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?