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Tonight would have seen the exciting two hour opening episode of 24. on Fox. Alas, the writers strike has delayed and possibly killed the season altogether with no guarantee that they will ever be able to get everyone back together and pretend to save America, vanquish her enemies, and not go to the bathroom for 24 hours.

To quote that famous philosopher and American hero Bugs Bunny, “What a revoltin’ development.” For the last three years I have immersed myself in the doings of Jack and Co. as few have, all to bring you, my loyal readers a summary of their adventures delivered with my signature snark and original allusions to history and literature. For three years, I took this show way too seriously, committing myself to late nights and very early mornings just so I could satisfy the appetite of many of you for reliving the episode and most importantly, speculating on what was to come next.

For a brief time, I gave very serious consideration to writing my own season of 24 and putting it on the blog as if each episode had been broadcast the night before. But the amount of work that I would have to put into the project would have been prohibitive. After all, the show itself has a half dozen senior writers with a dozen or so assistants. I would be trying to duplicate the effort of all those people plus write summaries of the episodes as I have in the past.

I have worked without a net on this site several times – witness my “Live blogging Gettysburg” and “Live blogging the Continental Congress.” I didn’t have a clue how those projects would turn out when I began them. Judging by comments and my own honest appraisal, they weren’t a total disaster.

However, writing and commenting on an entire fictitious season of 24 would just be too much work. I’m afraid I would get tired of it after a while and put in an inferior effort – the product of other, more pressing commitments for which I am paid cash money and cannot allow to slide.

I also was tempted to follow the new Fox show “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” but would hate to get stuck following a show that I didn’t like.

I will miss my weekly dose of Jack. I will miss Chloe’s bitchiness. I will miss seeing Jack violate the Constitution with impunity thus driving liberals insane. I will miss wondering when they are going to put Jack out of his misery and kill him off – his death being the only thing he has left that is truly his own. I will miss the broken plot threads, the insanely unlikely plot twists, the politically correct characters, the gee-whiz tech stuff at CTU, and the mayhem.

So tonight, when you hit your knees, pray that the producers relent a little and the writers give a little so that we can once again be thrilled, awed, and frustrated by Jack and his heroic cohorts who battle terrorism the way we wish it would be confronted – with a moral certitude that we are in the right and they are in the wrong.

By: Rick Moran at 8:17 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (13)


For my thoughts on last night’s finale and the entire season, I posted them here. The following is a recap of the hours 4:00 – 6:00 AM.


When informed by Little Ricky that he will handed over to the tender mercies of his grandfather, young Josh Bauer understandably balks. And it doesn’t sound any more palatable when Doyle tells the youngster that it’s “for the good of the country.” Josh obviously doesn’t like Chinese food and can’t imagine living in a country where Britney Spears isn’t worshipped as a goddess.

Wait until he finds out that sexy pictures of Paris Hilton are banned on the internet.

Jack meanwhile is dragooned by some CTU agents and placed in custody. Not for anything he’s done but for what he’s liable to do in order to keep Josh from the clutches of his father. This is a sensible precaution – but so would taking away his cell phone and putting him in leg irons and handcuffs. Too bad they didn’t think of that.

Bauer begins working the phones, calling Chloe to get a lowdown of exactly what’s transpiring and then getting through to Karen Hayes at the White House. He pleads with her to stop the exchange, telling her that his father will doublecross them. Already against the plan on the grounds that it would be wrong to sacrifice the youngster, Karen decides to help.

She tries to enlist Tom Lennox so that they can present a united front to the President, but Tom will have none of it. Nor will he go “off the books” and do an end run around his boss. Tellingly, Tom casually mentions to Karen that he won’t be looking in her direction if she decides to help Jack which is all the encouragement she needs.

She calls Bill whose home is being searched by the FBI. At first refusing to take her call via his cell, Karen tries the landline and pleads with him to pick up on the answering machine. Bill relents and, after hearing her out, realizes what must be done and agrees to help Jack.

Josh and Doyle have landed at a deserted beach when Little Ricky’s phone rings. It’s Philip. And with CTU listening in, the elder Bauer orders the satellite coverage to cease. The old man’s technical wizardry is apparently limitless in that first he was able to override CTU’s security to get Zhou and his men into headquarters and now his ability to hack into CTU’s satellite feeds. Nadia realizes she has no choice and shuts down the link to the birds.

Having blinded his enemies, Philip now wants to speak to Josh. Doyle tells the kid to go easy on the old man to keep him off his guard but to no avail. “I hate you,” pretty much sums up Josh’s attitude. Philip tells him that because of what his father had done, he could never live in America, that people would always blame him for his father’s crimes.

Would that have been true? No doubt some people would blame the kid and his mother. But judging by what has happened to people like the Hinckley family (Reagan’s assassin) and Robert Oswald (JFK’s killer), I doubt whether it would have been much of a problem.

After hanging up, Philip sends a couple of thugs to retrieve the boy. And Doyle informs Nadia that he has it in mind to save the kid if he can. Nadia, under orders from the Veep, sternly warns him not to interfere – simply make the exchange. Little Ricky reluctantly agrees.

At the White House, Karen gets the ball rolling on Jack’s rescue by calling Nadia and asking for a real time feed of Jack’s position. Puzzled, Nadia agrees to give her the uplink. Karen then flashes the info to Bill who is looking to intercept Jack in the CTU SUV. Driving straight for the agent’s car, Bill runs it off the road. When one of the only two agents they left to guard Jack gets out of the car to investigate, Jack easily steals the other agent’s gun and coldcocks him. Bill distracts the other agent long enough for Jack to emerge from the car and disarm him. Off the two go to the rendezvous point to save Josh.

A completely unnecessary and time wasting scene occurs at CTU headquarters when Milo’s brother shows up and wants to know how his brother died. Nadia tells him he died saving her. Not surprised, says the brother. He loved you, you know.

Just the thing to make Nadia feel better.

After Chloe tells her that Jack has escaped, Nadia gives the bad news to Doyle out on the beach. Doyle assures Nadia that he will handle Jack by himself since moving TAC teams into the area will alert Philip.

It wouldn’t matter, of course, There isn’t a CTU agent yet made who could “handle” Jack Bauer.

Daniels comes and visits Karen in a holding cell and tells her that he’s disappointed in her, he expected better. Karen simply says that she doesn’t trust Philip to keep his end of the bargain. The Acting President rightly points out it wasn’t her call to make, something that seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Bauer is saying that his judgement is superior to that of the person whose job it is to safeguard America. And the fact that the Russians are breathing down our necks to retrieve the circuit board points up the logic of the Veeps actions. In the real world, Daniels is probably correct to sacrifice Josh in order to prevent a war. But on TV, the proprieties must be observed and the one innocent life is given superior weight to the interests of the United States.

Nice thought but hardly germane.

Philip calls Little Ricky and tells him to take Josh and start walking toward the shoreline. They hear a motor in the distance and suddenly, out of the darkness, a small, rubber boat appears with two men. Advancing toward each other guns drawn, Doyle orders one of the thugs to hand over the component so that the geeks at CTU can confirm its authenticity.

Surprise! It literally blows up in Little Ricky’s face. The thugs seize Josh and make for the open water only to have Jack and Bill show up. But they’re too late. The boat disappears into the darkness leaving Little Ricky with a badly burned face and Jack standing on the beach contemplating what to do next.

Calling Nadia to give her the bad news, Jack asks about satellite coverage. None is to be had thanks to Philip’s penetration of the CTU network. The boat gets away and once again, Jack is back at square one.

But perhaps not. Jack suddenly remembers that his father’s company has a hidden interest in oil platforms off the coast. Given the size of the boat the thugs took Josh away in, it stands to reason that they were either meeting a bigger boat or that they were on one of the oil drilling platforms.

This sets off a frantic search at CTU of the records to see if there is a platform that would fit the bill.

And on the platform, Philip tells Cheng (who seems to be everywhere) that he can have the board when he gets his hands on his grandson. We are told that they will be picked up shortly.

Back at CTU, Chloe is having trouble concentrating. Her vision blurs. When talking to Morris about how to access Philip’s financial records she suddenly faints dead away. Morris is beside himself calling for help over the motionless body of the woman he told less than 3 hours ago that their relationship was over.

But you knew that was a lie, didn’t you?


Glacially slow and plodding. Too many unnecessary scenes. What’s up with Chloe?


Josh arrives on the oil platform and tells Philip that he doesn’t want to go, that he hates him. Philip says that he’s doing it for his own good and that he’ll understand later that he did the right thing. Cheng, who probably had a hard time understanding how a teenager would show such disrespect to an elder, informs Philip that the boat that will pick them up is 20 minutes away.

Back at CTU, Chloe is awake but a little shaky. Morris is very solicitous of her health but all the doctors will say is that Chloe is exhausted and dehydrated. Chloe tells Morris to get back to work and save Josh.

And within minutes, CTU hits paydirt. They find a decommissioned oil platform owned by one of Philip’s front companies. A thermal scan confirms that people are on board and that a small boat pulled up to the rig in the last few minutes.

As CTU readies an assault, Daniels pulls them up short. The Secretary of Defense tells the Veep that the only surefire way to see to it that the circuit board is destroyed is have some F-18’s obliterate the platform and everyone and everything on it. So instead of a rescue attempt, Daniels orders the F-18’s in, making Josh “an acceptable loss.”

This obviously doesn’t sit well with Uncle Jack. Disobeying orders to return to CTU, Jack tells Bill that he’s going to commandeer a helicopter and try to rescue the kid himself. And in one of the biggest surprises of the series (to me anyway) Bill throws the book away and agrees to help.

Perhaps being freed from the shackles of CTU authority has allowed Bill to explore his true nature as lawbreaker and rule buster. He did a great job getting Jack away from the clutches of CTU already and this effort to help him get his nephew back shows Bill to be a true Bauer disciple.

Stealing a CTU copter was a simple matter. Jack drew his gun and told the pilot to take a hike. Not waiting to find out if Jack was serious, the pilot obliged and Bill – who displayed another hidden talent – takes the controls and makes for the oil rig.

Back at the White House, as the F-18’s scream toward the target, the Veep is informed that the Russian troops are on the move and the attack on our base is imminent.

As an aside, I would point out that the chances of success for the Russians are slim and none. In every major engagement where American men have come up against Russian equipment, it has been no contest. We wiped out hundreds of Saddam’s tanks in 1991 with the loss of only one of our own. Our planes run rings around Russian MIG’s. Our tactics are superior, our men better trained and motivated than the Russian teenage draftees, and the hyper accuracy of our artillery is legend. In short, it would be an embarrassing slaughter for the Russians. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything because we would be at war – a war that could very quickly go nuclear. But I thought I’d point out something the writers obviously didn’t know.

But President Suvarov believes Daniels when he says that they are about ready to take out the platform when Russian intelligence intercepts a sub transmission indicating that it will pick up some passengers along with the board about 10 miles off the coast. He says he will be satisfied if the oil rig is destroyed. Good news for the United States. Bad news for young Josh.

On their way in the copter to the rig, Nadia calls asking just what they hell they think they’re doing, that she won’t sign off on a “suicide mission.” Bill chides her saying that she knows what they’re doing is right and could we please have the satellite feed so we know what we’re up against? For the first time all day, Nadia shows a little spine and agrees to give them the uplink.

Jack tells Bill to come in low to avoid detection but it does little good. Cheng’s goons spot the helo well out to sea. The Chinese security chief tells Philip to get in a boat docked below decks and that its locater beacon will allow the sub to pick them up. He gives Philip the board and races to confront Bauer.

With the F-18’s only two minutes out and locking on the target, the firefight begins. Bill expertly brings the copter up to the top level where the helicopter landing area is while Jack handles the killing. And oh my, does it get bloody. Taking out the two men guarding the landing area, Jack tells Bill to set down and follow him. Alighting from the bird, Jack starts firing at the 9 goons on the lower decks including Cheng. The silly Chinese have taken cover behind barrels of oil, however, and Bauer takes care of all them by firing into the barrels and blowing them up. Standing over an injured and prostrate Cheng, one almost expects Jack to put a bullet in him. Instead, he asks where his father is. Cheng tries to bluff him by telling Jack “you’re too late” but Jack races down into the bowels of the rig, hot on Philip’s trail.

Philip drags the reluctant Josh toward the boat but the youngster fights the older man to prevent his abduction. Getting the kid in a choke hold, Philip tells him to stop his whining. Seeming to acquiesce, Philip puts the gun down to lower the boat when surprise! The kid picks up the gun and aims it right at the old man’s chest.

Thinking to talk him out of it – something he has probably done all his life – Philip advances on the kid. Then, just as he is about to grab the gun, Josh fires.

Philip Bauer is badly wounded. Josh stands over him ready to finish the job when Jack shows up. He pleads with the kid not to fire saying that he would never be able to live with the pain of taking another human being’s life. The young man takes Jack’s good advice and lowers the gun.

The jets are literally seconds from firing when Jack has his final confrontation with his father. I’m not sure if it could have been done better if there had been more time. Philip pleads with Jack to kill him – something Jack won’t do. He wants him held “accountable” – we assume in a court of law. Not to be, says Philip. I can’t walk and you can’t carry me. Realizing this, Jack’s parting words to his father are “You’re getting off easy,” which we assume means not only for the crimes he committed that day but also for the years of emptiness Jack endured instead of the loving embrace of a real father.

The jets are too close and Jack must make a run for it. Bill helps him by lowering the ladder and racing to a lower level where he picks Jack up just as about a dozen smart missiles slam into the rig, obliterating it and, we assume, Philip Bauer.

Should we assume that? Long time viewers of the show know full well that unless we see a body, don’t assume anything. Was Philip hurt that badly? Jack never checked his wound. And that boat with the locater beacon was right there. Another year with Philip as Jack’s nemesis would be interesting but I think they could do better.

Back at the White House, Suvarov is convinced the board is destroyed and calls off the attack. As if any of us really cared that much.

Jack is riding on the hanging ladder as the chopper makes its way toward shore. Suddenly, he seems to fall off causing young Josh to panic. No worries, Jack makes it to shore and waves the chopper on. Bill says “he isn’t ready to come in yet” whatever that means.

Daniels relents and pardons both Karen and Bill. Bill makes it back to CTU and Josh is reunited with his mother. We find out Chloe is pregnant and that she and Morris are back together.

And all of that is just filler, leading up to the highlight of the evening and perhaps the season; Jack’s confrontation with Heller about Audrey and the part the Secretary played in his descent into darkness.

Heller is at his home talking on the phone when he hears the door open. He knows right away who it is. It’s Jack, who in one of the most obvious breaks in the real-time continuum in the show’s history (how did Jack get from the shore to the Secretary’s house so quickly on foot), has come for Audrey.

He’s not going to get her. But Jack lets Heller have it with both barrels. He’s just seen his father die and felt nothing. He blames Heller and people like him for what he has become: “The only thing I have ever done is what you and people like you have asked of me,” which is as telling a statement about who Jack Bauer really is that has ever been uttered on the show. Jack is a creature of those who created him. And in order to do as they have asked through the years, he has become what he most hates.

Heller tries to fob him off with platitudes about what the country owes him. Jack’s having none of it. “I’m not interested in what you think the country owes me. I want my life back.”

That last line was delivered almost plaintively by Jack. He wants to be normal again. He wants to live in a sane world. He warns Heller not to send anyone after him, that he’s “very good at disappearing” and “pretty good at killing, too.”

But Heller is brutal. “You’ll get back into the game,” and Audrey will suffer for it. It is then that Jack realizes that Heller is right, that he is, in fact, cursed. Anyone who comes in contact with him is doomed. Quietly, he goes into Audrey’s room. She’s asleep when he tells her how much he loves her and that he’s sorry to have to break his promise to always take care of her. Silently walking past Heller who is waiting outside her room, Jack leaves the house and walks toward an escarpment where the waves are crashing the shore far below. He looks lost, bereft. He gets a faraway look in his eye as he sees the road ahead of him. Without Audrey, without anyone, it is a road to nowhere.


Jack took out 6 of the 8 Chinese on the rig with explosions and offed two near the helicopter landing zone. Bill took out two more. Final totals are below:


JACK: 46

SHOW: 438

By: Rick Moran at 11:40 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)


Last night’s season finale was not a total disappointment although you could say that of the five previous finales, this one was the worst. There were no real shocks, no big surprises, no deaths of major characters. But in my opinion, the last 10 minutes of the second hour redeemed the entire night and perhaps the entire season.

Jack’s soliloquy at the end, addressing Secretary Heller and letting loose all of his frustrations, his pain, and his doubts about himself and what he has become actually tied up some loose ends from the last 4 seasons. Jack Bauer is not unaware of what he has had to do to protect the United States and what the rivers of blood he has had to wade through have made him. He hates himself for what he has become.

As I have noted since the season started, his obsession with Audrey is based on the fact that she is his last link to the world of the normal, the sane. When Jack almost tearfully tells Heller that he wants his life back, he is referring to the first season when life included family, a home he could find refuge in, the support of his wife, the love of his daughter. This veneer of normalcy (despite the problems with both wife and daughter) gave him a psychological grounding that allowed him to justify his work to himself as necessary. He clearly saw himself as a patriot doing good works. Was it pathetic of him to believe that all of that could be recaptured if only he could be with Audrey? Heller thought so as I think we were to believe as well.

As his life darkened in succeeding years and he immersed himself more and more into his work, it became harder to justify what he was doing in the name of the United States alone. In the end, his fanatical determination to get the job done – to win – overrode any personal considerations or doubts about the methods he was using. And his accusations against Heller during that excellent acting turn by Kiefer Sutherland revealed a Jack Bauer who knows that he was used by politicians and policy makers as the bluntest of instruments to save their own rotten hides when the security of the United States was on the line. All they had to do was appeal to his patriotism and point him toward the terrorists. Jack did the rest and made them all look good.

More than two years ago, I asked the question is Jack Bauer a patriot or a thug? To answer that question, I hearkened back to a time when America was young and worshipped the legends of Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett. Those two “hunter heroes’ epitomized American exceptionalism – lone figures set against he backdrop of the American frontier, fighting wild animals and Indians, independent, self-reliant, willing to go against the grain to get the job done.

Much has happened to Jack in two years. I think in a very real sense, he has become an anti-hero, related more to Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” gunman whose latent violent proclivities are used to protect the weak and innocent rather than an unsullied hero who selflessly sacrifices himself for his country. No matter what you think of his methods, justified or not, the fact is that Jack Bauer has blood on his hands. No real hero would allow his personal feelings of revenge to affect his work. And this year, more than any other, the palpable feeling imparted to the audience was that Jack had turned his mission into a personal quest for payback. Not necessarily only against the Chinese but against anything and everything that had made him what he is.

I wish the writers had fleshed out this resentment a little more during the course of the season. It would have made Jack’s confrontation with Heller that much more dramatic. As it was, coming after Jack had basically left his father to die, it was emotionally charged drama – especially for longtime viewers of the show who recall how Jack almost worshipped the ground that Heller walked on, looking upon him as a surrogate father. Seeing him as one of the main authors of his pain and suffering had to leave Jack feeling bereft. And when Heller hammered home the point that whoever Jack touches ends up dead or ruined, Bauer must have realized that he could never go home, that the road he must travel from here on out would be a lonely one, a road to nowhere. And the only solace he will find, the only peace available to him, perhaps the only thing that will redeem him in his own eyes, will be his own death.

That, I believe, will be the basis for next year’s show. It will almost certainly be the last given the fact that Kiefer Sutherland’s contract runs out in 2008. And the disappointing ratings this year probably mean that the show has run its course with TV viewers. As has been pointed out by critics, they’ve done just about everything as far as existential threats to the United States – nukes, gas, bio-terror, assassinations. About the only place they haven’t gone is inside Jack Bauer.

Can a character-driven season like that succeed? Sutherland is certainly a good enough actor to carry it off provided the writing is crisp and the underlying story a little more plausible than we’ve seen recently. Rumor has it that the show will leave the confines of CTU which makes sense given the fact that Karen and Bill will be retired and Chloe will be on maternity leave. If they make next year’s season a personal quest for Bauer, those characters and their special abilities and connections could probably function as Jack’s technical back-up on whatever mission he will be on.

The real question is do we still care enough about Jack Bauer to watch him week in and week out? My personal answer is yes although I have doubts that the show will ever be able to recapture the kind of audience (17 million two years ago compared to about 10 million today) that it had in its heyday. No matter. The core fanatics like me will watch anything with Jack Bauer in it and thus give the show a nice send off into TV history.

And when that history is written, it will note that 24 changed TV drama for good and Jack Bauer will go down as one of the more unforgettable television characters ever.

The show premiered two months after 9/11. At the time, the country was ready for a TV drama to take the American people into a world where terrorism was more than something you simply read about but rather was a bona fide threat to our safety and security. Five years out, we forget that basic fact at our own peril. And eventually, we won’t have 24 around to remind us.

NOTE: My recap of last night’s finale will be up around 11:00 AM Central.

By: Rick Moran at 8:00 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)

Slublog linked with Upcoming Television...

May I have your attention please?

As we prepare ourselves for tonight’s sure-to-be-rousing finale of 24, there are a couple of things we should keep in mind so that the shocks and surprises don’t overwhelm our nervous systems and send us scurrying under the bed, not to emerge until next season.

First, don’t expect too much. Relying on the writers to make good on all the plot twists and threads that they’ve carelessly thrown in to the show this year would be dangerous. Best to approach the show tonight with the very same attitude that the writers have; viewers are stupid sheep and we’ve forgotten just about everything that’s happened except for the last six hours or so.

I guarantee you won’t be disappointed if you keep that thought uppermost in your mind during the entire two hour finale tonight.

Secondly, expect the death of a major character. To facilitate our speculation, I’ve started a dead pool here at the House. Please choose one of the following (or offer your own choice for shocking death) in the comments below. You will note that I have not included Philip Bauer. It would obviously not be a shock to see him offed by his own son. Nor have I included anyone at the White House.

1. Audrey Raines
2. Chloe O’Brien
3. Morris O’Brien
4. Nadia Yassir
5. Bill Buchanan
6. Josh Bauer
7. Marilyn Bauer
8. Mike (Little Ricky) Doyle
9. Jack Bauer

I included Jack for a reason.And that is, my main speculation for tonight’s show is that we will not know at the conclusion whether Jack Bauer is alive or dead.

I think that Fox wants the option of not bringing the show back after its disappointing ratings this season. I also believe, reading between the lines of several Howard Gordon interviews I’ve read in the last two months, that the producers are not quite sure where to go with the series to revive it. Let’s face it. The show is tired. Six seasons is an awful long run for a show with this kind of format where the writers are constantly challenged to come up with ever more inventive plot twists and threats against America. Gordon himself may be anxious to move on to other things.

For all those reasons, expect an ambiguity surrounding the fate of Jack. He may even end up being thought dead by his CTU comrades but no body will be found.

As for the rest, my pick in the dead pool is Chloe. Almost written out of the show at some points this season, Chloe has lost her snark. She’s become a kindler, gentler, more human Chloe. Time to pull the plug.

And what about the paternity of Josh Bauer? Whose son is he?

Will Phillip be killed off? Or will they try to bring him back next year to torment Jack some more? If he dies, will Jack kill him, thus adding patricide to his ever growing burden of hellish images he must live with for the rest of his life?

Will Audrey make another appearance?

Does anyone care if we avoid war with Russia?

Give it your best shot in the comments. And tomorrow, we’ll see if anyone came close. (Note: I’ve never come close in three years of doing this.)

By: Rick Moran at 11:18 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)


If there were any doubts that Marilyn Bauer was hiding some shocking secret about her son Josh, they were swept away by this exchange between Jack and his former lover following the rescue.

Jack is still trying to figure out why Philip Bauer is so interested in having Josh by his side and fills Marilyn in on what his father told the young man:

JACK: He told him he was taking him to China, that he was his legacy.

MARILYN: Is that all he told him?

The look of panic that crossed her face when she uttered those words sealed it for me.

Then again, the writers may have it in for me since I’ve criticized them so much this year and want to make me look ridiculous. And a man in my position can’t afford to look ridiculous.

No matter. I will be in for the surprise of my life if Philip and Marilyn Bauer aren’t hiding something momentous about Josh – both from the boy and from Jack. Whether it has to do with his parentage or something else is anyone’s guess. But I will lay odds that either Jack or Philip himself is the father of the young man and that for reasons as yet unknown, Marilyn has kept the secret from Jack.

The problem with this kind of speculation is that there is no firm timeline established for when Jack’s relationship with Marilyn ended. Josh appears to be about 15-16 years old while Jack’s daughter Kim is probably close to 25 (she was 17 in Season 1 and a couple of the “days” in future seasons occurred with a gap of anywhere from 18 months to this season’s two years).

This means nothing to the writers, of course. But it would be more logical if Philip, in fact, was the father (making Josh Jack’s long lost brother!). Controlling and dominating as he is, one can see him moving in on his son’s wife and initiating an affair.

This will probably be the most interesting thing to watch for during next week’s 2 hour finale – except perhaps what Jack will do with Philip. Oedipus killed his own father but was unaware of who he was when he took his life. Jack has no such excuse. And there may be enough hate in Jack’s heart toward his father that patricide is definitely an option.


Cheng’s chief goon Zhou orders two of his men to take Josh to his boss which sends Marilyn into hysterics. As they are about to kill her just to shut her up, Jack intercedes and proves why everyone likes him:

JACK: (To Zhou) Please let me help you.

ZHOU: Get on your feet! Keep her quiet!

JACK: Thank you.

It’s a wonder terrorists and thugs don’t just break down and repent on the spot when Jack is so nice to them. Saying “please” and “thank you” to someone with a gun to your head may be stretching politeness a bit far. But then, Bauer is a man of extremes. Coming from him, we find it perfectly natural for Jack not to forget his Emily Post.

With Josh gone, Zhou makes ready to move the CTU prisoners into a secure room. Realizing that if they’re locked up they won’t have a chance to get the circuit board, Jack whispers to Nadia that they have to make a break for it. As the gang is filing out, Jack and Nadia bringing up the rear, Jack makes his move.

Head butting an unsuspecting Menudo, Jack begins his death struggle with Zhou while Nadia distracts another guard and Morris leaps on the back of a goon who was about to kill Jack. Bauer takes out one thug with Zhou’s gun and then the three CTU’ers are fighting for their lives. Finally, Jack gets Zhou in a position where he can use the thug’s weapon strap as a choker and just as the killer of Milo is about to lose consciousness, Jack snaps his neck like a dry twig.

Nadia is having a lot more trouble – until Little Ricky shows up and blasts the terrorist, saving her life.

And Morris? We never find out. We glimpse him struggling with his antagonist but no more mention is made of his heroics nor do we even know what happened to the Menudo he was fighting with. Let’s give Morris a kill anyway, shall we? He has partially redeemed himself for violating the CTU code of honor which requires death before helping terrorists. Maybe it will even help get him back together with Chloe.

Meanwhile, Jack is hot to go after Josh until Nadia reminds him he’s still under arrest. Brushing aside this little detail (what’s a half dozen felony counts among friends?) Jack is allowed to go Josh hunting albeit with Little Ricky in command.

The fact that Jack doesn’t take orders from anyone anyway seems to have been lost on Nadia. At any rate, Jack and the TAC Team go after Josh.

As the team wades through the sewer trying to pick up the trail, Josh and his captors arrive at the warehouse where Cheng is holed up. He immediately informs Philip that he has the kid at which point the elder Bauer demands to speak to him.

It is hard to glean much between the lines when listening to this conversation. In an earlier recap, I talked about Philip’s desire for immortality, wanting to see himself live on through the survival of his company. His obsession with Josh as his “legacy” strikes me in a similar manner – especially now that his company is no more. And it appears that this obsession may have driven him insane.

Cheng loads Josh into a car and they start for the rendezvous with Philip. Jack shows up just as Cheng is pulling away and opens fire, killing the driver of the car and causing it to careen into a concrete pillar. In the confused firefight that follows, Jack kills three more thugs while Cheng – using Josh as a human shield – slips away once again.

Jack offs two more Menudos while chasing Cheng to the roof of the warehouse. And Josh proves his mettle by escaping Cheng’s clutches, kicking the Chinese security chief in the face and running for his life.

If Josh is in fact Jack’s son, he acquitted himself in the finest tradition of the Bauer family. Contrast Josh’s quick foot with Kimmy’s confrontation with the Mountain Lion from Season 1 where she cowered and screamed for help. Brave lad, that Josh.

Cheng empties his gun in a fruitless attempt to kill Jack who has now arrived on the roof just as Josh escapes Cheng’s clutches. But in order to do so, Josh hangs precariously from a heating pipe. And his grip is slipping.

Just as Jack is about to take Cheng into custody (or, more likely, execute him as soon as he tells him where Josh is), the boy slips from his perch and desperately needs help or he’ll plunge to his death. Jack is forced to take his eyes off of Cheng, allowing him to escape and help the boy. So while Jack has Josh, Cheng is still at large.

When Josh tells Jack that it was Philip who was behind his kidnapping, Bauer looks perplexed. He has no idea Philip is in possession of the circuit board. But he realizes that a showdown with dear old dad is now in the offing.

DOYLE: Your father is involved with the Chinese? Why?

JACK: I don’t know. I’ll ask him when I find him.

Thus, the stage is set for the confrontation of the season. Philip has proven that he has no compunction about killing his own son. But if it comes to it, can Jack kill his own father? Stay tuned.

Back at the White House, Karen tells Daniels about menacing Russian troop movements. This causes the Veep to confide in Karen about Lisa the Slut and her betrayal as well as his “personal relationship” with her. Karen is solicitous but Daniels is inconsolable, believing that his “lapse in judgement” will bring the country to war.

Funny that these two creatures of Washington never thought about the politics of what it would mean if Daniels relationship with Lisa was ever exposed. The guy would be toast and would probably have been forced to resign. The opposition would have had a field day with the revelations as would the press.

At Bishop’s apartment, the two rutting deer finally finish up. As Lisa goes into the bathroom, Bishop makes ready to download the fake info from her PDA when he stops, his spy instincts on full alert. Instead, he calls Lisa out to have a drink with him. Unable to carry on the charade any longer, the woman attacks Bishop who fights back, getting the Veep’s squeeze into a choke hold. Only the intervention of the Secret Service saves Lisa’s life.

Tom never skips a beat. He confronts Bishop and offers him a choice; cooperate or get the death penalty. Not surprisingly, Bishop chooses to download the fake evidence and send it along to his Russian masters.

Meanwhile, Cheng calls Philip with the bad news that he no longer has Josh. Philip coldly informs him that he is now useless to him and he will make other arrangements. It may seem as if that’s the end for the Chinese but somehow, I get the feeling they haven’t gone far and will be up to their necks in it next week.

Back at CTU, a gaggle of bureaucrats from Division arrive to investigate the security breach at headquarters that allowed the assault to occur. Nadia tries to explain that their in the middle of trying to prevent a war and that it’s three in the morning anyway.

Nadia is unfamiliar with the bureaucratic mind set that recognizes nothing except it’s own relentless rationale for existence. In this case, the end of the world matters squat. Getting the job done, the report written, the paper shuffled means more than any silly notions of saving the planet from Armegeddon. Nadia promises full cooperation, something Morris objects to saying that Milo didn’t die so that the blame for his death could be laid at Nadia’s feet. But the woman is feeling guilt for hesitating ever so slightly and allowing Milo to take the bullet meant for her.

Lennox reports back on the success of the operation with the exception that Lisa has been badly injured – perhaps brain damaged – as a result of her post-coital tussle with Bishop. Daniels seems out of sorts which is not a good thing. Not when they now have to call the Russian President and confirm the fake emails by lying to him about destroying the circuit board.

The conversation with President Suvarov turns into a nightmare when he tells them he knows of the fake emails and other data thanks to their surveillance of Bishop. Suvarov makes it clear that unless Daniels can come up with the board or evidence of its destruction before the show is over (within 2 hours) we’ll be at war with the Russkies.

Making his way back to the White House, Tom is about ready to attend a military briefing on the situation when he receives a call from none other than Philip Bauer. Breaking into the meeting and asking for privacy with Karen, Daniels finds out that Philip will give them the board in exchange for Josh and clear passage out of the country. Karen argues against it. Tom says it’s a no brainer, that they should give the kid to Bauer.

In this case, I agree with Tom. Giving a grandfather his grandson in exchange for a chance to stop the war would seem to be an easy choice. The well being of one 15 year old kid versus the prevention of World War III? No contest.

Choosing the obvious, Daniels orders Lennox to tell CTU to round up Josh. The risk of war is just too great what with many more anti-American generals like Gredenko calling the shots in Moscow.

And this leads to the heart wrenching scene in the parking lot when Jack is called away for a phone call after telling Josh to get in the car. Instead, Little Ricky shows up and drags the kid into a waiting helicopter. Realizing he’s been had, Jack races after him only to be restrained by CTU personnel. With Josh crying plaintively for “Uncle Jack” and Jack answering, one can only surmise that they are indeed father and son.

At any rate, we’ll find out next week, won’t we?


Once again, Jack breaks a record. With seven kills on the night, Bauer is making up for lost time from the previous weeks,

Four Menudos killed in the escape from CTU Island. (Two by Bauer)

Jack gets five more in the firefight to rescue Josh and in the wake of going after Cheng.

Morris breaks through and partially redeems himself.


Jack – 38

SHOW: 428

By: Rick Moran at 9:46 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

24 ‘TILL “24″

As we careen toward the blockbuster two hour finale, speculation in running rampant about how all the plot threads will eventually merge and tie themselves up into a nice, neat bow.

Of course, those of us familiar with the series know that no such thing will happen. The writers of the show treat the fans with a mixture of bemused contempt and haughty condescension. They believe that we have the memories of a fruit fly and are unable to recall details of what happened a couple of months ago. Ergo, the chances are about 100% that one or more major plot threads will simply disappear down the rabbit hole, victim of the writers maneuvering themselves into a corner and not being able to blow something up, kill someone off, or create some grand, revelatory moment that clears everything up.

No matter. We’ll still have fun anyway. And part of the fun is trying to figure out who lives, who dies, how the United States will be saved, and most important, the fate of Jack Bauer.

Leave your best, your craziest, your silliest speculation in the comments below (FSM readers email me at Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll post the best of that speculation for all to see.

And then get set for tomorrow night’s blockbuster episode.

By: Rick Moran at 1:51 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)



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.


JACK: 31

SHOW: 417

By: Rick Moran at 7:01 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)


My humble apologies, but this time, it is not my fault.

We have a serious electrical problem with our old house. The fuse that controls all of the outlets in the kitchen keeps going off and on (that’s right; the house is that old where we still have the old fashioned fuses in a fuse box). The electricity will go off for a few minutes or hours and then come back on without warning. Yesterday, it was off for about 5 hours before suddenly coming back on. In the meantime, I moved the entire contents of our fridge to the one we have in the garage.

New fuses don’t help. The electrician believes there is a short – in the wall. I don’t have to tell you what kind of fire danger that poses. So the electrician will be here any minute and will have to turn the electricity off for at least a couple of hours. Obviously, I won’t be able to post my recap of 24 – probably not until noon.

I appreciate your patientce and apologize for the delay in posting – especially after the series seemed to get back on track last night. I’ll have all the details later.


Back up and running at 10:15. Should be around 1:00 PM for post time.

Electrician says that if we’d let it go a few more days, the chances were excellent that the house would have been on fire and we would have been the last to know it. Fires that start in walls don’t generally trip the smoke alarm until they’re out of control. He’s going to recommend to the owner a major rewiring of the house, replacing the fuse box with circuit breakers.

Great. More downtime coming, I guess.


The electrician is back and needs to turn the power off again!


He says it may be a couple of hours which is double bad news since it bumps into my radio show that starts at 3:00 PM. He assures me that he will have the power back up by 2:30 PM at the latest so keep your fingers crossed.

As for the post? God knows. A this point it will be late afternoon or early evening before it’s blogged. For that, I can only humbly beg your pardon and plead with you to understand that circumstances beyond my control has left me with no options.

By: Rick Moran at 6:38 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


“You’re cursed, Jack. Everything you touch, one way or another, ends up dead.”
(Secretary Heller, father of Audrey Raines)

Those of us who have followed the show from its first season recognize the supreme irony in those words uttered by Secretary Heller. That’s because the first season’s plot line revolved around Jack saving the life of a black Senator running for President – David Palmer – hence the idea that only Jack’s special “touch” in running the operation to protect the next President could save his life. But Jack’s zeal in protecting Palmer led directly to the death of his wife, the estrangement of his daughter, and his slow descent into a hellish nightmare where Bauer’s tactics and even his motivations began to mirror those of his enemies; torture, revenge, and a constant friction with his superiors at CTU and the government.

Heller’s comment also begs the question; is Jack a fallen angel? Has his descent into darkness gone so far that he is now not fit to mix with “normal” people? One realizes that a big part of Jack’s love for Audrey comes from the fact that she is his last link to this “normal” world of girlfriends, quiet dinners at home, and conversations about the normal drudgery of ordinary life rather than the life and death of empires. And the fact that Audrey’s father has now told him in no uncertain terms to stay away from her only completes Jack’s total isolation from all that is good and decent in the world.

Of course, Jack will probably ignore him. And I would guess that Audrey’s chances of surviving this year just plummeted because of that. Yes, everything Jack touches lately eventually dies. He hasn’t had a partner in years because given time, they either take a bullet meant for Bauer or are caught up in one of Jack’s rogue operations and get killed off unceremoniously. One by one, his friends have fallen, their association with him being enough to cost them their lives. In a way, it reminds me of that old movie Death Takes a Holiday.

Not to be confused with the ponderous remake Meet Joe Black starring Brad Pitt as Death (MJB had a 3 hour runtime), Death Takes a Holiday was an extremely literate and intelligent film, well acted and had moments of levity as well as a serious examination of many issues surrounding man’s mortality. Written by the great playwright/screen writer Maxwell Anderson and based on the 1929 Broadway hit of the same name that was written by Alberto Casella, the film starred a young Frederic March in the role of Prince Sirki/Death who visits a rich man’s house (Guy Standing) to discover why people fear him so. He is captivated by a young woman Grazia (Evelyn Venable) who longs for a release from her dull existence.

As long as Death is on a vacation, no one dies, flowers continue to bloom, the world experiences a day without anyone or anything dying. Early on, the rich man recognizes Death for who and what he is and tries to bargain with him to give him more time on earth. Intrigued, Death explores the reasons people wish to cling to life so desperately. He finds out when he falls in love with Grazia and wishes to take her with him. In the end, the rich man bargains his life for that of Grazia who even after finding out who Death really was, wanted to join him.

What made the film so compelling was the underlying tension (missing from MJB) that if you angered Death by not doing what he wished or crossing him in any way, your life could be forfeit. In the context of 24 , I found it revealing that when Jack was trying to snap Audrey out of her catatonic state, he whispered in her ear “I want them to pay for what they’ve done.” Jack’s desire for revenge now appears to be almost all consuming. Even his offer to commit suicide to prevent the circuit board from falling into the hands of the Chinese makes sense if you consider that with his own death, he would also be killing his Chinese tormenter, Mr. Cheng as well as denying them their reward for kidnapping he and Audrey.

So is Heller right? Has Jack become Death, the Destroyer of all he touches? I think the answer is yes. And even if Jack realizes it, he will be unable to give up Audrey who gives him his only fleeting contact with the world of the living.


Little Ricky tries his luck in trying to communicate with Audrey to no avail. She’s a basket case and Nadia tells him to get her back to CTU pronto so that they can have a shrink examine her. As Jack is being shepherded into a helicopter, he begs Doyle to let him speak to Audrey, knowing in his heart of hearts that she will come out of her stupor just for him and give them the information necessary to track Cheng and that missing circuit board.

Nadia is having her own problems. Thrust into the role of Acting CTU Director by Bill’s firing, she feels a little overwhelmed. When Morris comes a calling, she summarily rejects his transfer request. Chloe’s boy toy tries arguing but doesn’t get very far. Referring to his “personal soap opera,” Nadia orders Morris back to work.

Back at the White House, Karen gets Daniels to sign off on an Executive Order closing the borders so that Cheng can be prevented from leaving the country with the board. Correctly, Daniels points out the this is a futile exercise because we can’t even keep “migrant workers” from crossing the border.

It is absolutely amazing to me that we live in a time when those who break the law by sneaking into this country illegally can be treated with the softest of kid gloves. They’re not “illegal immigrants.” They are “undocumented workers” or “migrants.” The fact that the writers felt it necessary to avoid the designation “illegal immigrant” says volumes about why our border policies are so screwed up in this country and why the current immigration debate is not about enforcing the laws on the books but rather on how best to create a “path to citizenship” for those here in violation of the law.


Meanwhile, the Veep’s blonde squeeze Lisa Miller arrives home only to be accosted by a man who turns out to be her secret lover Mark Bishop. We discover that Lisa has been carrying a relationship with Daniels apparently in order to advance her career when she whispers between nibbles that the only thing the Veep cares about is “his lunatic foreign agenda.”

So much for true love…

Trouble back at the White House when the Russian President calls on the videophone flanked by two tough looking generals. Suvarov bluntly tells the Acting President that the Russians know the Chinese have the circuit board and God help the United States if Cheng manages to leave the country with it. Daniels looks a little shaken when told of the probable escalation to Armageddon that would occur unless they can get that board.

Tom realizes that for the Russians to be aware so quickly that the Chinese have the board, there has to be a spy either in the White House or CTU. While he runs off to start the mole hunt, Daniels authorizes CTU to use whatever resources necessary to catch Cheng before he leaves the country.

And it appears that Cheng’s exit will be slightly delayed. Downloading the board’s schematics, one of his agents tells him that the board is busted and the only way to fix it is to bypass the security protocols. Cheng, chafing at the delay, announces that they must find someone with the technical expertise who can do the job.

Is it Chloe’s turn to now face death or assist the enemy? Cheng’s word’s are an echo of Fayed’s when he needed someone with the technical know how to build him a nuclear trigger. It appears that CTU is a one stop shop for the enemies of the United States who need someone with “technical expertise” in a hurry. And no one is better than Chloe at hacking through security protocols.

Since the only character who is not expendable is Jack Bauer, will this mean the death of Chloe? Yikes! Be still my beating heart! Then again, there’s the possibility that they could kidnap Morris to do the dirty work on the board thus giving him a chance to redeem himself. Either way, this looks like the big ending that the writers have been promising for weeks. Stay tuned.

After playing a little slap and tickle with Mark, Lisa heads for the shower and Mark heads for her PDA. It seems that Mark is a Russian spy and after downloading all the information from her Blackberry, he calls his handler, a Russian named (wait for it) Nikolai. We also learn that Lisa doesn’t have a clue that he’s a Russian agent. Well, duh. As if the Veep’s Chief of Staff would knowingly bed down a Russkie spy?

Back at CTU, a very affecting scene between Morris and Chloe plays out with Morris telling Chloe that she “crossed a line” with her jab about him building the nuclear trigger and that “It’s over. There’s no going back.” Chloe can’t believe that her prickly personality and total lack of interpersonal relationship skills has now cost her the only conceivable person on planet earth who could love her. She sobs uncontrollably and of course we feel badly for her. But then, we see Morris’ point, don’t we?

As Karen briefs Nadia about the possible mole (and refuses to answer her questions about Bill’s firing), the Doctor from Division is escorted into CTU and it is apparent from the get go that this fellow is trouble. Most medical professionals we’ve met who have been associated with CTU have been from the Josef Mengele School of Medicine – torture first, ask questions later. Nadia instructs this Dr. Bradley to make a quick diagnosis on Audrey because they don’t have much time.

As Jack sits pining for Audrey in a holding cell at CTU, Little Ricky and Nadia listen as the Doc tells them that Audrey is in a catatonic state and the only way to snap her out of it is through drugs. Good thing Audrey can’t here him when Bradley gives Nadia the odds of her survival. Doyle argues to give Jack a chance at snapping her out of it without drugs but Nadia, going by the book, refuses. Doyle sulks away.

At the White House, Daniels is obviously missing his squeeze. He calls Lisa and begs her to come back to him as soon as possible, hoping she hasn’t forgotten their date later. She breathlessly informs him that she’s on her way while Mark sits there grinning like a raccoon.

Tom then breaks the mood with bad news. The NSA has been able to track down who the mole is. They were able to trace calls to a Mark Bishop who was suspected as a Russian agent but the case was dropped for “lack of resources.” So, the Veep asks, whose the staffer. Lisa Miller, says Tom.

The Veep is incredulous. And he looks devastated when Tom tells him that the two are probably sleeping together. Daniels tells Tom that they have a big problem because he’s been sleeping with the mole too. Always thinking ahead, Tom tells him that he might have a way they could turn the situation to their advantage.

Back at CTU, Doyle enters Jack’s holding cell and gives him the bad news about Dr. Bradley and his little black bag of poisons. At the same time, Little Ricky uncuffs Jack, telling him when Jack asks why to “make it look good.” Deliberately turning his back and walking slowly away, Jack doesn’t need an engraved invitation. He promptly puts Doyle in a choke hold and squeezes him into unconsciousness, gently lowering him to the ground.

Whoever said Jack Bauer is a thug is a liar. If I were to put my own brother in a choke hold, I couldn’t have done it any more gently.

Jack then proves that Oscar de la Hoya has nothing on him. He floors the guard outside the door with one punch and then repeats the feat with a second guard. Making his way to CTU Medical, Jack makes it three for three by cold cocking Dr. Bradley’s assistant with a terrific right cross.

Maybe Jack missed his calling. Don King would most definitely be interested in promoting him I’m sure.

So Jack takes the catatonic Audrey and together they escape from the Medical floor. With alarms going off and his friends searching frantically for him, Jack makes his way into the bowels of CTU, not wishing for escape but only hoping to play for enough time so that he can speak to Audrey himself. Morris catches Jack on his video monitor and Nadia is about to tell Chloe to seal off that part of the building when we realize that Chloe is no where to be found. She wouldn’t just leave the building would she? Not with all those crazy Chinese looking for her? Would she?

Well how else do you think they were going to capture her?

Jack uses Doyle’s key card to access corridors, finally finding a storage room where he can have a little privacy and a few minutes breathing room. He immediately sets about the task of trying to snap Audrey out of it by reminding her who she is, what her name is, who her parents are, and where she was born. Poor Audrey still has the blank stare on her face although she seems to perk up a bit when her mother is mentioned.

But time is running out as Nadia has her people using a blowtorch to get through the door. So Jack simply hugs Audrey and tells her very tenderly that he loves her. They make an interesting couple. Audrey is catatonic and Jack is an emotional cripple. They were made for each other.

Doyle and Nadia break through the door guns drawn while Jack tells them he won’t hand Audrey over to Bradley. Suddenly out of the blue, Audrey says the word “Bloomfield.” Bradley says it could mean anything. Jack says it’s a clue to where she was held. Nadia tells Morris to track down the meaning of the word and informs the Doc to wait in her office, that Audrey is her witness now. With that, Jack gives her up and surrenders himself.

We learn that Russian troops are on the move, that the Russian President wasn’t bluffing about the consequences of allowing Cheng to leave the US with that board. Things are progressively getting worse.

And it really hits the fan when Lisa walks in, refreshed from her shower and, um, encounter with Mark. The Veep lays everything out for her; that Bishop is a spy, that he knows they’ve been sleeping together, and that she better help them now or her goose is cooked. She’s got to go back to Mark and tell him they’ve recovered the board. That should buy them some time anyway.

I thought the touch of making her an “enemy combatant” if she tried to expose their affair an especially interesting bit. Using that threat for personal political gain is about as hardball as it gets.

Back at CTU Medical, we are re-introduced to the Secretary of Defense James Heller, Audrey’s father, and a pretty good guy to have on your side (He took down two terrorists after being kidnapped last year.) But here, he plays the concerned father, telling Audrey that he’s taking her out of there. Audrey looks blankly ahead, not even seeing him. He tells Nadia he wants to see Jack before they transport Audrey.

Meanwhile, Doyle informs Nadia that the word “Bloomfield” might actually mean something. It’s the name of a copper company with a facility in Los Angeles. And since they found copper filings on Audrey’s clothes, it may be where Cheng was holding her. Doyle races to the building with CTU TAC.

The dreaded confrontation between Jack and Heller, two stand up guys who liked and respected each other at one time. But Heller, speaking as a father, informs Jack that he is not to see Audrey ever again. He is death incarnate. And he loves his daughter too much to see her hurt anymore by Jack. Jack swears that he can still help her, get through to her again. But the father is unmoved. And Jack is now faced with the prospect of losing his one and only link to the world of the living – a prospect that he will probably not accept.


A good episode despite the lack of carnage.


JACK: 25

SHOW: 407

By: Rick Moran at 11:25 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)


For my ever shrinking number of readers (and those who come here every Tuesday for your 24 fix) I regret to inform you that my post recapping last night’s show will be delayed.

I had some business to attend to early this morning and have just now begun the recap. It will probably be up sometime after 11:00 AM central.

I apologize for making you wait. However, I think this one might be worth it…

By: Rick Moran at 8:00 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)