Peace Like A River

It was a wide river, mistakable for a lake or even an ocean unless you'd been wading and knew its current. Somehow I'd crossed it... Now I saw the stream regrouped below, flowing on through what might've been vineyards, pastures, orhards... It flowed between and alongside the rivers of people; from here it was no more than a silver wire winding toward the city. - Leif Enger, Peace Like A River

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

24 Day 4 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

A Review

As the episode begins, Jack is, well, jacked up against a police car. But, he has an out! He says, call CTU. So, the poor locals do, and find that yeah, never mind the laws broken, Jack is on official business. So, off he goes again. He even gets valet service from the locals, who bring his land dreadnought back from the gas station.

Again games are played with the time. Kalil punched the poor passerby and stole his yellow truck, and his cell phone, at about 10:56 am. So, how did that guy get to a phone, call the police and the police put out an APB on that truck all within five or ten minutes? Perhaps the passerby used his other cell phone. yeah, that's the ticket.

For that matter, how did CTU listen in on the passerby's cell phone so quickly, once Kalil started using it? There must be a lot of cell calls in the area, how'd they find that one so fast? (must have been a lot of searching through snippets till they got lucky... "No, Aunt Tessie, your shag rug is... " zzzt "I said sell at thirty, you dimwit!" zzzt "And, so, totally, like, I said, no way! And she said, no way! and I..." zzt "Welcome to MovieLine. For theater information..." zzzt "Kalil, where are you?" aha!

Jack roars off in tepid pursuit of Kalil, who by now is, finally, under satellite surveillance. (Hard to see why they had to be so sneaky about it. If Jack had called Driscoll and said Kalil is on the move, he's heading for Heller's location, we need to have the satellite, would Driscoll have really said no?)

The scene with Audrey and Heller while chained in the room was a strong one. Some good acting. It's not easy to portray the emotions involved where a character is facing certain death, and not go over the top with it. The actress who plays Audrey in particular did a good job. The solution to try and break the gas line was powerful. Not an easy thing for people to decide.

Heller though, the character, yikes, throttle back a bit. He was a bit rough on Audrey when she couldn't go through with trying to strangle her own father. Heller, bud, that's not an entirely unreasonable response. So, maybe ease up a bit, she's not a child who just broke the Ming vase in the foyer.

Back in CTU, we see once again the quality of individuals who work at CTU, who are protecting us against mortal threats both abroad and here at home. Marianne, who's a temp and been there for about five seconds, uses her leverage to get a level three clearance code. Edgar, having no idea who this Uberwitch is, or what she wants to do with the code, stands firm and protects all the secrets CTU holds. Uh, no, scratch that. He caves and gets Mariannae the code. We can only hope that there's a mole in CTU who starts taking hostages and shooting them every five minutes until his demands are met, and that he starts with Marianne.

Is this farewall to Chloe, then? Aw, we'll miss her. Goodbye, plucky little Chloe. I hope she'll be back in a few episodes, to do only something she can do. Like unlock a protocol or something. Her "Amateur" remark to Sarah was said with just the right amount of sneer and condescension, and had me on the floor.

Back at the Araz household, things have gone completely zooey. Lady Macbeth shoots the already dead L'il Debbie, so it will look like Beiruts was a good little terrorist and dealt with the problem. Pa comes in at that moment, and, seeing a dead white girl on the floor in his house, reacts as if... well, there was no reaction. Like it was the most normal thing in the world for there to be a dead white girl on his floor.

Keep in mind this is the day of the big operation that will change everything. That they had worked for four years on, or whatever it was. You'd think Pa would be a teensy bit concerned that maybe the operation was starting to unravel a little. I don't think dead white girls on the floor in his home was in the plan.

Kalil gets stuck behind another vehicle, and gets antsy as he is being delayed. Well, I mean "stuck" in the sense there was plenty of room for Kalil to just go around, but that wouldn't work for the plot, so, Kalil was stuck. A cop comes up behind, they eventually run the plates and a cop moves toward Kalil, but is called off just in time. Kalil, in the first flash of brilliance he has had, recognizes what has happened. He knows he can't lead his followers to where Heller is being held.

So, he does what every self-respecting terrorist would do, he decides to opt now for his 72 crystal raisins, and mounts one last glorious operation against the infidel truck drivers who are devastating his land. I mean, Kalil rams head on into an oncoming truck so he won't be taken alive. My first thought was, goodness, this is TV isn't it? Where is the small almost thermonuclear explosion? Ah, there it is. Was just delayed a bit. The truck went up in a nice little fireball.

Through the use of Magic, CTU finds what they believe is Heller's location. How? They compare heat signatures of buildings in the direction Kalil was heading. Apparently there is only one building in use now that wasn't in use before. CTU is lucky they didn't just find a house of a family that had been on vacation. Was Jack going to go charging through their patio into their breakfast nook with guns blazing? "Oh, sorry about Timmy, there."

By the way, just where in God's creation is this warehouse? Kalil has been driving for an hour or so now. Is it in Utah? It took Beiruts about ten minutes, literally, to get to this location. Where is everything located? We don't have a good sense of that.

Driscoll's daughter shows up at the CTU clinic. Again, in a side thread that seems to have no purpose. I'd assume it did have a purpose, but recall at the beginning of the last season, Palmer had his doctor girlfriend, and after the first few episodes she all but disappeared without a trace. So, can't imagine what role Maya is going to play here.

Back at the Terrorist World Court of Justice, someone smells gas. You'll recall a guard did look in on Heller at the beginning of the episode, but not after that. Of course, if he had, we wouldn't have the tension of whether Heller and Audrey would succumb to the gas, so the poor guard was just acting in service to the plot, give him a break. Heller and Audrey are revived with a few lights pats to the face, they cough a couple of times, and are fine.

El Presidente rejects a rescue attempt that *might* get Heller killed in the process, in favor of a devastating missile strike that certainly *will* get Heller killed in the process. I don't know, I'm missing something here. Why not try the resuce attempt? Anyone? Anyone?

Also, earlier in the episode, did you notice that shot of Air Force One, from above, against the clouds, stolen from the movie Air Force One? That same shot has been in countless shows since.

At the Araz houe, L'il Debbie's mother shows up looking for. Earlier, Pa had told Beiruts to park Debbie's car where it wouldn't be seen. Uh, where would that be? It's a residential neighborhood. Is he going to drive it into an abandoned barn, back behind the old Sweeney place? Whatever he found, Beiruts did it quickly. Now, Beiruts saves the day again, assuring Debbie's mother that phone ring she heard was just his, and that Debbie wasn't there. Pa is pleased. That's my good little terrorist boy!

Finally, I'm getting real worried about Stoner. They didn't even mention him! Last we saw him, he was still in the interrogation room with his skull encased in the Mind Defragmentizer. His brain is probably leaking out his ears by now. And the whole point of roughing him up was to get information from him quickly, to save the SecDef. Well, there's about 10 minutes to go here before the trial, they don't seem too antsy to pump him for information anymore. Shouldn't they at least turn off the sensory deprivation thingy?

Jack is outside the warehouse at the end of episode. We see none of the scenes from the previous week's previews, showing Jack shimmying down a hill. But never mind that. Jack is told the President authorized a strike. And of course, since Jack has proven he has a problem with authority, he decides to go in anyway. After all, his woman is in there. I say, eh, why not. Go for the gold, Jack. You're gonna be in the Hall of Fame of Congressional Hearings.

Approximate Body Count: 48

(and now, because he hacked into my protocols, here is guest critic Paul Foth)

The previews for this episode distinctly showed Jack doing luging down
a weed covered hill, his handgun blazing and no doubt picking off
terrorists from hundreds of feet away with pinpoint accuracy. Was this
in the episode, though? Nope. And it wasn't in the previews for next
week, either. Did the producers decide that that was just a bit silly,
even for Bauer? Did they forget to have him find a large piece of
cardboard conveniently lying around that he could use as a sled,
because no one could slide down a hill like that without one, much less
stand up at the bottom and not be covered with dirt and weeds?

Kalil Blowed Up Real Good
Wouldn't it have made more sense for Kalil to just keep driving, to
lead Jack and the cops and the Marines as far away from Omar's
Underground Lair as possible? Was he that gung ho to shed the mortal coil? Wasn't his a premature martyrdom (and can it really be a martyrdom when the only infidel he may have taken with him (stress on may, because we don't know for sure) is a truck driver who may have told Osama bin Laden jokes in a bar)? When the crash happened, though, I almost cheered because, contrary to all the laws of Hollywood car crashes, and in keeping with all the laws of physics, THERE WAS NO EXPLOSION. I thought, "Can it be? Can the producers actually have deigned to take reality into account on such usual fodder for bright colors and loud noises? Did they realize that--" BOOM "--No, I guess not."

Secretary Heller is a True Friend--Kill Him
Who was that guy who bent the President to his will without so much as
breaking a sweat? He could be the Air Force One concierge, for all we
know. But since this is technofantasy we're dealing with, we know that
he's really a Dark Mage using a Mind Control Spell on the Prez, so the
fact that he caved in and acquiesced to assassinate one of his own
cabinet members should come as no surprise. Look for him to stab his
own puppy next. And just where is Air Force One, and where is it going?

Purple Haze
Meanwhile, at the last bastion of calm professionalism, the CTU bozos
forgot about Stoner Heller for an entire hour. He was halfway to
vegetative pulp after just twenty minutes of listening to that Sonic
Youth CD; he must be looking ready to succumb to ebola by now. He's not
going to be able to talk when they finally remember he's there, much
less tell them anything he may know. Of course, now that Maya is there,
under the care of a doctor who looks like he'd rather try out some new
interrogation techniques on her rather than get some schizophrenia
drugs in her, I look for her to spring Stoner from his cage. Or at least open
the door and see him in a puddle of his own filth.

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