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, May 24, 2005

24 Day 4 5:00 AM - 7:00 AM

A Review

And now, the end is here, and so we face the final curtain. My friends, Iíll say it clear, Iíll state my case, of which Iím certain. Regrets, Iíve had a few, but then again, way too many to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. Yes, there were times, Iím sure you knew when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate this show up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall, and wrote it this way.

One last fake warning of graphic violence, just for old times sake. CTU is certain they are chasing a female, even though they never actually saw who else was in the apt with the dead Fox News watcher guy.

Bill says CTU is getting low in manpower. No kidding, half the organization got blowed up today or shot or maimed or...

Audrey is having trouble locating the missile. Well, with all commercial air traffic apparently grounded, it would be the one and only thing currently streaking across American skies. If the air defenses in place can't pick that up, we might as well open the gates and let the Huns in. We're doomed anyway.

Mandy is looking at news stories of Tony's arrest, with photos of him and Michelle. Goodness, where'd she get ahold of those? Tony is shirtless, and pantless! I'm just a little unclear on Mandy's sexual and/or gender preference, so I'm not even going to guess at Mandy's motives in getting Tony down to his skivvies.

Mandy talks to Marwan. Marwan's arm seems to be doing pretty good, considering he took a bullet a short time ago. Whatever is in that hypo must be some good stuff.

And then, Mandy calls Michelle! (Just how did she get Michelle's number? Was Tony carrying around his cell with all these numbers in it?) Mandy has seen Season 3 of 24, as she wonders if Michelle is prepared to do for Tony what he did for her last season.

Audrey obviously doesn't have enough to do what with trying to find this stealthy missile, so Palmer has her gin up casualty projections for the 20 largest US cities. Good luck with that, Audrey.

And again for old times sake, a mention of yet another kind of protocol, this one an approach protocol.

Michelle starts down the road to treason. Will she do it? Will she? She calls Edgar on the Batphone, and Edgar answers with his usual chipper "Edgar Stiles!" With everything going on, that man is unflappable.

But, in a sign that there is some primitive activity in the brains of the writers, Michelle doesn't follow Tony's path in an uninspired copy of last season. She actually tells Bill about Mandy's call. CTU decides to try and trap Mandy. (After last season's disaster, CTU still hasn't learned its lesson at having supervisors in the office and agents in the field romantically linked.)

Jack says "we're a go." You don't normally think of go as a noun. But then, I'm one who doesn't understand using the word woman as an adjective, as in woman doctor.

Wow, Mandy tasers Tony! Eek, she'd make a good CTU agent the way she handles that thing. Mandy leaves Tony and goes to a nearby apartment, where she coldly guns down some schlump named Joz. It's hard to find good neighbors in an apartment building.

Down in the Bunker, there's tense discussion between Palmer and RunLoganRun. Logan is making some sense, saying there just isn't time to find Marwan. The missile has been in the air too long.

In a line of dialogue that could've been written by George Lucas, Palmer says "we will prevent the warhead from going off". yes, well. Then he says "demand nothing less than success from your people and you will get it". Thank you, Tony Robbins.

And now we see Agent Howie Bern is in San Diego! He's supposed to get to work fabricating an alibi. (Bern's lucky CTU is not going to have him executed like Chapelle in order to kowtow to the Chinese.)

Yikes, Bern is kimnapped by the Chinese! What are they doing there? And how did Consul Security Guy get down there so fast?!?! Bern left before he did. And the Chinese apparently knocked out two CTU agents and left them tied up by a building. You'd think that would be grounds to putting an end to this whole Chinese thread. The Chinese have attacked American agents on American soil? It's worse if those agents are dead. (And Security Guy did say no one would be around to tell CTU what happened to Bern.) So, I think it's time to tell the Chinese to take a flying leap. We're even.

Back at The Siege of Mandy, it starts to rain. This is strange. I don't think we've ever seen actual weather on 24. It must be in service to the plot. Mandy must be a sorceress, and conjured up the rain just when she needed it, for it stops soon after.

Looks like Mandy is sending out her remaining neighbors. And holy crikey, the car blows up! Did Mandy send the bomb out with them? Or was the car wired already? Is this standard bad guy planning, always have your car ready to blow up? Now everyone thinks Tony is dead. Michelle is distraught. Edgar again answers the Batphone in that gratingly chipper tone of voice. Dude, at least sound like you're sorry Tony is now a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Bill tells Michelle. He tries to supress giggles and smiles over the fact his chief rival is now out of the picture.

But Jack is not giving up. He keeps wanting to listen to tunes on the headphones. Curtis has to tell Jack that Tony is gone. (This is getting to be a habit with Curtis. He told Jack that Paul was gone.) Oh, now we see why the rain was necessary to the plot. There was no rain heard in the audio. It wasn't Tony and Mandy in the car. What a relief.

And there's Tony. He's obviously seen Die Hard, because he cuts his feet to leave a blood trail. We hear that there are men on every floor and the exits are covered, but obviously they forgot to post men in the stairwell, because Mandy walztes right out.

Jack catches up with Mandy in the parking garage. (A convenient indoor location so they could presumably film in the day hours.) Tony bravely urges Jack to waste Mandy, but Curtis uses his own stealth technology to sneak up and deck Mandy square in the face. She is out cold (and has no bloody nose or bruise. Curtis must be a wimp.)

Jack looks like he's about to kiss Tony. Tony asks if Michelle knows he's alive. For a moment, I thought he was going to say not to tell Michelle, so she'd continue to think he's dead and he could sneak off to another life free of her. Ironic, considering the ending, but we'll come to that.

The Chinese "interrogate" Bern, who cracks like a DDT-laden egg shell at the mere mention of a work camp near Siberia.

At the start of the final hour, CTU does what it does best and that is instantly arrange pardons for terrorists. Someone in the White House does their homework real real quick and discovers the gal CTU has in custody was the one who tried to assassinate Palmer in Season 2. You'd think they'd be a little curious who she was, and who she was working for then and now. But now, Palmer just grimly says they should go ahead and pardon her.

Mandy confirms it with her lawyer, apparently. I think this lawyer guy, representing a known terrorist and president-assassinator-wannabe, is going to receive a few visits from the government, don't you think? Mandy says Marwan is at the Global Center, and will be taking off shortly.

Edgar repositions a satellite to instantly see Marwan's chopper. Jack shouts "Now!", one of his favorite lines. Marwan sees CTU, and shoots something at his feet. Marwan escapes into a parking garage?! I thought this was some skyscraper, and they were 30 stories in the air. What are cars doing way up there? But then, it looks like this is just a parking garage. So the "Global Center" is just some fancy marketing name for a parking ramp? Marwan runs down into this parking ramp, another indoor location where they can film during normal day hours. Again, Marwan's bullet-ridden arm is doing just fine.

Jack shoots Marwan in the ankle. Marwan just about goes overboard, Jack grabs him by the hand as a helicopter hovers nearby Matrix-like. Marwan cuts Jack with a knife he conveniently had, and Marwan falls to a squooshy splattery death.

In the latest 24 Inside, Vosloo said he had initially been brought on for 4 episodes, as the writers weren't sure what they wanted to do with Marwan. It became another episode, and so on. In an interview with Charlie Rose, one of the producers admitted that this season they only thought two episodes ahead. If that isn't an indictment of the shoddy writing this season, nothing is. It sure explains the herky-jerky nature of the story, and lack seamlessness. They were just making stuff up as they went.

Well, Marwan is gone. Nothing to do but sit back and wait for the mushroom cloud. But wait! What light upon yon window breaks! Marwan's shot up doohickey has an intact drive platform, and CTU instantly expands parameters and correlates matrices to find it is a GPS device and it was tracking the missile. Glory be! Oh, cancel that, the missile is headed straight for....LA! And is almost there.

Now granted, Marwan is a psycho willing to kill millions. But, he was planning to escape. Yet, he was still on the ground in LA less than 30 minutes before the missile was going to strike, and Marwan knew when it was going to strike. So why did Marwan wait so long to get out of LA? He was cutting it a little close, don't ya think?

Some Air Force planes are in the air, they find the missile blah blah and shoot it down. Yay. We're all thrilled. Jack and Curtis watch like they're waiting for a star to fall, to carry them into each other's arm, that's where they belong in their arms baby yeah.

With a half hour still to go in the show, they can't just waste it with goodbyes and backslaps, so back to the Chinese. Apparently forgetting that with the Chinesenapping of Bern, the US and Chinese are even, the White House throws Jack to the wolves and agrees to hand him over to the Chinese. Sigh. I just don't have the strength to shred this silliness. I must make it to the end.

In a somewhat tasteless scene, Audrey talks on the phone near Paul's body bay, which has a tag with his name on it.

A bad ss agent is dispatched. Cummings tells Bad Guy Spaulding that Jack should be killed so he can't implicate the WH. Mike is Lurking Nearby, and hears this conversation, like something from a Victorian novel.

However, Palmer can't persuade Logan to call off the dogs, and Palmer takes it upon himself to warn Jack.

Having been so warned, in less than 60 seconds, Jack cooks up a plan to fake his death, and get revived with epinepharine. Ye gods. And Michelle and Chloe are brought into this plan. In less than 60 seconds. Did I mention this all took place in less than 60 seconds?

Tony tells Chloe to run interference with the coroner. That shouldn't be hard, as there are 150 bodies stacked up over there already. Tony just adds to the craziness by saying they'll just switch a body for Jack's and that there will be no autopsy.

After coming too with the obligatory wheeze and cough, Jack is ok. The final scene is Jack saying goodbye to Tony and Michelle, and Jack heads off into the sunset. Er, sunrise. And this Day comes to a close. Or just begins. Or something.

So, what can possibly happen next season? Jack can no longer operate in the open under his real name. Who is going to tell Kim what happened to Jack? Tony and Michelle are going to chuck it all in and just work at Walmart or something. Who's going to left in CTU? Chloe is going to be running the place.

And, in yet another testament to the writing, there was still no mention of the fate of Beiruts. In that same 24 Inside, Vosloo did say Beiruts never made it to Marwan, otherwise he'd be dead. It's sad when the actors have to let slip information that explains why major characters just disappeared.

(guest critic Paul Foth faked his own death to escape from the Bangladeshis, but I lost the antidote, and can't revive him. So, he leaves us with only these words...

***
Next season Tony and Michelle will be in prison together after someone discovers that Jack's body got switched for Lobell's (or any of the other stiffs CTU has in its huge, well used morgue). Unless, of course...

Bill: Tony, who's this? He looks Chinese.
Tony: Hoo.
Bill: The fella's name.
Tony: Hoo.
Bill: The guy on the floor.
Tony: Jack.
Bill: Bauer?
Tony: No, Hoo.
Bill: What's the name of the guy on the floor?
Tony: Jack Hoo.
Bill: I'm not talking about Jack!
Michelle: Tony, come here. We need to make out.
Tony: Make out a will?
Bill: Who's Will?
Tony: No. It's Will Ware. Jack's Hoo.
Bill: Just go home, the both of you.
***

Final Approximate Body Count: 151 (plus "many dead" near the nuclear plant, plus the Warhead Nonprotection team, plus whoever else was on Air Farce One, plus one mostly dead Jack Bauer)

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