Sunday, July 20, 2014

Season 9, Live Another Day: 10pm-11am, The next day gets here

First something I realized only after posting last week. Jack got a gun past security in to see the president, the gun he used to kowtow Mark. Four years without the drama Jack brings to every day, and presidential security winds up in the hand basket of an ACDC song.
With the fuse still sputtering along (must be a slow fuse), China ships are steaming to Okinawa, and nobody knows what they’ll do when they get there, but everybody’s worried. I don’t know what happened to the fighter escort—maybe they ran outta gas. PH is getting jittery with all the brass around him (because none is educated as evinced by their pronunciation of “nuclear”?). He just might engage them if they cross the imaginary line. Or he might suddenly come down with Alzheimer’s and forget what’s going on. That must be why 24 starts each episode (but the 1st) with a recap.
After the recap, we start with Audrey pinned down by a sniper. Thank goodness she still has her cell phone and doesn’t look suspicious using it. PH and entourage arrive at the CIA station, though lord knows why. Jack, Kate, and Mark are picking up the pieces chez dead Russian ambassador. Jack cleverly uses his elbow to find a drawer with a false bottom, finds a cell phone, finds the ambassador’s dead thumb to unlock it, and finds the location of the evil Chinese behind all this. Coincidentally, evil Chinese calls Mark showing a live image of Audrey through the sniper’s scope, tells Jack to stop tracking him, let him get away, and he’ll let Audrey get away. Everybody believes that line, with Mark leading the charge to give up. He nicely informs Jack that Audrey loves Jack, and Jack nicely tells Mark to shut up.
Jack takes Kate aside to plan their divide and conquer—does fighting a war on 2 fronts ever work? Kate reminds the now patriotic, order-following Jack that PH ordered him to get Chiang, so Jack sends Kate to save Audrey, while he goes to stop evil Chinese. And there’s something about evil Chinese tapped into CIA somehow, so let’s keep this intimate, giving evil Chinese fewer chances to catch on.
Kate and intimate team get to Audrey and call her, she answers without drawing attention or fire, and Kate, curses ‘cause she wanted a muzzle flash. So she tells Audrey to make a sudden move, and Audrey obliges, finally drawing the muzzle flash that gives away the sniper. Now we’re getting someplace. Good thing Audrey’s not dead in the process.
Meanwhile, Chloe, remember her? Unconscious Chloe? She wakes up, clambers up the hill,  looking like death warmed over in Goth getup in the middle of nowhere on a deserted road. Luckily, there’s soon a passing motorist at 10:12 pm who has never seen a horror movie, and so isn’t afraid to pick her up. Even more amazing, this motorist apparently lives another day, unlike most throwaway roles in past seasons of 24. Chloe borrows a mobile to call Jack.
Jack picks her up and tries to give her the silent treatment. She says this whole day is her fault and she wants to make it right. Oh, and JJ lied to her. If only she’d told the whole truth. But at least she tells Jack she’s his only friend—remember the 1st hour when she said the same thing? Well, this time Jack buys it, and they head off together to save the world. Somehow they pick up Jack’s flunky from the start of this day. I sure am glad he shows up again, it’s gotta mean he plays a substantive role somewhere. If only wifey would make an appearance again!
They reach the docks, but Chloe’s computer’s wifi’s on the fritz. Ever observant and resourceful, she spies a sat dish and heads off after it. Jack, now the worried mother hen, slows her down long enough to blast an innocent lock to smithereens only to find … no one home. Chloe can set up shop in peace, tap into a satellite with an IR camera that has resolution down to inches from geosynchronous orbit—somebody broke some laws here, laws of physics that is.
Notwithstanding my growing disbelief, Chloe serves as eye-in-the-sky as Jack and flunky board the boat ready to play their video game. With Chloe telling them where the baddies are (“2 coming straight towards you,” “one on the container.” I guess you hadda be there, but those directions didn’t tell me where anybody was) Jack and flunky fired only once each time and downed their targets, not taking the time to assess the morals of each killing.
Evil Chinese is still pretty smart, and he figures out someone’s tapping into their internet (even though it wasn’t his boat, wasn’t his dish). Chloe and now Chinese have eyes in the sky thanks to Chloe (seems they shoulda been smart enough to have the feed without Chloe’s help). Chloe realizes her gig is up, so she hightails it. Now the dam finally bursts and the baddies flow outta their command center, threatening to inundate Jack and flunky (funny that I didn’t see that many get on the boat). Oh, and they started the engines. Jack sends flunky down to turn off engines, while he tries to play little Dutch boy.
During a pause in Jack’s action, Kate’s team takes out the sniper, and everybody else is shaken but not stirred. They head back to CIA station, only to be ambushed by sniper’s back-up who kills everybody but Kate (and maybe one or 2 of her escort). Kate gets off a few wholly ineffective shots as back-up gets picked up by a speeding car. Heckuva a lot of backup here, for a lone gunman. Remember when I said (almost) everybody but Kate? That meant Audrey, too. Touching little scene as Kate tries to will Audrey to live to no avail. Then calls Jack.
Remember that pause in the action? Jack takes the call sitting down. At least he knows she doesn’t hate him, but that’s not helping him take it any better. He sets down his assault rifle, thinks about crying, then pulls out his pistol. Good thing there’s a pause in the action. What’s he gonna do with that pistol?
Well, we never find out, as the action picks up again (good thing), he hears the baddies coming, he swaps guns, and goes full metal postal. Luckily for him, this ambush didn’t require cool smarts to escape from. He continues to wade through the flood of baddies, killing indiscriminately, using whatever tricks he knows, tools he can find, till he can catch his breath.
And we can go check on flunky and his big moment—he pulls a gun on a guy by a big engine and a switch, and he tells him to turn the engine off. Engine guy switches the switch.
Cut back to Jack who’s made it to evil Chinese, using a guy he just stabbed as a human shield, taking everybody out but for head honcho. We have some gratuitous kung fu, Jack wins, calls PH, waiting for facial recognition, grabs a nearby samurai sword on this Russian boat, threatens to chop a head off to encourage Chiang to say his name, Chiang finally obliges, and loses his head anyway—“for Audrey.” PH sends the ID info to Chinese premier just in the nick of time to call off whatever his boats were doing. And everybody who’s still alive ends well.
Yeah, you know that’s not the case. PH insists on hearing some news standing up (unlike Jack), and when he hears Audrey died, he falls down. He’s OK, even if he’s shaken and stirred.
And finally we get to how this series could cover 24 hours in 12 one-hour episodes. After getting off the boat, Jack finds Chloe missing and gets a mysterious call for a meet up in 12 hours that he agrees to.
12 hours later, Mark is in detention, looking forlorn, asking about PH, getting no answer, being bundled up, stateside-bound.
Kate finally gets to quit, after writing her report.
Audrey, presumably, is in the flag draped coffin on the tarmac. I don’t remember presidential daughters getting this treatment.
PH and Brit PM are idly chatting on same tarmac, PM offering condolences, PH shrugging them off, saying in a year his Alzheimer’s will prevent him from remembering that he even had a daughter. So, no big deal.
And the meet up. Jack and flunky—is this his big moment?—carry one gun to a vacant lot, with snipers all around trained on them. There’s a helicopter in the lot. And Russians. Seems Chloe didn’t hightail it good enough to avoid them as they absconded their boat. Touching moment as Jack and Chloe pass during the prisoner swap. He says she is his best friend. Then she gets away scot free, and he tells the Russians he’ll make their life miserable if anything happens to her. They quickly agree because all along they wanted just him anyway. Flunky’s big moment is jumping in the car with Chloe, Jack’s last vestige of his thought-to-have-been-long-lost humanity. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Season 9, Live Another Day: 9pm-10pm, Raveling threads


The OK Corral has lots of legs. Jack and Kate are in the same gunfight we left them 5 minutes ago, taking cover behind SUVs and picking off Russians with ease, getting missed as they flit about as if Spock had mind melded with them, too.  Backup arrives to corral the Russians left standing, but too bad the gun fight caught the eye of Chinese (but not the Brit authorities? Aren’t they watching all those cameras, too?). Evil freelance Chinese with the box skedaddles with Chloe in tow (they like her for her brains, though she tries their patience by trying to sneak a stray cell phone with her). Jack and Kate get there just too late, but Kate finds another cell phone that was on record—they play it back, and Jack hears his former torturer, whom everybody thought was dead. Put that together with the Russians’ ambush that Jack linked to Mark, and the threads of the tapestry start tying themselves up.
Meanwhile PH’s long day is plodding along. In staff meeting with what appears to be the Joint Chiefs somehow in London, he sees that the Chinese carrier looks like the San Diego fireworks of a couple years ago. Jack calls to tell everyone who’s responsible, and just ‘cause it’s Jack they all believe EFC is still alive. Audrey’s a bit shaken as he tortured her into catatonia, but she’s alright now, as she tells worried Mark. PH sends the sub responsible for the ‘splosion to clean up the mess and finally gets a call from the Chinese premier. Premier isn’t buying the “Ooops” theory, isn’t buying the dead Chinese renegade theory either. In other words, he’s not looking happy, and he’s not going off half-cocked, but he’s not saying what he’s up to. Staff scramble, including Audrey who has a contact who might help convince premier it was an accident.
Jack calls Audrey for yet another tender moment. Normal Jack things are gonna happen, and he doesn’t want her to hate him. She says she could never hate him, and do what has to be done. Cool! Jack has an open hand and clear conscience. That’s a load off my mind, worried as I was that with Audrey’s specter hanging over him we were in for a booring final episode and a half.
To get this party started, he stops by to see his old buds PH and Mark. He barges into the staff meeting without needing to incapacitate any security (booring!), and hustles PH and Mark into a private room. He uses the ol’ gun-to-the-head trick again (booring!—this is what he needed Audrey’s approval for?), this time on Mark, and Mark cops to (almost) everything—forging PH’s signature, putting the Russians onto Jack, everything but being a worried, jealous, overprotective, Jack-a-phobe hubby. PH is ready to arrest him for treason (might as well, ‘cause Jack has other plans, so whatever PH wants or says doesn’t matter), but Jack thinks the Russian ambassador could clue them in to where the Chinese are. Sure seems that Mark might as well have mentioned the worried hubby angle—that might have garnered him some more sympathy.
Jack and Mark head out on Mark’s 1st field trip, with Kate in tow. Mark’s all worried, wanting to know what to do when the bullets start flying—Jack deadpans, “Duck.” They’re going to the ambassador’s house, er, residence. CIA is helping with figuring out the security, but Mark has to go in 1st because their files are old. Mark talks his way in, feigning he’s seeking asylum with lots of top secret post-Snowden intel. And even we don’t know whether he’s lying! So much the better to pull off a ruse.
We’re surprised to see the plan works like clockwork (booring!). Mark gets in to the ambassador, gets asked what he wants, and he says $$$. Ambassador sneers, saying, “It’s always money.”  But wait! There’s a commotion! There’s a drawer with a gun! We remember Mark’s in the field for the 1st time ever and nervous. There’s a tussle for the gun. Jack and Kate are making mincemeat of the security (booring!), Mark remembers he’s supposed to keep Ambassador occupied, they tussle some more and crash through a glass door just as Jack and Kate finish mopping the floor with the goons. Great, another fine mess for Jack (and Kate) to clean up.
Even more so when they see it was real glass, not the Hollywood stunt glass that shatters harmlessly. No, this glass stuck a shard in Ambassador’s jugular. Which he is stupid enough to pull out. Or stupid like a fox so that Jack has no chance to torture him. And torture used to be such an important part of this show. Kate looks surprisingly like Mark as they both stand there twiddling their thumbs. Jack sends Kate to find a towel as Mark is a better twiddler, but it really seems either an article of clothing would be faster or it doesn’t really matter. Ambassador lives long enough to say, “You’re not getting anything outta me, copper” and for Kate to return with the towel.
And Jack’s suddenly outta angles.
But wait, I can’t keep all these threads going simultaneously in a blog, so you’ve gotta be thinking there’s more going on somewhere that’ll give that resourceful Jack hope. Captive Chloe clocks a couple o’ Chinese while they’re kidnapping her to the docks for an escape, and she escapes! Except she does it by jumping out of a moving van going 50 mph and rolling down a forested hill. She doesn’t look to be in very good shape, mostly or more unconscious, and no one, not even she, knows where she is.
OK, what about Audrey and that mysterious Chinese contact? They meet in a spooky park w/ Audrey’s security all around (since when does she rate her own security?). We’ve learned Chinese premier has jets and battleships on the move (I sure hope those jets can keep up with the battleships), but no one knows where to. Still they’re slow enough that some back channel work like what Audrey’s up to could stop them before WWIII starts for real. Audrey makes her pitch to her pal, who pauses for dramatic effect before saying, ….
Really, what’s the point of that pause? Is she really gonna say, “Nope”? Maybe it’s just more gratuitous suspense. Maybe there’s not enough plot to eat up the entire hour, so she’s stalling for time. Maybe this is this actor’s only screen time, and she’s making the most of it.
If you chose door number three, you’re right. Sniper takes her out. Then takes out both security dudes (seems like a prudent sniper would take them out 1st). Then Audrey gets a call from a familiar voice—a chilling EFC, who tells her to cool her heels.
Oh, and for the record, in case the suspense was killing you, Audrey’s gal pal agreed.
We close out this hour with Kate and Jack rifling through drawers and computers and Chloe’s eyes opening. That’s as much hope as there is for the final hour, and the only question I’m left with is "how come it’s not a 2hr season finale?" 'cause these threads ain't gonna ravel themselves.
Sphere: Related Content

Friday, July 4, 2014

Season 9, Live Another Day: 8pm-9pm, The fuse is lit?

If you put China’s only aircraft carrier in the Red Sea it better go off before the final act ends. I’m pretty sure that’s what Chekhov said.
Jack’s chasing down CSCS to yet another London train station—where Julian Jr. told CSCS to go. CSCS gets there, calls JJ on his scrambler mobile, JJ tells CSCS where the money and passport are, CSCS finds them, JJ tells CSCS to drop the goods through the mail slot, which CSCS does, then asks, “Where’s the car????!!!!” only to finally realize there is no one on the line, there’s no way out, no car, JJ’s just a selfish crook, just like CSCS, but what’s it matter anyway as Jack was on his tail with backup—as if that little car woulda done him any good. Jack’s clever enough to find JJ running away and follow him and Chloe to the platform, but not clever enough to shoot down a train as it pulls out.
Just to give them all time to get back to CIA HQ, we cut to commercial, then Black Goon taking charge of HQ as senior agent on site, then PH. PH, drinking “just one” after Audrey catches him mixing scotch and Alzheimer’s meds, is all set to head back to the US with his tail between his legs (for not getting drone bases outta the Brits) and hand over the tattered reigns to VP. Only to get the call (brought to him by Mark) telling him the day’s not over—JJ has the override box. Just what he needed—yet another reason to keep the scotch at a single (or the opposite).
We also had time for the replacement analyst to figure out and tell Kate that CSCS framed Kate’s hubby. Just in time for Jack and CSCS to arrive. Jack has his second sensitive moment of the season, empathizing with vengeful Kate that wrecking vengeance doesn’t make you feel better. Sheesh, as if he’d know.
Jack wants to interrogate CSCS because CSCS has been trained to resist interrogation. BG, in charge and given a personal presidential order to give Jack whatever Jack needs, still tells Jack not to go over the line. So, cool, we’re back to the olde-tyme Jack, torturing to get answers because torture works so well! Jack mostly minds his manners, CSCS has an angle and will sell it for immunity, Kate’s fit to be tied (literally?), Jack tries to go postal, but BG breaks it up once CSCS’s hand pays the piper.
Audrey and Mark are still working things out as only they can, and with the goodwill we’ve seen so far this season with how folks work out their differences, we think there’s hope. Till the subject turns to “Jack.” Mark’s jealous! Been hiding it well this day. Too bad Audrey’s not great at talking him down. Heck, she can’t talk to him when he’s like this, and she tells him and us so, so she walks out. You shouldn’t do that when he has an angle, and a Russian angle at that. He calls his Russian pal and gives up Jack. And I’m wondering didn’t he just learn that Jack’s still working on getting the box with presidential powers to boot? Don’t worry, he soon will again. And will be unable to call off the Russians in time.
Kate and Jack play good cop/bad cop with CSCS in the infirmary—guess who’s the bad one. Yup, Kate with her mad-on for vengeance. Gun to the head does the trick. CSCS gives up the code of the tracker he planted on the box. Now, why didn’t he tell us from the start, run this as an up-and-up sting to catch JJ? Why didn’t JJ stop to consider the box would have a tracker? Probably because in this short season we don’t have time for any more plot logic. Jack’s gotta get to the box in only another episode or 2 (sorry, I’ve lost count, though pretty soon the hours gotta start flying by to make it to 24).
So, the tracker’s active and Jack’s active, still in full Mighty Mouse mode.
While he’s closing in as we find out something we shoulda known the moment JJ’s crew told him they’d be ready for it in “15 or 20 minutes.” Never is time uncertain on 24. Indeed, JJ and Chloe reach the backup hideout and find all their peacenik friends brutally tied up and murdered, slaughtered. We are given the dignity of dramatic pause as it starts to sink in to JJ and Chloe. Though only starts to, for how could they ever figure out that the dirty deed was done by the Chinese?!? The same Chinese JJ’s been dealing with? The same Chinese with the aircraft carrier in the Red Sea? No? Yes? Who knows? But it is the Chinese guy who tortured Jack and Audrey for months. Chloe knows. They put on some gratuitous torture and threats that wouldn’t work on me (like Kate’s ploy wouldn’t have, either), but they work on Chloe, who hacks into the box so the Chinese can use it. Once in, they kill JJ (not before he tells Chloe a secret that she can’t believe he kept for so long), and order a US sub to blow up the only Chinese carrier! On the clock as always, 24 didn’t even think about taking a Crimson Tide moment before the torpedoes hit their mark.
And why didn’t Jack arrive alive? Remember the Russians? Not a block from saving the day, just in time the Russians in a freakin’ truck t-bone Jack and Kate in their SUV, knocking it on its side. Another Bambi v. Godzilla moment? Heck, no! Jack and Kate extricate from the now-rotated-90° SUV unscratched and mad enough to start shooting things. But those extracurriculars took the precious time the Chinese needed to light the fuse for WWIII: the explosion of the carrier. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Season 9, Live Another Day: 7pm-8pm, Back down the mountain

Jack outsmarts us yet again. And found some more holes in drone technology. President Heller survived because Chloe and Jack have seen Speed. Chloe hacked the feed from the drone of death, recorded a bit of its view of PH, then fed it back to the DOD in a continuous loop. Somehow in those few seconds PH must have dashed to cover while Mummy took the helm, fired, watched the DOD Confirm Target’s Destruction, take a breath, and bask/gloat/realize that once you reach the mountaintop you are left with only figuring out what’s left/keep her word to that liar PH and start dropping drones in the Thames.
Seeing that PH is alive, I’m wondering where this plan found the time to cover his dash, how Mummy and Sonny didn’t notice the loop sooner (it’s a jet drone, not a helo drone that can stay relatively stationary like a video cam on a bus’s interior), and how DOD software decides whether the target is destroyed. But you might recall from last week that I willingly suspend my disbelief for this show.
Because Sonny keeps watching the video of the live PH (why is it still looping? Did he “Record that” thinking flying a DOD is like playing X-Box?), he picks up on the ruse, Mummy and he save one DOD before it kerplunks, and he goes looking for PH—the same way Chloe does, by hacking the video that blankets London. He loses no time finding the right Wembley cam, and there, not 5 min ago, is well-lit PH getting in a car.
Never piss off a terrorist—and get caught. Especially one with a mad on for you personally (is she really a terrorist if it’s a personal vendetta? Seems like her maniacal focus on PH has jeopardized “everything we’ve been working for,” which has been her consistent rallying cry. She points the DOD towards Waterloo Station as her last shot to make innocents pay for being innocent. Somehow she’ll get sympathizers with her that PH is so bad that she had to make innocents pay—that borders on religion. Yeah, I know, terrorists recruit that way every day in the real world, so it looks like I need to rethink the scope of my willing suspension of disbelief. Or the scope of George Hull’s vision.
Jack heads off in helo to find Mummy with the rest of the governmental principals watching the DOD’s flight trying to figure out where it’s going. Jack is kind enough to call them to tell them PH is OK. PM is happy. Audrey is happier (“I wasn’t ready to lose him yet. Thank you, Jack!” How nice of the writers to keep PH around till she is ready. The real world doesn’t wait.). It’s a good thing Jack was thoughtful enough to call because he stuffed PH in limo with his toady, ordered to maintain cell silence. PH quickly orders toady to break it, and toady says he’s not American so he doesn’t have to obey—as if he needed a reason other than Jack’s the boss. Also good nobody thinks Jack’s a murdering terrorist anymore.
Jack falls back on Chloe to help him pinpoint Mummy. Chloe somehow does—oh, yeah, by falling back on Julian Jr. Jack sends Kate into an ambush there, as Mummy figured she ought to be ready for some extracurriculars and sent her troops out to stand ready. Kate and her goon-friend from way back at 11am hide behind their vehicle, shoot a bit, some with effect, don’t get shot, and wait for backup. Backup comes, Kate asks GF for a grenade, then yells, “hey, watch this!” which in CIA field lingo comes out as, “Cover me!” I don’t know what happened to the grenade, but all the good guys survived, Jack landed the helo on the right rooftop, shot a baddie or 2, Chloe told her what floor Mummy was on, Jack unwired the HBO feed and body-rapped down (ignoring proper form 
, which is only slightly less painful than hitting ground) in time for Sonny to see him and shoot. But Jack’s too fast, jumping to the side, then back just as Sonny went to the window to see what he shot, leading to defenestration number 1. Jumping Jack fenestrates and shoots Mummy; Chloe tells him to manually override the missile that’s just launched towards Waterloo; he figures it out like he’s a born hacker, which is good because it was 30s to target, and while hugging Mummy’s still twitching body, he steers it into the Thames. Mummy’s disappointed but still tries to get in the last word: “The hundreds of dead today are on your head.” Jack doesn’t let her gloat for long or have the last word, replying, “Nuh-uh, the only dead on my head is you.” Defenestration number 2.
Jack collects the override box, and takes it to CIA with the crew. There, CSCS has a problem: Kate’s police contact has found Kate’s dead friend and the dead assassin that CSCS sent. Won’t be long before dead assassin implicates CSCS (especially w/ Jack now curious as only he can be)! CSCS calls Julian Jr. who says he’ll help CSCS escape in exchange for the override box. Jack conveniently brings in the box, inconveniently hands it over to a Defense personnel who discovers it can control any defense system in the world! So that’s what the rest of this day is about—did the developer realize how powerful it is? I don’t know, but JJ sure did! Making us wonder why he helped Jack as much as he did.
With CSCS and Jack looking over Defense’s shoulders, CSCS is trying to figure out how to get his hands on that box! Oh, the suspense builds!! Oh, if only there were a diversion!!! Just then, we learn again that without coincidence there is no story as Audrey calls to thank Jack AGAIN, and Jack takes it privately. CSCS uses the old choke hold on Defense and absconds with the box. Jack gets another call, this time from his contact who connected the dots to CSCS. And the chase is on.
Which brings us to the end of this hour.

Except we see the singularly disturbing image of Chloe kissing someone. Someone many already suspected, especially after seeing his thinly veiled distaste, nay, could it be jealousy, for Jack. Chloe kissing JJ, with her face screwing up into the pout of distaste only she can bring to that role. Ugh, I can’t wait till the next hour to get that taste, that image out of my head!
Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Season 9, Live Another Day: 6pm-7pm, The Mountain Top

Jack should know what it feels like. But for Mummy this hour had to wind up in a pretty strange place. Do you have a feel for a common refrain in this blog (other blogs, too?) about Jack? He always gets what he wants. Just this episode, he got Chief of Staff Mark to be nice to him, or at least to cooperate (yes, it helped that PH told CoSM to cooperate), he got a helo, he got the secret service detail details, he got Kate to bully the doctor into juicing up comatose Wifey even if it kills her, he got Wifey to give up the goods to Kate even if it kills her. Somehow, getting what he wants over and over again doesn’t make him any happier. Is that what getting what you want feels like?
OK, he had to do something he didn’t want to: take PH to Wembley. PH did decide to meet Mummy’s demand/bargain/extortion. (What’s wrong with extortion? Two legal activities exchanged for each other? Mummy won’t blow up London—people do that every day! In exchange for PH going to Wembley—people do that every day! In this exchange, has Mummy done anything illegal till she blows something up? I wonder if the Social Contract falls in this bucket: I’ll follow the rules if you’ll follow the rules.) And lucky for PH, the only human in the world capable of getting him there (i.e., sneaking him out past the secret service without anyone else—except CoSM—knowing) just happened to have come out of deep cover that day. And be PH’s bud. Like I said last week—you can’t have a story without coincidence.
Jack didn’t want to do that, thought it was a bad idea. Till PH told Jack that Jack would do the same thing in PH’s shoes. That’s always the winner argument, the argument that ends the argument. Except I’m left thinking, “Huh?” PH made the obvious argument, including that he’s gonna die (or forget everything—what’s the difference?) in a year anyway. Jack makes the obvious argument (mine!), “You can’t trust her.” PH says he does, then throws in that if she welches, her credibility for seeking justice is shot if she still holds London hostage, still fires off missiles.
Some arguments are just too stupid to argue with. PH’s mind is made up, and rather than argue with a looney who’s losing his mind and won’t see reason, Jack decides that’s more unnecessary suspense and drama than this show needs. Just get on with it; 24 is on the clock.
CoSM gets Jack what he needs, including a diversionary staff meeting. PH and Audrey have a moment whose import Audrey doesn’t recognize that she fizzles by say, “Dad, I have to get back to work,” (let that be a lesson to you about putting work before family), Jack gets PH out of the building (albeit with one moment of gratuitous suspense as a secret service agent stumbles on them, Jack conks him on the head, PH says, “Aw, Jack, you didn’t hafta do that,”—look, we all know what’s gonna happen here, why do we need that one head conk? I agree, PH, but blame the writers, not Jack!). CoSM and Audrey have their moment later when Audrey finds out what’s up and CoSM knew, was in on it, and didn’t tell her. She’s furious, he’s “if that’s how you want it, so be it.” Till he nearly cries about how much he loved PH. He didn’t even have to use the, “Stick with me or PH’s death will be in vain” argument. Still too much easy resolution of issues in this season—I’m not used to 24, let alone TV, minimizing opportunities for drama!
With that out of the way, night falls like it does in the tropics (between 630 and 635 pm), and Jack gets some more of what he wants. Kate gets Wifey to give up Mummy’s secret hideaway, where she won’t be anymore, but also the disks MEH hid that “prove” Wifey’s innocence. (Those two really were lovey-dovey.) OK, here’s a real opportunity for suspense—will they find the disks in time? Ooooh, why did MEH hide them so well? Do we really believe they would have found them under the floorboards if they didn’t know to look? And once they get them, can Chloe figure out something from them in time to save PH from Wembley?
I think we all know the answer to that—this is 24, and it’s bound and determined to go where no show has gone before—what President has given up her/his life in response to terrorist demands? Let’s take pop culture to the next intellectual level and explore just what that means.
So, Jack gets PH to Wembley, all lit up with nobody home—is it always lit? PH walks to mid field, looks up, Mummy takes the helm from Sonny, and lets ‘er rip. Big crater right in the middle of the English pitch. Prescient of the English performance in the 2014 World Cup? Anybody remember PH’s last words? (I paid attention for them, wound up thinking they were pretty lame, and forgot them!)
And now Mummy finally gets to see what it feels like to get your heart’s desire.
While we get to think back on when we’ve finally gotten what we’ve wanted for-ever. I’ve followed, studied, cheered my favorite sports teams, mostly from afar these days. I watch scores, read up on game results, follow games on the internet. And once in a great long while I get the thrill of a championship (my teams rarely reach the pinnacle, then again, many teams never reach the pinnacle, and few do often). I find I’m left thinking, the same thing I do when my teams don’t win the championship, “There’s always next year.” It becomes a disappointment to finally get there. That’s over (even if “they can never take that away from me.” Of course they can—remember Floyd Landis? Joe Paterno?). In the past, and now, it’s time to start climbing the next hill. Like the physical pinnacle I scaled with a guide, who when we got there, hurried us off. More than the mountaintop experience, the journey itself is the reward. Win or lose.
What does Mummy think about the journey that got her here? Did she have a plan to “win the peace” after winning the war? Or is she left thinking, “Now what?”
But that’s for next week because this week’s hour is done.
And we’re left with the image of Mummy simply pulling the trigger from afar, watching her TV feed from the drone for the result. Showing us that even TV-life is more and more virtual. Was it ever real?
Or was it a trick (no wonder PH kept it secret) and PH survives? That sure blows a hole in this whole blog entry. That’s too big for me to consider now!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Season 9, Live Another Day: 5pm-6pm: I don’t believe it

Is the willing suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy a story? Is it conscious? I’ve boiled it into a corollary that helps me keep reading: Stories require coincidence. However it works for you, it sure is flexible, letting whoppers through while tripping over the trifling.
You all probably tripped over the drone of death watching Jack drive under the overpass, then firing its last rocket as soon as his car came out the other side, even after a 30s wait.
But just cut it out. Just enjoy the ride. Or figure Sonny is nervous w/ Mummy back seat flying, with him down to his last missile to blow up Wifey/sissy/daughter—if Mummy so easily turns on daughter, aiming to blow ‘er up, Sonny better not mess up. You’d take the shot, too, in the heat of the moment, trained for flight only by watching MEH fly-by-wire, running a high-speed chase after Jack Bauer. See, there’s a logical explanation for everything.
Or, hey, have a little self-reflection here. I just can’t suspend my belief that these other parts of the latest past hour of Jack’s latest bad day don’t have you giving up on your willing suspension of disbelief and the story:

  •  Jack walks away clean with explicit acceptance from MI5 amid the destruction of last hour’s operation that resulted in dead MI5 agents
  • Jack frees his crony from MI5 on only his say-so and a single flick of a knife through the tie-wrap restraint
  • Kate looks chipper after her torture (where’s the slash to the leg? How come Jack didn’t stitch hers like Mummy stitched Wifey’s?)
  • PM gives PH total support because PH asked for it after events proved he was right to trust Jack all along (even if he tried to kill Jack before trusting him)
  • PM cows after confronting PH’s loony-ness when PH says simply—“I’d quit if I thought my condition put anyone in danger”
  • Chloe has a video feed right above the scene of Wifey v. Bus, and she recognizes Wifey trussed up on a gurney with a neck brace and fat lip
  • Wifey wins (or at least draws) v. bus!
  • Doctor brings Wifey to for Jack to question her just ‘cause Jack asked in his own nice way
  • Nearly catatonic daughter of dead sis-in-law opens up to cold Kate’s cold bedside manner, remembering details that even my recap doesn’t!
  • Wifey walks out of hospital arm-in-arm with Jack just as DOD blows it up
  • DOD runs out of missiles (and maybe Jack knows?)
  • Follow-up on the trigger for this bulletized list: The blown up SUV (direct hit!) has enough integrity to allow Mummy and Sonny to see that it was empty
  • Virtually invisible drone can’t image vehicles and people under an overpass—why doesn’t it have the sensitive IR imagers that MI5 has?!?!
  • Professional killer ambushes completely unsuspecting and green computer geek in the field for the 1st time but manages to shoot only his arm
  • PH tells Audrey and Mark that he’s gonna resign tomorrow (OK, when the crisis is over, but he knows it’s only 12 hr this season)
  • And the biggie, as if the one that started this sleigh ride and the rest of these aren’t big enough: PH has an intimate 1-on-1 Skype call w/ Mummy, dropping enough hints to figure out (or stay tuned for scenes from the next 24) that he’s gonna trade his freedom to her for the safety of London.

Whew. OK, OK, I’ll believe!
What else? Jack finally tortures someone. Remember Wifey’s missing finger? Jack finds it (not the missing part) when she’s strapped on gurney after doc woke her. She quickly stops talking to Jack, and Jack isn’t nice to the finger, figuring Mummy did it, pulling my finger multiple ways (it hurts, what’s next from Mummy if she can do this?). He stops, Kate saw, he APOLOGIZES (what’s come over this show?) saying he shouldn’t have done it, but he hates these people—so hate is now an excuse? (Thanks for highlighting that, too.)
Thanks again for indicating where I’ve seen Mummy:  I’ve not watched much Game of Thrones, having read the books and not wanting to relive all my favorite characters’ deaths. But at least Catelyn died so she could wind up here, but she might have to do double-duty if this season of 24 doesn’t finish up soon!…. Probably good for me that 24 comes out before the book, but then again, I don’t know that I really have any favorite characters that I don’t want to see die, except for Tony (though it was a comic book death) and Michelle    and Rene (thanks).
And then there’s 24 being 24, doing the unthinkable. Blowing up an atomic bomb! That never happens in stories, but right there in Season 1 (I think it was). OK, this show will take you to the edge, drop you off it, show you what happens next. Poison gas taking out CTU? No problem. This season—PH surrendering to terrorist demands. OK, we’re not there yet, but I have one overarching tenet on this topic: never trust someone you can’t trust, like someone holding anyone (let alone thousands of people) hostage/captive. PH and Mummy’s tête-à-tête tried to address this with PH asking if he can trust her, and Mummy replying that she’s the one who should have trust issues with him! Yeah, now, if I’m PH, I’m really thinking this swap of me for London is gonna work right.
We start to find out next episode. I’ll do what I can to keep you updated, but I’ll be traveling a bit.
One other loose end, very 24-ish in its full circle-ness? Julian Jr. (Chloe’s “Anonymous” bud, leader of team-Assange) is CSCS’s contact, who convinces him to send assassin after analyst who’s starting to unravel the mystery of Kate’s husband.
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