Monday, July 26, 2010

The slope is slippery...

Another Monday has arrived and there is no new retro-review!

I'm sorry for the delay, a very interesting but consuming legal problem has come up at work and I have spent (and will continue to spend) tonight working on some solutions for my company. I wish I could elaborate, but I'm obligated to keep this confidential (blah, blah, blah). Bottom line: I love problem-solving and I get paid to do it on a daily basis, it seems!

But that's not why you're here is it? No, you want some retro-goodness. I will have time hopefully late tomorrow night to watch and write- something I also love doing and do for free (save for those Amazon product links which are a nice little bonus-hint, hint!). I appreciate everyone's patience and I will make your wait worth the while soon enough.

So, how was everyone's day?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

24 Season 1: 7AM-8AM Retro Review

Nina Myers is doing the walk of shame...

Freshly minted with some bullets by way of Jack Bauer, Nina wanders through the same area of L.A. where Captain Andrew Bogomil was abducted in the beginning of BEVERLY HILLS COP II. Which begs the question- why wasn't Ronny Cox ever on 24? The dude guest-starred on STAR TREK: TNG, which was a breeding-ground for 24's many other cast members over the years.  Anyway, Nina is left to contemplate Jack sparing her life by giving her a flak jacket before shooting her.

Senator David Palmer stands on the balcony of his hotel suite one last time, offering himself up to any potential snipers. He thoughtfully puts himself up for any serious assassination attempts in broad daylight. Somewhere Ira Gaines is watching this crap and thinking "I paid Naked Mandy and all of these other boneheads millions of dollars to set up this elaborate plot and all I needed to do was just shoot the guy from a quarter-mile away as he stands on his balcony?" Sucks to be you, Ira!

It also sucks to be Keith Palmer, the son who jogs at inappropriate times and apparently is unaware of collar stays. The kid's collar is all limp and floppy, and it aggravates me to look at him. Oh, and he's also a whining, sassy pain in the ass too. The kid is actually pissed off that his father is going to tell the world the truth about him- there's no contrition at all for his murder/cover-up. Keith, just shut up, go to prison and learn to iron your dress shirts. Ass.

Ira Gaines' doppelganger assassin photographer arrives at the campaign event and has to pass through the staunch gaze of Aaron Pierce. There's no way this dude is getting by Agent Pierce-- Pierce has a sixth sense about these- oh, look, he just got past Pierce, crap!

Meanwhile, Gaines is still playing "Ira Says" with Jack, who's driving that Ford Taurus towards the Palmer campaign event. Gaines' henchmen being Teri to him and they have a fairly sane talk. Teri knows that Gaines will not suffer her hysterical drama-queen routine, so she plays it straight. See, that's who Teri needs to be with- a stone-cold killer who has her daughter hostage. Teri & Ira- a love born of terror!

Nina breaks into a rustic little office (by way of kicking it with her high heeled foot!) and calls CTU for help. She gets Tony on the phone, who at first ignored her phone call so he could finish ordering a case of cologne through Tony finally answers her call and they chat rapidly about her predicament and they conclude that Jamie is somehow a lying, evil terrorist moley mole and cannot be trusted. Look, I realize that she helped Ira Gaines and she's covering up the fact that the new keycard is a fugazi, but let's not jump to conclusions! However, her haircut (with those cheesy long bangs) is a crime and she must be stopped at all costs.

Jack arrives at the Palmer event carrying a mysterious case that Gaines supplied to him. It is at this moment that we see Bauer and Pierce meet. This is like watching Neil Armstrong step off the ladder onto the lunar surface. Or even better, this is like witnessing jelly first hitting peanut butter on a sandwich. Whatever the scenario, this is a major turning point in my life. And what a tense situation too! You've got the assassin, Palmer, Pierce and Bauer all under one roof. How could they make this scene any more thrilling? Oh, what the heck is this? Some reporter chick recognizes Jack from high school? She smiles at him like they must have shared a few study sessions under the bleachers back in the day. Atta boy, Jack! take a fiver and catch up with this cheerleader, it's cool- Palmer will get assassinated without your help.

Palmer strides into the event to applause from the non-partisan press corp. Amidst the adulation, the presidential candidate locks eyes with Jack and like two lions on the prairie, they size one another up and internally conclude "That's one bad mutha" about one another. The Day of the Jack-al is on, people! Gaines has set up quite the scenario- he has Jack smuggle in essential components for a weapon which he has Jack hand off to the Euro-trash photog assassin. Jack can't even flirt with the cheerleader long enough to warn her that Palmer's life is in danger. Somewhere, I hear Avril Lavigne singing "Why you have to go and make things so complicated?"

Well, it gets even more so when Tony calls Aaron Pierce and warns the Super Secret Service Agent that Jack Bauer may have been compromised. Pierce cuts to the bone of the matter and asks plainly "Are you saying he's a threat?" It's as if a thunderous storm has suddenly gathered in the form of one human being. Pierce is ready to strangle any threat against the Senator, with his bare, meaty hands. I am sitting here trembling at the thought of Pierce being upset, let alone annoyed. Even Tony is hesitant to answer Pierce's direct question. Well, Pierce does the responsible thing and goes directly to Palmer with the news. Basically, Pierce says "Sir, someone here is going to kill you." Palmer, the balcony-strutter that he is, puts a hand on Pierce's shoulder and tells him "I'm sure your people will take care of this," and insists that the event will continue as originally slated. Uh, Senator, Pierce is trying to take care of this by getting you out of the kill zone. What's with this guy?!?

Back at CTU, Tony and Nina draw out Jamie as the mole. They get her into a room alone and slam their palms against server racks and raise their voices to medium-level in order to intimidate her into talking. It's almost painful to watch Tony and Nina try and act tough. I'd sooner believe the Partridge Family was capable of playing death metal rock than worry for my safety with these two yuppies. Jamie is distraught despite the lack of true tension taking place, mostly because the actress playing her actually read the script and she knows how to act. I will go along with this scene for her sake. 

Palmer begins his speech and talks about jobs, energy and a new, fresh honesty in government. Well, I'll give the writers credit here- they sure know what an authentic line of political bullshit sounds like! As the photographer is about to shoot Palmer from the sidelines, Jack gets called out by a Secret Service Agent and a scuffle ensues, causing the security detail to haul Palmer out of the event before he can sell out his son on national television... oh yeah, and before he can get assassinated too!

Gaines' gloriously convoluted plot is foiled and man is he pissed. He orders his unclean henchmen to kill Teri and Kim right quick. But these two morons don't move that fast and it gives Jamie (under Tony's direction) time to contact Ira and tell him that Bauer was taken into custody because he's been breaking protocols all night. So, they let him past security 20 minutes ago but only now they decide that his earlier activities warrant his arrest. Gaines, you're a ton smarter than that, brother! You're gonna let a poorly-conceived lie ruin your opportunity to off Bauer's family? Go with your gut, you sociopath! But instead, Gaines rescinds his order to kill the girls and just stares blankly at his twenty TV sets, as they all show Palmer being ferried to safety. 

Ira, this is me watching you, buddy- and I'm slightly disappointed in your lack of clarity here. I'm finding out a disturbing truth during this episode- that I'd make a better supervillain than this guy. I'm not proud of this realization, I just have to be honest with myself, and with you all by extension. But don't worry, Ira- I know what you're going through. You're confused, like how I get in the breakfast cereal aisle in the supermaket-- so many options, and none of them are truly exciting because in the end there's nothing here that comes close to the shrimp cocktail of accomplishment you were seeking. Victory does not taste like Frosted Mini-Wheats- don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

INCEPTION: The Jack Sack™ Movie Review

In the meantime...

A lot has been and will be written about the new Chris Nolan film INCEPTION. I've read a few reviews before sitting down to write my own, and none of them have really matched my take on this film.

To me, INCEPTION is about being unable to let go of a loss. People suffer losses all of the time, many caused by their own errors. Pain and loss can define a person too, and that's something INCEPTION explores in a fairly honest way.

Yes, this film has action, dizzying special effects and lots of talk about the human mind- but the spine of this film is about a person trying to correct a mistake that he's never been able to accept. It's a compelling hook for an already engrossing film.

The main character, Dom Cobb, is a man who lost his wife, Mal, to suicide prior to the film's beginning. Mal took her own life not to leave her husband, but to lead him out of the maze that they both constructed for themselves in the dream world. Mal believed that they never returned to the real world from their various dreams and the only way to resolve this was to kill themselves and "wake up."  Dom could do nothing to tell his wife otherwise.

When two people, truly in love, cannot agree on something as basic as "is this life real?" that leads to some gut-wrenching conflict. The film presents this situation in its own, unique sci-fi/action manner, but you could swap out any number of real-life problems for this relationship-- drug addiction, mental illness, the loss of a child, etc. Whatever the cause, the result is what's poignant. The strongest love two people can share will sometimes lead those two people apart. That, my friends, is some deep stuff!

But don't get me wrong- the movie is entertaining, even funny in many parts. It's a thriller throughout, but like I wrote earlier, the mass of reviews out there gloss over what I think is the story's main theme. Go see INCEPTION and then we can get into the details, which are very thought-provoking.

To discuss INCEPTION in any further detail is to ruin it for those who have yet to see the film. I will, therefore, hold off until a couple of weeks and return with a full review.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Retro Review Hiatus For Tonight!

Hey gang-

Wow, what a long day, right? Phew...

Anyway, let's cut to the chase- there will be no Retro-Review tonight as I was stuck in a torrential downpour in the great state of New Jersey tonight and (in addition to finding out my car was out of engine oil) things were tricky getting home. Luckily I got oil and the car is okay- and I got home in one piece. But a long night it was!

I'll probably have this week's review up late tomorrow night. As Jack would say "I give you my word."

Monday, July 12, 2010

24 Season 1: 6AM-7AM Retro Review

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.

Monday, July 05, 2010

24 Season 1: 5AM-6AM Retro Review

We begin again with Zombie Janet- this time getting Frankenstein-levels of voltage from the ER team at the hospital. (Retro-verse break for a sec: the opening credits tell me Mike Novick and Milo Pressman are guest starring. Well... at least we have Mike Novick!)

Jack calls Teri and tells her Janet might be in danger so keep an eye on her. The kid has a broken arm, probably no spleen to speak of anymore and... yeah, she's DEAD, Jack!  What else can the bad guys to to her? Nevertheless, Teri promises to make certain no further harm comes to this train wreck of a human being.

Jack shows up at CTU and pops the trunk for Nina (no, not a euphemism for something sexy, remember the chopped up body Jack found in one of Ira Gaines' many Cadillacs? That's what I'm talking about, you sick, immature fans of 24). A chopper descends and Jack tells Nina that this is his ride to the hospital to meet with Zombie Janet. Nina asks if the zombie can help Jack find "Kimberly" and without even laughing at Nina, Jack says it's his best lead so far. I would have laughed at my mistress for using my daughters full Christian name, but what the heck, I ain't Jack Bauer. You know who's not measuring up to Jack as well? Tony Almeida. Tony races outside of the building to tell Nina that Jack ate his blueberry muffin. Dude, Nina obviously doesn't care what you have to say about Jack, so go back to your desk, drink your Bustelo  and throw on some Ricky Martin CDs. Sheesh, this guy has no future on 24 at all!

Meanwhile, not-so-stoned Stoner Rick is looking over the remains of his dead buddy as Kim(berly) quietly looks bored by the whole situation. Ira Gaines throws Rick a shovel and tells him to bury his friend. The kid asks "Where?" and Ira replies "IN THE GROUND!" A classic 24-moment has taken place.

Back at the Hotel California (Primary), David Palmer's slimy political operative Carl somehow snuck into Sherry's bedroom. Well, not exactly, but Sherry is in her conservative but feminine PJs and she's not happy about receiving this guest. But always the lady, she cradles her coffee cup in a saucer as she gives Carl the "Stay out of my husband's business" speech. Such class! What a female role model. If I ever have a daughter, I will point her directly to Sherry Palmer and say "Kid, this is who I want you to be," and she will listen because that's what kids to when their parents tell them how to live their lives.

David walks in and Sherry (ever the supportive mate) excuses herself. Carl and David talk about Palmer's son killing the rapist and the whole history behind the cover-up. As David kicks Carl out to go work for John Edwards or something, Carl says "By the way, Sherry knew about it all along." Oh no! Nonononono! Sherry? The ideal woman? No! Sherry covers up her quaint upbringing with a layer of sophistication and grace-- she doesn't cover up her son killing some rapist. I don't see a motive here. Nope, I reject this twist.

Across town, Kim picks up a shovel from the garden shed and starts helping Stoner Rick bury his fallen bro. This affords the viewers a chance to look down Kim's shirt (if that's your sort of thing). This move by Kim baffles me. The quicker the dead stoner gets buried, the sooner Gaines will be able to move her along to her next destination of terror. Why help speed along that process? And why is Stoner Rick so averse to her helping? I've dug a few holes in my time, and lemme tell ya, it's a lonely, tough little hobby.  I would take any help I could get. Oh, and Elisha Cuthbert wants to pitch in?  Yeah, that's really okay!

Jack finally arrives at the hospital and Teri inappropriately gets all smoochy and I feel sick.  And the camera guy pulls a Michael Bay 720-degree spinning shot that makes me want to vomit even a little more. Thankfully, the real Jack returns and gives Alan York the asshole treatment. Jack's bullshit meter is set off by York's answers to his questions and this makes Teri uncomfortable. Teri- shhhh! Who cares what York thinks of your husband, or you for that matter. This isn't a PTA social event- your daughter is missing!

Amidst all this suburban strife, a really sketchy dude makes his way down the hallway, holding some version of a manpurse in the front of his chest. He could not look any more suspicious unless he had an eyepatch and wore a Nazi officer's uniform. Jack does what any of us would do if we were Jack in this situation- he takes the kid down and empties his purse's contents. Pills spill out and Jack asks who do these pills work for (or something along those lines) but then a nurse runs over to tell Jack this kid is just a weird guy but he's a regular weirdo at the hospital. Crisis over.

But a new crisis is emerging in the Palmer hotel suite. David confronts Sherry about her covering up the whole deal with their son. Sherry admits to doing it, but she did so to protect the family. I believe her! But David is troubled by his wife's betrayal, and then the further revelation that their daughter knows about the son killing the man who raped her. So, the whole family outside of David knew the truth all along. Okay, that's demoralizing. David Palmer is a tough guy, probably one of the few last "real men" to grace American television in these recent years, but this is a gut-punch and I feel for the man. David's deep moral convictions comes through in this scene. No jokes on this one- he's true hero material. Poor bastard.

Meanwhile, Jack decides to make an unstable Teri even more erratic by telling her the full truth (as far as he understands it)- that their daughter was kidnapped by the same group that seek to assassinate David Palmer. Teri has a well-deserved meltdown upon hearing this news. Jack tells Teri that he's tried to keep a wall between work and family but now that wall is coming down and he doesn't know what to do. Ugh. Come on, I'm all for the self-searching moral dilemma but this is too much. Jack, I know you're relatively new to the misery train you've boarded, but keep it together. And definitely don't make your wife more rattled. What do want her to do? Have a complete breakdown and forget who she is for a few hours? Let's see how that goes...

Back from commercial break, Jack is still holding onto Teri. That's a 4 minute long embrace. Did someone win the Super Bowl? What's with all the hugging?!?

Thankfully, the show moves back to CTU where Jamie and Nina collaborate on identifying that bucket of chum on the trunk of the car. Nina informs Jamie that she's called in some outside contractor named "Milo." I've found that there are generally two ways to pronounce this name- the cool "Eurotrash" way (Meee-Lo) and the other way (Migh-Lo). This heretofore unseen computer contractor goes by the latter. Anyway, Jamie is bent out of shape by Migh-Lo's being called in and outside of the room, a really annoying Tony Almeida makes a funny face, like he smelled his own flatulence. Get to work, Tony! Where's that flight list, already?

David Palmer walks down to room 1218 and wakes a very handsome, nearsighted old guy from his sleep. He conveniently identifies himself as Palmer's Chief of Staff. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Mike Novick. Novick is your "good" political operative- he's from the old school. He knows politics is a dirty business, but he manages to exist juuuuust above the muck.  Novick gives Palmer some textbook advice- the kind Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan imparted in "Clear and Present Danger"- don't contribute to a cover up, just tell the truth.  Palmer agrees, and this is a pretty good scene in my opinion.

And then a ridiculous scene follows. Jack and Teri go up to the ICU unit to check on Zombie Janet with her father. As Alan York goes off to catch up with his little troublemaking daughter, Jack slings his arm over Teri's shoulder and they chat whimsically about taking that little trip up the coast to Canada to do some quality bonding. Teri smiles and Jack's in goofyville with her. People- your daughter is somewhere with Ira Gaines and a fleet of Cadillacs. Remember the plot to kill David Palmer?  Get a fucking grip on reality. Thank you.

Well, reality makes a phone call to Jack right quick- Ira Gaines wants Jack to play a game of "Ira Says." Jack walks down a hallway backwards, hopping on one foot as Teri looks on confused. Ira tells Jack to smile while he does this, and this makes Teri feel better. Ah, good! Anyway, Ira directs Jack to the hospital parking garage and to a waiting Ford Taurus (sure, it's no Cadillac, but the Taurus is still a reliable full size sedan). Jack is ordered to go back to CTU.

Alan York goes to check on his daughter and he does what any loving parent would do facing $500,000 worth of hospital bills- he offs his kid. Returning back to Teri, he sees that she's all sorts of confused over Jack's disappearing act. Alan gives Teri some address where he says she can find Kim and Teri wants to skip calling the police for help and go to the house herself... with Alan. Teri, remember when Jack told you that the guys trying to kill Palmer are involved with kidnapping Kim?  You know, before you two got all goofy about that Canada trip? Yeah? No. Oy vey...

At CTU, Milo Pressman makes his debut. He's eating Cheerios® and acting all sorts of quirky around Jamie and Nina. He has a soul patch like Almeida. But he is a 30 year-old virgin, not at all like Almeida.

And as Teri and Alan cruise around the gorgeous hills of Southern California, Nina calls Teri to have her pass along a message to Jack- that the human Fribble they've been working to ID finally came back with a match- it's the *real* Alan York! Dun-dun-dunnnnnn!

My thoughts: This episode seemed to lack the punch of the previous hours. It was still entertaining thanks to the debut of Mike Novick and the further adventures of the irascible Ira Gaines, but the bigger characters acted very inconsistently. Kim, on the other hand, was in a take-charge kind of place- telling Stoner Rick to man-up and start planning their escape. And she shoveled, not caring whether this unpaid labor on her part would expedite her eventual death. I don't want to sound like an old guy, but I have to say I wish there were more kids out there with Kim's attitude- don't fear death and please do some yard work if you've got the time. Cool?