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TV Recap: 24 Day Seven, Hour 18 – Et Tu, Tony?

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Knowing now that Tony was really bad all along was not a high point of the last week’s episode. I did start to suspect at some point. I certainly did not want to believe it. I like my happy shiny endings, although this Day still has some exciting hours left to go, seeing Tony mercilessly kill Larry would not be my ideal way to texturize the plot line.

The writer is not supposed to inject themselves into a story. Of course, I clearly do not follow all the rules when writing about 24 or anything else, but I do have a certain technique. I straddle the line between satirizing the hour’s events, and embracing the outright drama – and I like to pretend that it’s all about me, that Jack and the crew are living and fighting and dying for my benefit. We all internalize these forms of entertainment to some degree. But last week’s revelation hit me with a sick sort of dull surprise and I took it quite personally.

And admittedly, personal family health issues colored my viewing experience of this last sad twist and it left me feeling more let down by the show than ever. And I don’t make this remark lightly, and I don’t intend it as a criticism. Maybe it’s a strain of the “Oh-no-why-Kutner?” virus that’s been floating on the air currents. Shocking developments usually make good drama, whether the audience approves or not. Television writers are not obligated to hire a focus group; the vetting process occurs afterwards, on pages like these. And we move on.

In the Wee Hours of this long day, Jonas Hodges has been taken into custody at the White House, a lone rogue canister is on the loose, ferried by a man named Galvez – whom I shall  call Gaston, because that’s much more fun, and kinder, gentler, and more mature Kim Bauer has come to see her dad. Maybe Ponyboy did her some good? (C. Thomas Howell played her steady-Eddie named Barry in a two-episode stint during Day Five.)

And of course, this hour begins with one of those WTF “Gee Golly” moments, as a beautiful and determined lawyer is halted en route to see Jonas Hodges, her client. In the doorway of her tony and presumably Georgetown home, a masked man sprays her in the face with a toxin that makes her fall back, helpless to fight off her attacker. Must have been a sale on these sorts of nerve agents; Henry Taylor, Jack Bauer and now this poor chick have all succumbed to the awful horror of the out-of-body moment, witnessing their own attacks but unable to respond – like some sadder version of Patrick Swayze’s antics in Ghost.

And with the masked man is woman, a look-alike, a clone, a doppelganger of the stricken attorney. This fake lawyer takes the dead woman’s diamond ring and ID cards, touches up her own hair and kisses the mirror goodbye. There’s also some nonsense about pasting her thumb on some doo-hickey – I suppose that might be important later on, I dunno.

At the White House, Allison is not surprised to hear of the rogue Gaston and his side-kick canister. She tells Olivia about Hodges’ last words to her, “As God is my witness; I’ll never go hungry…” No, that wasn’t it. “Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off…” Nope. Not it. “Rosebud”? Oohh now I remember. Something about the fact that Jonas is not alone in his bad deeds, there are others and he’s just a ‘cog’. So Allison fears more acts of violence and retribution. She then asks for Jonas to be brought to the FBI headquarters for interrogation hoping to get to the truth before things get worse. (She must not watch the show, eh?) Things will always, always get worse.

Gaston has been working with Tony by masquerading as an FBI field agent in greater perimeter of the Starkwood compound. Tony is playing it as a semi-innocent bystander, he tells Jack and the too stoic Renee that he and Larry were ambushed. Since he’s considered less of a hostile than before – he’s privy to grid maps and the like at the FBI’s make-shift HQ. He then slinks away to either call some bad folk to report in, or to talk to Gaston and relay the best avenue’s of slipping through the FBI’s perimeters.

Cara, the fake attorney, goes to see Hodges. Of course he knows she’s not his lawyer, and he knows why she’s there. She quietly lectures him on how he’s disappointed everyone and put “them” at risk by treating the bioweapons as though there were for his own personal use. I almost feel sorry for the poor guy, as Cara brings up his family. But she assures him that his family will be fine, IF he does the right thing. And the right thing would be to swallow a little red pill, designed to bring on an untraceable cardiac arrest. Nice choice. Before Hodges can agree or disagree, Olivia comes to the holding center to announce that Hodges will be transferred to the FBI.

Pill-pushing Cara then reports in to a boss-type-person, a man named Alan Wilson (an uncredited coolly creepy Will Patton) who tells her that she’s responsible for Tony, and he better not screw up.

Tony has been quite stealthy and clever. But things don’t ring true to Jack, and even though his mental state is becoming more and more muddled, he is still putting pieces together. And then he sees that the transponder assigned to agent Stoller (the agent that Gaston killed and assumed his identity) is nowhere near the rest of the agents who are sweeping an abandoned apartment building. He realizes that Renee and the other agents were set up, and he alerts them, but sneaky Gaston is on the same com channel and he detonates some hidden C4 in the abandoned building. Kaboom!

Jack and other agents rush to the scene and find that Renee is fine. Tony sneaks off and finds Gaston, who is also fine, but fakes injury by smearing a dead agent’s blood all over his face. Ick. If it were me, I would have just faked a limp. Gaston’s canister was also fine, just a little shaken up.

Jack is still mulling over the recent events, and he gets more confirmation from Mizelli (the man trying to debrief poor Jack before his mind is gone) that Tony’s story had too many holes in it. Jack goes to find Tony, who has been helping the “wounded agent” Gaston into an ambulance. The ambulance leaves and Jack starts to ask Tony questions about the earlier ambush, and about Larry, and whether he wanted fries, paper or plastic, or if he wants to add an extra two year’s warrantee for only another $10.00 – and when Tony does not answer fast enough, Jack whips out his gun and aims it at his old friend.

But before much else can happen, Jack starts to shake, rattle, and roll as a series of spasms cause him to drop to the ground. He searches for his little medical kit that is supposed to stave off the convulsions, and Tony suddenly whips it out of his own pocket. He then leans down and pulls a shiny silver dollar from behind Jack’s ear, and Jack gazes in disbelief that not only is Tony a prick, but he’s quite the magician too.

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  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What’s the betting that when Jack gets to the bottom (and he will) of who’s running this shady superorganization that Tony’s working for, he will be told that it’s just the tip of the iceberg and there’s another even bigger, shadier superduperorganization behind that one. And so on and so on… Dammit!

    Where will it all end? I suspect with a man in a shack who talks to his cat.

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    That was awesome Dr. D – Thanks for all the fish!

    And regarding that Iceberg theory… I know exactly what you mean. It’s like a more violent take on – “it’s turtles…all the way down”