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 14, 2006

24 Day 5 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

I see my reflection in the TV screen. It is the graphic violence warning. I am seeing my dark soul as it really is.

In the Previously on LA Laws, we see Logan harping about the "weaponized" nerve gas. Again, I'm curious, is there any other kind? Is nerve gas being used as anesthesia somewhere? And, the White House continues to mull over how long they can keep secret the death of the Chief of Staff. I'm thinking after, oh, two months of "Walt's in a meeting", the press is going to get suspicious.

As the hour begins, Samwise is disheveled, and hurriedly trying to get sheveled. He looks like he just returned from the john. Trying to get his shirt tucked in, etc... I hope he got all the blood wiped off. I wonder though, he must have walked back into the building past all those layers of CTU Security like that. Didn't anyone wonder why the highest ranking official in the building looked like he had met the business end of a speeding locomotive? Maybe the guards at the door just figured Samwise had run across the street to the parking lot for a quick little rnnh-nnh and a little rnnh-nnh, and his personal life was none of their business.

Samwise is obviously still a bit addled, because Bill tells him Rossler is dead, and instead of exploding in disbelief that their only link to the nerve gas, excuse me, weaponized nerve gas that could kill hundreds of thousands is dead, being alive only minutes before, Samwise just acts like oh, spot of bad luck, eh what, what's Plan B?

We hear that Yellow Tie has been contacting sleeper cells, trying to drum up some assistance for his "Gas Across America" plan. We hear about the 24-favorite "chatter". Two things though. How in the bleep do they know Yellow Tie has been contacting sleeper cells? Are they listening in on his phone? And how does CTU know they are sleeper cells? I would think CTU would consider this a small problem if there are unknown terrorist cells operating in the US. Marwan practically had an army last season, and he nearly reduced the US to molten nuclear slag. News that there are still terrorists out there might be worrisome.

Yellow Tie calls, and Jack does the old "short answer low voice" trick to pretend he's Rossler. Jack/Rossler (hey, Westminster started Monday night, let's hear it for the Jack Rossler terriers!) is to go to a parking garage at White Oak and Mattison. Ah, 24 never tires of using parking garages for locales. When Yellow Tie hangs up, the krazy kaptions say "(dial tone)", but we don't hear anything. Sack the Foley guy!

Jack uses logic-fu and says that he can pass for Rossler, because Yellow Tie and Rossler must not know each other because Yellow Tie said to watch for a blue van. Uhhhh, that's a pretty thin strand from which to hang your life, Jack. Does Jack think if they knew each other they'd sit around chatting "How are the kids, Rossler? Oh, fine, how's that blue van of yours, Erwich?"

I also want to stop and review the logic of giving the chip to the terrorists. The terrorists need it to release the nerve gas. Isn't the equation here no chip=no release of nerve gas? Why make it easier for the bad guys to gas Americans? (As we've seen over the last couple months, Russia has a thing for turning off the gas. I guess these Russian separatists have the opposite philosophy. Turn the gas on!)

Bill says that Jack will need Chloe and Edgar to "tech support him through the installation of the chip." Oh, there's a gold mine of material there.

"Ok, Chloe, walk me through the installation of the chip."
"Sure, Jack. My name is Chloe. This call may be monitored for quality. First, is your computer turned on?"
"Is your computer plugged in and turned on?"
"I'm installing a chip in a detonator!"
"Sorry, let me bring that up. Here we go. Is your detonator turned on?"

We're reminded that the chip is useless without the correct unlock code. Which reminds me, just who has that code? We haven't been told that. If Rossler had it, aren't they all pretty much hosed?

Polakov and Romar are dispatched in the blue van. Still no other employees or customers at the metal shop.

Some guy with the worst Russian accent ever is working on an alternative way to release the nerve gas. Sounds like a high school theater production of Dr. Zhivago. And isn't it a bit risky to be poking around in the guts of a nerve gas cylinder experimenting with things?

Back at the presidential retreat, Mike schemes about the Walt problem, wondering if the public really needs to know about his treachery. Yeah, like that kind of thing would stay secret.

Evelyn goes in to see the First Lady. The krazy kaptions say Evelyn "(clears throat)", but we don't hear anything. Did they fire the sound guys this week?

Evelyn asks the First Cleavage "Can I ask your advice on something?" and then proceeds to ask "Why did Walt kill himself?" Okaaay, good question, Evelyn, but what kind of advice do you want? Martha tells Evelyn Walt was a traitor.

Back at the parking garage, Curtis helpfully informs CTU that the blue van's license plate is six-Quebec-four-nine-nine-five-one. Quebec?

This parking garage looks like the Guggenheim museum.

Jack is in contact with CTU through an earpiece. With the sound guys missing this episode, Jack better hope the inexperienced intern running the thing doesn't create a high-pitched feedback squeal and alert to the baddies to the earpiece.

CTU immediately zens that the license plate doesn't match the van. See, that's just the kind of thing Rossler would know if he knew Yellow Tie.

Chloe has got the schematics of the detonator up already? Huh? How? Is thing a standard issue detonator from WMDs R' Us?

Jack exchanges pleasantries with the baddies, and Chloe starts to tech support Jack through the installation of the chip.

"Ok, Jack. Did you back up everything on your hard drive first?"
"What?" (I can't help myself. You'll be proud I refrained from any India jokes.)

Jack gets the chip in, but the baddies say Jack/Rossler is going with them to make sure it works. Jack protests, and the baddies beat him up and toss him into the van. The krazy kaptions say "blows thudding". This really throws CTU for a triple toe loop. Audrey goes into a sit spin.

Why did the baddies feel it was necessary to beat Rossler up? He's their fellow terrorist buddy, isn't he?

Back at CTU, the team wonders what to do now, with Jack being taken captive. Audrey is coming up with plans? Why is a DoD liaison running a CTU operation?

Going to commercial break, the clocks are at :13 to :13, but coming back, the universe winks out, and the clocks are at :18 to :16. I hope a Balrog didn't just slip through the space-time continuum into our universe. Samwise already has his hands full.

Martha finds out she's lost her head speechwriter job she just got minutes before, as she reads a press release saying Walt was apple pie and John Wayne all rolled into one. She is nonplussed. She goes to have it out with Logan. Mike really really wants to "wait outside". But Martha barks at Mike "your fingerprints are on this."

RunLoganRun barks right back. "I am the President!" Yeah, only because Air Farce One was shot down. Martha barks right back (I'm trying to be subtle with the Westminster theme) "Charles, you're dead wrong." I suppose after slapping the President, telling him he's dead wrong isn't that big a deal.

Walt's wife will be there soon. Martha will talk to her, and do the right thing. Because Martha is all about doing the right thing.

Curtis is going west on Nordhoff, passing Sepulveda. CTU has Jack on satellite. Whoa, how did they get that? Did Chloe retask one? Took her purt'near a half hour to do that last season. Technology must have improved since then.

The baddies are headed for the Sunrise Hills Mall. Sounds more like the name of a nursing home. Curtis talks to his mythical "other teams". I have yet to see more than one other vehicle, or more than a couple guys.

Again, Audrey is trying to run things. Shouldn't an actual CTU employee be making tactical decisions? Isn't she supposed to be getting Kim to CTU or something?

And again Lynn is content to tell everyone to hold off, and let the baddies go to the mall with the gas cylinder. Lynn wants the rest of the cylinders.

Holy crikey, Lynn wants to let the baddies gas everyone in the mall! The logic being the baddies will then return to Yellow Tie, and CTU can find out where the rest of the cylinders are.

At this point I'm a little confused. They put a transponder in the chip precisely so it could be tracked. Nobody seems to remember this crucial detail. They're all worried about how they can follow the terrorists.

Clocks are at :29 to :27.

Chloe has hacked into the mall's video system. Nicely done, but, a short time ago she needed Spenser Wolff-ff-ff to hack into Rossler's video system. Because he was the best hacker alive and not even lumpy Edgar could do it. So why was this one so easy? It's good that in the middle of her total eclipse of the heart, Chloe can soldier on and do Spenser's job, even though it must bring back all kinds of painful memories.

Ah, we see a group of kids with balloons. Nothing like kids in danger to make us fall to our knees and scream at the tv "Come on Jack!"

As we the kids, a balloon floats up and the krazy kaptions say "cha cha cha!" with notes to indicate music. Huh? We hear nothing. I'm really worried about the sound guys. Are they ill? Kidnapped by aliens?

The baddies waltz into the security/utility room at the mall cleverly disguised as HPAC repairmen, and a security guard asks for their paperwork. It's a wonder the baddie didn't say "I got your paperwork right here!" when he shot the poor guard.

The baddie says to Jack "Throw me the bag!" Jack says "Throw me the whip!" The baddie says "Throw me the bag and I throw you the whip!" Jack throws the bag. The baddie says "Adios, Dr. Jack."

CTU has to ask the President for his permission to gas the children at the mall. Logan's decision would be easier if the kids were a bunch of punk skateboarders, but since they're cute kids, it's a tough call.

Logan says "Yes?", but the krazy kaptions have him saying "Go ahead"

Lynn goes through the entire cast list for Logan, but leaves out the two unknown flunkies who had been in the conference room. Where'd they go? Lynn says there's no guarantee the baddies will lead them back to the cylinder. Again, what about the transponder?!

Logan, in one of his rare endearing moments, says to Lynn "Are you out of your mind?" (But maybe he's thinking to himself, this way my Jack/China problem goes away.)

Lynn says nobody would ever have to know about this, it would be a covert decision. Another display of stupidity. Like the President giving the go ahead for nerve gas, excuse me, weaponized nerve gas to be released in a mall would remain a secret. All it takes is one Democrat working at CTU to leak it to the press and the game is up for Republican Logan.

Logan immediately returns to jellyfish form. He tries to punt and put the decision on CTU. Mike is no help, he just says it's Logan's call.

Back at the utility/security room, the baddie asks Jack/Rossler for the unlock code. Ah, so now we see the flaw in this little plan.

Wait! Bill says the code is alpha-kilo-charlie!! How did he know that?

(AKC is the initials of the American Kennel Club! Westminster again, bada-bing!)

And isn't the fact the baddies don't know the code some leverage here?

Jack is not a kid-gasser though, and gives the baddies the wrong code. At CTU they're just looking at camera coverage of the mall itself. Aren't there any cameras in the security room?

Lynn is practically foaming at the mouth (sorry) and ordering Jack to release the gas. Kill those kids, Jack! Kill them! I order it! Mmwwwoooh--hhhaaaa-hhaaaaa!

Jack is bashed over the head for being obstinate about the whole correct code thing. Clocks are at :41 to :39

Jack shakes off the severe blow to the head and comes around. The baddies and the guy with the horrible Russian accent are discussing another way to release the gas. Bad accent guy is going through a long spiel of technobabble, and the krazy kaptions don't print a word of it. I feel sorry for hearing impaired people watching this. They ain't gonna have any idea what's going on.

Audrey tries to take a pound of flesh out of Lynn, which wouldn't be too hard a task, I guess, but Lynn stands firm. The kids must die.

The other HPAC repairman baddie is told to kill Jack. But darn the luck, he gets too close to Jack who uses CTU-fu and dispatches the baddie.

The other bad guy immediately executes a 360 Air to Fakie and runs out.

The gas is released. Jack gets a gas mask on and gets himself unlocked from the pipe to which he is chained.

Jack goes running out and accosts some guy in a suit who has no visible id. In a spectacularly right guess, Jack zens he is not someone who works in a women's shoe store, but is in fact a mall employee.

Jack tells the employee the bad news. Three times Jack refers to the "ventilation system", but three times the krazy kaptions say "air system." The mall guy orders a "Red Alert". Ha, who knew shopping malls have Red Alerts. But where's the flashing red lights and blaring klaxon? (Who was Mall Guy talking to anyway, if the guy in the security office was dead?)

We see the nice orderly evacuation quickly turn into something out of Airplane. Or Night of the Living Dead.

Logan chews out Lynn for making such a hash of things. This just isn't Lynn's day is it.

Jack tells Curtis to go after the escaping bad guy.

A number of people in the food court area are dropping from the gas. Must have had some bad tacos. A little girl is affected by the gas. Jack gives her his mask. Will that help at this point, though?

Curtis comes running in, he orders his "teams" to inject anyone who is down and get the people out as soon as possible. Uh, Curtis? Weren't you just ordered to go after the terrorist?

The girl needs a shot of atropine, and Jack, being a former heroin addict, does quick work with the needle.

Why did they just happen to have atropine with them? Were they planning on dealing with a sudden release of gas? This was just supposed to be a quick trip to a parking garage.

No visual on the bad guy. Did anyone think to go watch the blue van?

Ah, finally, Jack remembers there is a tracking device on the chip. Clocks are at :48 to :45.

Jack says to the little girl, don't be scared, this big stranger in full combat gear looming over you will take care of you.

The baddie bashes his way into a car, and fortunately there were already some loose wires under the dash all ready for hotwiring.

Clocks are at :53 to :50.

The bad guy calls Yellow Tie. Luckily Erwich was not in the middle of chattering with sleeper cells, and takes the call.

Suzanne, former Wife of Walt, arrives. Why is she in LA anyway? This was a road trip for the White House. Why isn't she in DC? Martha goes to speak to her. Logan lurks and eavesdrops outside. Martha caves in, and merely says Walt loved his country. Logan tries to crow about Martha's failure of nerve, but she brushed past him, hating herself for not doing the right thing. Though, of course, maybe she just did do the right thing, in an interesting little moral and ethical problem.

CTU tracks the baddie (with the transponder!) to 1136 East Muldauer. Which is just off of West Scully.

Lynn tells Curtis to set up a perimeter. Curtis just says screw you hobbit, and says "We're moving in", skipping right past that whole perimeter setting up thing.

Yellow Tie is watching all this across the street. He says to the baddie in the still empty metal shop "You know what you must do." And the baddie promptly caps himself in the head. Now there's a dedicated employee.

Say, what happened to the big white semi the baddies drove up in?

Inside the shop, Curtis says "Air is clean!" and takes off his mask. But, the krazy kaptions have him saying "Erwich's gone". Again, some poor hearing impaired person is going to be very confused.

Erwich and what remains of his team drive off in some pickup. Where'd that come from?

CTU can only stand amid the rubble of their plan as the hour comes to a close.

Guest critic Paul Foth won't be joining us this week. He dashed over to the mall on his lunch hour for a quick nosh, and got caught in the middle of a rock and roll attack. A few shots of atropine jammed directly into his heart and he'll be as right as rain next week.

Number of times Jack says "Now!": 9
Number of times Jack says "No!": 8
Number of times a "protocol" is mentioned: 16
Number of times someone says a variation of "Go!": 11
Number of moles: 2
Approximate Body Count: 33 (plus three rats, plus one human nerve gas guinea pig, plus 10-20 in the mall food court (and no, not from food poisoning))

<-1:00 PM - 2:00 PM 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ->


  • At Tue Feb 14, 10:41:00 PM, Robert said…

    Due to giraffe violence, zoo discretion is advised.

    Could we please bring the writers for season one back out of the cryogenically induced state where they're currently (still) catching up on their sleep and send the current guys to the witless protection program? This season is going from bad to worse.

    You already hit all the high points, so there's not much left to say. Cute kids in danger...heartless President orders them gassed...distraught wife "should have been with him" before hubbie hanged himself (cue evil voice--or did he?) employee knowing the perimeter (was that Hobbit's first good idea of the day?) so the baddies can just drive right off from across the

    And the previews for next week look even sillier.

    ARGH. Bring back the cougar. (But still not Kim...give him something else to eat.)

  • At Wed Feb 15, 07:50:00 AM, Jeff said…

    Giraffe violence? Ha!

    You're right, a perimeter might have come in handy when Erwich drove off. Although not sure how big a perimeter they could have formed with 3 guys.

    But the cougar? Do you know what you're saying man?!

  • At Wed Feb 15, 10:38:00 AM, Robert said…

    Couldn't the cougar eat the psycho first lady and make the world a better place? Would that be too much to ask? (I'd suggest eating President Jellyfish, but there are some things even a cougar won't stoop to.)

  • At Wed Feb 15, 01:50:00 PM, Jeff said…

    Sit down, Robert. I have some bad news to tell you.

    It's been inaccurate before, so it can't be fully trusted, but the imdb has Kim showing up in the next three episodes.

    There there, we're here for you.


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