So. You thought everything was under control on 24. You thought CTU had the recording. You thought the nerve gas was gone. You thought order would be restored to the good ol’ U.S. of A. WRONG. As we saw at the end of last week’s episode, a certain loathsome government worker (cough, Miles, cough) ruined everything when he destroyed the recording in order to curry favor with President Logan. Well, if that wasn’t bad enough, last night, our long forgotten mini-terrorist, Vladimir Bierko, escaped his CTU security detail (I know — try not to keel over in shock) and revealed the ace up his sleeve: another canister of nerve gas. D’oh! Don’t you hate how those things are always hanging around? They’re like cockroaches. When you see one, you know there are a hundred more in the walls. On the plus side, not everything was doom and gloom for CTU tonight. Karen Hayes got to work her inner Susan Lucci by executing the best bitch slap of the season. The sort of bitch slap she and Miles used to gab about over lattés, but alas, those days are long over…This week’s episode began with us reliving the great Miles Papazian tape-erasing disaster of 2006. Oh, how I hated him so, but I took solace in knowing that at some point in the next hour, Jack would probably punch him, or at the very least throw him up against a wall and yell in his face. Short of him getting shot in the head, that’s pretty much the best sort of punishment we could want for Miles.
Anyway, no one actually knew that the tape was erased yet, and so when we found out that the Attorney General would be on the phone in about five minutes, a sense of dread and embarrassment overcame me. Kind of like when you watch The Apprentice and a team does so badly you just want to crawl under a pillow for their sake. Well, with the biggest conference call ever about to happen, the gang all gathered in the Situation Room to hear the tape, and uh oh. We had a situation! Thank god they were in the Situation Room!
THE TAPE WAS JUST STATIC!
Granted, this wasn’t a surprise to us, but to everyone else, this was like the worst thing ever. Jack immediately knew something was wrong. He knew the tape hadn’t been damaged. No, it had remained perfectly intact despite surviving a shootout and a plane crash and an elephant stampede and a nuclear war and a… wait? Those things didn’t happen? Sorry, must have hallucinated a little bit there.
Anyway, Jack wanted to get to the bottom of this tape scandal. “Who had access to this room?” he barked at Chloe, adding, “THINK ABOUT IT!” Note to self: don’t ever let Jack start up a kid’s show: “Okay, children. Today we’re going to learn about math. Do you know what one plus one is? THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!”
Well, Chloe said that Miles was the only one who entered and that was because Karen had sent him in to check up on her. Karen suddenly acted as if someone had accused her of farting, and she vehemently denied the charge. “I never sent him in here!” she scoffed. Faster than you can say “torture by lamp wires,” Jack was already bounding out of the Situation Room, chasing down Miles who was conveniently packing up his belongings. Karen galloped after Jack and even told Security to stop him — as if that would work. “Mr. Bauer!” one faceless guard said. Jack swiftly turned around and punched the guy out. Round of applause for CTU security, everyone!
This is actually one of Miles’ fantasies come to life.
Just as we had hoped and prayed, Jack grabbed Miles by the neck and threw him against the wall. I like to call this move the Bauer Love Grip. Unfortunately, Jack wasn’t able to get much of anything out of Miles before Karen pulled rank and saved her sidekick. With heartbreak all over her eyes, she asked Miles where he was heading off to. He said he’d been transfered. But to where, Karen wanted to know.
“The White House,” Jack interjected. Oh vile Miles! Destroying evidence to further his career! For shame! You have brought a blight unto this office, Papazian! And another thing: you are sooo not Karen’s main gay anymore.
Well, Karen almost couldn’t believe that her loyal sidekick had done this to her. She was livid and crushed, all at the same time, but Miles didn’t care. “Do what you have to do, Karen. But I work for the President now,” he said smugly.
And with that, Karen BITCH SLAPPED her boy. Booo-ya!!! AWESOME! Side note: earlier on Monday, J-Unit and I joked that Karen was totally going to bitch slap Miles. Little did we know that it would actually happen. Best season ever.
Anyway, the freshly slapped Papazian then left the CTU confines (hopefully to be run over by a bus or trolley), and as Chloe took the recording down to “processing” to try to recover anything, the President called up and asked about that conference call with the Attorney General. Karen told him it was cancelled, and then the happy Charles replied that oh by the way, all that evidence against Jack Bauer? It was inconclusive after all (and fictional). He’s off the hook. Well, Karen could not believe this. After all the work and manpower her office had spent trying to bring Jack in, now the Prez just wanted to say “Never mind”? Oh, if he were there, she would have bitch slapped him also. In fact, she and Martha Logan would probably bitch slap him together.
This all sounded like good news for Jack — he was no longer a wanted man — but actually, it wasn’t. This meant he was a sitting duck, ready to be gunned down by the mysterious men who controlled President Logan. Before we could feel badly for Jack though, Bill re-entered the Situation Room to reveal… A SITUATION! Bierko had escaped! For those of you who don’t remember, Bierko was being transferred to another facility or prison or whatever. If there’s anything we know, it’s that prisoner transfers + CTU security detail = fugitive on the run! Sure enough, that’s exactly what had happened. A guy named Davis phoned into CTU to say that the convoy had been attacked and that he was the only survivor. He also noted that when Bierko was leaving, he mentioned something about another nerve gas canister. Uh oh! Time to blow up another power plant!
With the president’s recording gone and nerve gas on the horizon again, CTU’s attention once again shifted to finding Bierko. But where oh where could he be? Well, we soon found him with his cronies taking a gas canister… somewhere. And just to prove that he was a bad-ass, he ripped off his eye patch! He’s not gonna wear a bandage, DAMMIT! And he won’t pay a lot for that muffler either! By the way, considering Bierko had been unconscious for about four or five hours there — on account of being caught in a GAS EXPLOSION — you’d think he’d be a little more fragile, yes? There must be something in the water at CTU. Some sort of magic healing potion.
Over at the White House West, we found Martha contemplating a suicidal amuse bouche of sleeping pills. And just in case we couldn’t tell she was in an unstable state of mind, we heard a few notes from the official Martha Is Crazy Violin. She then put some of the pills in her mouth, but alas, she couldn’t go through with it. She spat them out and threw the rest on the carpet. Martha then trained her eyes on Agent Aaron Pierce’s cell phone. Ah, the memories. The sexual tension. The furtive glances. It all brought a mild smile to her face. A man like Pierce deserved to have his cell phone back. And so Martha walked out of her room and handed the phone to another agent, who would send it along to Pierce in “Washington.” And by “Washington,” he meant “the torture room out by the horse stables.”
Yes, Aaron was all strapped up to a chair and bloody-faced. We didn’t actually see him taking any licks, but we knew he’d been through quite an ordeal. Anyway, Logan entered the room and apologized to Aaron. He then told the agent that he might think he knows what’s going on, but he doesn’t.
“Then why don’t you explain it to me, Mr. President,” Aaron said, his voice lilting as if all he wanted was a bedtime story.
Logan ignored the request and simply said he wanted Aaron’s word that he would put this all behind him. Ah, not so easy. Aaron’s from the David Palmer school of undying virtue and integrity. “There is nothing that you have said or done that is acceptable to me in the least,” Aaron replied. “You’re a traitor to this country and a disgrace to your office, and it’s my duty to see that you’re brought to justice for what you’ve done. Is there anything else, CHARLES?” Oh, that’s fresh! That’s fresh! Unfortunately, while I admired Aaron’s brazen honesty, I couldn’t quite see how he could bring the President to justice if he were DEAD. Dude, just tell a white lie, get out of the torture room, and do all that “justice” stuff later.
Well, with his ego crushed (nobody calls him CHARLES!), Logan left the room in a huff. His new Secret Service buddy followed after him and was all “Can I kill him? Can I kill him?” President Pussy merely looked at this agent, and that was enough. Pierce was gonna be dead as a doornail! (As opposed to those doornails that are alive.) Logan then called up the mysterious Graham and said that there was a change of plans. He would not be committing suicide as previously assumed. Instead, everything was under control. Recording was destroyed, and Jack would be killed. Huzzah!
The call ended prematurely, however, when Mike Novick popped up to deliver some bad news: Bierko had escaped. More gas was a-comin’! This made Logan genuinely furious because even though he was a murderous, treacherous President, he never intended the terrorists to use the gas on America! Oh bother!
Meanwhile, at CTU, all those wonderful satellite images that normally tell them where everyone is at any given time were completely useless when it came to finding Bierko. Even worse, there were no witnesses, on account of that stupid curfew that was still in effect. No one knew where he was. The only man that could help was… Robocop! Yes, Henderson! But he wasn’t just going to give up that info willy-nilly. OR nilly-willy, for that matter. They were gonna have to make him a deal. A deal for immunity. Jack was not very happy about this, but hey, if he could let them broker a deal with Nina in season two, I’m sure he could get over this, right?
Bill, of course, knew the right buttons to press. “Jack, what would David Palmer want you to do if he were here?” he said. Oooh. Good move, Bill. Playing the old “WWDPD?” card. And speaking of the Palmers, was anyone going to check in on Wayne Palmer? Last we heard, he was being shuttled off to Bill’s house, which meant that he was probably bleeding on the front doorstep, waiting for somebody to let him in.
Anyway, Jack finally conceded that they’d have to make a deal, but he insisted that he be the one to present it to Henderson. Moments later, the two men were squaring off, with Henderson saying that a deal for immunity meant nothing. Nada. The recording was his immunity, and without it, he was a dead man now. He’d need more than immunity to cooperate. He’d need to disappear. “Except, I’m not going to make your mistake,” Henderson said. “I’m going to leave the country, and I’m going to take Miriam with me!” So wait. When you go into hiding, you’re not going to simply move ninety miles away? Wow. That’s a bold move. And by the way, where was Miriam lately anyway? Last we saw, Jack shot her in the thigh about twelve hours ago. Maybe she and Wayne Palmer were hanging out together, bleeding the night away.
Well, Jack said he’d help Henderson disappear, but ONLY if he delivered Bierko’s head on a platter. Literally. They were gonna go to Williams Sonoma and pick a platter out. Okay, maybe not. Either way, Henderson randomly said, “Bierko’s going to hit hard; so you better think fast!” And with that, we went to commercial. Sort of random, but okay. That was the writers’ way of saying, “Okay, we don’t have a cliffhanger; so we’re just gonna have Henderson say something mildly threatening and see if that works.”
When we returned from break, Jack handed over to Chloe fourteen names he’d received from Henderson. He then began telling Bill and Karen about the contacts, but uh oh. Here came Audrey! Yes, in Miracle Recovery #34 for the day, Audrey was up and walking around, despite having lost half her blood just a few hours ago. Oh, and the infirmary was ever so kind to give her a dainty, white blouse too. Memo to Audrey: stop wearing white. It looks really bad when you bleed all over it (which is what she inevitably does).
Anyway, this Audrey scene was pretty much a nothing. It was just the producer’s way of reminding us that she was, in fact, still on the show. Back to the investigation. Chloe and the gang somehow found a hit with one of Henderson’s names: a guy named Molina, who apparently would never cooperate with CTU agents. Henderson suggested that he be the one to speak to Molina, and while Jack acted all “Oh no you di’int just suggest that!” I had a sneaking suspicion that this was all part of Henderson’s “disappearing” plan. Nevertheless, Henderson said that this guy Molina would be difficult to infiltrate. He had the most state of the art computer technology, “Including a Phoenix shield!” Oh no! Not a PHOENIX SHIELD!!!
“We can get through it,” Bill insisted.
“Not a PHOENIX!” Chloe snapped. “It’s a poison pill firewall!!!” OH MY GOD. Just throw in the towel now!!
Well, the only way to deal with this Molina character would be for Henderson to pay a visit (with Jack trailing, natch). As they all headed off, we then returned to Martha who was hanging out in the horse stables, smoking a cigarette. Suddenly, a pair of headlights appeared in the driveway, and since headlights are intrinsically interesting things, Martha was totally transfixed. What could be driving this way? This led to some ever lovable Martha snooping, and no, the official Martha Is Crazy violin was silent, which meant she was actually onto something legit. What she found was that nefarious Secret Service Agent trying to put Aaron in the trunk of a car (where he’d be shot and disposed of). Luckily, Aaron was a spunky guy, and he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He and his nemesis tussled a bit, and just when Aaron was about to get a bullet in the head, Martha intervened. “What are you doing?” she asked, causing the agent to swivel his gun around and point it at her.
“You going to shoot the First Lady?” Martha asked, slowly advancing towards the guy. I wondered if she’d bare her breasts like she did much earlier in the day, but before she could get any closer, Aaron kicked the agent in the knee, causing the gun to drop and more roughhousing. Finally, Martha put an end to this all by shooting the agent in the chest, thus saving her man the way he had saved her during the terrorist missile attack on the limo. “Martha!” he wheezed, the life fleeting from his eyes. Take him to the hospital, woman!
Meanwhile, Jack, Curtis, Henderson, and the CTU gang had all arrived at Molina’s place and were ready for action. “Curtis, I want you to set up a perimeter. I want a man on each possible escape route,” Jack said. A man on each possible escape route? What sort of perimeter was this? How is the bad guy supposed to get away? I call bullshit.
Anyway, Henderson walked up and rang Molina’s doorbell, causing the guy to ask over the video intercom, “What do you want, Chris?”
“We have to talk,” Henderson replied.
“What? At 4:30 in the morning?” Molina said. Hey, don’t act like you’re being interrupted. You’re already dressed and awake. Anyway, Molina eventually let up, and after a rigorous scanning process to search for wire and taps and bugs and whatnot, Henderson entered the apartment. Unfortunately, the whole “sting” part of the operation was compromised within seconds when Henderson asked if there was another way out.
“Jack, I don’t like this,” Curtis said, his Danger Meter going off. Sure enough, Henderson told Molina to secure the files on his hard drive and crash his system. Dude, the whole point was that you were supposed to PROCURE the files. Anyway, Jack sensed that Henderson was up to no good, and so he and the whole team swarmed the apartment, causing gunfire all around and the obligatory shots of windows shattering. Sadly, Curtis was struck with a bullet, but not fatally. Just a stinger on his shoulder.
After a few more rounds of gunfire, CTU then took down Molina, but guess what? Turns out Jack had totally ruined Henderson’s plan. By telling Molina to move his files to a flash drive, they would have been able to circumvent the firewall and blah blah blah — point is, Jack jumped the gun. Not that it really mattered. Chloe was still able to access Molina’s computer — Phoenix Shield BE DAMNED! — and while she toiled away at the decrypted files, we headed back to Martha Logan who was quietly nursing Aaron back to health in the stables. Yes, it sounded like a good old fashioned romance novel, and I thought for sure that this would lead to some neckin’, but no. The producers wisely decided to string out the sexual tension yet again (making it that much more fun) by having them stare longingly into each other’s eyes. Martha admitted that she was going to keep quiet about her husband’s deeds, but not anymore! Yes! What are you gonna do about that, MILES PAPAZIAN?
Anyway, the best plan would be for Aaron to lay low until the President’s been exposed, but Martha couldn’t just drive him out of the compound. That would raise suspicions. No. Instead, she would have to tell Mike Novick EVERYTHING. I had a bad feeling about this. Something tells me Mike is gonna die. A sacrificial death in the name of the Presidency and true love. Martha then left to get Mike, and um, she probably should have closed the stable door behind her. You know, just thinking about that whole “hiding Aaron” concept.
Back at CTU, Chloe had managed to find some sort of file off of Molina’s computer, and it was the schematics for… a submarine? Yes. A Russian submarine… with missiles! Turns out that Americans were inspecting it thanks to that treaty Logan and the Russian Prime Minister had signed earlier that day. Pretty impressive the turnaround on that thing. It’s signed at like 2 pm and the next day, systems were already in place to inspect a sub. Hey, it’s 24‘s world. Can’t question it.
Well, Jack and Henderson hopped on a helicopter to take them to the submarine. Henderson wanted to know why he had to go along, and Jack yelled that he still didn’t have Bierko’s head on a platter. Personally, I think this was all a front for the other agents — we knew this was all leading to Henderson’s escape plan. Nevertheless, Jack got on the phone with the lieutenant of the submarine and told him to secure the vessel. I gave this guy about thirty seconds of screen time before he died. Jack then asked the lieutenant if the missiles had been tampered with, and the guy replied, “I’m going to check right now.” He might as well have said, “Excuse me, I have to go get murdered. Toodles!”
“I wonder if there’s a terrorist up there that can shoot me in the face…”
Sure enough, the lieutenant walked all the way through the sub and climbed up and out of the hatch, aaaaand there was Bierko. Shot in the face. Game over. Thanks for playing, lieutenant. Bierko and his buddies then put on some gas masks, dropped the last nerve gas canister into the sub (it landed on the lieutenant’s dead body. Adding insult to injury, er, death), and closed the hatch. Gas began spewing out and within seconds, all the crew had keeled over and died. Too bad. All these sailors in tight places were really the perfect fantasy for Miles.
The terrorists then entered the sub (gas masks still on) and wandered around in search of something. I noticed Bierko playing with some sort of handheld device. Was he playing Gameboy? Or maybe he was texting someone: “Hey Boris. U R never going to believe this. I M n a sub! Luv, Vlad.”
“I’m not saying this because I’m Russian. I just really love Tetris.”
Actually, Bierko was using his PDA to access codes for the sub mainframe, and as the hour came to a close, we faced the worst possible scenario: Bierkko had gained control of several missiles. Doomsday returns!
What did you think about this episode? Do you think Jack will be able to stop the missiles AND the President?