Janet, Janet, Janet... I feel like they dropped you into the 24-verse out of an episode of "Three's Company." This whole night has been a terrible misunderstanding, I swear. Jack and Chrissy didn't mean to kidnap you and leave you for dead in the middle of a deserted road. Boy, aren't we all going to have a big laugh when Mr. Roper finds out! Wait-
As they wheel an unconscious Janet into surgery to repair her... everything, Jack is wheeling himself around the pre-dawn streets of L.A. in pursuit of the squad car carrying a terrorist with information. What's Jack going to do? He certainly wouldn't dare intrude upon the LAPD's jurisdiction and bust the terrorist loose for his own investigation-- of this I am certain!
Back at the hospital, doors burst open and through them stride Teri Bauer and Alan York, concerned parents and sweaty middle-aged folk. They run around yelling "Excuse me!" and "Hello!" as they breeze by a desk marked "Information." This is like watching someone run into a library and yelling "Knowledge! Where are you!" Dude, come on! Anyway, after getting no immediate help, our intrepid duo run into an area they're not allowed to be in and find Janet more hooked up than Tiger Woods at a strip club (zing!). Just at this moment Jack calls Teri and asks the very basic question "Where is Kim?" Teri starts babbling like a Gilmore Girl on a caffeine high and you can see Jack calculate ways he can return to being "separated" from this chick. A five minute long conversation ensues where Teri whines and Jack yells and then apologizes. Jack does this while he follows the squad car carrying the informative terrorist back to the police station (which I suppose is in Alaska given the time it's taking for them to get back to base).
And Kim is dumped in the back of Ira Gaines luxury sedan and our smoothest of criminals tells the Stoner Bros. that there's a change of plans! Ah, I love a bad guy who knows how to improvise. But seriously, a change of plans seems to be one of the most common tropes of this genre. It makes me wonder why bad guys even bother making plans. They're always changing them, what's the use? I want a scene where Ira Gaines' five-year old daughter is sitting at home with an uneaten birthday cake listening to her daddy's voicemail message saying "Hey kiddo, sorry you can't turn five today, there's been a change of plans." Asshole.
David Palmer is back in some zone of familial bliss as he's telling every woman within his line of sight to go to bed. But nobody's listening to him because the polls open in three hours! Oh, come on- go to bed, people! The show may be called 24 but I don't need 24 hrs of inane political banter. Sleep! Spare me this idle chit-chat for the 8AM hour. Oh and Sherry asks David to not remind their daughter that she was raped, even though the press is set to run with the story of how Palmer's son killed the rapist by pushing him out of a window. Sherry is mom of the year, people. She's always putting her kids first, always making sure that the family is a tight-knit unit. And she's always on her laptop, is she playing online poker or something? Multitasker!
Jack phones Nina to tell her he's planning to spring the terrorist out of the precinct. But like I predicted, he wants to do it the right way, through the bureaucracy. He asks Nina to get in touch with a completely fabricated TV named dude called "Ryan Sealy" at Division to give an override on custody. Man, Division is all sorts of powerful. I wonder if Division consists of white-haired men in robes, casting villains into The Phantom Zone. General Zod, you're going to Division, buddy. Anyway, Nina fills in a little subplot by telling Tony that Jack knows he's a snitch, and to remind the audience that Tony is mole suspect #1. Tony gives her Ryan's phone number and stares at her menacingly as she walks away. Tony, I've only known you for 4 episodes and I hate you. As we wait for those slow wheels of bureaucracy to turn, Jack does some vintage Bauer persuading (no, not torture, some very good reasoning and emotional pleading, folks) and convinces the shift sergeant to give Jack a couple of minutes with the suspect. And as Jack walks into the interrogation room, we see George "W.B." Mason trot into the precinct, accompanied by searing lead-out music.
On the other side of the Twilight Zone, the Stoners are cruising back to Casa de Gaines to get their money. The boys challenge one another with an erudite debate over the virtues of Hegel and Marx and the "Master/Slave" dialectic as applied to their present situation. Weed makes people so philosphical.
As this mind-bending stuff unfolds, George Mason has his own Aristotelian debate with Jack about who's the boss. George wins the rhetorical exchange and goes to interrogate the terrorist. Jack laughs (he literally laughs!) at George for taking control of the investigation.
Ira Gaines has his own wacky situation in the backseat of his Caddy. Kim tries to alert a lethargic motorist in a nearby car to her dilemma, and Ira has to throw Kimberly in the trunk to make the rest of their trip back to his crib less troublesome. Come on, Ira, you should have tossed her in the trunk in the first place. What was the upside of keeping Elisha Cuthbert within your sights on the drive home? Oh yeah, stupid question...
Back at the police station, Jack and the terrorist chat clandestinely about Kim and her plight. So, the terrorist can lead Jack to Kim, all he needs is to get sprung right out of custody. Well, if you can't get a lawyer to bail you out, the next best thing is Jack Bauer. Jack does a bit of goofy play-acting to get the dead cop's partner to let him back into the room, and then Jack insults the cop in order to get all three men on the floor in the holding room. They start hugging aggressively. I am drinking seltzer as I watch this. What else am I supposed to do? Amid the scuffle, the terrorist swipes the key card (another friggin' key card? This whole show is based on magnetized cards!) and once everyone leaves his holding room, so does the terrorist!
At the Hotel California, David calls the meddlesome reporter to talk things out, to see if maybe they can come to some agreement about obstructing justice concerning Palmer's son being a killer. They fail to find a happy medium between hiding the truth and telling it publicly. I predict in the future, a U.S. President will sell out his/her kid to maintain his/her office. And he/she, arrgh, SHE WILL RUIN HER LIFE DOING IT! Phew... there, I couldn't hold onto this "unfrozen caveman" conceit any longer. Sorry. Okay, back to being ignorant...
Jack expertly breaks out of the Police Station with the terrorist and they joyride around LA until they find Ira Gaines' car with a dead body in the trunk. Oh no, wasn't Kim in the trunk no less than 30 minutes ago? Jack is about to start rummaging through parts to make sure it isn't his little angel when George Mason rolls up on the scene. George's entourage takes the terrorist back into custody and Mason tells Jack "I'm taking you in, you loose cannon, I'm gettin' too old for this shit, I'm three days from retirement" blah blah blah. But then Jack pops the trunk and shows George the mutilated body. George accepts this trophy from Jack and decides to not take him into custody. What? Usually when a person is found with a cut up body in their possession they get cuffed and hauled off. I guess George thinks this shit's kinda cool. Don't encourage Jack to cut off people's body parts, George. And definitely don't bring any hacksaws to the office, ya dig? Heh.
Gaines, meanwhile, is the owner of multiple cars, as he pulls up to his secluded abode and meets the Stoners to discuss the meaning of life and death. Apparently the Stoners are unaware of the difference between the two, particularly concerning the condition of one Janet York, who is not dead and is very much capable of talking to the police about her joyride of mayhem. Before the Stoners can tell Ira Gaines that Janet is a zombie, Gaines goes ahead and changes the plan yet again! He decides he's not going to pay the Stoners for their time, but that he's going to kill the really stoned one and "promote" the other, sensitive one. Gaines sincerely congratulates the undead Stoner for not being the one he chose to shoot. I don't know why, but I'd really like working for a guy that involved in his employees' emotional well-being. Ira, you deserve an Edible Arrangement for being boss of the year.
My thoughts: Overall, this the kind of episode I love. It's a noir-style piece of storytelling-- plots thicken, mind games are being played and those empty streets of L.A. are a cool backdrop to it all. This was a lean episode in terms of plot, even if 90% of Teri Bauer's scenes comprised of her freaking out about her flawed relationship with Kim, whom she assumes is dead. Teri is a disaster, I'm sorry. I never understood Jack's relationship with her, and I just want her to go away. I wonder if the writers feel the same way. Otherwise, this was a truly enjoyable hour. Zombie Janet is set to eat brains in the next hour and Tony will probably continue glaring at the backs of people's heads with villainous disdain. I love this show.