Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: "24" — Rick Moran @ 10:11 am

There have been many superior episodes in the history of the series and I’m sure you have your favorites. The “outing” of Nina in Season 1 should be near the top of everyone’s list. And it was hard to top the utter shock and sheer drama of the episode where Jack was forced by circumstances to execute his putative boss Ryan Chappelle on the orders of a terrorist.

And, lest anyone forget, simply saying the word “hacksaw” brings back a flood of fond memories.

But last nights taut, well written installment needs to be considered right up there with the best of them. There was drama, tension, misdirection, hidden clues, and the audience satisfaction of watching as Hayes gave Miles a Judas slap - in short, all the things that are so addictive about the show and have inspired me for two years running to write my little weekly summaries.

In this week’s New Republic, staff writer Christopher Orr analyzed the politics of the series and asked the obvious question; why its popularity?

“24″ is, in some ways, the perfect cultural artifact for this post-September 11 moment. It extols patriotism but doesn’t quite believe in it, preaches a self-sacrifice it practices only intermittently, and offers up a world in which the choices are always impossible but the answers are always right. On the surface, it flatters our belief that we’re better now, more stoic and unselfish, committed to ideals larger than our individual wants and needs. But, below, it reassures us that it’s OK to place our own households first, that politics is empty if not actively corrupt, and that belief in a cause will only lead to disillusion or betrayal.

It’s been four and a half years since “24″ first stepped out into the unexpected shadow of a national tragedy. But it remains to this day what it was from the beginning–the orphan of a more frivolous age, trying hard to prove it is tough and serious enough for the rigors of a post-September 11 world. Just like the rest of us.

If you can get beyond the subscription wall, you will want to read the whole thing if only for Orr’s prescient analysis of the conservative/liberal political argument about the show. I disagree with Orr in that the show has always seemed a very well written cops and robbers series with elements of a morality play and superhero comic book. The show is what it is and functions without apology to critics like Orr nor to conventional wisdom in general. The 24 universe doesn’t need politics to function properly - all it needs is the heroic self-sacrifice of most of its characters and the absolute ruthless determination of Jack Bauer and the terrorists to succeed.

This, of course, has always been the series’ fascinating dichotomy; Jack’s goals are different but perhaps he’s so good at going after the terrorists because in some very basic ways, he is just like them. This is a theme well explored in literature through all the ages and in every culture and answers an atavistic need in all of us to discover the roots of good and evil. It’s why human civilizations have laws and conventions. Without them, we actually wouldn’t be able to see the difference between Jack and the terrorists.

This has been an interesting year for the series; not quite as bloody, a little more introspective, and a more personal quest for Jack as he has lost so much, so many friends. And I learned the hard way last year not to expect too much from the finale. If we do, we are bound to be disappointed. Not all loose ends will be tied up, some plot holes will remain, and clues about next year will probably prove to be wrong.

But wild horses won’t be able to keep me from watching it.


After getting the Attorney General on the phone for a conference call about the tape, the gang discovers to their horror that the voices have been erased. Hastily cancelling the call, Jack and Chloe put two and two together and come up with the prime suspect: Miles Papazian.

Jack, an avenging angel, swoops down on Miles, brushing aside the pitiful attempt to stop him by hapless CTU security. He grabs the traitorous lout by the throat. His actions, while satisfying, will not bring the tape back. Finally realizing this, he releases the toady who is then forced to confront his ex-boss Granny Hayes. Der Tru Miles, who has stood by her for years, has betrayed her and the country - not for thirty pieces of silver but for an office in the White House. He doesn’t bat an eye when he coolly informs Hayes that he is untouchable now that he is working for Logan.

The sounds of Granny’s hand smacking his face is loud and crisp but doesn’t faze Miles very much. The fool, not realizing how truly worthless his existence is to people who would no sooner give him the time of day as put a bullet in his bureaucratic brain, leaves CTU in disgrace.

The topper comes when Logan has the balls to call Hayes and inquire about the now cancelled conference call with the Attorney General. He also casually mentions that after scrambling her command for the last 5 hours in a fruitless search for Jack, she can now let Bauer go “at her own discretion.” He is oily, smarmy, and insufferably triumphant - for the moment.

That’s because Bill breaks in to inform them all that Bierko has escaped. The lone surviving agent informs them that Bierko is planning another nerve gas attack which sends the team scrambling to get on top of the situation.

At the ranch, poor Martha doesn’t know what to do. Almost swallowing enough pills to off herself, she changes her mind at the last minute. Finding Aaron’s cell phone, she asks a nearby agent to return it to him “in Washington.” The look on the agent’s face seems to convince her that somehow, Aaron is not there.

And he is not. He is in an outbuilding of the ranch, tied up in a chair, bloody but unbowed. Logan finds this out personally when he pays Aaron a visit, asking him to cooperate and forget about the tape. Aaron gives him the answer we all were hoping for:

AARON: There is nothing you have said or done that is acceptable to me in the least. You are a traitor to your country and a disgrace to your office. And it is my duty to see that your are brought to justice for what you have done.

Is there anything else?…CHARLES?

That last word is drawn out with venomous irony. It is the ultimate slap at Logan - a man formerly charged with guarding his life shows him the ultimate contempt by using his first name. Unable to answer, Logan leaves the room followed by the lickspittle Agent Adams who seems eager to off Pierce. With a look, Logan orders it done.

Jellyfish then calls Mr. Big who is surprised that the President of United States has not committed suicide. Like a 7 year old little boy telling his parents what he did in school that day, Logan tells Mr. Big how things are going swimmingly now that the tape is destroyed and Jack Bauer being out in the open so that he can be dealt with. And like an approving parent, Mr. Big tells Logan what a great job he’s doing.

Logan seems immensely pleased with himself until Mike Novik gives him the bad news about Bierko. Throwing another tantrum, Logan demands constant updates (as if they were going to keep him in the dark).

Back at CTU, the gang seems stymied. Hayes sees a possible answer first; distasteful as it may be, they will have to give an immunity deal to Henderson. Bill concurs while Jack, clearly locked into single combat mode with Banzai, violently disagrees. But there’s nothing for it, Henderson is their only hope. Jack gets Granny to let him present the deal his own way.

The scene in the holding room between Jack and Henderson is one of those delicious moments in the series that needs to be savored. The confrontation between the two - long anticipated since the first hours revealed Henderson as the bad guy - was unusually well done.

Bauer doesn’t talk to Henderson as much as he spits out his hate. After entering the holding room, the two size each other up. Jack, trying to be menacing. Henderson, curious but at ease. Jack informing Henderson of Bierko’s escape hardly causes Buckeroo to blink. And he sees almost immediately what’s going on; Jack needs him and will offer him a deal to help catch the terrorist. Appealing to his patriotism doesn’t work. And Henderson’s speech justifying his actions echoes the words of every traitor from Klaus Fuchs to Philip Agee who has tried to justify their crimes by hiding behind the flag:

HENDERSON: I’m sorry about David Palmer. I am. But what I did, I did in the interest of the destiny of this country and I’m not talking about the version you read about on the OpEd pages of the New York Times. I’m talking about the politics of survival, the way the world really works.

JACK: You want immunity or not?

HENDERSON: Immunity is worthless.

That’s because the tape was the only thing standing between Henderson and an ignominious death at the hands of his co-conspirators. When Jack asks who they are, Henderson laughs him off; “You don’t think Charles Logan masterminded this whole thing, do you?” Jack drops his inquiry into the conspiracy for the moment and concentrates on Bierko. Yes, Henderson will help but on his terms.

The information that Henderson gives CTU strikes gold; one of the names on the list, arms dealer Joseph Molino, has been in recent contact with Bierko. Henderson convinces Jack that he should go in alone to confront Molino in order to get the information on the arms dealer’s computer.

Jack doesn’t trust him but has little choice. Curtis takes a TAC team along with Jack and Henderson to Molino’s address.

Back at the Ranch, Martha sees a car pulling up to one of the outbuildings. Curious, she approaches only to discover it is Agent Adams dragging Aaron Pierce into the car’s trunk. Not able to talk Adams out of it, Aaron desperately fights for his life only to be interrupted by Martha. Half in the bag from pills, exhaustion, and the day’s horrific events, Marth unsteadily approaches Adams who has a gun on her. She asks “You’re going to shoot me? I’m the First Lady. Are you going to shoot the First Lady?”

Good question. Since this seems to be way above his pay grade, Adams takes out his phone, probably to call the President and ask him what to do. He never gets the chance to talk to Logan because Aaron delivers a kick to the back of Adams’ knee that sends the gun flying. At a disadvantage because his hands are tied, Adams subdues him and reaches for a knife in order to dispatch the agent, only to stop short. We hear the muffled cough of an automatic weapon and Adams falls to the ground. Chalk one kill up for Martha.

At Molino’s place, Henderson convinces Jack that he should go in without a wire. Reluctantly, Jack agrees but as Henderson rings the bell, Jack is making alternate arrangements to listen in on what’s happening. He climbs to the roof and places a listening device on the skylight.

Immediately, it appears that Henderson is betraying CTU. He tells Molino to destroy his files because a “phalanx” of CTU agents are outside waiting to come in. As Molino begins to erase the evidence, Jack breaks in through the skylight and makes his way downstairs. Before Molino can get very far in destroying his hard drive, Jack intervenes and in the short firefight that follows, Molino and Curtis are slightly wounded. Henderson explains that he was playing Molino, getting him to defang his computer firewalls so that the information could be accessed. Jack doesn’t quite believe him but downloads the files to CTU so that Chloe can get busy with the encryption.

Tending to Aaron at the ranch, Martha volunteers to help Aaron get rid of the body. But Aaron has other plans. He will get rid of the body while Martha, returning to the ranch house so as not to arouse suspicion, will spill the beans to Novik and tell him to meet Aaron where he lies, beaten and bloody but apparently still kicking.

Chloe breaks Molino’s codes in record time and discovers Bierko’s final gambit; the hijacking of a Russian sub anchored in the harbor being inspected by Americans as part of the recently signed Anti-Terror Treaty. We are informed by Henderson that the ship is equipped with 12 missiles, all MIRVed up and ready to fly and hit dozens of targets.

Not losing a moment, Jack gets in touch with the ranking American officer on the sub and tells him about the plot. Battening down the hatches, both the Russians and Americans scramble to make the ship secure. The American commander for some reason, goes topside and opens the hatch presumably to look around. He is immediately taken out by Bierko who was evidently waiting for just such an opportunity. Without hesitation, Beirko arms that last cannister of nerve gas and tosses it into the sub where it does its deadly work quickly and silently. Within minutes, Bierko is able to enter the sub and take control of its missile systems.

And so the finale is set. In what is sure to be a heartstopping two hour blockbuster season ending extravaganza, Jack will have to stop Bierko, expose Logan, save Aaron and Martha, take CTU away from Homeland Security, and deal justice to the lickspittle Miles. And that’s just the first hour and a half. The last half hour traditionally has been something of a goodbye and preview of next year’s show.

One thing for sure; Jack is going to be busy next week.


7 of 8 CTU agents killed in Bierko escape. Agent Adams will now be protecting the Gates of Hell. And an untold number die on the sub but we’re sure of the American officer’s demise.

JACK: 30

SHOW: 193


Why not? It’s her kill. Let’s give her credit where credit is due.

And make sure you stop by frequently over the next week as I will have several items of interest for 24 fans as well as some great speculation, all building up to the fantastic 2 hour finale next Monday night.


Make sure you check out Blogs4Bauer today and the “Ask the Maharishi” quiz about how everything is going to turn out.


  1. Hey! Jack got a kill. He got Victor Malina, Henderson’s contact. Blew him away. Permanently violated his rights. Aced him. Like that.

    Comment by Jennie C — 5/16/2006 @ 10:22 am

  2. Jennie:

    Molino was hit in the hip. He’s still alive and on his way back to CTU.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 5/16/2006 @ 10:24 am

  3. again, my only disappointment was that there was not a “chloe-ism.” she gave hayes a serious glower, but no smart words. that’s 2 episodes now w/o one. hopefully the funfilled finale with include one or two—she’s overdue.

    monday will be a long time coming!

    Comment by sue — 5/16/2006 @ 10:37 am

  4. Great show last night. The last two hours are going to have some twist. The previews show Jack and Logan together. Will the real traitor be Audry? Her Father? Will Jack track down Mr. Big?

    Comment by Bob Z — 5/16/2006 @ 10:42 am

  5. Granny Hayes coulda hit that bastard Miles much harder … and lower.

    But MARTHA! Martha has entered the shooting range with one hit under her belt! YOU GO, GIRL!

    I didn’t see any previews. Did I miss them?

    Comment by Kitty — 5/16/2006 @ 10:49 am

  6. As always with me - questions. In the past, whenever CTU cut deals with evil ones a pres. OK was required; the evil one demanded it. Why not this time? Of course Logan wanting Henderson Out There, would have quickly approved it. How did Bierko & Co. board the sub so easily? Did B. have a Let This Terrorist Gang Get Aboard Unimpeded Pass from Mr. Big? Methinks post 9/11 security around subs w/MIRVed missiles, whether US or visiting Russkies, would be tight. Wasn’t Martha supposed to be in a guarded room? How did she get out to wonder around? And I thought Heller had heard enough of the tape so that he could be offer credible witness to Logan’s perfidy. Why wasn’t he called in to testify to same before the Atty Gen et al? Where is the Veep hiding? will he become part of the Good Guy Posse - Martha, Aaron, Novik- who will help corral Logan in the finale? It is going to one hellua finale, that’s for sure.

    Comment by Barry — 5/16/2006 @ 10:52 am

  7. Make that “one helluva finale.” See you all there.

    Comment by Barry — 5/16/2006 @ 10:53 am

  8. I cannot take exception to the fact that last night’s episode of 24 was one of the best. It makes me wonder if the next season could possibly match this season.
    I can take exception with Mr. Orr though, The larger than life figure of Jack Bauer is the perfect superhero is so much that it evokes in us the feeling that if it were I, I could and would do the same. I could be the unrelenting patriot that would doggedly pursue the terrorists. In that regard, “24″ is the perfect model of Greek Tragedy. We achieve the same cathartic effect that Sophocles intended with Oedipus Rex and leave the drama with the feeling that there but for the grace of God go I.
    Mr. Orr seems to lose the thrill of the drama searching for political relevance, common in today’s pedantic journalism. As Shakespeare says, “The Plays the Thing wherein I’ll capture the conscience of the King.” It’s about the play.
    If we can remember in the day’s before TV and even the Movies, people went to see a play, to see life reenacted on the stage. Where we could identify with the main character and feel relief that we would have done the same. It wasn’t written to make a political statement, contrary to Mr. Orr’s belief we don’t watch a play or a TV drama to listen to a didactic rendition of what’s wrong with the government.
    In this regard I fully agree with Mr. Moran in that “24″ is a modern day morality play and the writers are to be complemented with their drama of Good and Evil presented within the backdrop of today’s world upheaval.

    Comment by Tony Lafauce — 5/16/2006 @ 11:31 am

  9. Did anyone notice that Henderson’s eyes were crystal blue in the holding room and then brown later on??? Color contacts, I presume.

    Comment by Lou — 5/16/2006 @ 11:37 am

  10. Molina had more security than Fort Knox but Jack popped a $3.99 lock from the sky light.

    With two hours left we my find that the sub is only a decoy for the REAL threat.

    Comment by GW — 5/16/2006 @ 11:56 am

  11. Just one more thing… if martial law is still in force, how did Bierko’s gang plant the IED that took out the CTU van unimpeded & unobserved? Why didn’t military personnel converge quickly on the ambush site? If military units were alerted by that ambush, how did Bierko & Co. proceed unhindered to the sub? GW, how can the fact, the threat of MIRVed missiles destroying a dozen cities be considered a decoy? For what? We presume the missiles will not be launched. What are their targets? If Bierko is working for Mr. Big, could it be that those targets might replicate those of 9/11 so that Mr. B & Co. can reap the benefits of the ensuing chaos?

    Comment by Barry — 5/16/2006 @ 12:23 pm

  12. Does anyone have any guesses about who survives next week’s show? I’m guessing Henderson goes down in a blaze of patriotic glory. I’m also wondering if Audrey and/or Mike Novick will bow out. I’ll be disappointed if Aaron doesn’t survive.

    I also wonder what Sec. Heller’s role will be next week. We learned last week that he survived the leap over the cliff and we haven’t seen him since. Maybe some last showdown with Logan. After all, the only people left alive who listened to the tape are Heller, Jack and Audrey.

    Comment by Steve — 5/16/2006 @ 2:13 pm

  13. I also wonder about Henderson’s ultimate demise. Will that blaze of glory involve trying to take out Logan? In the final(?) scene, will Martha kill hubby with his own weapon? Will she take a bullet for Aaron? Aaron take a bullet for her? Will the missing threesome of Wayne Palmer, Martha’s ex-asst. & tape smuggler & daughter reappear? Last we heard, weren’t they headed for CTU hqs?

    Comment by Barry — 5/16/2006 @ 2:51 pm

  14. You may recall that Evelyn, Martha’s assistant, and her daughter were staying in a motel room. Evelyn was wounded in the shoot-out with Henderson. JAck and Wayne left them to go to the bank and pick up the recording that Evelyn stored in a safe deposit box.

    Evelyn started to lose blood and her daughter called 911, not knowing that emergency calls were being monitored by the bad guys. Henderson showed up just after the paramedics showed up and he took out the paramedics. Although we were spared seeing it, I’m assuming that Henderson eliminated Evelyn and her daughter once he learned where Jack and Wayne were heading. Henderson doesn’t believe in loose ends.

    You’ll recall that Henderson’s men showed up at the bank where another shoot-out occured.

    Comment by Steve — 5/16/2006 @ 3:04 pm

  15. Does anyone have the slightest idea what Pres. Logan’s (aka Jellyfish-no-more) motive is? Why is he doing what he is doing? Could he really be a good guy who has set up a sting operation to catch the bad guys? Doesn’t seem likely since he ordered poor Aarion offed and he almost killed himself. Maybe he wanted to stay even with Martha - after all, if she could shoot a SS agent, he could order one killed, but that can’t be right because she offed the SS guy after he ordered Aaron killed. PLEASE - tell me, what do you think Pres. Jellyfish-no-more is doing and why is he doing it? Anyone with the slightest logical explanation of what he is after?

    Comment by Humanoid — 5/16/2006 @ 4:21 pm

  16. You’re right, Steve, I forgot about that probable off-camera demise of Evelyn & daughter. And Humanoid, I too had a thought once that Logan might be trying to sting the baddies, but then we all found out that he the Bad-Guy-In-Chief. His motive? Need for oil security vis-a-vis good of the country?

    Comment by Barry — 5/16/2006 @ 6:52 pm

  17. Is anyone here old enough to remember MISSION IMPOSSIBLE the T.V. series? Well I am and 24 is just as entertaining but with bullets and blood.
    Audrey and daddy aren’t out of the woods yet regarding being part of the problem. Why is daddy still part of the government? I thought he was forced out by that miserable prez.

    Martha done good! Too bad Aaron didn’t mark her cheeks with the blood to christan her for her first kill. Her husband needs to be killed and butt good. Who will do it? Probably find out next season! But Martha needs to be a field-agent for CTU she earns a double “0″ rating. But seeing the coming attraction it looks as if Martha embrasses him, that’s a start. They gave us someone to hate and he’s it. Miles is a close second and his come up’ens should be a doozzee.

    In all the great scene 24 has given us the two that I really liked was when the woman Razza loved plugs him in her daddy’s office. The next, ok I don’t want to take a hit on this one, Kim plugs a wife-killing husband in his walk-in closet! Just the idea that he bleeds all over his disigner toggs gives me a big chuckle.
    When Jellyfish calls Mr. Big and he is suprised to hear from him is it because he expected to hear from the V.P. and this was a take-over inside the admistration? Could be.
    If there is a big-player that we haven’t met yet then 24 isn’t playing fair and they are making it impossible to play along. Woud they do that to us?

    Comment by diamond — 5/16/2006 @ 7:36 pm

  18. Who knew Martha was a Marine? One shot…one kill…

    Comment by golfer1 — 5/16/2006 @ 8:56 pm

  19. Rick: I was basing Jack’s kill on the ”official” episode guide from the Fox network. But then they’re also the ones who gave me the name Victor when it’s clearly Joseph (I watched my recording last night).

    Steve: where’s Heller? Probably in the hospital. I’m pretty sure Curtis said, in effect, he was badly hurt but would be okay.

    Diamond: I remember Mission Impossible on TV very well. 24 is much better :) I love the complexity.

    You asked wasn’t Heller out? No, he never wrote the letter of resignation.

    Mr Big was surprised to hear from Logan because he thought he’d (Logan) killed himself.

    There is one other person alive (besides Logan) who is privy to the contents of the tape: Henderson !!

    Doesn’t everyone think that Novick will *finally* believe Martha, given the weird way Logan’s been acting.

    Okay, she couldn’t let him kill him, but I think Granny should have let Jack slap Miles around a little just for being such a weasel. As James Potter said of Snape, it’s mostly a matter that he exists than anything he might have done.

    Comment by Jennie C — 5/17/2006 @ 7:42 am

  20. Late comment: Subs are compartmentalized. If some crewmembers were able to close hatches before the gas hit them, they’re probably still alive. Whether or not they’ll be able to stop B & Co from launching missiles, who knows?

    Comment by Barry — 5/17/2006 @ 8:06 am

  21. And sorry if I’m repeating what someone else has picked up on, but Bierko has a mole inside of CTU and I’m wondering if the writers are going to clear up who it is.

    How else would Beirko’s group have known he was alive, that he was being moved to Division and the route the convoy was taken (they would have had to have known the route in order to set up the IED that took out the lead vehicle)?

    Comment by steve sturm — 5/17/2006 @ 8:19 pm

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