Now I know how my father felt when he was a kid going to Saturday matinees where serials like “Flash Gordon” and “Rocketman” would leave kids all over America panting for the next week’s thrilling installment. Will Flash be able to save Dale from the evil clutches of Ming the Merciless? How will Commando Cody get out of this one?
And knowing my Dad, he probably wished that he could jump in a time machine and be whisked away to next Saturday so he didn’t have to wait 7 days for the answers to the plot twists.
Oh, for a time machine today! Visiting the “24” forums and lurking as I do on a regular basis, I’ve noticed that many “24” aficionados have been disappointed in this season’s installments. Frankly, all I can say is they’re missing some great television.
Trying to enjoy the show while being a critic has been a very difficult assignment for me. . Early on this year I solved that problem by taping the show and watching it the first time for pure enjoyment and then watching a replay on tape for the critique. This has allowed me to garner some insights that perhaps some of the more cynical “24” fans have failed to appreciate.
One of those insights has to be the terrifying efficiency of Marwan’s organization. They’ve got all the bases covered. They’re piped into local police networks. They have an idea of how CTU works to the point that Marwan knows he can overload CTU employees with extra work by setting up the hostage exchange which will mean putting aside routine tasks like checking the “hourlies” from local and state police departments thus insuring our heroes are distracted long enough for his nefarious plot to succeed.
Marwan’s organization isn’t perfect. But its effectiveness can take your breath away at times.
Interesting and revealing exchange between Jack and Marwan as Jack is held hostage in the warehouse:
Jack: That really wasn’t your plan, was it? We managed to stop the other 103 power plants from melting down. That’s what America will remember. That we stopped you.
Marwan: No. They will remember the image of Secretary of Defense Heller held hostage on your own soil. And it will burn in their psyches. This country will forever be afraid to let their leaders appear in public.
Jack: For all the hatred you have for this country, you don’t understand it very well. Whatever you throw at us, I promise you, that will never happen.
Marwan has been in this country a long enough time to realize his statement about our leaders not appearing in public out of fear is baloney. Or does he? From Bin Laden’s boasting about 9/11 to Zarqawi’s threats to kick America out of Iraq, terrorists the world over really don’t have a clue about what this country is made of. We see this myopia time and time again when listening to the pronuncimentos of radical islamists from Indonesia to Iran. In the end, this ignorance -along with their own hubris – will be the cause of their downfall.
All of this won’t help Jack who now becomes a pawn in Marwan’s game to distract CTU long enough so that terrorist pilot Anderson can get his stealth fighter off the ground and, we assume, go after Air Force I. The reason for this distraction – the imminent discovery by CTU that an Air Force pilots family is missing – becomes the main focus of the hour as the camera dotes lovingly on the CD containing the vital flagged police report. Thanks to the bureaucratic turf war between Chloe and fat geek Edgar, that CD makes torturous progress toward Edgar and eventual discovery.
Someone is going to pay for this error when its discovered. My guess is Chloe.
Meanwhile, not knowing he’s an orphan, Behroos is questioned once again by Curtis about his knowledge of Marwan. Lying through his teeth, Curtis assures Behroos his mother is fine. And that’s when CTU’s resident “Dr. Feel Good” comes in with his little black bag full of some of the biggest damned needles I ever saw. Referred to as “Richard,” when shooting Behroos up with truth serum, he seems to be enjoying himself just a little too much. And that begs the question; where does CTU get these guys?
And that little CD? It’s still winding its way slowly toward Edgar. And every time Edgar is about ready to discover its contents, he’s called away to do something else. This Hitchcockian plot device becomes more and more effective as eventually, the viewer just wants to scream at Edgar “Look at the damn thing, will ya!”
Audrey, still waiting for news on whether or not Paul will live or die, confronts Tony several times asking for updates on Jack. To his credit, Tony is brutally honest with her which only confuses both Audrey and us even more. Who will it be? Jack or Paul? My guess is that Paul will live but be paralyzed. And Audrey will feel duty bound to take care of him for the rest of his life.
Speaking of Audrey, her conversation with Chloe is priceless. Chloe, exhibiting the social skills of a tree sloth, asks poor Audrey how she feels about Paul taking a bullet intended for her lover Jack. Audrey tells Chloe to in effect, shut up which is when Chloe gets off the revealing line; “I was inappropriately blunt…I do that a lot.”
Yes you do dear, but we still love ya!
And Jack? Just before being taken to the dam where CTU will exchange him for Behroos, Jack manages to cross circuit some telephone wires in the warehouse which will come in handy later…if he lives. Marwan has decreed Jack’s death after the exchange takes place.
So Behroos, still unaware that he’s an orphan, is taken unwillingly to the exchange point. The switch goes forward and Jack is saved when Marwan makes a rare mistake and underestimates CTU’s tactical ability. Turns out our guys had placed a team at the site before Marwan’s assassin could get there. Jack is saved, but Behroos is now in the hands of Marwan where he’s finally told about his mother’s death. Do you think that this will have an effect on the young man’s willingness to cooperate with Marwan? I knew that you would.
Jack’s shenanigans with the phone lines pays big dividends as Tony finds the address of the warehouse. So Jack and CTU tactical head off to get Marwan while the vital information regarding the dead pilot’s missing family continues to be buried under fat geek Edgar’s backlog of work and Anderson takes off in his stealth fighter for his rendezvous with Air Force I.
Like I said…gimme a time machine!
Anderson snuffs the maintenance guy holding up his flight. CTU takes out Marwan’s assassin.
More food for thought. Behroos feels betrayed by CTU. To save his own hide (and get back at Curtis) the kid will revert to being a terrorist and, since he’s an orphan with nothing to live for, become a suicide bomber for the cause. Who or what will be blow up? I’m open to speculation there but my gut feeling is Jack will “rescue” him and bring him back to CTU.
If I were Michelle, I’d call the contractors now and get an estimate on how much it’s going to cost to rebuild headquarters.