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24 Day 4, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

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It’s funny El Presidente isn’t clever enough to at least ask if
Driscoll is just blowing smoke in response to his inquiris about
how things are going. She blithely responds that CTU is following
leads, blah blah, and he doesn’t seem to have the politician’s
instincts that maybe she is just pushing him aside to buy time.

Richard Heller (hereafter known as Stoner) continues his stint in the
interrogation room. He is not shot in the knee, in an abrupt
departure from standard CTU interrogation practices.

Speaking of which, there’s more proof that CTU is taking its cues
from Star Trek. The uniformed guards in CTU are no longer white shirts,
but are now *gasp* Red Shirts! This obviously spells certain doom
for the anonymous guards. Also, in midst of all these crises, the CTU
staff just up and heads for the conference room at the drop of the hat.
This was SOP on Picard’s Enterprise.

Kalil takes off down the freeway, tamely pursued by Jack. Oh, if only
Jack drove a White Bronco. Kalil is obviously experienced in the art
of countersurveillance, because after his donut to suddenly elude
any possible pursuers, he looks in the rearview mirror approximately
zero times.

Heller is asked to sign something, admitting to offenses. But what in
the world is the point? Is some legitimate court going to say, oh,
sorry Mr. Secretary, you signed this document, you go to jail? Is the
world not going to take into consideration the circumstances under
which this thing was signed? Oh well, terrorists aren’t a particularly
astute bunch, not when they have their dander up over imagined offenses.

And, dressed in the orange jumpsuit so cleverly not cribbed from the real,
horrible beheading videos out of Iraq in recent months, was Heller
trying to be funny when he said “let’s just keep our heads”?

Apparently the producers felt that with Sherry now annoying the Admissions
Clerk at the front gates of Hades, 24 needed another black female who
would sound like nails on the blackboard. A gal named Marianne
parachutes into the show, with no accompanying papers declaring why we
should care about her. She obviously has a history with Curtis.

(You’ll be so proud of me, that I avoided any Ginger jokes!)

Chloe begins the longest satellite acquisition in the history of the known
universe. In past seasons, CTU could direct a satellite to a desired target
in seconds. Here, in service to the plot, Chloe has to start by building
the dang thing in the break room, then must steal a rocket from a local
physics department to launch it. Ok, I made up that last part.

Back at the Araz household (“The family that terrorizes together,
stays together”) the L’il Debbie problem is becoming acute.

Stoner reacts negatively to being injected as part of his interrogation.
However, you’d think Stoner would be sublimely curious about having some
weird drugs injected into his system. “Dude, the last time someone did this to me, I saw green flamingos!”

Andrew gets roughed up in a secluded spot just off the road. Nobody stops
to help, thinking it just another routine day on California highways. Jack
does have a tough decision to make, should he help Andrew, or follow Kalil.
In the end, he does both, and leaves him a nearly insurmountable two seconds behind Kalil. Imagine what Jack could’ve done if he hadn’t stopped to help Andrew.

Chloe wigs out in the bathroom. Nobody stops to help, thinking it just
another routine day in the CTU ladies room.

Marianne (“Marianne! Marianne! Marianne!” oh, sorry, couldn’t resist) shows
up at CTU a mere 25 minutes after first contacting CTU. Again, that is some
kind of vetting process they have there. And, how convenient that Marianne
lives mere minutes away from CTU. Ya make one call, and presto chango
caninis transmuto, you’re in the very nerve center of CTU, with your hands
on sensitive data, changing protocols and rekeying databases.

Curtis decides to try sensory deprivation on Stoner. Again, I’d think that
would be Stoner’s natural state, and immune to any nasty side effects.

Marianne reveals herself to be this season’s Uberwitch, by ensnaring sweet Edgar.

L’il Debbie shows up at the Araz house, invited there by Lady Macbeth.
Nothing good can possibly come of this. A deranged teenage stalker meets
a deranged middle-aged terrorist.

In going for the all-time record of laws broken in the first four hours of a day,
Jack decides to hold up a gas station in order to delay Kalil. The sight of
the terrorist meekly standing in line with the other infidels was just too funny.

Inside the gas station, there is Doug, dressed like I’m sure most station
owners in the greater LA dress, like Bubba in the hills of Arkansas. Also
there is some girl who obviously is not going to get any speaking lines, so
she won’t have to be paid more.

The satellite bit continues to drag on interminably. This is another sign that
the writing this season is not quite as crisp as in the past. Jack continues
to vamp, including nabbing a law enforcement officer who just happens by.
Jack puts them all in a locker, threatening to turn the episode into a
Marx Brothers routine.

Driscoll has Sarah spy on Chloe, but forgets to tell Sarah to inform her if
Chloe disappears from her desk for long periods of time.

Then, in another sign that the writing has taken a turn for the worse, Heller
tries the oldest cliche in the book. The old Prisoner Fakes Health Problem
So Guard Will Enter Cell and Get Clobbered By Said Prisoner Trick. Sigh.
Heller manages to pick off a couple of the baddies before being re-kimnapped.

Back at the Araz house, L’il Debbie is poisoned by being made to eat one of her own Swiss Cake Rolls. The wisdom of this escapes me, since her car is still parked out front, and she might have told someone where she was going And indeed, in the previews for next week, Debbie’s mom shows up. All in all, the terrorists might have done a better job picking their point team.

Proving no plot can be too crowded, Driscoll is revealed to have a
personal weakness. Her daughter, Maya, calls. Maya suffers from
schizophrenia, hasn’t been taking her meds, and will be brought to the
CTU clinic. Which, I’m guessing is in the same building as CTU, so it
can lead to more mayhem later.

(Guest critic Paul Foth points out: “Don’t know if the writers should be
accused of planting something like this, but you may recall that to Hindus,
the world is maya, illusion. What better name for a character who hears
voices that aren’t there? Yeah, you’re probably right: that’d be giving these
guys too much credit.” Me: Ha!)

Meanwhile, everyone seems to have forgotten all about poor Stoner, who has been left hooked up to the Sensory Demolecularizer, on a setting of 11. They just might turn the boy’s brain, what’s left of it anyway, to mush, and he won’t be able to tell them anything.

Mean-meanwhile, the friends of Unit 9 show up at the gas station,
apparently using the tracking device embedded in Unit 9’s neck, as we have
no clue how they got there so fast.

Jack pulls Kalil and uses him as a shield to “escape”. Jack leaves him
along the road, assuming Kalil will to try to obtain other transportation and
lead CTU to the bad guy hideout. Jack doesn’t stop to think that Kalil might
do this by killing some poor innocent bystander, and the driver of a yellow
truck is lucky that Kalil only punches him out. (Don’t most people in greater LA know better than to pick up people along the road?)

The episode ends with Jack being stopped by law enforcement officers. One
can only wonder how he’ll escape, since in the next episode he’s free. Perhaps Marianne makes a call and threatens the police if they don’t obey her every demand.

Approximate Body Count: 46

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