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The Writers Are All Stooges!

By Cindy Davis | TV | March 5, 2010 |

By Cindy Davis | TV | March 5, 2010 |

We were duped! That was no old-school episode, unless by old school they meant tedious, slow and inducing grumpiness. Wait, maybe they meant an episode for old people? Seriously, writers, we still have fourteen hours to go — do you know what that means? It means that if you don’t get your scheiße together, Herr Meier and I will have to kick your collective arses because we’ll be the only ones left watching. Yes, we had fewer stupid asides with Renee and Starbuck; yes, we had more Jack and Chloe; yes, we had a predictably tense ending that left us with mildly higher hopes. But with so much of this season feeling like retread, we’re going to need more. We’re going to need you to take that extra step and pull very, very, very hard so that your heads come entirely out of your asses, not just out halfway. We’re going to need you to switch things up and throw us a damned unexpected curve ball. We need to believe in an impossible situation so we can believe in Jack. So far, any fool could have made things work, what with the easily crumbled Russian waah-fia and a little pansy-assed brother who ran crying when he realized he was the only one who didn’t know he was a pawn. Half the time Jack is too busy babysitting everyone from the CTU Director to the leader of the rescue team to realize his own stupidity in wanting to be with the mentally unstable, dim-witted, lollipop-headed, whiny Renee. How is he ever going to have time to be a grandpa and babysit little Kimlet again? Stooges! You writers are all Stooges!

Kayla gets a quick visit with imprisoned Tarin courtesy of Nabeel. She explains that despite her efforts, her father won’t change his mind; he still thinks Tarin is involved with the assassination/nuclear weapons plot. Tarin calls her close so he can whisper an escape plan facilitated by a loyal friend named Bashir. (I have a feeling this plan includes kidnapping Kayla, but he doesn’t tell her that part.) Nabeel interrupts to tell Tarin it’s time to be transferred.

Ortiz attempts to resuscitate Kevin, to no avail. Starbuck tells her fiance to leave, that it’s her fault and her mess. Ortiz refuses and explains that he’s already involved and they’re going to cover up the whole mess. Starbuck stares out at a swamp as Ortiz tells her no one will miss the “scum,” and asks if she wants to go to prison for the rest of her life. He tells her to get started stripping the van while he retrieves the other body. If he had a brain in his head, he’d add Starbuck to the swamp scum as well.

President Taylor and Rob Weiss telephone Hastings, who informs the President of the situation with Helmet Head and the stolen nuclear materials. When Hastings tells her the IRK operatives plan to make a bomb and attack the city, President Taylor naively asks, “Why would they do this?” Seriously? How are you a United States President? Hastings tells them Jack is on the case and that they want to bring Helmet Head to CTU so he can identify the IRK operatives with the aide of President Hassan’s intelligence files. Weiss thinks President Hassan has gone off the deep end and isn’t likely to share the files, but as usual, Weiss is ignored. President Taylor tells Hastings to let President Hassan know about his brother, and to contact Tim Woods at Homeland Security so she can be briefed on what she’ll be facing if New York is attacked. When the president gets off the call and leaves the room, Hastings notifies Weiss that Renee isn’t going to be prosecuted, and tells Weiss to stay the hell out of his way. Hastings hangs up on Weiss’s dimwitted protests.

Jack and the team head to the warehouse to look for Helmet Head and the nuclear materials. Jack briefs the team and gets a call from Helmet Head, who wants to know when they’ll arrive - he’s close to being discovered by the IRK soldiers. His wimpy, fearful behavior reveals yet another disappointing villain who will soon be dead.

President Hassan visits with President Taylor and she informs him of current events with his brother and the rogue IRK operatives who intend to employ the nuclear rods as a bomb. President Taylor asks for President Hassan’s intelligence files, but Hassan would rather have his brother turned over to, and questioned by his own security people. President Taylor lets President Hassan know they don’t have time for that and tells him if the United States is attacked, she’ll be forced to retaliate against Kamistan. After a skeptical pause, President Hassan agrees to President Taylor’s request and says he’ll have the files sent.

Tarin is being transported by Nabeel and another security guy to the Kamistan embassy. He distracts Nabeel with chatter as he uses a stashed handcuff key and gun to free himself and take control of the vehicle. Nabeel clearly needs more bad guy training, as Tarin has just undone his cuffs while sitting right next to Nabeel. Wake up idiot! President Hassan attempts to call Nabeel, as Tarin forces him and the other agent to cuff themselves and lie down in the back of the SUV; Tarin takes Nabeel’s phone. Tarin calls Kayla and tells her to meet him in ten minutes and that he loves her.

Hastings speaks to Helmet Head just as he is discovered by an IRK soldier. Poor Helmet Head foolishly tries to run and is shot down just before Jack and company arrive. Shall we have a moment of silence for yet another pathetic villain? The team finds a downed Helmet Head, and Jack calls Chloe to have her send him the IRK intelligence files and photos. Ali phones Samir and says that the loosed Helmet Head has been handled. But he of ample hair isn’t quite dead yet, and Jack asks the gravely injured Helmet Head to identify his accomplices as soon as their photos are downloaded. Jack yells at the medic to keep Helmet Head alive.

By teleconference, President Taylor is advised by experts on what casualties, damages and after-effects would be incurred if New York City was hit by a nuclear bomb. They discuss that evacuation of the city is not a valid option and that the focus will be keeping the attack from happening. However they do decide to evacuate themselves.

Other members of President Hassan’s security team find Tarin’s transport vehicle, release the cuffed men, and Nabeel informs his President that Tarin escaped and was on his way to meet Kayla. President Hassan tries to phone his daughter, but she ignores his call. At a hotel, she reunites with Tarin and she tells him that even though they’re in a terrible situation she’s never been so happy. Say it with me: “Twatwaffle.” Tarin says he’s contacted an American lawyer who can help him and they begin a celebratory make-out session, accordingly.

Helmet Head dies before he can make any identifications and the team finds no trace of hostiles or the rods. Hastings says “Dammit”, but Jack hatches a plan to draw out the IRK operatives by pretending Helmet Head is still alive; they’ll make a press statement that he’s been transported to a hospital. Jack thinks this will force at least one of the bad guys to try to finish off Helmet Head. This being 24, the plan will invariably work, giving CTU someone new to chase and possibly torture. Hastings agrees to put the plan into action and Jack goes to work.

By the light of the silvery moon, Starbuck and Ortiz remove all identification from Kevin and Nick and begin putting the bodies into some conveniently nearby water. A googly-eyed Starbuck lovingly pushes Kevin’s face under the water as Ortiz looks on, seemingly realizing he’s engaged to a nutcase. He tells her “it’s over” and that they need to clean up and get back to CTU. Seriously, she has been gone at least two hours - I can’t wait to see her explain her absence to Hastings. Starbuck wants to know if they still have a relationship and Ortiz replies that he doesn’t know. Perhaps a visit to Dr. Phil is in order.

Samir and his gang fall for Jack’s media trap. Ali tells Samir he’ll finish off the job of killing Helmet Head, but Samir says he’s going to send someone else — Marcos (Rami Malek). Marcos is guarding the nuclear rods - standing in a truck right next to them with nary an item of protective clothing. Marcos calls his American mother (Mare Winningham) and tells her to leave the city, go to her sister Shelley’s house. Even though she tells Marcos she won’t leave her home in the middle of the night with no reasoning, he insists and she feebly agrees. Marcos ends his call just as Samir arrives at the truck to ominously ask Marcos if he’s ready.

Jack orders the medic (should have been Andrew McCarthy!) to keep Helmet Head looking alive during transport, at the same time, Jack and Hastings discuss the details of the plan to transport the body to the hospital. As the team prepares to leave, Jack comforts Owen who looks like he’s about to shit his pants at any moment. I don’t think I’ve ever before seen so many incompetent people gathered for a 24 season.

President Taylor and Rob Weiss are headed to McGuire Air Force base. President Hassan stops by to let President Taylor know he would like Helmet Head’s body when it is released. He also notifies President Taylor that his daughter has run off with Tarin and that he won’t evacuate without Kayla, despite President Taylor’s urging.

Hastings and Chloe monitor the transport of Helmet Head’s body to the hospital. Chloe works on getting facial recognition of meandering hospital employees while Jack and his team secure the area. Marcos arrives all bombed up with detonator in hand as CTU is monitoring the exterior cameras. Renee chooses this time to call Jack and thank him. Jack reiterates that he wants to be there for and with Renee (blech!) when the mission is over. As he hangs up, Hastings notifies Jack that an IRK operative named Marcos Al-Zacar has arrived. Jack alerts Owen and team that there is an armed operative on site; Chloe realizes Marcos has what appears to be a detonator. She attempts to figure out the bomb configuration and how to disarm the explosives remotely, while Jack gives Owen his orders and another quick pep talk. Marcos walks up to Owen’s door and when Owen asks for identification, Marcos tells Owen he has a bomb and demands to be taken to Helmet Head. He orders Owen to hand over his weapon and accompany Marcos inside. Someone should check Owen’s diaper, because I’m betting that thing is full.

President Hassan calls his wife, Dalia, to notify her that Kayla has run away with Tarin. Dalia has just boarded a plane and thinks her husband is trying to convince her not to leave the country, but instead, he tells her of the plan of attack against the city and asks his wife to help him find Kayla.

Chloe keeps trying to work her magic as Marcos and Owen walk the corridors to an elevator, heading toward Helmet Head’s room. Jack advises Owen via earpiece that CTU needs to get a visual on the bomb configuration in order to disarm it. Owen stops Marcos in front of a security camera and demands to see the bomb. Marcos opens his coat to reveal his weaponry and Chloe identifies the bomb configuration to Arlo, who attempts to disarm it. As they enter Helmet Head’s room, Marcos orders Owen to the ground, screws up his face and attempts to detonate the bomb - which fails. Owen tries to be badass, but Marcos easily slaps him to the ground. Marcos shoots several rounds into Helmet Head’s already dead body, and realizes he’s been duped when the heart rate monitor doesn’t change. Jack and his team enter the room and Jack tries to calm Marcos, but Marcos flings himself out the window. Now that’s badass Owen, take note! Marcos manages to stay alive and runs back into the hospital and barricades himself in an oxygen chamber. Marcos calls Samir to tell him of the trap, and Samir says Marcos must not be taken alive. Marcos advises Samir that the bomb seems to have been inactivated, so the kindly Samir offers to talk Marcos through setting it off manually. Jack tries to talk to Marcos through a security monitor, but Marcos smashes it, cutting out the video feed.

For your Enhanced Recap Experience (ERE), please open this link in a new tab and listen to the music while reading the final paragraph.

Are The Three Stooges now running this show? Will young Marcos be a formidable foe? Will the rest of the Brat Pack be joining Mare Winningham (because that might be reason enough to stick out the rest of the season)? Will Ortiz get smart and send Starbuck to that great swamp in the sky? Does Owen keep an extra pair of pants at CTU? Will Renee keep calling Jack even though she knows he’s in the middle of trying to stop a nuclear bomb? Shouldn’t President Taylor have been evacuated to Site R or some such nuclear safe bunker? Will any of us make it through watching this entire season? 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

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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