General gunfight rule: shoot first, ask questions later. Bauer gunfight rule: shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and when everyone's dead, ask a couple o' questions.
Jack is Back, after 20 months wandering in the desert...or the jungles of Africa...whatever. In any case, "24" has at long last started its seventh day, and with it we at TheClevelandFan will once again be providing recaps to each and every episode.
Since that fateful day in May, 2007 when Jack walked away from James Heller's house where Audrey Rains was recovering from all the trauma caused by being a little too close to Jack's swirling vortex of mayhem, a lot has changed. And I'm talking mostly about TheClevelandFan.com.
There are a lot of new readers who have come onboard since then, and you may be confused on what's going on here.
It is my job to befuddle you even more.
You will find the format simple...just like the writers who create the scripts, and the writer responsible for this recap. You get my snarky version of a recap, and then we get to the good stuff: the Famous Jack Bauer Body Count (self explanatory), a running estimate on the odds of survival for the major (and semi-major) characters, and then once it proves warrented (normally by the second write-up) we get the obligatory guestimate about Who Is The Mole?
And if this season follows the usual format of seasons past; we'll get the "24 Milkcarton" by about the mid-point of the season, where we attempt to find information regarding characters that were important in the early episodes, but suddenly go missing with no explanation regarding what happened.
We open Day 7 with something to really get out blood boiling...putting a cute little girl in mortal danger! Those Greedy Terrorist Bastards! Luckily, the car accident caused by this kidnapping attempt only results in a gash in Daddy UberGeek's forehead. Oh yeah...and his kidnapping by multiple armed men while the little girl screams.
We quickly learn why the geekazoid was grabbed. It seems that Michael Latham is the ONE person on the planet that can create (in 10 minutes or less) a module to crack the ONE firewall he designed that, if hacked, can give anyone access to pretty much destroy the entire United States of America. Designing a single point of failure that can lead to mass destruction and death, and cannot be quickly replaced? Gentlemen, I give you the US Government Beauracrazy!
*** We momentarily step away from this recap in order for the writer to vent until his spleen hurts. Now "24" fans universally must accept the fact that from time to time, the show is going to fully test the phrase "willful suspension of disbelief", which is the term given to the need to just forget about how silly, illogical, and downright ridiculous some plot devices are... in order to truly enjoy the show. But THIS time they've gone a little too far into my own backyard for me to just sit back and swallow it.
In real life, I am the head of systems security for a software development/hosting company. As such, the concept of a SINGLE system that is responsible for the security of the entire country's infrastructure is just too ludicrous to accept. You wouldn't do that for a company of 100 employees, and we're expected to buy off on the government doing something so stupid?
Then again...this is the same country that gave us the Bridge to Nowhere, Michael Dukakis, and New Coke. So maybe I should just shut my whiny ass up and enjoy the show.
***End of digression.
Switching scenes to the Capitol, we find our hero Jack in front of a Senatorial Commission filled with more pompous, self-centered azzhats than you'd find in a meeting of NFL wide receivers. Heading this group of PS-CAzHs is Senator Mayer, played by Kurtwood Smith...who plays this role just like he walked off the set of "That 70s Show", and hasn't dropped his Red Foreman character.
Senator Red lets the audience know that CTU has been completely disbanded (hysterical applause from the audience). Given that the average life of any CTU employee not named Jack or Chloe was similar to that of a tsetse fly...I'm pretty sure that's a good thing. Red also lets everyone know that he's out to nail Jack's hide for all those nasty things he did to those poor, pitiful, defenseless terrorists.
Jack snears at Red and refuses consule. The only good lawyer is one screaming in pain as Jack extracts the location of said lawyer's scumbag client. He then bitchslaps Senator Red by telling him that he doesn't regret one broken finger inflicted or one single throat bit out of any of the hundreds of terrorists he's taken down in the six days he's worked in the last decade.
We interupt this C-SPAN without-the-suicide-inducing-speeches a moment as ANOTHER sized zero babelicious government agent strides into the chamber. It's Agent Renee Walker of the FBI, and she has a subpeona to spring Jack out of the hearing RIGHT NOW. Senator Red isn't happy at all that his Pompous, Self-Centered Azzhat authority has been bitchslapped a second time, but he has no choice.
"He's to be back here at the same time tomorrow". Back again in exactly 24 hours? How convenient! (another phrase you're likely to see quite often here).
What's so important that it requires the help of Jack? Only the fate of the entire nation (again? yawn). But evidently, the chief agent in charge, Larry Moss, doesn't realize that, instead dismissing Jack like he was Romeo Crennel...which results in Jack telling him where he can stuff it. Agent Walker gets in between this pissing contest to tell Jack the real reason why he's being brought in...
Playing the part previously played by Timothy Oliphant in "Live Free or Die Hard" as the greedy anarchist who gets control of the entire infrastructure of the country will be Tony Almeida. What? Tony's Alive? Shocking?!?! (except for that little fact that FOX has been telling us for about like a year that he was returning. The one person who missed those memos was flabberghasted, though).
Scene change to the White House, where the producers introduce us to the first Woman to be President, Allison Taylor. Gotta be something new...after all, we've already had TWO African-American presidents.
Last season, the little country serving as a burr in the underside of the American saddle was not given a name...so I called it FayedRabia, after it's most famous citizen (and #42 of Bauer's Body Count for the year). This year, it's the African nation of Sangala, which also only exists in the back of some writer's politically correct mind. In any case, the despotic General Juma, seen earlier in "24: Redemption" wants to carry on his simple agricultural program. Seems he likes to dig up a lot of ground to accommodate the results of his ethnic cleansing program.
President Taylor has a plan to stop this. It's called blowing the hell out of them. But for a show that leans much more to the Right, it was an interesting dig (or history lesson learned) to hear President Taylor talk about wanting to make sure they have an occupation/rebuilding plan in place first.
Some people don't like the plan, including the Secretary of State and a Rush Limbaugh-esque (except he's a Liberal) media personality who is convinced to back off opposition from the President's husband Henry.
Back at CTU...er...FBI headquarters, we get to meet some of the team. And so far, it doesn't look a damn bit different from CTU. We get the by-the-books anal retentive leader in Agent Moss, the hot-hot looking agent sympathetic to Jack in Agent Walker, and two techno-geeks. First is the separated-at-birth-from-Chloe mousy analyst with zero social skills named Janis Gold, played by Janeane Garofalo, which immediately makes everyone who has ever willingly listened to Rush or Bill O'Reilly barf. Next is the snarly, obnoxious techno-geek named Sean Hillinger, played by the guy previously only known as playing snarly, obnoxious director Billy Walsh on "Entourage". Creative casting works again!
Seriously!?!? Why are tekkies always portrayed as idiot-savants without an ounce of people skills?
(Answer: ah...hello? Earth-to-Mitch? How long have you worked in technology? Do you REALLY think that this is an unfair stereotype? Didn't think so).
For the obligatory boring sub-plot to show the stupidity of one of the peripheral characters; it will come this year in the form of the First Gentleman (First Old Man? I like that better...or FOM for short). He has an obsession with the reported suicide death of his son, who we saw being stalked by Jon Voight in "Redemption". FOM can't let it go, and has hired a shady P.I. to look into it, much to the chagrin of the entire audience.
Back to important matters, Jack has quickly identified someone who may be helping Tony, and old arms dealer who they used to know in L.A. named Schecter. And guess what? He's now in DC! How Convenient!TM As always, it's only a five minute drive to his place for Jack and Renee. As the Good Guys head up to interogate him, Jack is still trying to convince Renee that Tony isn't a bad guy.
Jack, on the other hand, may not be a bad guy, but he is a bad-assed guy. Renee quickly learns that she can't get Schecter to talk, so she unleashes her attack dog, and Jack gently convinces Schecter to reconsider, lest he be wearing a cheap Bic pen half out of his left ear canal. This was immediately after Renee showed her bad-ass potential by quickly kicking the crap out of Schecter's bodyguard. I think I'm in love.
"OK! OK! I'll talk! The last time I saw Almeida....BLAM!" How those assassins know how to fire those bullets just seconds before the Victim Tells All, I'll never know.
Very slow start of the season. We don't have our first killings until 55 minutes into the first episode.
Jack Bauer...White Courtesy Phone! It's Tony, telling you to stay the hell away. Let me know how that works out, will ya' Tony?
Meanwhile, Tony has used the CIP module to take over air traffic control, and he's talking to the captain of an in-flight 767. Back at the tower, a controller who looks like Jason Kidd's twin is freaking out.
In one regard, I hate these two hour shows, because it really makes it hard to do a decent recap without going to "War and Peace" lengths. Luckily, the second hour didn't have as much character introductions, and therefore had a little more action.
First SHOCKING bit of news. There a Mole in the FBI. I would have never seen this coming! (and in further shocking news, the sun came up in the East today).
Back to Tony continuing his tour of Die Hard bad guys, this time he's about to re-do a plot device from Die Hard II by having two commercial jets collide on the runways at JFK Airport...but at the last minute, he has the one with the cute little boy on it pull up. (and yes, I realize that in Die Hard 2, the tower screwed up the artificial horizon on a plane so that it hit the ground at full speed...but you get my drift). He then calls the FAA and tells them that this is just a warning. Right afterwards, we meet the man who will probably be the early Main Bad Guy, David Emmerson, who comes to retrieve the module and Latham, telling Tony that he has another task to perform.
President Taylor meets with the former Prime Minister of SomeGala, the man who will probably become the next corrupt President-For-Life Idi Amin wannabee once the US has bombed SomeGala back to the Stone Age (a trip of only about 200 years for that place). She makes Mutobo promise to be a good boy, asking him pretty please with sugar on top not to go apeshit with the retaliation killings. He agrees, but she didn't see that he had his fingers crossed.
Tony uses his FBI moley, moley, moley again, who helps the man who assassinated Schecter escape. However, Jack sees him with his FBI jacket and construction worker Wolverine boots, and knows he's a fake, so he and Agent Walker follow.
To fill the ten minutes it will take for this guy to drive halfway across DC, we get more boring crap about the First Old Man's quest for The Answer about DeadSon. After a quick snooze, we also get a scene where the module has been delivered to Colonel Dubaku, the brother of the nasty major that Robert Carlyle blew to bits in "Redemption", and is he ever in a sour mood. "America will pay!" We usually do. And if you're alive once we're through beating you like a Brad Gradowski led offense, you'll probably get a boatload of money in foreign aid. Go figure. In any case, Col. Debaucle is working for the main baddy, General Juma (who I'm sure I'll continue to call Gen. F.U. Jobu, just because it ties into both Cleveland sports, and President David Palmer in his earlier life as a Cuban first-baseman practicing voodoo for the Indians).
Jack and Walker track Tanner (the sniper) to the ship where Tony is hiding. Renee gives Jack a gun. All the better to kill people with, my dear. Jack can't shoot Tanner right away, but he does get to punch him like a speed bag for a bit, just for practice.
Walker gets the first kill of the season for the good guys, which was a bit of a letdown. They both get to fire on the second. If this was football, they'd each get credit for half a sack, but this ain't football, so the Bauer Body Count has its first notch.
Tony's deleted all the files before getting into a great mano-y-mano fight with Jack, which ends when Walker gets the drop on Tony.
"What the hell happened to you?" Jack asks.
I guess that's what almost three years with no work will do for an actor. Oh...wait...we're talking about Tony, not the local Dinner Theater that Carlos Bernard's had to do since 2006.
Bump, bump. Bump, bump.
* Good to have the series back on. Despite my aggrevation over the CIP Module, the first two hours seem to have some promise.
* Do you realize that as we start this first episode of Day 7, we are now on the seventh president serving in the "24" universe. It started with the unnamed President during David Palmer's presidential run in the first season. Since those two, we've also had John Keeler, Charles Logan, Wayne Palmer, Noah Daniels, and now Allison Taylor. Somewhere, a former drummer for Spinal Tap is saying "damn, they replace those people a lot!"
* Why is it that everytime I hear someone say "CIP Module", I'm thinking of Marvin the Martian saying "PU-36 Exploding Space Modulator"?
* Early predictions: Renee Walker and Agent Larry Moss are involved. Tony isn't really a bad guy (I really did write that in my notes PRIOR to watching the show Monday night. Honest!). And the CIP-36 Exploding Country Module problem will be resolved by the end of Hour 8, leading into the first major change of direction for this season, which will result in the appearance of Jon Voight.
Jack Bauer Body Count: 1. That's just sad. Last season, Jack ended up giving 48 baddies dirt naps. He has a lot of catching up to do, but I have faith in our guy.
I'll get to the "Who Is the Mole" and the "Odds of Survival" segments of the article starting tomorrow, when I recap the hours from 10 AM - 12 PM.
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