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, February 15, 2005

24 Day 4 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

A Review

This episode was an odd sort of deli sandwich, a few pieces of cold Smart between two slices of Stupid.

As we start out, Curtis is inside talking to Driscoll about how to cover their heinies over the Marianne Affair. Another little 24 time trick, as only a minute or two before, Curtis was out in the parking lot nearly getting blowed up. Nice that his first priority was to dash into the building and talk to Driscoll. Never mind Marianne sprawled on the pavement, and certainly never mind the poor red shirt or two that really got blowed up. Surely it would've taken him several minutes to get back inside past all the layers of CTU security. Pause. bbbwwwwwooohhaa--haaaaa-hhaa. Ah, I knew I couldn't say that with a straight face. Curtis says he can diddle some files to help cover their involvement in bringing in Marianne. Not clear what files, or how that will work, given Driscoll and/or Curtis would surely have been involved in approving bringing in the temp Marianne.

It was strange that Driscoll and Curtis never expressed concern for their man (or two) that was just killed. No, instead, they're conniving with each other how best to save their skins. I felt a little oily just watching it. The person in charge of CTU and her chief deputy are putting their own necks above national security.

Curtis indicates Marianne is unconscious, which is a blessing, as we didn't have to listen to Marianne for the entire episode. I just wonder if Curtis has special Field Medic skills, to diagnose her so quickly and feel confident that he could dash into the building within a minute or two.

El Presidente is then on the line, wondering how Marianne slipped past the airtight CTU security. It wasn't clear where he was. Maybe he was in the basement of Air Force One. He is also told that the reactor at San Gabriel Island is about to meltdown. (It's not clear where this is, perhaps it is a fictional location.)

We cut back to Jack at the helo pad, scene of the magical death of Powell. He and Tony and a few others are quite casually strolling around the grounds. Keep in mind that a sniper popped up out of nowhere and killed Powell only minutes before. Jack is awfully calm about walking around in the open. How does he know the sniper isn't still in the area? There are numerous tales of soldiers in battle being pinned down by single snipers, sometimes dozens and dozens of soldiers. Jack might want to wait for more than a few minutes to make sure the sniper isn't trying to plink the rest of them.

Now, we come to the chewy center of the episode, in which it is evident that the writers took a Smart Pill when they wrote this one. The plot really holds together here in a way we haven't seen yet this season.

There is a brief scene where Pa goes to some woman's apartment, looking for Lady Macbeth. The woman is in a silky robe, and seemingly hiding something. Pa barges around, and some shirtless hunk comes out of the bedroom. The woman is having an affair with the man, and begs Pa not to tell her husband. After peeking at the woman's frilly underthings, Pa says the woman disgusts him. Let us dwell for a moment on what does and does not disgust Pa. .... ok, that's enough. (If Pa is such a devout Muslim fanatical terrorist that he has undertaken this mission, wouldn't he be a little more averse to seeing women in their altogethers? Wouldn't he try to shield his eyes and demand she throw on a burka or something?)

Jack looks at Powell's cell phone and sees that Powell has recently called a couple of numbers a lot. One is Marianne's phone (you remember, the one she was using right under CTU's nose), the other is traced by Edgar. Edgar says it is a mobile phone, and it needs to ring four times so they can trace it.

Now, in a genuine surprise, we cut to a hotel room where Lady Macbeth and Beiruts are holed up, and Ma's phone starts ringing. It is CTU trying to find the number Powell had called. Of course, the writers deliberately kept from the us the fact that Powell had been calling Ma, but oh well. CTU gets the location of the cell phone, and Jack is sent to investigate.

In a brief scene where Tony does that thing he always does, where, while talking, he continually looks 90 degrees to one side like something way more important is over there, Tony tells Jack he doesn't think he should be involved anymore. Jack says he is needed to help stop the terrorists and prevent the reactors from melting clean through to China. There must have been a lot of budget cuts recently, that CTU has so few resources that Marianne has to be brought in, and that there is no other option except to drag ex-con civilian Spanish-soccer-loving Tony along.

Ma's condition is getting worse, and needs more medical attention. Beiruts says Ma's brother, Naseem, works in a nearby hospital and he'll go there to ask Uncle for some pain medication. Ma reminds Beiruts that Naseem doesn't know what they have been up to these past few years.

There is a brief scene from the reactor control room, like out of some cheap horror movie. The crew there have been exposed to horrendous radiation levels, and they have obvious and severe burns. (Yet the voice of the one talking is perfectly calm and controlled.) They know they're goners, so they admirably remain at their posts trying to control the reaction. But, the radiation will soon reach the atmosphere.

Edgar sees reports about the meltdown (they all have time to watch FOX News in CTU in the middle of this crisis?) Now, this being 24, they did have to sprinkle in a few nuggets of Stupid. It can't all be Smart. Turns out Edgar's Mum lives near the reactor. She is in an invalid, and hasn't been evacuated. Everyone else has gone, and she is stuck.

Now, why Edgar wasn't checking up on her before isn't clear. Edgar was the one who saved the day with the reactors. And he knew which six reactors were still not controlled. He should've known long ago that the reactor near his mom was one of the six and should've showed some concern for her then. But no, for some reason we are subjected to this little weepy side plot where Edgar tries to do something for his mom. Edgar asks Audrey to see if she can get the National Guard to go pick her up.

Jack and Company reach the hotel (in minutes, of course.) CTU Agent Castle is there, and rightly is not keen on Tony being involved. Jack, having broken numerous laws already, isn't about to stand on ceremony, and tells the Agent to deal with it.

In a tense, well-done scene, they burst into the room. Ma almost commits suicide with a pistol, but the gun is knocked away just as she fires. Agent Castle presses on Ma's bullet wound to try and get her to talk. Tony knocks him away. Castle is not pleased about that, and Jack asks him to lay off Tony, for Jack's sake.

Beiruts gets to the hospital and finds Naseem. Uncle is a little suspicious about the boy showing up asking for pain medication for his mother, claiming they couldn't get a prescription. So, in a remarkably logical turn, that both makes sense for that character, and creates a serious plot problem in a sensible way, Naseem calls Pa, asking if everything is alright, and explains that Beiruts is there asking for pain medication. Pa says that Beiruts is on drugs, and asks Naseem to keep there until he gets there. Naseem thinks he understands now, and, again, totally in keeping with that character, agrees to try and keep Beiruts there at the hospital till Pa shows up. I could hardly believe it. No fairy sniper popped up and shot someone or nothing. It all made perfect sense within the story.

Jack offers Ma a deal. They'll give the boy immunity if she helps them find the Flux Capacitor. (Again, don't bother trying to understand why CTU wants it now. The damage is already done. They should be trying to fix the computers at the reactors.) Ma wants to see a piece of paper from the President.

There is some strong acting here. Ma is downright frightening, as she says she believes in her cause, and would like to see the reactors melt down. That takes a cold-blooded person to say that. Jack says the people are innocent, they nothing about her war. Ma says no one is innocent.

Within minutes (almost seconds) they get the letter from the President. But, after the President hangs up the phone, he says "make sure it is non-binding." Eek. Lovely. A dishonest President.

Audrey tells Edgar there are no available people to go get his mother, everyone is trying to manage the mass panic, er, evacuation. Roads are jammed.

There are live news reports of helicopters flying over the reactor. Um, excuse me? Hello? Who thought this was a good idea? The reactor is pumping out enough radiation to fry birds in mid-air. These helo pilots are going to be toast. (At Chernobyl, several helo pilots flying over that reactor trying to dump sand and concrete suffered fatal doses of radiation)

Edgar says he'll keep trying to rescue her, but Mum says she wants to kill herself, she doesn't want to suffer the effects of radiation poisoning. Yikes. Another plot tangent we could do without. Edgar grabs his coat and is on his way out the door. Driscoll stops him with ye olde "what would your mother want you to do right now?" bit. Edgar, who at times seems like he was inspired by Flowers for Algernon, agrees to return to work and try to save the people by the other reactors.

Ma gets her piece of paper, and agrees to help the government if they protect Beiruts. Ma calls the dear boy, and tells him she's been captured, but the agents want to protect him, and that they are coming to pick him up. He is to wait in the emergency room. Ma will come there in person to prove she is not being coerced.

So, Beiruts tells dear Uncle he has to leave. Naseem says that he called Pa, and that Pa is coming to pick him up. Poor Naseem, he only thinks he is trying to help a troubled druggie youth. Then, in a scene where Beiruts clearly demonstrates he took to heart all that training he must have had about operational security, in a public hallway he yells out what the family has been doing, and that Pa is a terrorist who caused the reactor meltdown. Okkkaaayyy. Beiruts runs. Down some deserted interior hallway, of course. And runs into Pa. Pa shoots Naseem dead, and grabs Beiruts and drags him into a stairwell. Pa can convincingly portray hate and anger, I'll give him that.

Pa puts a gun to Beiruts head. All over the country people are chanting "Shoot! Shoot!" No, I mean, Beiruts says Ma has cut a deal and will tell all if he is killed. This only makes Pa madder, and they head for the parking garage.

Jack and Company arrive at the hospital, and see security guards running outside. So, they know something is wrong. Jack goes inside. He enters the hospital, armed, with no identification, dressed in his black clothes and vest. A security guard, who has just heard a doctor has been killed, merely asks Jack if he can help him. Nice going guard, you have no idea who Jack is, he might be the one who shot the doctor. But no matter.

Everyone heads for the garage. Naturally, Ma being the most valuable witness they have at the moment, the only link they have to the Flux Capacitor, Tony drives straight into the garage with her, the garage where they know there is an armed, dangerous terrorist. I'm sure that is standard procedure. But then, Tony is a little out of practice. (The incident will be just more fodder for the Congressinal Hearings. "Mr. Bauer, please explain how you left the most important witness you had in the custody of an ex-con traitor, who proceeded to drive into the middle of a firefight, and got her killed, eliminating your last lead that could've saved the reactors. Which, I needn't remind you, melted down and killed 90 million people.")

Jack gets to the basement as Pa is driving off. Jack then empties a clip into the car, this as Ma is arriving. Keep in mind, Ma only agreed to help if the boy is safe. So here is Jack spraying the car the boy is in with bullets. He must be real sure of his aim. The car knocks Jack up into the air, against the windshield, and Jack rolls off. He merely shakes it off.

Ma is going nutso, understandably so. Pa gets out of the car and drags Beiruts into a basement. Why Jack knew that stairwell went to a basement, who knows. And why would a stairwell in a parking garage go only to the basement, and not to the upper floors as well. Of course, the answer is the plot needs Pa to be trapped in a basement for next week's episode, as this episode comes to a close.

Approximate Body Count: 76

<- 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM ->


Post a Comment

<< Home