Last week, it seemed like everyone forgot about the plot to assassinate David Palmer. Jack and Teri planned a little trip with their still-missing daughter (Kimberly), Agent Pierce was playing a marathon session of gin rummy with his Secret Service pals and Tony Almeida was at a pet shop in the local mall, playing with an irascible pekingese.
Thankfully, the show runners start tonight's episode with a much-needed reminder. Remember a few weeks back when Mandy shagged a photographer on the plane before blowing it up? Well that dead photographer was scheduled to do a photoshoot with David Palmer today. Mandy stole the guy's credentials (yes... another effin' ID card) and Ira Gaines has procured a hitman lookalike to go in the photographer's place. Sounds like a pretty sound plan, eh? I wonder if Almeida is done compiling the flight list yet... it might be important, ya know, to tell the Secret Service that the person Palmer is going to meet is actually dead. (yawn) It's so HARD fighting terrorists!
As the assassin leaves to go assassinate, Ira tells him to avoid traffic by taking the back roads, etc. I'm half expecting Gaines to tell his hired killer to bring a light jacket in case it gets cold outside. After the assassin leaves with a juice box and bag of trail mix (thanks, Ira!), the ever-controlling Gaines returns to Jack, who's driving that Ford Taurus from last episode. Gaines tells Jack to go back to CTU and to also check under the visor for a... (guess, seriously- you can all guess what Ira left for Jack... ready?) ANOTHER KEYCARD!!! If these guys wrote kid's movies, we'd be hearing about "Snow White and the Seven Keycards" at some point...
Speaking of keycards, the ever unkempt Milo Pressman is hard at work at deciphering the really important keycard that Richard Walsh gave to Jack in the beginning of the season. Milo explains to Nina that the assassin may have had some plastic surgery done to hide his true identity. Nina corrects Milo and says perhaps the assassin got plastic surgery to look like someone else. Ah-ha! Somebody is getting close to busting this case wide open! Also, Nina eats some of Milo's Cheerios (again, not a metaphor for something sexual- you people need therapy).
Speaking of therapy (man, one segue after another!), we catch up with David Palmer chasing down his son Keith to hash out some newly-learned details about the whole murder cover-up from years ago. A preliminary thought and then I'll get to the Palmer family strife- Keith is jogging in public and this annoys me because 1) he only had 2 hrs sleep and 2) oh yeah, people are trying to kill your dad. What an amateur this kid is- seriously, what the heck is he thinking? Anyway, David tries to tell Keith that it's best the family get ahead of the story in the press before someone else reveals all of those dirty secrets. Well, moron Keith starts blabbing about how Poppa Palmer wasn't around to deal with things in the past and it's really sucky that he's being all honest and crap after the fact. Keith, shut your dumb head. David Palmer was out of town doing his job when you decided to go and kill the guy who raped your sister. What a brat! What a spineless, spoiled jerk of a kid. Take some personal responsibility, buddy. You killed someone, you took the law into your own hands. Now, it's time to pay the consequences. Stop trying to blame Dad for being successful. Oh, and the guy who plays Keith isn't a convincing actor here. Compared to Haysbert, this kid is a major lightweight.
Back at the Gaines compound, Stoner Rick is busy showing off his shirtless self to a very unamused Kim Bauer. Kim asks Rick for the 243rd time to help her escape. Rick is not sure what the big deal is and Kim has to remind the guy that Gaines killed his buddy without a second's thought and Rick is likely going to be next. This gives Rick pause- finally, I think obvious logic is getting through to this boob.
Ira Gaines, meanwhile, tells Jack the plan is to swap the keycard he has with the one Milo is trying to decrypt. Ah, the old switcheroo! Wouldn't it just be easier to kill Milo? Poison his Cheerios! Ah well, looks like Ira wants things done the hard way- again...
Teri Bauer is still riding around aimlessly through the hills of Southern California with Fake Alan York. Remember that at the end of last week Nina Myers tells Teri that the real Alan York is dead. So, as Teri sits around contemplating her escape, she fakes like she needs to puke to run into the woods on the side of the road. I hate to bring up old jokes, but what the heck is wrong with people? Use the "poop" excuse already- someone, anyone- you say you have to go poop, people generally give you your space. Puking doesn't keep folks away- in fact there is always a guy holding a girl's hand through shit like that- puking is not a show-stopper. Well, Alan gets nervous that Teri has run away, but it turns out she's hiding until she can attack the guy and get his car keys. Teri tries to wrest the keys from Alan's hand, but the keys end up getting lost in the woods. So, Teri ties up a knocked-out York and she goes into the woods to try and get a better cell signal (instead of flagging down cars that pass by her location ( another moron...).
Rick asks Gaines if he can leave. Gaines says "Nah, you can dig a few more holes first" and this amuses the shit out of Gaines as Rick walks away confused. Gaines is in full effect at this point- he's pulling Jack's strings, getting him to successfully swap keycards after Jack knocks over Milo's breakfast cereal (this impresses Gaines to no end) and he orders Jack to get credentials to Palmer's big event that morning. This is the "breakfast" we've been hearing about for the past few hours- and this is the event at which Palmer is going to divulge the secret past of his family.
Palmer talks with his daughter about resurrecting painful memories of her rape. And like a politician, he says "Don't answer any questions you don't want to- just say 'no comment' or refer them to me." Sorry, Senator- that's just ridiculous. You don't sell out your rape-victim daughter to keep your campaign going. Nor do you put her at some public event when this thing breaks open. Haven't any of you guys heard of Bill Clinton? It's all about the sit-down interview with soft lighting. That's how you roll out this story! Not at a pancake breakfast after no one got any sleep. Morons!
Let's see, what else is going on... Rick and Kim plan an escape, not before faking a sexual assault by Rick to buy themselves more time. Milo figures out Jack stole the original keycard, so Nina confronts Jack and they have a very hot scene where he pulls a gun on her and walks her out of the building (Milo, useless as ever does nothing to intervene and Tony asks Jack where they're going- and if they happen to pass a 7-Eleven, could they pick up some milk for the office). Teri finally gets cell phone reception a good 50 feet from Alan York's car (took ya long enough) and she eventually calls Jamie at CTU and tells her everything, and to not call the police. Jamie says she'll dispatch CTU agents to her location.
Well, the agents arrive but they're not really helpful. In fact, the only thing they've brought is a black bag which they put over Teri's head as they abduct her and release Alan York from his bondage. This affords us another opportunity to hear Teri Bauer scream and flip out. Ah, the melodic noises that emanate from this woman- like listening to The Spice Girls at full blast while a truck full of silverware rolls over onto Fran Drescher. Thanks a lot Jamie, ya stupid mole!
Meanwhile, Ira is flipping channels between a "Property Virgins" marathon on HGTV and the closed-circuit broadcast of Jack and Nina riding around in the Ford Taurus. Just as a newly married couple is about to put in a bid on that cute split-level home, Jack arrives at the deserted location where Ira tells him to quickly kill Nina (Ira doesn't want to miss any more HGTV). Jack pulls Nina out of the car, yells (to which Nina yells back) and finally he pulls the trigger, shooting Nina right in the chest. This scene was pretty good- it reflected a lot of the remaining problems Nina and Jack had as lovers (he's willing to kill Nina in order to keep his wife and daughter alive, that's not very cool to the mistress!). It also had Ira Gaines on the edge of his seat. Ira is the original 24-fan- he's been watching Jack on his TV set for the past 2 hours, and I think he's hooked!
But this being 24, nothing is ever quite as it seems. Nina was wearing a flak jacket, courtesy of Jack. So, Nina lives and now she knows Jack is still a good guy- which will hopefully translate into further sexual tension between these two characters.
Also, back at the Gaines compound, Kim and Rick are about to escape when they hear Teri arriving at the camp, still screaming and hollering like someone who's just been told that Burger King doesn't sell the Whopper® anymore. The list of Teri's annoying acts got a lot longer this episode. Why do I feel like we've got so much more to look forward to?
My thoughts: a good episode- very well-plotted and extremely fast-moving. I also like the nuance of the Palmer family stuff- even though I think the overall story is silly (this is the sort of scandal that would play out very differently in real politics, in my opinion). David Palmer is a welcome presence, even if he's dealing with this subplot. Sherry Palmer (slowly losing her luster, surprisingly) is still trying to keep the family together, despite David's unwavering Jimmy Carter-levels of morality. This episode also works because we see how resourceful Jack has become in a few short hours. The man gets it all done- sure, guns help make things happen more quickly, but Jack could have pulled off everything with a glaring look and a lot of old school toughness. Teri, take note of Jack's quiet nature. Please.