Friday, August 22, 2014

Breaking 24 News: Tony Almeida Lives to Die Another Day


Kaden Alfow posted in the comments section of a previous post the following link, which announces the return of Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard). Almeida will be shown in a "bridge scene" included exclusively on the home video release of 24: Live Another Day.  Thank you, Kaden Aflow, for posting the news.

Okay, does this mean Tony will feature in the yet-officially announced Season 10? Could they just do a season where Jack and Tony go shoe shopping? Please!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What ever happened to Jack Bauer? Season 9 finale review

My delay in writing this came first from a hectic flight back into the country on the night the show aired and with me struggling to find a way to write a review now that I missed the instant "quick review" format that I've been utilizing all season. Having some time to reflect on the episode, here's my less traditional take on yet another finale of 24:

Watching the end to Season 9 of 24, called "Live Another Day," I found myself spacing out right after Audrey Raines bit the bullet thanks to Chinese mercenaries. My mind drifted to a scene far removed from what I was looking at on screen- I began to imagine Jack's college friends at a reunion, talking about their absent friend. 

"What ever happened to Jack?" they would ask. "I heard he's dead" "No, I think I read somewhere that he's on the run, a criminal who betrayed his country." "I heard he's saved our country many times over." "Yeah, same old Jack."

I suppose a show thrives on its formula. If it works, don't change it because otherwise you lose the identity of the show. Well, what if the identity of the show was based on the eternal suffering of its hero? It messes with the viewer because each of us sympathizes with Jack Bauer. We root for him to win, not just for the safety of millions of people, but for himself. I guess I'm a fool for bringing that hope with me each time I watch a season of 24 because I really have come to like this character. He's resilient, smart, ruthless when necessary but also fiercely honest and loyal. He's not a bastard, he's not a conflicted man, he is in many ways morally superior to everyone around him. So, when he drops in the ground when learning Audrey is dead and reaches for his pistol to end his life, I actually wanted the guy to off himself because the world the writers have placed him in doesn't deserve Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer deserves the trust of his government and its president. Jack also deserves to have real human relationships because these things matter to him. This isn't The Man With No Name or RoboCop we're dealing with here. Jack is a soldier, yes, but he's also a leader-- a skilled, free-thinking man. If he doesn't get to enjoy peace after the wars he fights, but instead is destined to suffer and be spit upon by the filth of the earth, then I'm not sure I get the entertainment value of this show. Sure, it's entertaining to see Jack behead a bad guy, but that's become a trope for this show. And I really do like Jack watching Jack hunt down bad guys one by one. Yet, that too feels "safe" for this show. What I have yet to see is Jack be a free man. At some point, you either kill him or you set him free.

What we got to close out this otherwise strong season is the third option, the one the show runners seem to embrace- Jack needs to suffer more. In this finale, it's the Russians that take Jack away for another summer camp of torture and imprisonment. I read somewhere that people hope this sets up the return of Tony Almeida, coming from the darkness to save his old friend. Ah, remember Tony? He died, but then he didn't. And then Tony became bad. But he was bad for good reasons. And then he went to jail. Tony, stay in jail, it's safer in there.

There will be more 24, and I will watch it. I'll bring my hope that Jack gets to be free again. Does being free constitute being happy? Not necessarily, I think it means that Jack gets to choose where he goes and what he does again, instead of being handed off from one group of jerks to another. If I'm being overly simplistic, maybe it's because the show has become a blur to me. The side stories over the years promised some intrigue, particularly the idea of some larger cabal being behind some of the greatest acts of evil known throughout the years of 24. At least with that sort of plot, Jack has a real purpose and an actual chance at justice and maybe redemption. There's great potential for Jack Bauer's story to mean something again. I wait patiently for the show to find its way back to that path.

Monday, July 07, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24:

CHENG!!!!!!

Heller sees that the Chinese carrier is toast. Heller wonders to himself if he gave the order and forgot about it afterwards. Hey, I'm not being mean, the man has a medical condition!

Jack and Kate are doing unholy amounts of damage on Russia's best London-based goons. The kill-meter is blowing up, people. It's like a firecracker warehouse on fire on the hottest day of the year. On the equator. BOOM!

Chloe gets some intel from Cheng himself stating that his government has disavowed him. Cheng gets intel of his own that reveals Bauer is right down the road from him. Chloe tries to steal an iPhone and Cheng notices this pretty easily.  Cheng and the gang take Chloe out for a drive to anywhere not near Jack Bauer.

Jack shoots conveniently situated propane tanks. And then the cavalry shows up. Jack is out of breath but full of anger. And he still has a lock on the override device. And Cheng watched his Dark Knight Rises because now he's gone mobile!

The signal for the device leads back to a room full of dead Scooby Gang peeps. So, Cheng found the very large tracking device and removed it from the override doohickey. And now Jack finds a recording of Cheng. CHENG!!!!! Time to call Heller!

Jack tells Heller that Cheng is back and that the Russians are involved. Russians? Chief-in-Law poops himself upon hearing the word "Russian." Maybe Heller was ordering a salad with Russian dressing? Yeah, no one uses Russian dressing anymore.  Audrey starts to deteriorate when she hears of this news (of Cheng, not the salad dressing for which she feels immeasurable nostalgia).

And then Jack learns that Chief-in-Law sold him out. Oh man this episode is already off and running.

Cheng phones the Russian circus barker. The Ruskie says "get to the docks" as all villains suggest. I mean really, can we just have a movie where the good guys hide out at the dock? It's gonna happen one day and I'm going to claim credit for this invention.

Jack explains geopolitics to Kate. Kate reminds Jack that she's smart, like him. Jack isn't used to talking to smart people.

Chief-in-Law tries to get Audrey out of the room because his spider-senses are shaking like a flamenco dancer's skirt. What? I don't know what I'm even writing anymore.  Heller talks to the Chinese president, they talk politely but then the Chinese president says "I don't like this stuff, James."  Heller tells his team to get Cheng so he can hand them over to the Chinese. And then Audrey comes in and says she can get some evidence to her contacts in the Chinese embassy to at least prove the Americans are incompetent, not evil. Oh, and the Chinese navy has sprung into action. World War action, baby!

Jack calls Audrey, she answers it with "Kill him." Jack thinks she's talking about Chief-in-Law, but he quickly recovers. Jack regroups and tells Audrey "Don't hate me." Audrey says "I could never hate you." And then they both get emotional in their respective ways. Jack basically stares coldly, his version of crying. So Jack fails to come clean about what he's about to do to her husband and Kate looks at Jack with that look-- like "Maybe we shouldn't hook up."

Back at the Battleship room, a colonel starts mouthing off to Heller. Jack walks in and asks to meet privately with Heller and Chief-in-Law.  The colonel's disturbing behavior in defiance of the long-standing balance of civilian control over the military is temporarily halted.  Mark, Jack and Heller finally have it out. Jack puts a gun to Mark's head and Heller says "Quit rasslin' you two!"  I have a feeling this private meeting is a mistake. Heller is about to get declared incapacitated. Mark is going to get let off the hook. I can see it now.

Anyway, Heller is angry and perplexed. Jack schools Mark on geopolitics, proving Mark is yet another moron with an Ivy League piece of paper and no damn common sense. Jack asks Heller to keep Mark out of leg irons as a pawn. Ah, let's perpetuate this fiasco. Let's work with the guy facing the inevitable death penalty for treason!  Mark tells Jack where the Russian circus guy is doing uneven bars. Well, it's a lead back to somewhere! If Mark gets away with this, man... what a mess.

The name of this season is "Live Another Day" which to me means (ever the hopeful one that I am) that Jack gets his life back. If Heller gets put in a room with padded walls, Audrey starts eating out of dumpsters again and Jack loses his pardon, then we've got a crappy series of events. All I'm saying is I hope we get a semi happy ending for this season. I need this. I know, there's no chance for happiness, blah, blah, blah...

Mark, Jack and Kate go to the Russian house. Mark is their lead "Agent" for this op. I predict a surprising display of competence is imminent.

Meanwhile, Chloe escapes from the custody of several goons. And then she falls down in the woods and knocks herself out. Cheng abandons the search for Chloe when a very English soldier convoy rides by asking Cheng to stop being a crumpet on the side of the road.

Back at the Fun House, Heller drops his pills on the floor.. The military brass are blown away by this revelation. They are so damn shocked to see this 70-plus year old man is on meds, they almost have to pick their jaws up off the ground. Poor acting to say the least, but easy comedy for this humble 24-blogger. The Chinese (official) government takes out a couple of US satellites (that was fast) and Heller reluctantly raises the DEFCON level to "Super Uncool."

Mark gets out of the Jackmobile and approaches the Russian House guard. Mark tells the Ruskie he needs asylum. Mark offers the keys to all the secrets he possesses too. This works. Mark gets through the gate. Mark gets all of the intel with his hidden pin camera.  The Ruskie walks Mark into a room full of glass for some salami and light conversation. Or maybe a bullet to the head.

Jack and Kate make their way through shrubs like a pair of skunks looking for stuff to spray. Their trusty, living CIA guy successfully jams the security signal! Raspberry jam! Anyway, Jack shoots with a silencer.  The Ruskie sees this on his CCTV monitor (which has no sound, btw) and goes to shoot Mark. Mark fights this out of shape Ruskie valiantly. But then the Ruskie gets a piece of glass stuck in the worst possible place, his carotid.  The Ruskie dies. No intel on Cheng. DAMMIT! CHENG!!!!

Audrey meets her contact in a park. She tells her contact that Cheng is alive, again, no one believes it. The persistent Elvis/Tupac/Bea Arthur "lives" rumors would never fly in China. When you're dead in China, they're done with you. Anyway, Audrey hands her contact some proof of the override device, at least to slow down World War III. Then Audrey hugs her awkwardly. Oh snap, someone kills her contact and the Secret Service detail. Who?!!!! CHENG!!! Audrey sits on the bench knowing that Cheng is able to kill her at any moment. It's full mental breakdown time!

Oh good, Chloe woke up!

BLEEP! BLOOP! BLEEP!

What a great episode. My goofy observations aside, I love how quickly the chessboard has been reset. This is clean storytelling too- I don't see the writers pulling any double-triple-cross shenanigans. And the set up for next week's finale is perfect. Is Audrey in Kim/cougar territory by leaving the Embassy to meet clandestinely at a park in the wide open? Yes. This is television, we must forgive such contrivances. The set up of having Audrey in a life-or-death situation was too important to pass up and I suspend my disbelief for this reason. Besides, it's 24, people are always getting in trouble. At least this time it wasn't a cougar holding the sniper rifle!

Clem is boycotting the show, hopefully she'll be back for the finale.

Monday, June 30, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24:

24 made a lot of fans happy. I'm hoping for an encore tonight...

Kate is brought into the loop by Jack. The Universal Remote Control is truly universal- it can control all TVs, VCRs and weapons systems around the world. Okay, I'll suspend disbelief for an hour. Make it good.

Crow Villain lets Chloe know that he's stealing the override device to render the world's arsenals obsolete by making all their firewalls vulnerable to outsider control. This is basically what Facebook does to your private life.

Navarro, with the device in his purse, runs like a giraffe on a treadmill yet he still stays far enough ahead of Jack to safely deliver it to Crowe Villain. Navarro asks for his getaway car but gets unfriended by Crowe Villain. The Tac Team arrests Navarro and Jack keeps up chase after Crowe Villain into the Tube. Jack chases the departing train in classic French Connection fashion. The train gets away, Crowe Villain waves with his eyeballs. Oh man.

Crew Neck assumes command of the CIA office that a) blew up b) had many of its members killed violently and c) had its former commander revealed to be a world-class villain-giraffe.

James Heller gets a quick scotch in before Audrey reminds him that booze is bad for you. Things get worse for Heller when Crew Neck calls and tells the president that the override device is looser than Audrey's temper. Heller reminds Crew Neck that the entire US government is under Jack Bauer's command.  Kate also learns that Navarro completely lied and is the world's worst boss for setting up her husband.

Bauer tells Crew Neck he wants to interrogate Navarro. Crew Neck forgets momentarily the president's orders for supreme deference to Jack. Baby steps, Crew Neck.  Jack checks in with Kate and he learns that Kate's exonerated husband is dead by suicide. Jack now wants to hurt Navarro a little extra.

Navarro shows American TV viewers that he's on a low carb diet. And then he tells Jack he wants full immunity. Of course this is a terrible idea. Jack goes bananas foster on Navarro's wrist but Crew Neck and his white shirt brigade break it up just as it was getting good. Kate goes all Jerry Springer in the doorway, yelling at Navarro for what he did to her dead husband. Jack is all "Get off me, you weirdos. What did you put on Navarro's nipples anyway?!" The CIA substation is devolving into a local chapter of the Tri-Delts.

Chief-in-Law gets an apology from Audrey but he throws it back in her face. He tells her she wants to make kissy time with Jack. Audrey tells him that she... oh who the heck cares, this subplot blows. It's meant to justify what immediately follows: Chief-in-Law calls the Russian circus and he sells him out- giving the Ruskies Jack's CIA number/locator thingamajig. Why? Because Chief-in-Law is worried about Jack stealing his crazy wife. The Russian circus is nonetheless satisfied.

Chloe makes an impressive and suddenly unimpressive attempt at stealing the override device from Crow Villain. "Get back in the car!" he grumbles to Cleopatra O[Brian. This is very much becoming an old married couple.

Kate interrogates Navarro the old fashioned way (no, she doesn't pinch his nipples with those weird things on them). With a lot of shouting and a gun pressed to Navarro's head, Kate brings back the old days of 24.  Jack walks into this scene after getting a coffee and immediately draws his weapon and yells at her but maybe he knows Kate is crazy like a Bauer, but he nonetheless plays the good cop to Kate's angry as all hell bad cop. Navarro takes 3 seconds to give up his information on a tracker he placed in the device. Nice work, Kate! So, does the immunity thing get to go into the shredder?

Chief-in-Law joins a presidential briefing where he learns that the man he just gave up to the Russians is the only man who can stop Armageddon.  Oops!

HOLY SHIT! Cheng is back! Cheng murdered the entire Scooby Gang.  We also learn that Cheng was running Crow Villain all along. Cheng, Jack's kidnapper from years ago, "asks" Chloe to undo the garbage Yates put on the device so it can be used for maximum villainy. Chloe refuses to help Cheng. Cheng shoots Crow VIllain in the leg. Chloe agrees to help Cheng. Cheng always wins.

The Chinese (unofficial) and the Russians are both back in the mix in one episode. Jack might be able to kill his remaining enemies in one gloriously convenient season ending arc. I've been asking for Cheng's head since 2007. That's 7 years ago! What did gas cost back then? LESS THAN IT DOES TODAY DAMMIT!

Crow Villain, believing they're going to die, tells Chloe the truth- that Morris and her son weren't murdered, they died in an actual accident. Chloe, poor Chloe... manipulated to the end. Cheng makes good on Crow Villain's expectations and shoots him dead in the head.

AND THEN THE RUSSIANS SHOW UP! In proper Russian fashion, they introduce themselves to Jack with shitty driving. Holy mother of god. Jack and Kate versus the entire Russian Army. As the Russians shoot their way towards Bauer, Cheng sends a launch command to a US submarine to sink the Chinese aircraft carrier. You know, when I get a weird piece of direction from my bosses, I tend to kick it around with them for a minute or two before acting. The sub captain is all too ready to put down his coffee and just launch the dame missiles. It's obvious the sub crew thinks this is an odd, if not ill-advised order. Yes, it was confirmed but still, doesn't the captain get to ask for a little extra confirmation? If we're going to start World War III, you should be sure you want millions to die before you commit to the damn thing. Anyway, the missiles hit the Chinese carrier. Tune in next week for the end of the world!

This episode helps move the chaos forward.  Unfortunately, we only have two more hours to get (some) resolutions to these twists. Maybe Jack gets a super soldier serum injection. Maybe Jack sends out an evite to his enemies to all show up at a dinner party. I am very interested to see how these remaining hours cover all of this material.
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Clem is hiding right now so no picture this week. She's afraid of WWIII. If only my cat was commanding that damn sub...

Monday, June 23, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24, James Heller died.

Holding up her end of the deal, Shadow Mom orders the drones to crash into the earth. One drone left to destroy...

And then Shadow Son figures out the video feed of Heller dying is looped. OH SNAP. Heller is still alive! Chloe calls Heller and Jack and tells them all the drones are destroyed... wait, one is coming back! Dammit, cancel the ice cream cake! Heller makes some grumpy old man remark about wanting to die like a lion. Jack's manservant shows up and Jack tells Heller to get in the car and lay low. Jack gets in a chopper and calls 40 people on the biggest conference call of all-time. Jack is running the entire world.

"Jack, what do you need from us?" asks Kate, the only smart person earning a government paycheck.

Wow, the 24-verse finally got their shit together. Do what Jack says. DO IT AND GIVE HIM WHAT HE NEEDS. No wonder 24 is 12 episodes this season. I mean come on, we do it Jack's way, we only need half the time.

Shadow Mom watches some conveniently high-res surveillance video of Heller talking to Jack about he origin of the team name for the Brooklyn Dodgers (it was a nickname for people from Brooklyn, "Trolley Dodgers") when Shadow Mom decides she no longer wants Heller dead, but instead wants to target an ironic target: Warterloo Station.

Chloe works the hell out of her Acer laptop and calls up the Crow dude. Crow dude has a hack for finding the Shadow peeps. Kate and Crew Neck are coming in by land, Jack by air, Chloe is coming in through the wires. Oh, let's not forget, Chloe is trying to score the drone override device for Crow dude. Not cool, Chloe. You're only gonna make drama for yourself, and us.

And we finally get Jack doing what he does best, taking a pistol and cleaning up bad guys with hot lead. I could watch 300 hours of this stuff. Why all the talking and nonsense? Just give me Jack, The Jack Sack and a bunch of ammo.

Jack takes back to the roof when the hallway gets too busy with gunfire. Kate and the CIA come storming up the stairs. Shadow Son knows Jack is close to them, so he chooses to get up and leave. Shadow Mom tells him she's very disappointed in him. Guilt trip achieved. Shadow Son sits back down. Love.

Jack has his Die Hard move all set, tying a power cable around his waist. Shadow Son sees Jack coming down the building through the window (awkward) so Shadow Son shoots at Jack, blowing out the glass.  Shadow Son cautiously goes to the window to see if he hit Bauer, but OOPS, sorry, Jack isn't dead, and Jack pulls Shadow Son out the window, throwing the poor, dumb kid to the cement slab down below.  Jack jumps into the room, kneecaps Shadow Mom, puts her in a headlock and with his other arm, steers the missile into the river. OH BUT WE'RE NOT DONE PEOPLE. After letting Shadow Mom say something stupid, Jack grumbles "Thanks to you, I had to hear Heller tell me about Trolley Dodgers, dammit!" and then Jack throws Shadow Mom out the same window he yanked her son from a minute ago! Shadow Mom plummets to her brain exploding death, right alongside sonny boy. Jesus, Jack!

So, season over, right?

No.

Jack's manservent drops Heller off at the Embassy, the Secret Service pull their guns on the manservant and Heller dislikes this so he says "Treat him like his name is James Heller." The Secret Service guys feel crappy all of the sudden. Jack's manservant gives Heller this look that basically equates to "I will kill a thousand clowns for you, my friend." A life debt has been created.  Heller goes inside and hugs everyone (and maybe Heller quietly wonders if anyone really found his letter of resignation. No one mentions it, but Heller can just say he forgot where he was when he wrote it, right?).  

Kate sees Jack in the hallway and they silently agree to make out later. Kate is all smiles and then she gets a call from her Crumpets local pal saying that tech boy Jordan finally died in a strange embrace with a bloody hitman. Kate calls Navarro (yes, Mr. Julia Roberts) and tells him Jordan is dead (awww) and that he has a dead pal (huh?). Navarro is freaking out, so he calls Crow villain for the escape package. In exchange for escaping, Crow man wants Navarro to bring him the override device.Things are going to get messy.

Chloe emerges from the Internet pub after racking up a 5 hr long tab. She talks to Jack, tells him she's insane, and then she jumps into a Mercedes being driven by.. Crow villain. OK, I get it, he's our new villain.

Jack gets back to the CIA office with the device, bringing a DoD expert with him to protect it until it can be transported back to... what's going on here? Just bring it back to the military, Jack. Anyway, Navarro talks to Jack and stupidly lets slip that Jordan died. Jack decides this is interesting. Navarro suddenly regrets saying anything. Jack boasts that his old pal at the CIA can get the ID on the hitman in three seconds. OK, maybe four seconds, just wanted to make you raise your eyebrows, Navarro.

Jack gets a call from Audrey, poorly timed to distract Jack from catching Navarro doing something evil. Jack walks to a private area and gets a return call from the CIA pal with the skills. Navarro sees he's screwed, so he kills the tech with the device and Navarro gets his own manpurse and stashes it, running out the door. As Jack finds out Navarro is the rat, it's too late. Jack and the Jack Sack are set to find Navarro and the Julia Sack. Jack versus Julia. Walking fast, running faster. Jack punches someone well-meaning. Navarro shoots at Jack. Two men with manpurses running through the night.

Navarro calls Crow and says "Yeah, I got [the override device]." Chloe gets out of the car to buy peanuts at the gas station. She gets back into the car (where are the peanuts? Hmmm....) and they drive off to meet the man who got his ass dumped by Julia Roberts.

And on 24, that could mean any number of people.

Alright, I loved this episode. I think I'll watch it again this weekend because it got everything right. And tonight's hour reminded me of some standout shows from years past. Such chaos, and fantastic action. The setup for the next 4 hours feels great. Well done, 24 people. 

Meanwhile, I'm trying to communicate better with Clem. She wants to know why I stare at this glowing box every Monday night. I hope this book helps.


Monday, June 16, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24, I lost my patience with some absurd plotting and a conclusion that made me long for the days of Charles Logan and his selfish presidency. This season, we get the opposite- a curmudgeon with a heart of gold in James Heller. Certainly we should applaud this man's courage in deciding to surrender himself to save thousands of innocent lives. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, right? Eh...
Doctors at the CIA substation tell us Simone won't be ready to talk for at least one more episode.

Meanwhile, Simone's Mom (Shadow Mom) is really excited about the iChat she had with James Heller. Shadow Son says "Bully!" to that nonsense. They flee their country estate for a new hiding spot. These terrorists are prepared.

Mr. Julia Robert's hit man calls up all Ali G style and says he didn't make the hit. Kill him, says Julia's ex-fiance. OK!

Heller meets with Jack, and shows Jack he knows how to record iChat conversations. Jack is shocked by this technical skill.  Oh and the content of the conversation too! Heller makes Shadow Mom swear (Bauer-style) that she'll destroy her drone fleet if he surrenders to her. She does, yet Bauer is not impressed. Then Heller tells Jack he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  And THEN Bill Devane takes the show over with some major fucking acting! Damn, Devane, you win me over every single time. I suddenly agree with Heller because Bill Devane is Heller and Bill Devane is awesome. Jack gets convinced too. Heller asks Jack to kidnap him. Ah, man- Jack is never going to avoid jail. Jack asks for help and Heller picks the wrong person in Son-in-Chief. Jack's definitely not getting help from this guy.

Jack calls Kate and asks again to interrogate Simone.  Kate says "The doctors are saying-" Jack cannot take this shit anymore so he tells her Heller is surrendering to Shadow Mom. "So, wake the bitch up!" Jack says and suddenly a new classic Jack quote is born. Kate wakes her up in 2 seconds. Simone tells Kate about the disc in the floorboard at the house, address and all.

Son-in-Chief walks in and Jack wants to kick the Earth out of the sun's orbit. Jack then loads his guns in front of the guy to show him he knows how to use guns. Kate calls Jack and says "We may have something, blah blah blah" hope it works!

Heller goes to see Audrey. They look at old pictures of him, Audrey and her mom- who looks creepily like Audrey. It's a good scene because Bill Devane is in it. Ooof, this guy pulls the heart strings. I'd watch 24 hours of Bill Devane. New series, FOX! Get on it.

Chloe makes a quick appearance at the Internet pub. What's she typing furiously about?

Jordan calls Mr. Julia Roberts and indicates he's not smart enough to know he was set up. So, Julia's leftovers calls da Ali G hit man and gives him the location.

Meanwhile, Jack rips the transponder out of the President. Ha! Heller busts Jack's balls about being a crappy surgeon. Ah, the love between these two guys. Oh shit, Heller puts on a ball cap disguise. Awesome! A Secret Service Agent walks in on Heller and Jack and Jack demolishes him with a right hook. "Geez, Jack!" Heller moans. Ha!  And onto the streets Heller and Jack go.

Jack and Heller get to the chopper! (Sorry, I had to) The Allstate guy (no, the other Allstate guy, the one that keeps breaking stuff) says "Huh?" Wembley, here we come.

In the continuing adventures of the lazy hit man, the trail of blood keeps da Ali G preoccupied, so Jordan beats him with a lead pipe (is it lead? I don't really know, it's a saying!) and grabs G's gun. But then G stabs him! But THEN Jordan shoots G! So much messiness. Mr. Julia Roberts gathers that this is all going poorly when G doesn't answer his well-timed call. I mean, really- the hit man kept his ringer on! What a ponce! Jordan, covered in Ali G's blood, realizes Julia Roberts was right to dump that jerk.

Meanwhile, the CIA have a tactical team picking up that loose plot thread. which they find. The external drive with all the GAME OF THRONES episodes, hopefully.  Kate asks some desk jokey to send all information to Chloe O'Brian. "O'Brian?" YES, DAMMIT!

Shadow Mum and Son get the hotel base of operations up and running, and they remind us that they have 5 drones active. What OS are they running to get those very "Fisher-Price quality" drone graphics?

Jack and Heller land the chopper at Wembley. Chloe calls Jack, says she's going to try to solve the riddle of steel but it's not going easy. Jack tells Heller he's going to die. Sorry.

Next, Chloe hears from The Crow villain. It's an awkward conversation. Hmmm, Chloe seems to be in on some dirty shit with this guy. Ah, it's all a double-triple crosses nowadays.

Audrey tells Mark (Son-in-Chief) that her dad has run away to join a football club but she (of a woman's intuition) sees that Mark knows. Audrey slaps Mark. Now, he'll be called Mark because he hung in there with Audrey's crazy train routine. This is a surprisingly moving scene. Mark, you showed some character there. Please don't screw over Jack.

At Wembley, Heller tells Jack he gave Jack a presidential pardon for all past crimes, including that hacksaw gag from many moons ago. Chloe calls to say she might have something but she needs more time. "We're out of time," Heller grumbles and he strides onto the field. Still wearing the ball cap. Oh, okay, he takes it off. Professional. But he keeps the windbreaker on. Casual. This guy masters all looks.

Shadow Mum sees Heller on her Presidential spy cam. She needs to run facial recognition because she can't believe Heller would wear a windbreaker to his grave.  The software confirms it's him, so she tells Shadow Son that she wants to push the button to kill! Target lock.  Missile fired. And just like that, James Heller explodes. Silent clock? NO! WHAT??!!?!?

Okay, this was a tough one. I loved all of Heller's scenes and I was ultimately surprised that they couldn't save his life. I admit the idea of Heller surrendering made for good drama so I accept it for what it is and what it will become- new purpose for Jack to exact his unrelenting revenge. I also like that Jack got his pardon, but will it hold up? Will Heller be deemed "incapacitated?" Who knows, but I guess that's the unofficial tagline of 24. Tonight's episode was a vast improvement over last week's for me. I think the length of this series- and the history between these characters paid off with these several scenes between Jack and Heller, and to a lesser extent, between Heller, Audrey and Mark. For you hopeful folks out there that think no silent clock means Heller and Jack duped the baddies, I hope you're right. But as of now, I'm operating under the assumption that Heller is gone.

Now, here's a special treat- my friend Nik created a custom "cartoon" piece of artwork showing Clementine and my friend's pug, Priss- they're on an adventure in the wild! I need this after tonight' episode.
 

Monday, June 09, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Quick Review

Tonight, on 24- Gordon Ramsey gets his face eaten off by Jack Bauer. Wait, it's 4 minutes before the show starts. Oh well...

Previously on 24: Jack was right, everyone else was wrong. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Pixie Chick done got hit by a double-decker. A month ago, that sentence would mean nothing to either of us, but here we are. So much for the red-headed terrorist. I mean, she'll live so Jack can scowl at her, I'm sure of it. But no more fancy dalliances this season unless she starts dating Jaws.

Jack meets MI-5; an international incident ensues. Jack catches up with Kate, who looks amazing for someone that got all that torture done to her. Jack's other friend, the guy from the place and the mission, etc. was fine too. Like really not at all unhappy. Chloe tells Jack that the Pixie owns the phone number they traced from the terrorist computer Pixie's name: Simone. So there's the lead. Jack's going to find her and scowl!

Jack has a direct line to Heller. This is about flippin time. I love this- Heller clearing a path for Jack. Jack mentions how the Brits screwed up the whole operation, but not before Jack could fix it with his gun.  The call ends and lucky for the British, their PM is right outside the room waiting to get his ass kicked by Heller. And surely enough, Heller beats the shit out of the Prime Minister. It's two old guys getting angry. Grumpy old men in terrorist context! GO FISHING! YELL AT EACH OTHER IN A BOAT! DO IT!!! Heller beats the Scone Head into the ground with good 'ol Yankee anger.

Shadow Mom drunk (on power) dials Pixie's phone and finds a very informative EMT tech there to tell Shadow everything- right down to the hospital room and what's in the snack machine down the hall (CRISPS MUM!) Now, it's a race between Jack and Shadow Mum.

Back at the CTU-err CIA, Mr. Julia Roberts talks to his source orchestrating the whole dastardly plot that we mentioned briefly last week. What's it all about? No clue. Kate's husband got involved, got burned. And who's the source? That Eurotrash guy that Chloe worked for- I had a nickname for him but it doesn't stick. I was hoping Eurotrash wasn't going to be an important character, oh well.

Dr. Jack Bauer tells the British doctor attending Simone that saving Simone's life is not quite the first priority. Shadow Goon shows up, breaks into a secure clothes closet and dresses the part of "non-threatening hospital employee." Meanwhile, Kate gets a gender-type scene consoling the orphaned girl that Simone made an orphan. Oh, no, it's just a gentle interrogation. Good thing the kid breaks under warm treatment. See, torture is not the way! Cute kid tells Kate "I hope Simone dies." Oh shit, family jihad. Shadow Goon overhears this and tells Shadow Mum. Shadow Mum tells Shadow Son she wants the drone to blow up the hospital full of infidels/rotten, good-for-nothing redheaded daughters.

All that aside, Mr. Julia Roberts follows Eurotrash's orders to let the well-meaning CIA kid die. Send him to get milk.

Heller quickly decides that he should resign at some point after Jack Bauer saves the world. Chief-in-Law and Audrey are shocked. Heller, don't talk to these kids about what you think.

Simone wakes up and meets Jack. Jack appeals to Simone's good nature. You know, she's killing people left and right, so naturally she'll cooperate. Or maybe we start squeezing the pinkie stub. This is more than simply the scowling I predicted.  OH GOD IT HURTS!!! She passes out from the pain. Torture doesn't work. I told you, Jack. Jack finally lets the racism out. "I hate these people." Hehehe.

And then they run into Shadow Goon. Shots fire! Running! Drum beats! OK! Jack catches up to the Shadow Goon's corpse (it wasn't that long a run, I guess) and finds a text message on Goon's phone saying "I have a drone coming to your position to blow up the hospital in 8 minutes" or something like that. Jack doesn't need to work those police skills too hard so far, thankfully.Evacuate the hospital! Yeah, okay, Jack.

At a pub, Chloe opens up a laptop. This reminds me of years ago, when Chloe went to a coffee shop with a laptop. Many hair styles/colors ago.

Jack picks up Pixie Chick to rescue her. She acts pissy so he drops her on the floor. She says "Wait! Please don't leave me here." Jack picks her back up and they leave. An odd couple is born.  Meanwhile, Kate is doing the right thing and saves Yasmin, the Orphan so the Orphan can grow up and be angry at the terrorists for killing her mom. And there are so many people waiting for an elevator to leave the hospital. I think I see someone emptying the pill cabinets. Woohoo!!!

The drone fires one missile on the hospital. BOOM! Shadow Mom quickly finds Jack, Simone and Kate in the melee and fires on them again as they flee in a luxury mid-size sedan. Meanwhile, misery at the hospital. Simone sees this during the tire-screeching drive out of the blast area. Ooops,. she thinks. Jack evades missiles by car decides "Enough of this poppycock! Time to get a new motorcoach!" Jack sizes up a roomier SUV with a good back seat to catch Simone's blood.  Without hesitation, Jack introduces hismelf to that car's driver by PUNCHING HIS EVERLIVING FACE OFF!!!  I love it. But Shadow Mom saw that too (REALLY?!?!) and has more missiles to fire. Jack is tired of this, he gets to an underpass, stops and takes another car to get this crazy drone lady off his ass.

Jack tells Kate to "Grab my bag" (awww yeah!!!) and they jump into their 3rd getaway ride, not before Jack puts a conveniently placed loose brick on his last car's accelerator to send it away for the drone to destroy. Shadow Son is pumped up that he won the videogame, Shadow Mon notes that he blew up an empty SUV. This lady is having a very bad day. Oh, Kate notices that Simone is dying. Jack, did you hear her? Simone is...

BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP (commercial break!)

CIA Good Nerd is walking alone in an abandoned part of the toilet we call London and gets shot, falling into the water. The hitman isn't sure he got him. Heh.

Chief-in-Law meets the Russian. The Russian looks like he could win that circus game with the mallet. Russian tells Chief-in-Law that he knows the kid forged the extradition order. So, the Chief-in-Law promises to screw over Jack when things die down.

Oh, the hitman was right, he didn't kill the CIA Good Nerd. From the filthy waters of a london stream, emerges the Good Nerd Reborn! Or is it Rebooted?!  GOOD, NERD! GOOD!! 

Heller, sits in a room feeling sad. So, he calls Jack. Jack says "Hang in there boss." Heller says he needs to meet with Jack. Jack knows this means something serious. Heller puts on his suit jacket and he calls Shadow Mom using FaceTime!

Heller says he's going to turn himself over to Shadow Mom. Shadow Mom says "Don't catfish me, infidel." Old Man Heller says "What, you want to argue with me in a boat too?! Sheesh!"


Alright, above is Clementine imitating James Heller's foreign policy in this episode. I mean come on, James! Really?! Also, the fact that Shadow Mom could track Jack through the chaos of an exploded hospital is a bit much to accept. Not that I ever needed this show to be realistic, I just lose interest when it turns into a cartoon.  I loved Jack in this episode. Kate was great too, slinging The Jack Sack™ over her shoulder, consoling the Orphan and being generally competent. The messy subplots don't interest me as much- Mr. Julia Roberts and the Russian angle both feel too formulaic. Not that I'm saying they can't get better, I just know how these things normally turn out. I did appreciate Zombie Good Nerd. He's not amused, people-- well, neither am I.