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 28, 2006

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

Am I the only one who sees the graphic violence warning? You see it, too, don't you? I'm not crazy. I know it's real, I know it.

The recaps recap just about the entire show to this point. We've got 8 minutes left for tonight's episode. We are reminded of Nathanson, this mysterious Matrix Guy who seemed to be running the whole Slow Boat to Central Asia thing, and then was killed before we ever got to know him, or what his story was.

Sgt. Bierko and his barracks mates discuss the ambush of the Russian prez. The motorcade is on 118, and the kill zone will be downtown somewhere. The motorcade will take 40 minutes to get there. Goodness. Geometry is so hard to figure out in this show. Jack got from CTU to the presidential retreat in less than 15 minutes. Last season Marwan got from somewhere in LA out to the desert where Air Farce One was shot down in under an hour. It's going to take the motorcade 40 minutes to cover this distance? Are they going to be driving in circles to shake off anybody tailing them?

Once again Mike must be cursing the day he chose to go into politics, for he gets to deliver to Logan the news that Martha is in the limo with Team Suvarov, and hence in danger of becoming Banta fodder. From Logan's reaction, I'm not sure if he considers this a good thing or a bad thing. For purposes of this review, I'm going to go with bad thing.

Charles "Rock of Gibraltar" Logan can't decide what to do about the motorcade. "Yes! No, stop, wait!" With this kind of steady leadership at the top, the country is in Good Hands. Or not.

Logan rings up Martha on the wireless and tries to talk her out of the limo. She's having none of it. She apparently has a death wish. To echo the words of another Martha, the one in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Martha says to Logan "I swear Charles, if you even existed, I'd divorce you." Logan says "Martha, will you please get out of the, uh, euphemism." But Martha is staying putsky. She's having too much fun chatting about orange groves with Mrs. Suvarov.

Back at CTU, Audrey tiptoes by Edgar and says "Edgar, meet me in the server room in a few minutes." Edgar explodes from his chair. "Yeah baby! I knew she'd finally succumb to the charms of Edgar!"

We hear Omicron developed the Sentox nerve gas for the military. And it is there Jack must go. We also hear this Henderson fellow was the one who recruited Jack to CTU. Jack says "things ended badly between us." This being Oscar season, I suppose this is my opportunity to trot out my Brokeback Mountain material.

Edgar dances off to the server room expecting to storm the ramparts of Fortress Audrey, but instead finds Chloe already there. Edgar wouldn't have guessed Chloe and Audrey are into this kind of thing, but he's game.

Actually, he's not. When he sees Chloe Edgar says "What are you doing here?" And Chloe, in one of those sublime Chloe Moments, says "same thing you're doing here."

Audrey and Chloe need Edgar's help to work against Samwise, who clearly is under the spell of Sauron. And indeed, out on the floor Lynn is going ballistic. He fires Sweet Carrie, who was listening to chatter. (Ah, the ubiquitous "chatter". Are these teenage children of terrorists yakking on their cell phones about today's plot? Where is this chatter coming from?) They need Edgar to cover for Chloe while she gives Jack a hand.

Chloe gives Edgar a classic Chloe Look. The kind that made Chloe waltz into our hearts.

Back at White House West, Mike and Logan kick around their very few options. They seem to be operating under the assumption that if the Suvarovs are killed, the terrorists won't release the nerve gas anyway. Is this a good assumption, considering the terrorists have already proved themselves willing to kill civilians with the gas?

Going to commercial, the clocks are at :12 to :12. I quick record a video message to myself so I can tell myself what's happening after the inevitable slip in the space-time continuum. And indeed, after the commercial the clocks are at :17 to :15. (I did appreciate hearing from my past self.)

While Lynn is going cuckoo, apparently Curtis has nothing better to do than just sit in a chair and look on.

Jack has Chloe cook up an excuse to get Jack through the door at Omicron. And aha! This really is Yoyodyne! Jack's cover name is John Barrie. Not quite the same poetic ring as John Many Jars, but it will do.

Amazing, though, that Omicron has its systems available to the outside world. Chloe hacks in with apparent ease, and in the space of a few minutes, figures out how their system works, and just where to slip in an appt for Jack in the right format. She even sends up Jack's fingerprint and photo. Where did that photo come from? To CTU, Jack's been dead for 18 months. Surely they didn't stop today to take Jack's picture. Was it just lying around a server somewhere? But Chloe truly has some m@d hack0r sk1llz. (Which makes it all the more nutty that only Spenser Wolff-ff-ff could hack into Rossler's apartment security.)

Jack has Audrey call Henderson's busty secretary with ye olde Can You Come Down To Accounting trick, and Jack pulls a gun and enters Henderson's office. Only to find... Buckaroo Banzai himself!!!! All bow before his Holiness, Peter Weller! This is Yoyodyne!

Actually, Buckaroo finds Jack. He tasers Jack in the neck as Jack comes through the door. Aw, Henderson, hey, hey, don't be mean. You don't have to be mean.

But does Henderson spend his entire day behind the door waiting to taser anyone who comes through the door? What possible reason did he have to suspect anything?

Jack and Buckaroo have a chat about their past. Jack was part of an investigation that accused Henderson of wrongdoing, and Henderson ended up leaving CTU. Henderson says "I never thought you were dead." Jack says "Yeah, I was ionized, but I'm okay now."

Jack wants Buckaroo to prove he had nothing to do with the gas getting into terrorist hands, and wants to see the bunker where the operations was controlled. Where are we going? The bunker. When? Real soon.

Back at CTU, now Edgar is listening in on chatter. They sure are a bunch of Nosy Nellies. However, Lynn has truly gone into the eighth dimension. He chews out Edgar and Chloe, and does not want to tell the Secret Service about the possible threat to Suvarov. Lynn is about this close to stripping to his altogethers and running through the halls of CTU shouting "It's the night of the long condor! Run for your lives! We're all gonna die!"

At Sgt. Bierko HQ, some baddie is sautering something. Maybe he runs a booth at county fairs and burns family names into wooden plaques. Sgt. Bierko talks to a baddie who looks way too much like Gary Oldman.

At CTU, it's not clear why Audrey can't just call up the Pentagon and tell them about the threat. She is the DoD liaison after all. Instead, Audrey ropes Chloe and Edgar into another act of sedition. They will stage a palace coup. Edgar says "for the record, this is not a good idea." So, uh, since it is "for the record", did someone write that down anywhere?

Audrey convinces Curtis that Lynn is a certified Section 8. I mean, Section 112. Mentally unfit for command. There are not many organizations that need to have a Section 112 on hand as part of their corporate procedures. However, this is getting way too much like an episode of Star Trek. Curtis is the ranking agent, so he can invoke Section 112.

We check in on the limo. For a moment, it looks like a different actor for Suvarov. At White House West, Logan is looking at photos of the back of Martha's head. That's so sweet.

Mike comes in for some more abuse. Logan gets down on his knees. No, no, no! Please don't say "pray with me"! AAUGGH. He does say it. This is a shameless ripoff of a moment from Watergate. The night before Nixon resigned, Kissinger went to see him, and Nixon got down on his knees and asked Kissinger to pray with him.

Back at CTU, Lynn is about to start hanging people from the yardarm, but Curtis invokes Section 112, The Red Shirts back him up. Lynn is taken away, shouting threats of vengeance. Surely we'll see Samwise again?

In the midst of this insanity, our clock slips back a minute, :45 to :42. Our universe can't cope, we are sliding back into the inchoate void where time is reduced to a subatomic froth of random quantum fluctuations.

Bill is released from stir, and immediately takes charge. He calls Logan and tells him about the threat to Suvarov. Which, of course, Logan already knows about. Logan is speechless, though.

As the motorcade approaches the kill zone. We see armed men hanging around. A guy with a missile is up on a roof. The eagle-eyed Secret Service escorts notice none of this.

The attack commences. The limo is made of tritanium, though. It survives bullets and flamethrowers and missiles. Aaron, instead of staying in this impregnable vehicle, opens the door as the flamethrower guy takes aim. Good one, Aaron. Luckily, Aaron takes out the baddies, and the Suvarovs are saved.

Logan is mildly relieved to hear the news. However, he's worried about what Sgt. Bierko is going to say. Bierko calls, and Logan tries to tell him he had nothing to do with the failure of the attack. Bierko is unimpressed. He says "I am sure, in the miserable annals of the Earth, you will be duly enshrined. But, the gas will be released anyway."

Mike says CTU intervened in time. Is that entirely correct? The motorcade was still attacked. The limo was hit with machine gun fire, a missile and a flamethrower. What would've happened if CTU hadn't intervened in time?

Finally, Jack and Buckaroo arrive at the bunker. Only took them a half hour to get there. But, no matter where you go, there you are.

Buckaroo hears that Buchanan is head honcho at CTU. Buckaroo says "What a stiff."

They muck through Yoyodyne files, and discover top scientists on the gas project have been killed. Buckaroos acts surprised, which is some good acting, for Henderson that is, not Weller, considering what happens next.

Buckaroos steps out for a moment, and locks Jack in the bunker. Jack realizes he's been duped. Dad! Dad! Jack's in trouble! Say what?

Buckaroo continues the tradition of bad guys being the most prepared individuals ever. He had no idea Jack was coming, yet had a bomb in a metal case laying around. Just in case.

Jack puts the bomb behind a door, and a filing cabinet. The blast destroys the room, but Jack survives. Now people think he's dead. Again!

We discover Buckaroo really is a bad guy, as he calls up some female Lectroid and says Jack will be dead in a minute.

The episode ends with the clocks at :60 to :57.

And now, once again, here is guest critic Paul Foth. When his secretary went to the ladies room, he got paranoid and tasered the next person who entered his office. He helped that person get to CTU Medical, and then wrote this review.

No, the Squeegee Incident wasn't pretty, but it was nothing compared to what I had to do when that "doctor" came into CTU Medical. Oh, he'll live; I didn't go completely Bauer on his hide. But someone's going to have to design a special toilet for him.

I think Samwise is no longer wearing the Ring; he swallowed it. His stomach juices are slowly making it part of him. It's only a matter of time before we hear his tortured (HA!) voice from a holding cell: "Preciousssss!" It seems what really sent him over the edge was Twisted Sister's boyfriend swiping his CTU Health Club key card. (It couldn't have been a key card to CTU itself, could it? I mean, CTU Security is too top-notch to let someone through without one, right? (Pardon me while I try to stop laughing.))

Samwise's tumble into the Valley of the Shadow of Mount Doom was assured when he fired sweet, doe-eyed Carrie for answering her phone--although, to the writers' credit, she wasn't tortured first, as was done with sweet, doe-eyed Sarah last season. (In fact, we haven't seen anyone tortured in a CTU holding cell this season. We live in an age of miracles.) But then he turned the episode positively self-referential by complaining about not being able to get any work done because he's shorthanded. Later on, Robocreep sealed the deal by commenting on how CTU can't hang on to anyone who's halfway competent. My winking writer detector is giving peak readings.

So, now that the season is just over a third of the way over, Bilbo Cannon is back in charge. His still being around kinda gives lie to Robocreep's charge. Yes, he is stiff, but I think he's exactly the right kind of stiff for what a job of that magnitude requires.

I'm wondering if Samwise is done for the season. In the opening credits, Sean Astin was billed as a "Special Guest Star," which is the same notation that appeared above Dennis Haysbert and Reiko Aylesworth's names in the season premiere. Prior to this, I think he's just been a regular Guest Star. But, then again, there's the unresolved mystery of the key card. This show wouldn't completely ditch a plot thread without resolving it, would it? (Woops, sorry. I have to choke down some more laughter.)

Once again, the show demonstrated that one of its strengths is its acting talent. Some of the most effective (and affective) moments the show has had are those in which two characters are simply talking. I thought Kiefer and Peter did some great work together. (But wasn't Robocreep supposed to be working for someplace called Yoyodyne--I mean, Teradyne--or maybe TerraDyne? I seem to remember from the frenetic exposition last week that Omicron contracted Teradyne to make the gas, not that Omicron itself made the gas. And speaking of the gas, they're definitely calling it Sentox VX now, instead of the Sentox Six it started out as. Jeff must be right in one of his earlier rants, where he speculates that someone (very wrongly) thought VX was a Roman numeral.)

Gregory Itzen continues to impress. Yes, a character that extreme being the president is a completely ludicrous proposition, but Itzen continues to make some great choices in what to do with President Shakes. One that I particularly liked from last night was the way he was sitting just before Bierko called, with his arms hidden under the desk like a nervous third grader. I've been really impressed that he's being allowed to act out the fact that Shakes is a waffling idiot who can't handle the responsibility of his office, without once having anyone explicitly say, "You're a waffling idiot who can't handle the responsibility of your office." It's a prime example of the storytelling maxim "Show, don't tell."

Still, a guy like Shakes being president makes so much of what's going on around him more than a little unconvincing. The attack on Subaru's motorcade was suspenseful, but not nail bitingly so. Shakes blaming everyone but himself for the imminent attack didn't frustrate me as much as it made me think, "Well, he's no Henry Fonda in Fail-Safe." About the only thing that got me going was when it looked like Aaron was dead. He and Bilbo Cannon are about the only two solid, stable characters on the show, and getting rid of one of them would've ended all hope for the country.

Just before the episode aired, I thought it'd be cool if at some point in the middle of the season they decided to lump a couple of hours together, rather than just doing that at the beginning or end of the season. Apparently, I'm a latent psychic, because that's what's happening next week. It looks like Kim is FINALLY going to show up, which I'm looking forward to. I may be in the minority here, but I do like Kim. I think the real turning point was back when she and Jack both thought he was about to crash a plane carrying a nuclear bomb. Their farewell scene was very well done. (Of course, in that season, Kim thought her dad was dead for just a few hours. This time, it's been a year and a half. There's nothing new under the sun.)

And Tony returns to the land of the living. All we got in the previews was a shot of him peeling a bandage away from his neck, thinking either, "Have I been shot in the neck again?" or "What's that bolt doing there?" but he looked coherent enough that my original theory--that he gives Jack a critical piece of information before dying--may not come to pass.

And we're promised "the biggest surprise of the season." Yeah, whatever. We've heard that one before, only to then hear the sound of crickets when the payoff episode finally airs. I'm interested in finding out what they're talking about, but I'm not holding my breath.

Number of times Jack says "Now!": 9
Number of times Jack says "No!": 8
Number of times a "protocol" is mentioned: 25
Number of times someone says a variation of "Go!": 11
Number of moles: 3
Approximate Body Count: 46 (plus three rats, plus one human nerve gas guinea pig, plus 11 in the mall food court (and no, not from food poisoning))

<-2:00 PM - 3:00 PM 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM ->


  • At Tue Feb 28, 05:40:00 PM, Chris said…

    What is sautering? Is that cooking with a soldering iron?

    Paul, you're killing me. Seriously, I'm dying here. Stop being so damn funny. There must be a protocol for that.

    This show is so far off the rails, I'm only watching so I can enjoy your commentary to the fullest. Like a rare wine, only not wet at all.

  • At Tue Feb 28, 06:48:00 PM, Robert said…

    Due to gastric violence, Pepcid discretion is advised.

    I can't get Elmer Fudd out of my head. "Kill the hobbit!" "Kill the hobbit?" "Kill the hobbit! With my Section 112 helmet!"

    Anyhow, now that Mike Brown, (sorry, Lynn McGill) has been drug off by the digital redshirts, maybe CTU will once again function as a well-oiled, high security...oh never mind.

    Jeff, great catch on the bomb. Robo not only had one ready for the day Jack showed up (after all, he didn't believe Jack was really dead), he had the foresight to keep it in the locked bunker, and keeping his martini shaker detonating device handy to set it off. Even by 24 standards...

    Bring back Kim. What have we got to lose?

  • At Tue Feb 28, 07:52:00 PM, Jeff said…

    Be vewy qwiet. I'm hunting Hobbit.

    At least Kim is darn cute. She'll be fun to have around again. Just not as a CTU again, I hope.

    As for sautering, that guldurned spell checker. I'm going to run some scenarios to see why it didn't fix that.

  • At Tue Feb 28, 08:40:00 PM, Robert said…

    Section 103 has a protocol for just that eventuality. Quit wasting your time listening to chatter and update the protocol, data mine your alphabet and retask the satellite spell checker. If you don't, I'm going to draw my weapon.

  • At Tue Feb 28, 10:06:00 PM, Jeff said…

    *Jeff has gone dark*


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