24 7.14: And you will know us by the trail of dead

Terrorism, thy name is Starkwood. Sounds more like a country club, doesn’t it?

With ten hours to go, “24” finally gives up the name and occupation of Jonas Brother’s company, and I feel like a complete idiot for not guessing that they were a private army. What other organization would have a trained killer like Quinn on payroll, not to mention do business with the Butcher of Sangala? God, it was right there in front of me. (*slaps forehead*)

I like how they’re writing characters’ absences from the screen with the ‘put ’em in holding’ trick. Chloe is finally sprung from the writers’ purgatory – and sorry, babe, but if we were Morris, we would have given up Jack’s location in order to secure your freedom too – but now Jacqueline is being put away for aiding Jack in acquiring Quinn’s identity and giving him Senator Dumbass’ address. I was a bit puzzled, though, that Jackie has better hacking skills than Janis, but I’m sure that’s just me.

“Tell me, Dudley, have you been in a ‘Saw’ movie? Then you don’t really know the meaning of the word ‘terror,’ now, do you?”

Chloe wasn’t the only character sprung from ‘holding’ this week. Tony’s back in play after Jack calls him and gives him orders to assemble a bunch of gear and meet at Alexandria Port to stop Starkwood from acquiring their Candyman-tested bio weapon. God help the show if Jack and Tony try to take Starkwood down – a private military, mind you – by themselves. Come on, really? I know that Jack looks guilty as sin right now after he was the last person seen in the company of Dumbasses Senator and Lil (a moment of silence for the former, please), but the first thing he should do after hanging up with Tony is call Dudley Do-Right, and explain everything to him. “Larry, bomb, Starkwood, Alexandria Port. See you in 20 minutes.” That should do it, right? The Feds see what’s going down, problem solved. Ah, who am I kidding, that makes too much sense. I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Tony’s in bed with Starkwood, that his connection to them is just one of those “bad things” he alluded to earlier. I hope that isn’t the case, but we do have ten more hours left. Lots of time for an obstacle or three.

How, exactly, did Quinn get to Senator Dumbass’ house ahead of the police? Were we supposed to think that he got there by monitoring the police band, or was he already planning on killing the Senator as a means of covering their tracks? For their sake, I hope it’s the latter.

And even though we got a glimpse of what mayhem Jonas Brother has planned, it turns out that the show’s deadliest character is in the freaking White House, baby! The ink is still wet on the paperwork that brought the First Daughter onto her mother’s staff, and Olivia has already set Ethan up to take the fall for Lil Dumbass’ death and Jack’s subsequent escape from custody. Kitten doesn’t just have claws; she has machetes. The pieces are clearly in place for Olivia to be the new Sherry Palmer, though at present, Olivia isn’t nearly as interesting (or fun) as Sherry was. But let’s get to the important part: we have a female character who a) resides in the White House, b) has no ethical standards, and c) will lie to anyone and everyone if it meets her needs. Gosh, her ideal nickname seems too obvious, doesn’t it? Do I dare christen her Hillary Clinton?

  

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24 7.13: Ask not for whom the silent clock ticks…

…it ticks for Bill Buchanan.

Even stranger, I had a thought earlier today that Bill might die in tonight’s episode. It just seemed to be floating out there, as if Death itself was taunting me with the knowledge that life goes on within you and without you. Thankfully, 4B’s death was far more honorable than the one that I feared, which is that he would die on his knees at the hands of Candyman as retaliation for misleading them with Madame Prez’s tracker. Instead, they saved the meaningless death for a red shirt character. As it should be.

Jack Bauer must have read what I wrote last week about how anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice, because he offered an on-screen retort that anything worth shooting is in fact worth shooting five times. And seriously, how dumb is Candyman? Jack has his gun up and ready, and Candyman still thinks he can reach for his gun, aim, and fire in less time than it will take Jack to pull the trigger? Also, Jack emptied all of those shots in Candyman’s torso. Was he not wearing a bullet-proof vest? To a siege on the White House? ‘Cause I know that whenever I raid the White House, I wear Kevlar. Maybe it all goes in line with the reasoning that Candyman never intended to walk out of the White House alive since, if the Feds didn’t take him down, Jonas Brother certainly would.

Go with God, Big Balls Bill.

And speaking of Jonas Brother, he is already my favorite villain in the history of “24.” I love how calm and absolutely fearless he is, and most importantly, how much he seems to be enjoying what he’s doing. When they send the spook to kill Senator Dumbass’ weasel assistant, Jonas asks his assistant which spook they sent. “Quinn,” his aide replies. Jonas raises his brow and very casually observes, “Quinn’s good. Bauer’s good.” He was savoring the match-up! Even better was after Quinn killed Lil Dumbass and the next phase of their plan was back on track. “Now we’re having fun,” he said. Couldn’t agree more. Genius casting on the part of the producers to get Jon Voight to play Jonas. I hope he gets an Emmy for his troubles.

The one character who developed overnight – man, I sound like I’m talking about a teenage girl, which will make sense in a second – is Olivia Taylor. Holy cow, what a back story. Fired from her mother’s staff after trying to sabotage her run for office? That’s a therapist’s wet dream, right there. For the moment, it looks as though this near-death experience has realigned her priorities, and the new target of her unbridled rage is Warden Norton for being too stupid to see that the entire government has been corrupted on his watch. Help me out, readers. Olivia needs a nickname, something that expresses both her rage (or lust for vengeance) and her tendency to act like a sullen teen.

Our sullen teen also worked a little “24” history into the conversation during her chat with Old Yeller. She not so subtly asked him about the former First Lady of Crazy, and the phrasing of it suggested that she’s dead. Old Yeller responded with a terse “I’d rather not talk about it,” but I hope they resolve this long-dangling thread. The last we saw FLOC and her ex-husband, President Buck Buck Brawwwwwwk, he was flatlining in an ambulance after she stabbed him. I need closure, damn it. (*takes drink*)

Lastly, I must give props to Dudley Do-Right for playing the role of in-house foil so gamely. He is an endless source of what our fellow blogger John Paulsen likes to call manufactured conflict, but amazingly, the way that things played out this week, his actions created all kinds of conflict, but did not feel forced. He began by telling the Vice President to grow a pair and authorized the attack on Candyman’s men himself – God, I hope that Madame Prez rips Vice President Billy Bob Thornton’s nuts off the next time she speaks with him – and then he suspended Jacqueline Bauer for insubordination after she refused to abandon the idea that Jack could get Lil Dumbass to talk, and went over Dudley’s head to get it done. One act may contradict the other, since he’s suspending Jackie for disobeying a direct order while he saved the day by disobeying another, but neither seemed out of character. He just wants to protect the President, and I think this will ultimately prove to be what puts Jack and Dudley on the same page, where DDR finally “gets it” and understands that they’re fighting the same battle in different ways. Hopefully, it won’t end in a debate over which one can be the other’s wingman, followed by a Kenny Loggins song.

  

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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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