Tag: 24 season 8 episode 1 (Page 1 of 2)

24 8.12: When the lights go out

CTU, apparently, is stationed on Arlington Road.

“24” pulls out an oldie but a goodie this week, as the IRK bad guys – who are remarkably well funded and well connected, even on foreign soil – set up Princess Jasmine to “escape” to CTU…and bring a massive EMP with her. Boom boom pow. Dark is the night for all. Can’t find my way home, etc.

Now, let’s put aside the probability, and even the predictability, of it all for just a second. The cutting back and forth between Jack trying to reach Chloe and the utter chaos at CTU was the most action-packed moment of the season. I mean, they are seriously fucked right now. The radiation sensors are down, and they have no way of getting in touch with, well, anyone. It’s a hell of an ending to the first half of the season.

But is anyone else just a little tired of seeing how easily compromised our nation’s counter-terrorist unit is? First bombs, then nerve gas, and now an EMP. (The previous EMP was set off at McLennan and Forster’s office, thus causing Go-Betweens fans around the world to giggle to themselves.) Honestly, CTU deserves to fail if they can’t come up with fail-safe measures to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Is there really unsecured access to directly below the building? You may as well leave a trail of gasoline, and supply the bad guys with a match.

Likewise, you have to just smile to yourself at the precision timing of Jasmine’s arrival in relation to the gigantic ticking clock in the back seat, that she wasn’t delayed by traffic (hey, even at four in the morning, it can happen in New York), or one of those mad squeegee guys, or simply got lost. That whole watch-your-daughter-die thing couldn’t have been cheap or easy to set up, especially when it is nothing but a smoke screen. Deep breath, Med, deep breath. It’s a TV show. It’s a TV show that asks us to believe that everything happens at the top of the hour. Let it go.

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“I used to own this town. I was Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler, damn it.”

Same with tracking cell phone signals. They use it only when it suits them. Of course, while I was wondering why they didn’t try tracking Jasmine using her cell as tonight’s stuff was going on, the truth is that Slumdog President doesn’t have that ability, and CTU didn’t know she was missing, so I guess they’re covered on that one.

And then there’s Starbuck, who’s doing a Katherine Heigl happy dance (see “The Ugly Truth” if you want to get that reference, or better yet, don’t) now that an EMP just granted her a stay of execution. My prediction for her is that she performs a couple selfless, game-changing acts…and dies protecting the ones she loves. I think we all know she’s not coming back for another season – assuming there is another season, and there is rampant speculation that this may indeed be “24’s” final hour, at least on the small screen – so why not let her go with grace? She gets the sendoff her past-life BSG character deserves, and Cole receives the comfort of knowing that while Dana had secrets, he wasn’t wrong about what kind of person she was.

Which brings us to Jimmy James, Capitalist Liontamer. Last week I was terrified that he was using the parole officer thing as a ruse to continue the con in the event that Kevin failed, but on the surface, it looks as though that he’s a legit good guy…or possibly the ballsiest con man in the history of the world. He said he had a friend on the force, but all of the evidence that he hit Starbuck with – the phone calls, the storage locker break-in, the mangled cop – could very easily have been provided by Kevin and his wacko friend before they were killed, and Jimmy is just bluffing that Starbuck won’t question the authenticity of whatever that paper he presented her with that demanded access to the security feeds. If he’s a con, then he’s the craziest con ever, because even the good ones stay the hell away from the authorities if they can help it. Doesn’t he know that they have facial recognition software…or at least that they did until Princess Jasmine blew the electronics sky-high? This character might turn out to be my litmus test for “24” going forward. If he turns out to be a con, then I will officially never believe a single thing I see on this show, unless it’s Jack doing it.

Twelve hours down, which means, to use another musical reference, twelve stops and home. (The Feeling. Twelve Stops and Home. All Anglophiles should head to iTunes at once.) New York has not been good to CTU so far, and that’s been while the city was sleeping. It will be very curious to see if the surly commuters are any more accomodating. Considering my brief experience with said people. the answer is a defiant ‘no,’ but who knows, maybe they’ve mellowed out since then. (*Stifles chuckle*)

Tonight’s blog title comes from Naked Eyes’ third Top 40 single – yes, they had more than two hits, and in fact had one more before all was said and done – and even more curiously, this song does not appear on any of the band’s hits compilations. This has always baffled me, as it’s easily one of their best songs, hence the decision to release it as a single. Maybe it was the midgets in the video that embarrass them to this day, who knows. All I know is that I like the song.

24 8.11: We all sleep alone

So much for last year’s declaration that nothing good happens after two in the morning. The scenes in the oxygen chamber were some of the finest in “24” history. The back-and-forth between Marcos and Jack was tight and even, but the final confrontation was money. “If you knew anything about me”…laughed out loud at that line. And that eagle’s stare he shot through the camera would make a desk lamp beg for mercy. “I’ll talk! I’ll talk!”

Are we in agreement that the threat to submit Mare Winningham to radiation poisoning is one of the lowest, meanest tricks Jack’s ever pulled in an interrogation? Of course, that is precisely what made it so awesome. “If you blow yourself up, I’m having your mother clean it up.” Yes.

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“But Tarin, don’t you love me?” “Sure, I do. Like I love Fresca.”

From last week’s comment section:

I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this, but I’m guessing the significance of Princess Jasmine running off is that her beau actually is a bad guy and the Princess will soon find herself “in great peril.”

Well played, Jamey. He turns out to be exactly right, as head of security Tarin Faroush has in fact been romancing Princess Jasmine as a bargaining chip in case his takeover plans hit a snag. As official blogger of “24,” I frankly feel dumb that I didn’t anticipate this. I should have known from the beginning that her character’s only value was as bait. But once again, we’re in a situation where something could have been resolved a lot quicker with a text message. “She’s not answering her phone.” “Oh, well then leave her another voice mail.” Ugh. Fucking text her already. “CTU just confirmed: boyfriend is bad guy. Run, Lola, run!” I’m no text fiend, mind you, but sometimes, it’s the easiest, quickest way to communicate, and I’m not sure it’s ever been used as a plot point in the show’s history.

Starbuck and Buffy get a well-deserved tongue-lashing from Bubba as they returned to CTU with tails stuck between their legs, but the second Starbuck tries to get down to business, a corrections officer – henceforth known as Jimmy James – that’s tracking Kevin gets Starbuck’s phone number from a Queens hotel room phone. Would it have killed her to say sorry, I’m in the middle of a matter of national security and you, lowly corrections officer, will just have to wait? Doesn’t she realize what a position of authority she has? Jesus, what good is it to have power if you don’t use it once in a while? And Buffy is clearly losing patience with her inability to handle anything that’s thrown at her, however small. In the “Sliding Doors” version in my mind of the 24 hours that take place after this season ends, Buffy kills Starbuck just to shut her the hell up once and for all, but plants a gun on her and uses her criminal past as an alibi to argue that his killing her was self-defense. And there isn’t a jury in the country that would convict him.

Bonus pictureage this week, as I found this rather flattering picture of Crazy Jackie. Wowzers. No wonder someone I know refers to her as Rack Bauer. All right, back to work, people.

The only other story line to receive significant play tonight was how the whereabouts of Princess Jasmine landed Slumdog President and Angry First Wife in the same room again. This is a crucial move for the story in that she really is the only one that he can trust, despite the fact that she doesn’t trust him (or, more appropriately, his penis) any farther than she can throw him. Hopefully, this will not lead to some sappy reconciliation. Mutual respect, sure. But rekindled love, no. It just doesn’t work that way.

So what was Madame President and her staff working on this last hour? Their nails? Their plans to bomb Slumdog’s country back to the Stone Age? A Sudoku puzzle? An out clause in their “24” contracts? Ah, who are we kidding, this is one of the best gigs on television, even if you have to wear the same clothes every single day for the entire season. I would love to see a scene where someone wakes up a president, or an advisor, or anyone for that matter, to deal with a matter of national security at three in the morning. This show has thrived on the understanding that anyone can go 24 hours without sleep, but what it doesn’t take into account is how many hours before the show begins that these characters have gone without sleep. There was a scene early in the show’s run when someone tried to escape Jack’s clutches when he was succumbing to exhaustion, but I don’t recall sleep deprivation ever playing a part in a single story line since then. Unless they include Chloe and Morris’ decision to name their son Prescott. Because that’s a terrible name to give an American kid.

Tonight’s blog title might seem like a big surprise coming from an alt-pop guy like me, but I’m on call to take care of my daughter when she inevitably awakes, which means I need to come up with something quickly…and this Cher song hit me, and actually fits the bill rather well. Marcos thought he was dying for a cause, but in the end, he gave the so-called enemy what they wanted. And if the bomb hadn’t killed him, his comrades would have. As Jack was throwing him in the chamber, he surely knew that he was a pawn and felt a moment of inpalpaple grief, right before being blown into bits. Marcos, for one, is definitely sleeping alone.

24 8.10: See my vest

Or, Weekend at Jason’s.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’m pretty sure that if I’ve just escaped from the clutches of terrorists that will surely kill me if they find me, I do not hole up and call CTU to bail me out, especially if I’ve got a head start. Find a way out, get a cab, and go, man. And, if I do hole up, I don’t wait until he’s on top of me before making a break for it. This guy knifed one of his own security men in the neck just a few hours ago; he’s not lacking the killer instinct.

But if Jason Schwartzman gets captured alive, “24” becomes “12,” so die he must, sigh. In the writers’ defense, the plan Jack devised after his death is a pretty good one, certainly better than, say, having Kim Bauer pretend to be a brunette librarian. I laughed out loud at Marcos emptying his clip into Jason’s lifeless body, only to see…nothing happen. But the way they set up that scene, you just knew that Marcos would dive out the window – especially after they showed that scene in the previews last week – and you had to think that Jack considered that a possibility, too. Why, then, didn’t he aim for Marcos’ legs the second Marcos broke for the windows? This is, after all, the man that whipped a bread knife across a room and pierced a guy’s throat. Jack should be able to shoot a guy in the leg blindfolded. While getting strangled. And eaten by dogs.

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“I’m helping you hide the body of your convicted felon of an ex-boyfriend, and you’re asking me about ‘us’? Neither the time nor the place, honey.”

So Princess Jasmine has run off with her secret love, and I can’t see any reason why it matters. Outside of the obvious risk of her getting taken out by the dirty bomb, this plot thread means nothing to me. She’s lovely to look at, but when she talks, all I hear is “Blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah Ginger.” (Stop me before I sub-reference again. Hell, even that was a sub-reference.) She just doesn’t matter to me. Heaven help us if this subplot grows to Starbuck/redneck proportions.

Speaking of which…just when we thought we had seen the end of this thread – though I figured it would last for at least one more hour, since they were looking at returning to CTU wet, and smelling of swamp water – it appears that it’s not going away anytime soon, and for those of you who refuse to watch the scenes for the next episode, I will say no more. With regard to tonight’s actions, I don’t know; I would think that burying bodies together would be one of those bonding moments. But then again, I’ve always buried my bodies alone, so I can’t really speak from experience.

My beloved Jacqueline Bauer spent this week recovering in CTU, but her brief conversation with Jack proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will die before the final clock tick. I understand it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m trying to set up another interview with Annie Wersching, so I can ask her about how exhilarating it is to play Crazy Jackie. Wish me luck.

Bubba finally grew a pair and told Weiss that he wasn’t prosecuting Jackie. It was a cool moment, but it left me wondering: why is Weiss so hell-bent on sending Jackie down the river, to the point that, as the ever-astute John Paulsen pointed out, he would send someone from the Justice department to CTU at midnight in order to expedite the process? In the real world, that one can wait, for days if need be. And despite the fact that CTU had another lead in the absence of Vladimir Guerrero’s death, Weiss still seemed upset about the fact that Jackie was not going to get thrown under the bus. Do those two have a history? God help them if Weiss turns out to be some Starbuck-type baddie that Jackie wronged when undercover, and he’s out for revenge. If that happens, this blog ends with that episode.

Lastly, we must mention the face-off that Presidents Madame and Slumdog had with regard to the potential fallout, both literally and figuratively, if his countrymen’s plans to detonate a dirty bomb in the city are successful. I liked seeing that Taylor, once again, was unafraid to make the hard choice, and you could tell that Slumdog knew that Allison wasn’t fucking around. Girl power, indeed.

Which brings us to this blog’s title. For some reason that I can’t dispute, since I don’t know how to disarm a detonator by remote, Chloe just had to see the wiring of Marcos’ suicide bomb, thus forcing Red Shirt Owen to take a stand in front of the security cameras and force Marcos to give up the goods. And after a quick brainstorming session on what to name this week’s blog, my lovely, brilliant wife came up with a “Simpsons” reference before I could. I hang my head in shame. Which, for the record, is a “Simpsons” reference. Oh, the irony.

24 8.8: Honesty is such a lonely word

Faithful “24” blog readers, I am in need of some clarification. Tonight’s entire episode revolved around the mysterious whereabouts of Wolfhausen, to the point where Jack volunteered to be kidnapped in order to pinpoint his location. Meanwhile, Mrs. “24” blogger and I are thinking:

Why not check Vladimir’s cell phone?

Hastings focused repeatedly on the fact that Crazy Jackie gutted Vladimir Guerrero like a salmon before they had a chance to interrogate him, and yes, it’s true that dead men tell no tales. As the same time, cell phones do not lie. Find his phone, look up the most recent calls made, and go from there. Boom, problem solved. Did they address the issue of the phone in the previous hour? Did the Russian goons take Vlad’s phone or at least destroy it? If so, then fine, I’ll quit bellyaching. No, you know what, I won’t quit bellyaching. Jack and Renee discussed it all before anyone else arrived on the scene. They could have taken his phone right then and there. That’s it: I’m applying for the job of director of CTU. Someone has to stop the madness.

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“Aw, you’re going to torture me? That’s so cute! I just want to pinch your cheeks for not knowing how this will end.”

There was something about Sark that was throwing me off this entire episode. Previously, he appeared to be a sniveling wimp. In tonight’s episode, he’s Wolfhausen’s Luca Brasi, putting a gun to Jason Schwartzman’s head and talking the talk like a true “family man.” I should have known that he had a hidden agenda. What will be interesting to learn, should they reveal it, is which one of them initiated the backup plan. I have to think it was Sark, because if Jason Schwartzman does it, he looks desperate. If Sark does it, he looks cunning. But there I go again, getting all rational.

In Hour 5, I said:

“…no good will come from trying to make [Kevin] disappear. Guys like that, they don’t disappear. It’s like feeding a cat.”

Fast-forward three hours, and Kevin is making it rain at a strip club with his ill-gotten gains, telling Starbuck that he plans on holding her big secret over her head for as long as he can. Surprise! Yes, we all saw this coming down Broadway, but here is my big question: I’m no gangster, but I’m pretty sure that New York strip clubs know who the real players are, both above the table and otherwise, and who the two-bit, illiterate degenerate scumbags are. When a halfwit like Kevin comes in with obscene amounts of cash, odds are he’s stolen it from another one of the club’s more loyal patrons, at which point the halfwits are escorted out the back door, chopped to bits, stuffed in a duffel bag and thrown in the Hudson. In the “24” universe, however, they live la vida loca. Fugh.

And to think, Starbuck had the perfect chance to come clean…and didn’t do it. Granted, I’m not a con artist like Kate or Sawyer from “Lost,” so I don’t think about potential ways out of a predicament like your typical con, but I have to think that Starbuck is so far against the wall that she feels her shoulder blades coming through her chest. But nope, she still doesn’t come clean, choosing instead to fix it herself. I am predicting that this will result in the death of Kevin but not his idiot sidekick Nick, who will then put even more pressure on Starbuck using…wait for it…Kevin’s cell phone.

Quick note on Jack’s footwork while tortured: at least it was more believable than last week’s knife toss.

On the Presidential front – this is, after all, President’s Day – our Madame President was shortchanged. Even Jack upstaged her conference call with Bubba. Ah, but Slumdog President continued on his path to full-blown paranoia, even telling his daughter Princess Jasmine that the love of her life, who has served her father loyally for ages, is probably a plant and working for Jason Schwartzman instead. See, this is why good people don’t get into politics. Not worth the trouble. And we wonder why things are so fucked up.

And on that note, I’ll let Billy Joel take us home. Think about it, Starbuck. Please.

24 8.7: Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after you

I was tempted to go with one of two songs for tonight’s episode. The runner-up to the Nirvana lyric above was Garbage’s “Stupid Girl,” in reference to the subplot where Starbuck lets her hilljack ex-con lover and his troglodyte friend loose in an evidence warehouse…but it didn’t seem emphatic enough. No, for that to be the lead, I needed a song with a title along the lines of “You Are the Dumbest Motherfuckers in the History of Dumb Motherfuckers,” and a quick check of my iTunes library reveals nothing that has both ‘dumb’ and ‘motherfucker’ in it. I am clearly listening to the wrong bands.

Slumdog President is fast becoming my second-favorite character on the show this season (though he’s admittedly a distant, distant second to Renee Walker). He was smoove like Wilt Chamberlain – take that any way you like – when the peace accord was about to be signed, but Jason Schwartzman’s betrayal has evidently shaken him to the core…or has it? That’s the beauty, if you want to call it that, of this show; we only know what we’ve seen, so we have no way of determining Slumdog’s next move, since we don’t know really know him at all. On the surface, the sudden paranoia and ruthlessness is in stark contrast to his affability in the first two hours. But who knows, maybe the reason he’s so shaken is because he thought he and Jason Schwartzman were on the same page, only to discover that little brother was much more hardcore than he ever knew.

Speaking of Jason Schwartzman and hardcore, he has now been screwing those two hookers for three hours. Good on ya, mate.

If you take a step back, you have to wonder how Vladimir Guerrero didn’t see that he had been set up for failure six years ago when Jackie first entered his life. She’s suddenly back, and she has this “German” partner who speaks perfect English, and would you look at that, he wants to buy uranium rods, something totally out of Vladimir’s league. Could you make some calls, for old time’s sake? Even funnier that he thought that any of these Russian godfathers would actually tell him over a cell phone, “Why yes, I do have some enriched uranium rods. Why do you ask?” I’m no small-time gangster, but if I were, I would not be making awkward phone calls late at night to guys who could erase my entire family tree in 24 hours. Just sayin’, it would be bad for business.

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“What’s my sign? ‘Out of order.'”

Ah, but Crazy Jackie has Vladimir’s number, and when that happens, you can throw all logic out the window. (Trust me on this, I speak from experience.) And if you didn’t already know that the producers of “24” are expecting their audience to suspend a certain amount of disbelief, you sure as hell did after tonight’s episode, where Jackie, having just filleted Vladimir with a bread knife (knew that was making a callback), accidentally stabs Jack in the stomach during her fit of rage. Jack falls to the ground, but still has his wits and faculties enough to throw the bread knife at Vladimir’s suspicious right-hand man…and stab him perfectly in the neck, killing him instantly. Gales of laughter came from the “24” blog headquarters when that happened. “Thank you, Senor MacGyver. You saved our village.” “Don’t thank me. Thank the moon’s gravitational pull.” Both are equally as likely to actually happen.

Oh, and apparently Jackie’s stabbing of Jack was just a flesh wound. Whew. (*slaps forehead*)

Finally, let’s get to Starbuck and her dumb, dumb, super-fucking dumbass plan to send Kevin on his way by giving him access to an warehouse filled with evidence lockers. Oh noes! Kevin’s even dumber buddy – don’t be surprised if they reveal that he’s illiterate – is going to mess everything up by poking around in the cell to look for more bling, and when we revisit them, he’s trashed the place like a toddler in a toy store…and the supposedly street-smart Kevin allowed it to happen. In the name of “South Park” character Jimmy, “C-C-C’mon, fellas.” For those of you who have been reading these rants since the season premiere, you know that I’ve been begging Starbuck to come clean for weeks now. She had everything in her favor then. Now, not so much, especially since Shoeless Joe beat down a cop with a baseball bat. Ugh, Dumb, mother, fuckers.

If there was a positive note to tonight’s episode, it was that Wolfhausen’s minions brought Jack through sewer tunnels as a means of evading government surveillance. That was a nice callback to when Jack called the Russians a dirty people in the previous hour. I guess they showed him.

All right, let’s get to the tune. I think it’s incredible what Dave Grohl has done in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death, but damn, man, what I would give for one more Nirvana album.

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