24 7.16: It’s a rat trap, Judy, and we’ve been caught

Tonight’s episode of “24” is the first one I can remember that didn’t have a ‘B’ story. I guess the ‘B’ story was Madame Prez’s boneheaded decision to appoint First Succubus Hillary Clinton as her temporary Chief of Staff until they find a replacement, but since that move won’t yield any (rotten) fruit until next week, it hardly counts as a subplot. Nope, tonight was all about the Feds getting their ducks in a row so they can keep Starkwood Country Club from committing the country’s most heinous act of treason since “24” parent company Fox released “From Justin to Kelly” in 2003. And it was all going so smoothly, too. Hey, the good guys are gonna win this time!

Uh, not quite. You have to admit, though, the amateur one-act play between Jonas Brother and Jonas Jr. was good for a laugh, right? Come on, there is no way Jonas Jr. — who looks like he could be the son of President Charles “Buck Buck Brawwwwwwk!” Logan — is going to speak of destroying the weapons in front of Tony, nuh-uh. And in any other episode in the history of “24,” Tony doesn’t fall for that ruse. Instead, he waits until the President is about to sign the immunity agreement and says, “Stop,” then beats the shit out of Jonas Jr. for an hour and a half. You know that Carlos Bernard read the script for this week’s episode and said, “Noooooooooooooooooooooo!” And to make matters worse, he’s probably going to die before the season’s over (just a hunch, that’s not based on any gossip), and for this to be one of his last acts would just be wrong. Tony should go out like Bill Buchanan, only bigger. AK-47 in one hand, flamethrower in the other, while snorting coke off a stripper’s ass. Make it happen, guys.

“Everything’s in place, boss.” “Thanks, lackey. You know I crap bigger than you, right?”

On the plus side, my wish to see Kiefer Sutherland do some Serious Acting is about to come true. It turns out that, shocker, Jack’s tested positive for the Starkwood bioweapon, which sounds like an accelerated strain of Mad Cow Disease. And there’s no cure, dunt dunt duuuuunh. Why was I tempted to laugh at Jacqueline’s single solitary tear when she heard the news? I believe that she is truly broken up about this, but she needs to remember that this is Jack freaking Bauer we’re talking about here. He’s not going to let some stinking virus take him down. Instead, he’ll go undercover as a smaller virus, infiltrate the Mad Cow virus, and roundhouse kick it until it leaves his body. And anyway, Sutherland begins shooting the next season of “24” in April, and I don’t think they’re pulling a Patrick Duffy to make that work. Man, does anyone under 30 even get that reference? God, I’m old.

I have to admit, even though I knew full well that the warehouse Dudley Do-Right and his merry men raided at episode’s end would be empty, I liked the Americans vs. Americans standoff, a la “The Rock.” I saw the guys on the roof, and immediately heard Ed Harris’ voice in my head. “Your unit is covered from an elevated position, Commander.” Still, the fact that Starkwood set up the Feds like this — is Jonas Jr.’s immunity agreement still binding if he lied through his teeth in order to get it? — has to be a dead giveaway that the real bioweapon is on the complete opposite end of the compound, right? Hell, I did that move in Stratego 30 years ago. Build a wall of bombs, take out a bunch of my opponent’s highest ranking men, and then when he came in with the miner (he was the 8 then; he’s the 3 now) to capture my flag, he’d realize that I was protecting…a 7, pow. Meanwhile, my flag would be in the opposite corner, guarded by one bomb and my 1. It was dangerous, but it was incredibly effective. Just sayin’, guys. If the Feds don’t know where the mad cows are with Starkwood’s bait-and-switch, then God help us all.

Next week (Mr. Paulsen, you may turn your eyes away now if you do not wish to see my “spoilers”): Hillary Clinton sleeps with her TV contact in order to get him to bury a story? In what universe is that the right play? Even if she gets her comeuppance at season’s end and goes to jail, it won’t be enough. She needs to die a slow death. I’m thinking flesh-eating beetles.

  

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