A NOTE TO MY LOYAL AND FAITHFUL READERS OF THESE RECAPS:
I would once again like to apologize for the tardiness of this update. Sometimes, real life intrudes on blogging and there’s not much you can do. I humbly beg your forgiveness and hope that you can stick with me these last couple of weeks as we experience the pulse pounding action and drama that we all hope will unfold.
At last! After several weeks of somnolence and even boredom at times, the show finally switched gears – with a vengeance. High octane action coupled with the re-emergence of the compelling early threads featuring Jack’s family has the show now coming full circle and geared up for the final 3 episodes. Couple this with Jack’s naked ambition to take revenge on Cheng – out in the open now after Jack admitted to Nadia that “of course I want revenge” for what Cheng did to both him and Audrey – and you have the ingredients for the kind of action and drama that the show has rightly become famous for.
I’ve written before about Jack’s highly evolved sense of honor and how Bauer making a promise is not quite the same as when you or I do so. For Jack, a promise is a blood oath. And he will die willingly rather than break it. For that reason, when Jack informs Nadia that he promised President Palmer that he wouldn’t let the circuit board fall into the hands of the Chinese, your typical CTU commanding officer would have handed Jack a gun and simply pointed him toward the Chinese, trusting that Jack will do whatever is necessary to make good on his word. Instead, Nadia, still unsure of herself as the head of CTU, refused Jack’s request to go with Doyle to where they thought Cheng was hiding out. Of course, as it turned out, this was a necessary part of the plot. Jack had to be stuck at CTU when the Chinese assault took place.
And that assault reminded us all why we watch the show. I’m sort of a student of film and what’s known in the biz as “production values” – lighting, lens filters, editing, set design, etc. – reaches its zenith on television in 24. It’s obvious that great care was taken in bringing that sequence to life. And the way everything came together, it gave the viewer the eerie feeling of being right there in the midst of a terrifying attack. No show spends more time and effort on these production values and it shows.
I know you’re as glad as I am that the show is showing signs of life and heading for a big finish. After several disappointing weeks, it’s good to know that 24’s ability to entertain and shock us hasn’t been completely lost. Speculation in the comments here (or by email from my FSM readers) is more than welcome. I plan on doing a post next Sunday featuring the best of this speculation so why not throw your two cents in? You may end up being featured in the article.
After Audrey leaves CTU with her father’s admonition not to to see her ever again still ringing in his ears, Nadia pays Jack a visit. He certainly has been a busy lad, hasn’t he? Cold cocking a couple of CTU’s worthless security guards after escaping from custody – arrested as we recall for stealing the Russian circuit board that was the key to their national defense. All in all, Jack has probably violated a good dozen CTU protocols not to mention breaking 2 dozen more federal, state, and local laws.
But that’s just par for the course. We now have to watch Jack as he tries to talk Nadia into letting him tag along with Little Ricky so that he can get his hands on Cheng. This ultimately, is Jack’s objective. Yes there is honor in keeping his promise to the President not to let the board fall into enemy hands. But to watch Jack beg – literally beg Nadia for a chance to redeem himself is a little out of character for our Jack. That is, until you remember how much he truly wants to get back at the Chinese for what they did to both he and Audrey.
Nadia’s not biting. Indecisive as she is, in the end she plays it safe and tells Jack that if he wants to help at tactical, she’ll take it up with the new head of CTU who is on his way over from division. For just a moment, Jack thinks about taking out the guards and making a break for it. But these fellows actually look like they might be paying attention so Jack sits back down, stuck in the holding room, frustrated and angry.
Back on the floor, Milo can see that Chloe is upset. Helpfully, Morris tells him about their breakup, announcing it much to the embarrassment of Chloe who we thought could never be embarrassed about anything. Milo agrees to say no more about it.
After giving the TAC team a pep talk on their way to the copper plant to apprehend Cheng, Little Ricky and Nadia have a casual conversation about the mission that Milo sees and interprets as more proof that his main squeeze may have more than professional feelings for Ricky. One wonders if Milo has ever had a girlfriend before. He looks like one of those geeks in high school that everyone picked on and that no girl would ever give a second look. He is so paranoid about Nadia and Ricky that if I were Nadia, I’d drop the guy before he goes postal.
Meanwhile, Cheng has assembled a gaggle of what appears to be a cross between an Asian version of the Mexican boy band Menudo and the worst of the Triads. They’re armed to the teeth and loaded for bear but we don’t know where they’re going, do we? How many of you guessed CTU headquarters? That many, huh. I will say that I thought for sure the target was Chloe .
Back at CTU, we finally are re-acquainted with the dearly departed brother Graem’s wife Marilyn and her son Josh (who the forums and boards are still furiously speculating is Jack’s son). Josh looks about a year older from the last time we saw him and still can’t get used to the idea that his daddy was a traitorous wretch who deserved a helluva lot worse than he got. Marilyn suggests they try and get some sleep when Chloe shows up. Informing Marilyn that 1) Jack is in custody, and 2) that Audrey is alive, the only woman who has loved Jack who has not died, become catatonic, or betrayed him wants to see Bauer.
At the White House, Lennox and Daniels hatch their plan to fool the Russians into thinking that they’ve recovered the chip using the slut Lisa in a disinformation campaign against her lover Bishop. Laying out the scenario, Lisa starts to get cold feet, saying that she doesn’t think she can lie to Bishop convincingly. Daniels, in one of the best lines of the entire season whispers savagely into her ear, “Why not? You’ve spent the last year lying to me no problem.”
At CTU, Chloe charms her way past the guards with Marilyn so that she can see Jack. For those of you who do not believe this is possible, I would call your attention to last year when Chloe almost charmed the pants off of a traveling salesman in order to help Jack. She has her womanly ways and can display them when the job demands it.
Anyway, Marilyn apologizes profusely for telling Jack Audrey was dead, when she really wasn’t dead only for all intents and purposes she probably should be considered dead since it highly unlikely we will see old Needle Nose anytime soon. Jack doesn’t feel much like talking about it but promises Marilyn he will see Josh before they go. You just get the feeling that Graem was not the boy’s real father and that it might be, could be, Jack’s long lost son. I have a feeling we’ll find out the truth next week.
Still not revealing the target, Cheng tells the Thug-in-Chief Zhou that their entry point will put them in perfect position to grab “the package.” The Menudo Boys get moving.
Doyle and CTU TAC enter the copper factory but find it empty. What they do find is chilling; boxes and boxes all empty of heavy weapons, ammunition, grenades – everything a bunch of thugs would need to assault a fortress. Wonder what the target is…
Zhou and his men close in, using the sewers. I must say those are the cleanest sewers I’ve ever seen – you could almost have a picnic down there. I’m sure Los Angeles residents are proud of the way the city maintains them.
More angst from Chloe and Morris with Mr. Snark confessing that he really wasn’t mad at Chloe for chiding him about arming the bomb but rather it was his own humiliation for doing it that caused their break up. When Chloe says, “You’re wrong” Morris shoots back “You know me very well, right? When am I ever wrong?” No comeback from Chloe to that one.
Back with Lennox and his Disinformation Squad, they’ve arrived at Bishop’s apartment with Lisa still a bundle of nerves. Lennox gives her a stark alternative; succeed or be tried for treason. The writer of the first English language dictionary Samuel Johnson said it best: “The prospect of hanging tends to concentrate the mind wonderfully.” Lisa pulls herself together and goes inside.
But it is apparent from the get go that Lisa is not only a traitorous slut but a poor actress as well. Bishop knows something is wrong and Lisa can’t seem to get into the swing of things – even when the Russian spy keeps her from leaving the room (thus giving Bishop access to her PDA and the false info that we’d recovered the board). He throws her on the bed and (deleted due to the family nature of this site).
Nadia finally gives the starving Milo some attention, telling him that she just doesn’t know how she feels because the day’s events have been so trying. Bravely, Milo says that if she wants to play slap and tickle with Little Ricky, he won’t stand in the way.
What a dork.
Cheng’s own super geek accesses CTU’s entire computer network using a security code that we don’t know how in the world he got a hold of. He begins to deactivate CTU security section by section.
First to go are the phones. Nadia can’t reach Little Ricky and all outside lines are dead. A glitch in the server? Morris says no, that in fact he can’t access the servers because all the permissions have been changed. Just then, Chloe finds the vehicles the Chinese escaped in from the copper plant. She begins tracking them using the satellite.
We finally learn that CTU is the target. And just below their super duper, impenetrable fortress of an office, Zhou and the Menudo Boys blow a sewer grate and climb into the building.
Chloe tracks the Chinese to an intersection only six blocks from CTU. Just then, Milo gets a call from security informing him that all the surveillance cameras are down. Finally putting two and two together, Nadia tells Chloe to initiate a “Code Red Lock Down.” But too late. Menudo is already on stage and performing.
Three CTU expendables go down in a hail of bullets from the well armed thugs. Desperate, Jack convinces his guard to let him out. Obligingly the guard opens the door only to get shot for his trouble. While the Chinese thug checks another room, Jack grabs the guards gun and kills two intruders immediately.
And that’s just the beginning. Jack goes on a rampage, making his way through the CTU complex, an Angel of Death to terrorists and all boy bands alike. He will take out four more bad guys making this his bloodiest episode in memory. Armed now with an assault rifle, Jack moves toward the main floor.
And it is there that the main drama of the evening plays itself out. The terrorists easily make it into the nerve center of CTU with Zhou demanding everyone get on the floor. When he calls out for the commanding officer, Nadia hesitates ever so slightly giving Milo a chance to be a hero. Without so much as a by your leave and thanks for the memories, Zhou cuts Milo down with a single shot to the forehead.
In the lounge, Marilyn and Josh hear all the gunshots and see a pair of Chinese heading their way. Not able to block the door, the Chinese take them into custody, one of them notifying Zhou that they have the boy Josh – obviously the “package” they were looking for. But their triumph is short lived. Jack shows up and blows the two enemies away.
Taking Marilyn and the boy, the trio traverses the labyrinthine maze that is the innards of CTU with its corridors and store rooms. Finding a room with a fan leading to the ventilation system, Jack uses the assault gun to stop the spinning fan and sends the boy into the ductwork. But the Chinese have been hot on his trail and they burst into the room as Jack runs out of ammunition. Josh is free but his mother and Jack are now prisoners.
Back on the floor, one of Zhou’s thugs is monitoring communications and notices that Little Ricky has been trying to get in touch with headquarters. Calling out Nadia who he now realizes is the true commanding officer, he orders her to talk to Doyle and tell him everything is fine. Nadia plays it straight but either gives what CTU calls a “duress code” or else Little Ricky figures things out for himself. He knows that things are not quite right at headquarters.
Brought to the main floor where he sees another old friend dead on the floor, Jack demands to know what they want with Josh but is given a rifle butt into the solar plexus for his trouble. Zhou gets on the intercom and tells Josh that if he doesn’t show himself by the time he counts to ten, he can kiss his mom goodbye. Making the right choice, the kid makes his way back to the ventilation room just as Zhou gets to 9. Informed that Josh is in custody, Zhou calls Cheng.
Cheng is pleased. He then calls another old friend we haven’t seen in ages. Philip Bauer, having supplied the Chinese with CTU access codes, is busy repairing the damaged circuit board for Cheng. It is he who wants Josh. For what purpose, we aren’t told yet. All we know is that Philip wants to talk to Josh as soon as he can and that Cheng and the elder Bauer will rendezvous in 20 minutes to make the exchange.
Pretty tough night for CTU. They lost 3 expendables and Milo. Jack took out so many of the Menudo Boys they’re going to have to hold nationwide auditions again just to fill the ranks.