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A Punch in the Face for Your Troubles

By Cindy Davis | TV | February 19, 2010 |

By Cindy Davis | TV | February 19, 2010 |

Clearly the “24” writers are reading my recaps! OK, maybe not, but a girl can dream, can’t she? Since I took the time to complain to them last week, I have to give equal time to praise this episode wherein we were treated to viele Herr Ernst Meier (mucho Jack Bauer)! Jungle Jack discovered his monkey roots come in handy as he employed fancy footwork and kicked ass with his hands literally tied — even after being stabbed and tortured. This is the show we want to see, even if there are a lot of conveniently placed opportunities, exits and easily killed Russian mobsters. And thank you Jesopus, for your limited footage of Renee — please may there be less with each passing week, unless there is a scene where she is killed in a spectacularly bloody fashion. Amen!

Starbuck walks an empty hallway as she calls to check up on Kevin who is trashed at a club, celebrating his score. He wants Starbuck to come have a drink and get excited over her cut. Starbuck wants him out of her life, but Kevin lets her know that’s not going to happen. Starbuck, the most clueless chick on the planet, is a tad upset as can been determined by how tightly her teeth are clamped together. Kevin’s formerly quiet buddy gets on the phone to tell her she’s in deep and that she’s going to be their golden goose. Arlo walks up on Starbuck to find out why she’s not on the floor, helping to deal with the situation and asks who was on the phone. He accuses her of stepping out on Ortiz, and Starbuck bares her teeth but seems to be all growl and no bite. Instead of continuing the conversation, Arlo abruptly updates Starbuck with news that the mission has gone south and they walk back to their stations.

Ortiz notifies CTU that he’s figured out Jack’s been taken out of the building through an underground tunnel and that Jack’s trail has gone cold. He reports the information to Hastings who’s all bent out of shape that Renee has frakked things up. Hastings is way too emotional for a CTU Director, saying that Renee should feel badly for her part in screwing up the mission. Hastings is so incompetent, oblivious and annoying, I wouldn’t mind seeing him sacrificed a la former Director Ryan Chappelle. Hastings wants to know why Starbuck wasn’t monitoring NSA chatter as she should have been, and Starbuck mumbles that she had to attend to some pressing matter. Hastings asks what was so important and Chloe saves Starbuck’s ass with a bullshit excuse. Starbuck thanks Chloe; Chloe says Renee can thank her by helping to find her friend Jack.

In between pimping and smuggling nuclear materials, Papa Bazhaev is a chef. His talent knows no bounds. Bazhaev’s men bring in a hooded Jack, take him to a basement room and tie him to a chair. Bazhaev asks one of his goons, Dimitri (Jordan Marder) if Jack said how he knew about the fuel rods and the goon shakes his head no. Bazhaev takes off his apron and puts on his suit jacket to visit Jack downstairs. Bazhaev questions Jack, demanding to know who Jack is and what he knows, and Jack tries to blow smoke with his business man Ernst Meier schtick. Bazhaev is not entertained. Jack frantically tries to discuss making a deal with Bazhaev and gets a punch in the face for his troubles. Bazhaev grabs Jack by the hair and tells Jack he’s suspicious that Jack is a cop. (If Bazhaev figured out that much about Jack, he ought to know better than to bother torturing Jack or leaving him with any less than three goons.) He wants to know who Jack is working for and of course Jack won’t say, so Bazhaev tells Dimitri to torture Jack until the information is gained. Papa goes back to his kitchen just as Josef returns home to report that Oleg has been buried. Josef gives his father Oleg’s gold cross and chain, a confirmation gift from Papa, and says that’s all that’s left. Bazhaev presses the necklace back into Josef’s hand and tells Josef to keep it. Papa continues cooking as he speaks with Josef about their Jack problem, telling Josef that Jack said he found out about the nuclear rods sale through a a leak from Farhad’s (Helmet Head) people. Bazhaev tells Josef he’s stopped the transportation truck until they figure out what Jack’s whole story is. Bazhaev and Josef leave the kitchen to alert Helmet Head to the transfer delay. Meanwhile, Bazhaev’s men hang Jack from a ceiling pipe, call him Mr. Policeman and Dimitri begins shocking Jack with some sort of charging device. But the cardinal rule of leaving Jack with less than three men is broken, so I feel no despair.

Hastings reports to President Taylor and Rob Weiss the situation with a missing Jack and the nuclear rods. President Taylor demands updates every 30 minutes. I guess we’re supposed to be impressed that the President is on top of things and making Presidential demands, but in each scene involving Taylor I can only focus on how weak and pointless she seems.

Helmet Head’s Kamistan contact Samir (Mido Hamada) calls Helmet Head (he’s back!), alerting him that General Wasim wants to know when the rods will be received. Helmet Head wants to know why the General didn’t call himself and Samir replies that perhaps the General is losing confidence in Helmet Head. Feeling powerful and macho after his presumed five hour sex-fest, Helmet Head throws a little tantrum, exclaiming that this is his mission and his plan! (Quite unlikely.) Samir is like “yeah, right” and warns that if President Hassan’s forces continue their arrests at the same rate, there will be no one left to reconstitute the nuclear program. Helmet Head foolishly promises delivery of the rods within the hour and tells Samir to have his men ready. Bazhaev and Josef walk in and notify Helmet Head that the nuclear rods transfer is being delayed because of Meier’s appearance. Helmet Head tries to pitch a fit, but Josef holds a gun to his helmety head. Josef warns Helmet Head he’ll just have to wait until Josef and Papa think it is safe to transfer the rods. Helmet Head is advised that he has worn out his welcome and that he should go wait with his men at the rendezvous point.

Ortiz brings Renee back to CTU. Renee tries to question Hastings about leads on Jack’s whereabouts and he responds by saying the best lead they had is dead. He angrily informs Renee he knows about her suicide attempt and her dishonesty, and that he wants a statement detailing everything that happened with Vlad and his merry men. Hastings tells Chloe after Renee is done with her statement, he wants Renee to go to the medical department for a full psychiatric evaluation. Chloe is uncharacteristically sympathetic and gentle with Renee, who is in full feel sorry for herself mode. Starbuck spies Ortiz and asks to speak with him alone; when he says he’s too busy, Arlo tells Ortiz he’ll cover for him. Ortiz thinks Starbuck might be calling off the engagement, but instead she starts to speak vaguely about not having told him everything about her past. Ortiz reassures Starbuck that what matters is the present, not her past. Fool! Someone arrives to let Ortiz know Hastings wants to see him, so Starbuck pretends she feels better, everything is okay and tells him nothing. Can we make that a full psychiatric evaluation for two, please?

Back at the torture house, Dimitri sticks his finger into Jack’s knife wound (I felt that!) and continues questioning him. Dimitri tells Jack that everyone has a limit and he’ll find Jack’s. Jack keeps swearing that he isn’t a cop and is just a business man. Dude keeps shocking Jack until Jack appears to lose consciousness - you and I know right away that Jack is faking. Dimitri goes to a shelf to retrieve an ammonia inhalant (I guess they do this sort of thing often) to revive Jack. As he re-approaches Jack with the charger connector, Jack swings up his legs and uses his feet to jam Dimitri’s arm and the connector into Dimitri’s chest, shocking Dimitri until he is falls to the floor unconscious. Ever so conveniently, there happens to be a broken pipe down the way from the main pipe where Jack is hanging, so he starts to shimmy his way over to it.

Friends, I know you’ll be pleased to find we’re at this week’s soap opera segment, complete with 24’s newest dramatic daughter: Kayla. Sadly, she has not yet been cornered by any sort of wild cat — but we can keep up our hopes, can’t we? President Hassan receives a call that his daughter is demanding to see him. He allows Kayla in and she complains about Tarin’s arrest. They argue over his reasons, and then Kayla breaks the news (shocking!) that she is in love with Tarin. President Hassan pretends to be horrified and incredulous that she is “carrying on” with Tarin behind his back, but Kayla quickly and wisely mentions Hassan’s infidelity to her mother. Snap! Kayla begs her father not to let Helmet Head’s betrayal turn him against everyone. President Hassan responds that he can’t think of a better way for someone to infiltrate his inner circle by getting close to his daughter. He forbids Kayla to ever see Tarin again and tells her he’s done with the conversation. Kayla affectingly exclaims, “What’s happening to you?” and leaves.

Heroic music plays as Jack gets free of his pipe in just the last second, as the dude on the floor rouses. Jack breaks Dimitri’s arm and then does the meaty thigh clampdown to kill Dimitri — I think he broke his neck! Jack uses Dimitri’s knife to quickly cut off his own restraints, takes Dimitri’s gun and tries to use his cell phone, but can’t get a connection. Jack opens the door and spies Bazhaev talking with his men down a hall in one direction and some goons in another direction; he also spies a hallway fuse box. As Bazhaev is going upstairs and still talking, the lights go out. After having someone look at the street to see if anyone else has lost power, Bazhaev immediately says “It’s Meier” and tells his men to check the exits. Jack’s borrowed knife makes quick work of the first guy who comes to check the fuse box, and Jack uses that dude’s phone to get a call through to Chloe. He tells her to trace the call and send a team to the address immediately. Jack takes the dead guy’s gun and goes looking for more goons. As Jack begins shooting at men through a door window, in comes Papa Bazhaev himself blasting shotgun rounds Jack’s way. Bazhaev kills a bunch of tables and glassware. Jack hides under other lined up tables as Bazhaev sprays shotgun rounds everywhere, hoping he’ll get a hit. Finally, Bazhaev leans down to look under one of the tables and Jack flips the table over and on top of Bazhaev. Death by table! (At least, that’s what I thought.) 24 doesn’t get any better than this people. Jack checks Bazhaev’s pulse and then flops back onto a chair for a well deserved rest moment.

Hastings and Ortiz are talking as they walk downstairs and Hastings immediately asks where Dana/Jenny Starbuck is. Arlo tells them Dana left to fix a faulty relay at another CTU station. Ortiz wonders why Starbuck wouldn’t get some underling to do the job, and Arlo tells him Starbuck claimed she needed to manually reboot the firmware herself. My technical advisor says firmware doesn’t get rebooted. Anyway, it sounds fishy to everyone! Meanwhile, Chloe has downloaded information about Bazhaev and Hastings spouts off his plan, alerting me to the fact that Bazhaev is not, in fact, dead. Hastings wants Bazhaev brought back to CTU for interrogation. Renee, shockingly left unobserved, approaches Chloe to ask if it’s true that Jack has been found. Chloe says yes, but never mind that we have to get you to the loony bin, STAT! Meanwhile the CTU support team has reached Jack and he gets on the spot medical treatment. Jack looks over downloaded information and then discusses the futility of Bazhaev’s situation with him, telling Papa how cooperation could help his circumstances. Jack says his offer extends to Bazhaev’s sons as well, and Bazhaev falls apart, telling Jack about how Oleg got sick and Bazhaev shot him like a sick dog. (Loony bin, room for three?) Bazhaev cries for a moment, then says he’ll cooperate if he and his sons get full immunity; Jack says he’ll see what he can do. Jack calls Chloe and asks to be conferenced in with Hastings and President Taylor who are already speaking by phone. Jack tells the President Bazhaev’s demand for immunity. Rob Weiss wants to know if they should give Bazhaev a parade down Broadway too. Oh Rob, you’re so funny and useless! Jack advises an agreement and surprisingly, Hastings backs him. President Taylor agrees to the terms and says she’ll verbally give the agreement to expedite matters. Out on the CTU floor, Ortiz asks what Arlo knows about Starbuck and Arlo tells Ortiz he thinks Starbuck went to meet a guy. Ortiz says Arlo is out of his mind, but Arlo shows Ortiz a couple of stills of Starbuck and Kevin - one of which looks more than just friendly. Ortiz is being sent out on a mission, so he asks Arlo to find Starbuck. And where is Jenny Starbuck, pray tell? Why she’s sitting in a dark corner of a club of course, observing Kevin’s celebrations and ignoring Ortiz’s call. As she slips her phone back into her purse, I think I spy a gun. Starbuck, what have you gotten yourself into this time?

Kayla tries to get in to see the arrested Tarin and Nabeel stands in her way. Kayla guilts Nabeel into a momentary visit he promises to set up before Tarin is transferred. Don’t let this stimulating nugget slip your mind!

Everyone at CTU watches as Ortiz and his team are headed by helicopter to the transport truck that holds the nuclear rods. Hastings warns Ortiz that the men who are transporting the materials will likely be hostile, as they are loyal to their mission. But as the chopper approaches the truck, Ortiz reports seeing no one, hostile or otherwise. The helicopter lands and the team approaches the truck, one team member reports trace radiation and then others find more dead Russian bodies next to an empty box. Oleg’s gold cross necklace is hanging from the back of the truck, left by Josef as a signature. Hastings calls Jack to tell him the nuclear rods are gone. Jack questions Bazhaev, and Hastings tells them both about the cross. Bazhaev recognizes that the cross belongs to his son and tells Jack. Josef and Helmet Head are in contact by phone, and Josef tells Helmet Head he’s on his way with the rods and to have his money ready. Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeep!

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

Will Jungle Jack continue to use his feet to defeat (*groan*) and will there then be a backlash from the Intelligent Design community? Is Jack regressing? Will CTU Medical become overrun with loony bin candidates, decreasing the number of CTU personnel until we are left with only Chloe and Jack to save the world? Will the writers realize Chloe and Jack are all we need anyway? Will we really be forced to suffer through Jack loving Renee? 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

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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