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

Monday, March 07, 2005

24 Day 4 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

A Review

The episode begins with Operation Mop-up. Marwan managed to slip through the extremely tight security cordon CTU had put up around the Rockland Building. I wouldn't have thought you could slip a knife through that security, but somehow Marwan managed it.

In the meantime, the data gnomes at CTU have been busy. They've already figured out that Marwan is/was an employee at McLennen-Forster (MF), working there under the alias of Harris Barnes. The show oughtta make up its mind how it knows things like this so fast, or at all. An hour ago, at 5:09, CTU magically determined that Marwan used the Barnes alias. Did it take them an hour then to match Barnes up to MF? I know, I know, don't ask questions. The point is to feed info into the plot like little coins in a vending machine.

Jack and Paul are going to head over to MF to look for info on Marwan. Why them? Because they're closest. I wouldn't think that matters in this LA, where everyone is 5 minutes away from everywhere else. And why is Paul going along? Because apparently he helped install a computer system there, and left backdoors that could allow him access.

Now, just that alone oughtta set off all kinds of klaxons in Jack's heroin-addled brain. MF is a defense contractor. Slipping in backdoors that could allow unauthorized access is a beeeeeeeeg no-no. A crime, certainly. But Jack thinks this is just the kind of fellow to bring along when the nation's security is at stake. And no one else. (But then, we have already seen that CTU is woefully undermanned these days.) In addition, just an hour ago Jack was frying Paul's chest with lamp wires as Paul was under suspicion of aiding the terrorists. All Paul did was wonder if there was some info on his laptop. That's all it took to throw Jack off the scent? Paul is no longer under any kind of suspicion? Yeah, let's take Paul along.

The little woman is sent packing back to CTU. But, Audrey feels the need to call Jack en route and ask him to look after her wet fish Brit hubby. Hmmmm. Is Audrey conflicted? Do we care? It was a nice little scene between Jack and Paul on the drive over, though. Done with just enough honesty and restraint.

Back at Gestapo HQ, Driscoll says good-bye to Maya. A rough road ahead for Driscoll. Edgar asks the question all of America is asking, why weren't the medical staff keeping an eye on Maya. Sarah snaps at Edgar, then trots off to tell Heller about what has happened. Driscoll comes in just at that moment, and Heller dumps the most patronizing oooohhhh, I'm sooo sooo sorry on Driscoll ya ever heard. Ugh.

Driscoll wants to stay on, as she's worried about other sleeper cells Marwan might be trying to activate. Hmm, do they really think this is how Marwan would operate? That he wouldn't already have "activated" these sleeper cells long before this day, the day of the Big Glorious Operation Against The Infidels? Do they think these cells have been sitting home all day watching CNN, er, Fox News, and thinking to themselves, hmmm, I'm a sleeper cell, here for some mission, this reactor meltdown thing is pretty big, I wonder why I wasn't activated for this. Maybe I missed a memo or something. Is this what CTU thinks is going on?

Driscoll is a trooper, though, and says she can perform her duties. A second later, she and Heller are on a call with the President.

(Incidentally, El Presidente is still flying around in Air Force One. You remember how much grief the lefty press gave Bush for not instantly returning to Washington on 9/11, and instead stayed away for a few hours not knowing for sure the nature of remaining threats? Imagine what the press is going to do with this El Presidente, who has been hiding up in his plane like a scaredy cat for hours and hours.)

El Presidente informs us that the meltdown at San Gabriel has been taken care of. Huh? I hope not because control of the Flux Capacitor was regained. You just don't stop a meltdown with a healthy computer program. Once a meltdown starts, it is a monumental task to stop it. The control rods may not be enough to absorbe enough neutrons to slow the reaction.

Driscoll informs the President that Marwan is still at large, and blithely tells El Presidente that CTU is continuing the search. She conveniently forgets to tell the President that CTU agents were within 10 feet of Marwan a short time ago, and that the incompetent boobs neglected to seal off the building, let alone the floor Marwan was on.

In fact, Marwan hops out of an alley, and flags down a bus like some taxi. He smiles lovingly at some infidel boy. Huh? I would think he would look at the infidel boy like a dog, the offspring cur of a people who deserve to be killed in large numbers.

Then, right on cue, we get a scene where we see Driscoll is not really capable of leading CTU, with ye olde Someone Talks But Driscoll Doesn't Seem To Hear Them scene. In this scene, once again Sarah is a little snippy with Edgar. She still must be feeling the effects of the tasering.

Then, holy cats! Audrey arrives at CTU! Goodness, they must have been using the afterburners. It only took her 5 to 7 minutes to return from the Rockland building. When Curtis and Marianne went from CTU to the Rockland building, it took them over 20 minutes to get there, almost a half hour in fact, if I recall. Boy, either they ran into traffic, or they didn't know the secret shortcut through Old Man Sweeney's place.

As the brain trust discusses things in Driscoll's office, Driscoll feels a little faint. Tony calls for medical assistance, and, get this, a medical person arrives 5 seconds later. 5. With latex gloves already on. My. The medical staff must be nervous about their jobs, or their lives, after screwing up with Maya. So, they must be trying extra hard to be conscientious and had someone posted right outside Driscoll's office just in case they were needed.

Heller knows Driscoll must be relieved, and wants someone from Division. Tony lobbies for the job, and gets it. Heller must not be aware that hard-drinking ex-con traitor Tony, who nearly screwed the country once before, might not be the best person for the job. At least, Heller is going to have fun explaining that decision to the Congressional Hearings that are certain to follow.

We find out MF is a weapons manfacturer. If that is so, why are they making devices like the Flux Capacitor.

At MF, we see the cover-up beginning. Sigh, they haven't learned the lessons of all scandals. It's not the original crime that gets you thrown into a stinking pit, it's the cover-up. The hapless CEO is talked into commiting a felony by obstructing CTU's investigation. And oh, they're not just going to obstruct it. More on that in a minute.

There was a certain logic on the underling's part, that the firm might go under if everything gets out. But, think for a moment. Do they know what CTU knows? Do they think they can make it go away by just closing their eyes and wishing really hard? CTU is already in their lobby. This is not the time to be making up cover-up plans on the fly.

There is a remarkably touching scene between Heller and Driscoll. 24 doesn't usually go in for this good writing, character-driven stuff. Audrey interrupts. Driscoll tells Heller to go look after his daughter. The unspoken thought is "At least you still have a daughter. I don't anymore."

Curtis isn't going to take Tony's promotion sitting down. Given his apparent ambition, it's a mystery why Curtis didn't get along better with Marianne.

At MF, Paul and Jack begin their hacking. (At least they didn't say "I'm in!") The evil MF minions are watching their every move, and are trying to stay one step ahead of them on their computer. Don't ask how this is accomplished.

In a spectacular howler, Paul says the deletion dates aren't coming up, and Jack says maybe they were deleted today. That's like telling your plumber that the sink is still dripping because you got a haircut the other day.

In an even bigger howler, MF decides they need to set off an EMP bomb to head off CTU's investigation. Oh my, my side hurts from laughing. Please give me a minute here. Whew, oh dear. MF is sure subtle, ain't they.

(As soon as I saw that shot of the lit up skyline, I knew all those lights were going to get blown out.)

Speaking of lit up, night has fallen. This is always a transition of great interest on 24, the changes between night and day. Here, they do so with little fanfare. No shot of a blazing sun sinking beneath the horizon. It's not called to our attention at all.

Driscoll takes the walk all people who are leaving the show do, past a silent crowd who don't even say adios.

Tony and Curtis get in a verbal shoving match, playing pingpong with poor Edgar.

Then, Marwan meets Bob Dylan in a dark alley. Evidently there is still some plot involving an Air Force base. These terrorists plan well. They still had this second operation going, even though a hundred reactors were supposed to have melted down by this point. Was the plan to mop up any Americans still left alive after all the reactors melted?

Marwan says CTU knows who he is. Uhhh, just how does he know that. From hearing something over a CTU radio? But then he wouldn't know what CTU knows about the Barnes alias.

Marwan tells Dylan that someone named Prodo can get him out of the country. Ha. How? Well, Prodo and Pam will split off from the Fellowship, take the road straight through Pordor and get Dylan out that way.

Luckily Paul can rebuild the files from empty directories. How? Don't ask. Out of the blue, we hear MF has been selling arms to terrorists. Huh? Huh?

Someone named Research Six is told to set off the EMP. Now, this guy got up this morning not thinking he was going to set off the EMP for real. He hears the order and thinks, ok, no big deal. I'll just set this EMP thingie off for real. Yawn. And look at the clock, about time to go home and watch the ball game.

This EMP is something out of Dr. Who. Greenish glowing pulsing lights. A rubber monster and we're all set to go.

With the capacitors charging, CTU starts to have communication problems. They can't contact Jack. So, Tony decides to message them. Now, just hold the phone for one cotton-pickin minute. You do not just message someone in another network. (Investigate the net send command on your windows machine. This is like what Tony must have used) This is why companies have firewalls, so you just don't waltz into their network anytime you want. But never mind that. Tony instantly (ha) messages Jack over at MF.

Jack gets on another terminal and conveniently sees a little flashing doohickey that tells him an EMP is about to go off.

Paul finds an encoded file. In yet another howler, he just prints the dang thing off. Oh my, I'm on the carpet by now. He only prints off a few pages. There would not be very much info in that.

There's agent material in Paul, as he fakes out the MF minion, and runs off with his precious printout.

Jack uses ye olde Throw Something Over There To Make Dipstick Guards Go Investigate trick. I can't believe it worked! (Just like earlier in the day Heller used another old standby trick to get out of his cell.)

Jack gets into the EMP chamber, but it goes off a couple feet from his head. And Jack's brain is fried to a crisp, and the show is over. Oops, I mean absolutely nothing happens to Jack. All those powerful EM waves flooding through his skull. I guess the waves found nothing there to interact with.

Paul hides out. A pretty good hiding spot. But not good enough apparently. After the minion leaves Paul gets up and trots out, and is promptly captured.

As the episode ends, in the moment we've been waiting for, Division has sent someone over to relieve Tony. Who? Of course, it's Michelle my belle! Tony tells Heller they were married once, and Heller has zero reaction. You'd think Heller would be a teeny bit surprised. But there's no time for a reaction. Episode's over.

Incredibly, there are no new bodies in this episode! Maybe the helicopter crew, but that can't be confirmed.

Approximate Body Count: 86

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