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

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

24 Day 4 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

A Review

Jack begins picking off baddies one by one, outside the compound where Heller is being tried in the Terrorist World Court of Justice. I assume that silencers are part of the standard equipment CTU carries around in those SUVs. Otherwise, pretty convenient that Jack happened to have one with.

These terrorists must not be terribly committed. Jack grabs one and makes him divulge Heller's location on his PDA just by threatening him. Wouldn't any self-respecting terrorist leap at the chance to become a martyr, and not give up any information, even if it meant a bad case of lead poisoning in the brain?

El Presidente remains committed to blowing up his own SecDef in front of the world, worried that having his SecDef executed in front of the world would be embarassing. Well. Perhaps there just wasn't enough time to get a missile strike in place, as it is going to be a little late, so perhaps they could've gone ahead with the rescue anyway. In any case, Jack only has a few minutes before the missile strike commences.

A nice little scene with Audrey in her cell. Obviously hard for Jack to leave his gal behind, and that was acted with the right amount of restraint, no emotional skyrockets way over the top.

Jack manages to catch Heller's eye, just as the sentence of death is to be carried out. A rather short trial, eh what. Jack gives Heller some kind of hand signal that seemed to indicate "5-0". Which, either means for the wide receiver to run a post pattern, or, the military has so many signals worked out that they even have one that means "fall over backwards in your chair when you're tied up."

Jack starts a firefight, manages to be hit by not a single bullet, and frees Heller. Somehow the head terrorist, Omar, made it out of that room without being shot, never mind that he was right next to Heller when Jack started shooting. Jack and Heller find that Audrey is no longer in her cell, and later we see she was quickly kimnapped by Omar.

Heller and Jack end up outside behind a car, and get into another hail of bullets firefight. None of these bullets seem able to penetrate through more than a car window or door. Just as the good guys run out of bullets, the Marines fly in and save the day. (There was no indication that the Marines knew where Heller was at the time, so they were somewhat cavalier in how much they shot back. They even tossed in some kind of grenade, presumably not knowing if Heller was there or not.)

Omar emerges with a gun to Audrey's head, but Audrey, in a very brave move, takes the knife Jack had slipped her and stabs Omar, who is then finished off by the Marines.

A commerical break, followed by another of those mindblowing Jedi tricks 24 does with time. As we went to commercial break, it was 12:15 or so, and Heller was in his orange jumpsuit next to the car. When we came back from commercial break, it was 12:17 or so, and Heller is in a shirt and sportcoat! Huh? This is the main priority in the first two minutes, to get Heller into a change of clothes, that quickly? Also, a nurse was looking after Audrey, other soldiers were rounding up bodies. That was an awful lot to get in place in two minutes.

Audrey's husband, Paul, calls, and we immediately know we're not supposed to like him. Why? Because they gave the character a weak, dead fish British accent, a sure sign that we're dealing with a fool, one that certainly doesn't deserve someone like Audrey. Seems like another example of bad security though that Paul was sitting in the heart of CTU. Was there a need for him to be in such a sensitive installation?

Marianne helps Curtis by producing some codes (remarkable that they weren't protocols) that she procured somehow.

Back at the Araz estate, Beiruts overhears Pa talking about how the Heller operation did not go as plan, but Pa is not upset. Beiruts, by contrast, is upset, as he apparently had to kill his infidel girlfriend for nothing. Pa lovingly corrects his son, explaining that other games are afoot. Someone named Tariq shows up at the front door, and Beiruts is sent off with Tariq.

Curtis sees the briefcase at the compound, sees a logo of "MF", and begins a search for what it might be, sensing a tie between the train crash and the events of the day.

Then, at 12:28 Jack and Audrey arrive at CTU. Huh? It took no more than 10 minutes then to get Audrey to CTU. The reason for the missile strike was that a rescue operation wouldn't get there in time to prevent the US from losing great face. Where were the Marines coming from, Hawaii? If the compound was only 10 minutes from CTU, couldn't they have rounded up every available CTU agent and headed for the compound?

In another hilarious moment, when Audrey gets there, it is *Marianne* who greets her and escorts her off somewhere! Ggaaaahhh! Marianne is a freaking temp, she's been there for five minutes! Why is she the one greeting the daughter of the SecDef, and how does she know what is supposed to be done with Audrey?

Curtis finds that the case belongs to a defense contractor, and clearances are needed to get the CEO to divulge what he knows. Luckily, CTU has a SecDef in stock.

In the Araz house, there is a strong scene. Lady Macbeth finds out that Tariq went off with Beiruts to kill Beiruts, as Beiruts hasn't exactly been a team player. This is a strict organization. But all joking aside, it's a powerful revelation. As a mother, Lady Macbeth is distraught, but seems to balance the dreadful news with a devotion to the mission. If you ask me, Pa oughtta be put up against a wall too, for mismanaging his goober son.

In CTU, we do see Stoner again. Thank goodness his brain doesn't seem to be melted. We hear that Stoner was removed from the Mind Defragmentizer as soon as Heller's rescue was made known. Well, that means by that time Stoner had been off the machine for no more than 30 minutes. But, he didn't seem too worse for the wear. The effects must wear off quickly. Then again, the effects must take awhile to build to peak efficiency, as Stoner had been on the machine for a couple hours and apparently hadn't talked.

In another powerful parent-child moment, Heller authorizes CTU to work Stoner over to get the information out of him. Stoner goes back on the machine, and given his expressed agony, it is amazing the previous two hours on the machine didn't do anything.

Tariq and Beiruts drive up to some out of the way place to bury L'il Debbie, and in his best Wesley Crusher imitation to date, Beiruts clubs Tariq into oblivion and escapes his planned death. It was an odd place for such a sensitive task as burying a white teenage girl. They were on this cliff overlooking a wide valley. (The Valley?) Not exactly secluded. I pictured the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as Indy and his team were digging over the Well of Souls just as dawn broke, many workers in silhouette against the sky.

Audrey has a scene with her dead fish hubby, the Brit. Yawn.

Audrey realizes where she had previously seen the guy she recognized in the compound. (That man wasn't found among the bodies, no clue how he escaped.) She had seen him at a Heritage Foundation dinner. The HF is a real organization, it is a conservative think tank. So, not clear if the writers were trying to imply that conservatives are perfectly likely to consort with terrorists and commit treason. Doubtful, as Heller has expressed some conservative viewpoints, and Heller is not made fun of as a character, his viewpoints are presented as legitimate, or at least not ridiculed. So, the writers are probably not trying to smear conservatives in general.

The suitcase turns out to have contained a device that can give someone control of nuclear power plants. CTU discusses the probability that Heller's trial was meant to generate so much internet traffic that it would disguise an attack on the firewalls at the power plants, so that the remote control device would work. It's a clever idea, but a complete howler. If there was a massive attack on a firewall, the techies there would know it. That's a very specific attack, against a specific target, and there's no such thing as it getting lost in other general net traffic.

Finally, we find out that Marianne is a mole. Not surprising, I guess, given her evilness. But, yet another example of CTU's pathetic security. Given their trouble with moles in the past, a bad idea for CTU to let someone in off the street to work in the heart of CTU during a national crisis. And of course, Marianne calls out on her cell phone. CTU still hasn't learned their lesson there.

Approximate Body Count: 64

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