Monday, March 15, 2010

24 Season 8: 3AM-4AM Quick Review


This is the halfway point of Season 8-- it starts quite well! We get a hostage situation with Hassan's daughter which spills out into the *very* empty streets of NYC (I know, it's 3AM...) and a pretty good car chase ensues. But like with most spy thrillers, the bad guys know how to conveniently lose the good guys by going into a tunnel and ditching their getaway vehicle. Standard-issue action trickery? Sure, but I'm digging it regardless.

Oh, and then the Jenny/Walsh thing had to pop back up. The ever-reliable Stephen Root (Milton, the stapler-loving lunatic from OFFICE SPACE) brings the most dedicated probation officer known to creation to "24." He manages to make the terrible subplot fun- a tribute to his abilities as a character actor more than the aspirations of this show's writers.  Mr. Root, welcome to the show. I wish you showed up sooner!

Jack and Chico, Jr. run over to the UN for a top-level meeting with Hassan's hair. I like this personal touch by Jack- to tell the leader of the U.S.'s most pivotal global adversary that they lost his daughter when they had the building surrounded. Mrs. Hassan lets Jack know that she hates infidels, but Jack's faced down far tougher Middle Eastern women before- women with guns and homicidal husbands. Mrs. Hassan is too "country club" to register on Jack's radar.

The terrorists holding Hassan's daughter make some whispery demands for a file over satellite phone. Hassan replies "You can never rule Kamistan! You have the hair of a mid-level bureaucrat at best!" Hassan then shows Jack and gang the special file, which just happens to contain ALL of the U.S.'s defense protocols against a nuclear attack. Okay, so Hassan carries this on his MacBook Pro is silly enough. But that the file even exists is kind of silly unto itself. How do you exactly defend against a domestic nuke? It's a freakin' nuke! You could set it off in a farmhouse in Syracuse and it would still bring major damage. But lastly, why do terrorists who already have nuclear material in the U.S. need a file to tell them how to smuggle nuclear materials into the country? That's like asking for a recipe for brownies after you baked a batch. Besides, they've been moving these rods all over the city for 12 hours. If there are radiation detection checkpoints, we have yet to see them actually work!

Meanwhile, in the midst of this most intense of crises, Milton wanders about CTU like an amateur Columbo, solving this intricate plot by Dana/Jenny in a matter of minutes. This is my kind of guy. I love his tenacity. I love his knowledge of "what is that called- meta-data?" Hilarious! A fly in the ointment is always a great thing- and to see Walsh squirm is long overdue. She calls Chico, Jr. to whine about the bumbling detective ruining her life, and Jack slaps the show back into reality, saying "Stop this subplot, we've got a really good superplot unfolding!"

Hassan's daughter gets bored with waiting to be saved, so she bats her eyelashes just enough times to convince her evil boyfriend to not be so darn evil for a moment. He relents, helping her escape before taking a bullet in the back. Oh well, she thinks- now I'm single again. Time to go to CTU and see if there are any cute boys there! (How does she know how to get to CTU? Well, lucky for her, Dana can double as a GPS device! Finally, she did something useful! Ha!).

Okay, so here's where it all goes nuts! Kayla's dead boyfriend isn't dead after all. And the terrorists don't need that stupid file either! She was allowed to escape! And she is delivering an EMP bomb on behalf of these crafty terrorists. Well, their little scheme works- they force Hastings to run for security like they're giving out free shrimp salad sandwiches and succeed in taking out CTU's electricity.

Yet again, America turns to Jack Bauer's analog justice to save her. All Hail Analog Bauer!

34 comments:

brandon curtis said...

I think the point of the file Hassan had was that it had info on how to be able to decommission some sort of device that would've been able to detect nukes. But again, it's a moot point when you blast CTU with an EMP because they clearly would've been the ones doing the detecting. And now they can't.

Before I finished the above sentence I didn't realize how apt your already baked brownies analogy really was.

I really hope, but let's face it we're on a fools errand here, that next week can bring us back to the earlier seasons atmospherics of Jack Bauer trapped in a parking lot/empty structure/sporting goods store with someone like Clark Gregg or those two middle eastern brothers (season 2 or 4?) or Kim Raver while he must systematically eliminate those fools.

Also, I would sincerely like for Jack and Cole to run out of bullets and for Annie Wersching/Rene to show up a la Tony Almeida (season 4) and blow the rest of those assholes away. We could certainly use all of those things.

Adam said...

Thanks, brandon- you're absolutely right, this show could use a bare-bones action episode where there's no satellites, no gadgetry, just Jack, some bullets and a lot of quick thinking. I think the promo for next week gives us hope.

As for Renee- she's probably gathering herself for the next 12 hrs of mayhem as we speak! I'm very much optimistic that she's coming back with a completely different attitude now that she knows where she and Jack stand. Tony's arrival in Season 4 was probably my favorite moment in all of 24. If they can achieve even half that level of awesome, I'll be very happy.

Brittany said...

Wow. Well played, 24. You've earned me back.
(!) XD

JustABill said...

WOW!!!! This is the 24 I'm so addicted to.

Adam, any way I can ask you a question in a PM?

Adam said...

JAB- email me at: thejacksack@gmail.com

Jill said...

This is the 24 that I love. It had it all except for Renee but that's a good thing!

Adam said...

@Brittany & Jill: I agree- sometimes it's something as simple as letting Jack do his job that makes this show shine.

How about Cole bringing some game too? He should silence his cell phone and just focus on what Jack tells him, but otherwise he's been a reliable field guy so far.

TONYJUNKIE said...

Wow, nice new layout, Adam. Love the new Jack Sack header at the top of the page. You're getting pretty fancy-schmancy.

Adam said...

Thanks, TJ! I'm going blind tweaking the code for this site- but it's all worth it when I get feedback like yours.

Eyes tired... need coffee- No! Need sleep! Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket!

Huff said...

It's now 3am, real time, and I just finished watching this episode on my DVR...then I stumbled upon this review and laughed my ass off...it was perfect. You sir, are a man who knows how to write, and I look forward to seeing what you have to say next week...

Brian Pelts said...

I agree about the first part of this episode being all kinds of win. The chess game between Jack and the bad guys made my cold dead heart feel all warm and happy again. Aaaaand then they took out CTU again. Seriously, what the fuckhell were they thinking putting the command floor right next to the wide open entrance? Jesus, even the supermarket puts some of those yellow pillars in front of the door.

Ms. Henderson said...

And you people thought Milo was an annoying sexual menace before ...but now that all his drones are gone and the lights are out at CTU?! The beast has been unleashed! There's going to be a whole lot of EEO complaints filed once the power gets turned back on at CTU!

Adam said...

@Huff- thanks, that's a very generous comment. I hope I've roped you in as a regular reader.

@Pelty- Yeah, I know- CTU goes down AGAIN! It's one of those things that you just roll your eyes at now. But at least they did it with some panache- an EMP bomb? Is Ra's Al Ghul the big baddie this season? Stay angry, though- your comments are priceless nuggets of fury.

@Ms. Henderson- so, how did that gender reassignment operation go? Love it- Arlo the groper has been unleashed!

Nick Fury said...

....but I still don't understand the subplot where Elaine Benes is kidnapped by her 'boyfriend' Kramer, who falls down but is not dead...it seems like a '24' about nothing.....

...AND.. why is a bearded George Costanza allowed to wander about CTU? ..is George using his 'Art Vandelay' alias or something???

Nick Fury said...

...plus its nice that Jerry wants to help Jack by riding along with him, since Jerry realizes that the foreign mastermind behind the plot to destroy NYC is his old muslim friend Baboo, who blames Jerry and NYC for his deportation...

....but once again we see Jerry choose girlfriends unwisely, and he keeps calling her so as to be kept #1 on her speed dial...

...and we all know that around about hour 21 Arlo will mention in passing to Jerry that Dana Walsh has man-hands, ending the engagement...

Brian Pelts said...

It's a shame they're not renewing this show for another season. I was looking forward to the next iteration of CTU and its giant, jolly, red, candy-like self-destruct button right next to the doorbell with a "DO NOT TOUCH" Post-It attached.

Adam said...

@Pelty- it's like the guys who made Doctor Evil's Lair were contracted by Uncle Sam to build CTU NY! Oh, how I love the snark. I'm offering you the job of Bouncer at TheJackSack.com. The pay is shitty but the hours are good.

Nick Fury said...

The Seinfeld trend started by '24' continues...

..check THIS out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO6pvDQTzno&feature=player_embedded

(...Pelosi's wobble-eyes are a crack up!)

Anonymous said...

Finally an episode with no White House President Tayor BS. Lets pray like Novak and (POS) Logan that it keeps up!!

Simon said...

Analogue Bauer!! Genius!!

Anonymous said...

YES, CTU is at the end of a 10 mile tunnel and no-one knows where the entrance is.

NO, you don't get checked out if you enter the tunnel. Tss, bad guys wouldn't come here^^

And who would've seen that tiny EMP anyway?

Adam said...

@Simon- grazie!

@Anonymous (above)- there's better security at a football stadium than CTU. Seriously, no one popped the trunk to see if there were terror-things inside?!?

Dr. Alice said...

"Jack Bauer's analog justice" is brilliant phrasing. Loved this episode. I thought the actual explosion sequence was handled well - strobes, darkness, chaos. Let's see what happens next.

Adam said...

@DocAlice-- Right on- the explosion was vintage chaos by the show- there are a few moments over the years where you say "Oh wow, what's going to happen now?!?" and that qualified. Of course, having a rudimentary checkpoint at the mouth of the tunnel would have prevented any danger from coming down upon CTU, but this is TV! We need our chaos! I forgive the writers. :)

Nick Fury said...

....Hassan's daughter would have been pre-cleared through any CTU checkpoints.....this episode's plot makes that clear....

....it seems that with the bumbling history of CTU decision-making that the showrunners are just striving for real-life accuracy....

Adam said...

@Nick- In addition to clearing an individual, proper security would be to clear the vehicle he/she is driving as well. All they had to do is pop the trunk and none of this would have happened. I doubt the real world is that pathetic- try getting into the CIA campus without having them check your vehicle.

Brian Pelts said...

Apparently CTU-NY operates under Batcave rules; if you find the entrance, you must be all right. No need to give you a once-over with the Bat-EMP-Detector.

Brittany said...

Batcave rules. If you find the entrance, you must be alright.
Hah.

Dr. Alice said...

BTW, can somebody explain what an EMP bomb is and how it works? I assume it's effective not just via explosive force but by specifically targeting electrical systems, but I know nothing of these matters. Just a 10 second explanation bould be great. Thanks.

Brittany said...

@Dr. Alice: I'm pretty sure this explanation will fail but I'll give it a whirl. An EMP "bomb" basically wrecks any electronic equipment within its reach by emitting an "electromagnetic pulse." The burst of energy takes out most modern technological equipment, even a digital watch I think (hence the reference to "Analog Bauer"). So basically, since CTU needs electronic equipment like 24 needs convoluted politics and terrorists with bad hair, we're pretty screwed.

If I'm wrong and sound like a crackpot then somebody please correct me and set Dr. Alice straight.

Adam said...

@ Dr. Alice and Brittany: Yep, from what I know, Brittany pretty much nailed it. When an EMP bomb goes off, it sends out electromagentic radiation which causes a voltage and current surge in electronic devices, causing them to overload.

Brittany said...

Woohoo! I feel smart.

Dr. Alice said...

Aha, thanks much.

Dietcoke said...

This was the best episode of the season. IMHO. Hope the show gets back on track like this episode. I hated that I completely agreed with Hitler...except for the Taylor part.

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