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Commentary on March 29's "24" (Day 8, 5 a.m. - 6 a.m.)

In case you didn’t hear the news over the weekend, it’s official: This is the last season of 24. It’s a good move, and a good time to end it. The series has started to show its age, and even though it’s bounced back nicely this season, the stretch of bad episodes in February was painful to watch. Next step is a feature film. Kiefer says it’ll be nice to jump around from location to location without being restricted by the real-time format. In fact, they even got a head start on that new format last night, when Jack and Renee traveled from the Brooklyn docks to deep within the U.N. during a three-minute commercial break. Real time, my ass! Still, another excellent episode. As always, spoilers abound:

  • Jack is being tended to by a paramedic, who’s worried that his ribs are broken. Jack barks, “Just super-glue them into place! My mutant healing factor will take care of the rest.”
  • Doesn’t anybody at CTU find it at all strange that Starbuck is constantly walking around with a cell phone in her hand? Have they not yet instituted Jack’s Diagnostic Anti-Mole Network protocols (a.k.a. DAMN!) that would record all cell phone communication within CTU?
  • Chloe is certainly giving her the Evil Eye.
  • Starbuck secretly directs Samir’s cab away from pursuit. “OK, now head down Ninth Avenue. You’ll merge with the other cab traffic.” “Are you insane, Starbuck? Ninth Avenue?!? We just got off the East River, heading crosstown! We’ll be lucky to hit Ninth Avenue by … hey, wait, Scarlett Johansson is on Broadway? She is smoking hot! Tarin, abort the plan immediately and stop at the TKTS booth!”
  • Jack tells Renee that President Taylor wants him to personally supervise the evacuation of President Hassan. He says, “Well, at least it’s better than the time the President asked me to personally supervise her expedition to Victoria’s Secret.” Renee insists on coming with him, and she won’t take no for an answer. Where was THIS Renee a month ago?
  • After beaming over to the United Nations, Jack and Renee meet an attractive Secret Service agent, Molly McHeroicdeath. Jack tells Hassan that they need 10 minutes to clear out the underground tunnel to New Jersey: “Right now, there are a bunch of morning commuters from Jersey trying to sneak into Manhattan for free. Can’t blame them. Can you believe it costs six bucks for the ‘privilege’ of entering Manhattan through the Holland Tunnel? DAMMIT!” “Mr. Bauer, in my country, toll collectors are tortured and fed to baby goats.” “President Hassan, you and I are going to get along just fine.”
  • Samir calls President Taylor and says that he won’t detonate the dirty bomb if she hands over Hassan. She has one hour to decide. Weasel Rob Weiss and General Brucker suggest that she agree in order to save 100,000 lives. President Taylor won’t hear of yielding to terrorist demands. Bravo! “Is that clear?” Yep, that’s clear. So Weiss and Brucker decide to go behind her back. Cool! We now have nearly all the elements for a good “24” season: deadly threat, injury to Jack, attack on CTU, mole, insurrection against the President … the only thing missing is the dramatic return of an old character! (Wait for it….)
  • Brucker and Weiss arrange for a “wet-ops” military team to intercept Jack & Molly’s evacuation group in the tunnel, with orders to kill everyone except Hassan. Weiss cautions that Jack Bauer is one of the people guarding Hassan. Brucker pooh-poohs this information, saying that Jack is no match for his elite team. You’ll eat those words!
  • Ethan Kanin stumbles across their scheming. He surreptitiously calls Jack’s cell phone. (Fortunately, Executive Order #12-44179 is still in effect, which states that all Cabinet members must have Jack Bauer on speed dial.) Brucker stops the call, and Ethan has a heart attack! “I … I just … realized … that Freddie Prinze Jr…. is barely … in this episode … So … happy!” Weiss wants to call 911, but Brucker says, “Wait until Hassan has been taken and Freddie finishes auditioning for his next TV show.”
  • In the tunnel – and about to enter the wet-ops team’s “killzone” – Jack gets suspicious when he tries to call Ethan back and ends up talking to an agitated Weiss – who hangs up on him! Jack thinks, “Hmmm, I’ve been injured, CTU has been attacked, someone is working against us in CTU, what’s missing…? DAMMIT!”
  • There’s a gunfight! A good one! Fortunately for everyone, this incredibly convenient tunnel has dozens of boxes for people to hide behind. Oooh, look, the Ark of the Covenant! Most of the Secret Service agents and Hassan’s guys are taken out. Molly McHeroicdeath tells Jack to get Hassan and his family out of here! “Bonzai!”
  • She buys valuable time for Jack & Crew, but then wussy Kayla hurts her wittle ankle. Boo hoo! Ah, just give her a gun and leave her there to cover your retreat. (It’s the fate I always envisioned for Kim.) But nooo! Jack tosses a gun to Hassan and tells him to get ready to fight. “No worries, Mr. Bauer. My hair is actually a powerful electromagnet, capable of deflecting bullets.”
  • Did I miss something, or did everyone suddenly forget that they had cell phones? Okay, yeah, they’re underground, but Jack just talked to Rob Weiss! Back at CTU, Chloe is upset: “This is the first time I haven’t had Jack under surveillance in 3 years.”
  • Jack, Renee, and Hassan (!) kill most of the remaining commandos. Jack takes one alive for questioning, but there’s NO TIME for nipple-cution! The commando says he was taking orders from General Brucker.
  • After talking to Starbuck, Samir realizes that President Taylor is not going to hand over Hassan, so he calls newly anointed suicide driver Tarin in the van and tells him to start the countdown! “Your name will never be forgotten, my friend,” Samir says. “Well, maybe after a couple of months…” Tarin activates the device! It’s going to detonate in … 15 minutes?! Bah! Make it 2 minutes, then I’ll be worried!
  • Next week: Two hours starting at 8:00! The dramatic return of [SPOILER]! Jack interrogates Starbuck and yells, “Stop messing with me!!!” Can’t wait.

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