A Ziploc Bag! The New Terrorist Weapon of Choice
Before this episode even started, I was excited — now that’s something new. The way (in previews) that Hastings yelled “Security!” made my heart feel jumpy. Seeing Kayla being readied for a beheading video — straight out of past headlines — hit a nerve (and made me wish for the beheading of several other characters). And hearing the words “a twist” always, er, gets my panties in a twist, so there’s that! But they frakking wussed out and went for a plastic bag! Seriously? A Ziploc is the new terrorist weapon of choice? Someone get the FAA on this, and I guess we’ll have to find something else in which to carry on all our teeny bottles of stuff when we fly. While the episode was a standout in terms of the main plot being moved forward with some good tension and an actual surprise or two, I just wanted to laugh when I saw the plastic bag. I suppose the writers could have been worried a beheading threat would be too realistic or true to life, and therefore upsetting to people? But isn’t the reality of terrorist plots or drug wars part of what we love about 24?
Hastings briefs CTU personnel that IRK operatives are preparing to dirty bomb New York City. He advises the staff that President Hassan’s daughter Kayla is with Tarin Faroush, who is their primary lead and suspect. Arlo wants to know if he reports to Chloe or Starbuck, Chloe snipes that it doesn’t matter, he should only be worried about the bomb.
Kayla pretends to take a shower and opens the bathroom window to see if she can escape. Tarin stands suspiciously by the bathroom door, asking Kayla what’s taking so long. Tarin gets a call from Samir who tells Tarin he may have been compromised by Marcos, and that Tarin needs to leave with Kayla immediately. Samir is sending a vehicle for them. Kayla keeps trying to stall. Jack asks Hastings to get him connected to the NYPD point man to communicate orders. But NYPD Sergeant Anus, (that’s how I heard Hastings say “Amis” and I’m sticking with it) (David Gianopoulos) didn’t see the Bat-Signal, so he is reluctant to takes directions from Jack and his Wonder Boy, Ortiz. Tarin looks out the window and spies police approaching the building; he bursts into the bathroom, grabs Kayla and drags her out. Chloe has been monitoring the hotel’s hallway camera, sees Tarin and Kayla leaving and notifies Jack. Sergeant Anus lives up to his name by refusing to obey BatJack’s orders to stand down and maintain a perimeter. Instead, he and his team enter the building to go after Tarin. Tarin holds his hand over Kayla’s mouth and when the police near, Tarin shoots several cops and begins to make his way out of the building with Kayla and a police radio. Pretending to be a (dead) cop, Tarin radios bogus information on the escape route of the suspect and captive. When the couple is tracked exiting via fire escape, Jack realizes the dupe and transmits the message that Tarin is impersonating a police officer, but Tarin still escapes the building with Kayla. They’re trapped by police outside in an alley, just then a cab drives up and one of Samir’s men shoots to cover Tarin and Kayla as they run to the car. Arlo’s drones and Chloe keep everyone apprised of the vehicle’s location and BatJack and Robin Ortiz finally catch up to it, stopped at the end of an underpass. Jack and the team surround the cab, but when they open the door, there’s no one inside — Tarin and company have already switched cars. Jack tells Chloe to have a kidnap and electronic intercept package sent to President Hassan’s location as the kidnappers are sure to contact Kayla’s father next.
One of Samir’s men advises him that Tarin successfully escaped with Kayla. Samir telephones Ahman (Rizwan Manji) who is creating a detonator for their dirty bomb, and Samir tells him that delivery of the nuclear rods is being arranged.
Chloe briefs Hastings on the failed interception and Jack’s next steps. A CTU agent informs Starbuck that a visitor has arrived; Starbuck asks Chloe to cover her for a few minutes and Chloe responds with an appropriate scowl. Starbuck brings Kevin’s parole officer, Prady, to a private room. Starbuck wants to know what is so urgent that she had to be bothered at three in the morning. Bitch, it’s not like you were sleeping! Prady shows Starbuck Kevin’s picture and this time Starbuck admits to knowing him. But she tells Prady that she only met Kevin a couple of days prior, in a bar. Prady asks what happened with Starbuck and Kevin. Starbuck tells Prady she had a one night stand with Kevin and that it was a big mistake — she’s getting married and got out of hand over all the wedding pressure. It’s actually a reasonable excuse for her lies and emotional state, but Prady then informs her that he’s gotten additional information from an associate at the NYPD. Prady knows (from fingerprints left behind) that Kevin and Nick did the break-in at the police evidence warehouse, and he tries to threaten Starbuck again by asking if he should speak with her supervisor to get them more time to discuss the situation. With no other options, Starbuck tells Prady to wait in the room until she is free to help him.
President Hastings and wife Dalia get a visit from Jack and Ortiz. Dalia tries to get pissy with them, but President Hassan tells her to shut it. Jack advises the President that the kidnappers took Kayla as leverage to get something from him. Jack asks if he has any idea what it could be - President Hassan says he doesn’t. The Hassans agree to have their phones tapped and Jack has his team set up camp. Meanwhile, Kayla has been brought blindfolded to a room where she is tied to a chair in front of a Kamistan flag. Tarin whispers in her ear that she should do what Samir says and she’ll be okay. Samir removes her blindfold and Kayla asks Tarin who the traitor is, Samir replies that her father is the only traitor.
Dalia receives a call on her cell phone; Jack asks if she recognizes the number, she does not. CTU monitors the call from Samir, who tells her that whether she sees her daughter again depends upon what President Hassan does next and Samir asks to speak to the President. Samir tells President Hassan he must trade File 33 for his daughter. President Hassan says he doesn’t know what Samir is talking about, so Samir tells him to have the Americans get on a computer and go to a particular IP address. When they go to the address they see the image of Kayla and a hooded Samir. Samir puts a plastic bag over Kayla’s head and says the President has fifteen minutes to get the file or she will die by baggie in front of them! First we had pretend death by table, now it’s pretend death by the practical, no-leaks-ever, one size fits all Ziploc. (Or Glad bag. Never let it be said I have shown baggie favoritism.) Everyone wants to know what File 33 is, and finally President Hassan tells Nabeel to show them. President Hassan tells Dalia that she has to know that he would do anything to save his daughter. File 33 is brought up onscreen and it turns out to be United States DoD files on the United States’s anti-nuclear defense systems. The classified files include information that would allow the IRK operatives to disable NYC’s radiation detectors. When Hastings asks how he got the information, President Hassan angrily speaks of twenty years of threats and sanctions against the IRK. He says intelligence was gathered and weaknesses sought; they did as any country would have done. Jack tells the President that he can’t give the information to the terrorists or thousands of people will die. Dalia angrily asks Jack about the matter of her daughter’s life, and Jack reminds her that her country brought this mess to his country. Jack wants to set up a false file to give to Samir and CTU goes to work trying to create one. Chloe reports to Jack that CTU might have a lead on Kayla’s location. When Arlo isolated the sound of a subway on the pretend suffocation video, they were able to narrow down the area Kayla could be in, since there are few trains running at that late hour. After telling President Hassan he needs to stall when the kidnappers call back, Jack and Ortiz head out to meet a second team at the identified location.
Tarin moves Kayla to a different chair and removes her gag. She tries to talk to Tarin, but he tells her not to speak. Samir and Tarin argue; Tarin tells Samir that the file will never be handed over. Samir queries whether Tarin’s feelings are getting in the way and if he should have someone else take Tarin’s place; Tarin responds with a curt “No.” Samir tells Tarin to stay strong.
Chloe gets a status update from Arlo and Starbuck. Arlo spies Prady wandering down the hallway, asks Starbuck who he is and Starbuck replies “Nobody.” That’s some quick thinking right there, that is. But Starbuck immediately goes to try to contain Prady, so I think Arlo will stay suspicious. That no one else questions Mr. Nobody’s presence at CTU is laughable, but you know we are often called upon to suspend our disbelief. Prady is onto Starbuck’s role in helping Kevin and Nick with the police evidence warehouse break-in. Prady sarcastically toys with Starbuck. He wants the CTU video feeds of the warehouse and corners Starbuck into agreeing to provide them. She leaves the room and calls Ortiz to tell him they’re screwed. Starbuck says she’s going to give Prady the feeds, but Ortiz wants her to wait. Starbuck breaks down crying and tells him she has to do it and that she loves him. She hangs up and Jack asks if Wonder Boy Ortiz has a problem because Jack needs his head in the game. Good luck with that BatJack.
Dalia gives President Hassan a pep talk before he is to try to stall Samir (while the fake files are prepped). Nabeel tells the President their time is up, meanwhile, Tarin frees Kayla from her binds and tries to escape with her. He whacks the one guy who goes after them with a fire extinguisher, takes the dude’s car keys and the pair makes it outside to a car. Tarin quickly gives Kayla a cell phone with CTU’s number and tells her they’re surrounded by traitors so they must go to CTU. Another of Samir’s men shows up and Tarin steps out of the car to deal with him, but Samir himself comes outside and shoots Tarin. Kayla screams and cries as she drives off with Samir shooting at the vehicle.
President Hassan and Dalia see an empty chair onscreen and wonder what happened to Kayla. Hastings is wondering too, and just then CTU receives a call from Kayla who just screams she doesn’t know where she is over and over and over. She finally manages to tell them what happened. Jack is patched in on the call and asks if Kayla knew where she was being held; she only knows that she was in what looked like an empty bank (because of a vault door). All Kayla cares about is that her father be told Tarin gave his life to save her. CTU tracks Kayla’s location by her cell phone and they give her directions to CTU. Meanwhile, with almost no information, BatJack and Robin Ortiz manage to find the bank where Kayla was being held, but it appears to already have been abandoned. They end up in a tunnel system underneath the bank, so Chloe whips up the schematics and then Arlo’s drones catch sight of the IRK operatives exiting the building. Jack and Ortiz head after them as Arlo reports they’re getting into a SUV. Hastings begins congratulating everyone for a job well done. In the midst of all this, Starbuck asks to be excused again! Arlo tells Chloe she should be able get facial recognition on one of the operatives - and the computer brings up an image of…Tarin Faroush! When Jack hears this, he quickly puts two and two together to equal a setup. Jack tells Hastings that Tarin knew he wouldn’t get the file, and that taking out CTU would be the best way to disable the city’s radiological defense systems. They realize Kayla is headed to CTU with a bomb in her car; in another car, Samir is telling Tarin he did the right thing and that Kayla will be dying for a noble cause. Jack calls Hastings and warns him about the bomb. Hastings runs through the floor yelling for “Security!” and he and Starbuck and a CTU redshirt run down to meet Kayla in the CTU tunnel approach. They get Kayla out of the car and the redshirt opens the back and lifts the seat to reveal an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) bomb with a counting-down timer showing only seconds left. Hastings tells everyone to run and when Jack yells to have the systems shut down Hastings says there’s no time. Redshirt jumps into the car, saying he can move it in time (uh, two seconds?), but he is promptly blown sky high. The EMP blasts emits a high-pitched screech and as lights and computers dim, everyone in CTU covers their ears, Prady falls to the floor and massive chaos ensues. Jack keeps barking orders, but no one responds. BatJack tells Robin Ortiz they need to contact the NSA, terrorists have taken out CTU!
For your Enhanced Recap Experience (ERE), please open this link in a new tab and listen to the music while reading the final paragraph.
Where the hell are President Taylor and her faithful sidekick Rob Weiss? Is anyone going to tell America’s President what’s going on, or have the writers just decided she’s too stupid and demoted her? Why didn’t Starbuck do the sensible thing and push redshirt out of the way so she could blow herself to kingdom come? Is Prady conveniently dead or will he conveniently suffer amnesia? Is Kayla or Kim the more annoying daughter? Will the head of the NSA be yet another insufferable idiot? Most importantly, will BatJack and Robin Ortiz be able to save Gotham New York City? Will NBC save 24? For these answers and more, please stay tuned to Pajiba until the next recap of As Jack’s World Turns.
Cindy is holed up in a bunker in the northeast sector of the country, and that’s all you need to know. You can reach Cindy here
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