Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: "24" — Rick Moran @ 8:50 am

“The irony is that he comes back to life, and everyone around him dies.”
(Howard Gordon, Executive Producer of 24)

Oh how the classical literary giants of the past would have loved the show this year!

The Greek playwright Sophocles would have especially enjoyed the irony mentioned above by Mr. Gordon. After all, in Sophocles’ case, how much more ironic can you get than having your main character be abandoned as an infant, later meet his own father in combat and kill him, and then marry his wife, your own mother?

Oedipus put out his own eyes as penance for his sins. In the case of our doomed CTU comrades, they paid the ultimate price for angering the Gods. Edgar and the Fat Hobbit were guilty of transgressing against their friends. Edgar not only dismissed the signs of a threat but sent Kerri to her death. And Lin’s sins were best summed up by the CTU guard Harry who had to share in the Fat Hobbit’s fate, representing as he did the failures of CTU security to keep the terrorist out of the building in the first place:

We’re all going to die because you were embarrassed?

In Tony’s case, his will to live had been sucked out of him by the death of Michelle thus making his death a sure sign that fate rules the affairs of men. The Greeks, a practical and thoughtful people, were absolutely convinced of this, going so far as to give the fates names - Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos - and assigning each a specific role in determining the outcomes of our lives. Clotho was the spinner of fate and hung around a person’s entire lifetime constantly spinning the threads of one’s existence., Lachesis was the drawer of lots and Atropos represented the inevitable end to life. One can see immediately where our three heroes were influenced by one or more of these goddesses.

Tony also chose the path of vengeance which, as the Greeks teach us, inevitably leads to one’s own destruction.

There is also the entirely Christian theme of redemption in the death of Lin which made his passing a more heroic and uplifting event than if say, Kim’s boyfriend Barry had made that sacrifice.

Of course I’m reading way too much into this. But I still find it fascinating that almost 3000 years after Homer’s death, writers are still using the dramatic devices in storytelling that proved so successful even back then. It’s a part of our western tradition and should be celebrated whenever possible.


The sit-rep is grim. CTU headquarters is a vast, silent morgue as dozens of friends and colleagues lie dead from the nerve gas attack. The small pockets of survivors are in a state of shock, especially Chloe who can’t take her eyes off her dead friend Edgar. She moans about how she “treated him like crap - all day.”

No one has the heart to tell her that she treated Edgar like crap every day - but we knew that, didn’t we?

When Jack fails to snap Chloe out of it, Barry volunteers his services as a clinical psychologist to give it a shot, telling Chloe to ” find her breath.” Jack allows the shrink to make the attempt to bring Chloe back so that she can help a situation that is getting worse by the minute.

That’s because Tony continues his miraculous recovery from death’s door and, after applying a choke hold to the Doctor that saved his life, makes his way into the room where Dr. Feelgood, Agent Richard Burke, is still shooting Henderson up with truth serum in order to get the ex-CTU agent to divulge where the terrorist mastermind Bierko is with those cannisters of nerve gas. Grabbing Burke’s gun, Tony seems beyond reason - until Jack gets on the intercom pleading with Tony to forgo his vengeance at least until they have a chance to interrogate Henderson. Tony, in one of the greatest lines he’s ever delivered, says to Jack through clenched teeth, “Hurry up.”

At the ranch, the President, who is apparently under some kind of spell cast by Vice President Strangelove, agrees to go ahead with martial law after talking to Karen Hayes, an apparently turf conscious bureaucrat at the Department of Homeland Security. Grandma Hayes informs the President that most of CTU is down and that she is going over there to take charge. This elicits another argument between Strangelove and Jellyfish with the Veep convincing the President once again that martial law is necessary.

We find Bierko the terrorist planning his masterpiece as the “new target” is going to be a big one. He orders all the rest of the cannisters moved to the site. In the teaser for next week’s episode we learn that “200,000 people” are at risk which means they’re not going hit a Lakers game. And it’s past rush hour so hitting the subway system is out. I wonder if Centex is water soluble? Can they put it in the water supply?

Back at CTU, Barry is making no progress with Chloe who is still a basket case. In a move sure to endear him to Porn Star Kimmy, Jack informs the shrink that THERE’S NO TIME for the rather clinical way the Clinical Psychologist is working with Chloe. To prove his point, he applies the Jack Bauer Death Grip to Barry’s throat which seems to wake Chloe out of her stupor.

While difficult to ascertain, I believe I saw Kim’s eyebrow twitch when Jack was choking her lover which means that Ms. Cuthbert has added a third facial expression to her acting repertoire, the other two being a come hither smile and her famous teenage pout face that she used to such great effect when trying to get Chase to quit CTU in season 3.

Things start going from bad, to worse, to “Jack Bauer Time” when the seals on the doors start to degrade thanks to a corrosive agent in the nerve gas. Chloe, back on the job and fully engaged, informs Jack that she can clear the nerve gas if only she could get the air conditioners to work, the unit being blocked by an insidious program we saw the terrorist setting up before he released the nerve gas last week. Since it would take too long to get an HVAC repairman out to headquarters, Jack takes it upon himself to squirm his way through the air ducts to a place where he can break into the room where the computer running the program is and disable it. Alas, incompetent bureaucrats are everywhere as a grate that was not on Chloe’s schematics due to a clerical error, prevents Jack from reaching the computer. He is forced to retreat back to his make-shift airlock and breathe uncontaminated air.

We also heard the first mention this entire season that the gas is deadly if absorbed by the skin but Jack assures us that he won’t be exposed long enough for that to happen.

Wha? Oh…never mind.

Meanwhile, Chloe is back to her old self:

KIM: Is there anything we can do from here?

CHLOE: No. We just have to wait. There’s nothing we can do to get your dad out any faster.

KIM: Don’t talk down to me Chloe.

BARRY: Listen. We’re in a crisis situation here, OK? Tempers are bound to flare. Let’s just everybody breathe.

CHLOE: What’s with you and breathing? Is that your answer to everything?

A few moments later, after Jack has gotten back into his airlock, Chloe recognizes that he should have taken longer to dump the threatening computer program:

BARRY: What’s it mean that he finished so quickly?

CHLOE: I don’t know.

BARRY: Well, it could be a good thing, right?

CHLOE: Could be a good thing. Could be a bad thing. That’s what “I - Don’t - Know” means.

Gotta love her!

After Chloe explains to Jack how the only way they can now be saved is if the Fat Hobbit sacrifices himself by opening his sanctuary to the contaminated air and racing up the stairs to the room where the computer is, Jack realizes he must ask Lin to die.

The Hobbit takes the news like a good little soldier but Harry, his companion in the holding room, is just a low-paid security guard and balks a bit. Harry should know by now that security guards at CTU have a life expectancy of about 3 weeks as they always seem to get whacked by moles or infiltrators when all they’re doing is going about their business of being totally oblivious to what’s going on.

With the seals on the doors minutes from disappearing, Harry has an affecting scene as he says goodbye to his little girl. Bravely, Lin takes a deep breath and sprints up the stairs to the computer room, disables the program, and runs back to his now contaminated room where both he and Harry can do nothing but hold their breath as long as possible.

Jack assures them both that he will inform their families of their heroism, says goodbye, and thanks them. Harry takes a breath first and starts to celebrate when nothing immediately happens. We know better. After he keels over, Lin takes the fatal breath and dies horribly.

Television doesn’t get much better than that.

This may be something of a transformational moment for Jack as he appears now to have taken on the role of avenging angel rather than superpatriot. Look for Bauer to start exacting revenge on the terrorists for everything they’ve done this day starting with Henderson.

Saying goodbye awkwardly to Kim who still wants nothing to do with him, Jack orders Barry to drive out of the city without stopping for anything. We know what that means. With the city about to erupt in panic thanks to the coming declaration of martial law, Kim will once again find herself in mortal peril.

Maybe the writers can find a coyote or perhaps even a wolf to threaten Kimmy. My own preference would be a mutant grey squirrel that eats human flesh and has a taste for clinical psychologists.

Meanwhile, President Jellyfish, like an Alka-Seltzer in hot water, begins to dissolve right before our eyes. Discussing with Martha the reasons he agrees with Vice President Strangelove’s martial law scenario, the Spineless One begins to melt like the wicked witch of the west after having water thrown on her:

MARTHA: He is not the President…YOU ARE!

LOGAN: I am doing this because it’s the right thing to do. (The shot of Logan’s hands on the desk betray the fact that he is not at all convinced it is the correct course of action).

I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I really don’t. David’s assassination, the nerve gas, the murder of those hostages….Walt Cumming’s betrayal (begins to cry) and you…I almost lost you. I didn’t lose you, did I?

MARTHA: No, Charles…

So much for talking the wimp out of turning the country over to the military industrial complex.

We are then introduced to a gorgeous terrorist woman trying to get more schematics for Bierko, this time on their new target. Don’t know much about her except she is one hot mama and will definitely get any man, anywhere to do anything she asks.

Grandma Hayes of DHS is on her way over to CTU with a shadowy figure who may prove to be Jack’s next bureaucratic foil. He may also be associated with the terrorists although it’s too soon to tell. But it would not be surprising to have someone at Homeland Security on the payroll of international terrorists.

Hell…I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case in real life.

For Tony, the end of the road has been reached. Seeing that Henderson won’t wake up before Jack can reach him, Tony loads up a syringe with an extra lethal dose of truth serum and prepares to stab Henderson in the heart with the drug (”as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”.) But being at heart a nice guy, he realizes he cannot do it.

Being a bad guy, Henderson has no such qualms. He grapples with Tony and ends up stabbing the taciturn series regular in the chest. As Henderson makes his escape, Jack bursts in just in time to find Tony on the floor and cradle his friend in his arms, feeling the life ebb out of him. And Bauer weeps. One by one, his friends are being taken from him. It is no longer his duty and responsibility to capture the terrorists. It is now his quest. Will it consume him like Ahab’s quest consumed the Captain of the Pequod?

This year…nothing is impossible.


Lin and Harry are heroes. Bill updates us with his estimate of 55 dead CTU employees. Since we already counted 12, that means we add 43 to the show’s total.

And since Jack asked Lin and Harry to die, we are going to credit Mr. Bauer with two more kills.

JACK: 15

SHOW: 142


Could this be the last year for Jack Bauer? With all of his friends dying off, the speculation on whether or not Jack will be killed off this year was ratcheted up a notch with this eye opening quote from Executive Producer Howard Gordon in today’s New York Times:

The actual death of Jack is where Mr. Gordon said he would like the series to end, whenever that may be. “He’s a tragic character, and tragedy ends in death,” he said.


Blogs4Bauer readers had the dead pool for this week spot on with McGill and Tony finishing one, two. Make sure you check out the site for some great summaries too.


  1. At the risk of trivializing Tony’s death, I just kept thinking that was he was really saving to Robocop was:

    “My name is Tony Almeda. You killed my wife. Prepare to die” - all in a Castillian accent.

    Comment by Publius — 3/14/2006 @ 9:38 am

  2. Say It Ain’t So Tony

    Just when I thought that a season that has saw the death of two popular characters within the first half hour of the first episode, and the death of annoying-but-loveable Edgar Stiles last week, could not possibly go any further, it does.
    As the …..

    Trackback by Below The Beltway — 3/14/2006 @ 9:52 am

  3. As to your analysis of the Greeks, I would be willing to bet it is quite intentional. Writers know what works; and what has always worked.

    Comment by Ogre — 3/14/2006 @ 10:11 am

  4. The similarities of “24″ to Sophocles Oedipus or better yet to all of Greek Drama is a bit lofty for a television drama. However I admit it’s fun to speculate and attempt to apply the rules of Greek Tragedy to explain the deaths of characters that we have come to enjoy or at least have gotten used to, understanding of course that Greek Drama should have a loftier goal of merely saving America from extinction. It should have a “there but for the Grace of God go I” element enabling the audience a catharsis of kinds. No such comparison here. If that were the case though Edgar’s death would have to be at the least Gluttony if not Pride, anger and a little sloth. McGill of course will have to die because of his enormous pride, and an added 8th deadly sin of arrogance. Tony , anger etc. However it is more practical and a little more realistic to call “24″ what it is rather than what it is not although I will agree that Jack Bauer in spite of his bigger than life role and his super-human gifts, is a rather tragic figure. Why he has not gained greater prominence by his peers, is beyond me and why he remains an ambivalent figure in spite of his saving the world week after week is even further beyond me. He has to be the most mis-understood character since Don Quixote. My guess is that the writer(s) either didn’t realize the show’s popularity or wrote themselves into a corner.
    That being said, the answer to the enigma is probably more that the series is ending than anything else. If not there would have more confrontations with Jack and McGill and/or resolutions of the differences between Jack and Audrey. Be that as it may, there is still tons of action in the offing with the advent of the sinister Homeland Security crew and more adventures with Jack and Chloe and Audrey and President Jellyfish. I shall (at least for a little while longer) look forward to each and every Tuesday’s chorus explanation at rightwingnuthouse.

    Comment by Tony Lafauce — 3/14/2006 @ 11:04 am

  5. At the end, when Jack was holding Tony, Tony’s last words were “She’s gone.” For Jack, that had so many meanings-Michelle, of course, Teri from season 1, Kim as of five minutes earlier.

    So much for the show being too slow….


    Comment by Marty H — 3/14/2006 @ 11:20 am

  6. Marty:

    I said that about 6 weeks ago. Notice I haven’t said it since?

    Comment by Rick Moran — 3/14/2006 @ 11:33 am

  7. Another fabulous recap!

    Just one quick observation, if the nerve agent was caustic enough to eat through the CTU vapor locks, wouldn’t it have a less then positive effect on Jack’s eyes and skin? And where did the HVAC system send all that nerve gas anyway? Hmmm ;-)

    Comment by Mpro — 3/14/2006 @ 2:22 pm

  8. I thought about the same exact point….how do his eyes not burn out of their sockets. He did say that “.. it won’t effect my skin in such a short period of time…”, but this is acid. Here Jack how about a little acid in the eye, or some lemon juice?

    I felt gratified that my prediction on this site about the VPs dialogue was dead on. As I predicted here last week, VP says CTU is sealed up and hobbled…President says, we are working on it,…VP says perfect reason for us to call in the Military and clear the streets.

    I also predicted that Barry the pony boy is acquanted if not in cahoots with robocop henderson. (Remember Henderson said 3 times, how he visted Jacks daughter. With a therapist surgically attached to her hip, they at least know each other. Is it possible that henderson looks for a car to carjack in the parking lot and conveniently finds barry and kim crawling into his Yugo.

    Tony’s demise was somewhat surprising, but as mentioned above does fit the homeric greek model. As Nancy Sherman remarks in the current best seller, “Stoic Warriors”, A modern militray man must avoid vendetta motivated by personal rage much the same as achilles personal rage and disregard for the wishes of the gods, caused his immortality to be stripped away. Anger at social injustice, retribution on behalf of society or your brothers in arms, is the application of Justice (i.e. trying to cut out Cummings eyeballs) and is acceptable as long as it does not jeapordize the mission. Jack was counseling Tony in the moral wishes of the Gods, but he commited the sin of not abiding by the “Path of Jack”, and now Henderson is free and Tony is dead. Tony dies for Hate, Lin for Pride, Edgar for ignorance, pride, lust (for chloe…you know its true) or gluttony,….take your pick.

    Yes, the darting glances on Jack while he held tony…very oedipal. Almost saying…What have I done to deserve to have all my friends around me killed and I must live.

    Also , when Linn and the guard “apparently” died, they breathed in and as if to almost say…will the vapors find me virtuous or sinful? The guard says, I’m going to live…then chokes off. Then Linn asks himself if his act of heroism has redeemed him. Sorry Linn, check the latest body count. Off to Hobbit heaven.

    Is it possible that his lighter dose might bring linn back in time to run off the homeland security takeover and truly redeem himself. Expect the VPs prediction that clearing the streets under martial law will restrict the movement of the terrorists….so here comes some decent open street car chases in LA. Robocop, Barry and Kim getting chased by Jack and maybe Curtis riding shotgun. JAck must ask a existentiel question do I continue to chase Kim or break off as Curtis wants me to so we can chase the UPS truck with the terrorists.

    If I were curtis I would stay away from Jack for a few hours.

    Comment by TJ King — 3/14/2006 @ 3:23 pm

  9. i’ve realized one of the reasons the show has at times seemed to be slow is all the %$#@ commercials!!! that’s happening more and more often in television and because i don’t have tivo i have to deal with them. am i right in my observation???

    i also realize i was in denial about the show killing off tony. i knew deep down inside that it would be him. i’m sorry that it is so. i thought that jack’s holding tony while he died was a powerful moment. and i thought kim was nothing but a total brat, breakdown and suicidal thoughts no excuse. glad she’s gone.

    instead of killing off jack i would want them to do one more season at least and do the jason bourne thing. it’s the next logical step. it drives me crazy that he has to continually prove himself and his motives to people who should have every reason to believe in him. he’s not that hard to understand. i don’t see him as a true tragic figure. he is more done to rather than doing himself in, which is what real tragedy is. he’s not destroying himself, others are trying to do that for him.

    chloe was cooking last night with the one liners. i loved it when she said, “ok, i’ll get back to work,” snapping out of her stupor.
    go, chloe!!!behind every good man there’s a good woman, eh?

    Comment by sue — 3/14/2006 @ 3:25 pm

  10. You’re right about the commercials Sue, but that does make it that much more amazing at how much they can cram in around them!

    I gotta admit too, it was fairly weird to see former President Palmer in the “Unit” last week (and tonight, great show so far) and also pitching Allstate insurance in the ads on same.

    Comment by Mark H. — 3/14/2006 @ 5:12 pm

  11. I was Socrates who wrote Oedipus, not Sophecles. Sorry to be so picky.

    Comment by Adawg — 3/14/2006 @ 5:16 pm

  12. Adawg:

    Um…no, sorry:


    Comment by Rick Moran — 3/14/2006 @ 5:30 pm

  13. Speaking of commercials, when I was putting the shows on DVD for my hubby and his buds in Afghanistan, I painfully sat there and made sure all the commercials were cut out. His buddy said he was in love with me; cause the commercials were the worst. I’ve stopped spending my Sunday’s copying them and cutting out the commercials now - they got straight to the DVD, commercials and all. Guess my new love is gone ;) Kim and Chloe are left. Can we get rid of Kim now?

    Comment by Jo — 3/14/2006 @ 7:46 pm

  14. i heard a rumor that keifer had signed on for 7 seasons. not sure if that is true, though.

    Comment by brent j. — 3/15/2006 @ 12:50 am

  15. I think it is odd that right after the doctor said Henderson’s nervous was shut down, that he was able to wake up and escape. It makes me wonder if the doctor was not really injecting him with “truth serum.” I wonder if he was faking the whole time.

    Comment by Jay — 3/15/2006 @ 8:57 am

  16. So many disturbing things happened this last hour that I am at a lost to fully express my sadness.
    Regarding my daughter Kim, I would like to charge Barry for Kim’s coldness but I truly can’t. Kim has many things missing from her makeup that I should of seen many years ago. Actually I believe that I did see in Kim things that I felt were not quite right, certainly her mom tried to talk to me about her unease in the way Kim was developing in her social behavior or lack of them. I do feel responsible that I didn’t deal directly with it, I held out hope that she would right herself. I now know that this doesn’t happen all by itself. It is probably a foolish hope that her therapist can effect a change in Kim. I don’t know if her mom’s and my parenting was responsible for her lack of compassion and other failings that I saw in her. However it came about I now see that Kim has never had compassion for others and her dull response to critical events truly worries me. I can not deal with this right now nor will Kim want me to. With Tony’s death I am afraid that I too have gone numb.

    Comment by Agent Jack Bauer — 3/15/2006 @ 10:10 am

  17. With my trusty tin foil hat on, I found a way for the writers to trot out the real “Kim is in danger” storyline. As Henderson kept making a point of telling Jack how he watched out for Kim, it makes sense that Kim’s new boyfriend is actually working for Henderson. Keep in mind that Kim and Barry are catching a plane to attend a “conference.”

    Now, remember how Bierko said something like “we need to make them think this is our primary target”? Neither the mall, hospital, nor CTU are such giant targets that anybody would seriously think they were “primary,” since Bierko still has over a dozen canisters left, and has yet to hit a stadium. What Bierko is doing is tricking everyone into thinking _LA_ is the primary target. While martial law locks down LA, Bierko will transport all of the canisters to another city.

    And guess how Bierko will transport the canisters? On Kim’s plane to the “conference.” I don’t know if Kim said where they were heading, but D.C. makes sense (since it will take long enough to run to the end of the season).

    Admittedly, Kim’s involvement is a stretch. But I’m convinced Bierko is leaving LA.

    Comment by wooga — 3/19/2006 @ 9:01 pm

  18. [...] An insufferably long, extraordinarily boring summary written by yours truly can be found here. A sample: Back at CTU, Barry is making no progress with Chloe who is still a basket case. In a move sure to endear him to Porn Star Kimmy, Jack informs the shrink that THERE’S NO TIME for the rather clinical way the Clinical Psychologist is working with Chloe. To prove his point, he applies the Jack Bauer Death Grip to Barry’s throat which seems to wake Chloe out of her stupor. [...]

    Pingback by “AS THE FATES RULE THE AFFAIRS OF MEN” An insuffe… at Blogs4Bauer — 4/19/2007 @ 9:16 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress