Since we are just underway with the Mid-Season Adjustment of "24", it's a great time to recap where we've been. And in this case, I have a brief summary from Gary Benz, the hardest working writer at TheClevelandFan.com. Not content to work a full time job and write all those great pieces about Cleveland Sports (especially his love of all things Mangini), Gary is also a huge ‘24' fan, and has been corresponding with me all season. (Gary, like Jack Bauer, thinks sleep is highly overrated). So with his permission, I give you his mid-year State of the Bauer Address:
It's always about this time in a season where it's fun to look back on what's transpired over just the course of several hours within one day, to wit: Olivia. Just a few short hours ago, she was some sort of lobbyist/slut with a Mommy complex. In those few hours, she found out her dad was in surgery, visited him, went to the White House, grew attached to a retired secret service agent with "wife" issues, was taken hostage, almost had her eyes cut out, survived a suicide mission by a former CTU commander with his own "wife" issues, said "bygones" with her mother thereby doing a disservice to all of the therapists in the world who make their bones off of screwed up messes like Olivia, became a Sr. Advisor to the President (thus impliedly quitting her previous job as a lobbyist without so much as informing her prior employer, packing her things, getting her last paycheck and clearing the various levels of government background checks in order to have such high level access), had time to "contact" a "friend" at CBN in order to both leak a story that probably violates all sorts of governmental restrictions, not to mention the fact that it makes what Scooter Libby did seem almost cute by comparison, and to set up an interview with her "mom" (tangent: why "CBN"? Why not the cross branding with Fox News? And if that's too obvious, why not just FNN? Some producer or writer should be fired), worked on a speech and then, apparently, got hair extensions, all while never showering.
Chloe had an interesting day so far, hasn't she? She went from a secret operative working out of the back of a van on a Commodore 350 that could hack into traffic cameras in D.C. as well as the county recorder's office in order to get the detailed building specs on every structure in the D.C. metro area, to a FBI employee without filling out the obligatory job application (unless paper applications have been eliminated as some sort of offshoot of the Paper Reduction Act), got credentials, got some whiz bang computers with two monitors and her owned glassed in work space, alienated Janis (although, to be fair, as we learned Chloe is a Level 6 analyst as is Morris, while Janis is toiling in the lower levels, the lack of training on Blowfish 148 apparently being the difference maker), hacked into files, ran programs on a shadow server that she apparently keeps next to Prescott's bed and then got herself arrested when Janis was able to figure out what Chloe was doing even though Janis apparently missed the Blowfish 148 training class that Renee Walker managed to attend.
And let us not forget the increasingly more fetching Renee Walker. Just the night before she was sleeping with a by-the-book, uptight, FBI bureaucrat with the technical acumen of a blowfish, dreaming of a marriage and a 9-5 job as V.P. of security at a company like, I don't know, Starkwood. Now just a few short hours later she's tasted the darkside, tortured a baby, was complicit in the death of the black Joan Crawford, killed all sorts of Sengalese nationals (although, to be fair, despite their incredible command of the English language they were in the country illegally, thus earning her the endless gratitude of Lou Dobbs), fell in love with Jack, broke up with Larry, lost her job and got arrested.
As for the other night's episode, the bigger mystery in the "computer" issue was not just that it happened to be on the front seat of a crappy box car, but that there also was a Sprint wireless attachment nearby. Without that, Jack would have had to stop by one of the 1534 Starbucks in the D.C. area to get connectivity. But even more impressive than his ability to download the security pictures from the DVD he "stole" was his ability to boot up the MAC, attach the wireless, send an email (and doing that without having a password from the prior user is itself a feat, whether driving or not, unless Jack just used his "ToughGuy1@sengala.org emaill address) with a picture attached to Renee, all while talking on a cellular phone that still has full power, is the fact that he kicked Quinn's ass while still wearing his suit coat. Wouldn't you have thought that Jack would have at least taken the coat off when he got inside the front loader? Does he always have to be so formal?
I was going to title that little piece "Update on Bauer's Bitches"...but my wife thought that might be just a little too Politically Incorrect.
"Bauer's Broads?" "Bauer's Babes"?
That's better, right? What? The couch again? DAMMIT!! (Everyone drink).
CSI: DC is busy at the crime scene for former Senator DeadRed Mayer. Two minutes later, Governor Blagojevich logs into his eBay account and starts the auction at $2,000,000. And with Jack on the loose, Ethan and Empty Suit Larry have nothing better to do than play the Blame Game...advantage ESL, who rightfully pulls out the "I was on the record as against this idea" card.
Jack catches Tony up on the situation, and Tony has the audacity to ask why Jack doesn't phone in the information to the FBI and have them send everyone over. Because "no one will believe me". Good point. On the other hand, did you ever think that maybe an anonymous tip might be in order? Nah...stupid idea. Who is better equipped to handle a small, private army; a hundred FBI agents, or Jack Bauer?
Ahhh....how sweet! The President is talking to her scarecrow husband, who evidently pulled through his surgery (although we're still not 100% sure on that one). And the great news Allison has for Henry that totally trumps hundreds of people dying? They've saved 15% on their car insurance! Oh yeah...and Olivia the FirstSpoiledPrincess is talking to Mommy again! Well then...it was all worth it!
Ethan comes in at the end of this Hallmark GagMoment, drops the bomb about DeadRed to the President, and then offers up his resignation. Sadly, Allison accepts it...which means that Olivia will now be playing Grima Wormtongue to Allison's King Theoden.
So Jack and Tony are at the Port of Alexandria...looking over hundreds of large ship containers...the kind that come in on big-assed cargo ships that absolutely, positively, cannot reach Alexandria, Virginia up the Potomac. I know...I'm continually harping on minute and unimportant details. I guess next season will be set in Cleveland at the aircraft carrier base where the Eisenhower, Nimitz, and Enterprise all permanently dock before sailing off to the Pacific Ocean via the Northwest Passage. Damn...Henry Hudson was right all along. And then in the movie they are going to shoot after Season 8, they can center it around the submarine base in Denver.
Time to get to know someone up close and personal before he dies! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Paul Flart; Port Cop, and the only security person on duty at a place with thousands of containers that may contain WMDs, and located a couple of miles from the Capital of the Free World. Paul has a wife who is pregnant with twins and misses him terribly. Don't worry, Mrs. Flart...your husband is now a willing partner of Jack Bauer. Would you prefer the mahogany or the oak casket?
"Psst...his name wasn't Paul Flart...it was Greg Gasden."
"Shut up. I don't care. This works better for me."
JonVoight has a meeting with the rest of his Conspiracy Group...aka the StarkRavingWood Board of Directors, and he tells them all that they are not to pay any attention to the US Government, and they'll now do whatever the hell they please. I didn't realize that StarkRavingWood was also in the banking business. Please pick up your bonus checks on the way out...except for you, BoardMemberDougie. You disagree with JV, you get threatened in that really creepy voice he has. I love how he "denied" any involvement with the assassination of Sen. DeadRed...and then smugly added, "Maybe we should look into it. I hear it's a growth industry". Where's the damn anaconda when you need it?
Kevin James' Mall Cop character may have actually been smarter than Paul Flart...who thought there were just some "electronics smuggled in from Korea" coming in...so he unlocked the gate, turned off the security cameras, and sent all the other rent-a-cops home just to pick up some extra greenbacks to cover the cost of the invitro. So it's up to Jack and Tony, since all the phone lines have been cut and all cell phones jammed. And worst of all...Flart asks Jack to "promise him" that he'll be OK. Yeah...sure that will happen. And that hot girl you met last night at the bar when you were drunk? I'm sure her number really is 555-867-5309. Tony's look was priceless. I'm pretty sure he genuflected, knowing he may not have time to do it over the body later on.
Wow...they are really strict about taking things from the White House after the Clintons left. Poor Ethan even has to take the picture of himself and the President out of the frame! Olivia comes in and offers an apology that was almost as believable as Terrell Owens' press conference when he was talking about how happy he was to be going to Buffalo. Ethan offers a few parting Words of Wisdom, and you see it in his face that he knows it's going into one selfish ear, rattling around an empty skull, and coming out her other one. FSP pretty much gives him the "L" on her forehead sign when he turns his back, and then calls up her slimy reporter friend, and blabs even more stuff. And somewhere, Scooter Libby nods on in approval.
Back at the crime scene, the Empty Suit may have just had his 10 watt dryer light bulb go off, and he realizes that the evidence is starting to possibly suggest that there might have been a third person involved. Simultaneously in Las Vegas, Miami, and New York; Gil Grissom, Horatio Cane, and Mac Taylor scream "DUMBASS"!, and throw Petri dishes at their televisions. Renee confirms Larry Clouseau's "discovery", but he still won't let her out yet.
So let me get this straight. Jack had no problem with letting a totally innocent girl, Marika, go to her certain death when it came to following Col. Debaucle...but he's going to risk the entire operation to save Paul Flart; Corrupt Dock Cop? Sure...why not? I guess the difference is that it was RENEE who promised to save Marika...and it was A-OK if she didn't live up to HER promise.
But I guess I shouldn't be too upset, even if I was wrong on the upcoming widowhood of Mrs. Flart...because now we get to up the Body Count! Rah! Odds of Jack dying? Zero. Odds of Jack totally securing the WMD? The same. C'mon, folks, there are nine hours left.
So the shooting begins, and they only get a couple. Jack gets the truck. Tony gets caught. But at least Jack got away, and he puts ES Larry on speed dial, and lets him know what's going down. And then he notices a really ominous flashing red light on the container. Oopsy...we have a leak...and I'm not talking about Olivia's reporter friend or what Paul Flart's doing in his pants right now. Jack takes a deep breath, and goes in to investigate...knowing no mere germ can kill Jack Bauer. Unfortunately, in the time it took him to do that, StarkRavingWood's managed to catch up and snag the package.
~ Looks like everything will be forgiven very quickly next week, as Jack goes from Accused Murderer on the Run to "Evidence". It was a pretty good last fifteen minutes of the show, all things considered. I get tired of the "Jack the Fugitive" bits, so it'll be good to see him back operating semi-above board.
~ Since Jack Bauer's body is so tough, he will immediately develop anti-bodies to the "biological agent", and will not only kill every one of those terrorist microbes, but will also then be used to develop the antidote for every man, woman, and non-terrorist child in the world.
~ I'd gripe more about Jack blowing the "plan" of following the truck in order to save Paul Flart's worthless hide...but given that everyone now knows where it's going anyway, the point is sorta moot. Except for the fact that Flart is alive, and Tony is about to be tortured. Nice choice there, Jack! No wonder you have so many ex-CTU people trying to kill you.
~ A raid next week against StarkRavingWood's totally private army located 10 minutes away from the center of the U.S. Government? What a shame that there are no military institutes or personnel close to Washington, D.C. that could be mustered to help out Jack and the FBI in that assault. I'm personally thinking that if they just use some of that Uber-Napalm called Thermite in "The Rock" to melt the entire place down, we could be over and done with all of this.
~ Which brings up a point...wouldn't the teaming of Jack Bauer with Sean Connery's John Patrick Mason made that movie so much better than the whiny Stanley Goodspeed? They wouldn't even have needed Michael Biehn's target practice SEAL squad.
~ How many vehicles has Jack stolen this season? With the TerroristTruck counting as another, I swear we are approaching double figures at this point.
Bauer Body Count
25. If he'd been a better shot at that crane operator, we wouldn't be in this mess. And then we'd call the show "15".
Odds of Survival
Board Room Dougie (100:1) - He'll do some more objecting next week, and JonVoight will ham him to death.
Greg Seaton (50:1) - Takes a bullet for his boss. No one cares.
Jon Voight (25:1) - His Board Room scene was the worst over-acting by anyone not named William Shatner
Empty Suit Larry (20:1). Larry's been a bit schizo throughout, but he was the good guy during this episode.
Tony (20:1) - My guess is that Jack will get him out of the mess he's in now. No promises for later, though.
Janis (10:1) - Best thing about this episode? No lines from Janis.
Chief of Staff Ethan (8:1) - We haven't seen the last of him. Maybe Olivia takes off her stilettos and stabs him in the eye.
Sean the Snake (4:1). Looks like Sean's about to go permanently onto the Milk Carton
First Old Man (2:1) - Heeeee'sss Baaaaacccckkkkk!
Spoiled Princess Olivia (1:1). Maybe she'll crash her broomstick into the Washington Monument.
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