By Cindy Davis | TV | January 22, 2010 |
By Cindy Davis | TV | January 22, 2010 |
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
24 is on crack this first week, with four (count ‘em, four!) action-packed hours to get Grandpa Jack’s ass in gear. Hope the old geezer still has the chops to pull it off. At first I was sure this would be Kiefer Sutherland’s last year, but he’s saying if the ratings are good there could be yet another season. What will be left for Jack to save? He’ll have to relocate again, I think. Space, the final frontier … 24: The Wrath of Jack. What? It could work. OK, back to business.
CTU Director Hastings tells Rob Weiss they haven’t gotten anything out of Merideth Reed aka Blondie yet. Maybe that’s because all anyone has done is yell at her a couple of times. Send Jack in there for five minutes, hell, send Chloe. Blondie’ll be singing like an American Idol audition-er. Rob reiterates the importance of getting information out of Blondie to keep President Hassan safe. Jenny/Dana Starbuck updates Ortiz on cracking the encrypted files found on Blondie’s computer. Ortiz tells Starbuck that Jack believes it’s possible that Blondie’s been framed. Jack and Chloe discuss how they basically have no information, so Jack decides to walk around the area their suspect was dropped off, in the hopes he’ll get lucky (No, not that kind of lucky, though I’m thinking if anyone should get that kind of lucky, it’s Jack). Really, how else would Jack do what he does without a bit of luck?
The Assassinator aka Davros, is still holding Jim and his wife hostage. Jim tries to get feisty but the Assassinator points a gun at him and makes the wife cry. They’re waiting for the boss to call so Jim can tell the boss he’s sick and the Assassinator will work for Jim. The idea that anyone on a UN security detail could be switched out last minute is utterly ridiculous, but we’ll let that one go in the interest of furthering the plot line. After Jim tells the boss, he tells the Assassinator to leave — that he and his wife won’t tell anyone anything. The Assassinator looks like he might be mulling over what Jim says, but you and I know the couple is toast (butter and jam).
Jack’s walkabout leads him to a basketball court. He asks the players if they remember seeing the Assassinator get out of a taxi and where the dude might have gone. A not-so-tough basketball player tries to get up in Jack’s face, but Jack shows his weapon and offers a hundred bucks for information. Luck is on Jack’s side as he gets directed by another player right to Jim’s house, where Jack looks in the window and spies dead Jim (more luck!). Jack enters the house to search, but finds no one alive. While Jack is calling Chloe, a cop called by neighbors comes looking around the front door. Jack goes out another door to talk to a second cop and tries to explain he’s CTU and investigating, but before he can finish the story the first cop tasers Jack, rendering him unconscious. (Hey, that’s kind of lucky, Jack, getting tasered instead of shot.) The shooter cop kicks a fallen Jack, the second cop tells the first cop they have to call in the murder. But shooter cop thinks Jack is a cop killer and has a taste for Jack’s blood. Both cops drag the unconscious Jack inside (not so lucky).
A CTU agent informs Hastings that a UN access card was among Blondie’s personal effects. The card gives Blondie access to the Hassan family’s private residence. (Must be for emergency interviews in the middle of the night.) Jenny Starbuck is notified that she has a visitor at the CTU gate. Looking fearful, Starbuck says she’ll be right out. Chloe takes note of Starbuck’s odd blinking. Jenny Starbuck goes outside and meets with mystery caller Kevin Wade (Clayne Crawford), who apparently wants to pick up where they left off (Scrabble?). Starbuck pleads and offers him money to leave her alone. Kevin goes all Beyonce and makes Jenny Starbuck say his name, then asks to crash at her place. Being outside CTU has left Starbuck with no brain power whatsoever. Under the threat of telling her “little secret” she gives Kevin the keys and says he can stay the night, but he has to leave the next day. I’m sure he’ll continue to be as obliging as he thus far has. She asks if Kevin wants her address; no worries, he already has it.
Hastings is back in with Blondie (who looks like Lisa Kudrow’s more severe sister), waving the access card in her face and demanding to know where she got it. Hastings whips out his scariest yell and Blondie gives it up that President Hassan gave her the card so they could be alone together. Hastings calls the UN asking to speak with Rob Weiss so he can get through to President Hassan. Chloe goes to Hastings to ask for help in finding Jack since her call with Jack got cut off and she can’t get back in touch with him. She’s been watching the interrogation and pretty much has the reality of affairs figured out. Chloe talks Hastings into agreeing he’ll help if President Hassan corroborates Blondie’s story.
Meanwhile, Jack is getting the shit beat out of him by the shooter cop who thinks Jack offed Jim. The cop doesn’t want to wait for the system to screw up the case of a cop killer, and would rather mete out justice himself. He sends the second, less enthusiastic cop outside to wait.
Assassinator man reports for duty, as Ortiz is briefing cops on the planned hit and President Hassan’s planned evacuation route.
Presidents Hassan and Taylor continue to hammer out the details of their agreement. They’re interrupted by the request from Hastings who wants to speak about Blondie with President Hassan. Helmet Head reminds his brother that the President mustn’t admit to the affair. Offended that someone with such ridiculous hair would try to direct his actions, President Hassan immediately admits the relationship to Hastings and tells Hastings that he gave Blondie the access card. Helmet Head again tries to criticize his brother, but President Hassan says he did the honorable thing by telling the truth (What? This guy can’t be a real president!). Chloe badgers Hastings to hold up his end of their bargain, but Hastings says the affair admission doesn’t mean Blondie is innocent. Hastings thinks Jack is fine, just out of cell phone range — I’m thinking CTU should have better communications than the average Jack. Chloe wants to go find and help Jack herself, but Hastings forbids her to leave — under the threat of being fired. I recommend Hastings not leave his coffee cup unattended.
Helmet Head calls the Assassinator to tell him about the danger of President Hassan’s admission, but the Assassinator says it’s not a problem. He assures Helmet Head that his brother will be dead before the hour is over.
Jacks sits bloodied and beaten in his chair as the bad cop wraps his own hand in a cloth so he can hit Jack some more. But Grandpa Jack has spent enough time in this rocker today and he jumps up, simultaneously attacking the bad cop and breaking out of his chair. The second cop, who had been outside searching for his cojones, finds them and shows up just in time to hold a gun on both his partner and Jack. Though the shooter cop tries to order him around, the second cop tells the shooter cop to shut up and calls in the murder. You go girl! I mean, second cop. Second cop also finally listens to Jack (lucky) and also asks about the dead cop’s duty assignment, to check Jack’s story.
Arlo is having problems with the file encryption at his station and asks to use Starbuck’s station to finish his work (Keep this tidbit in mind as it is sure to have significance at some later point). As he tries again to hit on Starbuck by chatting her into submission, the decrypted file begins displaying on the workstation monitor. Arlo wonders if the thing onscreen is what it looks like and Starbuck says it is. (Even though Starbuck is merely a data analyst, I believe her because of her previous experience on Battlestar Galactica. She got that Cylon Raider to work, yo!) Starbuck advises Hastings that the file shows construction that was done on the UN building months ago, and as they’re looking at the file, they see some sort of incendiary device that could blow the whole building. Chloe tries to tell Hastings it might be part of the set up (girlfriend is a dog with a bone), but Hastings calls for evacuation of the UN building. Ortiz also seems to think the bomb can’t really be where the file shows it because the building has been properly checked; as usual, Hastings won’t listen to anyone. Ortiz begins the UN building evacuation procedures. The Assassinator stands by on his motorcycle and enters a code on his phone. Something starts blinking under a manhole cover, and it’s probably not a giant, radioactive rat.
Agents evacuate Presidents Taylor and Hassan via a car in the parking garage. Hassan asks about his family, and Helmet Head volunteers to stay behind and wait for them. President Hassan enters a vehicle and is whisked away. Helmet Head calls the Assassinator and tells him President Hassan is on the way, third car in the motorcade.
The good cop with his newfound cojones verifies Jack’s story about the man who replaced Jim on the security detail, and agrees to drive Jack to the UN to try to stop the assassination attempt. Split screen tension ensues, and Jack and Chloe are finally reunited by phone. She patches Jack through to Ortiz and Jack tells Ortiz to stop President Hassan’s car, meaning: go get blown up yourself, Ortiz! Because there was no time to go through Hastings, he has no clue what’s going on, which is par for the CTU leadership course. Hastings and Starbuck watch the action onscreen, just like us. Starbuck cries out Cole’s name with as much feeling as she can muster, which isn’t very much. Ortiz tries to finagle his car into prime blowing up space, in place of the car carrying President Hassan. Everything goes boom, crash! But who is blown up, dead or lucky?
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
President Taylor and Rob Weiss are advised of Ortiz attempting to stop the bomb. Rob continues to pretend he’s a bad-ass even though almost no one knows who he is. Ortiz survives the explosion and he moves to President Hassan’s car to find the President shaken (not stirred) but alive. The Assassinator wants to move in with his gun, but he quickly realizes the futility of the situation. While on the phone to update Jenny/Dana Starbuck, Ortiz has a Kevin Bacon - Steve Martin moment with the Assassinator (they make eye contact and run). For as crafty as he has previously been you may wonder, why does the Assassinator run? So CTU will know exactly who he is, that’s why. The Assassinator runs away with Ortiz in hot pursuit. Helmet Head calls the Assassinator and finds out his brother is alive. The Assassinator advises Helmet Head to leave before people realize he has something to do with the plot. Helmet Head could easily have slipped away quietly at some point, but instead chooses to create a scene, stick a cop in the neck with a pen and run. Luckily for everyone, this action will easily identify Helmet Head as a bad guy. As you may have imagined, Ortiz has been sneaked up on by the Assassinator and held at gunpoint. The Assassinator orders Ortiz to radio HQ and tell them that the area Ortiz is in is clear. Ortiz starts reciting the message but instead of saying “clear” he announces that the Assassinator is “with me now” and shots immediately ring out. But psych! It’s Jack saving Ortiz by shooting the Assassinator — not the Assassinator shooting Ortiz. I do admit to shedding a small tear for our fearless Assassinator, he was a good bad guy. Let us have a moment of silence.
Hastings brings President Hassan into CTU and advises Hassan that his family is safe, but that his brother, Helmet Head killed someone and took off. Hastings also tells an incredulous President Hassan that his brother must have been the insider. Instead of being bummed, President Hassan immediately asks to see Blondie. (Now that’s presidential behavior!) Hastings begrudgingly admits he underestimated Chloe and finally, for just a moment she wipes the scowl from her face. Don’t get used to it. Jack advises CTU that the Assassinator is dead. Jenny Starbuck has found that the Russian tattoos on the dead shooters may help them identify the people behind the assassination attempt. She also suggests Renee Walker be brought in to help, as Renee has previously worked undercover with the Russian mob. *A little background for those who haven’t watched Day 7: Renee Walker was previously FBI and met Jack when she was searching for Tony Almeida — previously been believed to be dead but discovered alive — who had turned bad and was heavily involved in the Day 7 plot line. Jack was forced to shoot Renee to prove himself to the bad guys, but he did it in a way that she only appeared to be dead and Chloe subsequently rescued Renee from her grave. At the beginning of Day 7, Renee was a by-the-book agent, horrified at Jack’s harsh interrogation methods. But by the end of the Day, after seeing that traditional questioning didn’t work and Jack’s ways did, Renee herself nearly tortured to death a suspect, resulting in her FBI dismissal.* Hastings is worried since Renee was fired from the FBI, but Starbuck says Renee is the only one who can help. So say we all.
Since the Assassinator is dead, Helmet Head calls another unidentified contact to express his disgust that his brother wasn’t killed. The contact discusses the sale of “the material,” and says that if Helmet Head doesn’t want it, the contact has another buyer. Helmet Head calms down when the contact says they’ll have a nice meal waiting for him and they’ll talk.
Rob Weiss wants President Taylor to call President Hassan to discuss where they are in the process of the agreement. President Taylor extends her sympathy for the attack. Rob asks if President Hassan knows what Helmet Head wants or has planned, and President Hassan replies, “Regime change, isn’t that what you Americans call it?” Snap! President Hassan agrees to continue the talks. He also wants to meet Ortiz to thank him for saving Hassan’s life.
Back at CTU, Chloe advises Jack that Renee Walker is coming to help with the Russian mob connection. Jack figures she still doesn’t want to talk to him since she would never answer his calls, so he asks Chloe not to tell Renee that he’s there. Chloe mentions that Renee had some kind of breakdown after she left the FBI. In the hallway, President Hassan thanks Ortiz for saving his life. While they’re talking, an alarm goes off in the nearby medical office where the dead Assassinator’s body is being examined. The alarm is sounding over hazardous material, aka weapons grade uranium, with which the Assassinator has been recently in contact. President Hassan seems to know something, but asks to speak to Hastings instead of Ortiz.
Chloe meets Renee’s helicopter and escorts Renee back to CTU. Renee hasn’t much to say, probably because you can bounce a quarter off her forehead, and you know that didn’t come naturally. Meanwhile, Hastings tells President Hassan the hazardous material is something called U235 which is 94.7 % pure weapons grade uranium. President Hassan tells Hastings he thinks his brother, Helmet Head, has been in contact with some Russians that were previously trying to sell the weapons grade uranium to his country. Hastings asks Hassan if he knows where the uranium is, and the President basically says, “Like duh! The dead guy has traces of it on his body, so that must mean it’s in the country.” How is it that the head of CTU is always the most clueless person in the room? President Hassan thinks these are the same Russians that have been trying to assassinate him. Meanwhile Renee is deciphering the tattoos of the dead. She identifies a group called Red Square. Gee, that’s original. Hastings says Renee was undercover with the mob for over two years and that her cover is still intact — why not use it? Renee agrees to help because of the danger of the situation, but not to get back the FBI badge Hastings tries to offer as a reward. Chloe updates Jack on the situation with Renee. Jack sees Renee sitting in a chair and decides to say howdy. They hug and exchange small talk. Jack tries to tell Renee that he knows where she is mentally and that she isn’t ready to go back to work. He confronts her about the suspect she almost killed during an interrogation. He quickly (lucky) spots an attempted suicide scar on her wrist and tells Renee she needs to get help. She blows him off.
Hastings attempts to apologize to Blondie; she gives him a snarky goodbye. Blondie says she heard it was Helmet Head who was involved in the assassination attempt, which is interesting, because no one at CTU should have given her that information. In a lovely, soap opera-like sequence complete with breathy voices, longing glances and near declarations of love, Blondie meets with President Hassan. She asks for, and receives Hassan’s forgiveness for telling CTU about their affair. They almost kiss, but the guard outside the glass room is being too nosy. Even though he has feelings for Blondie, President Hassan knows he has to break it off. Wistful looks are exchanged. Goodbye Blondie! I see telenovela work in your future.
Renee wants to find a Russian named Vladimir Laitanan, and thinks she can by going through one of his flunkies, Ziya (Jon Sklaroff). Ortiz is being brought in on the undercover operation. Jack busts in to tell Hastings Renee isn’t ready to go back in, but Hastings and Renee say it’s the only way to get to the Russians. So of course, Jack wants in and to take Ortiz’s place. In Hastings’ first wise move, he agrees he’d be foolish not to accept Jack’s help.
Helmet Head arrives to meet with the new Russian contact Bazhaev (Jürgen Prochnow), whose son Josef (David Anders) is antsy. Bazhaev tells Josef this is the biggest deal of their lives and that they shouldn’t send Helmet Head away because Josef is nervous. Helmet Head enters the room in tough guy mode and seeing no food anywhere, immediately demands to see the fuel rods. Bazhaev takes Helmet Head to see his other son in a locked room, tells Helmet Head his son made a stupid mistake. The son was transporting and has apparently been exposed to the uranium. His sweating and shaking - radiation sickness - is proof the rods exist. Bazhaev is extra super duper hard-assed, he doesn’t seem concerned about making his son’s last hours any more comfortable.
Chloe and Starbuck discuss the background they’ve created for Renee and Jack. In the car, Renee pretends to be a tough bitch, but she acts more like a petulant teenager and Jack handles her as such. That Kevin stalker dude finally calls Jenny Starbuck to annoy and harass her again. Kevin’s been looking at photos and wants to know about Starbuck’s fiancee. He tries to order Starbuck to come home and they both act freaky; I’m getting a Sleeping with the Enemy vibe here. Every time Jenny Starbuck talks to Kevin on the phone, she turns timid and frightened. Starbuck tries to go back to work acting like nothing’s going on, but Chloe’s notices everything.
Jack and Renee have no trouble finding the lackey, Ziya, who should be able to lead them to Vladimir. Luckily, he’s in a completely dark hardware-type store, and he’s the only person working. You just can’t ask for more when you want to get information out of somebody. The lackey recognizes Renee, they chit-chat and Renee asks Ziya to help her find Vladimir. Renee sweet talks him and rubs up against him, whispering that she knows how to get off his parole bracelet. She manages to convince the idiot to put his hand in a vice (lucky!) and proceeds to cut off his thumb with a fortuitously nearby battery powered (??) hand-held saw. Jack hears the screaming, runs in and tells Renee she’s through. Renee says she’s just getting started and that Jack should find something to cauterize the wound. Ooh, tough girl with a tough forehead. You have your hands full Grandpa Jack.
For another fine Enhanced Recap Experience (ERE), please open this link in a new tab and listen to the music while reading the final paragraph.
Will President Hassan and Blondie ever see each other again? Will Ortiz make it through the whole season or will he meet the same fate as almost all newly introduced CTU agents? Will Renee have to stop mid-season for a fresh Botox injection? Will Jack ever really get lucky (wink wink)? And for the love of Godtopus, how long will we have to wait for Jack to yell “Dammit”? 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