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, April 11, 2006

24 Day 5 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Oops, give me a sec. The graphic violence warning piddled on the kitchen floor. I gotta go clean it up.

The recaps replay just about the entire previous episode. Buckaroo is still an open protocol. (Someday someone will do a PhD on all the ways this show uses the word "protocol.") The whole Audrey/Chloe thread. The Evelyn, Jack and Wayne invade a coal mine or whatever it is. (I'm just going to call it the coal mine because of the conveyor belts.) And of course, the revelation that Logan is Eviiillllll!

As this week's episode puts us on the Edge of Night, we see William Devane in the credits! Cool. No sign that his son Stoner is in this episode though. The Raines family reunion will have to wait for another episode.

We see a military checkpoint, reminding us of the curfew.

Dr. Jack is working on Evelyn, telling her to stay focused. Huh? What's this? Evelyn made a recording of a phone call between Logan and Henderson, and she put it in a safe deposit box in a bank? Oh my. Let's pull this one apart, shall we.

First, just how on God's Green Earth did a First Lady's flunky make such a sensitive recording of the President's phone call?!? Was she standing in the room with a plant on her head so Logan didn't notice her?

Second, I ask again, doesn't Evelyn live in Washington D.C.? So why does she have a safety deposit box in LA? When did she get it? And when did she sneak away to put this recording in the box? There was a lot going on in the morning, what with terrorist attacks, the First Lady getting blown up, and so on. This makee no sense.

Oh well. I suppose if we can accept Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist or Jodie Foster as an astronomer, we can accept this nonsense.

The bank is City Trust and Savings in Agoura Hills. This is NW of Malibu, so presumably the retreat is out that way, and Evelyn could have slipped away and got back without being missed.

Evelyn tells Jack the key to the box is in her jacket pocket. Jack is worried about running into the military, so he suggests they go to a motel. When they get there, Jack says to Wayne, "Wayne, can you get us a room?" Uh, er, ok. Suddenly we're watching CTUback Mountain.

Jack calls Audrey, and finds out Chloe wasn't able to track Henderson. Darn, he got away. Henderson is going for Marwan's record. 5 escapes in one day! Come on, Henderson! You can do it!

Evelyn says Logan is responsible for everything that's happened today, including giving the terrorists the nerve gas. Hmm, now I'm really starting to wonder when the producers and writers decided to make Logan an evil guy. Cuz earlier in the day, Logan was wimpy, indecisive, scared. He can't be that good of an actor. (Logan, I mean, Itzin does just fine.) So, I can imagine a conversation where the producers say "Greg, ok, you know how you played the character before as a complete Milquetoast? Well, forget all that. You've really been evil all along." And Itzin starts cursing, saying "Don't you think I should've known that before? It would have affected the choices I made in playing the character! Shouldn't I know what Logan knows! Arrggghhhh."

She also says that Henderson ordered the assassination of Palmer, but Logan was complicit.

Jack calls Audrey and tells her the happy news that the President is Evil. Jack wants to bring her father, the SecDef, in and give the evidence to him. Audrey says Dad is on his way back from Japan.

Wayne tells Jack the bank manager was listed. Uh, what bank manager? Did Evelyn just happen to know the bank manager's name? And if so, why? Do you know the name of the manager of your bank? The name of anyone who works at your bank? And if Evelyn didn't know, how did Wayne find the name?

They get Evelyn into the motel room, where she's going to bleed all over the bed. Oooh, Housekeeping is going to be so ticked in the morning. In a creepy moment, if you think about it, Jack asks Wayne to take Amy outside while he's pawing at Evelyn's leg. Poor Amy is going to be so confused.

And now, in what will be a theme for the episode, Henderson is out driving around. He has a sticker in his window that says "Unrestricted Vehicle Access, #87633218." Ok class, who can spot the flaw in this little scene? Yes, that's right, Susie! Henderson is driving Evelyn's car. So just where did Henderson get this sticker? Did he have it in his pocket back at the coal mine? He thinks of everything, doesn't he.

Jack tells Evelyn he'll clean her wound, but she says he needs to get the evidence, so he just leaves. What a gentlemen. You just gonna leave her there to bleed to death, Jack?

Henderson, still driving, is on the phone with Logan. He says he hasn't been able to pick up Jack's trail yet. Well, good heavens, the best Apache trackers wouldn't be able to do that. It's only been about 10 minutes. Logan is worried that Jack will go to the media. Henderson pooh-poohs that idea, saying Jack would need the evidence first.

(OK, here's another question. Just how do Henderson and Logan know that Evelyn made this recording? Was she stupid enough to tell them? Otherwise, we have no clue.)

Logan says this whole crazy plan was to make the country safe, stronger, to protect our interests, but it has spiraled out of control. Logan says to Henderson then, "because YOU decided to kill Palmer." Typical Logan. Always putting the blame on someone else. Henderson is a practical man, though. He just says "What's done is done."

Back at CTU, Karen is wondering where the hourlies are. (You'll recall from last season that was Edgar's job.) Miles says their minions are still getting up to speed on CTU's protocols. Karen apparently is having second thoughts about this whole palace coup thing.

Logan rings up Karen, and asks if she knows where Bauer is. She says no, he's gone off the grid. RunLoganRun then says he is issuing an Executive Order for the arrest of Bauer. He says he was evidence that Bauer was involved in Palmer's assassination, but he won't say what it is. Karen is incredulous, saying Bauer was cleared. Logan gets all huffy and says Bauer is CTU's top priority.

Miles suggests if they want to find Bauer, they should keep an eye on Audrey. We immediately cut to Audrey talking with Chloe. Chloe can VPN something so Audrey's cell phone can't be monitored. Karen comes over and Audrey says she's just going out to get a couple hours of sleep. (That might be a 24 first, the mention of sleep!)

She skips out, and the next scene is someone named Valerie planting a transponder in Audrey's car. My goodness these people work fast. It's been less than a minute since Miles suggested watching Audrey, and here someone is already out in the parking lot with a transponder. These transponders must be sitting in bowls next to the front door, like candy, and Valeris just sprinted outside.

Going into the first commercial break, the clocks are at :12 to :12. But coming back, the clocks are at :16 to :15. 24 is on standard time, they turned their clocks ahead one minute.

Jack and Wayne are outside the bank manager's house. The guy's name is Carl Mussman. Jack and Wayne argue about how to motivate the bank manager. Jack, being a sadistic psycho now, opts for the terrorizing method. When they get to the door, Jack detects a magnetic alarm. But, what luck. Jack is super prepared. He has some kind of doohickey in his pocket which he clamps to the door and jiggers the lock. And of course, Jack says "We're in." That cliche is always a favorite on this show.

Carl and Wifey are in bed watching the news about the events of the day, when Carl hears a noise. He goes to investigate and finds Wayne filling a sack with the family silver and china. They go back to the bedroom, and Jack starts demanding assistance. Carl says he can't help. And Jack points the gun at Wifey. Good heavens, is Jack going to shoot another wife today? He's got a thing for that apparently. I'll have to add a Number of Wives Shot counter. That would've been two on the day.

But, Carl relents. He'll help Jack get into the bank. Jack tells Wayne to tie up Wifey with four of Carl's neckties.

Audrey is driving through a checkpoint. Someone says she has clearance. She does? How? How did she indicate that? Did she have a cool sticker like Henderson?

Then, Audrey calls up Dad. She asks him to make a stop in LA, and he agrees. She says the nearest airport is Van Nuys, but Dad says they are an hour out.

And now, no one will be admitted during the breathtaking "Audrey stops at a gas station" scene. Which, Valerie tells us, is located at Alderton and Davis.

Audrey pulls some doohickey out of her pocket and then calls Chloe. Chloe tells her to turn to proprietary channel 17. (Why, is there another channel 17 on this doohickey that isn't proprietary?) Ah, it's some kind of bug detector. Did Chloe just happen to have this thing sitting in her desk? I just have staples and pens in my desk. Anyway, Audrey immediately finds the transponder, and sticks it on a white truck nearby. She's a clever lass.

Back at the retreat, Aaron says to Logan "It's almost time." But, Veep BOB wants a moment with Logan. The producers must have told Ray Wise that's he's really innocent, so he can play the Veep as a good guy, instead of throwing in all the evil looks and tones of voice. Hal thinks Jack is a hero, and doesn't understand the arrest warrant. Logan gets all huffy again, and tells Hal to go get stuffed. Logan says Cummings was covering for Jack, so Jack is evil, and Logan doesn't want to be questioned about it. (Well, of course he doesn't.)

Back at the motel, Evelyn is out cold. Amy has bloody hands and goes to wash up. She starts crying, which rouses Evelyn. As a parent, I can understand. You can be in the deepest coma, but if you hear your child crying in distress, you'll get up and help if you can.

Alas, Evelyn is weak, and keels over on the floor. Amy calls 911, and says her mom, Evelyn Martin, needs help. The dispatcher asks Amy where she is. (How does Amy know where she is?)

They must have got it figured out, because seconds later a henchman calls Henderson, who is still driving around, and says a 911 call came in and Evelyn is at a motel. (The voice says 1850 Porter Valley Drive, but the krazy kaptions say Motel 6 Porter Valley Drive. This despite the fact the motel sign said it was a Super 8.)

Now, let's stop here for a moment. Just who is talking to Henderson? Henderson's team was chopped to ribbons at the coal mine. When Henderson talked to Logan, he said he'd put another team together. Henderson has been driving around this whole time. Has he been calling people putting a new team together? Is there a number in LA you can call to instantly rent Evil Henchmen? Also, if this henchman was just hired, how does he have instant access to 911 calls? Why does he know before Henderson? Who knew to tell him? He can't have got the information from Logan, because Logan doesn't know who Henderson's new team is. Argh.

Clocks are at :32 to :29.

Logan is doing another presser, and announces the terrorist threat is over. Martha is looking on with Aaron. She says she should've trusted Charles more. Aaron all but rolls his eyes, knowing what evil stalks the halls of the retreat. Martha asks if he's all right. Aaron says "I'm just a little battle worn." And how. He was nearly blowed up twice by rockets today. Not to mention gunfire.

Jack gets a call. His cell says "Aaron Pierce." When did Jack put Aaron's number in his address book? The conversation is short. Jack tells Aaron the Source Of All Evil is Logan, not BOB.

Jack and Wayne and Carl are walking a ways to the bank to avoid the military. An armored vehicle drives by, and the three amigos hit the dirt till it passes.

Valerie calls Karen and tells of Audrey's cleverness. Karen tells Miles to get a satellite on it to track Audrey. Uh, just how is that going to work? How are they going to tell which car is Audrey's, in this vast LA metropolis? Granted, there aren't many cars out, but she could've gone anywhere. Does she have a big orange dot on her hood, so the satellite can pick out her car?

Carl gets them into the bank, and shuts off the alarm. Jack orders Carl to take them to the vault, but says "stay away from the windows." And then, they just walk normally across the bank.. I cannot imagine how the walk would've been any different if they weren't staying away from windows.

As Jack fiddles with the vault, Carl recognizes Wayne. Carl wants to know what is going on. He says "you kidnap me, threaten me, you're robbing my bank..." Uh, Carl? Aren't you forgetting something? How about your wife, who is still tied up in your bedroom with your neckties? What a cad.

Wayne breaks under Carl's intense questioning, and tells Carl about what is going on.

Back at the motel, two EMTs are working on Evelyn. But, darn the luck, Henderson comes in and shoots both of them. Now the EMTs will need EMTs. Amy screams.

Clocks are at :43 to :40.

Logan is talking on the phone. He says "You did. That's good. I'm glad." We naturally think it's Henderson telling him about Evelyn. But, Henderson calls a short time later. So who was Logan talking to, and what is good?

Martha is there. She says "You were magnificent." (Logan probably hasn't heard that too many times from her.) Logan says, in perhaps his funniest line of the season, "You walked up to the edge a couple times, but nobody noticed." Martha chuckles and thinks there is a compliment in there somewhere. Then, some First Kissy Kissy.

And now Henderson calls. He says he got Jack's location from Evelyn, and that his men are heading there now. Again I'll ask, what men?

Logan lies to Martha and says "That was Jamey. I asked her to write me a radio speech for tomorrow morning." Martha looks quite bummed, because for at least the third time today, her Chief Speechwriter duties are being usurped.

Miles tells Karen "We found Audrey Raines." And just how did they do that? Again, how is a satellite going to know which car is Audrey's? Karen relays the info to Valerie, saying Audrey is heading toward Sepulveda Pass off Mulholland. (Audrey is going over the Santa Monica Mts on the 405, heading for the Van Nuys airport, which is just off the 405.)

Of course, by now Valerie must be a long ways behind Audrey, because she had no idea where Audrey was going, but this is 24. She'll catch up in minutes.

Shari comes up to Chloe and asks if she has a minute. Chloe abruptly says "No." As Shari stands there trying to process that breach of Miss Manners protocol, Chloe says "What is it?"

Apparently a vector is locked out and a satellite is on a class one priority override.

Chloe must have a way around such overrides, because she immediately looks at the satellite and sees Audrey's car. How come I'm the only one who can't recognize this dark rectangular blob as Audrey's car?

Henderson's men are at the bank. There are several of them, and they drive up in two hugenormous SUVs. And they are heavily armed. Henderson has got some great contacts, to put this team together in less than an hour. With a curfew on even. If Jack was so worried about running into the military that he walked to the bank, how did these guys drive right up to the bank? I'm just asking.

No sooner have they just gotten out of the vehicles when one of the henchmen calls Henderson (who is still driving around, naturally) and says the perimeter is secure. Huh? What perimeter? Doesn't a perimeter imply being all around something? You're all just standing by your vehicles! Well, it is hard to round up quality help on such short notice.

And now, Holy Hannah, in the bank Jack plays the tape right in front of Carl. Jack, he's a civilian! What happened to operational security, need to know, national secrets! You're letting a civilian hear this tape? My stars.

Jacks sees the baddies outside. Carl says there is no other way out, for security reasons. Huh? You'd think the fire code would require at least two exits.

Jack kneels by a chair and scopes out three baddies. That must be one wide window he was looking through.

Jack wants Carl to set off the alarm so the cops will show up. He wants the cops to fight the bad guys so they can get out of the bank. Now, this is one of the worst things Jack has ever done, and that's saying something. Jack will happily sacrifice some good cops just so he can escape. Someone's husband, someone's daddy, is not going to come home tonight, because with Jack it's all about him. Me me me.

Clocks are at :55 to :51.

Chloe is in the server room mucking around with the computers. A screen says the satellite signal is corrupted.

Audrey heads west on Chandler. What is she doing? Chandler is east of the 405, but the airport is west of the 405. Is she lost? To go west on Chandler, she would've had to get off the 405, head to east to Chandler, then turn around and come back west. Her navigation skills are a good metaphor for this crackplot.

But, Chloe's work makes the picture go all wonky, and Miles immediately zens that the interference is coming from the server room. He runs down there, only to find it empty. He leaves, and sees Chloe emerging from the ladies room. (This doesn't count as the first instance of someone using the restroom on this show, because Chloe was just faking.)

Miles asks "What were you doing?" And in another classic Chloe line that will live forever, she says "Are you kidding? If you really want the details I'll write you a report." Ah, dear sweet funny Chloe.

Back at the bank, some funky James Bond-y music is playing as our trepid heroes wait for the chance to escape behind the stacked bodies of dead cops. Carl figures he's dead too, since the baddies will assume he knows about Logan's treachery. So, he's coming with.

Still no sign that Carl is worried about his wife. Nice going, Carl. Perhaps you deserve to die after all.

Jack tells Wayne and Carl, "when we leave the bank, you break left. I'll fake it to Timmy and you run a post pattern. Ready, on two."

Henderson is *still* driving around. Where is he going? Jack went from the motel to Carl's house and then to the bank in less time it would've taken Henderson to go directly from the motel to the bank. He calls someone named Cooper. (Dale Cooper?) He asks for a status report.

Just about that time, the cops, and then the military, arrive. There is a fierce gunfight. Good cops die. All for Jack.

Jack and Wayne and Carl make it to a cop car. (Why was it parked so close to Jack's position? It would've had to have got by the baddies, since they were set up outside the bank.)

They drive off, bullets bouncing off this apparently bulletproof cop car.

Alas, Carl is dead. And Wifey, still tied up at home, will receive some bad news if and when Jack ever remembers he left her there.

Jack calls Audrey and says he has the tape.

This wacky episode ends with the clocks at :60 to :56.

And now, once again, here is guest critic Paul Foth. If you recall, I revealed he was a German intelligence agent. Paul disclosed he was gone the past couple weeks because he was on a mission. He was a little upset with me. Here's the email he sent.

Kouba. Wo ist die WET liste? Du versprochen, und--oh, dear me. Forgot the MI-6 training. Right-o, look, old chap, ruddy bad show, you programming my Shakira CD to explode. Be a good lad and give us another copy, would you? We're on the same side now, after all. Pip pip. Cheerio. Schweinhund.

See if I ever deposit anything at THAT bank again.

Kiefer just signed on for another three years. Can we take it? Has there been any progress in building iron-lined stomachs? Has anyone invented a television that can withstand multiple bricks being thrown at its screen? And from the story's point of view, is anyone else currently on the show going to last that long? Kim is the only other character still around who was in the first season, but she didn't show up at all last season, and this season put in only a courtesy appearance.

But on to last night's episode. Henderson is this season's Marwan. He keeps escaping and escaping and escaping. And escaping again. His escape at the end of last episode/beginning of this one was from the abandoned foundry/factory/whatever where Wayne Palmer bagged his first human, raised his fists and said, "Now I am a man!" Henderson disappeared. CTU knew where he was, Jack saw the vehicle he drove off in, saw the direction he went, and told CTU the second he left. Could they track him with a satellite? Nope.

Now flash forward about half an hour. Audrey sticks the tracking device that had been on her car onto a maintenance truck from the power company--which for some inexplicable reason has special dispensation to be out fixing power lines while the rest of LA is locked down under military curfew (and why's the gas station open, anyway?)--and gets a lead time of several minutes before her deception is discovered. Homeland Security doesn't know where she is, doesn't know where she's going. Can they track her with a satellite? No problem.

Once again, we see that the technology on this show doesn't operate within the bounds of logic, or even self-consistency, but rather of dramatic convenience. And it looks like Chloe's garbling of the satellite signal (which she apparently accomplished by running GARBLE.SIGNAL.EXE) will be the foundation of Renfield--I mean, Miles--relieving her of her job next week. Why do I keep watching? Because it's going to feel so good when the season is over and I can stop.

Henderson is a Level 26 technomage, like most of the lead villains in this show. One of his nameless (and faceless, since we only hear the guy's voice) minions alerts him to Evelyn's whereabouts WHILE AMY IS STILL MAKING THE 911 CALL. What the? There's software out there that can scan the entire emergency phone network of Los Angeles, pick one name out of who knows how many simultaneous calls, alert some flunky, and patch him in to the operator's workstation, all while the call in question is still in progress?

Here's an idea, although I'm sure it's one plenty of other people have: This show is the 21st-century equivalent of a lot of 1950s science fiction films. Back then, all those giant radioactive ants (Them) or shrews (The Killer
Shrews) or even pillars of rock (The Monolith Monsters) could be seen as metaphors for godless commie hordes marching over the land. Today, we've got the war on terror, and 24 encapsulates our fears with magical ubervillains who can call up any building plan, tap any phone call, track any car, launch any attack with complete impunity, while America's response drowns in a sea of inter-agency bickering and backbiting. Only Jack Bauer can save us, because he is our messiah. He even rose from the dead a few seasons back to prove it.

This show was set to premier in the fall of 2001, but was delayed a bit because of 9/11. Is it reasonable to say that had 9/11 not happened, 24 wouldn't have become the hit it is, that it would have been lucky to last its first season? Maybe that's an overly-cynical interpretation, but I can't help thinking there's at least a kernel of truth to it. Playing on communal fear is one sure way to get the unwashed masses to look right past a whole lot of hooey. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Number of times Jack says "Now!": 18
Number of times Jack says "No!": 8
Number of times a "protocol" is mentioned: 34
Number of times someone says a variation of "Go!": 25
Number of moles: 4
Approximate Body Count: 83 (plus three rats, plus one human nerve gas guinea pig, plus 11 in the mall food court (and no, not from food poisoning), plus one security camera, plus 56 in CTU)

<-10:00 PM - 11:00 PM 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM ->


  • At Tue Apr 11, 01:43:00 PM, Chris said…

    That's it! This show needs Warren Oates! He's not really blowed up, he only went home.

    On a serious note, I like Paul's explanation of the show and it's appeal. I know I started watching it because Jack didn't care about PROTOCOLS but about keeping this country safe. The writers might be crackhead methfreaks, but they've hit a nerve, and they're going to keep grinding on it. The show does have a lot of the goofy appeal of low-budget sci-fi from the golden era. Damn the plot holes, full steam ahead!

  • At Tue Apr 11, 02:51:00 PM, Anonymous said…

    Jeff, I think in "crackplot" you have summed up 24 in one word. Course that didn't stop you from delivering thousands more (well-written as always).

    As usual (lately) the ep was filled with plot holes big enough to sneak another 20 canisters of nerve gas through (please Lord no), but the action and acting was cool. None of it makes a lick of sense, but it's fun to watch.

    And next week looks like more of the same...but I'll still be sitting there at 7:59 waiting for the clock to start ticking again (in both universes!)

    Bob (posting from an undisclosed location--near a bank safety deposit vault which I magically rented just this morning.)

  • At Tue Apr 11, 03:42:00 PM, Jeff said…

    I agree, Bob, as goofy as it can be, it is still great fun to watch. Nothing else quite like it on tv.

    And Chris, full steam ahead?! You've turned a corner!

  • At Wed Apr 12, 01:25:00 PM, Chris said…

    Well, we are gettin' some more of that thar ee-lectricity in here. God bless the TVA.

  • At Fri Apr 14, 07:50:00 AM, The Man said…

    The Rolling Stone article with Jack Bauer, he mentions that he heard college kids would drink each time he said "damn it". So he said it 17 times in one episode as a joke.

  • At Fri Apr 14, 10:04:00 AM, Jeff said…

    Eel-ectricity? You've got jumper cables hooked up to some slimy water snake?

  • At Fri Apr 14, 10:06:00 AM, Jeff said…

    Yeah, there was an episode recently where Jack did cuss a bit more than usual. Funny, if it was deliberate.

  • At Thu Jun 28, 03:30:00 PM, ramil sobti said…

    awesome post....dude...u gotta rokin sense f humor...


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