George Harrison: “Hey guys, don’t mind me. I’m just going to slip behind this pillar to make a private phone call right in the middle of an emergency evacuation.”
Moscow Mike: “Hey guys, don’t mind me. I’m just going to speak on the phone in my native Russian accent shortly after replacing another cop on U.N. security detail.”

Jesus.

Seriously, have these people heard of text messaging? Are they worried about lingering evidence? If you’re willing to call an assassin on your phone, there’s no reason to be bashful about texting. It would have looked a lot less conspicuous for both parties. “Slumdog in 3rd car. Make boom boom.” Problem solved, and he wouldn’t have to hide behind a pillar to do it.

All right, Rule #1 for home invasions: if someone is willing to shoot your wife in the leg as the first step in the “I’m not fucking around” dance that captors and hostages take, you can safely assume that neither you nor your wife is going to live through said encounter. So why not die with your boots on? I understand the cop’s desire to protect his now-crippled wife, but he lost me the second that the phone rang, and Moscow Mike looked away to the phone…and the cop didn’t take Mike’s gun and shoot him with it. He had a good second and a half. That may not sound like much, but in TV time, it’s an eternity. It goes even slower for the viewers. Any cop worth a damn would have made a move for the gun.

Which is why, while I knew that Buffy was putting his life in grave danger by entering that evacuated building looking for Moscow Mike – and sure enough, Mike got the drop on him, but inexplicably did not shoot him in the head on sight – I was thrilled to see Buffy not make the same mistake as the cop in Queens. He knew he was doing to die either way, but if he had a chance to stop the assassin, it would be worth it. As it turned out, Jack was there to take Moscow Mike down, though I’m still a little perplexed how he was able to shoot Mike twice in the back without hitting Buffy. There were exit wounds in Mike’s chest, and from what I could tell, it looked as though any pass-through bullet would have gladly made a home in Buffy’s flesh. But still, major props to Buffy for being willing to die for the cause.

As for the vengeful cop that tied up Jack as retaliation for the dead cop and his wife: ha ha ha ha ha ha! I know you needed something to keep Jack from getting to Buffy sooner, but that was just silly. You know what would be a perfectly reasonable way to delay Jack from arriving somewhere on time? Traffic. New York has a lot of it, not that you would know from these first four episodes.

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“You can tell from the state of my room that they let me out too soon.”

Holy fucking shit, what has happened with Jacqueline Bauer? She’s positively unhinged, pulling stunts that rival Jack at his most unstable. Remember when he shot the federal witness and cut off his head to use as currency to infiltrate a weapons gang? That actually pales in comparison to what Renee pulls here. Cutting off a guy’s thumb while he was still conscious? The girl has issues, to say the least…and I love it. It’s like Jack being partnered with himself – his dark, evil self. I’m sure we’ll reach a point where Jack has to pull a gun on Jacqueline and tell her she’s Gone Too Far. But for now, I am totally loving Crazy Jackie.

Likewise, I’m loving Slumdog President, too. He isn’t at all predictable, or perhaps more accurately, he’s not playing the stereotypical slimy politician game. Of course, we still have 20 hours to go, which means there are surely some skeletons that George Harrison will gladly hurl out of the closet in order to buy either time or leverage. I’m not sure what those skeletons would be worth to the Russians – they just want George’s money – but we’ll see. It’s nice to see David Anders, a.k.a. Sark from “Alias,” on the show. Hopefully he gets to do a little more than say “Yes, sir” to the big baddie.

Oh, and I love scenes of empty restaurants at 7:00. How very “Godfather” of them. And for the record, a guy stashed away in a meat locker with the sniffles is not irrefutable proof of the possession of nuclear weapons. What a gulli-bull.

On the Starbuck front, her blackmailer Kevin dropped a line about seven years of hard time. Did he do jail time for a crime that she committed? And even if he did, he’s the convicted felon, not her, and the law favors the innocent, or at the very least those without criminal records. One anonymous call to the police should take care of him, yes? I mean, if she’s willing to work for the government despite being an alleged fugitive, why would she be afraid of the police? And doesn’t he know how bad it looks that he’s been caught on security cameras shaking down a government employee? Just rat the guy out already. He’s wasting time.

Still, for all my complaining, I just love what they’re doing with Renee. It doesn’t speak well for her long-term well-being – I’m thinking she has a tollbooth and a hailstorm of Russian bullets in her future – but it’s good to see that Jack isn’t the only good guy that’s willing to be bad. How has he not proposed to her by now? She completes you, Jack.

As for the blog’s title, Placebo, take it away.