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Commentary on March 1's "24" (Day 8, 1 a.m. - 2 a.m.)

Last night’s hour had a quality that’s been missing for a while. I can’t quite put my finger on it… oh, yes! Tension. It had some tension! It also lent credence to Hart’s Theorem: “The quality of a 24 episode is in inverse proportion to the amount of time devoted to a lame-ass subplot.” As always, spoilers abound:

  • Freddie Prinze Jr. continues his character’s metamorphosis from educated CTU agent to Vinnie Barbarino. Way overboard, and a terrible mistake. To paraphrase acting legend Kirk Lazarus, “Everybody knows you never go Full Barbarino.” I half-expected the bloated corpse of Arnold Horschack to rise from the swamp.
  • By the way… SWAMP?!? Did we just have a crossover with CSI: Miami? That would explain a lot.
  • Bluetooth Boob Hastings has been annoying so far, but the way he cut off Rob Weiss with his Thumb-Click of Disdain may have been his shining moment.
  • Jack leads his new team of ridiculously young CTU agents -- including Agent Redshirt, Richard Grieco, and Johnny Depp -- into the field. How long till Agent Redshirt buys it? 15 minutes? 30?
  • President Hassan looks like he’s about to start laughing at President Taylor. Yep, right now, he’s as stable as Lindsay Lohan balancing a tray of Cosmopolitans while standing on Mel Gibson.
  • Oops, Brother Rat Traitor makes a break for it… and is shot! Jack and team arrive several seconds too late, and Brother Rat Traitor dies. Too bad Jack didn’t think to spill some spare stem cells on him.
  • President Taylor holds a teleconference at 1:15 a.m. to ask three people what would happen if a “dirty bomb” went off in midtown Manhattan. The answer: Tens of thousands would die, and the area would be uninhabitable for decades. Well, duh! Yo, lady, did you really need to wake up three people at 1 in the morning to figure that out?
  • Jack suggests planting a fake story that Brother Rat Traitor is still alive, and they’ll wheel the body into a hospital room. Hunchback Hastings calls it a “Hail Mary.” I call it a “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
  • Renee gets another opportunity to be, well, useless and trembling. Jack reassures her, “I wanna be there with you, for you, in therapy with you. We’ll get a house in Wyoming and assault UPS deliverymen. Oh, and we’ll need a room for Chloe.”
  • The Terrorist Band with No Name decides to send a young guy, Marcos, to re-kill Brother Rat Traitor. Marcos is the 24 version of Corey Haim, Suicide Bomber. More ‘80s flashback: His mom is played by Mare Winningham, one of the stars of St. Elmo’s Fire and a bunch of movies that nobody ever saw. Next week, Ally Sheedy appears as an NYPD swamp drainer.
  • Agent Redshirt, meet Corey Haim. And Corey Haim is creeeeeeeepy. He’s got zombie eyes and little vampire teeth. It looks like he’s going to take a bite out of Agent Redshirt.
  • Jack speaks into Agent Redshirt’s earpiece, giving him encouragement and telling him to delay Corey Haim as much as possible. Yep, when you’re expecting to get blown to bits at any second, nothing can calm you down faster than the soothing, dulcet tones of Jack Bauer.
  • Let’s just say I’d pay good money to hear an audiobook of Jack Bauer reading The Wind in the Willows: “Toad saw that he was trapped. They understood him, they saw through him, they had … DAMMIT, TOAD! MOVE IT!”
  • Back at CTU, Chloe and Arlo use an impressive burst of nonsensical technobabble to remotely deactivate Corey Haim’s Acme Explode-A-Vest. Great! Jack tries using his Soothing Voice to take Corey Haim alive. Not so great! Corey Haim jumps out a window! “Dammit! Who put a WINDOW in the hospital room?! Agent Redshirt, why didn’t you grab him?” “Sorry, Mr. Bauer, I was too stunned over the fact that I’m still alive. I must be needed to die heroically in two hours, right after I shave for the very first time.”
  • This may be heresy, but have ANY of Jack’s plans worked this season? Come to think of it, almost no one’s plans have worked! The only successful plan at all is ex-security chief Tarin’s, who in this hour escaped from his guards, made his way to a posh Manhattan hotel, and is enjoying sweet nookie with Kayla. Win!
  • Damn these New York City hospitals, with their conveniently placed oxygen chambers in the, um, basement.
  • Next week: More Mare! Return of the Subplot from Hell! Corey Haim screams that his performance is Dream a Little Dream was not nominated for an Oscar!
  • Dalia: “So, I hear that your boyfriend wants you to wear leopard-print underwear. Did you know that your father owns the company? And is its chief model?” Kayla: “MOM!”

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