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TV Review: 24 – Hour 21: Smoking Guns

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Soon after last night’s episode started, I was reminded of that great disaster parody, Airplane. Was it the perspiration all over Evan’s (our traitorous co-pilot) face? Was it the pitching and rolling of the plane? The dangling of air masks? No.

Just a few minutes into hour 21, Logan is on his cell again with evil Dr. Romano (Graham). Romano tells him that he can cause a VCI distress code to appear to transmit from the airplane. Logan asks, “What’s a VCI distress code?” Romano explains that with government protocol (had to use ‘protocol’ at least once) being what it is, when an airplane transmits this kind of code, the military can legally shoot the plane down. Nice trying to wrap your mind around that one, eh? Anyway, Graham coaches Prez into how to act hesitant and so forth.

In one of the many silly scenes from Airplane, Leslie Neilson’s doctor character visits the cockpit and reminds the substitute flight crew that ‘everyone is counting on them.’ It’s not all that hilarious, except for the fact that that it’s a déjà vu moment – the doctor just did that about 5 minutes ago, with that same half sincere, half blank expression.

Before you know it, Mike Novick pops into see the Prez:

“Hey, that plane that Jack Bauer is on, is now transmitting a VCI distress code.”

Prez: (half sincere, half spineless expression) “What’s a VCI distress code?”

Déjà freakin’ vu.

So Mike explains. Prez fakes concern and then hesitancy. They patch through an Admiral Kirland from Mugu Command Center (or, as I like to say “Captain Kirk from Mr. Magoo”). Kirk explains that they can shoot the plane down, to keep the hijacker (Jack) from turning it into a 9/11 type missile. All they need is the Prez’s permission. A confirmation from Starfleet Command would be nice too, but mainly they need Logan’s OK. Mike listens to the briefing, and as the F-18 approaches Jack’s plane, he advises, nay, implores Logan to not shoot the plane down. “C’mon, we know Jack is the renegade agent with a heart of gold – he wouldn’t do anything like this!”

Prez is having none of it, such a man of conviction. Yeah right! If this were about seven hours ago, he would have been second guessing all over the place!

Anyway, when Jack and Evans realize they are F-18 fodder, Jack commands Evans to begin descent. Through the magic of CTU, they find a bit of freeway that just might serve as a landing strip. Of course, since the plane is traveling like, super fast, descent at this stage is dicey. Evans makes this observation; Jack just keeps the gun pointed at his head. The plane lurches, passengers scream, oxygen masks pop down – and soon Scotty reports up from engineering, “She can’t take much more Cap’n, she’s a gonna shit-the-bed in three minutes.” Jack’s response is to shoot out the intercom.

The plane is still moving fast, shaking and shuddering as they approach the ground. Evan’s formerly crisp pilot’s uniform is soaked through like a wet t-shirt contest, while Jack is calm and collected. He asks for the landing gear to be lowered. At a thousand feet of altitude, this is not the best idea. Jack doesn’t care! “Lower the landing gear!”

Lower, lower, and Captain Kirk at Magoo Command Center relays to Prez that the plane is obviously trying to innocently land; not an aggressive move. Prez doesn’t care, he wants the fighter jet to shoot. Mike is just about down on his knees, begging, “Noooooo!” Captain Kirk agrees, and grudgingly Logan gives the abort command. “But, I want that bastard Jack captured the second the plane comes to a full stop, and the captain has turned off the Seatbelt Sign!”

Now, Logan – you think Jack is going to wait around? He does not; he’s the first one off the plane (after it lands a fraction of an inch away from an overpass) and is making his getaway fast. Well, at least he sneaks under the overpass and calls Curtis. They agree to meet straightaway, as Curtis is just about there. Whew, they meet up and start to leave pokey little Van Nuys Airport.

Now, this is just me, but I kept anticipating Curtis to turn around to Jack and glare menacingly, and ask for the recording. Not like Curtis had put up any red flags that would suggest him being a mole. Not at all. Still, I was so nervous for Jack – fearing that something would stop him before he got to CTU. Of course, I was right. Not about Curtis, but they barely travel a few yards when they are stopped by a roadblock. Damn. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, you just do NOT want a U.S. Marine around. Curtis gets a little testy explaining that he is a federal agent, and they are wasting time in roadblocks when he can be out nabbing Jack. Jack tries not to giggle in the backseat. On a side note – why did Jack NOT put up his hood this time? Surely the magic nerve gas-defying hood of invisibility would have come in handy right about now? Maybe Jack wants to get caught. Maybe…Jack is…The Mole. OK, OK, getting way ahead of myself.

Something worked however; maybe it was a Jedi Mind Trick, but the Marines let Curtis drive away. They head back to CTU and Jack is looking forward to seeing Audrey. Aww.

Audrey is also looking forward to seeing Jack, and she’s not the only one. Miles is having a breakdown over the fact that Karen’s been playing cozy with both Buchanan and Chloe. He’s been kept so far out of the loop, he thinks Nixon is still in office. He demands that Karen level with him and she finally does. She asks for his discretion and of course, he agrees while crossing his fingers behind his back.

This hour gives us at least one of our “Whatever Happened To…” answers. Snakehead (Bierko) is being transferred to a different holding facility. As he shuffles on his way to the transport van, he sports a large Phantom of the Opera type bandage, very classy. Once seated in the van, he and the driver exchange nods. Hmm. Somehow I don’t think this was evidence of a mutual admiration for the works of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

When Logan finds out that Jack is NOT in custody, he realizes that his pretty world is about to turn into a major shitstorm, and he’s got a bulls-eye on his pointy little head. Mike can’t really understand Logan’s reaction. Prez knows there’s not much more he can do to salvage his career. His cell phone starts to ring; he knows it’s Dr. Romano, and he does not answer. Ya know, I don’t blame him.

Jack finds a few minutes to see Audrey. They rejoice in the news that her Dad, the SecDef, is alive and doing OK. They mourn Audrey’s coat. They kiss. Audrey tenderly touches Jack’s cheek…wait – Audrey has – man hands? Eww! Never noticed that before! Neither does Jack and he hightails out out of Medical. “Um, got to go see Chloe, ah, I mean Bill, um I mean, I need to disinfect my face!”

Meanwhile Prez is using his man hands to open wooden box in his office. Oh, of course, what would we expect? His first tooth? Some of Martha’s pills? No, it’s a .45 caliber pistol. I hear Aerosmith playing in the background…“Logan’s got a gun…his whole world’s come undone…dahh dahh dah…what did Jack Bauer do? He put the big hurt on you…”

He calls Dr. Romano, who seems resigned to the fact that this clusterfuck of a day can only end badly for all involved. He tells Prez that CTU has already contacted the Attorney General. The two find solace in some shared memories.

Graham: “Remember the time I told you to grow some balls?”
Logan: “Remember the fun we used to have with Walt, singing patriotic songs and stuff?”
Graham: “Remember the time I told you you’ll have to shoot down a plane?”
Logan: “Remember the Sentox?”

Both smile fondly.

Logan: “We did it for love of our country. Oh, and I did grow those balls, I’m going to shoot myself in the head so you and your cadre of spooks will not be tainted…ta!”

Prez checks his weapon, and puts it back in the box to go visit Martha. I couldn’t believe she was still awake! Pills and wine should have knocked her out, but she’s up and actually pretty lucid. Logan wants closure and to mend their little rift before he eats bullets. Martha is not giving off warm fuzzies at all, except for this backhanded compliment about his skill as a liar. “If I wasn’t so horrified by the fact that I’m married to you, I might actually be impressed.”

Martha honey – you just took the safety off that gun.

Prez sadly makes his way back to his office, all hangdog face and shuffling feet. He sits down at the desk and pours himself some booze to help. I don’t know why he stopped at one li’l swig, though now’s the time to really loosen up and finish that bottle. He goes for the gun again, and then the phone rings. An urgent call from CTU interrupts his plans.

Not that I wanted to see blood spattered all about the room, but does the reprieve have to come from Miles? Oh, his face; it was positively orgasmic as he explained to Logan that he’s “compelled to intervene” in CTU’s possession of the nasty incriminating recording. Logan looked pretty happy too, knowing that he might now be able to finish the rest of his bottle and enjoy the drunk!

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About MaryKay

  • http://www.jeffkouba.com/myblog/blogger.html Jeff

    Heh, I forgot all about the “we’re all counting on you.” Good one.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    I really enjoyed this one, Mary K. And, yes, I am serious, but please don’t call me Shirley.

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

    guys, we picked the wrong week to stop sniffin’ glue. : )