotiate with a sociopath. Man, sociopath is being thrown around a lot this season. Did no one realize that every season has contained sociopaths? Maybe they finally bought a thesaurus. Karen and Daniels squabble a little more, and she says she’s prepared to accept the consequences, which Daniels assures her will be severe. He asks if Tom Lennox was involved, she says no, then he informs her that if Jack fails and a war starts, the blood will be on her hands. Hey, what’s that sound? It’s the Guilt Train again! Next stop D.C.!
Grandpa calls Mike and tells him to bring Josh close to the water. Mike and Josh (who, when you think about it, look eerily alike) leave their beloved picnic and run onto the beach as a little speedboat approaches from the distance. A goon gets out and wades onto the beach as Asian music plinks away in the background. Mike says that he needs to verify the circuit board, so goon tosses over what appears to be a rather large engagement ring box.
Seriously, they could be twins. Put Mike in a stupid sweater and give him a crash course in embittered whining, and they could totally trade places.
Mike slowly opens the box, which does not contain a diamond or even a cubic zirconia, but rather an explosive. It detonates all over his FACE and throws him back onto the sand as goon grabs Josh and runs back to the boat. Of course, Jack and Bill show up right about now, but Jack can’t shoot because Josh is in the way. Eh, he shoots anyway, but the boat speeds away, Josh’s whimpering echoing into the night sky. Mike informs them, through pained grunting, that he did not get the circuit board. Ah. Thanks for clearing that up, Mike.
Goon calls up Grandpa and tells him that he has Josh. He also scans Josh to see if CTU is tracking him, which they are. For a moment I hope for a Gredenko-style hatchet to the forearm, but alas, goon just, like, burns it out of him or something. I don’t know. Jack calls CTU to fill them in on the awesome explosions and the boat getaway, then requests a trauma team for the badly injured Mike. Nadia is Concerned.
Daniels calls Tom into his office to apparently state the moral of the story. He goes on and on about how he had been wrong this whole time, he made a lot of bad decisions, he shouldn’t have doubted Wayne; all in all, it’s HARD to be President! It wasn’t like this back at President Camp! Tom, totally bored by this ridiculous soliloquy, changes the subject and tells him not to come down so hard on Karen, since making this stuff public would be a pretty bad move for an administration whose reputation is already in the shitter. Daniels says he’ll think about it, but right now he needs an update on CTU’s progress. So WHY did you waste all of our time whining about your terrible day?! GOD. He sits back in his chair and pouts and sighs. Do I smell a possible suicide?
The trauma team has arrived, and Jack radios back to Nadia the verdict: Mike will be blind in one, if not both, eyes. Sweet! Mike’s going to be a pirate! Nadia dusts off yet another old chestnut: “I should have listened to you, Jack.” Seriously, Nadia. Just walk out into the parking lot and drive home. You’re totally useless. CTU will have satellite back up in a minute, but they won’t be able to track such a small boat in the dark. Jack, his Bauer-senses tingling, looks out into the ocean. He figures out that they must be going to a larger vessel, or, even better, an offshore oil platform such as one of the many that Grandpa’s company owns!
Sure enough, Jack is right (shock! dismay!), as the goons drive the boat up to a platform. That very platform also contains Grandpa and our old buddy Cheng, who appears to be quite cranky since he still hasn’t gotten his precious component. Grandpa has something interesting to say about all this: “Your mistakes have been totally unacceptable, but China is still my future.” However, it ACTUALLY sounds like he says “but ‘gina is still my future,” which would imply that Grandpa is still quite a hit with the little blue-haired ladies.
“GRANDPA NEVER TIRES OF THE BUTT ‘GINA!!”
Chloe is researching the oil rigs, when her vision becomes blurred and she looks as if she’s going to pass out. She gets up from her desk and then does proceed to pass out. Morris runs to her side and yells for someone to help him. He is vastly ignored. He then yells a little bit louder, and some random temp saunters over to maybe, possibly, help.
One hour down. One hour to go. A six-pack to imbibe.
Also, lest you forget throughout all this muck that Jack is still a badass, here’s a reminder:
A grumpy Josh arrives at the oil platform to a happy Grandpa. Josh is whining yet again, saying that he doesn’t want to be here. Grandpa tells him they’re not staying. Wait, you mean this ISN’T China? Cheng arrives to happily chirp that the submarine will be arriving in thirty minutes or less, or their pizza is free.
Morris is hovering over Chloe in the infirmary. The doctor says she’s fine, he just needs to run some tests. Then he leaves. See, this is why so many people die in the infirmary. Morris says he doesn’t want to leave, but Chloe says that the only way to make her feel better is if he leaves and does his job. Hehe. He does so, and Chloe settles in to reflect upon something with shifty eyes. So she knows something. At this point I’ve ruled out poison or anything like that, since she so clearly knows exactly what’s happening to her. Cancer? Ebola? Deadly personality disorder?
Nadia zeros in on the oil platform. Morris runs a thermal scan while Matrix music pounds in the background and confirms that there are a whole bunch of people on what would normally be a deserted platform. Then Morris calls up the doctor and badgers him about the tests he’s running. But the doctor doesn’t have the results back yet, and even when he does, he cannot divulge them to an EX-husband. Morris stews.
Back at the White House, Tom relays CTU’s call to the president, that they’ve found Grandpa on the oil rig. (This is often where I find my own grandpa. I don’t know why they didn’t just think to look there in the first place.) General Walsh, who apparently has been on vacation for the past twelve hours, reappears to recommend an air strike on the platform, which would totally destroy everything and everyone on it. Tom points out that Josh, an innocent sixteen-year old boy, would definitely die in an air strike, whereas with a surgical strike he might stand a chance of surviving. But Daniels, suddenly remembering his affinity for giant explosions, gives the go-ahead.
“Sir, I have to disagree. Bette Midler’s performance on the Idol finale was ear-splitting and disastrous. AT BEST.”
Jack loads the remains of Mike Doyle onto the ambulance. “Get the kid, Jack! Get the kid!” Mike yells. Yeah, okay. Smell ya later, Doyle. I look forward to your swashbuckling adventures on the high seas. Nadia calls Jack to inform him that Daniels is going with an air strike, and kindly requests that he and Bill return to CTU for some debriefing. Why not request a unicorn burger as well, Nadia? Perhaps a dodo egg omelet? God. That woman needs to stop giving such ridiculous orders to Jack. It’s a wonder he hasn’t electrocuted her with a floor lamp yet.
Jack tells Bill about the air strike, and Bill says he’s sorry. Jack gets that Crazy Look In His Eyeâ„¢ and glances over at the waiting helicopter. Bill says “Don’t even think about it.” Ha. Bill, you’re useless. Jack insists he’s not doing this because Josh is his nephew, but because he’s “an innocent kid being written off as some kind of acceptable loss. It’s wrong.” Bill sees the light and agrees to pilot the copter. Jack says he doesn’t have to do this. Bill says he does, because he doesn’t want to live with that kind of guilt either. This whole scene has a very Season 2-George Mason-crashing-the-nuclear-bomb-into-the-desert feel to it, except that where that scene succeeded in making me teary, this one makes me long for those days of yore. Also a little hungry.
Jack and Bill pack up their gear and get onto the copter. Jack pulls out a gun, points it at the pilot’s head, and says “I’m commandeering your helicopter. Get out. NOW!” The pilot immediately jumps out. HAHA! Smart man. He’d be a better president than any of the other yahoos this season.
“NICE EARMUFFS! For this you die.”
Russian troops are preparing for imminent attack. Daniels gets Suvarov on the horn to tell him about the oil platform, and to beg him to hold off on the attack while they try to destroy the component. Suvarov, SO sick of all this by now, confirms that they picked up on a Chinese submarine headed towards L.A., so he believes him, and agrees not to strike just yet. But only as long as the platform is COMPLETELY DESTROYED. Seriously, they’re going to have to bomb the hell out of it. And any innocent sixteen-year-old boys that happen to be on it.
Jack radios in to Nadia, who for some reason is yet again SHOCKED to discover that Jack is breaking the rules. This woman has the memory of a goldfish. She says she can’t authorize this, but Bill, her hero, tells her that it’s the right call and they need her help. So she agrees to send them the satellite images they need. They begin their approach, as the Air Force bombers lock their target.
Josh, Grandpa, and Cheng are all chilling in their hip new oil pad. Josh begs, for the BILLIONTH time, to be released, and Grandpa says, for the BILLIONTH time, that it’s for his own good. Come on, writers. Something new would be nice. Let them have a conversation about the weather, abortion, Harry Potter, anything. Cheng gets a call from his men informing him that a helicopter is approaching. He tells Grandpa that they needs to get into a boat and head out, it has a beacon so the submarine can find them. He hands Grandpa the component, and they split up.
Bill lands the copter on a roof and Jack gets out. Say it with me – a firefight ensues! A lot of things blow up and Jack finds Cheng on the ground, his face all burnt and grumpy. Jack demands to know where the innocent sixteen-year-old boy is, and Cheng says he’s too late. Jack disagrees, and runs off to find Josh while Bill takes Cheng, reminding Jack that he only has ten minutes.
“Curses! Foiled again! Mistah BAUAH!”
Josh lashes out against Grandpa yet again, so Grandpa tells him to control his emotions, to never let them control you. Is Grandpa a recovering rageaholic? Seriously, what the fuck is going on here? They make their way down to the bottom of the rig and Grandpa starts to set up the boat. Jack, meanwhile, is shooting his way through the rig, killing various henchmen. Josh grabs a wrench and hits him over the head. Finally, something more productive than whining. He grabs the gun and points it at him, and Grandpa, for some reason, is not impressed. After yet another I’m-doing-this-all-for-you diatribe, Josh, just as fed up as we are, shoots him. The peasants rejoice.
Jack shows up and tells Josh to lower the gun, saying that he knows exactly how he feels but that the pain of taking someone else’s life isn’t worth it. Really, Jack? How much pain are you in right now over those anonymous henchmen? They didn’t even get to go on a submarine ride. He tells Josh about the air strike and sends him off towards the helicopter. Jack wants to take Grandpa with him so that he can be held accountable for his actions, but Grandpa wisely points out that there isn’t enough time to carry him. “You’re gonna get off easy,” Jack says, as he leaves his father to die an explosivey death.
Bill is loading Cheng onto the copter as Josh runs up and joins him. Nadia says they have ninety seconds. Bill takes off and meets Jack on the side of the rig. Daniels gives the order to engage. The bombers launch their missiles in a scene that heavily reminds me of Independence Day (Eagle Twenty, Box Two!). Jack jumps off the platform onto the ladder hanging from the copter. There are many explosions. It is nice.
“JOSH! I MAY OR MAY NOT BE YOUR FATHER!!
*GASP* “I MAY OR MAY NOT BE TOTALLY AWESOME!!”
Bill radios in to Nadia that they’re okay. General Walsh confirms to Daniels that the target has been completely destroyed. Suvarov is satisfied that the component is kaput, and calls off the strike on the U.S. base. He apologizes that it had to come to this, and sends his best wishes for the recovery of President Palmer. Who?
As the copter nears the beach, Jack falls off the ladder and into the ocean.
Something for the ladies.
Josh freaks out, saying that they have to go back and get him, so Bill turns around. Jack puts his hand up, and Bill understands. Jack runs off as Josh starts screeching again, and Bill explains that “Jack’s not ready to go back yet.” He’d like to put in a quick trip to IHOP first to start this day off right.
Season 7: Alien vs. Bauer
Back in the oval office, Tom gets a great line: “Sir, not to quash your flush of victory here, but the actions of the Chinese cannot go unaddressed.” I’m going to try and use “quash your flush of victory” in a sentence every single day this week. Try it, it’s a fun challenge! Daniels says that that’s a problem for another day (ha!) and right now he’d like to get some sleep. Tom brings up another pressing issue (what a lovable scamp!), the fact that Karen is about to be taken into custody. He says that in the light of all that’s happened, it would be better to preserve whatever faith in the administration the American people have left, and begs for Daniels to let Karen and Bill resign with their reputations in tact. Daniels sighs, smiles, and says, “Alll right, Tom,” as if Tom had asked for a shiny new tricycle for his birthday or something. Tom thanks him and gets up to leave, then snidely leaves behind the tape recording of his discussion with Lisa about the attempted perjury. Daniels smiles. That’ll do, Tom. That’ll do.
“Heh heh, what a day! Good times!”
Morris runs into the infirmary to tell Chloe all about the happy air strike ending. He asks about the test results, since the doctor wouldn’t tell him what they were. After some reassurance from Morris that he still loves her and can’t lose her (barf), she confesses that she’s pregnant. Ugh. Lame. Morris is incredulous and happy and it’s supposed to be cute, but after having watched the Best Confession of Pregnancy Scene Ever in the season finale of Friday Night Lights, this is just small, annoying potatoes. I begrudgingly await the arrival of a cranky, whiny, smarmy child with a personality disorder and a penchant for whiskey.
Tom brings the happy news to Karen that she’s free to go, and that Bill is receiving a full pardon as well. Karen is overjoyed, and for a moment it feels like they’re going to high five each other. She thanks Tom for whatever part he played in this. He shakes her hand and smiles, and says, “You know, Karen, I actually think I’m gonna miss you.” “Really?” she asks. “I can answer that better after you’ve gone.” Oh that Tom!! Sad to see he didn’t tell her not to trip over her own ineptitude on the way out, but that was still pretty good. God, I love him.
Josh and Marilyn engage in a tearful reunion. Bill tells Cheng he’s off to a federal detention facility. Cheng says that his people will not abandon him like the U.S. abandoned Mistah Jack Bauah!! Please no. This China plotline needs to be over. Bill also lies through his teeth in telling Nadia that she did a good job today. Whatever. She asks where Jack is, probably because she wants to uselessly yell at him for breaking protocol yet again, but Bill says that he’s gone, and that they’ll never find him.
Heller is sitting in his living room. He hears a noise, and goes to call the police when Jack appears and tells him to put the phone down. Heller asks if he’s going to kill him. “Depends,” Jack says. “Where’s Audrey?” Ooh. Heller tries to argue but Jack tells him that he just watched his father die and he felt nothing, because he had meant nothing to him. He had always looked to Heller as a father figure and he was the kind of man he wanted to be. “Earlier today you said that I was cursed, that anyone I touched ended up dead. How dare you. How. Dare. You. The only thing I’ve done, the only thing I’ve EVER done, is what you and people like you have asked of me.” AMEN!
Jack then asks why Heller didn’t do anything to get him out of China, since he had the political power to do so. He tries to answer but Jack points the gun and tells him to shut up again. Hehe. He says he knows why he’s angry: not because Audrey came looking for him in China, but because she went even after Heller told her not to. OOOOH. Heller puts on a little “guilty as charged” face. Ugh. Heller says it was wrong to blame Jack for that, and that he knows what the country owes him. AMEN AGAIN! But Jack isn’t interested in any of that, he just wants his life back, “and I want it now.” NOW!!
“TELL ME WHERE MY LIFE IS!!”
“Audrey’s all I’ve got. You can’t stop me. In case you’ve forgotten, I’m very good at disappearing. And if you try sending someone after us, I’m gonna kill ‘em.”
“Pretty good at that, too.”
Heller says that sooner or later, he’s gonna get back in the game, and when he does, “my daughter’s gonna pay the price. LIKE YOUR WIFE DID.”
After several attempts to strangle Heller myself through the television, I hear Jack say “you son of a bitch,” and back off in total misery. Heller says that he’ll never be able to take care of her, but Jack demands to see her anyway.
He goes into her bedroom and there she is, sleeping. He sits down on the bed, holds her hand, and tells her he’s there. Then he sadly looks around the room and seems to come to a conclusion. This is heartbreaking. He says that he’s at a crossroads (such eloquent language!), and that the best way to protect her is to let her go. “I love you with all my heart,” he kisses her forehead, “and I always will.”
He exits the room, gives Heller one last look, and leaves the house. He makes his way across their gorgeous backyard and down to the deck overlooking the ocean. He looks down at the water below, and his eyes are really intense, like he’s searching for something. Then…fade away and…SILENT CLOCK!!
“Now, where did I leave my keys?”
Okay. I have several problems with this finale, which I will list now. 1) No CTU Mole. 2) No non-beloved main characters died in a shocking way. 3) Chloe is pregnant. 4) Never found out the fates of Wayne Palmer, Lisa the Fembot, Charles Logan, and countless others. 5) Random replacement Director from Division was totally forgotten about and is still, presumably, in the Situation Room investigating the CTU breach. 6) Stuart, Milo’s brother, was totally pointless. 7) Each of Grandpa’s China diatribes were identical (except for the one where he proclaimed his love for the ‘gina). 8) No surprise revelation that Josh is Jack’s son (although I heard somewhere the writers were still upon the air about that). 9) No guilt-ridden suicides (I’m looking in your direction, Morris) and 10) No one tripped over their own ineptitude.
However. Jack’s raging speech at the end was dead on. Nicely done.
I think that they left it so that next season can really go any way it wants. No loose ends over at CTU, we can cut them off no problem. I no longer care about any of the CTUers, now that Bill is gone and Chloe is lame we can start off with a fresh new crew. Hopefully next season will contain a president that is not of the Palmer bloodline, and one that will stay president throughout the duration of the crisis instead of pussying out with “brain trauma”.
So thanks for sticking around, all three of you. Here’s hoping that the next day will be back to its awesome ways. In parting, I leave you with this, a pictorial look back at what was, for me at least, the very best part of this season.
Tom Lennox: An American Hero