Tuesday, May 25, 2010

24: The Day is Done

Well, here we are, at the end of the line. It’s the end of the day for Jack Bauer and the end of an era for television. When 24 first blasted its way onto the scene, it caught America by surprise and became a “must see” phenomenon. Over the years it may have had its ups and downs, but what rollercoaster ride doesn’t have those? And that’s what 24 was; one hell of a rollercoaster ride. For a few years now, I have been writing weekly recaps of this show, and was lucky enough to experience both the great moments and the groaners with you all.

24 limped through the first half of this season, but started to pick up steam in the second half and was back to its finest form by the home stretch. When it all came to a close tonight, it was not just the end of the season, it signaled the end to my weekly recaps and my standing Monday night dates with you guys. Sure, I will continue to write on my blog on the variety of goofy things that pop into my mind… and I will probably pick another show to follow. (When does Top Chef start?) But there will never be another show like 24, that gripped you enough to you keep coming back and corny enough to always take the ridiculous things they dished out with a roll of the eyes and a smile. We will always have our inside 24 jokes and our catch phrases, like ”Dammit Chloe!”

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has read my blog over the years. It has been a blast. I never thought something I write off the top of my head, late at night when I should be sleeping, would catch on, but I have had an amazing ride. I am often referred to as the “24 Guy” and have countless, hilarious conversations at parties with other fans of the show. Thanks to this blog I have met new people and have received complimentary emails from folks I have never met, from all over. I was even mentioned on the radio in Boston. (Shout out to WBCN.) Many Monday nights have been filled with text messages back and forth between my friends, fueled by that night’s episode. I have chatted with an actress from the show, been sent photos of the cast on the set from friends and even befriended the guy at Fox who cuts the trailers for the show. Maybe not quite as exciting as a day in the life of Jack Bauer, but it has been an extraordinary experience for me. So I want to take a minute and thank you all, I really do appreciate the support.

So keep an eye on my blog as I am still open for business, and check out the Purple Goldfish Project to watch my marketing video podcasts. (If you like that kind of stuff.)
Jack Bauer is going dark, but I am not.

And of course, I will see you in line on opening night of the 24 movie.
So without further ado, here are the last two hours of 24.

(Note: Scroll down to 2pm and then come up for 3pm.)

24- Season 8.24: Let’s Call it a Day


So it all comes down to this. For eight seasons, Jack Bauer has always saved the day. Now he has one more hour to go. He is public enemy number one, with a shoot-to-kill order slapped on his head by his one time friend, Madame President, who has turned to the dark side like Anakin Skywalker in a dress.

Jack Bauer has been on a bloody crusade to take down everyone involved in the terrorist attack on New York, the assassination of Hassan Chop and most of all, the murder of his beloved Agent Lohan. Now, from his sniper nest across the street, he has Charles Milhous Logan in his sites, and has the leader of the Russian Alliance on his way into the room where he can cut off the two heads of the serpent behind all of this mess. As Yuri steps into Jack’s sites, Chloe awakes from the sleeper hold applied by Jack, only to find herself handcuffed to a railing. She pleads with Jack not to take the shot and argues that what he is about to do will only serve as an act of war. Jack points out that they drew first blood yesterday. Then Chloe plays the “R Card” and tells Jack that this is not what Renee would have wanted. These are the magic words that make Jack’s heart grow three sizes, kind of like the Grinch… making Chloe the Cindy Loo Who of this scenario.

But instead of riding a sled full of presents down to the UN plaza, Jack un-cuffs Chloe and orders her to shoot him. WHAT????

Jack knows that the Fresh Prince has ordered a team of CTU agents into the building and that they have orders to use deadly force. He makes Chloe promise to do whatever it takes to help him uncover the truth and then hands her a gun and orders her to pull the trigger. Chloe protests but Jack continues to scream, “Chloe, pull the trigger.” Finally, Chloe obeys, just before Jack turns his gun on himself and the CTU cops burst through the door. Jack goes down, but is not dead. We learn later that the bullet went straight through and missed any vital organs… and that Chloe just got lucky with that shot. Only Jack Bauer can consider getting shot in the shoulder “lucky”.

Jason Pillar is found in the SUV and heads straight up to intercept Chloe before she can leave the scene. He notices that the memory card on Jack’s recorder is missing, so he frisks Chloe… and cops a feel while he’s at it. He finds nothing, and we all wonder if Chloe has smuggled the card in the same way Christopher Walken hid that watch in Pulp Fiction. But it turns out she simply hid it in the battery slot of her phone. She races to a computer in the UN command center and starts to upload the recording for widespread distribution. Meanwhile, as Pillar plans to cart Jack off, Jack pulls off his oxygen mask and tries to whisper something to Pillar. Pillar leans in to hear him and Jack suddenly pulls a Mike Tyson and bites Pillar’s ear off. Furious, Pillar orders his men back to stop Chloe.

Chloe is almost done uploading the information when an agent stops her and pulls out the card, cancelling the transmission. It looks like Logan and Pillar have won. Logan, who is the Emperor to Madame President’s Darth Vader , encourages her to allow his men to kill Jack, as it is the only way to surly silence him. She does not give the order, but she does not stop him from executing it. Her journey to the dark side is complete. Logan also gives Madame President Jack’s video card but casually suggests she not even watch it. But she does, and she sees Jack’s touching video testimony about his quest for the truth, justice and how he stands for those who have fallen as a result of the events of the past day… especially Agent Lohan.

Then Madame President heads out for the signing ceremony, where Dr. Benton once again is master of ceremonies. First Yuri signs and then the pen is handed to Mama Hassan. For a moment, I thought she might stab Yuri in the throat, but instead she signs the agreement. Then it’s Madame President’s turn. She reaches for the gift pen that was Hassan Chop’s… and her heart grows three sizes, just like the Grinch. Or maybe more like Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. Instead of signing this poisonous treaty, she makes an announcement that she has been part of a conspiracy to cover up some horrible crimes and cancels the peace agreement. Shortly after, Logan’s phone rings and he knows his number is up. Pillar goes to answer the phone but Logan tells him to let it ring. Pillar realizes it’s over, so he answers the phone… knowing Madame President is on the line. But Logan is not happy with this and suddenly smashes Pillar’s head with a bottle. Then he pulls Pillar’s gun and plugs his assistant in the head. Then, in a scene right out of the Shawshank Redemption, Madame President and the authorities arrive at his door to take him away and he turns the gun on himself… just like the Warden. Ironically, the Warden in Shawshank was played by the same actor who plays Ethan on 24.

Logan does not die from the shot, but he is carted off with little hope for full recovery. (So he can show up in the movie.)

Meanwhile, the hit squad is on the way to intercept Jack’s ambulance. Madame President orders a stop on the hit, but it’s too late. Jack’s ambulance has already been attacked and Jack has been carted off in a black van by a bunch of goons in gas masks. But he’s not dead yet, and is able to be tracked by Chloe’s technical savvy and Arlo’s flying drones.

For some reason, the hit squad does not simply kill Jack at the crash site. They take him to a closed off lot under a bridge in order to execute him. Jack naturally tries to overpower his executioner and almost succeeds, but ultimately fails. So he faces death with a steely grin. But just before he is shot, a call comes in from Madame President, who orders the hit squad to stand down.

Then, on the phone, she apologizes to Jack and tells him she is coming clean, surrendering to the authorities and resigning as Commander in Chief. The Russians will be held accountable and justice will be served. Mission accomplished, yet again Mr. Bauer.

Madame President then suggests Jack get out of the country as both the American’s and the Russians will be hunting him. (Just like Batman at the end of Dark Knight.)

Then Jack, speaking into the phone and looking into the camera of the drone, talks to Chloe. He thanks her for always having his back, and tells her he knows she always has his best interests at heart. He tells her to protect his daughter and family and then he bids her farewell as the picture fades from the screen.

Then Jack Bauer heads off of the grid and into the sunset. The next time we see him, it will be on the silver screen. 24 the series is over, but the hunt for Jack Bauer continues.

He’s a cowboy. On a steel horse he rides.
And he’s wanted… dead or alive.

24- Season 8.23: It’s the Final Countdown


First of all, there were no surprise appearances by any of our old favorites… no Aaron Pierce, no Mike Novik, no Wayne Palmer and most of all no Tony Almeida. And Bill Buchanan and Edgar are still dead. Not even a call from President Logan’s nutty ex-wife. Oh well, that would have been nice, but we still got plenty of action tonight.

The second-to-last hour of 24 opens with Chloe, Arlo and the Fresh Prince trying to track down Jack. The Prince heads to Ricker’s apartment. Cole thermal scans the joint, but does not catch Rickers off guard. Rickers sees him on his monitors and starts to erase all of his files, including the evidence that would solve all of the problems. The Prince shoots his way and there is a standoff, but Rickers eventually decides to help Cole find Jack. (The old “If Jack dies, it’s on you.” guilt trip works every time.)

Chloe heads to the UN, where she is certain Jack is going to pop-up. Yuri, the evil ruler of Russia is on his way, so Chloe buys time by having his motorcade rerouted. Meanwhile, Charles Milhous Logan decides he has to tell Madame President about Yuri’s involvement in the assassination and the attacks. They don’t make an Alka-Seltzer big enough for the case of agida that gives her.

But what about Jack? Where the heck is he? Jason Pillar gets a report that he has been injured, but there is no sign of Bauer. But like that old baseball hat you can’t seem to find, you should probably just look in your backseat. That’s where Pillar finds Jack, or I should say… Jack finds him. Jack pops up cfrom behind him with a gun and a plan. Then, as the most dangerous backseat driver EVER, Jack instructs Pillar to drive to the empty building across from the UN building while he lays low in the back of the SUV. Once in the parking lot, Pillar tries to convince Jack to give up before he bleeds to death. But Jack has a better idea and forces Pillar to sutcher his wound at gun point. I wonder what the co-pay is on a procedure like that.

Instead of giving him his insurance card, Jack gives Pillar the butt of his pistol and heads for an empty room with a good view of the UN. But inside UN, even more is going on. Mama Hassan finally learns about the call from Meredith about the Russian’s involvement in Hassan Chop’s assassination. She heads straight to Madame President to see if she knows anything, and the Prez initially lies to her. Then, after more facts come to the surface, Madame President is forced to come clean and admit that it’s true and she knows about it. Mama Hassan is mortified and declares the peace agreement over. But Madame President orders her to stop as she heads for the door and threatens to send the I.R.K. back to the Stone Age for their part in yesterday’s attacks. So Mama Hassan reluctantly agrees to sign the agreement.

Meanwhile, Chloe plans to take the evidence that Jack has and broadcast to every possible outlet she can imagine, including using the CTU emailing list to spam every government agency. My suggestion would be to give the email a catchy name to be sure people open it. I would suggest using keywords like “Anna Kournikova” or “Kim Kardashian” and “bikini”. I know that would get me to open it.

Of course, for all of their collective knowledge, neither Jack, Rickers, Meredith nor Chloe has considered the most obvious route… POST THE FREAKING THING ON YOU TUBE!!! C’mon, if a clip of a little kid high on anesthesia can get a million hits, imagine what evidence of an assassination and terrorist attack could get. Meredith in particular is at fault here. She had all kinds of time to upload the video. Sent it to your Facebook page, tweet it, post it to your blog. This is not rocket science; most people can do this from an iPhone. (Or in this case, their Sprint phones.)

Back at Jack’s sniper nest, Jack sets up some cameras on the hallway and then prepares his rifle for the task at hand. Then he records a message… maybe for his daughter and granddaughter, maybe for posterity. But Arlo’s magic face recognition software picks up Jack’s reflection on a candy machine and Chloe heads in to find Jack just as Yuri’s limo approaches the UN.

Madame President and Mama Hassan greet Yuri, but Mama Hassan will not speak to him nor look him in eye. Then, suddenly, the UN becomes the ER when Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) shows up, with a thick accent, to MC the signing ceremony. He joins Jack’s evil brother Graem Bauer as an ER alum to make an appearance on 24. Maybe Clooney will show up in the 24 movie.

Back in the building, Chloe finds Jack’s hideout but Jack quickly disarms her. Then, as she pleads with him to stop, he shuts her up with a sleeper hold. (How many guys out there were wishing they could do that when a girl is nagging them? Dream on.) I may be off base here, but that might just be the way Jack Bauer hugs people.

Then Jack takes his position at the window with his rifle and makes a call. Logan answers his phone thinking its Pillar and nearly soils his pants again when he finds out it is Jack… and that he is caught in Jack’s sites. Jack plays Logan the incriminating tape and instructs him to call Yuri into the room.

Jack plans on killing two birds with one stone. Actually, it’s more like two bad guys with two bullets, but you know what I mean. The hour ends with Jack smiling into the scope of his rifle, awaiting the arrival of his prey.

And we head into the last hour of the day, and the series.

Scroll up for the next episode.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

24- Season 8.22: No Smoking in the Limo


I finally figured out what enables Jack Bauer to keep going and going like a sociopathic Energizer Bunny with a sack full of weapons. He’s been stabbed, shot, beaten, tazered, tortured and stabbed again tonight. And yet he keeps getting back up and killing people. It did not hit me until he donned that black hockey mask and stormed Logan’s limo. He’s Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. Each “Day”, or season, of 24 actually takes place on a Friday the 13th. CTU really stands for Chrystal Lake Terror Unit.

Not buying it? Well, if you think back to seasons past, he has been beaten to the brink of death so many times, and actually died for a moment or two here and there, and always gets back up. So we have to consider the possibility that he is at least related to Jason. Remember, Jack’s brother and father turned out to be pretty bad characters, so it would not be so farfetched. But once again, I am getting ahead of myself.

We pick up with a giddy Charles Milhous Logan watching the announcement on the news about his part in the peace process. He’s ready for his close-up. But Hassan’s wife is suspicious of him. Logan gets an update on Jack’s evisceration of Pavel and the likelihood that Meredith is heading straight to her publisher. So Logan advises Madame President to order the publisher to muzzle the story. She is appalled by this notion but as usual, gives into Logan’s suggestion within 30 seconds. (When this is all said and done, I hope she has to share a cell with her daughter.) She calls in her lackey Tim and orders him to find Meredith and seize the evidence. Even Tim thinks she’s bananas and he doesn’t even know the half of it. .

Meanwhile, Chloe and Arlo get a magic video feed from Pavel’s crime scene and identify his rifle as Agent Logan’s murder weapon. As the Church lady might say, “How convenient.” Now that they know Jack is on the right side of this equation, they proceed to track down his partner in crime, Jim Rickers, who we learn was burned in a chemical fire and is currently presumed dead. But that can’t prevent Chloe and Arlo from finding his true identity and current address in about two minutes.

Meanwhile, Jack sends Meredith the Reporter off with the video card of evidence and sends Rickers back to the hideout to pinpoint Logan. Both are very leery of Jack’s plan, but go along with it. Rickers warns Jack that going after an ex-President is a losing proposition, and Jack acknowledges that he does not expect to comeback from this one. Like Bon Jovi, he’s living on a prayer and going down in a blaze of glory. But it’s his life. It’s now or never… and he ain’t gonna live forever.

So Jack dons his Dark Avenger costume, complete with black body armor and hockey mask, and descends on Logan’s limo while it’s stuck in traffic in a tunnel. Jack Bauer pulls off a one man version of the shootout in Heat. (Once again, 24 waits for its final hours to pull off some of its best moments.)

The Dark Avenger stops traffic by shooting at the cars in line. He picks off Secret Service Agents left and right, but they are sure to mention that he uses non-deadly force. At this point Logan losses it and spins into a hissy fit for the ages. Let’s just say someone is going to have to clean up the backseat of that limo, if you know what I mean. But he at least takes solace in the fact that the car is bullet proof and Jack can’t get it. But Jack climbs on the hood and blasts the windshield until there is enough of a hole to drop some tear gas in. Then he plugs the hole with his foot. I love his attention to detail. Once the car door opens, he makes off with Logan just before reinforcements arrive.

Once they are alone in the catacombs, Jack puts the screws to Logan and Logan weeps like a little girl. You gotta love the actor who plays him, Gregory Itzin. He is the best. No one plays the wimpy weasel like this guy. After a few gun-in-the-face threats and a punch or two, Logan finally spills the beans on who is behind the murder of Hassan Chop. It was Mikhail Novakovich. Once Jack has what he needs, he puts the sleeper hold on Logan and takes off just before Jason Pillar arrives. Wow. Logan has survived his encounter with Jack. Who’d a thunk it?

Meanwhile, Meredith’s publisher is confronted by the FBI, but he manages to warn her. So she calls Hassan Chops wife Dalia to tell her about the Russians. But she talks to Hassan’s daughter instead, so the news won’t reach Momma Hassan until next week. The FBI swarms in and arrests Meredith. The $24,000 question is, what will Madame President do with that video card?

Now wait… did you think Jack was done? Not quite yet. He abandons his Dark Avenger costume and rushes off to confront the Russians. First he takes a goon in parking lot and learns the lay of the land, and then he makes his charge, shooting Russian goons left and right. Using a stolen key card, he summons the private elevator. But just as the door opens one of the goons jumps out and stabs Jack. But as we know, that only pisses him off. (Logan calls things like that “just stirring up the hornets’ nest”.)

Later, when Pillar calls to warn the Russians, we see what Jack has done to them off camera. It’s a slaughterhouse and Mikhail Novakovich is stuck like a pig with a fire poker. Only one wounded bodyguard remains alive for exposition purposes.

The show ends with Logan calling the Russian President, Yuri Suvarov, to warn him about Bauer. Yuri asks if Bauer knows that he was really behind the assassination of Hassan, and Logan assures him not.

However, Jack has tapped the line and now knows everything. He heads out of an alleyway to finish his business, and leaves a blood stain on the wall, much like Dally (Matt Dillon) at the end of The Outsiders.

So next week we head into the two hour golden sunset of the 24 series.
Stay golden, Bauer Boy.
Stay golden.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mindhunter: Opening the Book on Criminal Minds

I just finished rereading a fascinating book called Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas (and Mark Olshaker). It was first published in 1996 and I probably first read it somewhere around 1997 to 1999. So why am I writing about a book that old and why did I go back and read it again? The reason is simple, over the winter I started watching syndicated episodes of the show Criminal Minds and my very first impression was “Oh cool, someone made a show based on Mindhunter.

It’s not the first piece of entertainment based on this book or the BAU. (That’s the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI… where the profilers work.) As a matter of fact, Jack Crawford, the character in the novel The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, was based on John Douglas. That movie propelled profilers into the mainstream and there have been countless movies and TV shows that center around serial killers and “mind hunting” FBI agents since then.

The first thing that made me think of this book while watching Criminal Minds was the use of the term UNSUB, or Unknown Subject. It can be heard in every episode of Criminal Minds, and the first place I encountered that word was in Mindhunter. The book not only covers a number of gruesome and disturbing cases that John Douglas was involved with but also touches on his personal life and the toll a life in this world can take on one’s relationships and health. I could see bits of Douglas in several characters in Criminal Minds; most obvious is Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner, (Thomas Gibson) the head of the BAU team. He is so focused and determined in his work that it eventually costs him his marriage and strains his relationship with his newborn son. This mirrors the failed marriage of John Douglas. There are also bits and pieces of Douglas found in Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) and David Rossi (Joe Mantegna). Mantegna’s character is especially reminiscent of Douglas because Rossi is supposed to be one of the founders of the BAU and has become a celebrity from the books he has written on the subject. That’s exactly who Douglas is.

I enjoy Criminal Minds, its good fun… in a sick way, I guess. It’s like a mini Silence of the Lambs each week, with a wide variety of sickos that sometime seem to push the limits of subject matter for network television. Thanks to DVR I was able to watch a good chunk of the first few seasons and so I decided to pick up Mindhunter and give it another go. One of the things about the UNSUBs on the show is that they almost always have some outrageous way of killing their victims and even more creative ways of eluding and taunting the authorities. As a viewer, you suspend belief a little bit because the more outlandish the crime, the more entertaining the show. But a funny thing happened after I started reading the book. It turns out that some of these plotlines and characters are not so far off the real thing. For instance, there is an episode where two rednecks capture women, release them into the woods and then hunt them for sport. I chalked that episode up to the old “Most Dangerous Game” plot devise. But it turns out it is based on an actual case. A guy named Robert Hansen did that very same thing for real in Alaska.

If you are a fan of Criminal Minds, you will recognize many specific moments in this book that have inspired events in the show. But be prepared, reading about the real thing can be a much more disturbing endeavor. Douglas gives us fascinating stories and insight into a lot of the more famous serial killers and some of the lesser known ones as well. He even gives us a profile of the father of all serial killers; Jack the Ripper.

Mindhunter is a good read, although it is very sobering when you realize just how many sick predators are really out there and how few of them are ever caught as quickly as they are on a TV show. Once you have read this book, when you watch a show like Criminal Minds, you will understand and appreciate the theories and methodologies of those profilers a lot more. And you just might have a little trouble sleeping at night.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

24- Season 8.21: Stuck in the Middle with You

High Noon

Well, it’s finally happened; Jack Bauer has gone completely bat sh*t crazy. And I love it.

The clock strikes noon. Its lunch time in New York, but Jack Bauer is only hungry for revenge. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but Jack likes to heat it up a little… with a blow torch. But I am getting ahead of myself.

We pick up just after Jack has executed Denny. Fresh Freddie Prince has regained consciousness and is lead to the body, where identifies it for the cops before he is taken back to CTU. Meanwhile, Jack watches the video on Denny’s memory card and sees her meeting with Pavel, the man who killed Agent Lohan and the best lead Jack has to finding the head of the Russian conspiracy. He calls his wacky buddy Jim Rickers (Michael Madsen) and heads for the hideout.

Back at CTU, Logan’s mole Jason Pillar continues to call the shots and feed the Russians information. The best thing about Pillar’s presence at CTU is that it enables Chloe to go back to helping Jack. And this time Arlo joins the fun. Chloe sees way too many holes in Pillar’s explanations of his orders and actions so she begins to take steps find out what is going on. The best moment happens when Pillar is on one of his sneaky phone calls and he sees Chloe watching him through his office window. And then Pillar does what every CTU mole wishes they could have done. He has his assistant flick a switch and the windows frost over to a translucent grey… kind of like the cool bathroom doors in those swanky bars.

It’s about time an office at CTU had some privacy. This is relatively new technology, but it has been around for several years now. You wonder why they didn’t at least have shades or blinds in the old building. Chloe and Arlo also get the chance to plug a sponsors technology when they set up a private computer network with a Sprint 4G wireless card, Good luck with that, Chloe. When I had Sprint I could not talk on my cell phone in my living room. I had to go to the back of the house or use a land line.

Back at the hideout, Jack has Rickers run the video through what else? Facial Recognition software. But before Rickers will help him, he makes Jack admit what his real motivation is. And so Jack admits he wants a piece of the people who killed Agent Lohan. Satisfied with Jack’s motivation, he quickly identifies Pavel, but he can’t figure out who he works for. So Jack calls Hassan’s mistress Meredith, the blonde reporter, and offers the evidence to her so she can run with the story and blow the lid off of the conspiracy.

But CTU picks up the keywords of Jack’s conversation and sets a trap at the department store coffee shop where Jack and Meredith will be meeting. Meanwhile, at the UN, Madame President continues the peace negations with Hassan’s wife. She’s interrupted by Charles Milhous Logan, who informs her of Jack’s impending capture. Then, like a good used car salesman, he dares to be a bit pushy and asks for her to give him props for his role in keeping the peace talks on track. She reluctantly agrees, just like she does to everything he says. Madame President has replaced Denny as the most annoying character on the show. Maybe Ethan can shoot her in the chest. That would be fun.

Then Logan insists on calling Pavel himself to insure the assassination of Jack Bauer and Meredith. Pavel sets up in a spacious air duct and waits for his targets to arrive. First Meredith arrives and then finally Jack shows up. The Russian hit squad scrambles, but Jack proves elusive. They finally find him… where else, but the handbag section. Browsing new Jack Sacks, no doubt. While Pillar screams the shoot order into the phone, Pavel finally gets him in his sites. But before he can take the shot, a gun is pressed to his head by none other than Jack’s buddy Rickers. It appears the hunters have become the hunted and this whole thing was a set-up by Jack, who anticipated the hit. All hell breaks loose in the department store. A shootout erupts and pandemonium breaks out the likes of which have not been seen in that store since the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Jack bobs and weaves between mannequins and proceeds to take out all of the Russian hit squad, and he finds a great two for one deal on sweaters, but he doesn’t have time for that now. He and Rickers make their escape through a side door, with Meredith and Pavel in tow. Naturally, in the world of 24, those stupid door alarms never go off when Jack uses a side door.

Before Pillar heads over to the department store, he calls Logan with the news, Logan nearly craps a brick when he hears the news. Pillar tells him he may want to distance himself from the situation, but Logan knows the only distance between him and this situation is a straight line.

So now the fun starts. Jack gives Meredith the memory card and has Rickers take her in the next room. She senses what Jack is about to do and pleads with him not too. But nothing is going to stop Jack from getting medieval on Pavel with a pair of pliers and a blow torch, like Marsellus Wallace's boys in Pulp Fiction.

Like a scene out of Hostel, Jack goes to work on Pavel, but the Russian won’t talk. Then Jack spots his cell phone and realizes he can trace the last call back to the person pulling his strings. But the Sim Card is missing. Jack looks around and quickly figures out that Pavel has swallowed it. Bad move.

There are two ways Jack can retrieve that card. He can wait 12 to 18 hours for Pavel to poop it out or he can cut him open and get it himself. Since this show is called 24, and we only have a few hours left, option one is really not an option, so Jack goes with option two. So Jack pays back the man who cut out his heart when he killed Renee by cutting out his stomach. An eye for an eye as they say… or a heart for a stomach in this case.

The only thing that would have made this scene better is if Jack had played “Stuck in the Middle with You” while he dissected Pavel with Michael Madsen in the next room. And maybe let Rickers join in the fun and cut off an ear.

When Jack finally cleans off the card and gets it back in the phone, he dials the last number received and gets the voice mail of Charles Milhous Logan. It’s a great moment that could only have been made better if Logan had a catchy voice mail message kind of like George Costanza. (Believe or not, Logan’s not home…)

Next week, Jack comes a-calling on Logan as we head into last couple of weeks of 24.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

24- Season 8.20: The Unsafest Safety Deposit Box Ever

11 am

Have you ever been at a baseball game where your team is getting killed and everyone starts to leave early? A good example is the
Mother’s Day Miracle when the Red Sox scored six runs in the ninth inning and ended up beating the Orioles in the most unlikely of comebacks. Some people had left the game, but some stayed. Those who stayed saw something amazing.

Tonight’s episode of 24 was kind of like the ninth inning of that May 13, 2007 game. A lot of people have given up on 24 this year and have left the stadium. But for we who have stuck with it, we have been rewarded with a gem that harkened back to the good old days when 24 ruled the world. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

We picked up with Hassan Chop’s wife giving a speech about how great her husband was and how great Madame President is. But her words only accentuates Madame President’s journey to the dark side to us the viewer. Meanwhile, the Fresh Prince has called in to Chloe and reported that he has captured Jack, although he is lying and they are actually heading to the safe house where Denny is being marinated… I mean tortured, by Bledsoe. I would remiss if I did not mention that Bledsoe is played by none other than D.B. Sweeney, who you know from your favorite figure skating movie, The Cutting Edge.

Jack & the Prince overtake a sentry on the roof. Then, once inside, Jack tricks the other guards onto the roof and coerces Denny’s location out of the head goon. When they get to her room, Bledsoe uses Denny as a shield and says if they don’t back off he’ll shoot her. His head is sticking out from behind Denny, and as he laments about how Jack won’t take the shot, Jack shoots him between the eyes… in mid-sentence. Now that’s the kind of Jack Bauer action we have been craving. Back to my baseball analogy, this is like scoring that first run. You still are pretty far behind, but there is a glimmer of hope.

Then Jack & the Fresh Prince untie Denny shoot their way out of the building. After a few minutes of Denny refusing to hand over the evidence that will expose the Russians’, Jack parks under a bridge, pulls Denny from the car and threatens to shoot her in the chest. She tells them that the evidence is in a safety deposit box that only she can access. Denny pleads with the Fresh Prince, claiming that Jack is crazy and just out for blood. Cole confronts Jack and pushes him down, like two little girls on a playground. Jack falls back on his tushie and points his gun at Cole, but then they quickly resolve their differences and head for the bank. I’m guessing since none of them have really eaten much in the past 20 hours, they will probably go right for the bowl of lollipops once they get there.

Meanwhile, Madame President continues to dig herself into a bigger hole by taking more advice from Charles Milhous Logan. This time, she agrees to let his right hand man, Jason Pillar, take over the manhunt at CTU. Of course, Logan also makes a deal with the Russians to have Pillar feed them information on the location of Jack so they can take him out. (God forbid we go too long without a mole at CTU.) Naturally, the assassin who killed Agent Lohan will be his Russian contact.

Somewhere between the U.N. and CTU, Pillar picks up a hot assistant named Eden, which makes her seem more like a Cinemax “After Dark” character than 24. Chloe is naturally miffed by this ridiculous turn of events, but like it or not, Pillar is now calling the shots… and calling the Russians with updates.

Back at the bank, Jack waits in the lobby while Fresh Freddy Prince and Denny head in to get the evidence in the safety deposit box. Once they are alone, Dana starts to sweet talk Cole and tells him that despite her actions, she’s always loved him. Although she strikes a chord with him, he won’t fall for it and proceeds to open the box. Inside, amongst other items, he finds a gun. But there is another surprise. A flash bomb suddenly goes off and stuns the Fresh Prince.

Damn, that Dana Walsh is clever. (I wonder if she is related to
Brandon and Brenda Walsh.) Although she does not kill Freddie Prince, she does kill the banker and then calls the cops on Jack. Then, as Jack is being rounded up by New York’s Finest, she smiles at him and slips out.

But it will take more than two cops to stop Jack Bauer. Remember when those two cops found him snooping around that house at the beginning of the season when he was looking for that guy Davros, who was posing as a cop. Hell, they had Jack tied up in a chair and he still managed to escape. So this is nothing. He quickly gets the jump on one cop, gets the other to drop his gun and then shoots the guy in the foot. (But he is nice enough to ask someone to call an ambulance.)

Oh boy, Jack Bauer is shooting anyone in his way! Again, like that baseball game, my team is scoring some runs and this is getting good. I am glad I stuck around. And when the cop referred to Jack as “leather jacket”, I was in heaven.

So Jack heads out of the bank and chases Denny through the streets of NY, occasionally exchanging gunfire. Just another day in the Big Apple. They head into an empty building that is under construction and play a game of cat and mouse, with guns. However, Jack has extra clips and Denny does not, and Jack realizes she is getting low on ammo. She takes an elevated position to get the drop on Jack, but he bravely sacrifices his sweet leather jacket to draw her fire and empty her gun.

Once she is empty, Jack confronts her and forces her to hand over the evidence. Then she pleads for her life tries to make yet another deal with him. And Jack has a choice to make.

Remember how in The Dark Knight, we learned the Batman had one rule? He won’t kill. Well, Jack Bauer has no silly rules like that. He plugs Denny in the chest at point blank range… and then puts another in her for good measure. And the crowd goes wild!!!! Game over, we win!!!

Finally, the most annoying character of the season is killed off, and in grand Jack Bauer style.

This is the kind of moment that keeps us coming back to 24. Four more hours left. Who’s next on Jack’s list?

Oh yeah, one more thing… Happy Mother’s Day.