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: 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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