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24 Day 5: 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM

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Ooh, I just felt the graphic violence warning kick!

In the recaps from last week, Vice President Hal still refuses to open the pod bay doors. RunLoganRun is on TV, even though last week we saw his presser live and in person at Budokan. Jack looks like he’s groping Collette up against her car.

As we get into hot steaming fresh episode this week, Bill asks Chloe to check out Audrey for the past 18 months. Then, Bill goes and takes Audrey into custody. She is understandably flummoxed. Then, Bill utters the words no one inside CTU ever wants to hear. “Prep Ms. Raines for interrogation.” Gaahh. CTU is the most torture-happy outfit I’ve ever seen.

Audrey asks if Jack knows about this. Bill says Jack sanctioned it. Ex-boyfriends can be so vindictive sometimes.

Yowzer, Jack and Collette and Curtis are walking into CTU already?!? Did they bleem over here? They were at the Van Nuys airport less than five minutes ago! Were they really out in the CTU parking lot? I tell ya, with this curfew in place, you can get around LA in seconds.

Some nameless CTU agent helpfully points out Collette ID’d Audrey from photos on the way over. For you and me, that would be mighty quick work to send photos of Audrey within minutes to the agents in the vehicles coming back to CTU, but for CTU it’s child’s play.

Jack says to put Collette in Holding. I assume they’ve gotten Lynn and Harry out of there by now, and mopped up?

Audrey is frog-marched into a room, and rather rudely held tightly by the arm by some uniformed agent. Oh. No. Here comes The Cart! Death on Wheels, as they call it around the CTU watercooler. CTU’s Torturer-In-Residence the past few seasons, Richards, must have snapped under the strain of all that constant gruesome work. So, this season Burke is our eager torturer.

Bill asks Karen, “So we can torture our own people but we can’t touch a criminal?” Yup, Bill has got CTU pegged!

Bill also says “I trust her implicitly.” I’ve never quite understood that saying. Wouldn’t it be a stronger endorsement to say you trust someone explicitly? Implicitly sounds like a backhanded compliment.

Miles gets all righteous with Karen and says the decision to put Audrey on the rack is hers, but if she’s wrong she’ll take the blame.

Jack is mad. He wants to be the one to interrogate Audrey. Oh sure, Karen throws Nina Meyers in his face. Bring that up again. Make one mistake with a homicidal maniac spy and you can never live it down. But now it’s Jack’s turn to pressure Karen. He points out Audrey is the daughter of the SecDef, and if Karen is wrong about Audrey, Dad will eat Karen alive. Jack gets his ten minutes with Audrey.

Suddenly we cut to a scene from Escape from LA. Snake Plissken is wrestling with some hoods. Nope, wait, this is a staged fight. The terrorists jump the cops and get their squad car.

Chloe has already come up with a connection between Walt Cummings and Audrey. They stayed in the same hotel room in Maryland. And how did she confirm this? Well, she emailed photos to the hotel manager! And he sent back phone bills and receipts! All in about seven minutes! That is some service! And good memory, Hotel Manager Guy! Do you remember the faces of all your guests months later? Chloe speaks truth to power and blurts that this doesn’t exactly look that good for Audrey.

Going into the first commercial break, clocks are at :10 to :10. But coming back, clocks are at :14 to :13. Simon the Heretic, the mysterious hermit who lives in a cave on the top floor of CTU, cackles and rubs his glowing blue stone.

A Shari Rothenberg from Section 5 reports to her new boss, a hunched-over, twitchy Chloe. I say, more than anyone else in CTU, Chloe’s body language always says “Welcome, friend!”

Shari is there to replace Edgar. Of course, no one can replace Edgar. No one person, I mean. Maybe three people glued together would be enough to replace Edgar. With each one holding an anvil. Wearing lead boots. And having just had three Big Macs apiece.

Chloe sends Shari over to Station Six, Edgar’s old stomping grounds. But wait, isn’t Miles working over there? He took Chloe’s key card so he could work there.

Chloe asks Shari, “Are you familiar with the Gavilan matrix analyzer?” Shari flips a coin in her head and says Yeah. Chloe then tells her to make sure the databases are current. I wonder if Shari will end up having to rekey them.

Oh brother. Shari and Miles exchange A Look. Do we have to give every character on this show a Wacky Backstory, a Dark Past, a Sinister Secret?

Jack goes into the room where Audrey must surely be trying hard not to lose control of her bodily functions. Jack says “Sit. Down.”

And a tough scene proceeds, which the actors handle deftly. Jack asks if Daddy is involved. Audrey suggests he ought to know better than to ask. Jack asks if she’s seen Walt. She dissembles and says a couple times, at briefings. Then, Jack busts her with Chloe’s file from the helpful hotel manager.

Audrey admits she was on the rebound and found temporary solace in Walt. But she broke it off because Walt wasn’t Jack.

Jack then decides to try the intimidation tactic, and tosses the table aside and grabs Audrey by the throat. He shouts right in her face. Not very gentlemanly, Jack. Audrey maintains her innocence, and Jack believes her. He then yells at a monitor “This is over!” What, is he mad he missed an episode of Seinfeld because he had to waste time talking to Audrey?

Karen says, and not without good reason, “She broke him, not the other way around.” But, Karen has been waiting years for this chance to torture someone, She says “Send Burke in.”

Chloe tells Shari that an agent at Bierko’s safe house found the place empty. Um, he should’ve found the place torched, since that’s what Sgt. Bierko ordered. Shari has a look that says “that’s nice,” and Chloe harrumphs “so upload the information to the subnets.” This Shari isn’t much of a replacement, is she.

Miles decides to bring sunshine to Shari’s life and reams her for not having Level 3 clearance. Shari says she has provisional clearance. Miles says one mistake and it’s bang pow to the moon.

Chloe asks what that was all about, and Shari says she and Miles used to work in SanFran together, and there was a sexual harassment episode. She reported him, but didn’t go to trial. He only received a warning. OK, enough Days of Our Lives.

Burke is taking Audrey somewhere. Not sure why Audrey wasn’t still back in the room. Maybe Jack let her out. Anyway, Burke says he has orders to take Audrey. Jack says through clenched teeth “Get out of my way.” Then, he Jack-fu’s a White Shirt. (White? What happened to the Red Shirts? They haven’t been White Shirts since Season Three.) Goodness, Jack is just out of control. Thankfully, Burke tasers Jack.

Audrey is shrieking “Bill! Do something!” Jack is handcuffed. Since Jack just assaulted a uniformed officer, he’ll be court martialed now, right? Right? Surely there will be some punishment? Right? Right?

Coming back from commercial, clocks are at :27 to :25. Henderson is driving somewhere. Hmm. So after ditching his first car a block from CTU, he got another car somewhere? “Gone in 60″ they used to call Henderson in high school. And, he also managed to find a cell phone. Because he is calling a guy in the woods and asks “Is Wayne Palmer dead yet?” Guy says no. Buckaroo says “You had better make it right, you know what’s at stake.” (A trip to the Final Four? Tell us!)

It’s been less than an hour since Palmer called Aaron. So Vice President BOB somehow got in contact with Henderson and heard the news that Palmer was coming to the presidential retreat? Henderson must have called BOB, because with a stolen cell phone, BOB wouldn’t know how to reach Henderson.

Aaron, now sporting a dapper patch on his head, says he’ll go out and look for Palmer.

Back at CTU, Jack thinks Collette must have gotten Audrey’s name from Henderson. (Don’t know why he doesn’t think it could be Walt, since Walt was involved in this plot and slept with Audrey.) Jack thinks this is Henderson’s attempt to make Jack lose focus.

Karen says “These plans must have been made some time ago when Henderson had every reason to believe you would be killed.” Ya know, the actors must read this stuff and say to themselves “I have no idea what’s going on, but I’ll just use my actorly training and try to sound authoritative.” If you recall, Henderson didn’t even know Jack was alive until earlier in the day. Today. The current day. So the plans made “some time ago” means plans made several hours ago?

So, according to Karen, expecting Jack would be dead, Henderson left his office and called Collette and gave her Audrey’s name, even though he thought Jack was about to be blowed up? And this woman is in a position of authority at Homeland Security?

Jack says this is Henderson’s contingency plan. It sure is a doozy. Karen finally gets around to something that makes sense and points out they can’t touch Collette because Jack made the immunity deal, Jack knows she got him on that one, and says he and Chloe will work to find proof that Collette is lying.

Another scene with Miles and Shari. Chloe covers for Shari, and makes a friend. Miles retreats from the women with his masculinity hanging in shreds.

Jack tells Chloe they need to find proof Collette and Henderson were together more than once. I guess they had better start calling hotel managers. And then just wait five minutes.

We cut to some facility called Wilshire Gas Distribution Center. The baddies roll up to the gate. A hapless guard says there was no delivery scheduled and he’ll have to call it in. I guess he assumes that with all the terrorist attacks today and martial law declared, there’d still be people out doing deliveries. And the cop car accompanying the van doesn’t seem strange to him. For all his trouble, the guard gets a few slugs in the back.

The baddies bust in, shoot a plant worker, and tell the Leader to take them to the control room. Bierko says “Cooperate and no more of your friends will die, understand?” The Leader says “Yes, sir.” I don’t think Bierko really deserves to be called “sir,” but I suppose when someone is holding a gun and has just shot your coworker, you tend to be more polite.

Bierko says he wants to release something into the pipelines and needs the pressure dropped in the pipes. Another worker in the control room says “Sam, don’t do it!” *pow* He gets a few slugs for his insubordination.

Now this becomes an episode of Star Trek. Sam says he might be able to drop the pressure in the pipes in an hour. Bierko gives him the motherly raised eyebrow look. Sam says he might be able to do it in 30 minutes. Bierko says he has 15. Or the Klingons will kill us all! Sam should’ve said “I canna change the laws of physics!”

Clocks are at :38 to :36.

Aaron is out in the woods somewhere. Where, I have no idea. Why isn’t he near a road?

Wayne is there too, and yikes, he has a big honking gun. But where did this rifle come from? When his car crashed, he ran, and he wasn’t holding anything. Again, this is like that Star Trek episode with the vacation planet where everything you imagined became real. Perhaps Wayne imagined Tawny Kitain in a leopard skin bikini holding this gun in a forest clearing, and he grabbed it as he went running by. But if this is how he got it, he probably should’ve imagined an M1 tank. He’d be safer.

At CTU, we finally get down to the torturing. Burke is working Audrey over, and she is in distress. Again, a tough scene nicely handled by the actress. Didn’t go overboard with it. And yet, conveyed her extreme discomfort and fear.

Chloe finds evidence Henderson called Collette several times. Jack says that is enough to rescind the immunity deal. He heads off to Holding Room 3.

Collette reminds Jack of her immunity deal, and a guard says “She’s right.” Oh, what does he know?

Oh my, Jack is out of control. He punches the guard and takes his gun. Surely Jack will be arrested for this, right? CTU can’t allow an out of control psycho like Jack to be running this investigation, right? Right? Surely there will be consequences, right?

Jack says to Collette through clenched to teeth “You do not want to try me.” Collette agrees, and says Henderson told her to use Audrey’s name if she got in trouble.

Jack says “Now I’m … upset.” Collette knows there is a gas distribution center involved, but not which one.

Jack says there are dozens. (That’s an obscure fact to immediately recall. Jack must be a bear at Trivial Pursuit.) And, Jack immediately zens that the gas pipelines are to be used as delivery system. He needs Chloe on it.

Bill says the rescinding order will be there in 15 minutes. It only took about 2 minutes to get the immunity deal. I suppose they have to go track down Logan, since he, Martha and BOB aren’t in this episode at all.

In the torture room, Audrey screams. poor girl. Jack busts in and manages not to punch Burke. Audrey says, “I survived because I knew you would come.” Then some kissy kissy.

Jack tells Audrey she was set up to make him lose focus. I suppose it worked. For about 40 minutes. Henderson will have to do better than this.

Jack heads back to the main room. The krazy kaptions have Bill saying “Jack, the medic is on his way.” But we don’t hear anything.

Shari comes over and says she was a chem major. She says the pressure in the pipes will have to be dropped in order to transport the nerve gas without rendering it inert. So, they immediately start looking at gas pressures all over LA. So CTU has an interface to gas pressures why?

They find one where the pressure has dropped to 75% in ten minutes. (How do they know it’s been ten minutes?)

Bill says “Great work, Shari.” (But this time, the krazy kaptions spell her name as “Sherry.”)

After Bill leaves, Shari says, “Did you see how he brushed across my shoulder? That was wrong.” Ay yi yi. What’s wrong is this whole kooky thread. Is Shari crazy? Do we really care? Why is this even in here? Is the thundering conclusion to this season going to be Bill attending diversity training?

Out in the woods, it looks like Wayne and Aaron are hanging around Wayne’s wrecked car. What are they doing there? Wayne took off running. Why is he still in the vicinity? And indeed, there is a gunfight with the baddies. Who apparently have rockets. They came prepared.

In the fight, Wayne is hit. As Aaron drives them away from the scene. Wayne slumps over unconscious. Since he is in next week’s previews, he too must have amazing recuperative powers.

Clocks are at :52 to :48. Jack is flying in a helo. The baddies have the Evil Canisters of Death on a floor somewhere. Chloe has given the helo an approach vector so guards won’t see them. The pilot says the noise from the plant will mask the sound of the helo.

Must be one noisy plant. For we see a guard looking around while the helo is hovering behind him dropping the CTU team on the roof of the plant.

The team makes their way to the control room. A Nameless CTU Agent Guy looks through the window and sees Bierko and some baddies directly across from the door.

They open the door and go in and… apparently step into another room, because they are in some little hall, and Bierko is nowhere in sight. In fact, he is around a corner. Even though the agent just saw the baddies straight through the window seconds before.

There is a gunfight. Bierko takes out his remote doohickey and releases the gas. The canisters start opening up like the pods in Alien. Perhaps the real plan is to release face huggers into the pipes.

The gas just starts drifting up into the air. Now just what kind of an injection system is this? The gas is just floating around this room. What is going to take the gas and inject it into the pipes? Why would such a system have been built in the first place? Who would’ve planned to get stuff into the pipes by sucking it in from this room? And if the pressure in the pipes is still greater than the pressure in this room, the gas will not get into the pipes. The pressure difference will keep it out. So what is going on???

After Sam the Leader tells them that apparently no one thought to put a valve on these pipes, and that they can’t prevent the nerve gas from getting to the main pipelines, Jack says they have to blow up the pipes. Remember they are in a natural gas distribution center.

It’s a good thing the team remembered to bring some C4 explosives with them.

Chloe somehow knows Jack only has 60 seconds to stop the gas. Jack sets a timer for 30 seconds. Everybody runs.

Goodness, back at CTU Audrey is already suited up again and ready for work. Nothing can keep characters on this show down for long.

The pipes blow, and Jack does his homage to Luke Skywalker escaping from the Death Star and outruns the gas explosions behind him. (I would think that with all that gas, an explosion would be like a small thermonuclear detonation.)

Jack says “I have a visual on Bierko.” Nobody just “sees” things on this show.

An explosion knocks Bierko to the ground. Back at CTU everyone is yelling “Jack, get out!” Gee, they could show some love and concern for Curtis and the other agents.

Jack goes over and grabs Bierko. Who, naturally, instantly revives and fights with Jack. Everyone on this show is superhuman!

Jack pulls Bierko into the cop car just as there is a big explosion. Some debris falls on the car.

With the clocks at :60 to :57, the episode ends. Has Jack survived? Will he escape so he can punch out more federal agents? Tune in next week.

Guest critic Paul won’t be joining us this week. The pressure in his cappuccino machine was a bit wonky, so he went outside to his backyard and blew up his propane tank. We’re not sure yet if he survived.

Number of times Jack says “Now!”: 17
Number of times Jack says “No!”: 8
Number of times a “protocol” is mentioned: 31
Number of times someone says a variation of “Go!”: 22
Number of moles: 3
Approximate Body Count: 65 (plus three rats, plus one human nerve gas guinea pig, plus 11 in the mall food court (and no, not from food poisoning), plus one security camera, plus 56 in CTU)

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About Jeff Kouba

  • Mary K. Williams

    I have to comment and I’m not even finished reading yet!

    Yes, its the bloody Holodeck! Love it!

  • Mary K. Williams

    Everyone on this show is superhuman!

    Ain’t that the truth!

  • Barry

    Excellent points about that gas injection system — that was ridiculous, but while watching the show, I bought it completely. And as for Shari’s sexual harrassment comment about Bill, I thought that was the first honest-to-goodness joke on the show in four and half years. We were totally set up to think Miles was bad, and then it’s a complete shock to find out she’s a whacko. I almost fell off the couch laughing… but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, love watching the show on Mondays, love reading your take on it on Tuesdays. Thanks.

  • Victor Lana

    Note to self:

    Miles is still bad.

    Just wait and see.

  • Jeff

    Mary, that explains everything this season. This is a program running in the holodeck. The last episode the program will stop running and Jack will be at home with Teri and Kim.

    Thanks, Barry. Yeah, that was a switch, almost an attempt to make Miles look good.

    But, you might be right, Victor. Miles may yet end up paying for his incredible rudeness to this point by being a bad guy.

  • Mary K. Williams

    Miles is bad. He just is. Whether he’s a ‘good guy’ or not is besides the point, he’s an asshole!

    And he deserves to be a bad guy!

  • Mary K. Williams

    Mary, that explains everything this season. This is a program running in the holodeck. The last episode the program will stop running and Jack will be at home with Teri and Kim.

    And his new son-in-law Ponyboy Shrink. Forget the Sentox – that would be the real nightmare.

  • Victor Lana

    What would be interesting is for Jack to wake up and hear the shower running. He goes in and pulls aside the curtain, and Nina Meyers is there smiling from ear to ear. That would be my way to end Season 5.