Thursday , October 1 2020
Like a captain of a ship, Jack is married to his job and is willing to go down with it if need be.

TV Review: S6:11 of 24 — All the Kings Horses?

“He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and made my footsteps firm…” These words from Psalm 40 are at the center of a rather complex episode, one with foreshadowing (believe it or not, that Jack will violate yet another embassy) as stark as the few seconds after the explosive end of the hour, when Prez Wayne and others lie in the dust after a bomb placed inside the presidential podium goes off and leaves us wondering what will happen next.

Ex-president Charles Logan (seeming more somberly Nixonian than ever before) stares eerily into the mirror, one that no doubt reflects the darkness of a soul that allowed not only the assassination of President David Palmer but also the use of deadly gas to kill thousands of Americans (in Season Five). Here he seems calm, resolved, and willing to make the Lord his guide as he steps ahead. He tells Jack that David Palmer once helped him and he would like to return the favor.

His willingness to help is seriously questioned by Agent Jack Bauer, who bluntly tells him “I don’t trust you.” Of course, you don’t, Jack. He ordered your good friends killed (Tony Almaeida, Michelle Dessler, David Palmer) and was no doubt behind your spending twenty months in a Chinese prison. Still, Jack is going with the plan of having Logan broker some kind of deal with Russian Ambassador Markhov, one that could lead them to rogue General Gredenko and the remaining nuclear suitcases.

Jack goes out to the old retreat (complete with stables where Logan once lived with wife Martha) after coming up empty in the search for Gredenko. As Jack prepares to meet Logan, he says goodbye to sister-in-law (and ex-girlfriend) Marilyn and her son (his nephew) Josh. Repeating an almost funny but extremely sad and unfulfilled promise to others (including his daughter Kim, George Mason’s son, and Diane Huxley’s son Derrick), Jack vows to sit down with Josh and explain when everything is over.

Of course, as we well know, things are never over for Jack Bauer. The truth is that Jack is always on the clock, even when we don’t see him for a twenty-four hour stretch, and it’s not hard to understand why his marriage to Teri suffered and also why he has never been able to establish a relationship after losing her. Jack lives his job and, like a captain of a ship, he is married to it and inevitably is willing to go down with it if need be.

We don’t see Milo this week. Presumably, he is exhausted from all the beefcake posing from last episode. It’s hard work taking off one’s shirt. No doubt the guys and gals in CTU Medical are “prepping” him and his booboo will be all better soon. The rest of the CTU gang are prowling around looking lost and lonely. Nadia seems to have nothing much to do except get on Morris’ (Yul Brenner’s) case. The little power struggle has Chloe getting her back arched up and ready to pounce.

I think why this season seems so morose has to do with these CTU goings on, a real drag on the morale of the viewer. In the past there was a zingy amount of interaction, some of it extremely flirtatious, involving co-workers who gave each other knowing glances and grimaces. Here in Season 6 we are getting mostly grimaces, especially from the beloved but now mostly bedeviled Chloe.

In the past there was good humor between Chloe and Edgar, enough so that there was at least a bit of comic relief to be found. Even way back in Season 1 there was some levity between Tony and Nina that broke the tension, but I find none of this now. The writers have gone completely toward the darker side of things. Even when they have someone who is potentially a contender for the new Edgar (Tom “Twitchy” Lennox), they have seen fit to make his role totally serious and have deprived us of any possibilities for quirky John Cage-like madness.

Twitchy does come through now as a stand-up guy. He has his vested interests, but is obviously completely loyal to Prez Wayne. We discover this truth when Reed (Rob Lowe’s Little Bro) takes the duct tape off Twitchy’s mouth long enough to dress his wounds. Twitchy begs Reed not to go through with the assassination of Prez Wayne, but this big tall dude named (Kit) Carson has other ideas. Kit joins the long list of bad guys on 24 who get through security despite carrying weapons or bombs. It seems so easy that it is more frightening than laughable at this point.

Kit and Reed take refuge in some dark corner, where they have Twitchy all tied up. Kit extracts liquids from little bottles and suddenly has assembled a bomb inside a tape recorder (which one Secret Service agent checked). The plan is for Reed to place this bomb on the podium and detonate it just as Prez Wayne begins a speech that will also feature former terrorist Assad (Cat Stevens) Al Hamri making nice and saying that all bad guys should move toward the light.

Back at CTU, we get Chloe chasing Yul into the bathroom after she finds out his AA sponsor hasn’t spoken to him in three years. This is the first time we have ever seen a CTU character on the bowl, but Yul doesn’t even flush as he rushes away from the stall and argues with Chloe (he has a new sponsor, by the way). None of this is remotely funny and maybe it should be, especially because we have been waiting for years to know if anyone at CTU ever goes potty. I am relieved to discover that Yul washes his hands afterwards (even uses soap like a good boy). At least they’ve got hygiene down right at CTU!

Out in some airfield, Gredenko receives a shipment of two U.S. drones that can fly bombs and drop them. One has to wonder how the Russian got a hold of these babies (Logan flashes into my mind immediately, making me think he is still not done, nor has he really found the Lord). Gredenko tells Abu (Mr. Clean) Fayed on the phone that it will take a few hours longer than anticipated. Clean is not pleased, but Gredenko blows him off and seems to be working for someone else. Could it be perhaps the Russian President himself, whose motorcade was once target by President Logan’s thugs?

Jack is last seen wearing a suit (since he ambled off that Chinese plane in the first hour he has changed clothes three times now) and reading the highlighted words in the Bible (see above). These words are as applicable to Jack as they are to Logan, and now as Jack prepares to venture into yet another embassy, we all should yell in a collective scream to shake him silly: Jack, what the hell are you doing? You’re going to violate another embassy? A Russian one? If he thought fortune cookies were bad, he’s not to like the borscht they serve up in Siberia!

The rising action moves precipitously towards the second mini-climax of Season 6. Reed has placed the bomb at the podium, and Cat is going over his speech as Prez Wayne stands closely by. Little Bro extricates himself from a conversation with Prez (Wayne is still looking for Twitchy), goes outside the door, and sets the bomb. Cat sees something dripping on the podium and, thanks to his bomb-making experience as a former terrorist, Cat rushes to save Wayne yelling, “Bomb!”

There is an explosion followed by screams, and as Secret Service and soldiers rush into the room, Cat and Wayne are lying there along with others. Little Bro has done his duty and, man, the stink is going to last long after this episode. Waiting in the wings is VP Noah (Jim Jones) Daniels, who will assume authority and start a plan in motion to change things in the country. Who can stand in the way of any of this? Can anyone stop those nukes from being dropped from the drones?

Did I hear you say “Jack Bauer?” I thought so.

Until next week, Klaatu barada nikto!

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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