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Commentary on April 12's "24" (Day 8, 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.)

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Jack Bauer faces a grim moment in "24."Yikes! Another brutal episode! And yes, brutal = good. Boy, our man Jack can’t catch a break. These episodes were filmed before the official announcement that this season would be 24’s final one, yet you get the sense that everyone knew the situation at the time. We’re in the “final hours” (as FOX’s promos now like to say), which means just about anything can happen. And it was great to see Gregory Itzin return as skuzzy President Charles Logan. Hopefully, he’ll have a more significant role here than he did in the “What the hell…?” nonsense that was the horrible Velcro Season (Day 6). As always, spoilers abound:

  • President Taylor talks to a depressed Jack on the phone. She cheers him up (NOT!) by telling him that with Hassan’s death, the peace deal is kaput. Jack pleads with her to find a way, but she regretfully says, “These delegates have been up for 18 hours straight. They’ve been evacuated from the UN, put back in the UN, shuffled from meeting to meeting, not allowed to use the bathroom because this is 24, and most of them haven’t had one line of dialogue. They’re grumpy, Jack. If I don’t soothe their feelings with genuine New York bagels and lox this morning, they’ll be all over me! You think YOU got problems?”
  • In the four minutes since CTU raided the secret terrorist location and shot up Samir and his guys, a Russian agent has managed to infiltrate the paramedic squad and, under the ever-vigilant (once again, NOT!) gaze of Freddie Prinze Jr., he injects the unconscious Samir with Lethal Plot Development.
  • The assassin, Pavel, speaks to Russian delegate Novascotia. Ah ha, those sneaky Russians are at it again! The Russians apparently want the peace agreement to collapse. (Does anyone actually know what this peace agreement will DO, by the way? Force disarmament? Recognize Israel? Open a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in the Fake Nation of Kamistan?) Pavel thinks Renee recognized him. He’s trailing the cab with Renee and Jack Bauer. “Jack Bauer?” repeats Novascotia with some dread. Everybody knows and fears Jack Bauer!
  • President Taylor and Kamistan diplomat Jamot encourage Dalia to replace her hubby as President of Kamistan. It’s the only way to save the peace conference and Hassan’s legacy. Dalia tries to protest: “I can’t go against the Kamistan Constitution – it has a clear line of succession! Unfortunately, it was written on Post-It Notes that my husband misplaced in his hair last week. So yes, I’ll do it.”
  • Chief of Staff Tim Woods calls Chloe and gives her the news that many 24 fans have been waiting for: She’s the new head of CTU! Hunchback Hastings has rung his last bell. Congratulations, Chloe. It only took seven years, right? I was going to suggest that her first order of business be to install Starbucks in the CTU galley, but there’s already a Starbuck in the holding area, so no big rush.
  • Hey, Dalia and Chloe got promoted this week. Girl Power on 24!
  • Hunchback Hastings accepts his dismissal stoically. He tells Chloe, “After all, I was the one who recruited Starbuck into CTU. I should’ve known something was fishy when I saw that her driver’s license was written on a Post-It Note, but I figured that if it was good enough for the Kamistan Constitution, it was good enough for the Motor Vehicles Department. Now, come on, I have to review protocols with you. Protocol 1: One entrance to CTU must be left unguarded at all times. Protocol 2: Your word is law at CTU, unless Jack Bauer says otherwise. Protocol 3: When filling positions for data analysts, blindly hire the tenth person at random. Protocol 4…”
  • We’re back at Jack Bauer’s swinging bachelor pad! Renee tells Jack, “That stuff you said about us being together and replacing Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper as coaches on The Biggest Loser … I’m not going to hold you to that.” Jack responds by kissing her! Commence the sweet lovin’! Wow, Jack is actually getting some nookie! A24 taboo … shattered!
  • Of course, this raises the huge question: Will Jack and Renee’s lovin’ be in real time? Hang in there, Jack!
  • Chloe faces her first crisis: Samir goes into cardiac arrest in the CTU clinic, a.k.a. the Temple of Doom. He dies. Chloe angrily bosses around Freddie Prinze Jr., which makes me happy. Frightened Mannequin Face!
  • Novascotia tells President Taylor that Russia is still backing out of the peace accord, even with Dalia’s involvement. The Prez seeks advice from a recovering Ethan, who reportedly just had a blockage near his heart removed. (A doctor friend of Judy points out that such blockages are removed via a probe inserted near the, ah, nether regions. “No way is he sitting up! If he JUST had a blockage removed, he’s flat on his back with a sandbag on his groin!!” I can’t top that. Coincidentally, “sandbag on the groin” was Test #17 on the late President Hassan’s Post-It Note Treatises, “How to select a Kamistan supreme court justice.”)
  • Ethan calls her “Allison”! Whoa there, Tex! That’s the Prez you’re talking to! He’ll be First Dude for sure.
  • Anyway, at his recommendation, she agrees to meet with disgraced former President Logan, who we learn had been pardoned by previous President Jim Jones. It’s the Battle of the Blue-Eyed Presidents as Taylor and Logan square off. Supposedly, Logan has an “in” with the Russians – something that will convince Novascotia to rejoin the peace accord. Confronted by Taylor’s disdain, he defends his past, but she counters, “You tried to cover up your role in the assassination of the Best Fake President Ever!” He nods, “Okay, yeah, if you’re going to be picky about it….” He says he wants a chance to do some good, and she reluctantly agrees, aware that she’s out of options.
  • Jack and Renee enjoy some post-sex snuggling. It’s been about 20 minutes! That’s fair! Jack says he’ll go get some water from the kitchen. WHA-A-A-T?!? Jack will… drink? Another 24 taboo about to be shattered?
  • Fortunately, no! Renee is shot by Pavel the Sniper! Jack dives to the floor and tells the audience, “Say it with me, dammit! Sniper no sniping! Sniper no sniping!! Sniper NOOO SNIPING!!!” (Non-parents out there, just roll with it.)
  • Jack carries Renee down the stairs and finds a cabbie in New York willing to take a profusely bleeding woman in a bedsheet. The taxi driver dodges mondo traffic to get to St. Fictitious Hospital. If all of Manhattan is still under lockdown, is everyone in New York just driving around aimlessly?
  • New boss Chloe tells Arlo to check his drones and get footage of the area around Jack’s building. Arlo asks, “Why would anyone shoot Renee?” “I don’t have time for your stupid questions, Arlo! Do your Big Brothery job, dammit!”
  • Renee is rushed into surgery. Chloe calls Jack, who tells her that Renee is in bad shape. Chloe says the shooter got away (way to go, CTU!) but she mentions that Renee may have recognized the fake paramedic from her days in the Russian mob. The doctor emerges from surgery – Renee didn’t make it. Jack staggers into the OR, kisses Renee’s forehead, and crumbles in tears. Destroyed are his dreams of His & Her Tasers from Tiffany’s.
  • Another shocking death. Plus a silent countdown – for the second consecutive week! Wow.
  • Next Week: “This isn’t about revenge. It’s about justice!” And President Logan sounds EEEEvil.

One more thing: While I was typing this, a behind-the-scenes interview popped up on EW.com, discussing last night’s events. My favorite part: Was Kiefer involved in the discussion about Jack’s, um, duration? “Yes, he was.”

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