24: 3:00am -- 4:00am
(S06E22) *Warning, spoilers ahead from latest episode.*
If you're a fan of gunfire, dim lighting and foot chases through tunnels and dank warehouses, the latest installment of 24 was right up your alley. Sure, there were still campy moments. Like Jack Bauer's sister-in-law Marilyn sobbing and losing her composure, and Jack's "nephew" Josh being squinty and whiny. Again.
However the name of the game in hour 22 was action, shoehorned into nearly every tick of the 24 clock. And if there's one thing for which I was grateful, it was that there were no scenes with Chloe and Morris "Drill-Bit" O'Brian saying insipid things to one another.
On the CTU front: Did anyone think that the mercenaries enlisted by Cheng Zhi to break into CTU and kidnap Josh Bauer were really going to get away with it? If you did, well then . . . to complete the cliche . . . you don't know Jack. As the head tattooed/tank-topped mercenary was leading CTU employees to a holding room (why weren't the CTUers all shot?), Jack head-butted one of the captors, while Nadia Yassir and Morris took on two security guards. Jack brutally took out the chief mercenary via choking and neck breaking. (It was nearly impossible to quantify the number of people Jack killed in this hour without slowing down the video of the show to a snail's pace, although I can say he's really into asphyxiation this season). The unbelievable coincidence moment came when Mike "The Brawler" Doyle burst into CTU and shot the guy who was grappling with Nadia.
Meanwhile, Josh was led through a labyrinth of tunnels to Cheng, who telephoned Papa Bauer to let him know he had his grandson. Bauer said he'd give Cheng the Russian circuit board once Josh was brought to him. This led to an awkward, almost comedic conversation between Papa Bauer and Josh, only I likely wasn't supposed to find it amusing. A sample:
Papa Bauer: Hello Joshua. Look, I'm sorry, I know you've been through a lot.
Josh: "I'm sorry?" A few hours ago you pointed a gun at my head and said you'd kill me.
Papa: I never would have hurt you.
Josh: I heard you say it.
Papa then told Josh he's taking him away from "this ungrateful country" to China, where in a mere 10 years, the Asian nation would "surpass this country in every possible way." (Cheng told Josh, "Your grandfather is a visionary.") Soon after that phone call, Jack saved Josh following another fierce fire-fight, which included a slick Jack-sliding-across-the-floor-and-nailing-a-Cheng-guard move.
In the White House: The Lisa Miller plan didn't quite work out as White House chief of staff Tom Lennox would have liked. (Well, I don't exactly think Lennox minded the Cinemax-at-night performance between Miller and her traitorous boyfriend Mark Bishop, conveniently caught on hidden camera.) Bishop knew something was awry and confronted Miller who, basically, lost it, hitting him with a wine bottle, a lamp and her fists, only to have him choke her nearly to death. And, to top it all off, the fake intel that the White House wanted Bishop to pass along to the Russians to avert war -- they forced Bishop to send the Russians fake memos and e-mails falsely indicating the Americans had destroyed the Russian defense technology that Cheng had -- didn't fool the Russians.
The tricky Russian president had Bishop under surveillance and already knew about the raid. This made for a difficult conversation between Acting President Noah Daniels when he boldly lied to Russian President Yuri Suvarov and Suvarov called him on it, giving Daniels two hours to get the circuit board. Or else there'll be war. (That's an awesomely convenient time-line given that there are exactly two hours left in the season.)
This led to the truly surprising turn at the conclusion of the episode where Papa Bauer called the White House and spoke to Daniels directly. The homegrown terrorist said if Daniels sent Josh to him, he'd hand over the circuit board and the United States could avoid war. (What's so important about this boy? Is he unwittingly carrying some kind of microchip? Is he a highly trained intelligence agent who's under a hypnotic spell? It can't be that Papa Bauer is sentimental.)
The last scene had Doyle once again pitted against Jack -- this back-and-forth between the two is getting tiresome (now they're working together, oh wait, they're not) -- as Doyle put Josh in a chopper and CTU agents held Jack down. You could read the lips of squinty Josh as he yelled, "Uncle Jack!" through the helicopter window.
Overall, it was a decent episode, certainly jam-packed with action that moved the plot ahead to the two-hour season finale next week. Some of my complaints include the fact that crises seemed to be wrapped up too quickly, like the CTU hostage situation and securing Josh. I also despised the tired, "Hey there are some guys here from Division who are going to grill you on the four hours of your flawed CTU supervision, so drop all your work tracking down terrorists and kiss their butts." I was pleasantly surprised by the Russian twist, as well as having Papa Bauer call the White House. I'm giving it a 5, not a killer episode, but not a lame one like some of the mid-season installments.
|1 - Worst||10 (3.8%)|
|7 - Best||38 (14.4%)|