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 22, 2005

24 Day 4 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

A Review

It is a refreshing touch that this episode doesn't begin with one of those time warps 24 is famous for. I mean, we start right off with Pa and Beiruts making their way into the basement at the hospital. We didn't start off with Beiruts finishing up a pre-med program.

It is a remarkably deserted hospital, though. Pa was roaming the floors and stairwells above, gunning down people in the hallway, with no one in sight. And no one is in this basement? Especially in a hospital laundary?

Jack wants a thermal scan of the hospital, and within 4 minutes, he has it. Now, just how is this done? If you recall, it seemingly took Jack and Chloe about six weeks to get a satellite retasked to aid in tracking one of the terrorists. How did they get this scan done so quickly? I know, I know, never mind.

The magic thermal scan reveals there is a laundary chute leading into the central computer core, I mean, the laundary room where Pa is disciplining his wayward son.

Back at Gestapo HQ, Edgar is falling apart with grief over the loss of his mother. (We assume Mama has gone to the Great Oxygen Tent In The Sky anyway.) Well, not so much falling apart as he merely says he is, with the same tone of voice and expression as every other line he has ever delivered. Driscoll, in her main role as Spreader of Cheer and Sunshine and All Around Team Encourager, asks her little camper to buck up, as there is work to be done in stopping the evil influence of the Flux Capacitor.

Which, again, leads me to one whopping question. Just how does this Override work? I had assumed that the Override allowed the baddies access to the reactor computers, and the terrorists uploaded some kind of programs that sent the reactors into China Syndrome mode. But here, it seems like the terrorists are still actively using the Override to try and gain complete control over the computers, which would imply they are still communicating with the computers. Now, before we saw that the whole kimnapping of the SecDef and show trial was to create so much Internet traffic the Override attack would be masked. That says to me the baddies are using the Internet to attack the computers with the Override. If that is true, isn't there one breathtakingly simple solution here. JUST TAKE THE BLOODY REACTOR COMPUTERS OFF THE INTERNET!!! Just unplug the phone line from the wall. Am I missing something here? I'm getting a headache.

In a delicious scene, Curtis begins the interrogation of Marianne. This has got to be every man's dream. You have carte blanche to torture your witchy ex-girlfriend who has abused you and lied to you. I could almost see Curtis licking his chops.

Powell, er, the Ex-Powell, is wheeled into the room as a warning to Marianne, in a nice Whither He Goest, Thou Might Goest Also moment. Marianne, in a play to keep her neck out of the guillotine, says there is a computer only she can access, that might have some information to lead CTU to whoever is behind the attacks. Actually, Powell and Marianne could access the computer with their thumb prints. I'm sure I wasn't the only one suggesting to the TV that CTU just hack off Ex-Powell's thumb and cart it over to this computer. (By the way, have you caught the irony here? The computer can only be accessed in person. It's not available over the Internet apparently. Hmmm, that's good security. The good guys could learn a few things from these baddies.)

Back at the hospital, Tom Cruise begins his descent into the central computer core. I mean, Jack is lowered down the chute. Is that rapelling equipment standard issue in the backs of the CTU SUVs? How did they retrieve that and get it in place so quickly? And those little dental mirrors must also be standard issue.

Rather than just leaving the harness in place (what is Jack worried about anyway, that Pa will notice it? How long was Jack planning to just sit down there?) they decide to haul this large clunky harness back up through the narrow metal chute. Do you see what's coming? Of course you do. The harness hits the chute, emitting a loud clank. Pa hears it, and comes to investigate.

And what follows is perhaps Jack's biggest moment of incompetence ever. Ever. There is a struggle with Pa, Pa's gun is knocked away, Pa is knocked to the floor, and.... Jack doesn't move to secure him. He backs off, and lets Pa get up, hands free, legs free. Jack even lets Pa get close enough to resume the hand to hand struggle. I'm no law enforcement expert, but I suspect such people are taught more effective apprehension techniques then that. Worse, Jack seemingly forgets all about the gun, and Beiruts. Too bad, because the young whippersnapper picks up Pa's discarded gun and shoots Pa. Why? No idea.

But think for a moment, Jack has allowed the single most important suspect to be killed. Pa knew everything, names, places, etc... They obviously have removed all protocols at Gestapo HQ restricting use of torture, so they surely would've wanted to bring Pa back there and zzzzzzt him till he sang like a canary. But alas. They no longer have that option. And Jack doesn't seem to care that they have lost an important source of information. Instead, he immediately goes to Ma and asks her what she knows. Ma doesn't know as much as Jack thought she did. So double darn, would've been nice to ask Pa the same questions. Ma can only cough up the address of a place that was used to plan the operation, so off they all troop. Luckily, as with everything else in this universe, it's only a few minutes away. And, again, even though Jack has no idea what they might encounter there, Ma and Beiruts are brought along, potentially putting the star witnesses in danger.

At Gestapo HQ, Frau Obergruppenfuhrer Driscoll visits Sarah in the infirmary. When Driscoll asks if she needs anything, Sarah should've said "Yeah, a very good lawyer." Instead, plucky Sarah agrees to return to work. These CTU employees are made of stern stuff.

Curtis and Marianne traipse out to access this computer. Luckily they bring a security team with for protection. So they're safe, right? *snort* Also, Audrey is sent off to assist the local Defense Department office. I didn't know there were local DoD offices. I wonder where it is in my neighborhood. I'd like to install my own antiaircraft site. Perhaps they can help me get the necessary permits. And, apparently Audrey is no longer needed to coordinate between the National Guard and the local yokel cops. Perhaps the reactor fried so many people there is no longer a traffic problem worth worrying about. So off she goes.

A underground lair is found at the Empty House of Terrorists, and Sarah immediately discovers that the house is owned by a company that Audrey's wet fish Brit-soon-to-be-ex-husband is involved with. This would be the same Paul that was freely roaming the halls in the very heart of CTU mere hours before. Yessir, this CTU runs one tight ship. Of course, Paul's whereabouts are not known at this time, so Jack has Audrey call Paul to find out said whereabouts.

I'm really not certain why this was necessary. We just saw a couple episodes ago that Edgar could use Magic to locate a cellphone if it just rang four times. Audrey had Paul's cell number. Why couldn't Audrey give the number to CTU, and they could locate Paul the same way? I know, I know, because then we couldn't have the dramatic scene with Audrey and Paul in the hotel.

I'm also not sure though why there was a power cord running down into this lair. Did the house not have a basement? If not, did they just dig this whole room out? Wouldn't it have been easier to get a house with a basement? And if it had a basement, wouldn't it have had outlets?

Jack asks Tony to take Ma and Beiruts back to CTU. This would be ex-con traitor civilian Tony. I'm sure there are protocols about who takes responsibility for such important prisoners, and I'm pretty sure they don't include ex-con traitor civilians. But no one puts up a fuss. And Tony is even offered a CTU job. He accepts. I guess because he realizes he wants more in his life than a cheap Barmaid.

Now, in one the lamest twists in this season yet, Audrey decides she has to go meet Paul in person. Why? Apparently she thinks he might get nervous because he knows she is minutes away. Why? Apparently Audrey felt the need to tell him that, even though we never saw her actually say that. Oh well, Audrey is not a trained agent. Mistakes are made by amateurs. I guess Paul assumes that people don't get hung up in LA traffic, given how easily CTU people flit all over LA with such ease.

SecDef Heller is not pleased to hear his Little Princess is off playing Rambo. Here's one reason I'm not a big fan of William DeVane. He always recites his lines like he just learned them minutes before, that he has no idea what the scene is about, he could just as well be doing a scene in Winnie the Pooh, so he just speaks the words as written. Heller even calls Audrey, who is bound and determined to put herself in danger for no good reason. Well, strike Audrey from the list of characters I like and put her on the list of Very Stupid People.

Tony arrives at CTU with Ma and Beiruts. Yes, sports fans, that means it took less than 10 minutes to get from the Empty House of Terrorists to CTU. Goodness, CTU is smack in the middle of all this terrorism going on right in its backyard. Driscoll asks Sarah if she knows about Tony. Sarah should've asked if that was the ex-con traitor civilian. Sarah shows herself to be CTU material though, and threatens Driscoll unless she gets a raise. Driscoll, knowing full well the danger of having people capable of such things working in the very nerve center of CTU, agrees.

Driscoll greets Tony, and gives him a badge and a gun, I think. At least she didn't take him down to HR so Tony could fill out paperwork, and get his lunchroom pass, and have new employee orientation, and get a desk assigned. No, at CTU people get right to work, thankfully.

Marianne and Curtis arrive at wherever this computer is. The place seems to be empty. The crack security team (consisting of a grand total of two guys) take up positions outside the room, and Marianne tries to access the file. Darn the luck though, the crack security team is overwhelmed by some baddies. The baddies burst into the room, and in a moment that I'm sure brought forth cheers from the throats of fans all over the country, they shoot Marianne.

The baddies spare Curtis, as they want to know how far CTU has gotten in their investigation. We're not real clear on why, if the baddies were aware of the danger posed by this computer, and the baddies were already there, they just didn't destroy the computer, or take it. One of the baddies is an American named Forbes. So, evil rich white guys (obviously capitalist pigs, with a name like Forbes) are in cahoots with the terrorists. Why? There's a chance we'll find out, then again, this being 24, we might not.

At the hotel, Audrey begins to schmooze Paul. Paul starts pouring champagne. And pours several glasses of the bubbly stuff. I was worried we were going to have a scene where a drunken Audrey, unruly hair hanging in her eyes, one shoe off, top two buttons undone, blouse untucked, would be stumbling around and laughing hysterically, and telling Paul everything. "They're on to you Paul! GGGAAAA hhAAH hAAAA! They're coming here!!! HAAA BWWWOOooH hhaa hhaaa"

Paul, classy gentleman that he is, suggests they go to bed. Audrey can't even get out an "Excuse me?", presumably because she chokes on her own spittle, but has the presence of mind to decide it is time to leave.

At this moment, Jack bursts in, even punches Paul, right in front of Audrey. And this nutty episode comes to a close.

In the previews for next week, there is a brief clip of Jack preparing to torture Paul right there in the hotel room! Mein Gott! These people have gone insane!

And what was this preview with The Mummy in some office, standing up in some cube and firing shots? Does he have a day job as a telemarketer, and he just couldn't get the day off?

(He's been away for a few episodes because he violated protocols, and we've been torturing him in the back room. But, once again, here's guest critic Paul Foth)

Hoo boy.

We got two magic devices. First was the satellite that could read heat
signatures in a hospital basement. Maybe it's plausible--at least it
looked like the scan was at an angle rather than from straight
overhead--but what made them decide they were looking at humans?
Couldn't heat signatures in a laundry room be, umm, DRYERS?! The second
magic device was that bistable hoozenganger that Pa plugged into his
cell phone. We know it was magic because of the evil green glow it
emitted. Its function may have been explained in an episode I missed; I
don't think it came up in this one. My guess is that it's a cell phone
scrambler (technology which CTU apparently doesn't have yet in order to
mask its own massive cell volume) and coffee maker.

Loved the Upsidedown Jack Suspender(tm). Could it have been any more
obvious that it was going to clang against the ductwork? Why not cover
the LARGE SLAB OF METAL with foam rubber? Why not use a strong plastic
instead? I hear that it's both quieter and lighter than metal.

Was it any surprise that Beiruts killed Pa? Nope.

So this house/building that Ma led Jack and Tony to: If the terrorists
had gone to all the trouble of building a secret underground lair,
doesn't it make sense that they would've thought to include an outlet
or two? "Let's hide the hatch under a false floor, and then DRILL A HOLE
AND RUN A POWER CORD DOWN THROUGH IT." Then again, I guess if the
terrorists are going to leave all of their planning documentation
tacked to the walls, it only makes sense they'd miss a little thing like a
dead giveaway that the spider hole is there. Then again again, I kept
expecting Jack to find the hidden explosives and barely get him and
Tony out of their before the explosion (SWAT guy would be dead meat, of
course) destroyed all the evidence--or at least all of the evidence
except the one charred clue that will lead Jack to the next rung up the
ladder to Mr. Big. Maybe they'll hold off on that particular "surprise"
until next week, when the forensic team (which apparently missed the
van and is taking public transportation to the hidey hole) gets there.

Just what inspired confidence when someone asked if Curtis was going to
be all right taking Marianne outside and the reply was, "He'll be okay;
he's got a security team with him."?! Hasn't CTU figured out yet what
THEIR BEAUTIFUL SUPERVISORS? Why didn't those two goons just shoot themselves
in the head and be done with it as soon as Curtis posted them outside
the door? At least it would've given the terrorists pause to wonder why
there were two dead guys who they hadn't personally shot. Marianne is
dead (that was one freaky shot of her lying there with her eyes open)!
Huzzah! Her job over at CSI: Las Vegas must be getting her more money.
(Ayisha's a good actor, though. Marianne and her character at CSI are
two very different people. Her CSI personna is quite likeable.)

Speaking of CTU security teams, just where does this endless supply of
cannon fodder come from? How can the recruiters keep their faces
straight while denying that death is a virtual certainty for these
people? And what's it like there in Mole Central when it comes time to
pick a security team to accompany Jack or Curtis or whoever into the

Driscoll: I need a team to go with Jack and root out the terrorists.
Johnson, it's you and Alvers.
Johnson: Oh, sorry, Ms. Driscoll. My old shrapnel wound is acting up.
I'd only be a liability. I think Manetti's available.
Manetti: Wish I could, but I think I'm getting the flu. [runs to
bathroom to induce vomitting]
Alvers: Uhhh, my cat just died.
[Johnson sneaked out while Driscoll was distracted with Manetti and
Driscoll (to Alvers): Then you have nothing left to live for--perfect!

And OF COURSE Mr. Audrey had to show up again. I guess this was
something of a surprise, based on David Palmer's disappearing
girlfriend from last season, but not much of one. Why couldn't Audrey have waited
for Jack to arrive before going to see Hubby? She told Jack that he
knew she was only a couple of minutes away from the hotel. Whhhaaaa---? She
told Hubby she'd be there soon. She didn't say a thing about where she
was or how long it'd take to get to the hotel. Does this hint that she
still has feelings for him and actually WANTED to see him alone for a
bit? It sure didn't seem that way once she got there.

It looks from the previews for next week like Jack resorts to the
patented Driscoll Method of instant torture interrogation. Does no one
at Mole Central know that torture, in addition to being illegal, simply
isn't a reliable way of getting information? It's only a matter of time
before they're torturing everyone--suspected terrorist, actual
terrorist, CTU agent, mole, SecDef, the kid who delivers the papers--on
the principle that everybody knows something.

Sarah sure dove into the Mole Central dirt-gathering-and-double-dealing
game rather quickly. The only thing that would sensibly explain her not
swatting Driscoll's makeup right off her face and demanding she be
slapped in irons is if she really is a mole. (Which means, according to
CTU logic, Driscoll will think to herself, "Why is Sarah still here?
Why didn't she leave? She must be a mole!" and start torturing her all over
again, only to find out that no, she really, really isn't a mole. At
which point it'll start again.)

Again I say, hoo boy.

Approximate Body Count: 81

<- 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM ->


Post a Comment

<< Home