Monday, February 26, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 11 Recap
(Hours 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

We're back and it's nearly the end of a long work day for the residents of Los Angeles. Hopefully everyone doesn't leave work at the same time, that could really hamper driving around in LA. Not that Jack and CTU has ever had to deal with that, but, there's a first for everything. Speaking of firsts, we finally saw someone using the restroom in 24. Thanks writing staff, it's about time.

24's Obsession with Phones
Ever since day one and hearing that all-too-familiar CTU phone ring, 24 has had a strange obsession with phones. From video phones to having the ability to talk/hear on a cell phone while riding in a helicopter, the viewers are treated to, what must be, the best phones technology has to offer.

Last week, Jack was given a phone number to call from Daddy Bauer. That phone number was 310-597-3781 and Grizzly Adams Logan was on the receiving end. This week, Chloe called Morris' sponsor (who was listed in his treo as "AA Sponsor," and whose phone number hadn't changed in three years) and left a message to call her back. The number Chloe gave her? 310-597-3781. Is Chloe shacking up with Grizzly Logan? No, it's a real phone number that fans can call.

The sad thing, besides using the same damn number two weeks in a row with different people, is that the number has been used a number of times on the show. According to 24's Wikipedia entry, these are the places the phone number has been spotted:

  • Debbie's cell phone displays the number after she is killed in Day 4.
  • Jack Bauer gives the number during the recovery of the Air Force One "Football" where he told his cell phone number to two civilian campers.
  • In Day 5, it was shown in the 18th episode ("12:00 AM - 1:00 AM") as Martha Logan's cell phone number.
  • Spotted on the back of a picture of Edgar and Chloe during the season finale of the Day 5.
  • In Day 6, it was shown in the fourth episode ("9:00 AM - 10:00 AM") as a cell phone number on Assad's cell phone.
  • In the sixth episode of Day 6, an FBI agent gives the number as Chloe's direct line at CTU.
  • In Day 6, in episode 10 ("3:00 PM - 4:00 PM"), it is given as Charles Logan's cell phone number.

Are you kidding me? It's been used for three different people this season? Why not just get three different phone lines and give out different messages? Sigh.

Shhhh! Don't Ask What That Is!
I've complained several times of the writers trying to speak over the viewers with techno-babble garbage or just thinking that we won't question things. This week, they tried even harder.

  • There's one working land line at Gredenko's house and Morris is checking on the router to see if there was any recent activity. Unfortunately, the baddies were using inverters to stack their coils, and he just can't get any record out of it.
  • Morris then couldn't uplink the tracking vectors to the home land sub-net, they just won't go through. Stupid Morris, all he had to do was check his SIP adapter. He specified the wrong slot assignments. Duh!
  • For those of you keeping score, Morris is still the "lead on decoding diplomatic communications leaving the consolate." That's a resume builder.
  • What pipes was Fish trying to turn up? Were they steam pipes? No, wait, they must have been electricity pipes, seeing that they were in the High Voltage room. Right?

Formulas to Writing 24
Write your very own 24-style script with one of these tried-and-true formulas:

  1. Never-ending Trail – Never reveal how to get the bad guy straight up. Instead, just insert another name in the trail. For example, just this week we learned that the key to finding Fayed was finding Gredenko. The key to finding Gredenko was finding Markov. The key to finding Markov is using Grizzly Logan. So-on, and so-on.
  2. Replace Your Leader – Nothing creates conflict more than replacing the man in charge. Whether it's the head of CTU, a cabinet member, the guy with the nukes, or the President. If you can use dialogue to explain that you're trying to save your country by doing so, that's even better.
  3. Always Leave a Loophole – If you need to expand the story, just make something up that sounds possible. Confused? How about an ex-President under house arrest, but the public doesn't know that he aided the assassination of a former President, or that he aided terrorists? Need more? Okay, maybe the same guy didn't turn in one key figure, in said assassination, because he had the foresight that in 20 months, he may need to leverage that knowledge. Perfect.

Random Complaints

  • Is anyone upset that Chloe isn't acting like her bitchy self this season?
  • Why on Earth is Marilyn and Josh just waiting out in broad daylight with no help around them? And why isn't Marilyn freaked out when she sees Jack? Wasn't he trading his life for Josh's just 10 minutes ago?
  • While waiting for Grizzly Logan, where in the hell did Jack get a suit to change into?
  • Bill needs Chloe to clear a corridor for Jack and Grizzly Logan to drive down. Why not just take the helicopter?
  • Did there really need to be a three digit code to set the bomb off?

Wow, one more week and we're half-way through the season. But next week it appears that Jack didn't learn any lessons from 20 months ago... he'll be back to breaking into foreign consulates and torturing people.

Monday, February 19, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 10 Recap
(Hours 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

Is everyone tired of torture? Lucky you, there wasn't any in this episode. But for those of you who are tired of family members being involved, well, sorry. No dice.

That's No Moon Field Agent
When last we saw Milo, he was driving like a bat out of hell in a faux FedEx van. Not only that, but he blew up the van with the crate of grenades that happened to be in there (standard issue for CTU vans, by the way). How exactly does Milo follow up such brilliance? If it's up to Poor Man's Ryan Reynolds (Daddy Bauer's man, Hacker), whatever Milo does is Busch League, because it's obvious that he wasn't trained as a field agent. Here's how we know that:

  1. Field agents don't drive CTU vans backwards, through little league baseball fields, or over playground toys.
  2. Field agents don't blow up their own vans.
  3. Field agents don't stop and hide in a wide-open alley way.
  4. Field agents don't make a noise behind a dumpster.
  5. Field agents don't miss three gunmen standing side-by-side with every bullet in their clip.
  6. Field agents don't get shot.

It's true. But since Milo didn't die (as we expected him to – you know, with him carting off to CBS, soon), he might as well get commended for his efforts...all this, of course, after he's de-briefed by Morris.

Morris Hates Wagons
Man alive is Morris having a bad day. So bad, one might be driven to drinking. Which, for Morris, is a no-no, since we JUST found out that he's a recovering alcoholic. Yes, that's right. Poor dude was drilled in his shoulder and may potentially be an aide to killing "millions" of more people, but that was nothing until Chloe slapped him, berated him, tried to kiss him and THEN (after he failed to finish the vectors) tells him to call the CTU Shrink and/or his sponsor. That, my friend, was a low blow. Then again, he didn't finish the vectors.

Yeah, rough day. When I have rough days, I take a walk, which is what Morris does. He strolls on over to the convenience store that's right next door to CTU (uh-huh, sure) and buys a whole smattering of placed products – Red Bull, Marlboros, whiskey and some Altoids. Though, I'm not sure how the Altoids will cover the stench of whiskey that he just drank and then barfed up (which, according to Chloe, is called "not metabolizing the alcohol"), seeing that he spilled some on his shirt. Sure enough, both Chloe and Milo smelled it on his breath – but it's cool, Chloe will break protocol and not tell Bill.

But back to the original thought, why would Morris be the one in charge of de-briefing Milo? Let's go over the potential reasons and you choose the right answer:

  • So Chloe can complain about CTU being under-staffed... again.
  • Because Morris is a good de-breifer.
  • To promote the unnecessary Chloe-Morris-Milo love triangle story.
  • So Milo would be the second person smelling the alcohol on Morris' shirt breath.
  • c and d

The answer is e. And, careful Morris, Chloe "will be watching you for the rest of your shift." Which, doing the math..., will be at least another 12 hours.

Fish Gets PWN3D
Meanwhile, in the Bunker's most private and secure meeting room – Danger. High Voltage. – PMRL (Poor Man's Rob Lowe) is still convincing Fish that killing Brother Palmer is the only way to make this work. And in order for this to happen, Fish MUST grant clearance to the security specialist from the private sector. Don't worry, this won't be tied back to Fish (the one guy who would grant the clearance), it will be pinned on Reformed Terrorist (Assad). Wait, how?

Just when we learn that Fish is really a good guy, he gets knocked the f--- out by PMRL and his (product placement) Maglite. Great, now how is that dude going to get through security clearance and kill Brother Palmer?

The Family
Jack, who, by the way, is still using the cell phone that isn't his (stolen in episode one), had another huge dose of family in this last hour. First off, once Marilyn was saved, he used his patented Audrey Choke Hold Slam on her to find out the truth. And, as we've found out so many times over in 24, the truth hurts. Daddy Bauer is evil.

No biggie, once he settles down, he calls Bill, orders a new vehicle with a full tactical kit (which is a lot of guns and a flak jacket) and then tells Bill he's basically going dark. Bill protests, rightfully so, but Jack pulls out the old "trust me," and hangs up. Then Jack gets assistance from the ever-so-helpful Poor Man's Ryan Reynolds and calls Daddy Bauer -- but makes sure to enable "scramble caller" before doing so (THIS must be why CTU can't decipher certain phone calls!).

After Marilyn talks to Daddy Bauer, Jack tells her that he'll do everything in his power to help save Josh – pop quiz, how many times has Jack said that this season? If you weren't sure, Jack says it again once they get to the hotel.

Finally we get to the Jack and Daddy Bauer showdown... which really turned into a five minute summary of the season so far -- for those of you who are behind. Daddy Bauer gives Jack the guilt trip of turing on The Family and then feints at shooting Jack, only to run off... like all true bad guys on 24. It's a good thing Jack went black and didn't have backup with him.

Fortunately for Jack, Daddy Bauer left a crackberry for him. And a phone number, to none other than ex-President Logan, who is all Grizzly Adams'd out. Great, maybe we can have more 50 year old, two minute sex, soon. If not, maybe Logan can tell us when text-messaging became standard op at CTU. Or how Jack instinctively knows that hotel phones have speaker phones built in.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No More Torture? Now What?

There's been quite a bit of talk in the past week about people being all up in arms over 24's constant torturing. When you consider GM and VW pulling commercials depicting suicide and Snickers pulling a commercial because of homophobic tendencies, it's not surprising that someone has finally spoken up about the numerous tortures Jack Bauer has dished out. In response, 24 will cut back on torture scenes. Or is it NOT in response?

According to Howard Gordon, Executive Producer of 24: The decision to cut back on torture is driven by creativity, not criticism.

Creativity? Really? Because you ran out of ways to torture someone, you're going to cut back? How about a garbage bag? Maybe a drill? Oh wait, you've already done that. And it's a smart move to just cut back, because people LOVE torture scenes.

One question though, since torture was such an integral part of the show, how exactly will Jack get information out of his captives? Either the baddies are going to become weaker, or, GASP, maybe the show will become more intelligent. Bah.

Check this other little tidbit out...

The final eight to 10 episodes this season will include fewer torture scenes, Gordon says, adding that 16 of the 24 ordered segments have been shot.

There was supposed to be 24 torture scenes in the last 8-10 episodes? Are you kidding me? Writers, I beg you, write more intriguing television and stop relying on shock value.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

24 Season 6: Episodes 8 and 9 Recap
(Hours 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

When we last left 24, Jack was starting to track MacCarthy and the just-kidnapped Morris and Daddy Bauer had just killed his evil son. Since this week's two-hour treat was for Valentine's Day, and Valentine's Day is all about getting lucky, I think that luck is the theme of these two hours. So speaking of luck...

  • Jack was lucky to materialize in a helicopter out of nowhere.
  • Chloe was lucky that once she started acting normally (since Morris was gone) hat Milo could take over for her.
  • CTU was lucky that even on yet another short-handed day, that with Morris gone and Chloe pouting, Milo can handle it.
  • CTU was lucky again that the satellite was working this time and providing real-time footage of MacCarthy and Hottie Girlfriend driving like a bat out of hell.
  • Speaking of MacCarthy, they were lucky they didn't crash due to the odd high numbers of drivers on a day where A NUKE WENT OFF!
  • Jack gets lucky in deducing MacCarthy stole a car since there was one missing in a parallel parking spot... under a bridge.
  • Which, in turn, MacCarthy was lucky to steal a vehicle with a GPS device to find where Fayed was.
  • The writers of 24 are lucky that most viewers will believe that Brother Palmer would invite Reformed Terrorist (Assad) into The Bunker.
  • Fish is lucky that PMRL (Poor Man's Rob Lowe, aka, Reed) has a plan to get rid of Brother Palmer, so he won't have to resign.
  • Jack was lucky enough to stumble upon MacCarthy's dead body, and was also lucky enough to find his phone. But then the luck ran out, the caller id was blocked – but lucky for him, CTU can decode the data once he uploads it.
  • Lucky for us, Fayed told us the following via Morris, "You work at CTU, so you know I have four nuclear suitcase bombs in my possession. You may also know that these bombs need to be reprogramed so I can use them. You are here to create the device to allow me to do so."
  • Unlucky for Morris, he didn't finish his quote with, "If you refuse, we'll cold cock you, hit you with baseball bats, pretend to drown you (and make a hell of a bloody ring around the tub that's not in the bathroom, but sitting caddy-corner in the living room) and then drill your shoulder."
  • Lucky for Milo that when he can't trace a call that's bounced around the US on several LAN lines, that a pulled-together Chloe can do it in 10 seconds.
  • Unlucky for Jack, he shows up at Fayed's apartment complex where there are still tons of people walking around the streets (ON A DAY WHERE A NUKE HAS GONE OFF). Also unlucky, the previously kick-ass satellites are now only giving updates every five minutes.
  • Lucky for Jack, the building is on the city's emergency services grid and Chloe, after passing the building's log in screen, can set off the fire alarm to flush people out. Also lucky, CTU can cross-reference heat signatures inside rooms with who's renting what apartment.
  • Lucky for Fayed, he knows that the nuke is armed when a message flashes on a computer screen that says, "device armed."
  • Lucky for Jack and his force, the nuke didn't explode when they blasted the doors open and shot several rounds of ammunition into the room.
  • Lucky for Fayed, he escaped down the ventilation shaft on a rope ladder, somehow got to a helicopter and flew out of range of the FAA's tracking abilities.
  • Unlucky for Jack, Fayed left the armed Nuke in the building.
  • Lucky for Jack, Chloe has the schematics on hand. Also, he knows how to detonate bombs AND there's a bomb tool kit nearby.
  • Lucky for the writers, there's no definition for ultranationalist – so they can define Gredenko's position however they want.
  • Lucky for Gredenko, even when CTU knew he had dealings with Brother and Daddy Bauer, they didn't bother to get all the information on him that they could.
  • Lucky for Daddy Bauer, he can walk around the porous CTU without an escort and has access to Graem's personal effects so he can delete stuff (why not just destroy the SIM card?).
  • Lucky for us, Veep (Noah, the Vice President) is a good villain.
  • Lucky for Fish and PMRL, they can walk around The Bunker (which is housing Reformed Terrorist) unnoticed and hold a meeting in the "Danger. High Voltage." room.
  • Lucky for Daddy Bauer, CTU is pretty modern in design and has glass walls and doors – so he can see what's going on everywhere.
  • Lucky for Jack, Marilyn followed Graem to some Russian's house in the last few months.
  • Lucky for Chloe, for some reason Bill sent Milo into the field with Jack, thus giving her an excuse to pull the "we're shorthanded, Morris, so come back and help me (and have my baby)" routine.
  • Lucky for Jack that Kim never knew he had an affair 20 years ago with Marilyn.
  • Lucky for Jack that he studied the schematics of the house before he went in – since he knew where to jump when he discovered there was a bomb inside.
  • Lucky for Marilyn that Milo was the only CTU agent left when the house exploded... she's gonna need a ride.

So that's how the Valentine's treat went down in 24 land. I can honestly say that I didn't see MacCarthy's offing coming, so that was fun to see. But we had quite a bit of plot narrating tonight, and that's just lame. Stay tuned for next week when Jack learns that Daddy Bauer is really the man behind all of this. Ooooooh!

Clarification Points

In the few years that this blog has existed, it's started to garner more and more attention. Most of that, however, is negative – mainly in the form of hate mail or hate comments. It's sad that people have to resort to name-calling and belittling because I post my opinion.

Anyway, I thought now would be a good time to make some clarifications about why I run this blog. To the dismay of many that write in, I have never once stated that I hate 24. Never. It would be pointless (as many point out) to spend as much time on the show, as I do, if I hated it. I could go on and say that big fans of 24 coming to a site that's called "Why 24 Sucks" and leaving lude comments is pot-calling the kettle black. But I digress.

As I've said in the past, I've watched 24 since minute one on day one. The show is exciting and fun. Rather, I think it was more so in Season One. Since then, with more and more people watching each year, I think the show has began to slide down the slippery slope of jumping the shark. I really think with more viewers comes this notion of having to dumb 24 down – we're being told the plot, we're not really experiencing it.

The acting, while a touch better this season than in seasons past, has never been that great. The writing, while exciting, is more popcorn movie than it is thought-provoking. Enough, I say, with the attempts to sound intelligent with all the techno-jargon. Write compelling story lines and I'll be happier.

So do I think that 24 is based in reality? No, not 100% reality. But if we're talking about our country and attempts to stifle terrorism, then I think it needs to be a bit more realistic.

I'd really like to see a season of 24 take place somewhere other than LA, or the US. Imagine an entire season of Jack breaking out of the Chinese prison, wouldn't that be fun?

I've never said that I hate the show. I don't. But I want it to be better, I know it can be better. Enjoy the rest of the season.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

When Writers Fail

Since I'm a few days away from reviewing the "Valentine's Day Treat" (which is two hours of 24), I found this little fun thing on YouTube. Please enjoy Kiefer's improv.

Monday, February 05, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 7 Recap
(Hours 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

After such an un-eventful episode six, it appears that the writers were storing whatever juicy chunks in their chipmunk cheeks for episode seven. Just when you thought Jack was going to die, again, for the 17th time in six years, we enter tonight’s episode.

The Happy Bauer Family
I thought David and Sherry Palmer had a messed up family – then last year’s first family took the cake. Now that we’ve met Daddy Bauer and Graem, I think the Bauer’s are easily the most messed up family ever. First Jack couldn’t save his wife. Then he ostracized his daughter (practically shoving her into the arms of a nerd, who ironically looks like Assad). Now that he’s been reunited with his dad and brother, all hell breaks loose.

How many times have we seen Jack almost die... only to escape? And where exactly did he shoot the dude trying to kill his father? There was maybe 10% of the assailant’s body showing and Jack shot him twice... with both hands handcuffed... and the other assailant’s gun... which was still being held by said assailant. There’s no denying Jack is good, but THAT good?

And what’s up with Marilyn? First off she’s not surprised that Graem is a total creep and had something to do with the nuke. Then, she’s overly adamant about Jack NOT involving Josh in this. Last time I checked, Josh was totally creeped out by Jack’s acid hands. Even though Jack said his favorite quote of season six, "I’ll do everything I can to protect him," that still wasn’t enough for her. Man alive, the sexual tension is hiz-igh.

Then it was time to interrogate Graem, which Jack told Daddy he’d do whatever it took to get the truth. Luckily for Jack, nothing has changed in the dreaded silver suitcase over the past 20 months. After pumping Graem with tons of chemicals, and giving him the perfect chance to be all vampire like Jack, Graem dropped a nuke-sized information bomb on Jack -- he gave the order to kill Palmer, Tony AND Michelle. That son of a bitch! Jack totally wanted to kill Graem then, but all it took was a glare from Daddy Bauer to deter that. Sigh, maybe next time, Jack.

And as if we didn’t see it coming, Daddy Bauer is... wait for it... still involved in the plot to keep America safe! Then, taking advantage of the fact that Graem hadn’t been taken out of the chair and off of the IV and since there was some interrogation sauce still laying around, he killed Graem... biiiiiiig shocker. I think it’s a shame, Graem’s character was good when pitted against Jack. One other thing, in case it wasn’t beaten into your head -- how crazy is it that Jack is super golden boy and his dad/brother aren’t? So ironic, eh? Eh???

The CTU Zoo
While Chloe was all up in arms about Jack not answering his phone for four minutes (and assuming the worst), NSA was "able" to trace a phone call from Fayed to McCarthy – CTU should really get their wire-tapping software checked out, seeing as its been spotty all day. It took Miles no time to confirm that it was McCarthy’s voice, all he had to do was compare it against McCarthy’s voicemail message... which probably goes something like this, "Hi, you’ve reached the voicemail Darren McCarthy, bomb-dealer extroidinaire. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message about which country you’d like to bomb, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can."

When listening to the message, Morris somehow stumbled across a photo that was in the data-stream. The data-stream? Oooookay, sure, why not? According to Bill, "recovering this image may be the only way of stopping those nukes." Unfortunately, it’ll take Morris 10 minutes to write a salvage utility to have a "new code."

Then, as an homage to Edgar and Season 4, Morris is informed that his brother has been hurt. Which sucks, because now Morris wants to leave. But Milo and Chloe can’t let him, because he’s the best they’ve got and they NEED to decode that photo (which, according to Bill, is "badly corrupted," but, according to Milo, is "highly encrypted"). So Chloe does a quick math problem and tells Morris that if they don’t find the other four nukes, then that’s about 1,000,000 dead people. Someone help me out. The first bomb killed 12,000. What’s 12,000 x 4?

So Morris can’t leave, because it’ll take Chloe half an hour to finish what Morris started. That’s no good, because McCarthy promised the new engineer within the hour, and if Morris left now, that would put Chloe finishing the program right around the same time. Lucky for CTU, Morris said it would only take him 10 minutes to do that (see two paragraphs above). Well, he must have hit a snag somewhere, because it took an extra 22 minutes to get it done.

Here’s the kicker... Morris is the new engineer! Ha! Quick on his feet, Bill informs Chloe to set up a satellite perimeter radius of five miles centered on CTU. Little does he know that it easily takes 10+ minutes to do that (see episodes 1-4 for shady satellite response time).

Hail the Chief
Down in the bunker, we learn of more odd White House politics. Apparently, all that’s required to enact a new National Security Measure is one signature from the President and a meeting of his cabinet. Forget the Senate and Congress, they’re so lame. Speaking of cabinet, can anyone tell me why all of the 24 Presidents have evil Vice Presidents?

That’s not too big of an issue for me, though, because Evil Veep (Noah, played by Powers Booth) will hopefully come in and mop the floor with Brother Palmer. And while he’s at it, maybe he’ll mop the rest of the bunker with Sister Palmer and The Spy (Walid).

All in all, I thought this was one of the better paced episodes of the season. And I’m actually thinking that the acting is much better this year. Still not Emmy-warranting, but better. Hang on for next week’s "Valentine’s treat," we’re getting 8 CCs of 24 shoved into our veins... and it’s gonna burn.

Milo is Gonna Die? Maybe?

The latest news from reports (WARNING: Spoiler Alert):

Start the Milo DeathWatch on "24," because Eric Balfour has signed on for a lead role in the CBS pilot "Protect and Serve."
Read the full article.

That blows, Milo was a cool part of the first season and is one of the better parts of the current season. It must be some kind of testament that he's considered strong enough to be a lead role. So how will he die? Will Chloe glare him to death? Will Nadia become the terrorist that she really wants to be and kill him? Or will Jack go crazy from hunger and eat everyone?

That could make for some goo-oo-ood TV.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 6 Recap
(Hours 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

It's now around lunch time in LA, but no one is hungry since a nuke has recently gone off. Or they shouldn't be. They should be more concerned with finding the other four nukes that are still out there. Our hero, Jack, never loses sight of that... he'll go through great depths to ensure that, too.

Brotherly Love
We've finally figured out that it's Graem Bauer (pronounced Graham, not Gray, even though Jack still calls him that). Shoosh, that was confusing. Well after being suffocated for around 7 minutes, we learn that there is... wait for it... another bad guy (Darren McCarthy). So here's what happened... McCarthy was hired to handle the nukes and supposedly sold them to Fayed. And just as Jack beat it into our heads, don't we all wonder why Daddy and Graem didn't call the authorities? Well they thought they could do it faster, since they assumed they would just happen to run into McCarthy at his office. Riiiiiight.

THEY'RE NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!! McCarthy won't be at his office. McCarthy won't have stuff on his computer. Call the authorities and be done with it.

After storming the office and finding zero information (shocker #1), Graem turns back into Bluetooth Man and betrays Jack and Daddy (shocker #2). Then it's shown that the two unnamed back-up CTU field agents were killed (shocker #3). And if all that wasn't enough, Jack has once again been detained as a captive (hello super over-used plot twist).

If it's any consolation, Graem is a good baddie – fans loved to hate him on ER.

How Government Works
After fight number 52 between Fish and Karen, I think we've finally been told how things get done in Washington... do it my way or I pull skeletons out of your closet. Classy. Couldn't Karen just tell Brother Palmer that she's being blackmailed? I think that's kinda illegal, right? Ah well, she'll be heading back to CTU, thank God.

Speaking of CTU
It's a good thing that Karen will be coming back. Not only do we know that they're low on man-power, but now with the new internal security mandate, "anyone identified with a middle eastern background is required to put a redundancy layer on all their logins." Which, according to Bill, means that Nadia has to work twice as hard to get through all of the security measures... what does that mean? Does she have to enter her user name and password twice? Does she have to do each task two times? Why not just replace her with someone NOT from the middle east? Nah, that's too easy. Just let Miles break protocol (and the law) and log her in with his user name and password.

We didn't see a lot of Fayed in this episode, maybe the creators of 24 didn't know how to find him. Luckily, CTU does... apparently, to run away from the GIANT NUKE CLOUD, people will need to have technology in the "on" position (you know, to monitor fall out). Then all CTU will have to do is use radio frequency satellites to see what they can come up with. Sadly, in one hour, they couldn't find anything. Which is weird, since Fayed used his cell phone again... yes, the same cell phone that they were able to track earlier this season.

The Walid that Shagged Sister Palmer
The writers of 24 are good at coming up with silly story lines (see Kim vs. the mountain lion), and the idea of having Walid as a spy is right up there. But in this episode, Walid takes it up a notch... he swipes a cell phone that was somehow smuggled into the detention camp. Yes, smuggled – I love how incompetent our government and military is made to appear.

After he got the phone all he had to do was call CTU. If you at home would like to call, just dial 310.597.3781. But be forewarned... if you call that number and then hit the star button twice, then CTU can access all of your phone's records. Yes, even the cache of your phone's web browser. Be careful.

It turns out that Walid has been a spy for nothing. These captured "informants" have been getting their information from a web site... that wasn't public... but wasn't password-protected because these pages come and go... but a LOT of people know about them (maybe they're subscribed to some RSS feed). Doesn't the government scour the web for stuff like that?

Overall, it was a very uneventful episode. But next week we get to see Jack re-escape, again, and finally we get to see Powers Boothe come into the picture. He's great on Deadwood, hopefully that translates to 24. Ha!