24: Redemption: Escape 2 Africa

Somebody on the “24” staff is clearly a music fan. The first sign of this was when a sinister corporation was named McLennan & Foster, after the leaders of the late, great Go-Betweens. (A moment of silence, please, for Grant McLennan, who passed away in 2005. Thank you.) In “24: Redemption,” tonight’s bridge episode between Day 6 and the long-gestating Day 7, the President-elect’s son is named Roger Taylor (double word score, as the drummers for both Queen and Duran Duran share that name), and Roger’s trader friend is named Chris Whitley. You’ll appreciate the irony of that one later. And now that we think about the music references, this might explain why Jon Voight’s evil schemer has the first name of Jonas. Roger’s wife, meanwhile, is named Samantha. Pity her last name isn’t Fox.

Anyway, the story begins in Afrika-ka-ka-ka-ka – hey, if the show’s producers are throwing in musical references, I may as well throw in a shout-out to the Chemical Brothers – where Jack is helping out Carl Benton, a former soldier buddy, run a state-funded school in Sangala as a means of doing penance for his many, many crimes against humanity. The problem is that the brutal Colonel Juma (played by Tony Todd, and henceforth known as Colonel Candyman) is planning a coup, thanks to a generous donation by the aforementioned Jonas brother (Jonas Hodges, technically). Candyman is stealing children and “enlisting” them to fight for him. He catches two kids from Benton’s school and comes a-calling for the rest. Jack had just been served with a subpoena by Frank Tramell (Gil Bellows, sporting a tragic widow’s peak) and was about to go dark again – this is at least his third stop since he left Big Dick Heller’s house at the end of Day 6 – when the Colonel’s men show up. Benton tells Jack where the dynamite is. Sweeeeet.

I’m gonna blow shit up! Mama said blow shit up!

After singlehandedly killing half of the henchmen sent to abduct the boys, Jack is naturally captured and tortured – the show maintains its one-torture-per-hour requirement, don’t worry – and while that red-hot sword to the ear had to hurt, we were surprised that the guy didn’t just cut off one of Jack’s arms. He was planning to kill him anyway, and even said he would make it as painful as possible. Jack has four limbs, just sayin’. Jack ultimately used two of those limbs to snap the guy’s neck…and they weren’t his arms. I have to learn how to do that.

The most important things to take away from this episode as we head into Day 7 is that newly inaugurated President Allison Taylor has one hell of a mess waiting for her, and it’s quite possible that Senator Roark (outgoing President Noah Daniels for newcomers) is in cahoots with the mysterious Jonas brother, because one of his last Presidential orders was to evacuate Sangala, rather than call in some nearby troops and fight the insurgence. Jonas brother, meanwhile, saw to it that Chris Whitley, the trader assigned to erase Jonas’ ties to Colonel Candyman but suspected something was amiss, was thoroughly examined (read: tortured) and then buried in cement. I will admit that I do not know the real Chris Whitley’s music very well, but he surely deserved a better fictional death than that.

The other thing to remember is that Jack agreed to surrender to authorities in order for the boys in Benton’s school to gain entry into Sangala’s US embassy, which serves as the redemption part of the episode title and the reason that Jack was seen in those teasers a year ago explaining his actions to an indifferent, if not hostile, government committee. Damn paper-pushing bureaucrats. They have no idea what it means to be Jack freaking Bauer. Maybe they’ll get some perspective when they realize that their next supervillain is…Tony Almeida? Whaaaaaa? Yeah, we’re just as curious as you are as to how they explain that. See you in January.

  

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