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.

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