Contact Me

About RightWing NutHouse

Site Stats

blog radio

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More


(Romeo St. Martin of Politics Watch-Canada)

"The epitome of a blogging orgasm"
(Cao of Cao's Blog)

"Rick Moran is one of the finest essayists in the blogosphere. ‘Nuff said. "
(Dave Schuler of The Glittering Eye)

October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004



Blacksmiths of Lebanon
Blogs of War
Classical Values
Cold Fury
Diggers Realm
Neocon News
Ravenwood’s Universe
Six Meat Buffet
The Conservative Cat























‘Unleash’ Palin? Get Real





"24" (96)
Bird Flu (5)
Blogging (199)
Books (10)
Caucasus (1)
Cindy Sheehan (13)
Decision '08 (289)
Election '06 (7)
Ethics (173)
Financial Crisis (8)
FRED! (28)
General (378)
GOP Reform (22)
Government (123)
History (166)
Homeland Security (8)
Iran (81)
Katrina Timeline (4)
Lebanon (8)
Marvin Moonbat (14)
Media (184)
Middle East (134)
Moonbats (80)
Obama-Rezko (14)
Olympics (5)
Open House (1)
Palin (5)
PJ Media (37)
Politics (650)
Presidential Debates (7)
RNC (1)
S-CHIP (1)
Sarah Palin (1)
Science (45)
Space (21)
Sports (2)
Supreme Court (24)
Technology (1)
The Caucasus (1)
The Law (14)
The Long War (7)
The Rick Moran Show (127)
War on Terror (330)
Who is Mr. Hsu? (7)
Wide Awakes Radio (8)


Admin Login


Design by:

Hosted by:

Powered by:

I’ve commented many times about how difficult it is at times to suspend belief this year and accept some of the premises the show presents us. But when there is an absolutely spot on take regarding the reality of what happens in the cesspool that is Washington, D.C., it should be highlighted and given the attention it deserves.

The Jihad being carried out against Bill Buchanan for signing off on the release of Fayed two years previously, before he was a wanted man and when the terrorist was picked up in an immigration sweep, painfully calls to mind the aftermath of 9/11 and how the “gotchya” culture that is endemic inside the beltway helped disunite the country and sowed the seeds of suspicion against the Bush Administration.

You may recall that the Bushies resisted the formation of the 9/11 Commission. As it turned out, they had good reasons to do so. After promising a “bi-partisan” investigation of the event that would leave politics aside and not “assign blame” for the tragedy, what happened? The Democrats, the press, and most of official Washington scrambled to present evidence that the Bush Administration was solely to blame for the tragedy. Lost down the memory hole were the preceding 8 years of inaction and miscalculation regarding the nature of the threat from al-Qaeda not to mention a philosophy of fighting terrorism that treated the entire issue as a law enforcement matter. And as far as domestic security, the Clinton Justice Department set up road block after road block that would have allowed the FBI to compare notes with the CIA and other foreign intelligence sources not to mention allowing airline security to become a bad joke.

In fact, it really makes one wonder about former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and his escapades at the National Archives where he stole documents and destroyed evidence by his own admission. To this day, it is unclear exactly what Mr. Berger did and what kind of damage he did to the historical record. We don’t know how many or which documents he absconded with nor do we have a clue if he altered any reports or the extent of his whitewashing the Clinton record on terrorism.

The fact is, Mr. Berger carried out his black bag operation at the Archives in preparation for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. He knew full well that the Commission’s true purpose was scalp hunting – that regardless of what the Commission was saying to themselves or the public, the press and Democrats took every bit of negative information about the Bush Administration’s failures on 9/11 (and there were plenty) and turned them into a club to beat the President over the head. Meanwhile, the real failures of the Clinton Administration (and previous Presidents Bush and Reagan as well) were given short shrift in the media. Any attempt by the Bushies to defend themselves were seen as a “cover-up” or white washing their actions leading up to that day.

This is America at the start of the 21st century. The facts don’t matter. All that is important is to “blame” someone. Reading the 9/11 Commission Report, in its entirety, one is struck by the way our country went through the 1990’s sleepwalking toward disaster. There were a few public servants – Richard Clark at the White House and John O’Neil at the FBI who knew what al-Qaeda was and the threat they posed to our country. But by and large, Presidents, the intelligence agencies, the State Department, and all the organs of government who should have known better, didn’t. And that’s why responsibility for the attack on 9/11 should be seen as a failure shared by all of us – what the Commission called “a failure in imagination” regarding what al-Qaeda could do.

But don’t try and tell the Democrats this. When ABC’s The Path to 9/11 was going to air and even the mildest of criticisms of the Clinton Administration was implied, the left went ballistic and called for the show to be cancelled. They had worked 5 years to develop a narrative of what happened and the last thing they wanted was any kind of truth to intrude on their “Blame Bush” party. They didn’t want the image of people jumping out of 100 story windows to be the story from that day but rather one of the President sitting in a classroom in Florida reading from a Children’s book. And by and large, they have been successful.

Bill Buchanan was sacrificed on the altar of necessity because the culture in Washington as it exists today demands a scapegoat for tragedy. The question we should all be asking ourselves is can’t we do any better than this? When the next terrorist attack occurs – and we all know that it will happen, it’s just a question of when – what will be the reaction of our political elites in Washington? For the answer, we need look no further than the instructive fate of Bill Buchanan and how good people can get caught up in “The Blame Game” and ground to dust as a result.


After getting the boot from the car by Jack, Little Ricky tries to flag down another vehicle to take up the pursuit. For some reason, no one seems to want to stop their car at midnight along a dark road with a guy dressed all in black waving like a crazy man in the middle of the street. One luckless civilian does indeed stop and is dragged out of his car for his trouble. Good thing it just happened to be another black SUV and not some POS Gremlin or Saturn.

Using the unfortunate man’s cell phone (can you imagine the roaming charges?) Doyle calls CTU with the bad news that he’s lost Jack. Morris, keeping on eye on the circuit board’s position via the tracking device, vectors Little Ricky toward Jack’s position and the chase is on.

Bill tells the staff that Jack has “gone rogue” and that their top priority is now to apprehend him before he can hand the board to the Chinese. Given the fact that Jack has “gone rogue” a gazillion times in the history of the series, the proper question might be to ask Bill why he doesn’t announce when Jack is being a team player instead of when he’s off the CTU reservation. Bill also tells Chloe that her exile is over and she is back on the team because “I need my best people working for Jack.” Seeing as how it is apparent that CTU will do just about anything – including taking Jack out – in order to keep the Chinese from getting the board, that statement just doesn’t ring true – unless they are going to help Jack facilitate his own suicide.

This may be true, but first Jack has to lose his pursuers. He pulls up underneath a forest of high tension wires where all that electromagnetic energy not only masks the tracking signal from Morris and prying eyes at CTU but will also probably give Jack brain cancer – if you can believe the alarmists who think that we’d be better off living in the horse, buggy, and Whale oil era. Bauer loses the tracking device and races off for his rendezvous with Cheng and the Chinese who are holding Audrey.

An interesting aside – the White House press secretary announces that the Veep has taken over and will make a speech to the nation at 9:00 AM eastern. Since the show is due to end at 6:00 AM Pacific time (9:00 AM Eastern) one wonders if Daniels will indeed be making that speech or whether some misfortune of his own doing will befall him. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Old Noah, the Veep has a heart to heart with Tom and tries to ascertain whether Lennox will use the recording of him plotting perjury as a weapon to hang over his head. Inexplicably, Tom promises not to use the damning evidence.

I don’t know about you, but if I had information in my possession that could bring down the most powerful man in the world at any time, I doubt seriously that I would foreswear using it. But Tom acts the good little soldier and swears that he’ll keep the info under wraps.

In a phonecon with Cheng, Jack informs the Chinese security official that it’s his ballgame now since CTU is after him and only he can escape their net of satellites and cameras. He says that he will meet Cheng at an old abandoned motel to make the exchange.

Doyle pulls up to where Jack ditched the tracking device and is able to divine which way Bauer headed. His logic is impeccable but one wonders how he was able to determine the exact place that Jack got rid of the tracking device and how he could tell the direction Jack took off toward. Maybe he’s part bloodhound.

Back at CTU, Morris and Chloe have a little sparring match that proves how far the show has fallen. Instead of Morris’s witty bantering and Chloe’s pouting responses, we have them both trading mean spirited barbs, ending up with Chloe telling him that one of the ways he can change his behavior is “Don’t arm nuclear bombs for terrorists.” While she immediately regrets saying it, I have to think that Chloe in the past would never have been so deliberately hurtful toward Morris. It just didn’t ring true. Morris sulks away – for good reason.

Back at the White House, Karen is informed of a visitor from the Department of Justice. Peter Hock has been interrogating Tom’s former aide Reid Hollock, who is desperate to avoid the death penalty for his role in the assassination attempt on the President. Reid gives Hock the info that had Karen resigning a few hours ago – the fact that Bill Buchanan released Fayed two years ago in Seattle as a result of an immigration sweep. The fact that there was no follow up was normal since Fayed was a nobody at the time. But Hock tells Karen the long knives are out and that blame will be assessed for Bill not having the ability to know the future. He is going down and it’s best that Karen not go down with him.

At CTU, the gang was able to intercept Jack’s call to Cheng thanks to the fact that he was using one of the cell phone CTU collected from the terrorists. While the call is encrypted, the geeks are able to ascertain that Jack was headed down Highway 305 – just where Little Ricky thought. They narrow down the search to an unincorporated area.

Jack arrives at the motel and starts preparing for Cheng’s arrival. We see him setting the charge that will obliterate the room, the board, and presumably Mr. Cheng and yours truly, Jack Bauer. Jack makes an affecting call to Bill’s answering machine telling him that he will indeed commit suicide rather than allow the board to fall into Chinese hands. He asks Bill to “take care of Audrey” and tells him that he’s been a good friend.

These moments where Jack actually seems human have been missing the last few weeks. Early on when Jack was having trouble getting back into the swing of torturing and killing people, it made for interesting television to see him torn. But that part of Jack has dropped by the wayside the last several hours and all we’ve seen is the Jack obsessed with duty or the Jack driven to get the job done at all costs. Since I believe the popularity of the character depends a great deal on his ultimate humanity, it was good to see the writers give Jack a little slice of reality to go with the mayhem.

Back at the White House, Karen has a heart to heart with her new best friend Tom Lennox. Always the realist, Lennox tells Karen that she has no choice but to feed Bill to the waiting sharks in the press and punditry. It just won’t do for someone close to the President to be seen having anything to do with Fayed’s release. Reluctantly, she appears to agree.

The blow up between Morris and Chloe has serious repercussions when Morris sees Bill and asks to be transferred away from Chloe. Bill agrees and promises him another spot. This proves to be problematic when Bill calls Karen and finds out that his loving wife is giving him the ax. Shocked, Buchanan claims he didn’t do anything wrong. Immaterial says Karen since it’s either you or me and better it be you because of my closeness to the President. Bill hangs up on her and one wonders about how solid that marriage is at the moment.

So Bill rides temporarily off into the sunset, first informing Nadia that she’s the boss until Division sends someone over. As Bill is escorted off the premises by white shirted security guards (as opposed to the red shirted idiots who have allowed so many lapses in security through the years that they have become a running joke), Nadia tells the gang that nothing has changed, that they still must get Jack before the board changes hands.

Toward that end, Little Ricky is in hot pursuit of Jack and the board when he spots the telltale black SUV of Jack’s parked off road near the motel. Scoping the place out, Ricky has arrived just in time to see Cheng’s stretch limo pull into the abandoned parking lot. When he sees Audrey emerge, he knows the switch is about to take place and begs for backup. Nadia tells him that it’s still minutes away, that he must do something to prevent the exchange.

Cheng walks into the darkened room and demands the chip. Jack demands that he see Audrey. When the love of his life walks into the room looking for all the world like a scared little girl, Jack melts. He removes her gag and has a tender moment with her, stroking her face and telling her everything is going to be alright. Again, Cheng demands the board. Jack informs him that Audrey is to be let go and out of sniper range before he hands it over. He whispers to Audrey that she should go out the door and walk toward a bridge where she will find a cab that will take her to CTU.

Desperate now as Audrey walks out the door, Doyle once again inquires about back up only to be told it won’t be there in time. So as Jack, seeing that Audrey is free and almost to the bridge, tosses the board to Cheng and puts his hand on the detonator that will mean his certain death, Little Ricky takes matters into his own hands and offs one of the sharpshooters taking aim at Audrey.

Rather than a huge explosion, Jack is forced to defend himself. He takes out one Chinese security guy but the other one gives our hero a burst of automatic fire right in the chest. Jack goes down but is protected by his vest. Just then, CTU TAC shows up and all hell breaks loose. A vicious firefight erupts as TAC members surround Audrey and take her into custody while Cheng and some of his men bolt out the back way and get into three separate Hummers, driving off into the night into the foothills of the mountains. CTU has Audrey but Cheng has the circuit board. The Chinese shoot down a trailing helicopter and suddenly, CTU is blind with no coverage of the area. We watch helplessly as the Chinese split up, the Hummers going in three different directions.

Jack meanwhile takes down the Chinese security guy who shot him only to be confronted by a TAC team member who sprays the inside of the room with gunfire. Lucky not to be hit, Jack surrenders and demands to see the CTU agent in charge. Jack is mad that Little Ricky didn’t trust him to kill himself. He’s also upset that Cheng was able to slip through their fingers. Now they have no leads about Cheng’s destination or whereabouts, Jack is being led away in handcuffs, and Jack has precious few friends in high places who can help him get out of this one.

And Audrey? Led back into the room, Jack searches her face only to discover to his horror that she doesn’t recognize him, that she is exhibiting all the symptoms of someone who is totally traumatized. In short, she’s a nut case. And Jack can’t do a thing to help her.


A confused action due to the darkness and the quick cut technique of the editors. Unknown: The fate of the CTU helicopter crew who took a heavy hit from a shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile and was going down. But Jack managed to drop two Chinese, adding to his total:

Jack takes out one Chinese only to get flattened by the other.
CTU TAC accounts for two Chinese gunmen.
Jack offs the second Chinese in the room, although it took him two rounds to do it (he must have been stunned by the bullets slamming into his flak jacket).


JACK: 25

SHOW: 407

By: Rick Moran at 8:56 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)


And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.

King Richard II. Act iii. Sc. 2.

Are you ready to bury Jack, not to praise him?

I may be the last person who comments regularly on the show who has faced up to the fact that 24 has hopelessly jumped the shark. The plot has collapsed into a heap of unfinished threads, an endless exposition of plot lines to nowhere. Do you care one whit if Milo gets Nadia alone for 15 minutes? Is there no further use for Jack’s father in this set up – a very promising storyline that has dropped off the scope with nary a word on his fate? I’m even beginning to yawn at the by-play between Chloe and Morris – a sure sign of something having gone out of the show.

In fact, Chloe’s character has absolutely gone off the banal scale. To take this beautiful bitch of a woman and rob her of her snark, her scowls, her hooded looks of disapprobation when a co-worker made a mistake, is like taking away Betty Grable’s gams or Marilyn Monroe’s … smile. Chloe’s thoughtlessness and inappropriate behavior around her fellow CTU officemates – always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person – has disappeared. She is now simply a geek appendage to the show. Need someone to hack into CalTrans? Let Chloe do it. Need someone to download the updated schematics for the suitcase bomb? Piece of cake for supergeek Chloe.

But perhaps the clearest indication that the show is done for came from a speech that Little Ricky made to Jack thanking him for saving the United States. Since there has been plenty of speculation on the boards about Ricky Schroeder taking over for Kiefer Sutherland whenever the producers decide to kill off Jack Bauer, I ask you to imagine Jack Bauer saying this at any time in his life to anyone:

DOYLE: Jack, I know you’ve been through hell – not just today but the last couple of years – I just wanted to thank you for what you did today. ‘Cause it could have ended a helluva lot worse…and it would have if you weren’t here.

Gag me.

Jack’s fatalism regarding his rescuing Audrey from the evil clutches of the Chinese does not engender sympathy for Bauer or even elevate his character beyond the heroic nature he already enjoys. This willingness of Jack to die is simply seen as another plot device to manipulate our emotions and try and build suspense.

And what about the honking travesty of using an “algorithm” contained on a board in the guts of the suitcase nuke that would give the key to the entire technology of the Russian defense department? The Russians may be dumb but the idea of such a thing existing in the real world is so awesomely stupid as to beggar belief. And that’s the problem with the show. It’s no fun suspending belief for an hour if the writers are going to so insult your intelligence that they take you out of fantasyland and set you down in Never-Neverland with the full realization that a little common sense would tell you such a scenario couldn’t exist except in the script of a children’s show.

I will continue to watch and write about 24. But even if the writers knock my socks off for the remaining 5 shows, I can’t help but think that the production has gone about as far as it can go and has hit a wall. Ratings for the show are as strong as ever (#10 among the coveted 18-29 age group) but I would predict that if the last few episodes of the show are as slow and determinedly boring as this last one, that too, will change.


Little Ricky informs Jack that the nukes will be handled by the military from now on. He also gets out the kneepads and genuflects at the altar of Bauer, thanking him in the most effusive and nauseating way possible for saving the country.

I’ve had the opportunity to hobnob with the kinds of special warriors who would more than likely make up the TAC Teams at an organization like CTU. And if one of them spouted off like that – even if it was fully deserved – the chances are the rest of the team would pants the guy and give him an underwear snuggy for good measure – or worse. Gushy is the last thing these practical and dangerous men are. What they do – putting their hides on the line in the absolutely most dangerous situations imaginable – is done with a minimum of fuss and with a tremendous pride in their own competence and professionalism.

After politely thanking Little Ricky for his kind words, Jack excuses himself to call Mr. Cheng. Ignoring Jack’s plea to talk to Audrey again, the Chinese security chief fills Jack in on how he can get old Needle Nose released; he must steal a “component from the trigger mechanism” – a “prototype algorithm” that is impervious to “modern encryption technology.” This little piece of technology will allow the Chinese to penetrate the entire Russian defense establishment.

I’m sure the damn component walks, talks, and wets itself as well.

To believe that any such “algorithm” could ever exist is to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the good intentions of liberals all at the same time. Why not ask Jack to do something realistic like hand over launch codes for American nukes or something else that would threaten the United States? Do you care – even if it were remotely possible – that the Chinese would be able to steal Russian military secrets? Not I. In fact, given President Putin’s recent boorish, thuggish behavior, it may be that allowing the Chinese to get a leg up on the Russian military might not be such a bad idea.

Anyway, Jack agrees and gets to talk to Audrey again. The poor dear looks like a little lost girl who can’t find her way home after wandering around the forest for a few hours. Jack assures her that he will rescue her from the clutches of the evil Asians.

Back at the White House, Tom catches President Palmer gazing off into space, looking for all the world as if he’s about to have a relapse. But the writers wouldn’t do that to us now, would they?

Palmer insists he must stay on the job or the Veep will try and take over again. (Palmer obviously has no more faith in the writers than we do.) Tom reluctantly spills the beans on what he’s got on Daniels – the damning tape recording of him plotting to commit perjury. The President’s interest is definitely piqued by this info – it may come in handy later.

Suddenly Karen bursts in with the news of Fayed’s death and the recovery of the nukes. This bit of good news cheers the President and he suggests that they leave the underground bunker and return to the oval office. He asks Tom to schedule a press conference to tell the American people.

Back at CTU, Bill is congratulating the gang on doing such a bang up job – despite the fact that their top secret, multi-gazillion dollar computer system was easily hacked and one of their top geeks refused to die an honorable death and instead enabled the terrorists to set off a nuke on American soil by building a trigger for the bomb.

Outside of that, everything went swimmingly.

Chloe’s phone buzzes during Bill’s encomium. It’s Jack, of course, calling to ask Chloe if she would be up to committing a little treason. Chloe says fine except she has to hack Morris’ computer to get the info Jack needs. Easily penetrating her former husband’s system, Chloe downloads the schematics for the suitcase nukes to Jack’s phone.

Is there anything Chloe wouldn’t do for Jack? I mean, in a purely non-biblical way?

Meanwhile, back in the oval office, Wayne greets the Vice President like a Mongoose about to take down a rattler. After thanking the Veep for his idea to nuke a lot of innocent people (which led to Wayne’s fake nuke gambit) he shows his appreciation by asking for Daniels’ resignation within the week. The stunned Vice President refuses – until Wayne lets on that he knows all about his planned perjury. The air is visibly let out of the Veep upon hearing that and he slinks away to write his resignation letter.

Back at CTU, Morris finds out that someone had hacked into his computer thanks to his precaution of adding an invisible log to prevent just such an occurrence. Before he calls security (as if those dolts would have been any help at all) Chloe spills the beans about her little escapade with Jack. Still feeling guilty about not sacrificing his life so that 12,000+ of his fellow citizens could live (silly Morris!) he tells Chloe in no uncertain terms that she must tell Bill about her little project to rescue Audrey from the Chinese or he will. Reluctantly, Chloe makes the trip to Bill’s office.

Jack shows up at the site where the military is getting the nukes ready for transport. He talks his way past the guards with ease:

JACK: You don’t need to see my identification.

GUARD: We don’t need to see his identification.

JACK: I’m not the kind of man who would steal anything from the nukes.

GUARD: He’s not the kind of man who would steal anything from the nukes.

JACK: I can go about my business.

GUARD: He can go about his business.

JACK: Move along…Move along…

GUARD: Move along! Move along!

Unfortunately, Bill is aware of what Jack is trying to do thanks to Chloe and sics Little Ricky on Jack. After a brief, tense standoff between Jack and Doyle, a Marine recovers from Jack’s mind control and cold cocks him upside the head with a rifle butt.

Within a couple of minutes, Jack is awake pleading with Bill to let him use the circuit board as a bargaining chip in his quest to free Audrey. When Bill refuses, Jack asks him to get the President on the line.

Palmer obligingly takes the call and listens to Jack’s pleadings. No way, says Wayne. The Russkies would be mad at us (as if they aren’t anyway) and besides, it wouldn’t work, the Chinese would still get the algorithm.

Not so fast, says Jack. I will guarantee the Chinese won’t get their hands on it. How, asks the President? I’ll kill myself first.

Jack giving up his life for his own country is a given. But Jack willing to die to protect Russian military secrets? Yes, he would be preventing the possibility of a war with the Russians. But that’s only if the Russians found out how the Chinese got a hold of the technology in the first place. I just hope the next thing Jack is willing to die for isn’t something stupid like foreign civilians or UN diplomats. Especially the latter. We could actually do with a few less of those fellows.

The clincher comes when Jack calls in all his chits with the Palmer family. “You owe me,” he tells Wayne. And that one phrase resonates with Wayne who has seen Jack sacrifice himself for the Palmer’s for 5 years. He gives the go ahead for the operation to rescue Audrey.

Jack asks little Ricky to tag along as his point man on the TAC team, making Little Ricky’s day judging by the look on his face. They get in the official CTU black SUV and start for the rendezvous with Cheng.

Morris meanwhile is confused. He actually didn’t think Bill would allow it. Chloe explains that the President trusted Jack unlike Morris who didn’t trust her and help her in her plan to commit treason. Morris immediately understands that Chloe will not forgive and forget easily. “You’re going to hold this over my head for a long time, aren’t you?” he asks. But for how long? “I’ll get back to you,” is Chloe’s lukewarm response.

Are you telling me that’s the best the writers could do? Please give your ideas for a proper Chloe response in the comments.

With all tracking devices and explosive charges in place, the SUV speeds off into the night and toward whatever fate is in store for Jack and Little Ricky.

Back at the White House, a morose Daniels is contemplating life after the Veepship when his trusted aide and good time girl Lisa enters the room. After being told he is being forced out, Lisa can barely contain her excitement at the thought of spending more time with old Noah. Her flushed skin and heaving chest make it apparent that if nothing else, Noah Daniels sure hasn’t lost his touch with the fairer sex. They both hurry off to the Presidential press conference.

Wayne starts off the conference in fine fashion, mouthing platitudes about healing and so forth. It’s only when he starts to take questions that we see that something is terribly wrong. The President appears ill. And when he topples over like a giant sycamore going down, we’re sure something is wrong. Daniels, watching in the back, carefully folds his letter of resignation and carefully stuffs it into his jacket pocket. Fate has just handed him a second chance (as have the writers who apparently are desperately searching for something interesting to happen).

The news regarding the health of the President is grim. Dr. Arthur tells us he has suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Unless the writers want to endow Jack with supernatural healing powers, it is doubtful whether we will see President Palmer during the last six hours of the show. I will not miss him as I always believed him to be something of a weak sister. But he was at least honorable and honest – the best you can say about any politician these days.

Daniels gets no argument when he invokes the 25th Amendment this time. He instructs Karen to make the necessary arrangements with the military. And Lisa, already on the job, brings up the Bauer operation to save Audrey and its apparent transfer of Russian technology to the Chinese.

Everyone in government seems to know a lot about this one, tiny bit of a circuit board, including the Vice President who orders the operation cancelled. Karen has to call Bill and tell him this, a job that she obviously found distasteful.

And Tom Lennox? Given his possession of evidence that could ruin Daniels, how long do you think he has to live? I’m sure the next major character to emerge will be the “Mr. Fixit” that all politicians have for emergencies like this – men who will do anything in service to their political masters. Even David Palmer had one of these men so don’t be surprised if the guy who handles the Veep’s dirty work is introduced shortly.

Bill Buchanan is no fool. He knows Jack and how he will react. He instructs his staff to get roadblocks up so they can stop the SUV and sends another TAC team just to take Jack into custody. He then calls Little Ricky who tries unsuccessfully to make the conversation about cancelling the op as casual as possible. Silly Ricky. Jack sees right through it. With a sudden move, Jack has his gun drawn and is pointing it at Little Ricky’s head:

JACK: Don’t you move.

DOYLE: (innocently) Jack, what’s the problem?

JACK: Earlier today, I shot my own partner, a friend of mine, because he tried to stop me from doing what I had to do. Don’t think in a second I won’t do that to you.

After kicking Little Ricky out of the SUV, Jack begins to drive away. “You can’t go against the White House,” Doyle calls after him. But Jack isn’t listening. Besides, when did going against the White House ever stop our Jack in the past?


The Grim Reaper not only had the night off, but is contemplating turning in his own letter of resignation.

JACK: 23

SHOW: 403

By: Rick Moran at 11:00 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (16)

The LLama Butchers linked with Heresy!...

Over the years, Jack has had some memorable single combat battles with the villians who populate 24’s terrorist universe. His one on one war versus Marwan two years ago resulted in a titanic struggle in a parking garage where, after finally cornering the fanatic, Marwan denies Jack the ultimate release of killing him by jumping to his own death.

No such cop outs this year for the writers. The battle royale between Jack and Fayed was so good, so satisfying, that it should have been on pay-per-view – perhaps as a warm up for Wrestlemania. The two fought with a ferocity rarely seen on TV. The animal like grunts and explosions of sound that peppered the action gave a realistic sheen to the entire fight while both men – exhausted and bruised from their day long ordeal – showed an unflagging will to fight to the death.

But it wasn’t just Jack’s battle with Fayed that made the moment. It was how Jack got to Fayed in the first place. Agent Doyle summed it up succinctly upon reaching the scene as he looked around the immediate vicinity and saw 5 dead terrorists as well as the dangling body of Fayed. “Damn, Jack,” was his quiet, awestruck assessment. Whether he was commenting about Jack’s courage, or rashness in taking on so many terrorists at once, or more likely, the ruthless barbarity of Jack’s attack, Doyle spoke for many of us who have watched as Jack has morphed from a duty bound soldier who did bad things because he loved his country to this incarnation of a terror warrior who metes out justice to those who threaten what’s left of his personal universe with a troubling, personal satisfaction.

The look on Bauer’s face after hanging his nemisis was one of deep emotional release. He had won. And more importantly, he had defeated evil. But at what cost to his own psyche? Clearly – and the writers seem to hammering home this point more and more the last couple of years – Jack is becoming indistinguishable from the terrorists he hunts.

The fact that he’s on “our side” makes us ask ourselves some tough questions. Many of us still excuse Jack for his transgressions against human decency. But what do you make of his goodbye bon mot to Fayed before hanging him? Is there any justification whatsoever for Jack to whisper savagely into Fayed’s ear “Say hello to your brother” as he ratchets up the chain that gruesomely chokes Fayed to death? Are those the words of a hero doing what is necessary to save us? Or an out of control sadist who derives great pleasure in not only killing his enemies but making them suffer in the process?

More of the latter than the former, I’m afraid. And the metamorphosis of Jack from Season 1 to this episode that has seen him change so drastically – from something of a mild mannered family man who would do anything to get the job done to this near monster of a death machine – isn’t done yet. That’s because the one real link he has left to the human race is now a prisoner of those who perhaps did more than any terrorist ever could do in taking away his humanity.

Jack’s two years under torture at the hands of the Chinese helped to create this new personae. Or perhaps it simply accelerated a process that has seen Jack’s purity tarnished considerably once the bad guys began targeting his friends and family. And the fact that his former tormentors now hold Audrey captive will only drive Jack to more extremes in seeking revenge and attempting to get this last, tenuous tie to the human race free from their clutches.

But what about the nukes? Are we done with that plot line and will now watch as the final 7 episodes become little more than a glorified rescue mission? The show can’t have gone downhill that much, can it? Surely the writers have a surprise or two relating to those nukes left up their sleeves. And since they are in CTU’s possession, it’s time once again to put your Official CTU Mole Hunting Hats on because I have a feeling sometime over the next two episodes, those nukes are going to “disappear” from CTU custody and plunge the nation once again into dire straits.


Drama in the conference room as the missile rises into the air headed for Fayed’s country and a demonstration of…something. Our will to protect ourselves by using a weapon of mass destruction, I guess. But as Lennox tries to point out, the President may just have started something that the rest of the nuclear powers on the planet are likely to finish.

Frantically, Karen calls Bill at CTU and asks if Jack has been able to get anything out of Fayed yet. Since Bauer has just begun his “interrogation” Bill reluctantly tells Karen that he has nothing concrete to offer the President and give him a reason to abort the launch. Karen still tries to convince Wayne that Jack will get the job done but the President isn’t hearing it.

The Admiral reports that enemy radar is now tracking the missile which means there are probably a lot of wet pants in the Presidential Palace of Fayed’s country as that government realizes what is about to happen. Not surprisingly, a call comes in from the Ambassador, pleading with the President to abort. Apparently, they have new information that may be helpful. It seems one of their leading generals has been running Fayed from the time he got to America, directing the nuke attacks.

This information doesn’t surprise Wayne Palmer nor should it surprise us. The fact is, there are several countries in the Middle East we claim as “allies” who have elements within their governments who would like nothing better than to see America destroyed. It is thought that there is a faction within the Saudi royal family who have close ties to al-Qaeda. This rogue faction has allies in the banking, construction, computer, and hi tech industries as well as Saudi intelligence.

Then there is the strange, frustrating case of Pakistan. President Musharaf is beset with internal enemies who strenuously object to his forging close ties to America following 9/11. These opponents reside mainly in the secretive Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI. It was they who created the Taliban back in the 1990’s and who may to this day be assisting Bin Laden in escaping capture.

The question for American policymakers has always been how do we treat countries with these kinds of internal divisions? Even the highest ranking members of the Saudi royal family probably turned the other way prior to 9/11 when Bin Laden was using his government contacts to build up and finance his operation. And Musharaf has had a devil of a time living up to his agreements to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan, preferring instead to sign agreements that give the terrorists a free hand in provinces bordering Afghanistan to infiltrate and kill NATO soldiers.

The answer is – there is no answer. Or at least we haven’t come up with a coherent one yet. And Wayne Palmer’s “solution” is definitely not the way to go.

At any rate, the attack itself turns out to have been a ruse to get Fayed’s government to cooperate fully. It turns out that there was no warhead on the bird and once Wayne aborts the launch, much to the relief of the Ambassador, he demands information on this General Habib and that the Ambassador deliver it personally to the White House.

For the first time in 6 seasons, Jack Bauer actually hurts his hand from hitting a suspect too hard. After clocking Fayed in the cheekbone with a terrific right hook, he grimaces in pain and shakes the pain from his knuckels. Obviously, being away two years has worn away the callouses he built up over time using terrorist’s heads as punching bags. But he is really letting Fayed have it, delivering blow after blow as hard as he can. It’s interesting because for years, Jack was a one punch knock out artist, putting Ali himself to shame in that department. Maybe he’s gotten a little long in the tooth.

It doesn’t matter anyway because Fayed ain’t talking – not even when Little Ricky tells him that if he friends set off those nukes and they kill more people, he will no longer be the hero of “your jihad.” The way Fayed spits out “I serve the will of God,” in response makes me think that Little Ricky should have probably stayed in Denver interrogating illlegals. He has no clue what motivates the guy and when he raises his gun to pressure the fanatic with a death wish, Jack orders him to desist. Fayed laughs at Little Ricky’s amateur attempts at breaking him. Realizing he won’t get anything out of Fayed this way, Jack decides to take him back to headquarters. On the way, he gets a call from Bill telling him about Habib. This gets Jack’s thinking moving in a familiar direction – outside the box.

Back at the White House, Tom apologizes to Wayne for doubting his strength of purpose. The President then asks Lennox how he got the Veep to drop his challenge. Being cryptic about his gambit of taping Daniels and catching him in the act of planning perjury, Tom says “I’m here to inform you and also protect you.” And, the two don’t necessarily follow each other.

On the way to CTU with Fayed, Jack and Little Ricky have casual conversation about the use of drug induced torture. Jack favors it (having just seen it work on his own brother) while Little Ricky doesn’t think much of it. Just when the subject was getting interesting, their vehicle is broadsided and flipped by an armored car. Helpless and upside down, Jack sees several terrorists exit the van and make their way to flanking positions. Our boys are sitting ducks and they know it.

Jack is out first cutting down a couple of bad guys while Ricky exits, gun blazing and dropping another. But a couple of well placed shots bring down both our heroes and the terrorists free Fayed and hustle him away.

The fact that the episode was barely 15 minutes old gave away the fact that our guys weren’t dead. That and the idea the show still had 7 weeks to go made you suspect immediately that all is not it appears. Sure enough, as the armored car turns a corner, we see a caravan of cars arrive at the scene of the firefight and Jack sitting up suddenly, a Lazarus with a gun. Having to erase two kills from Jack’s body count column was disappointing – until the end of the episode.

With all hale and hearty, we are told that the attack was a ruse. Those were Arab speaking CTU agents (Maybe they could lend a few to the FBI who still, 6 years after 9/11, can’t recruit enough Arab translators to help keep the country safe.) who will attempt to trick Fayed into taking them to his hideout and the nukes.

Following the fake terrorists, Jack tells Bill that he needs an AV hookup to catch what’s going on in the armored car. Glancing over at Little Ricky he notices that the boy is bleeding in the back of the head. Concerned, Nadia asks if he needs medical assistance. Ricky assures her that he’s fine but thanks for asking. Milo looks over at Nadia and wonders if she was thinking of playing doctor with the agent.

Fayed himself looks like he could use a medical break. Between the pummeling of the Longshoremen and sparring with Jack, he looks pretty beat up. But he’s also a suspicious cuss. He won’t take the agents to his hideout unless he speaks directly to General Habib.

This presents something of a problem as Bill discovers when he calls the White House asking the President to set the call up. Apparently, Habib is in the gentle hands of Fayed’s government and being “interrogated” himself. Lennox expresses concern about the plan, believing that regular methods of torture should be used rather than trying to get this call from Habib to Fayed. The President demurs, saying that “If Jack Bauer says that’s a dead end, then it’s a dead end and I believe him,” closing off all objections. But Wayne is noticeably weakening. His hands trembling and his gait unsteady, we realize it only a question of time before his body breaks down again and the country falls by default into the evil clutches of Vice President Daniels.

Meeting the Ambassador, Wayne bluntly tells the diplomat that they absolutely must have Habib talk to Fayed. Out of the question, says the Ambassador. He is not cooperating. We even arrested his family to put pressure on him.

Have you threatened to kill them, asks the President?

Even Tom is shocked to hear him say that. The Ambassador make a big show of being offended but the President satisfyingly bores in on the heart of the matter. “We know how you treat your dissidents” says the President so don’t give us any hypocritical nonsense about human rights. Gulping noticeably, the Ambassador promises to do what needs to be done.

CTU sets up the links to carry out the plan while Bill asks Nadia to translate for everyone. Needing a separate link for that purpose, she asks Milo to take care of it. But Milo is pouting. He thinks she’s being too friendly to Little Ricky, someone he still sees as a mortal enemy. After an intervention by Morris, the two go their separate ways with Nadia perplexed and Milo seething.

With a little geek magic, Habib is on the line talking to Fayed in a couple of minutes and ordering him to hook up with his men. The general also pretends to be angry at Fayed, telling him he “should have sent Sameer” to do the job. The gambit works and Fayed tells the driver where to go so that they can meet up with his men.

When this good news reaches the White House, Wayne rises unsteadily to his feet and dismisses the Ambassador. But something is really wrong this time and after Karen and the Ambassador leave, Tom is the only one there to catch Wayne as he collapses, crashing after his adrenaline high.

As Bill orders precautions against CTU being discovered, Nadia reports the disturbing news that the “Sameer” referred to by Habib has been dead for two years and is probably a duress code used by the general to let Fayed know he was being forced to cooperate. This galvanizes Jack who realizes the jig is probably up and he calls the agent in the armored car with the bad news.

Too late. The armored car has gone into a tunnel and just as Jack was spelling out his warning, the signal went dead. They close in on the armored car only to see it stalled in the middle of the tunnel with the back door open. There are two dead CTU agents and one badly wounded in the back of the car with Fayed no where to be seen.

Jack sees a possible avenue of escape for the terrorist – a door to a maintenance room – and goes through it just in time to see Fayed killing an innocent garbage truck driver. Not alerting Fayed to his presence, Jack pulls an Indiana Jones and gets underneath the truck, grabbing on to the axle for dear life as Fayed rolls away.

Jack tries to tell Bill where he is but the noise of the engine is too great. Bill orders the tape to be run through the audio computers for analysis and tells Chloe to backtrace the satellite so they can catch any vehicle exiting the tunnel.

Back at the White House, Wayne is in a bad way. His blood pressure is lower than Draculas and his brain may be expanding inside his skull faster than Timothy Leary on acid. He demands another shot of adrenaline – something his doctor will not do. The doc even threatens to resign if Wayne doesn’t get his butt down to medical. But the President will see this through on his feet or not at all. And herein lies the potential for more mischief from Vice President Daniels.

And now the grand confrontation begins as Fayed arrives at his hideout with Jack still in tow. Ordering his men inside to get ready and move the nukes, he leaves one lone guard to handle any trouble.

Big mistake. Jack sneaks up on the terrorist and breaks his neck with a satisfying crack. But even though Jack has several targets in his crosshairs, he wants to wait and make sure the nukes are at that location before meting out justice. As he glimpses Fayed closing the cases to the two bombs, Jack very deliberately begins his attack. The first two terrorists are dispatched almost before anyone knows he’s there. The resulting firefight has Jack taking out three more AK-47 armed terrorists, all the while moving toward Fayed with terrifying deliberation.

Recklessly exposing himself and still moving with a purposeful gait, Jack advances toward Fayed, both men emptying their guns at each other in a spasm of hate and violence as they edge toward the final battle.

Jack strikes first with a kick to Fayed’s head. And then it’s all in or nothing for both. Vicious kicks and punches elicit animal like grunts and groans as both men – trained in the deadly art of one on one combat – compete for a prize that each would give up in the right circumstances but that neither will allow the other; life.

In another time, another age, this would have been the way to settle a war. The King’s Champions would take the field and fight to the death. The winner standing over his fallen foe and asking if there were any other challenges. But in these less chivalrous times, Jack bites Fayed viciously on the shoulder as his adversary screams in pain while Fayed whacks Jack with a steel pipe knocking him to the ground.

Both men are near total exhaustion but Fayed is still on his feet. Moving in for the kill, he keeps Jack down with a couple of blows that would have felled a lumberjack, all the while Bauer is moving toward a hoist with a chain link cable. Picking up a piece of steel, Fayed attempts the coup de grace only to find his blows expertly blocked by the cable. It is then Jack proves the old adage “The biggest man in the world will collapse like a ton of bricks if you kick him in the back of the knee.” And that’s just what Jack does, Fayed going down like a sack of potatoes.

Quick as lightening, Jack has the cable around Fayed’s neck and with his disquieting epithet “Say hello to your brother,” Jack flips the lever. Up goes Fayed, hoisted the way terrorists, highwaymen, murderers, and horse thieves have gone to the hereafter for a hundreds of years; the hangman’s noose.

Little Ricky arrives on this scene of horrifying carnage and can only say, “Damn Jack.” No other words appeared necessary. He informs CTU that the bombs are now secured and Fayed is dead. Relief is dominant until, a phone call, a breathless Audrey begging for help, and the oily voice of the Chinese security agent Cheng telling Jack to do exactly what he says or Audrey will die.

Once again, Jack’s life is going to get very, very complicated.


A history making night for Jack as he sends 6 terrorists to hell, the most kills he’s had since I began the body count 3 seasons ago.

Fayed takes out two CTU agents and the luckless garbage truck driver.


JACK: 23

SHOW: 403

By: Rick Moran at 12:38 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (25)


One of the most unforgettable moments in the history of 24 was in Season 2 when Jack, wanting to prove his worth to a crime ring involved in a terrorist plot so that he can infiltrate it, kills someone who betrayed the bad guys and, in a casual almost bored voice, tells George, the head of CTU at the time, “I’m gonna need a hacksaw.”

Jack needs the hacksaw so that he can cut off the snitch’s head and deliver it to the crime ring boss, once more proving that Jack will do anything to get the job done and protect the country.

When Gredenko had his arm cut off so that the implanted tracking device would be useless in helping CTU following him, every long time 24 fan probably yelled that famous quote at the screen. It has become a signature line that all Jack Bauer fans use when the show starts to go off the tracks – when the writers have lost focus and the plot threads dissolve into a jumble of half baked, confused and sometimes contradictory action. And the last few weeks have sadly confirmed this fact; that the show has lost its drive and is simply treading water, advancing at a snails pace, going off on tangents (like Doyle’s covering up for Milo’s mistakes and then quoting the Koran to Nadia), and getting farther and farther from it’s very promising beginning.

Where’s Jack’s father Phillip? What about Marilyn and her son Josh? They’ve completely dropped the Assad peace movement, the Muslim roundup, the detention center dramas, and Daniels’ security plan from the show. And Chloe has been AWOL for weeks – very little snark and vinegar from the show’s favorite character. The long, boring, drawn out attempt by Daniels to take over the government could have been handled in 15 minutes instead of being the focus of nearly 2 whole episodes. And perhaps it would help if we had some background info on what is going on in the country. After all, a nuclear bomb was detonated less than 12 hours ago. But you’d never know it except for a few roundabout references to it in relation to what would happen if another bomb went off.

It’s not unusual for the show to hit spots like this only to come roaring back. But with only 7 weeks to go (the final night is usually a two part special), it’s going to take a Herculean effort by the writers to get the show off the snide and back on track.


As Daniels spins his evil web of intrigue against the President of the United States, we see Wayne Palmer sitting up, fully dressed, and apparently ready to take on the world. The fact that less than an hour ago, he was in an induced coma – a state that would ordinarily take several days to recover enough where the patient could actually open their eyes and speak – is forgotten as Wayne prepares to fight for his presidency. In that vein, he casually asks the doc for a shot of adrenaline.

Now “adrenaline” or “epinephrine” as it is referred to by the medical community, is not something to be played around with. It is given, in most circumstances, as a last resort to help restart the heart following a heart attack or drug overdose. And it is not administered in the arm either. The doctor uses a huge needle (in order to penetrate the chest muscles) and shoots the drug directly into the heart.

Anyone who has watched ER over the years knows this so it is surprising that the writers couldn’t have come up with something a little more realistic.

Back at Hauser’s house, Jack relays Gredenko’s demands for amnesty and no repatriation to Bill. When Bill tells Jack about the cabinet crisis, Jack realizes he’s got Gredenko just where he wants him. With the issue of who is president unsettled, it would make any agreement with the government null and void. Jack tells Bill that he has “no intention of honoring” the agreement anyway and asks his boss to keep him informed. Bill calls the AG to get the ball rolling.

As Wayne walks stiffly and in obvious pain into the cabinet room, the members stand in deference to the office. Vice President Daniels gets off the most nauseating line of the night and perhaps the season:

DANIELS: I know I speak for everyone here when I say how very happy I am to have you with us again.

Both Karen and Tom appear ready to gag while Wayne shoots the Veep a withering look of contempt. For some reason, Tom takes over the meeting although in reality, the senior cabinet officer – the Secretary of State by tradition – would probably handle that duty. (The Secretary of State was the first cabinet officer named by George Washington.)

Tom asks the doctor to give the cabinet an update on the President’s condition. He lays out a compelling case that, while the President is weak, he is expected to make a full recovery and that his cognitive functions seem unimpaired. He leaves a smidgen of doubt however, by saying that Wayne could relapse at any time.

Next up, President Palmer makes a strong case for remaining in office, saying that Daniel’s efforts to take over are the result of a policy disagreement. Since we’re talking about launching a nuclear missile, that would seem to be the understatement of the year.

When he gets his chance, the Veep actually agrees. He says that the 25th Amendment can be activated just for that purpose – to replace a man who is not acting in the best interests of the country.

When Tom called for the vote, the tally was 7-7. By the terms of the amendment, Daniels needed a clear majority to take over so it appeared that he had lost and Wayne Palmer would remain as president.

Not so fast says the slippery Veep. Karen Hayes resigned as National Security Adviser and was not formally reinstated. Her vote was invalid. And since this is America, the only rational way to resolve the dispute is to take the matter to the courts. In this case, the Supreme Court is informed of the controversy and briefs will be submitted within the hour.

Actually, the cabinet could have voted on Daniel’s motion to invalidate Hayes’ participation but that just wouldn’t have been dramatic enough. Besides, the writers are milking this thing for all that’s it’s worth. They may as well get a few more scenes out of it.

Back at CTU, Milo sidles up beside Nadia perhaps looking for a repeat of the lip lock they enjoyed a few minutes ago. This time, Milo would be able to wrap both arms around the Arab hottie because, Presto! His sling, in place since a bullet pierced his shoulder that morning, has magically disappeared. This is due to a time honored tradition on the show: The Twelve Hour Rule.

Now, The Twelve Hour Rule clearly states that:

“After 12 hours of showing the effects of any injury (i.e. broken ribs, sprained ankles, but especially bullet wounds) the affected CTU personnel will discard any outward manifestation of his injury including but not limited to; bandages, scars, cuts and bruises, and any and all physical defects such as limping, wincing in pain, or favoring the affected body part in any way.”

The reason? The writers think we the viewer have the memory capacity of a marmoset and the brains of a toad. But since they have consistently applied this rule for years, I suppose we can’t complain that much.

At any rate, Milo gives Nadia a final leer and saunters away. Just then Doyle calls Nadia and asks her to come up to see him. He tells her that apparently, the ease with which the terrorists penetrated CTU computer security was due to a serious error in establishing the security parameters. Doyle suspects Milo and wants Nadia to get the info off Milo’s computer for him.

When Nadia in fact finds this security breakdown on Milo’s part, most long time fans had their mole antennae prick up and come to attention. What are the chances that Milo “accidentally” forgot this vital security function? Is he so enamored of Nadia that it is distracting him from his work?

Stay tuned. And keep an eye on the geek Lothario.

More nonsense from the writers when Nadia gives the info to Doyle who then erases it from the computer memory. His explanation that CTU needs Milo to get the bombs rings hollow. As does his bizarre quoting of the Koran to the Muslim woman – ostensibly in order to show what a great guy he actually is.

If, as many commenters on different sites have been speculating, Doyle will be Jack’s replacement when Bauer is killed off, that kind of nonsense is necessary to turn him into more of a compassionate guy. But it was so out of character that one wonders why the writers even bothered.

Another useless scene, this time a phonecon between Bill and Karen. She frets that her stupidity in resigning might be the catalyst for a nuclear attack on another country. Bill mans up and reassures her while the two have a tender moment.

Can we get back to the show please?

With his amnesty papers in order (confirmed by Gredenko’s attorney which leaves us wondering why the Feds haven’t pounced on this guy too), the Russian calls Fayed to set up a meet. But Fayed is wary and picks the docks as his rendezvous point, telling Gredenko that he will find him once he gets there.

Back at the White House, the President readies his brief for the Supreme Court with the help of his sister Sandra. She points out it is a strong case – that Karen’s sitting in on a cabinet meeting with Daniels speaks to his intention to keep her on as NSA thus making her vote valid.

But in the lounge, Daniels and Lisa are scheming. When Lisa points out that their case is weak and will probably fail, Daniels gets this look on his face of faux concern and speaks about how bad this would be for the country, that Palmer is a weak sister and the world will take his inaction as a sign of weakness.

This proves too much for Lisa who practically tears her blouse off and offers herself to the Veep, so stirred she is by Daniels’ words (in more than one way). She hits upon an idea of committing perjury by swearing out an affidavit that the Veep told her that he was going to fire Karen once the crisis was over. “The ends justifies the means,” she pants. With a deft and evil smoothness that masks his degeneracy, Daniels pretends to reject Karen’s plan. But he takes her hand while doing so and that’s all that’s necessary for Lisa to melt into a puddle of mush and agree to commit the felony – all the while, looking soulfully into the Veep’s eyes.

Wish I could get women to do stuff like that for me. Not commit perjury, of course. But I haven’t had an effect on women like that in, well…ever. Maybe there’s a website that gives us males all those secrets.

Then again, my Zsu-Zsu probably wouldn’t understand. Being a practical, down to earth kind of girl, she’d probably just knock me over the head with a frying pan and order me to take out the garbage. Now that is what I call control!

Back at the docks, Fayed prepares to meet Gredenko. He unloads the nukes from the truck, making us wonder what has made him so suspicious all of a sudden. I bet the writers are wondering too.

At the White House, Tom pays a visit to Daniels and, after dismissing the wench Lisa, reveals the existence of a bug that he planted “to protect himself.” Daniels’ hooded eyes become even more closed as he warns Lennox to be “very, very careful.” And “careful” appears to be Tom’s middle name. He takes out a recorder and plays back the perjury scenario discussed by Daniels and Lisa. Lennox orders the Veep to call the Supremes and tell them that he is dropping his challenge. Reluctantly, Daniels agrees.

As Karen gives the President the launch codes so that he can cancel the nuclear strike permanently, Sandra bursts into the room with the good news about the Veep dropping his challenge. After the two women leave, Palmer sags noticeably. It’s clear that he isn’t feeling very well. He calls his secretary and asks her to get the doctor to his office pronto.

Having reached the docks, CTU TAC load Gredenko up with the monitoring equipment, including the injection of a small amount of nuclear material into his arm so that they can track him wherever he goes. As Gredenko starts down the pier, Jack observes him from afar while the gang at CTU listen in as well. They hear a phone ringing and Gredenko picks it up. No one is on the line but Jack sees him reading something off the phone. It’s a text message telling him where to go. As Gredenko disappears around a corner, Jack takes off in pursuit after he learns that Doyle and his main force is still 20 minutes away.

After the Russian is hustled into the building to meet Fayed, he silently takes the bug out of his pocket and disconnects it. With CTU blind and deaf now, Jack confirms with Milo that Gredenko is still in the building and takes off after him in earnest while the Russian tells Fayed that even though he has betrayed him by bring CTU along, he has a plan to get them away safely.

Jack arrives at the building and finds it empty. Milo confirms that the nuclear trace is still active and shows Gredenko in the same room with Bauer, just feet from where Jack is standing. But no Fayed. No Gredenko. And no Gredenko arm. Like an animal caught in a steel trap gnawing off its own limb, the Russian had Fayed cut it off so that CTU couldn’t track them.

But like a hunter following a wounded prey, Jack picks up Gredenko’s blood trail and sure enough, it leads him right to the little group trying to make a getaway. After a short shootout with Fayed’s men (taking out the second one after saying under his breath “Show your head,” before executing a perfect shot to the terrorist’s forehead), Jack keeps following Fayed and Gredenko like a bloodhound.

Desperate now, the two terrorists enter an open air dockside bar where Gredenko – inexplicably at the moment although we may learn later his motive – shouts to the assembled dockworkers and pier street brawlers “Here’s the terrorist they’re looking for! I saw him on the news!”

There are few more patriotic souls than Longshoremen who prove it by attacking Fayed with gusto, even after the terrorist plugged one of the innocent bystanders. Before they can beat Fayed senseless, Jack arrives and gets control of the situation, taking Fayed into custody. Meanwhile, Gredenko has once again escaped.

Back at the White House, the doctor arrives in Palmer’s office and Wayne orders him to administer another shot of epinephrine. The doc balks, telling the President that his blood pressure will shoot up and there will almost certainly be “vascular damage.” Get it done, doc says the President, or I’ll find someone else who will.

As the shot revives the President, Bill calls with the good news/bad news about Fayed. Yes they have him in custody but no, they don’t know where the nuclear bombs are. Wayne tells them to keep plugging away and find those nukes. He gets a strange look on his face as if the shot was doing something to him besides pepping him up.

On the beach, we watch as Gredenko staggers underneath a pier, the life oozing out of him. Finally, he keels over dead as waves wash over his body. Does he have something on him that CTU needs to find? A map? A phone number? Or are the writers done with Gredenko and decided on this anti-climactic end to one of the main villians on the show?

Karen meets with Tom and asks for a truce since they both seem to be on the side of the angels recently. Tom agrees and just then, gets a call. The shocking news sends him racing to the conference room; the President is about to launch the nuke on Fayed’s country anyway.

Bursting in, Lennox pleads with Palmer who says he can’t look weak or he’ll lose the presidency. Tom retorts, “Do not confuse being reckless with being strong!” Then quite matter of factly, the Admiral reports that the missile has been successfully launched. And Karen, Tom, and the rest of the cabinet can only watch the radar image as the missile rises gracefully from beneath the ocean on its way to a rendezvous with destiny.


A kind of blasé night for the Grim Reaper, although the death of Gredenko should have been a major milestone. The way it was handled was quite disappointing. I think most of us would have prefferred Gredenko to have died a more horrible death.

At any rate, the night was not a total loss. In addition to Gredenko, Jack upped his body count by two, showing off a little marksmanship in the process. And Fayed got off only one shot before being overwhelmed by Longshoremen, killing an innocent bystander.


JACK: 17

SHOW: 394

By: Rick Moran at 9:17 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (13)


Questions have arisen about Vice President Daniel’s authority to use a nuclear weapon as well as how that weapon was being deployed before being stopped by the President’s re-emergence as Commander in Chief.

As for the first question, as long as Wayne Palmer was unconscious, Daniels had the necessary authority to order the strike. As I discussed here, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution gives the Vice President full executive authority in such cases. It was never a question of whether or not Daniels could actually order the use of a nuclear weapon but rather was it the right thing to do. Given the changing rationale used by the Veep – first, as a demonstration of American power; then as a warning to Fayed’s government to help find the loose nukes; and finally as proof that no one can harm American citizens without being hit themselves – it is amazing that the military seemed to acquiesce so meekly in the face of this madness.

The second question is of interest only as it relates to the accuracy with which the show portrays what might happen in real life. I can assure you that having the President simply give an order to an Admiral to launch a missile from a submerged submarine using a cell phone would probably not be the way the United States would go about using a nuclear weapon.

First, the President would have to give the correct codes that would “trigger” or activate the weapons. These codes (called “Gold Codes) change every day and it is the President’s responsibility to have them on his person at all times. Jimmy Carter used to keep them in his pocket (which led to an embarrassing moment when the coat containing our strike codes was sent to the cleaners). And Ronald Reagan reportedly kept the card containing the codes in his wallet.

The way the President would give the codes to the appropriate commands is secret but it is believed that the nuclear “football” – a suitcase containing confirmation codes as well as various scenarios for Armageddon – is outfitted with a secure satellite phone just for this purpose. The football is never more than a dozen steps from the President whether he is awake or asleep (although there have been incidents where the aide carrying the briefcase was left behind or not in position).

In the case of a single nuke being launched from a submerged submarine, the problems in communicating are increased dramatically. Regular radio transmission are out since radio waves cannot penetrate salt water thus making them useless for a submerged sub. Instead, the Navy has developed what they call an ELF transmission system. This is a technological marvel that sends extremely low frequency transmissions via satellite that can penetrate to a depth of about 20 meters. A submerged sub at a lower depth can deploy a buoy to catch any transmissions.

The biggest problem with ELF is that it is very slow – only a few characters a minute can be sent. This means that the go codes would take at least several minutes to be received by the sub making what was portrayed last night seem rather silly.

Not bringing the “football” into the plot is strange since in Season 4, the show spent several episodes in a search for the nuclear satchel following a crash involving Air Force One. It might have heightened the tension of the scene considerably if they could have shown how the football was actually used. But what we got instead was the Admiral using a cell phone to casually call the sub commander and tell him to go ahead and start World War III. One would hope that the batteries to that cell phone are charged on a regular basis. I suppose they could use one of CTU’s famous phones that never need charging and have all sorts of neat bells and whistles on them.

But that might be unrealistic – two different government agencies sharing technology? Never happen.


We find Jack at the site telling the EMU’s to keep the drone pilot alive so that they can talk to him. Jack should know better. After all, everyone knows that when Jack Bauer takes a terrorist down, they stay down. Sure enough, the drone pilot succumbs and the guys at CTU are left with culling the pilot’s work station for clues about Gredenko’s whereabouts and the location of the loose nukes.

Bill calls Jack and tells him that even though the nuke on the drone did not explode, there are now “serious policy consequences” regarding the radioactive leak from the damaged bomb. Daniels is going to retaliate against Fayed’s country with a demonstration nuke.

To show how off base so many on the left are about the show, one of the top liberal bloggers, Kevin Drum who writes for the Washington Monthly blog asked the question yesterday “IS 24 LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE?....” His conclusion should not surprise you:

So what’s up? The hyperkinetic world of 24, where good and evil clash, torture is a necessary tool, and terrorist threats are everywhere, is indeed a paean to modern Bushian conservatism. But when the action switches to the Oval Office, hawks are almost universally portrayed as either ideologues who panic at the first sign of trouble or else scheming superpatriots who are desperate to push the United States into unjustified wars as a way of advancing their own mercenary agendas. If Joel Surnow’s name weren’t attached to the series, you might guess that it had been produced by Michael Moore.

So is 24 liberal or conservative? Schizophrenic, I’d say.

That kind of shallow and superficial analysis was proved laughably wrong last night as Jack responds to the news that the Veep is going to launch a nuclear weapon:

JACK: What is he trying to do, launch World War III? That will be seen as an act of aggression against the entire Middle East.

Some “paean to modern Bushian conservatism!” But keep trying Kevin. Eventually, you’ll realize that 24 is just a television show and not some metaphor proving your own moral superiority over conservatives.

Gredenko is trying unsuccessfully to reach his now deceased drone pilot to find out what happened to the nuke that was supposed to detonate over San Francisco. When he confronts Fayed with the bad news, the terrorist lashes back, accusing the Russian of incompetence. But Gredenko assures him that he can deliver the remaining two nukes to Fayed’s targets if he’s given another chance and the terrorist relents.

The Russian calls a Mark Hauser asking him for updated security protocols for an unspecified target. Hauser agrees but says it will take time to download the new codes from his office. Hauser is taking care of his retarded/disturbed brother Brady who apparently is some kind of computer savant. He directs Brady to access his office computer to download some files.

I’ve heard of savants who suffer from Autism but not mental retardation. Perhaps there’s another condition where savantism is prevalent but in this case, it appears that the writers simply made something up for an interesting plot twist.

They’d never do anything like that now, would they?

Back at CTU, Milo pines for Nadia, watching her in the holding room on his monitor while two nuclear weapons are still loose and about ready to be launched. Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Bill even saunters over and doesn’t say something like “Get back to work, clown!” Instead, he gives Milo the good news that Nadia will not be transferred to just any old jail cell. Instead, like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other terrorists at Gitmo, Nadia will be given the status of “enemy combatant.”

Before Milo and Bill get into a discussion about waterboarding, Chloe interrupts to tell Bill that they got a hit from monitoring the watch list of Gredenko contacts. It’s the Russian’s call to Hauser and CTU gets an address where he can be found.

Meanwhile, one of the agents breaking down the drone pilot’s work station found a remote access module that proves the terrorist geeks hacked into Nadia’s system, proving her innocence. It also proves that whoever designed the security for this top secret, highly sophisticated, ultra geeky computer system should be fired and strung up by their big toes. Like people getting hacked who visit porn sites, Nadia evidently had her computer penetrated when monitoring extremist Jihadi websites.

Are their geeks better than our geeks? Looks to me like we have a “Geek Gap” developing and that this is something that should be addressed immediately.

Anyway, Agent Johnson gives the module to Little Ricky who is on the hook for making the politically incorrect decision to suspect an Arab of collaborating with Fayed. Will our Ricky bury the evidence and let Nadia rot in Gitmo? Stay tuned.

Jack alerts a TAC team to get ready for action and they take off for Hauser’s place. Little Ricky declines to go and one wonders exactly what he’s going to do with the module.

Back at the White House hospital, Karen meets with Sandra Palmer and lays out her case for waking the President from his induced coma. Reluctant at first, Sandra finally sees the wisdom of Karen’s words and agrees to order the doctor to attempt to wake her brother.

In the conference room, the Veep is informed that they can hit Fayed’s country using a sub launched missile within the hour. As Tom starts to go over expected casualty figures, Daniels gets a message and excuses himself. He is informed of Karen’s plan to wake the president and spoil all of his fun. The Veep gets the doctor on the phone and reads him the riot act. The doctor calmly informs him that it’s not the Vice President’s decision to make, that it’s up to Sandra Palmer and that if he objects, he should take it up with her.

But Daniels does leave the doctor with this sneering threat:

DANIELS: If the President dies or suffers any permanent debilitating injuries, I will nail your ass to the wall. Do you understand?

DOCTOR: (Gulping) Perfectly sir.

Jack and the TAC team arrive at Hauser’s house and the raid goes smoothly enough, although Mark Hauser is hit in the shoulder, severing an artery. His brother Brady goes into hysterics and Jack calms the savant down, learning that it is Brady who is setting up a proxy server to hide the security files download.

Threatening to sic the FBI on his helpless brother, Hauser tells Jack everything. He even suggests that his brother could be enlisted to help nab Gredenko since the Russian knows him. And here’s where Jack hatches his plan making another innocent civilian into “The CTU Special Guest Agent For The Week.”

Of course, Jack fails to mention the fate of many other civilian “Special Guest Agents” through the years. A cursory check of some of the local cemeteries would have told Hauser all he needed to know about that.

Jack takes Brady to see his brother who is bleeding out on a stretcher. “It’s worse than it looks,” says Mark – a sure sign he’s toast. But he tells his brother to do everything Jack says. He then makes a call to Gredenko telling him that his brother will make the handoff of the data. Gredenko suggests a meeting across the street from the Hauser house in a parking lot.

Back at CTU, slimy Agent Johnson who pretended to be watching Little Ricky’s rear end by giving him the module now does a complete 180 and tells Milo that Little Ricky has in his possession evidence that would clear Milo’s fantasy lover Nadia. Having primed his human bomb, Johnson watches with satisfaction as Milo catches sight of Little Ricky and makes a beeline straight for him.

Doyle is talking with Bill when Milo lunges at him, telling Bill after they’re separated that Little Ricky has proof of his dearest Nadia’s innocence on him right now and that he’s covering it up to protect himself. An astonished Buchanan asks Ricky if this is so. But before Ricky can answer Morris hustles over telling Bill that Doyle was not covering anything up, that he was confirming the authenticity of the module before giving it to Bill.

Milo is embarrassed and apologizes to Little Ricky. Strangely, Doyle leaps out of character and pats Milo on the back telling him to forget about it.

Something doesn’t quite ring true there. Methinks Little Ricky will exact revenge on Milo at some future date.

Buchanan makes his way to the holding cell to tell Nadia the good news. She is singularly unimpressed, having decided that since all her friends deserted her, she will punish them by pouting like a 12 year old. Bill appeals to her, asking Nadia to stay on and help find the nukes rather than resign in a huff and sue the hell out of the government. She says simply “I’ll stay” and that’s that.

Milo is setting up her station when Chloe comes over and practices some of her new found interpersonal relationship skills on Milo by observing that it will be hard on everyone to deal with Nadia after suspecting her but especially awkward for Milo. When he asks why Chloe blurts out that it was not a secret Milo has the hots for Nadia. A withering look from Milo sends Chloe scurrying back to her work station.

Sure enough, there is much awkwardness between Milo and Nadia when he tries to apologize for doubting her loyalty to the United States. She’s having none of it, even telling him that the CTU office was no place to start a relationship. For some reason, this makes Milo’s passion overflow and he grabs Nadia roughly by the back of the neck, gazes into her eyes, and then lays a big wet one on her lips.

It is unclear whether Nadia likes Milo or the rough sex. We’ll have to keep an eye on that in the coming weeks.

At the White House hospital, the President is showing signs of brain swelling. But Sandra is adamant about waking him up in time to stop Daniels from launching the nuke. Just then, the President’s heart stops and the crash cart is summoned. Looks like Daniels is going to sweep the table – get his nuke launch plus a move into the executive mansion.

Back at the Hauser residence, Jack is being very gentle with Brady, telling him what to do and sticking an “earwig” into his ear so that he can communicate with the lad.

I think Jack missed his calling. Perhaps he should have gone into Special Ed rather than terrorist hunting. He seems to have the knack, don’t you think?

At any rate, Brady moves into position in the parking lot as Gredenko pulls up. Jack has ordered one unit of the TAC team to take out Gredenko using a trank dart but as Gredenko exits the car to talk to Brady, the shooter finds he doesn’t have a clear shot. Brady is in the way. Jack hears Gredenko tell one of his thugs in Russian to shoot the kid but TAC still doesn’t have a clean shot. That’s when Jack tells Brady to be prepared to hit the ground when he tells him to.

After downloading the information on his palm pilot, Gredenko gives the order to kill Brady. Frantically, Jack tells the kid to get down and just in the nick of time, Brady moves, allowing the TAC shooter to hit Gredenko with the dart while the two thugs are dispatched with alacrity by other TAC teamers. Jack adds to the mayhem by clocking a terrorist emerging from the car with a shot from about 50 feet while on the run.

As Brady is sent off to the hospital to see his brother, Jack enters the Hauser residence and confronts Grednenko. It is clear the Russian knows Jack by reputation but appears unconcerned at the prospect of being tortured. Instead, he knows he has an Ace in the hole because he may be the only one that can help find the nukes and Fayed. He asks for amnesty and a promise that he won’t be sent back to Russia. CTU must decide what to do quickly because Fayed is waiting for the Russian’s call.

Back at the White House, things are coming to a head. Tom tells the Veep about the capture of Gredenko and that maybe they won’t need to launch the nuke to scare Fayed’s country into helping them find the other bombs if Gredenko can find them first. But the Vice President once again changes his rationale for using the nuke:

DANIELS: We can consider this strike as retaliation for American lives already lost. A reminder to the world that there are consequences to attacking our country.

Tom, who appeared resigned to the use of the nuke earlier, now looks shocked. But his protests do no good as Daniels orders the admiral to launch the nuke. But a perplexed admiral turns back to the Veep and says that the sub was ordered to stand down. Ordered by who, wonders the Veep. By the President of the United States says the admiral just as the phone in the conference room rings.

It’s Palmer, of course, hale and hearty (mostly) despite being in a drug induced coma. Would that I were to look so well when I get up in the morning. The President orders Daniels not to go shooting off any more nukes – or take any other military action for that matter.

This doesn’t deter our Veep. He summons the Attorney General and will attempt to invoke the Presidential disability clause of the 26th amendment in a brazen coup attempt. He must get a majority of the cabinet to sign off on such a move so my prediction is that over the next couple of weeks, Tom and Karen will unite in trying to convince cabinet members to stay with Palmer as President.

And Palmer may play right into their hands when Jack presents Gredenko’s amnesty terms for approval. Watch as Daniels tries to show that the President agreeing to such a deal is more proof of his unfitness for office.


Almost forgot this week’s butcher bill.

The Drone Pilot, drilled by Jack last week, goes to his final reward.

Two thugs are offed by TAC team members.

Jack gets another one on the run at 50 feet.

JACK: 15

SHOW: 390

By: Rick Moran at 9:40 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (21)


When Vice President Daniels proposed a nuclear “warning shot” to be delivered to the home country of Assad and Fayed, the shock around the table of civilians and military advisers was palpable. Could such a thing ever be contemplated?

That question was actually faced by the United States government back in the spring of 1945 as our scientists working on the Manhattan Project informed President Truman that the atomic bomb would be ready for delivery before the end of the summer. Neither Roosevelt nor his successor had faced up to the hard choice of whether or not to even use the bomb. To help him with his decision, Truman called upon a group of wise men drawn from the government, academia, and science to examine the issues surrounding the use of the atomic bomb.

It really was an extraordinary gathering of brains and experience. Called simply “The Interim Committee,” it was chaired by the Secretary of War, the brilliant Henry Stimson and included such giants as Vannever Bush, President of the Carnegie Institution, James Conant, President of Harvard, Karl Compton, President of MIT (his brother Arthur, a great scientist in his own right, was also on the Committee) as well as the head of the Manhattan Project Robert Oppenheimer.

They began to meet in May, 1945 in the greatest secrecy. The story of their deliberations was best told by Richard Rhodes in his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Rhodes description of the Committee’s discussions is riveting. Their deliberations ran the gamut from the ethical ramifications of using the super weapon to determining which Japanese cities to target. Originally, one of the targets was to be the city of Kyoto. But Stimson pleaded with Truman to spare the city since it was considered by the Japanese to be the most important religious and cultural center in the country.

In the end, the Committee boiled down the options to three choices:

1. Inform the Japanese of the existence of the bomb and threaten to use it unless they immediately surrendered.

2. A demonstration of the bombs destructive power at a remote location.

3. Drop the bombs on Japanese cities with no warning.

In the end, the Committee decided to use the bomb without any warning. The reasoning was that any warning given would allow the Japanese to move thousands of American POW’s into the area where the bomb would be dropped. Plus, it was felt that the psychological effect of the bomb would be lost if any advance notice was given the Japanese. The report also stated that since “we can purpose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war; we see no acceptable alternative to direct military use.”

One of the major problems with a “technical demonstration” was finding a “remote location” that the Japanese would be able to witness the explosion. And we could not be sure that the horrific nature of the bomb could be amply demonstrated unless the potential devastation could be brought home to the Japanese government.

Of course, there has been talk recently of using tactical “bunker busting” nuclear weapons on Iran’s hardened nuclear research sites. Seymour Hersh, in an article last year, wrote that the Bush Administration was seriously contemplating using the bomb for that purpose. But would we ever consider a “demonstration” or “warning shot” attack?

It would be madness. Nuclear fallout would circle the globe. And it would be impossible to find a place in Iran remote enough that a warning shot wouldn’t cause fallout to drift over Russian territory since the Russians share a long border with Iran. What do you think the reaction of Moscow would be to deadly radioactive fallout wafting over their territory? Just ask yourself what our reaction would be to such an event and you can see why using nuclear weapons against Iran for any reason would be folly.

So the warning shot scenario being played out on the show may make for good drama but only a reckless fool would actually order one in real life.

That description would seem to apply to Vice President Daniels. Not only does he want to shred the Constitution but he now wishes to risk a general war just to show that he’s not bluffing. It remains to be seen how Karen Hayes can stop the madness before it’s too late.


Being treated by a medic at the scene of the carnage at the Russian Consulate, we are told that Jack has some “floating rib fragments” as a result of being kicked and punched by the Russian security guys. Whew! That’s a relief. For a moment, we thought it might have been something serious. But floating rib fragments? Bauer shrugs off injuries like that all the time. Just give him an hour or so and he’ll be right as rain, showing no ill effects of what would cause your or I to double over in pain every time we drew breath.

More to the point, Doyle tells Jack to, in effect, get lost, that he can handle things from here on out. I sense conflict coming between those two, especially since Doyle seems to be Jack Bauer without the redeeming qualities of vulnerability and just plain niceness. Jack ignores him and heads back to CTU looking to help in the hunt for Gredenko.

We learn during Bill’s conversation with Daniels that there are actually 5 of the stealth drones, more than enough to carry the three remaining suitcase nukes to their targets. But Gredenko, following his conversation with Markov before he was captured, knows that CTU is now hot on his trail and it’s only a matter of minutes before he’s discovered. He tells Fayed to forget about the other drones, that they will find a way to deliver the rest of the nukes. Fayed comes close to taking out his partner but the two obviously still need each other. Expect that to change before too much longer.

Gredenko then calls one of his accomplices and orders him to get the drone in the air. Working from a remote location, the drone pilot protests that all the evasion protocols aren’t programmed into the drone yet. Gredenko urges him to launch anyway and add the protocols when the drone is airborne.

Indeed, CTU has no trouble following the drone at first. But as Bill and the gang start to vector some F-16’s toward the drone, the track disappears from the satellite image. The drone pilot has accessed one of the CTU computers and is able to change the drone’s course to keep the satellite from finding it.

This has got to be the mother of all hacks. And once again it calls into question a counterterrorism unit that regularly has to purge moles from its ranks as well as deal with site security that is absolutely abysmal (last year’s nerve gas attack). Now we discover that they have been out-geeked by a Russian? Time for Chloe, Milo, and Morris to turn in their keys to the geek washroom if it’s true.

Speaking of Chloe, she confronts Milo and Nadia about Nadia’s use of Milo’s password to get past the security protocols put in place because she’s an Arab. Thus, Chloe becomes complicit in their felony which, judging by what happens later, was probably not a good move on her part.

Back at the White House, Daniels can’t understand why the most sophisticated satellite network on the planet lost the drone in the first place. He calls a meeting with the Joint Chiefs and his national security team to discuss military options against Fayed’s country.

Back at CTU, Jack sees Bill and offers to help going after Gredenko. Bill tells Jack to get fixed up first and that he’ll keep him informed of what’s happening. On his way to the CTU hospital, he sees Marilyn who seems to be recovering nicely from the sudden death of her husband. She makes eyes at Jack, batting her eyelashes like a teenager, coming on to our hero and telling him she “always regretted things didn’t work out between us.” Jack appears to agree but when Marilyn goes for the liplock, Jack demurs. He tells her that he was in love with someone else before he was captured by the Chinese and he would have to talk to her first.

Always the gentleman, our Jack. He feels compelled to dump needle nose Audrey before doing the nasty-nasty with Marilyn. Would that all of us men would follow his shining example.

But Marilyn has the shocker of the night. Somehow, she had heard about Jack and Audrey being an item (please don’t ask where although it is barely possible that her dead husband let slip that news sometime in the last couple of years) and was sorry to inform Jack that Audrey died in a car accident.

Jack is shocked. Not only at the news but also because none of his friends had bothered to tell him about it. He races out to confront Chloe who tells Jack that she never got around to telling him because he was going to die anyway! Jack orders her to get Audrey’s file which, despite the fact that a drone aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon is in the air heading toward an American city, she drops everything to comply with Bauer’s personal request.

What else are friends for?

Meanwhile, Vice President Daniels is breathing fire and taking names. He informs his assembled national security team that he intends to fire a nuclear “warning shot” at Fayed’s country if another nuke is detonated on American soil. Karen quite rightly raises every single logical objection to such a stupid plan including chasing the moderates out of the target government, emboldening terrorists worldwide, and the unknown reaction of Russia and China.

Daniels ignores her and is told that his warning shot will still kill 2,000 innocents and perhaps an equal number due to fallout. Chillingly, the Vice President says “I can accept that.” Glad he can because somehow I think the families and loved ones of those 4,000 condemned souls will have a little more difficulty with the accepting part of the scenario.

The Veep casually assures Karen that he’s thought it through and that in his opinion, nothing bad will happen. This proves too much for Karen who sputters that the issue is too important to rely on the judgement of one man. Looking a little peeved (and thus giving us an inkling of what might happen to Karen later) the Veep informs Karen that her objection has been noted but that his decision is final.

Back at CTU, Nadia tells Milo that she sloughed off some of her work to Morris which causes Milo to question Morris’ fitness. He wonders if he’s been tippling – giving himself some liquid courage to face the job. He asks Chloe to check.

Now you or I might sidle up to the employee in question and get close enough that we would be able to tell if they had been drinking. But you and I are not Chloe. She takes the direct approach, giving her ex-husband a passionate kiss (well, passionate for Chloe anyway) to find out if he’s been sneaking a drink. When Morris asks what that was for, instead of telling a little fib about just wanting to do it or saying that it looked like you needed it, Chloe comes right out and says “I was checking your breath,” at which point Morris speaks for all of us when he says sotto voce “Got to love this place.”

Back at the White House, Karen tries to enlist Tom in her campaign to thwart Daniel’s warning shot plan. But Tom will have none of it, saying he serves at the pleasure of the President and that the Vice President is now Acting Commander in Chief. He tells her that she better pray the President wakes up from his coma before the warning shot is launched because that’s the only way she’s going to stop it.

Back at CTU, Chloe has some disturbing news; someone is accessing a CTU computer and following their satellite tracking efforts. Thus begins the Sixth Annual Great CTU Mole Hunt.

The contestants this year? In the lead thanks to the fact that she’s an Arab and a “Mooslim” as Doyle points out rather crudely is Nadia. But Milo, who is smitten with her, defends Nadia by playing the PC card. Just because she’s a Muslim doesn’t mean she’s helping the terrorists.

But Bill is much more practical. Since she’s already been profiled by Homeland Security what better place to start than Nadia’s workstation? And Chloe, who is not politically correct when it comes to doing her job, has been comparing the computer leak info with Nadia’s workstation even while Milo was arguing against it. And what do you know but she gets a match right out of the box. And Nadia appears to be toast.

Of course, anyone familiar with the First through Fifth Annual Great CTU Mole Hunts knows full well that the traitor is never – I repeat never – caught this quickly. Suspicion will have to fall on one or two more suspects before the traitor is revealed – usually someone we least expect.

But Nadia is in deep doo-doo. CTU security grabs her and Bill orders them to take her to the most dreaded room at headquarters – that chamber of horrors, the holding room.

Now minutes away from success, Gredenko calls the drone pilot and asks for an update. We learn that the target is San Francisco and that the nuke will detonate once it reaches coordinates preprogrammed by a GPS tracking device attached to the bomb.

I could say something very, very politically incorrect about maybe perhaps serious thought should be given to accidentally on purpose sort of kind of forgetting about that drone for a few minutes and then pretending to be surprised and shocked when it went off over the most leftist city in the United States.

But I would never say anything like that. It would be wrong and besides, the politics of the people aside, it is without a doubt the most beautiful city in the country. (I guess even just thinking about it will get our lefty friends in a tizzy. But worse things were said about “Red State America” in the aftermath of the 2004 election.)

Back at the White House infirmary, the doctor tells Karen that the President is in an induced coma in order to combat some swelling in his brain. When she asks the doctor to bring the President out of it, the doctor says he’s not authorized to do so, that only a family member can give that kind of permission. (One would think the Secret Service might have something to say about it as well.) And waiting anxiously for news about her brother, Sandra Palmer is seen peering through a door into the President’s room while we know that Karen will eventually have to ask her to wake him up for the good of the country.

Back at CTU, Morris works some of his geek magic and is able to trace the signal from Nadia’s workstation back to its source. Bill gets CTU Tactical on alert while Milo goes to CTU holding where Little Ricky is having some fun with Nadia.

Is Doyle a Jack Bauer without the vulnerability and nice guy personae? I think he is. Nadia intimates that Doyle actually enjoys torturing people though where Jack approaches leg breaking with a much more utilitarian attitude – doing what’s necessary to get the job done. Another reason why I think those two will butt heads in the not too distant future.

After Milo tells Doyle that they’ve found the drone pilot’s hideout, Nadia pleads with him to believe her when she says she’s not assisting the terrorists. Milo’s silence echoes the fact that everyone else thinks she’s guilty as well.

Meanwhile, Jack is in CTU medical getting his floating rib fragments fixed up and reading Audrey’s file. The gruesome pictures of her car crash seem to be proof of her death although for a fleeting second it appears that the shade of doubt crosses his mind. Just then, Jack sees the CTU TAC guys on their way out the door. When he finds out what the mission is, he sees Bill – first confronting him with regards to not telling him about Audrey’s death (“Sorry, Jack. We were asking you to die and didn’t think it was right to tell you.”) and then begging his boss to let him go on the TAC mission. Jack tells him that Audrey died trying to save him in China and that after he’s done killing the terrorists here, he’s going to kill the people who murdered Audrey. Bill doesn’t even blink. He not only relents, he makes him point man for the operation.

Quick cut to Gredenko who checks in one more time with the drone pilot. We are told that the drone is starting its descent and that San Francisco will glow in the dark in about 3 minutes.

Jack and the TAC team make it to the pilot’s location in record time. (6 minutes by the clock from the time Jack was told he could go with the team to the scene where the TAC guys are waiting outside the building.) Making quick work of the guards, Jack shoots it out with the pilot who goes down before he can set off a grenade.

Sitting at the console, Jack tells CTU that the target is San Francisco. After patching CTU into the drone’s screen, he learns about the GPS trigger and tries to turn the plane. Just barely avoiding a stall, Jack successfully maneuvers the plane out of harms way but in the process, somehow loses control of the aircraft. Chloe helps Jack land the plane in an industrial park where the fire department shows up and, realizing there’s a nuke hazard, backs off and waits for the hazmat crew.

Back at the White House, there is great relief when the news is relayed about thwarting Gredenko’s plans. But Daniels is obsessed with sticking to his warning shot scenario. First Karen and then even Tom tries to tell him that the situation has changed and that firing the nuke is unjustified. But it’s like talking to Mr. Potato Head – the Veep is bound and determined to have his little nuclear fireworks show.

Daniels orders the sub to move into position and launch the missile.


A good night for Jack as he gets two confirmed kills and one almost certainly on the way to hell just as soon as he can torture any information about Gredenko out of the dying man. However, his bullets expended to number of kills ratio continues to plummet as it took him 6 shots to get his three Russians.

We will only count the two dead guards this week.

JACK: 13

SHOW: 386

By: Rick Moran at 10:49 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)


“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.


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.


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.


JACK: 11

SHOW: 384

By: Rick Moran at 9:39 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (18)


One of the more brilliant and original ideas in our Constitution can be found in Article II Section 1 which deals with the very practical problem of what to do if a President can no longer serve:

In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President … until the disability be removed, or a President elected.

The key phrase here is what exactly did the Founders mean when they wrote “the same shall devolve on the Vice President…?” It appears that the phrase modifies “powers and duties” which would mean that the Vice President would not actually be “President” but rather exercise the duties of the office alone. In fact, we know from the Federalist Papers that some of the delegates to the Constitutional convention felt that if a President died or was impeached, that the Vice President should act as a “caretaker” for the office until new elections could be held.

The first test for the Presidential succession clause occurred in 1841 following the death of William Henry Harrison. Harrison’s inauguration speech was given on a windy, snowy, cold day and the vain former Indian fighter declined to wear a topcoat. He caught pneumonia and died on March 4th – exactly a month after he was sworn in as President.

His Vice President, John Tyler, was sitting on the floor in the living room of his Virginia home playing with his son when the news reached him. What followed was one of the more interesting interludes in American history.

While the Constitution may have been vague on exactly what the meaning of Article II Section 1 said about succession, Tyler took it upon himself to define it. Rather than accept the idea that he would remain Vice President and exercise the “powers and duties” of the President he pointed to Article I Section 2 which states:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.

Tyler took that to mean that he was now President. A fierce debate broke out among his advisors about what exactly he should do next. Since the Constitution was silent about how exactly the Vice President should go about taking over, there was no precedent to follow. For two days, Tyler was pulled in several different directions. Should he call himself “Acting President” as some in Congress were urging? Should he call for a new election?

In the end, Tyler felt his best option was to assume the office of President by taking the oath “for greater caution.” This despite the fact that he had taken the very same oath 31 days previously – as if his loyalty to the Constitution may have been questioned?

But what Tyler wanted was the symbolism that the oath represented. And so despite the fact that nowhere in the Constitution is there a requirement for the Vice President to take another oath upon ascending to the Presidency, the precedent Tyler started has endured to this day.

The fact is that the moment a President dies or is unable to perform his duties, the Vice President becomes President. We saw this last night with Vice President Daniels assuming the office of the Presidency upon the incapacitation of President Palmer. So why didn’t he take the oath?

Following the assassination of John Kennedy (where in the immediate aftermath of the shooting frantic TV newsmen were informing the nation that the US had no President because Johnson hadn’t taken the oath yet – clearly wrong and causing unnecessary worry) Congress passed and the states ratified the 25th amendment to the Constitution. It was felt in a nuclear age, there must be no question whatsoever about when the Vice President succeeds to the Presidency. The amendment contains a Disability Clause that allows the Vice President to exercise the duties of the President in limited circumstances:

The 25th Amendment provides two remedies when a president is disabled. 1. The president of his own volition may turn over the power of his office to the vice president. 2. The vice president, with the assent of a majority of the leading members of the cabinet, may make himself acting president on a temporary basis.

Clearly, Vice President Daniels took over as “Acting President” when the cabinet informed him that the President was incapacitated. An interesting question will be what happens when Wayne Palmer wakes up? Would the action of the cabinet be voided? Would Palmer have to sign a letter stipulating that the Vice President could continue acting as President while he recovered? Or, more predictability within the context of the show’s plot, would the President reclaim the mantle of authority and kick the Veep out?

Don’t expect a deep constitutional debate over what happens on the show but this theoretical problem might want to be examined by legal experts and scholars to make sure that if such an unlikely scenario ever did emerge, there would be some learned opinions on what to do.


The explosion in the press room severely injured the President and did, in fact, kill Assad. As the President is rushed into surgery, Jack leaves Logan’s ranch, telling Jellyfish that he is still a federal prisoner and that he will stick to him like glue to make sure he doesn’t escape.

Logan has grown a beard but the facial hair can’t hide the fact that he is still a lying weasel. What his end game could be is still a mystery but if you believe that he is really seeking redemption, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can let you have for a song. Logan waxes about leaving captivity for the first time in a long time and tries to engage Jack in a soulful conversation about being confined, talking about how being so alone allows you to listen to your “inner voice.” Bauer’s “inner voice” is probably telling him to strangle the insipid SOB but instead, he simply tells him to shut up.

While on their way to the embassy to meet with Markov, Bill calls Jack with the bad news about the assassination attempt. Was it my imagination or did Jellyfish take the news just a little too complacently – as if he may have had an inkling of the plot? He knows Gredenko and he was being ordered around by Graem Bauer all of last year. Graem knew Fayed so is it possible that Logan is somehow privy to the details of the plot? Might he use this information to barter his freedom?

At the cabinet meeting, Vice President Daniels joins the group via a teleconference from his plane. The Doctor gives the grim update on Palmer’s condition. Accordingly, the Secretary of Defense informs Daniels that the cabinet voted to make him acting President. Accepting the news with no hesitation (is he or isn’t he involved?), Daniels orders the Secretary of Defense to have Tom Lennox brief him when he lands.

This gives Reed a major league headache. For when the Secretary confronts him about Tom’s absence, he has no good answers. And when he overhears the Secretary ordering the Secret Service to begin an intensive search for the missing Chief of Staff, he realizes the jig is up and something must be done with Lennox before he is found bound and gagged in the boiler room.

Making his way back to where Lennox is being held, Reed confronts Carson with the news of the search. Carson wants to off Lennox right there and make it look like a suicide. Reed will have none of that. Evidently, killing the President is fine but whacking the Chief of Staff would make them “murderers.” With that kind of reasoning, it’s no wonder Reed works for the government.

Reed, however, is a more attractive criminal than Carson. He is a true believer. He has actually been able to justify killing the President on the grounds that no doing so would destroy the country. And there’s no denying his loyalty to his boss Lennox. He tells Carson that he will have to kill him too if he wants to kill Lennox. Instead, Reed tries once again to enlist Tom in the plot in order to keep his mouth shut. He tells him that Daniels will almost certainly implement his plan for The Great American Muslim Roundup while also telling him that no one will believe him if he tells anyway.

Tom seems convinced and Reed cuts him loose. As they are exiting the basement, Carson, Reed, and Lennox run into the Secret Service. Immediately, Tom shows his true colors and not only has Carson and Reed placed under arrest, but also delivers himself into custody.

After landing, Daniels calls Bill asking about the deal with Logan. Bill tells him that they had little choice given the fact that Gredenko’s trail had gone cold and that the Russian CG Markov appeared to be the only tangible lead. Daniels learns that Jack Bauer is riding herd on Logan and demands that Logan be returned to house arrest once his usefulness is at an end.

Pulling up to the consulate, Logan convinces Jack that he should see Markov alone. It was at this point that I almost thought that Logan would ask for asylum and cross everybody up. But I was mistaken as Logan made his way into Markov’s office for his little chat. Jack had to cool his heels in the corridor outside of Markov’s office.

If two guys ever deserved each other, it’s Logan and Markov. Slime vs. Sludge with the winner getting first dibs at the local toxic waste dump. Both guys are so oily that you almost expected a west Texas wildcatter to show up in the room and start drilling.

Markov fends off questions about Gredenko, saying he hadn’t seen or talked to him in a year. But Logan has an ace up is sleeve; he tells the Russian that he taped all those conversations they had about his facilitating the sale of nerve gas to Russian terrorists last year. Markov seems shocked at the news, although given Logan’s character, one wonders why he should be.

Still not revealing anything about Gredenko, the meeting concludes amicably enough with the Russian not very happy at all. On their way out the door, Logan tells Jack that he’s sure Markov is lying about his knowledge of where Gredenko is. How? Logan tells Jack that being an expert liar himself, he can tell when others are fibbing. A pretty lame explanation but Jack buys it.

Sure enough, Logan is barely out the door when Markov calls Gredenko and tells him that the Americans know he is involved but are guessing about everything else. He urges him to hurry his preparations to deliver the bombs using the drones.

Meanwhile, Jack has a scathingly brilliant idea. Since his violation of the Chinese consulate worked out so well last year, only landing him in a Chinese prison for 16 months, why not infiltrate another consulate and go for an even longer prison term? Jack calls Chloe and tells her to work “off the books” on turning power to the consulate off long enough that he can sneak into the CG’s office and have a chat with Mr. Markov.

Back at the bunker, Daniels learns of the plot involving Reed and Carson as well as Tom remanding himself into custody. He goes to see Lennox who is having a tough time convincing the Secret Service that he wasn’t in on the plot in the first place and only turned on his confederates when he had second thoughts (which may or may not be accurate since, as the Secret Service interrogator pointed out, he handed Reed the President’s top secret itinerary which assisted the assassins).

Daniels doesn’t quite know what to think about Tom but he still needs him if only to ram his draconian national security plan through the cabinet. The Veep also won’t listen to Lennox when he tries to absolve Assad of responsibility in the bombing. Even if true, he will use the pretext to help convince the nation that rounding up innocent women and children and sending them off to concentration camps is in the national interest. In exchange for not arresting him, Daniels orders Tom to keep his mouth shut about Assad’s innocence.

So after bravely giving up Reed and Carson knowing it would cast himself in a bad light, Tom wimps out and agrees to keep his mouth shut just to stay out of prison. Hero or villain? The jury is still out on Tom Lennox.

Jack has made his way to the back of the Russian Consulate. Upon being discovered by a clueless Russian security guy who thinks Jack is “guarding the back of the building,” we discover that Bauer can actually speak Russian – unintelligible, very bad Russian that wouldn’t fool an Russian infant but works fine for American TV. Besides, he’s Jack Bauer. Reason enough for the security guard to believe him.

Cuing Chloe to dim the electricity, Jack makes his way into the embassy. The power loss has the Russians scrambling – and suspicious. As Jack hits Markov’s office, the power comes back on and the CG hits the panic button. Jack slams him back into his chair and informs the guards outside the locked door that he has a gun on their boss and that they better back off.

What a revoltin’ development. The only way out is through the door he came in that now has a dozen Russian FSB agents with itchy trigger fingers on the other side. Jack does the only thing he can do; he calls Bill.

Bill doesn’t seem overly surprised at Jack going rogue on him. He is apparently used to it by now. Jack asks Bill to tell the White House what’s going on so they don’t get blindsided when the Russians hit the roof. Bill politely suggests that Jack cut his losses and find a way out but Jack stubbornly insists that he will stay and get the information they need on Gredenko from Markov.

Turning his attention back to the thoroughly frightened CG, Jack starts the interrogation in his usual way:

JACK: I’m going to ask you nice only once. Where is Gredenko.”

Never let it be said that Jack is nothing, if not nice, even to terrorists and their allies – at least “once.” After that, it’s best that you not share the same room with him.

At the bunker, Daniels gets the bad news from Bill about what Jack is up to. He’s mad but also understanding, telling Bill to light a fire under Jack because he doesn’t know how long he can hold the Russians off. Sure enough, his aide Lisa breaks in to tell him the Russian President is on the phone. Their conversation doesn’t accomplish anything. Suvarov tells Daniels to take his accusations about Markov and Grendenko “through regular diplomatic channels” while Daniels coolly informs the Russian President that Gredenko (and by extension the Russian government) will be held responsible if another nuke goes off. Stalemate.

Jack starts using Markov’s face as a punching bag, firing questions at him about Gredenko. Markov says he hasn’t seen the former General since he came to the United States. Anyone who has ever watched Law and Order caught the significance of that comment immediately; Jack never said anything about Gredenko being in the United States.

Convinced now that Markov knows where Gredenko is hiding, Jack ponders his next move. What will it be? The old “Lamp Cord Electric Shock Therapy?” Perhaps the equally tried and true “Dislocating Fingers One-at-a-Time Trick?” Instead, Jack, ever creative, uses the tools at his disposal. He finds Markov’s cigar cutter and decides to put it to good use – on the Russian’s fingers.

It only takes one finger before Markov is singing like a canary. We discover that Gredenko is somewhere in the Mojave Desert. And Jack goes slack jawed when he hears that Gredenko will use the pilotless drones to deliver the nukes. Giving Markov a goodbye punch, Jack starts for the door.

What did he expect? That the Russians would part like the Red Sea for Moses and just let him waltz out of there? Whatever he was thinking, the Russians blow the door and capture him easily. Markov gets a taste of revenge by giving a blow to Jack’s solar plexus that has the agent gasping for breath.

At the bunker, Daniels goes on TV and after informing the public of the shocking news regarding the attempt on the President, he gives out the lie of Assad’s involvement and piously uses it as an excuse to tear up the Constitution. Saying that “some” civil liberties would have to be suspended, “This is the price of war,” we are told.

Is it? Dire circumstances require drastic action. But as these measures unfold, I think the writers will make it clear that most if not all of the steps taken are unnecessary and over the top. If the goal is to stop the nukes from going off, Daniels will be hard pressed to prove that his draconian plan will have any practical benefits toward finding them before that happens.

Back at CTU, the gang is worried that they haven’t heard from Jack. Morris proves he’s fully back in the saddle by pulling a remarkable bit of geek magic from up his sleeve by semi-hacking a computer at the consulate and discovering that Jack has, in fact, been captured. Nadia tells Bill who refuses to inform Daniels. Instead, he orders CTU TAC to make plans to storm the consulate and save Jack.

At the consulate, Jack goes to work on the Russian guarding him, telling him about the Markov-Gredenko connection and that unless his information is given to CTU, those nukes would be used. Somewhat torn but realizing the stakes, the Russian guard makes his way to a private room and dials the number to CTU asking for Bill Buchanan. Before Bill can come on the line, the main FSB agent Vasili shoots the guard in the back of the head and breaks the connection to CTU.

Probably just as well. Bill would probably have left Jack to rot in a Russian jail if he had been told what Bauer learned from Markov. As it is now, Bill will probably have to send his TAC team into action in order to save Jack and stop the plot from reaching fruition.


The Grim Reaper was out sick but it was finally confirmed that Assad did indeed die in the blast.


SHOW: 371

By: Rick Moran at 11:03 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (16)


Last night’s episode highlighted the enormous challenges faced by the United States Secret Service, perhaps the most unsung of all federal law enforcement agencies.

No one talks about the “Silent Service” very much, which suits the agents just fine. While their missions have expanded much in recent years to include investigating financial crimes (so-called “white collar” crimes), identity theft, counterfeiting, and computer related crime, their primary mission remains as it has since 1901 – the protection of the President.

In that thankless role, several agents have given their lives or been severely wounded as a result of their dedication to their mission – to place themselves as “human shields” around the President to protect his life at the expense of their own. Most recently, Special Agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the abdomen when he deliberately placed himself in the path of a bullet intended for Ronald Reagan. Video of the assassination attempt clearly shows Agent McCarthy, his arms akimbo in order to place more of his body between the shooter and the President, moving sideways as the gun tracked President Reagan, taking a bullet that could very well have struck the President.

(Reagan was not hit by a direct shot but rather by a ricochet that struck the inside of the open door to the limo.)

And a uniformed member of the Secret Service, White House Police Private Leslie William Coffelt, was shot and killed defending President Truman who was staying in The Blair House across the street from the White House in 1951 while the mansion was being renovated. Two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, attacked Blair House, wounding Coffelt severely who was on duty guarding the front door. As the assassins entered the foyer, they ran into a hail of bullets from Secret Service Agents including the wounded Coffelt who fired a bullet while lying prone on the ground hitting Torresola in the head and killing him instantly. Two other Uniformed Secret Service members, Donald Birdzell and Joseph Downs, were also wounded in the attack and recovered. Coffelt died later that day.

Oscar Collazo was convicted and sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to life in prison by President Truman. In 1979, Jimmy Carter commuted the assassin’s life term to time served and he was released from prison.

Despite these heroics (and many more that rarely make the news), the Secret Service still desires to maintain a low profile for the most part. Only when the threat level is elevated will the agents make an ostentatious show of their numbers as well as how well armed they are, all the better to discourage assassins.

Instead, the Secret Service relies much more on prevention than on actual protection. To accomplish this, they have the most modern. up to date tools available through the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), a unit that makes much of what the fictional CTU does pale in comparison.

The NTAC draws intelligence and expertise from all over the government and disseminates their findings to law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. While they may not have as many cool gadgets that CTU purports to show, they have massive amounts of data that can identify and track potential threats. Sometimes, acting on some of this data leads to the Secret Service showing up at the door of bloggers, or high school kids,, or even elderly letter writers who make innocuous comments about the President.

Some see this vigilance as overkill or even ascribe more sinister motives to these visits. What all of us fail to realize is that the Secret Service is required by an Act of Congress to investigate all threats or potential threats to the President regardless of who they are from or how serious agents might consider them to be.

Last night’s episode revealed the service at its best and perhaps their worst. Should they have been able to detect the bomb parts in Carson’s briefcase? One would hope in real life, that such would be the case but I’m not so sure. The Agent inspecting the contents of the briefcase appeared to do a thorough enough job, going so far as to make sure that the dictation device that would contain the assembled bomb actually worked. It may be that other bomb parts that were unassembled would have been noticeable to a real Secret Service Agent but we just don’t know. Clearly, in the aftermath of any such assassination attempt, a review of how the bomb made it by security would have top priority. And if a weakness was found either in training or procedures, you can be sure that the Service would rectify that weakness to the best of their ability.

It is also worth noting that at least 3 agents raced to protect the President when Assad yelled “bomb” just before the explosion and that at least two appeared to have died. If so, they gave their lives as they had sworn to do; upholding their oaths to protect the President with their lives if necessary.

A thankless job for which all Americans should be grateful that there are men and women possessing the courage and dedication to perform this necessary and hazardous duty.


We find Gredenko at what appears to be a deserted air strip waiting for that mysterious shipment from Las Vegas. He calls Fayed and tells him that once he has delivery, that setting up and reconfiguring the electronics will take a couple of hours. Somehow, these two are going to have to hook up so that the two parts of the plot can come together. When that happens, expect one or both sides to try and betray the other. The ultra-nationalist Gredenko and the fanatical jihadist Fayed are like oil and water; the idea that they will mix and complete the plot together doesn’t seem likely. Gredenko makes this even more likely when he sneers ““The Arabs and the West can destroy each other,” which could mean he will eliminate one of the only links in the plot who is aware of his involvement.

Besides, the Gods demand that both crooks try and double cross each other. If so, bet on Fayed to come out on top.

Back at the White House, the President gets a visit from an ambassador of presumably Middle Eastern origin who is informed of Assad’s upcoming speech to his radical jihadist buddies across the world asking them to “lay down their arms” and support this peace initiative.

The more I think about this, the sillier it is. The fact that any President of the United States would take this “peace overture” seriously is even sillier. And silliest of all perhaps is the notion that the many and disparate terrorist groups around the world – including narco-terrorist organizations like the Columbian based FARC or the communist inspired “Shining Path” in Peru who are responsible for hundreds of innocent deaths would care what one Middle Eastern terrorist was doing.

Having pointed this out, if we haven’t learned yet to suspend our belief in reality when watching this show then we are almost certainly not watching it anymore. It makes it all the more entertaining to watch as the left continues to hyperventilate about the show and its plot lines, drawing some kind of parallel between what happens in real life and what happens in this fictional drama.

The ambassador seems offended at the President’s demand that his government issue a statement supporting Assad’s efforts – that is until Palmer makes it clear in no uncertain terms that if another nuke goes off, the ambassador’s country is Number One with a bullet on our hit list.

Back at CTU, Jack calls Bill and tells him for the first time that his father is in on the plot and that he will fill him in later. What Jack really needs from Bill is authorization to speak to former President Jellyfish who has offered to help in the search for Gredenko. Jack asks Bill why the terrorist supporting Logan has not been punished for his crimes and we are informed that after pleading guilty to “obstruction of justice,” Logan has retired to his estate and is under house arrest.

Once again, the reason given is that we poor citizens just couldn’t handle the bad news that our President is not only a crook, but a traitor as well. Do you think that one day, the powers that be will stop treating us like children, hiding information that they believe might upset us?

Outside the hotel, Jack tells Marilyn and Josh to get back to CTU where they will be “safe.” Given the porous security we’ve seen in the past at CTU headquarters, they would probably be better off just about anywhere else including their own home. At any rate, Jack tells Josh (still wild speculation that the kid is Jack’s) that one day he will tell him what a creep his dad really was and how he masterminded plots to kill thousands of Americans. Well, perhaps he wasn’t quite as graphic but the kid isn’t stupid and knows enough about his dad and now his grandfather that he realizes he is part of perhaps the most spectacularly dysfunctional family in America. Maybe in world history although the Medici’s could give the Bauers a run for that title.

And judging by that special moment shared by Jack and Marilyn before they parted – the tender caress and soulful exchange of glances – my guess is that Audrey has her work cut out for her if she expects to retain Jack’s fealty. Perhaps the issue could be settled between the two women at 20 paces with revolvers. More likely, a good old fashioned cat fight would decide the issue – preferably in a ring filled with mud or jello. Think of the ratings bonanza for that episode.

After guiding Carson through the Secret Service checkpoint with the unassembled bomb in his briefcase, Reed tells him about Lennox and how he has had to restrain him lest the plot be discovered. Carson, who works for the “Abbot Institute” (sounds an awful lot like the conservative think tank Hoover Institution), calmly informs Reed that Lennox will have to be killed, preferably by making his death appear to be a suicide. But Reed is nothing if not loyal and objects saying that once the Muslims are being rounded up and the missiles start flying, Lennox will be back on board. Carson is unconvinced and begins to assemble the bomb.

Poor Morris is having a devil of a time concentrating on his work and Chloe suspects the worst – that he’s been drinking again. She asks if he has called his AA sponsor and Morris says that he has although when he would have found the time is not apparent. As Morris goes off to play with the server, Chloe surreptitiously finds the number to Morris’ sponsor and calls, leaving a message for the sponsor to call her back. Nadia also gets in on the controversy, believing that Morris is incapable of performing his duties by eventually deferring to Chloe’s judgement.

The confrontation between Jack and Logan is tense but delicious. You can almost see Jack’s hands itching to place themselves around the ex-President’s neck. Insincere and as oily as ever, Jellyfish tells Jack that Gredenko has a conduit at the Russian consulate in Los Angeles, the Consul General himself Anatoly Markov, who probably knows where Gredenko is and what he’s up to. Logan informs Jack that only he can get Markov to spill the beans about Gredenko because he was involved in all the plots from last year and he can threaten to expose the CG to his superiors. When Jack sneeringly asks what Logan wants in return, Jellyfish claims he got religion and only wants redemption.

Jack is unconvinced but with precious little else to go on calls the President for the Executive Order that would free Logan temporarily. Palmer too is skeptical but after talking to the man who murdered his brother, nevertheless gives the go ahead.

At the deserted air strip, Gredenko finally welcomes the shipment from Las Vegas: two small US army aerial drones that will presumably be used to drop the bombs.

This is actually an excellent choice by the terrorists. The drones are too small to be tracked by all but the most sophisticated radar, are virtually noiseless, and have a huge range. The fact that there are three bombs but only two drones makes how they deploy these weapons a very interesting problem that I’m sure the writers will either ignore or invent some lame situation where they can be re-loaded. Judging by the size of the drones, they would be incapable of carrying more than one bomb at a time.

Back at CTU, things are getting dicey for Morris. Bill tries to relieve him but still in the grip of his dry drunk, Morris announces to everyone in the conference room that even though he has had a very bad day, he can still do his job. Bill relents and allows Morris to continue over Nadia’s objections. Chloe also has her doubts which are fed a few minutes later by Nadia who shows her where Morris has evidently made a simple mistake in one of his reports. When she confronts Morris, he dismisses it as inconsequential, charging Nadia with having it in for him just to prove that she was right to question his abilities in front of Bill. Chloe just doesn’t know what to make of things and starts to obsess over the problem.

Back at Logan’s ranch, Jack proves that he is always prepared by showing up in a suit looking like a million bucks in order to pass himself off as a Secret Service agent. He gets the authorization from the President while Logan is in front of the mirror in his bedroom preening like a peacock. He quotes a verse from the bible as part of a personal pep talk, that makes us wonder just how far this religious “conversion” has gone.

Judging from his past history, we can safely assume that we can trust President Jellyfish about as far as we can throw him.

The dam breaks at CTU when Chloe gets a call from the woman who was listed as Morris’ sponsor on his personal phonebook. She claims she hasn’t talked to Morris in three years. Convinced now that Morris is lying, she hunts him down in the men’s bathroom and interrupts her ex-husband while he is in the process of attending to a very serious call of nature.

Claiming that he now has another sponsor and that Chloe has gone off the deep end, Morris convinces her that everything is, if not fine, then certainly not as bad as she believes things to be. Right after Chloe leaves the restroom, ashamed for doubting him, Morris pulls a liquor bottle (3/4 empty) from his pocket and, after deliberating briefly, pours the remainder down the sink while throwing the empty bottle in the wastebasket, Since it is probable that even the wastebaskets in the bathroom are inspected to make sure nothing important is thrown away, Morris’ drinking will probably be discovered anyway. But for now, he is safe.

Back in the boiler room, Carson is still constructing the bomb while Lennox is tended to by Reed. Tom pleads with his former aide to not become a terrorist by killing the President but to no avail. In the meantime, the President’s secretary calls Reed asking after Lennox who the President wants at Assad’s speech. Reed assures her that Tom is on his way while he hurries Carson along in his bombmaking. With the bomb assembled, Carson shows Reed how to activate it by punching a code into a palm pilot. Fifteen seconds later – kablam! The President must be in “the kill zone” of ten feet for the bomb to do its dirty work.

Making his way to the broadcast studio where the speech will first be rehearsed by Assad with the President in attendance, Reed sidles up to the podium and places the bomb inside. Just then the President walks in with Assad.

Back in the boiler room, a desperate Lennox sees a way to manipulate the steam pressure by turning a valve with his feet. Even though the alarm briefly goes off, Carson is able to bring the pressure back down and warns Tom that any further trouble will bring swift retribution. Tom can only suffer in silence as the moment approaches.

After brushing off the President with excuses about Tom’s whereabouts, Reed leaves the studio and stands outside the door. As Assad stands at the podium with the President standing only a few feet away, Reed punches the code into the PDA and waits.

The seconds go by with agonizing slowness. As the chemicals in the bomb mix toward criticality, some of the fluid leaks and dribbles down the podium. Curious, Assad stoops and looks inside. Deducing the threat he yells “Bomb!” and lunges toward the President as do 3 other Secret Service agents.

The explosion rocks the little room sending debris flying around like shrapnel everywhere. It is apparent that at least 3 Secret Service agents and possibly even Assad are dead. Secret Service agents rush past Reed who is still standing outside the room as if nothing happened, not even seeming excited about what just occurred. Let’s hope the agents remember this behavior later as it certainly would be considered suspicious under any circumstances.

But the President moves slightly suggesting that he is badly hurt but still alive. The agents probably deflected just enough force from the blast to save him. But it is also apparent that he is in no shape to continue in office – at least for a while. That means that the Vice President and his nefarious plans to destroy the Constitution as well as perhaps start a world war will move front and center.


It seemed obvious that at least three Secret Service Agents (or bystanders) were dead with Assad’s condition not confirmed. My guess is we will find out next week what the total body count was so until then, we will go with only the three obviously departed agents.


SHOW: 370

By: Rick Moran at 10:47 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)


We’ve known for several episodes that what motivates Phillip Bauer more than anything is his drive to “save what he built” – his company, BXJ Technologies. But why? What possible motivation could cause Phillip to become involved in such nefarious activities?

The answer is immortality. Phillip is obsessed with it. Passing his “legacy” on to the next generation – first Graem and now Josh – has caused him to betray everything; his country, Jack, even humanity. He has so wrapped his identity around the company that he founded and built he has reasoned that as long as the company is in existence, he too will live.

A powerful motivation, that. It speaks to the divine in all of us. Most of the world’s great religions posit an afterlife where the immortal soul resides. But this is different. This is something tangible, something in the real world. The concept is so seductive that Phillip has abandoned his morals, his integrity, and even his sons so that perhaps his last thought in this life will be that he will live on, an eternal sentry standing watch over those who run BXJ.

The Greeks were drunk with the idea of immortality as the Iliad clearly shows. Warriors like Achilles and Hector fought knowing full well that their deeds would long outlive them and that songs would be sung of them for a thousand years. More recently, no less a personage than George Washington was bitten by the immortality bug.

Most men settle for their legacy living on through their children. But Washington, from a very young age, knew that the eyes of history would be upon him and realized that by carrying himself as a historical figure, history would indeed treat him kindly. It is impossible to separate what actions Washington took with an eye on the history books and which were the result of his noble character. But given his constant allusions to classical figures to explain many of his actions like the Roman General Fabius who, after saving Rome, retired to his farm rather than take the dictatorship that clearly could have been his, many biographers of Washington believe Washington’s desire to live on through the ages played a large role in shaping decisions in his later life.

This is not to say that Washington was any less virtuous or should be held in any lesser esteem. But it does point up this desire in many men to have their deeds live on after they are gone.

For Phillip Bauer, this obsession has now led to what he must clearly see as his ruin and the ruin of his company. Is this why he spared Jack? With both Josh and Marilyn still alive and knowing the truth about him, perhaps he saw the futility in killing the only son he had left. Knowing the writers, we might never find out why he didn’t kill Jack. But it’s clear that from here on out, Philip’s “legacy” will have to live on through Jack. And because of that, don’t be surprised if Phillip switches from trying to kill his son to joining him in the hunt for Gredenko.


Milo and Marilyn are on the run from Phillip’s thugs when Jack finds the burning van. He calls Bill to tell him the bad news and then races after them. While Milo is not a field agent, like Chloe (who offed a terrorist last year with an M-16) and all CTU agents, he is trained in the deadly arts – or at least he knows which is the business end of a revolver. Taking cover behind some dumpsters in an industrial park because Marilyn is wimping out on him, Milo grimly awaits the coming confrontation with the bad guys.

Phillip’s thugs aren’t too far behind. They arrive in the industrial park and begin the search while one of them calls Phillip at the hotel where he has taken Josh. The last place finisher in this year’s “TV Father of the Year” contest winces upon hearing the news of Jack’s presumed death, saying that there was “nothing that could be done.” He wants Marilyn alive so that she can tell him where Gredenko is.

Realizing the jig is up, Milo tells Marilyn to start running once he begins to shoot. As he bravely steps into the line of fire and begins to let Phillip’s bully boys have it, Marilyn either freezes or panics – probably both – and fails to move as Milo pours fire on to the bad guys. A single burst from an automatic silences Milo as a bullet finds his arm.

Taking Marilyn away and lining up to execute the geek-turned warrior Milo, the thugs are surprised when Jack shows up and wastes two of them. The fact that he had to use three shots to bring down the pair of them is ample evidence that poor Jack is out of practice and must get himself involved in more firefights in order to sharpen his eye.

The third thug threatens to kill Marilyn unless Jack drops his gun. Silly bad guy! Jack rarely follows orders from anyone least of all a brute holding a gun to the head of an innocent civilian. Jack also realizes that whoever is behind this needs Marilyn or the thug would have killed her already. The bad guy surrenders meekly.

Handcuffing the terrorist after checking to make sure Milo’s wound isn’t serious, Jack turns his attention to the former love of his life who betrayed he and his men. He grabs her by the throat and starts firing questions at her. The woman is too scared to try and lie so she spills the whole story; it’s Phillip who is behind everything. He has Josh and she had no choice but to do as he said. She also reveals the real address of Gredenko’s hideout, having noticed it when they drove by earlier.

The news appears to hit Jack pretty hard. But you can almost see the tumblers clicking into place. It all makes sense now. And Jack knows exactly what must be done. Like all great heroes, he must face his nemesis alone. He calls Bill and tells him to “trust him,” that it was now “personal” and that he would handle it. Before Bill can sputter out his objections, Jack has hung up and is setting a trap for his father.

Meanwhile, back at CTU Morris is on a “dry drunk.” Alcoholics don’t change once they stop drinking. The personality traits that made one susceptible to alcohol addiction in the first place never go away. Usually, it takes a few drinks for the self pitying, weepy drunk we’re all familiar with to emerge. But even for those alcoholics who have been sober for years, those same traits emerge – usually in times of stress.

Morris is on a full blown self-pitying jag. Chloe threatens to relieve him but he counters by saying all he needs is a little walk. When told of Milo’s heroics, Morris whines about “rubbing salt” into his wounded psyche. It is at this point that all alcoholics are in greatest danger of relapsing and going on a binge. In Morris’ case, he is torturing himself for arming the bomb and, more importantly, for not living up to the CTU Code of Heroic Conduct and seeking death rather than dishonor. Chloe tells him to call either the staff psychologist or his AA sponsor. Good advice not heeded.

Jack lays his trap for Phillip, making the thug call his dad and tell him that Marilyn won’t cooperate unless she sees her son. He has Marilyn insist on it or she won’t tell him where Gredenko is. Despite threats against her son’s life, Marilyn holds firm in her demand to see Josh. Reluctantly, Philip tells his bully boy to bring Marilyn to the hotel where he is staying.

Josh, overhearing the part about him getting killed, proves himself a smart kid and tries to sneak out “for a soda.” Phillip isn’t buying it and, showing the young man his gun, says darkly “No one’s life is worth the destruction of everything I’ve built.”

Welcome to the real Bauer family, kid.

Back in the bowels of the White House, Lennox meets with Reed and gives him the President’s itinerary for the Assad speech. He is told to get clearance for a man who will actually carry out the assassination. Protesting that his direct involvement will point the finger at him, Reed assures him that he won’t even be investigated, that blame will fall on Assad.

Clearly having second thoughts, Tom meets with the President and finds out that yes, his advice is still sought and desired by Palmer. This more than anything may have been the tipping point in Lennox’s inner struggles about the plot. The fact that the bureaucrat was still atop the food chain evidently matters more to him than getting rid of a President.

A short scene with Gredenko sheds no light on the mystery shipment coming from Vegas, only that because they only have three bombs left, the plan must be altered.

I have a very, very, bad feeling about whatever Gredenko’s ultimate plan might be.

Morris goes into a convenience store to get a snack (Good to see that 7-11 will still be open in the event of a catastrophic attack on America.) Seeing the booze behind the counter, he decides to turn his dry drunk into a wet one and buys some single malt whiskey -as good a choice as any if you’re going to fall off the wagon. He also buys some breath mints which no drunk in their right mind would do. Everyone knows that if you want to hide the fact that you drink, it’s best that you use Vodka which leaves no tell tale alcohol breath to betray you. All breath mints will do for Morris is make his breath smell like wintergreen whiskey.

Hating himself for his weakness, Morris takes several healthy gulps only to spit it out and force himself to upchuck the rest. Morris is in hell but he realizes that liquor won’t help him out of it. Chloe calls and orders him return. Morris can do nothing accept stagger back to work almost as if he had been on a two day binge.

Jack arrives at the Phillip’s hotel and readies Marilyn for the confrontation by offering her a sign of his true love and devotion – he gives her the only bullet proof vest that he has. The looks exchanged between these two former lovers tells me that poor Audrey has cause to be jealous.

After his meeting with the President, Tom meets with Reed to assure him that he’s working on getting clearance for the assassin. When his young assistant leaves, Lennox immediately calls the Secret Service and asks to meet with the agent in charge. But putting yourself on the side of the angels is not always the best move for your health. Upon leaving, he is attacked by Reed who never trusted him in the first place. After beating Lennox into submission, Reed calls the secret service to cancel his meeting with the agent in charge.

As the TAC team prepares to assault the house where Redenko is hiding, CTU gears up by having Chloe get them the satellite uplink. But Chloe, seeing how shaky Morris is knows the symptoms and, using a trumped up excuse about “resetting the backup” to the satellite uplink, pulls Morris out in to the hall and confronts her former husband.

She smells the whiskey immediately and upbraids him for letting her down, threatening to go to Buchanan. But Morris may have passed the crisis. He begs her to give him another chance and promises never to do it again. Chloe relents and they make it back to the conference room just in time.

I am more convinced than ever that Morris now must die. He will die heroically and redeem his cowardly actions in enabling Fayed to set off the bomb. The Gods demand it. And besides, for a show known to kill off regulars on a consistent basis, only dearly departed Curtis has exited so far. Some dead pools I’ve seen have Morris at the top of the list of the soon to be ex-24 regulars..

At Gredenko’s the TAC team moves in and finds the place empty. As Bill sends him the bad news via text message, Jack is moving toward Phillip’s room with the cooperating thug and Marilyn. Pushing their way in, they find the room empty. Just then, the phone rings. It’s Phillip who, smelling a trap, vacated the room with Josh and now has Jack right where he wants him. (“Even when you were young, I learned never to underestimate you.”)

His son tries to convince him that he only has one play left – give himself up, tell CTU everything he knows about the nukes, and hope for immunity. Given the number of bloodthirsty terrorists the US government has given this same deal to over the last few years, one wonders why Phillip doesn’t jump at the chance. Jack is right. His company is gone. All he has left is what remains of his family.

But Phillip will have none of it. When Jack suggests a prisoner exchange – Josh for Jack – Phillip agrees as long as Jack comes alone and unarmed. Perhaps realizing what he’s in for, Jack says goodbye to Marilyn in the stairwell next to where the exchange will take place. The moment is one more indication that Jack may have already forgotten about Audrey who has been pining away for two years while he sat rotting in a Chinese jail.

The exchange for Josh goes smoothly and Jack is left alone with is father. Phillip explains that Gredenko had him over a barrel, that he was blackmailing him with the knowledge of the Palmer plot from last year. He insists he was trying to stop Gredenko and that he didn’t know about the nukes until Valencia started to glow in the dark.

Jack isn’t buying it:

JACK: You want to lie to yourself you go ahead but stop lying to me. You let all of this happen just so you could cover up what you did.

PHILLIP: (Shaking his head ruefully) You had all the smarts Graem never had. You would have handled Gredenko before all of this got out of control. Ya know. . .none of this would have happened if you hadn’t turned you back on me. So that you could become – what – a “civil servant?”

It is clear that Phillip never understood his own son, only projecting his own values and desires on to a young Jack rather than realize that Jack’s calling was of a different kind, in a different direction. He tells Jack to get on his knees.

As Phillip prepares to kill his own son, Jack apologizes for letting his father believe all these years that he had turned his back on the family when he only wanted to live his own life by his own lights. As Jack braces himself for death, the bullet he was expecting to feel never arrives. Looking behind him, he sees that Phillip has left. Jack races out the door onto the roof only to find a palm pilot with a message to call an unfamiliar number.

When Jack calls and identifies himself, the voice at the other end is a familiar one, full of oily assurances and nauseating self importance. It is Charles Logan Ex President, ex plotter against the people of the United States, and former would be killer of Jack Bauer. Sporting a full beard (as if facial hair somehow gives him a backbone), he offers to help find Gredenko. But Jack must pay him a visit first.

And so the plot threads from two seasons are starting to merge. And one gets the feeling that Jack is going to find out more about his father from Logan than he wants to know or will be able to bear knowing.


Jack keeps his hand in by wasting two thugs, saving Milo in the process.


SHOW: 367

By: Rick Moran at 10:13 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

Midwest Prognosticator linked with Best 24 Recap on the Web