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Commentary on March 22's "24" (Day 8, 4 a.m. - 5 a.m.)

Stephen Root and Katee Sackhoff in a tense scene from "24."
Stephen Root and Katee Sackhoff in a tense scene from "24."

Another solid episode, with Suicidal Jack Attacks, craziness at CTU, lots and lots of Chloe, and a wild twist that was probably made up by desperate, over-caffeinated writers the night before, but I loved it anyway. One negative thing that stands out: Can't they find something more useful for Anil Kapoor to do? He's clearly a good actor, but damn, as President Hassan, his big scenes have consisted of obsessively staring at file folders and looking angsty. On the plus side, compare this to Freddie Prinze Jr., who obsessively angsts and looks like a file folder. As always, spoilers abound:

  • Jack calls his buddy Phil at the NSA. The NSA's New York office has -- shock! -- drywall and -- the horror! -- laptops instead of CTU's super-duper glass walls and 35-foot-wide wall screens, but somehow they still get the job done. Bravo! In less than 2 seconds, Phil is able to shut down all bridge and tunnel traffic throughout Manhattan. And Hunchback Hastings has a job... why again?
  • Jack and Freddie Prinze Jr. realize that the only access to Manhattan is now across the East River. Oh, is THAT all? Good thing you narrowed th-- wait, what's this? Jack and Freddie have stumbled upon the terrorists along the miles-long stretch of riverfront?! Why, it's a springtime miracle!
  • Oh, better still, Jack and Freddie have brought Agent Redshirt (still alive!) and his pal, Agent Twitchy, who reminds me of ESPN's Kenny Mayne. That doesn't bode well.
  • Jack momentarily hands control of the CTU van to Lindsay Lohan. Bad move.
  • With the terrorists jamming all communications (don't ask), Jack figures the only way to contact the authorities is to use the one remaining phone stand in New York City that hasn't been vandalized. Couldn't you just shoot off a surface-to-air missile? That would get attention.
  • Bluetooth Boob Hastings welcomes NSA Agent Frank Stikupisbutt and his team, there to get CTU up and running. Frank pooh-poohs Chloe's wild ideas for a shortcut. To repeat from last week: "The first-most important lesson is: CHLOE IS ALWAYS RIGHT."
  • Chloe, rebuffed and worried about Jack, calls up Renee, who is -- huzzah! -- waiting in Jack's apartment! Renee says she's feeling better: "Jack forgot about this guy he tied up to the fire escape six months ago. I tasered and beat the crap out of him. What's up?" Chloe: "Oh, nothing, Jack's in danger again. Can you help? I'll say anything to keep you out of my Jack's bedroom, bitch." "WHAT did you say, Chloe?!?" "I said, 'Can you help? I've got to reboot the CTU servers with a backup switch." "Oh."
  • Bonus points to Renee for ditching her distressing brand of Goth makeup, Shades of Wussiness. Lack of psychotic blubbering makes Renee look hot again. Imagine that!
  • Starbuck finds Bill Prady, who has been stuck in a poorly run Vampire LARP game for the past 20 minutes. She says, "Golly gee whiz, the EMP erased everything, including that potentially incriminating NYPD video. Darn it." I liked her better when she was beating the frak out of Apollo.
  • By the way, did anybody else think that Frank Stikupisbutt was a spy? He sure seemed eager to keep Chloe away from the servers....
  • But as it turns out, he's just a jerk. Chloe puts it simply, "You’re probably an OK guy when you’re not at work” -- just as she points a gun at him! Go, Chloe! She will never let Jack fight alone, even if the dumb lug never knows it.
  • Jack, Freddie, Redshirt, and Agent Shifty pull apart the van's armor plating and do an armor-plated duck walk through the gauntlet of sniper fire. Slow and steady wins the race! But Agent Shifty gets nervous and starts moving faster. Jack yells, "Agent Shifty! Move slowly, dammit! Maintain the phalanx! Didn't you see 300? And Freddie Prinze, I swear if you don't emote, I will Put You Down!"
  • Shifty gets hit! Agent Redshirt says, "It's my turn!" Finally!
  • President Hassan and Dalia have an emotional reunion with Kayla, who says, "Oh, Father! You were right about Tarin! He was a bad, bad man, and he knew about Move #23, the one with the headboard, just like you said."
  • Hunchback Hastings actually listens to Chloe? Wow, there's some hope for the doofus yet. He's then informed that a probation officer named Bill Prady wants to see him. Starbuck looks stricken! I'm stricken, too -- there's a nuclear terrorist threat, the building is still without power, yet Hastings will take a few minutes to talk to a dinky probation officer at 4:30 a.m.? I think not! Danger, Will Robinson! Crazy Subplot careening out of control!
  • Jack sacrifices himself to give Freddie time to make the call. Unfortunately, Freddie uses the phone to vote for Pamela Anderson on Dancing with the Stars. This is followed by very cool shots of Jack spinning around, falling down, and reciting Gilbert & Sullivan while still killing terrorists. This man is NOT ready to retire!
  • Renee comes to the rescue. She rushes over to the injured Jack and says, "Easy, Jack. You have a collapsed lung. Based on standard 24 healing, you'll be out of action for 90 seconds."
  • Best line of the night: When Hastings tries to thank Chloe for her great work in getting power restored, Chloe bluntly cuts him off. "I'm not good with praise." Brilliant.
  • Starbuck goes all Hannibal Lecter on Bill Prady! He crosses his arms and pretends to be invisible. She says, "I hate LARPing!" then she kills him and stuffs his body in a vent. Wow, she's really gone off ... Noooo! She's calling Samir? She's in league with the terrorists? You mean, she's a ... MOLE?
  • Yay! Utterly ridiculous, and clearly a last-ditch move to validate the Subplot From Hell. But I'm still happy! We needed a mole, and now that Starbuck is EEEEEEVIL, she suddenly becomes far more interesting. I'll roll with it!


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