First, let’s meet the two newest members of of the “24” cast:

– Jim Ricker (Michael Madsen), an ‘I can get things’ kind of guy, off the grid and on the wrong side of a favor to Jack. Official “24” nickname: Mr. Blonde, of course.
– Mark Bledsoe (D.B. Sweeney), a ridiculously mustachioed private security agent who isn’t afraid to dabble in torture. Official “24” nickname: Toepick. My wife came up with that one, as you might imagine.

Welcome to the show, gentlemen. Now please, D.B., shave that damn thing on your face.

Do you want to know how busy Michael Madsen is? His appearance on “24” is already listed as the 34th most recent acting gig he’s done. That man’s a machine.

There is still something about President I.M. Weasels’ motives that bothers me. I’m convinced he still has at least one card, and maybe two, up his sleeve. He can’t just be looking for an image makeover, because he wouldn’t resort to extortion – poorly planned extortion, at that – in order to do it…would he? For as much as he’s supposedly playing the hardliner with the Russians, he’s also protecting them and himself by negotiating Starbuck’s release into Toepick’s custody, willing to live with the consequences in the event that “mistakes are made.” No, the extortion actually looks like a cover for something worse, possibly that he’s in league with the Russians, or a group that stands to take advantage of a post-treaty Russia. I don’t think we’ve seen the full weaselosity of Logan yet, which is saying something.

On the Starbuck front, something deliciously awesome just presented itself as a possibility: Jack and Buffy spring Starbuck, and the three work together to blow the lid on the conspiracy. Now, who saw THAT coming after Starbuck revealed herself to be a double agent? I thought her story ended with a bullet to the head, fired by her fiance. Now, they look like the “24” version of The Losers, government spooks trying to clear their name. Hopefully, this will turn out better than the movie.


“Well, self, are you ready to commit high crimes against the government?” “Bitch, please.”

Allison, once again, takes a look at the path of righteousness, considers changing course, but ultimately opts for rockier terrain after I.M. Weasel works his bad juju on Allison in private. Thank God, then, that Ethan stood up to her and showed her just how serious he was about the mistakes she’s making. I guess actors can hear me when I yell at the TV, after all.

Back to the Ricker character: the press release says that he will appear in the final six episodes, but I highly doubt that. It’s not like that can say that he’ll be in the next three episodes, because we’ll know that he dies in the third one. Earlier this year, they said that Annie Wersching was in 23 episodes this season, and we all know how that turned out. (*shakes fist at sky*) Nope, Mr. Blonde will only be able to take so many phone calls from Jack before someone sniffs him out. Which is too bad, because he has a pretty sweet lair, with all that gear and security tech.

The single best thing about tonight’s episode was that Jack knew that Chloe would double-cross him, worked that into his battle plan, and appears to forgive Chloe for setting him up. That is friendship, right there. And while the writers have sent Allison hurtling into WTF territory, it’s good to see that they haven’t lost their minds about what makes Chloe tick. She’s done underhanded stuff in the past, yes, but she wasn’t director of CTU then, saddled with a Presidential order. He knew she’d play ball, and he worked that to his advantage. Now when does he let her in on his ruse, and will she be so accommodating the next time?

With the series planning a big-screen conversion, you would think that Jack and Chloe and the series on a good note, but for that to happen, it means that Dalia Hassan has to find out the truth about Allison covering up Russia’s involvement for the sake of the treaty. If that happens, Allison will be disgraced, just like Logan. My question is: does Allison deserve that? Yes, she’s making some major mistakes here, but she’s no I.M. Weasel. Is there a way that Logan can take the fall again, but Allison can be redeemed before it’s too late? I honestly hope so. It doesn’t seem right that she goes down as a baddie.

Tonight’s blog title comes courtesy of Aimee Mann, the unofficial title track to her 1996 pop classic I’m with Stupid. Mann has stated that she hated working under the major labels’ thumb, but as much as it pains me to say this, she also did her best work when she did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that she has been able to make a living outside of the system – in fact, she’s made far more money on her own than she ever did working for the Man – but A&R men are not always wrong when they tell their client that they don’t hear a single. Just sayin’.