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, April 11, 2005

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

A Review

There are certain forensic psychologists who can build up a profile of a person by reading what they write. In looking at 24 this season, even an amateur can tell that an insane person is writing this show.

We get the by now standard warning about graphic violence. If I am forced much longer to try and make sense of this crackplot, I am going to commit graphic violence.

We start off with Air Farce One declaring an emergency. (Well, that'll get people hopping. Just hearing that it had been hit by a missile was met with yawns. But an emergency was declared! Oh well, that's different.) We are told Air Farce One is 20 miles NE of Indio.

Indio is well to the ESE of LA, on Interstate 10. Now, last episode we heard that Mr. Anderrsson was northwest of Edwards AFB, which is 100 miles north of LA. So, if Air Farce One was up there, how did it get down here by Indio? Maps, people. When you're writing a screenplay, pick up a map once in awhile!!!!

Air Farce One's pilot's voice is rather too emotional. He has to make a hard landing, which happens just as Jack runs into CTU.

Jack asks if any secret service agents were contacted on some comsat. Lucky Jack was there to tell everyone about it. Jack gets some lady on the horn and has her spam an acknowledge signal to any agents still kicking on AF1. Someone answers.

We then see a familiar face talking to the Veep. It's Mike Novick!!! But, what's he doing working in this administration? He worked for Palmer, and now the other party is in the White House, so why isn't Novick long gone?

In an utterly throw away line, we find out Mr. Anderrrson and his mighty Stealth fighter were shot down. That's it. One sentence wraps up that story line.

Michelle urges everyone to "rededicate" themselves to finding Marwan. Again, she conveniently fails to mention they had him surrounded twice before. Jack was within ten feet of him at one point.

Audrey breaks up the party to tell everyone she's been on the phone with SecDef. (Where the heck is he, anyway? He slipped off the show without so much as a faretheewell.) The highest priority is to find the nuclear football, which was on Air Farce One.

Luckily for the crackplot, it has a transponder on it, so the exact location is known. It was sucked out of AF1, and is in the desert, 40 miles NE of CTU. (Which would put it in the suburbs of east LA, not the desert, but who's counting?)

We cut to a campfire out in the Mojave somewhere. A man and a woman. The woman coos and says they're there to make a baby. Ok, I didn't need to know that. The man thought he heard an explosion. They walk almost literally ten feet away and come upon a bunch of airplane debris. Hawr hawr haw. They failed to hear all this stuff crashing down nearly on top of their tent? As we go to commercial break, there is a Planet of the Apes moment. The two (Jason and Kelly) look up at something and express great shock. Is it the Statue of Liberty? What?! Tell us! Oh, it's part of the AF1 fuselage.

As we return, Tony is once again snippy with Bill. I'm confused though. Bill seems to indicate there is nothing going on between him and Michelle. Fortunately, I don't really care enough to think about it further.

Some rescue teams reach AF1. Remarkably, the fuselage is largely intact. Someone with a camera is walking around inside. Oh, here's a dead body. And over there is another one. How nice. And oh look, here's the son of El Presidente. He's dead. How can we tell? We don't know. Just looking is sound medical technique. And over here, it's El Presidente himself! Oh, I suppose we could bother with checking him. Hey, he's alive!

The very next scene, seconds later, Bill is telling the Veep that the President is unconscious and has lost a lot of blood. Wow, that was one quick, thorough examination. Bill says the Veep should think about invoking the 25th Amendment.

Out in the desert Jason comes upon a case. He opens the outer shell, and inside is an unmarked briefcase. He immediately thinks this is the thing with all the nuclear codes. Good guess, Civilian Jason.

Jack has another tiresome conversation with Audrey. Look, Jack. Twelve hours ago or so you were risking your life freeing her from terrorists all by your lonesome. If she wants to repay you with pining for her dead fish Brit hubby, cut her loose.

Jack is en route in a helicopter to the football's location. Jason has called in to the authorities, who immediately patch him through to Jack. Naturally. Jack is 20 minutes away. (The krazy klosed kaptions say 30 minutes away.)

Jason sees headlights in the distance, headed that way. Jack knows there aren't any authorities out there yet, so immediately assumes the visitors are up to no good. Jack flat out tells Jason the people coming are probably the terrorists. Well, Jack has never been shy before about telling complete strangers sensitive information.

Jack says the terrorists are probably tracking the transponder. So, he has Jason disable it. How? Must I? Ok. First, Jason just happens to have a compass on him, so he moves it over the case till the needle moves. Ok, that's where the transponder is. Then, he just takes a rock and scrapes at that location for a bit till it is disabled. There. That's one solid piece of transponder engineering, I tell ya. It survived the missile strike and the crash landing, yet it can't take being scraped with a rock a few times.

I pause to think though, how the sam hill did the terrorists have equipment to track this transponder? How do they know the frequency? Tell me this wasn't the plan all along? To shoot down Air Farce One, and go out and get the football before anyone else could get to it? Did they just improvise this little mission at the last moment? And how did they get out there so fast? Jack is still 20 minutes by helicopter, and they are driving out there. My head hurts.

In fact, we now see Marwan himself is in one of the two jeeps. Of course. Never mind that towards the end of last episode Marwan was busy escaping from his hideout.

Jack tells Jason to remove his cell phone batteries so he can't be tracked. He does so. Jack tells Jason there is an abandoned power plant to the north. Jason and Kelly should go there and hide. (No wonder California has such energy problems, if such large power plants are just abandoned.) Jason and Kelly head out.

But, darn the luck, before the batteries were removed, the terrorists tracked the phone for a little bit, for long enough to get a vector. It was moving in the direction of a power plant. Now come on. Jason and Kelly happened to be moving in that direction before Jack told them to go there, so while they still had the batteries in the phone, they were tracked? I'm telling ya, there is a criminal mind writing this show this season.

Jack did tell him to put the batteries back in and call him if needed. And, Jason ended up calling Jack at least 3 or 4 times. But, the baddies never tracked him again, or tried to that we saw.

Also, the reason Jack said to take the batteries out was so Jason couldn't
be tracked with "passive triangulation". Well, "triangle" to me means
detecting signals from three points, yet the terrorists were just one
point, all by themselves. Yet they were still able to find the cell
phone's location. Sigh.

Jason and Kelly reach the power plant. Marwan and several baddies arrive shortly thereafter. They make visual contact, and know they are after a "man and a woman". (Again, the krazy kaptions say "guy and girl.")

Jason keeps calling Jack, urging him to hurry. Jack finally gets there in the helo, with only one other agent. Marwan tells a baddie to go intercept the helo. Intercept a helicopter? How? Never mind.

And then, inexplicably, the helo takes off. Where are you going? For one thing, the two terrorist jeeps are sitting there. Couldn't the pilot go disable them or something?

The intercepting terrorist goes out and starts shooting at Jack, and naturally kills the other nameless agent. So, Jack is all alone, and pinned down. In another Macgyver moment, he puts some bullets in a can, puts in some grass, lights it on fire, and when the bullets start exploding, the terrorist dives for cover and Jack slips around and shoots the baddie.

Jack tells Jason and Kelly how to open the case, and they need to remove two critical pieces and separate, because the football can't work without both. Boy, these are two dedicated civilians to be helping out like this. They agree to separate. (In the plant, not maritally. Although after agreeing to do all this for Jack, Jason might find Kelly is no longer keen on making a baby with him.)

Long story short, after much chasing through this power plant (a neat locale to be sure. We've seen power plants in 24 before, too.) The baddies catch Jason. And, shoot him in the shoulder, then the knee, then step on the knee, to get him to tell where the other piece is. Kelly can't take it, so she comes out of hiding, and agrees to give up her piece if Marwan lets them live. He promises not to kill them.

It's funny Marwan doesn't stop to wonder how this civilian woman knows how to open the nuclear football.

Marwan gets what he came for, and orders a baddie to kill Jason and Kelly. Just as he is about to do so, Jack shoots the baddie. Hooray. Then chases after Marwan, who is escaping in the jeeps no one thought to disable.

Jack tells the helo, which is just flying around somewhere, to go after the lead jeep which has the football. It crashes. Jack retrieves the football. But, it is missing some pages. The pages that have to do with nuclear warhead locations and activation codes. What do you think is going to happen in future episodes?

Jack tells the helo to pursue the other jeep, which contains Marwan. We see Marwan, driving with his headlights on. How hard could it be for the helo to find and catch up with this jeep anyway? Apparently Marwan is going to escape for a third time. This guy is a cat. El Gato, we should call him. It fits, as The Mummy had a cat familiar, didn't he?

The Veep is sworn in as acting President. Jack calls Mike to tell him about the missing pages. And, the episode ends, mercifully.

This can't have been the terrorist plan all along, is it? Please tell me it isn't.

A closing note: I'm getting worried about Beiruts. We haven't seen him for a couple of episodes now. There was no word that he was found at the terrorist hideout that Jack raided. And he certainly isn't with Marwan now. I hope he isn't stuffed into a garbage dumpster somewhere.

Curtis was AWOL last night as well. You'd think CTU's #2 man would be involved at this critical time. Maybe he was in the back room torturing someone.

Approximate Body Count: 130 (plus "many dead" near the nuclear plant)

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