24 7.11-12: Hey Madame President, you want some Candy?

As one of last week’s commenters observed, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that I hate “24.” And to be honest, there have been times – and even seasons – when I did. But last week was an aberration in what has overall been the strongest season the show has assembled in ages, maybe ever. The show is always going to have its You Must Suspend Disbelief moments, and I understand that. I find that those YMSD moments are more forgivable when they revolve around timing, rather than when someone behaves completely out of character in order to manufacture a little more conflict. Just wanted to set the record straight for any newcomers to the blog. (*End of editorial*)

And while we’re talking about suspending disbelief, let’s address the most obvious one in tonight’s two-hour episode, and it’s not that a team of soldiers armed to the teeth found a way to infiltrate White House security. The show lives for that kind of conspiracy thriller stuff, and I would hate to see them stop. No, it’s the fact that no one involved in US intelligence had any idea that General Candyman was on US property. Public Enemy #1 is on your back porch, and you didn’t know? Really? Seth Meyers could riff on this for weeks in one of those Weekend Update skits. Like I said in last week’s comment section, how did he avoid detection? Did he float in on a raft? And if Candyman and Ike Turner are both in the States, who on earth is running Sangala? No one, apparently, because the soldiers are all running for the hills, but you’d think that the American soldiers in Sangala would have suspected that something was amiss before they bombed them back to the Stone Age. But hey, I have no military experience, so I don’t know how these things work. All I know is what a college friend and lifelong Army soldier once told me, which is that anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice, something Jack Bauer would wholeheartedly agree with.

Tonight’s episode finally gave us the smackdown we’ve been thirsting for: Chloe O’Brian vs. Janis Gold. And impressively enough, it ended with Janis getting the drop on Chloe, enough to convince Dudley Do-Right to lock up Chloe in holding. Of course, Janis had to work some magic of her own in order to obtain a recording of the phone call that incriminated Chloe, which opens the door to the possibility that Janis might have some secrets of her own. Perhaps Billy Walsh was just a smoke screen, and that he and Janis were both involved in the day’s events, with each unaware of the other’s involvement. That would certainly make for a nice last-minute twist, the type upon which this show thrives.

“So Chloe, are you thinking what I’m thinking” “I was thinking it before you even walked into the room.” “So it’s on?” “Oh, it’s on, bitch.”

The first hour of tonight’s show was just the buildup to the raid, but I thought they did a good job of ratcheting up the tension. I will, though, call two specific things into question: the fact that no one saw the “orderly” kill Ike Turner thanks to the phantom phone call (Ike’s death was not quite the head on a stake that I predicted in Hour 8, but it makes sense given the circumstances), and the fact that Jacqueline Bauer not only jumped onto a boat filled with soldiers, but chose to stay on the boat once she lost both her gun and her cell phone. All together now: Ahhhhhhh hahahahahahaha! Whew, all better. Seriously, that was just silly. Even better was that she walked right by all of their weapons as they sat outside, unguarded, on the boat’s stern. Had she grabbed one of those assault rifles, she could have at worst crippled Candyman’s efforts and at best stopped them entirely. This part of the show brought to you by Steve Winwood’s “Roll with It.”

So Jack knows that Senator Forman’s weasel assistant is the point man to the day’s events, and gets thisclose to getting him to talk (thanks to the threat of paralysis via torture, of course) when security blows the door down, at which point Weasel Boy predictably asks for his attorney and clams up. And sure enough, minutes later the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Interesting that they kill everyone in sight and then, upon capturing Big Balls Bill, decide that they need hostages. Not that I was rooting for Bill’s death, but it would have made more sense, since he was actively trying to mislead them by running off with Madame Prez’s tracker. Even more interesting was Tony’s story about his “contact,” who’s now “dead.” Are we all in agreement that Tony is the source, and is feeding Jack intel out of atonement for the bad things he’s done/is about to do? Even more curious was the conversation between the Vice President and one of his lackeys about not looking too eager to see the President get offed. This is surely to distract us from the real problem, which is none other than the retun of Jonas Brother (that’s Jon Voigt’s character, for those who missed my “24: Redemption” blog all those months ago), who sold out President Taylor’s daughter in a nanosecond in order to secure the safety of his mysterious shipment. Jonas Brother is like this season’s First Lady of Crazy: the gift that keeps on giving.

Our episode ends with President Taylor giving herself up so that Candyman doesn’t gouge her daughter’s eyes (though Old Yeller takes another bullet protecting said daughter, the poor bastard), and Jack utters the words that will make at least one loyal follower of this blog giddy: “I have a daughter.” Of course, what he didn’t tell Madame President was that his daughter is likely caught in a bear trap, or a hostage in a Kwik-E-Mart robbery, or something else equally crazy, but I suppose this was neither the time nor the place for details.


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