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3/13/2007
SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS
CATEGORY: "24"

“Thus Always to Tyrants” was the dramatic line delivered by John Wilkes Booth as he leapt from the Presidential box at Ford’s Theater onto the stage after firing one shot into the head of Abraham Lincoln. Booth, the actor and imagined confederate spy, is something of a pathetic figure in history - “an Oswald with charm” as historian William Manchester referred to him.

And like Oswald, he saw his act changing history. Booth’s convoluted reasoning allowed him to believe that the death of Lincoln would save the confederacy. Oswald believed the death of Kennedy would help usher in the Marxist revolution in America (with Oswald at the top of the heap). It says something depressing about history that the fate of nations can sometimes turn on the paranoid dreams of such losers.

The stabbing of ex-President Charles Logan by his ex-wife Martha lacked the kind of satisfaction such an act might be expected to engender only because of the sympathy we feel for Martha. She faced her tormentor/husband and once again was treated to his manipulative, insincere, entreaties for help. It was too much for her and she snapped. Even though she realized that her help was needed, no one - not Martha, not Aaron, nor anyone at CTU or the White House - believes Logan has changed one bit. What his hidden agenda might be is anyone’s guess. But it’s safe to say that helping in this crisis “for the good of the country” is the very last thing on his mind.

Another echo from history was Martha’s genuine bewilderment at why she was in handcuffs after her attack on Logan:

“Why are they doing this to me? They should be giving me a medal. He was one of the biggest criminals in history and they give him house arrest?”

Martha’s perplexity was matched by that of Jack Ruby following the strip club owner’s shooting of Oswald. Ruby was befuddled by the reaction of the Dallas police to his murderous act, going so far as to say during his interrogation that he thought that the people of Dallas would treat him as a hero for dispatching the man who ruined the city’s reputation.

I always looked upon the relationship between Charles and Martha as somewhat similar to the kind of marriage Richard and Pat Nixon had. Clearly, he needs her a lot more than she needed him. And whether the writers were consciously trying to evoke that relationship or not, there are clear parallels between the two - especially the similarity between Logan and Nixon and how they saw their spouse.

For such men - friendless, unlovely, unattractive - having a wife as a combination of mother, friend, advisor, and verbal punching bag allowed them the veneer of normality despite their paranoia. In effect, the women were their anchors, keeping them from giving in to the dark forces that threatened to control their lives. The fact that both men allowed those forces to come to the fore in the end is indicative of the way that Martha Logan and Pat Nixon eventually burned themselves out taking care of their men. Martha went crazy while Pat Nixon, we are told, turned to drink and was pretty much in the bag by noon every day. The incapacitation of their wives led directly to their downfall.

I suspect Charles Logan is not dead despite the dramatic end to the episode that showed his heart stopping in the ambulance. Nor do I believe that Martha’s role in the day’s events are over either. Both are too valuable to the show for the writers to let them slip away. And I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever game Logan is playing will provide one more shock in a season already full of surprises.

SUMMARY

Logan walks into CTU for his debriefing and the entire crew stares at him. This is the man responsible for not only the death of David Palmer but also their friend and co-worker Michelle Dessler. Suffice it to say there didn’t appear to be much love lost.

This becomes apparent when Chloe enters the debriefing room to set up the computer hook up and Logan starts firing questions at her about Jack. Chloe, who can barely stand being in the same room with the guy, gets off a great “Chloeism” when she finally tells the traitorous ex-President “Sorry. I’m feeling ambivalent. I’ve got to go.”

We are then introduced to Little Ricky Schroeder, new head of field ops and, despite his angelic looks (and the fact that we can’t forget when he was a child star), a real hard case.

This is actually the worst mis-casting in the series history. As was casting Little Ricky in NYPD Blue. Perhaps some can get over Schroeder’s turn as the precocious Ricky Stratton in Silver Spoons. But all I can think of when I see Schroeder in either NYPD Blue or as Mike Doyle is Little Ricky, child actor.

He does seem to be able to handle a gun okay which, for the purposes of 24, is all that is necessary.

Doyle takes over and starts firing orders to Milo’s geeks as if they were in the military. Milo objects only to be brushed aside by Little Ricky who, we discover, worked with Milo in Denver where the two didn’t get along very well. Milo does grudgingly give Little Ricky credit for being good at his job, however. Little Ricky makes it clear that rescuing Jack is secondary, that capturing Markov and getting him back to CTU headquarters for a little session with Dr. Feel Good and his magic bag of pharmaceuticals is the primary goal of the mission.

Back at the Russian consulate, Jack is in deep trouble. He is taken down to the basement by Markov’s man on the security staff who throws Jack quite rudely down the stairs where he lands on top of the dead body of the Russian security chief who was going to help him, only to be executed by Vasili who now envisions the same treatment for Jack. This was a huge mistake since if there’s one thing Jack can’t stand it’s bad manners. Also, being tossed on top of a dead person is probably not Jack’s idea of proper diplomatic protocols.

Preparing to kill Jack, the silly man takes his eyes off of him for a moment to confirm with Markov that Jack needs to be whacked. Surreptitiously, Bauer removes the belt from the waist of the dead security chief so that when Vasili moves in for the kill, Jack pulls a trick worthy of a champion roper in a rodeo. He flings the belt over Vasili’s gun hand, rolling on the floor and flipping the gun up in the air while simultaneously kicking the Russian away.

The Russian goes for his knife. Jack goes for the gun. Chalk up another kill for our hero.

But Jack is far from being out of the woods. He hides from the guards frantically searching the basement for him by showing his Spider Man skills and hiding on the ceiling. Being Russians and therefore dumb as posts, the guards fail to look up when searching the room and miss him. Markov realizes that Jack’s play will be to try and contact CTU so that Fayed can be stopped and orders all phone lines switched off. Sure enough, Jack finds a convenient phone and dials up CTU. Morris answers but Jack is cut off before he can say anything more than he knows where Gredenko is hiding. Relaying this info to Bill, Buchanan instructs Little Ricky to rescue Jack as well as grab Markov.

With all of this going on Bill visits Logan and tells him that the debriefing will have to wait, that there are more important things to take care of. Logan wheedles the info from Bill about the impending raid against the consulate and convinces him that he knows how they can get Markov without firing a shot. Just have his ex-wife Martha call Anna Suvarov, wife of the Russian President and get him to tell Markov to give himself up peacefully.

Bill is dubious but gives his okay. And that’s when we learn that Martha is in an asylum - again. Logan says he can talk Martha into helping them. One wonders what Bill thought of the idea of placing the fate of the country in the hands of a loony woman.

The plot is thickening back at the White House where the Veep welcomes Tom Lennox back enthusiastically. But Lennox is still troubled by the fact that Reed and Dawson are about to go scott free while the blame will fall on Assad for the assassination attempt. The Veep dismisses his concerns, saying that he only wants to keep the country united.

DANIELS: We can’t have our citizens screaming, ‘Look at how bad we are - we’re worse than the terrorists.”

And that’s only the half of it. Daniels ups the ante for Lennox when he orders him to lie to the Ambassador by telling him that he saw his countryman, Assad with the bomb.

Lennox is extremely doubtful about this but goes along - for the moment. The only question is when Lennox will turn and go against the Veep. It will be at a moment that his support will be crucial you can be sure. My guess is with Karen Hayes coming back, he will at some point make common cause with her to stop the Veep from starting World War III.

In Shadow Valley, Fayed arrives with the nukes. And with the drones well on their way to becoming operational, it is just a matter of time before Gredenko’s plans will start to unfold.

Back at CTU, Bill finally tells Daniels that he is preparing an assault to snatch Markov and rescue Jack. Sensibly, the Veep doesn’t think it’s such a great idea given that he would be ordering an act of war against Russia and America already has a pretty full plate of problems. He tells Bill to go ahead as if he had approved the plan but to stop short of carrying it out. He wants Logan’s plan regarding Martha to play out first.

And when we finally catch up to Martha, she is ensconced in the nicest loony bin I’ve ever seen. The damn place looks like a high class resort. Aaron, her ex-Secret Service Agent is evidently living with her. Or not. It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of relationship they have although we are led to believe later that it is, in fact, a romantic one. But with Aaron it’s hard to tell. He’s such a straight arrow and so formal that one can hardly imagine him getting down and doing the slap and tickle with anyone. Seeing him without a tie is shocking enough.

Anyway, they look domestic enough together. Charles’ call interrupts their bliss and it takes all of the ex-President’s persuasive powers plus a good deal of wheedling to even get Martha on the phone. Logan tries to fill her in and ask her to help in the crisis by calling Anna Suvarov but she just can’t listen. No matter. Charles is on his way to ask her in person.

In the helicopter on the way over, Buchanan calls Logan and tells him that the assault on the consulate is set and only Martha’s intercession can head it off. One senses that Logan is thoroughly enjoying his being back in the middle of the action, making a difference, working through problems. It makes one believe that whatever his agenda might be, it doesn’t include going back and allowing himself to be under house arrest.

Meanwhile, Little Ricky is flexing his muscles - at the expense of Morris who, as only Morris can do, gives the former child star some snark about a project he’s working on. Grabbing Chloe’s ex by the throat, Little Ricky tells all assembled that there’s a new sheriff in town and if they won’t respect his authority, they will feel his wrath.

I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. The guy is a puppy dog not a bull terrier. Morris looks like he could take him easy. But the gang looks suitably impressed (they are geeks after all) while Milo commiserates with Morris about Little Ricky’s methods.

At the consulate, Jack is in obvious pain. Could be some broken ribs which, as we know from past seasons, will magically knit back together in about 2 hours and allow our hero to perform as if he was never injured at all. Jack, still dodging Russian security in the basement, comes upon an open door where two Russian underlings are sharing a passionate embrace. Bursting in on the lovers, Jack demands access to an outside line. The male promises he can get Jack hooked up on his sat phone but that he’s got to go upstairs to get it. As the Russian leaves on his errand for Jack, Bauer sinks to the floor assuring the woman “Don’t be scared. You’ll be fine,” which, when you think about it, may be the dumbest thing Jack has ever said. By assuring her that he won’t harm her, he makes it more likely that she will try and doublecross him.

No doubt about it. Jack is losing his touch.

Logan arrives at Martha’s bungalow and tries to shake Aaron’s hand as if he didn’t try to have him killed last year. Aaron is having none of it and escorts Logan into the house with a look on his face as if he had been given a vomit flavored Bertie Bott Jelly Bean.

Martha has evidently changed her mind about seeing Charles which goes perfectly with her personae as mentally unstable. Ultimately though, she makes an appearance and the first looks exchanged between the two are telling. Charles looks like an expectant puppy, happy to see his master while Martha appeared to soften just a bit while still maintaining a sneering contempt on her face.

Logan starts pouring on the charm, alternately pleading with her and appealing to her vanity. It’s the same manipulative crap she had to endure from him for years and she sees right through it. But she agrees to help after checking with Aaron to see if it was something she should really do.

At the White House, the Ambassador comes calling and Daniels gives us a performance that calls to mind perhaps the ugliest American of all time. He bullies the diplomat, getting Tom to confirm his lies about Assad, while openly threatening to level the Ambassador’s country unless they help track down the terrorists and stop the nukes from detonating:

DANIELS: You help me find those nukes before they go off or I’m going to unleash the full power of our military on your country.

If you’ve ever seen an antelope cornered by a leopard, you will recognize the look on the Ambassador’s face immediately.

At Martha’s bungalow, the group waits for Anna Suvarov to take Martha’s call. Making small talk, Charles sees Martha’s nervousness:

CHARLES: The last thing I wanted to do was upset you.

MARTHA: Really? You always managed to get to that “last thing.”

Barely holding it together, Martha leans heavily on Aaron. She asks Charles if it bothers him that she’s with another man. Logan, who congratulated Aaron earlier on his “catch,” answers that it does indeed bother him. This sets Martha off on a rant about his many betrayals that has Aaron concerned that she’s going to flip out on him.

He shouldn’t have worried. In one of the more rational acts of her life, she takes a knife from a plate she is taking back to the kitchen and, as if inspired to greatness, turns around and stabs Charles in the neck.

All hell breaks loose with Charles looking perhaps the most surprised of all of them. A doctor is called and judging by the placement of the wound, he better get their quick.

As Logan is being wheeled out, Aaron gives Bill the good news/bad news that Logan is stabbed but that Martha may not be able to go through with her call to Anna. Martha is genuinely perplexed that people think she did anything wrong and Aaron gives her a look as if he is wondering if he made a good choice regarding a life partner.

CTU finally puts the call through to Anna and Martha gets herself together long enough to sound reasonably coherent about what she wants the Russian to do. It works. With the CTU TAC team in place outside the consulate, Suvarov calls Markov and orders him to turn himself in to the Americans. When Markov refuses, the Russian President calls Daniels and tells him to go ahead and storm the consulate.

Getting the go ahead, Little Ricky and the guys begin their assault. Like clockwork, the teams move in taking out 9 guards while losing nary a man, proving that the Russians are almost as bad shots as World War II Germans who could never hit American GI’s no matter how many bullets they fired (depending on which John Wayne movie you were watching).

In the middle of the assault, Markov calls Fayed and tells him he better launch the drones quickly because once Jack is safe, CTU will concentrate all their resources on searching for him in Shadow Valley. Two TAC teamers burst into Markov’s office and shoot him. He may be wounded although it doesn’t look good with the Russian being shot twice in the chest.

In the basement,, things look pretty bleak for Jack. Guards have him cornered and he’s out of ammo. Just in the nick of time, two TAC teamers break through the windows in the room and kill the guards. Jack runs into Little Ricky and tells him about the drones and where Fayed can be found. Ricky relays the info to Bill and the race is on; find Fayed before he can launch the drone.

And in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Charles calls out for Martha just as his heart stops beating. EMS races to save his life and we wonder why. He’s not worth the trouble.

BODY COUNT

First, it was pointed out to me in the comments from my last post that I totally forgot the execution of the Russian security chief at the end of last week’s show. He will be added to the total this week.

Finally, a decent firefight! And Jack had a decent night as well, proving that he hasn’t lost it completely.

Jack takes out his would be executioner.
Russian guards kill one of Jack’s hostages.
Jack bags two russkies.
CTU TAC takes out 8 consular security men.

Unknown if Markov is dead or alive.

TOTALS:

JACK: 11

SHOW: 384

By: Rick Moran at 9:39 am
18 Responses to “SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS”
  1. 1
    Mark H. Said:
    10:01 am 

    “I suspect Charles Logan is not dead despite the dramatic end to the episode that showed his heart stopping in the ambulance.”

    I suspect not only that (he probably pulled the monitor leads off), but also that his wound is superficial and Martha is in on some plot with him.

  2. 2
    Dale in Atlanta Said:
    10:01 am 

    Rick: and as a completist, I’m sure you know that John Wilkes Booth was supposedly quoting Brutus, after the slaying of Caesar, with the whole “Sic Semper Tyrannis” thing; though I’ve read some articles, which seem to indicate that Brutus may not have said it!

    But, there is no doubt, that JWB Thought that Brutus said it, and that was his inspiration!

  3. 3
    Rick Moran Said:
    10:04 am 

    Dale:

    Actually, to be COMPLETELY COMPLETIST, I think - not sure and could be wrong - but the adage may have been used by The Bard in “Julius Ceasar.”

  4. 4
    Sirius Familiaris Said:
    11:09 am 

    With all the other parallels so glaringly obvious, I always wondered why the writers didn’t simply finish the conceit by naming the character Charles Milhous Logan.

  5. 5
    Bic Said:
    11:12 am 

    Markov will live. Jack is not finished with him.

  6. 6
    Jo Said:
    11:41 am 

    I never saw Schroedar as this Little Ricky person .. so thankfully I don’t have an image of him that way. But he can handle a gun, yes - that is a plus. I cheered when Martha stabbed Logan — and I get to again when I watch it tonight. I was trying to watch and tape it through the sound of hubby snoring on the couch. Does the man have no honor when Jack is on? (snort)

  7. 7
    Jennie C. Said:
    12:37 pm 

    If it was in Julius Caesar (Shakespeare), it was in English. The only Lattin in the play is Et tu, Brute.

    I’m not certain Jack’s hostage is dead (i think he called for a medic), but we’ll probably never know.

    Logan and Martha are in a plot, Mark? You gotta be kidding.

    (bet Aaron is a tiger in bed [snicker])

  8. 8
    Stephen Karlson Said:
    12:44 pm 

    “Sic semper tyrannis” is the motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It does not scan in iambic pentameter, which would keep it out of Julius Caesar. The Latin that does scan is “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar.”

  9. 9
    Ronin Said:
    12:45 pm 

    “also that his wound is superficial” - The stab wound is possibly superficial but appeared not to be. The knife’s blade appeard 3 inches long and entered the body behind the clavical bone in a downward motion. In the area wounded there is an artery and vein, just beyond the jugular, that go into the arm and are potentially fatal in not treated right away.

    Per one of my paramedics here at work, That artery is protected by the clavical and may have not been hit. He also stated that if it were hit is should have sprayed if exposed or quickly turned the clothes red if covered as blood pumped through the hole made in the garments worn by logan.

    Fatal or not, I don’t know, but definately not superficial.

  10. 10
    Mary Said:
    1:39 pm 

    I’d like to get the name of Martha’s loony bin so that I can spend my next vacation there. Considering the number of wine glasses hanging from the cabinet in the kitchen, alcohol consumption must be a recommended component of treatment. And the visitors are so relaxed that on the day a nuke goes off they manage to get in a game of tennis! That’s my kind of institution!

  11. 11
    A quick note on 24 « Midwest Prognosticator Pinged With:
    1:44 pm 

    [...] Rick has the full recap over at the Right Wing Nut House. I do have to respectfully disagree with his berating of “little” Ricky Schroeder. Come on Rick, give the poor guy a break, former child actors have got to pay the bills too. I think Schroeder has been more than serviceable in roles ranging from Lonesome Dove to Pool Hall Junkies. Plus he’s been man enough to buck the Hollywood norm and be his own man…an admitted conservative. That alone no doubt limits his roles!! [...]

  12. 12
    golfer1 Said:
    2:15 pm 

    The flat line sound just as the episode ended was just too perfect, and I agree that Logan lives. Hopefully Martha (or maybe Chloe) will get another crack at “rehabilitating” him…

    I also agree with you, I’m thinking that if Martha and Aaron were doing the horizontal bop, she’d have made more of it to Charles just to rub it in his face…We’ll just have to wait to see how things pan out…

  13. 13
    Mark H. Said:
    4:03 pm 

    Ronin, Yes, but my point was that Martha is in cahoots with Logan for some future nefarious purpose. I’m forwarding the opinion that the knifing was staged from the get-go.

    Now it may turn out that Martha is using him from another angle that he’s not aware of, but either way I’m certain that next hour will have a black SUV swooping down upon the ambulance (that stopped so both EMTs could work on him) and wisking Logan away…

  14. 14
    Jennie C. Said:
    7:24 am 

    Thoughts after second viewing: Why do TV characters always jiggle the phone hook when they lose a connection? It’s been at least 40 years since you could get the operator that way.

    Aaron’s lost weight

    But I’ve decided Nadia isn’t a mole. I think.

    Daniels is in on the assassination plot. Feel it in my bones.

    And how is he really going to sell that Assad brought in the bomb? He was in CTU custody for crying out loud, is Daniels trying to convice folks they let him come into the WH with a bomb? Okay, they’re hopeless at keeping moles out, but surely they’re not that incompetent.

  15. 15
    Ronin Said:
    11:39 am 

    Mark,

    Stab me in the neck so we fool them all. Not sure about that one. In other films the staged attack usually only injured an arm or leg, except for of course the movie “Scream” had the bad guys stabbing each other in the stomach.

    I think Martha’s attack was out of a genuine animosity towards a person who she beleives is absolutely evil.

    Assuming Charles does survive, he will use the attack in his favor. He may either blackmale or play upon the sympathies of Martha to bring her back into his life.

    Another option could be to use that attack to win his freedom, not sure how, maybe blame CTU for not protecting him.

    Regardless, I will be tuned in next week - Same Bat-Time Same Bat-Channel.

    These cliffhangers are killing me.

  16. 16
    Mark H. Said:
    2:45 pm 

    “These cliffhangers are killing me.”

    Sort of like a “who shot JR” every Monday at 9:57 EDT instead of once a season.

  17. 17
    Mike R. Said:
    7:42 pm 

    I also think that Jack’s hostage is still alive. He did call for medical attention and specifically said that he was not a hostile, so they actually appeared to call the medic immediately.

  18. 18
    Bob Zimmerman Said:
    9:40 pm 

    But the big question,,,,where is the next nuke going? They are going to get a drone in the air I bet. Then move with the others.

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