Monday, March 26, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 15 Recap
(Hour 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.)

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

If 24 didn't jump the shark in season two with the mountain lion, then I think the whole show just tied a rock to it's feet and then tried to jump a guppy. Seriously, this is the same show that won Emmys last season? Well, maybe they have a case, they just had a dude act autistic!!! Genius.

Definitely Wapner
In easily the absolute most cockamamie idea I've ever seen in a television show, this week we were introduced to Mike Hauser and his brother Rain Man (Brady Hauser). Mark was on CTU's watch list, and on a whim, Chloe remembered to check the list. Sure enough, he JUST made a call five minutes earlier to Gredenko. I'm not sure how they figured out that he was talking to Gredenko seeing that the call was scrambled. Maybe they have Gredenko's phone number on file. Sorry, I digress. Yes, Mark Hauser apparently had about 17 jobs in the past 7 years and doesn't live at the address that's on his driver's license – luckily, CTU's files were super up to date.

Jack and his team head to updated address and then Chloe sends Jack the picture of Mark Hauser super quick via Sprint's Picture Mail. They break in and Mark is shot and needs to go to the hospital, but Jack says no, and issues orders for Mark to be stabilized. Then Jack again shows how versatile of a human he is and becomes a counselor to Rain Man. Jack learns that Rain Man was getting files for Mark by getting through the IPC firewall to set up a proxy server port.

Mark is really hurt and HAS to go to the hospital. But before he does, he calls Gredenko and sets it up for him to meet Rain Man to get his information. I'm pretty sure the call wasn't scrambled, since Mark didn't enable the scrambler (see episode 10). Gredenko doesn't think it's weird that he's just going to meet an autistic kid in the middle of a neighborhood park, so why should we?

Here's the wrinkle in the plan, Rain Man needs Gredenko to get out of his car – I suppose CTU couldn't just surround the car. So Jack gives the unusually mild-tempered Rain Man an earpiece. Gredenko shows up and gets out of the car as planned. Then, after using Mark's magical jump drive that just automatically uploads whatever is on it to the computer that it's stuck inside of, CTU kills all of Gredenko's men and tranquilizes him. It wasn't a strong one, though, as he is awake and fully conscious within three minutes. Then he pulls a switcharoo on Fayed and says he'll sell him out.

</end stupidest story line ever>

Bunker Trouble
Evil Veep still wants to shoot a nuke at "Fayed's Country," but everyone thinks he's crazy... I mean, doesn't he know that he'll start World War 3!?! Anyway, Sister Palmer is staring at her comatose brother, when Karen comes up and risks National Security by telling her about Evil Veep's plans. Problem is, Brother Palmer needs to wake up and stop him. Luckily, Sister Palmer is willing to risk Brother Palmer's life and agrees to wake him up.

Meanwhile, we get some great dialogue... "The Victory will reach launch postion in ... 40 minutes," says the General dude. To which Evil Veep responds, "so in less than an hour we'll have made our point to the enemy." That's the writers reminding us that everything in 24 happens on one-hour time frames. Good thing, I had forgotten. Oh yeah, they're going to fire off a B-611 Short Range Tactical Warhead, if anyone is checking.

Evil Veep gives the order to launch the nukes. Fish argues that it's not a good idea. And just when you think that the missiles will be launched, Brother Palmer calls the submarine on his cell phone and stops the order – he's got them on speed dial. Who knew that would happen!?!

Nada Mas Para Nadia
Ooooo! Big break for Nadia! While Agent Smarty Pants (Kyle Johnson?) was stripping data from Missile Commander's hard drive, he found a remote access module – it's how Missile Commander was able to breach CTU's satellite grid. He got in through one of the radical web sites Nadia had been monitoring and the access module proves it...somehow. Just when you think Agent Smarty Pants is going to turn Silver Spoon in, he again brings up the fabled "Denver" incident... but they just keep refering to it as "Denver," you know, to peak your interest. When actually no one cares.

Then we learn that Agent Smarty Pants is wearing a turtle neck on a hot summer day in LA. Then he tells Milo that Silver Spoon is withholding evidence that proves Nadia's innocense. Milo, who doesn't need a sling anymore, attacks Silver Spoon. But Morris comes to his rescue saying Silver Spoon gave him the remote access module that breached Nadia's computer. Silver Spoon didn't report it because he got it from an un-reliable source (Agent Smarty Pants is unreliable?). Well, anyway, Morris ran a "verification scan" and it's definitely real and Nadia is definitely innocent. It then only took Bill four minutes to review the evidence that proves Nadia is innocent. And then he has the nerve to ask her to stay? Oh yeah, they're short-handed. And she agrees!

As a welcome back, the sling-less Milo gets all aggressive and forces his tongue down Nadia's throat. It was such a good kiss that Nadia was shell-shocked. And Chloe was sad.

Hopefully next week we'll learn why Gredenko is the only one who can give Fayed the targets he wants. But if you want a spoiler, it's because he is the only one with an atlas.

Monday, March 19, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 14 Recap
(Hour 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.)

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

Wow-o-we-wow, what an action-packed episode. And by action-packed, I mean bs-packed. When we left last week, Grizzly Logan was crashing in the ambulance (since the helicopter was, uh, broken?) en route to the hospital. Did he recover? Did he die? No one cares, especially the writers, since he didn't show up in tonight's hour. And really, that's fine. But someone from Jack's past did show up.

The Audrey Files
Grimacing Jack has returned to CTU and while he's heading to the medical wing, he stops in to see Marilyn – who's been doing nothing but standing around for the past several hours. After she confirms that there WAS something between her and Jack way back in the day, she tries to get some... because nothing helps you get over a dead husband and a kidnapping father-in-law better than some Jack-smooching. Too bad Jack denies her. But it's heroic, because he did so out of love.

That's when Marilyn drops the bomb on Jack – Audrey's dead (which is why we never had confirmation of her coming back to the show during the off-season). She died trying to find Jack in China. How romantic. How sweet. How did Marilyn know?

Jack. Is. Pissed. So he runs over to interrupt Chloe and demands that she stops whatever she's doing to go get Audrey's file out of archive. Never you mind the nuclear-armed drone in the air, Jack, just glare at Bill and grimace as you head back to the medical wing. After pouring over her file, he just knows that she was killed and vows to make "them" pay.

You DO Know What an RQ-(d)2 is, Right?
This week the writers decided to use a real-life thing in the show, the RQ-2 aerial drone. In case just saying the name several times during the show wasn't enough, we are also relayed the following information:

  • Bill tells Evil Veep that the RQ-2 is an unmanned stealth aircraft that can be remotly piloted anywhere in the world.
  • When General Walsh talks about the drone, he mentions that it has a low-profile design which makes it hard to detect – some people refer to that as stealth. Say, how exactly did CTU find the stealthy drone on satellite?
  • Then Morris loses the drone (we know this because his satellite screen read "Satellite Streams Protocol - Searching All Vectors - Lost C"), only because CTU has been compromised (yes, another mole). And when Gredenko calls Missile Commander to find out how things are going, he is told that CTU's tracking capabilities had been disabled – which Gredenko clarified for us idiots, "they cannot track the drone." NO ONE CAN! IT'S STEALTH!

The 24 Convenience Store
24 has long been built on conveniences, but it's becoming like Prison Break in all of the "ironic twists" that pop up.

  • Sun sets fast on the sunset strip – Tonight we open the episode in near total darkness. Remember when just ten minutes ago, it was complete daylight outside? I sure do. Maybe the siege of the Russian Consulate took longer than we thought. But why was it important to be so dark? So that when the RQ-2 aerial drone is in flight, the only way to find it (aside from CTU just happening across it on satellite) is by eyesight... and that's really hard to do at night.
  • Karen needs help! – Now that Evil Veep is in power, Karen has decided to return to work so that she can take him, Fish and Invasion Chick until Brother Palmer can come in at the last second and save the day. That could be a while, though, since he's in a coma that was induced by the doctor. Karen really needs his help and asks the doctor to wake him up. Sadly, he cannot without consent from his family. Well what do you know, Sister Palmer is standing right there!
  • Missile Commander – If Morris isn't the best at everything, I don't know who is, but thank God he found out who was piloting the drone... and what do you know, he's just THREE BLOCKS AWAY FROM CTU! Hoooo-rah! The reason he was so close to CTU? So Jack and Silver Spoon could get there during a commercial break. Good thing that they didn't kill the Missile Commander, they'll need to torture him next week.

The 24 In-Convenience Store
24 also has it's fair share of things that they simply cannot do, only to draw out time and "add to the drama" of the story.

  • Chloe Determined – Even though Chloe has been interrupted so many times today, she figures out that there's a leak inside of CTU! It's from a workstation inside the office, but she can't isolate it -- because it's being masked through a sub-circuit. Morris is working on it, but there are over 50 workstations inside of CTU and it could take an hour to find it. Or... how about you go check every computer in the place -- you could walk by each of them in a total of 5 minutes.
  • Re-Boot Wackiness – Silver Spoon wants to check Nadia's computer, because she's totally muslim and Milo gets all up in arms. Apparently, it IS Nadia and the only way to shut down her workstation is to cut the power and re-boot CTU's mainframe. But if they do that, they'll be without system power for 20 minutes. Or... couldn't you just unplug her computer?

Kitchen Sink
Other fun/nonsensical things from tonight.

  • The silly Chloe-Milo-Morris love triangle just got dumber. Nadia is now in on the mix.
  • Evil Veep is the only voice of reason on this show. He, like everyone else should be doing, questions how on Earth can CTU lose a drone with the world's best satellites. Some of the writers MUST have a sense of humor.
  • Milo interrupts Chloe from setting up a reverse stattostream on the drone satellite intel and wants her to check on Morris' breath, so she kisses him. The only humor of the year... but why now?
  • Jack continues to amaze me. Tonight he takes out the pilot, tells CTU that the target is San Fran, figures out that it's set on a perimeter circuit... and then figures out how to fly the drone out of the perimeter. Then in another re-used story-line, he needs to find a place to land the drone, but needs 500 feet of runway. Good thing they found one so quickly in the industrial part of the city.

Next week promises to be even better... we have Evil Veep ready to nuke up the Middle East and Brother Palmer will be the second President in three weeks to crash. Will he die? Will Evil Veep kill all Muslims? Good thing it'll take one hour to position the submarine!

Monday, March 12, 2007

24 Season 6: Episodes 12 & 13 Recap
(Hours 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.)

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

Well, I'm sorry about the delay in my recaps. In my time off, I've been reading everywhere that episode 12 was "the best episode of the season so far." The only thing I can say to that is, when the season has been pretty lackluster thus far, to call this one the best isn't saying much. However, when comparing the length of notes for episode 12 to previous episodes', I will say that I did a lot more watching than I did typing. Something about the episode WAS good. Sadly, I think it regressed in episode 13 and I don't anticipate it recapturing that temporary magic.

Grizzly Logan, Two Sides of the Coin
Grizzly's character this time around is much better than last season's. He's to the point, he's "enlightened," and he's got that beard. Unfortunately, he got tucked into a very unfortunate story-line. Apparently, like many other plot points in 24, "he's the only shot America has at locating the nukes."

In an odd turn of events, Grizzly was taken to CTU for questioning and NOT back to his 10,000 sq. foot house. Clearly, he's as confused as we are and asks Chloe why he's all alone in this room. She says that its standard procedure for those in house arrest -- or anyone that they bring into CTU for questioning. He then tells Bill that "Ms. Crazy (his ex-wife) is the only person who can talk the Russian President into doing something," and Bill buys it.

Uh-oh, she won't talk to him on the phone, so he has to take 24's newest teleportation device of choice, the helicopter, to her residence. That's when we see the gallant return of Aaron Pierce, who has a horrible sarcasm radar and has his pants pulled up WAY too far. Sadly, Ms. Crazy is a freakin' mess (she, and Morris, are both on the wagon), gets upset and shanks him. Now Grizzly's about to die, and no one cares. Thank God that plot line lasted only two hours.

More White House Wackiness
It's about time Evil Veep is brought in to run the show -- NO ONE saw that coming about 11 episodes ago. The weird thing is that he, and everyone else in the bunker (that happens to have a fully-staffed medical wing) thinks that Assad somehow smuggled in a bomb "high velocity explosive device" to kill Brother Palmer.

Meanwhile, in the super secret High Voltage room, Poor Man's Rob Lowe (PMRL) is explaining that they can't kill Fish because, "they're not murderers," and, "what we did was necessary for the sake of National Security." Um, didn't they just try to KILL THE PRESIDENT? Last time I checked, if you kill someone, you're a murderer.

Then, to show how a White House is truly ran, Evil Veep tells Invasion Chick that he wants to enact Fish's security plan. Too bad Fish has lost all his nerve and doesn't want to anymore. That doesn't dissuade Evil Veep, though, no, he blackmails Fish and then threatens to blow up the entire Middle East. Right on.

I will hand it to Evil Veep, though, he's had the best quote of the season so far. When talking to Bill about Grizzly's plan to have Ms. Crazy call the Russian President's wife (yes, that's the plot line), Evil Veep responds with, "that's about as likely as a terrorist knocking on my door and surrendering." Please tell me the writers were acknowledging how silly this all is.

Uh, Torture DOES Work
After Grizzly's conversation with Markov didn't work, Jack calls Chloe to have her turn off the power (CTU protocol break) and decides that he'll just walk in the back door of the Russian Consulate -- YES, as Grizzly points out, Jack is about to do the SAME THING he did 20 months ago and was taken to a Chinese prison for (in case we all forgot). And can we forget all the flack 24 has garnered recently for their excessive use of torture, because this time the torturing worked! All it took was cutting off a finger and Markov sang like a bird.

Then Jack became suddenly stupid and thinks he'll just walk out the doors that he knew Russian guards were standing outside of. Thanks to the use of their handy dandy Dell pda (product placement), the guards knew exactly when Jack was at the door and blew it up!

I know what you're thinking, if CTU knew Jack was going to the Russian Consulate on suspicion that Markov knew where Gredenko was, why aren't they monitoring phone calls? It turns out they are. It's just that diplomatic traffic is encrypted with an algorithm that CTU has never been able to crack. Morris is on the job, though, and he's found a way around that. ONE of the computers at the consulate isn't properly shielded and he's picked up a digital shadow of the messages before they're encrypted. D'oh! THAT'S how CTU knew that Jack was captured.

After being captured, Jack somehow convinces Turncoat Guard to call 24's favorite phone number, 310-597-3781. Yes, the same phone number that three different people have had this season. Turncoat Guard gets killed and no one wants to remember that someone from inside the Consulate tried to contact Bill. That's fine, because Jack somehow removes Turncoat's belt -- the wrong way, dodges bullets and switchblades and finds a room where two Russian Americans are about to do it despite all of the lock-down noise.

Jack scares them with his gun and asks how people make phone calls during a lock-down situation. Which begs the question how often do lock-downs occur. Actually, I'd like to ask a different question... why does it take a special phone from upstairs? Doesn't everyone have cell phones? Jack does and he's been in prison for 20 months, granted, he stole it.

Ricky Looks Old
We've been teased with it for several months now and it finally came to fruition -- Ricky Schroeder is finally on 24 as Silver Spoon (Mike Doyle), head of field ops. It took him all of two seconds to assert his assholedness, choke Morris and bring up hold history with Milo (because that's what we need, more strife inside the office). Lame.

There you have it, two more hours of 24. Finally we're on the back side of the season, but we still have 11 hours to go. Ugh. Next week could be extra swell as we try to explode a drone, launch nukes towards the Middle East and try to expose a mole inside of CTU (that's never been done before). Good thing Bill made the order to move all available satellites to Shadow Valley, since it'll take more than 15 minutes to reposition them.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Episode 12 Recap Delayed

Hey loyalists, I'm going to have to delay this week's review a few days. I've watched nearly all of the episode and must say that this week's could have been the best and worst of the season. Powers Boothe rules as an actor and is easily the most believeable character the show has had in several seasons... unfortunately, this week featured a lot of "let me explain the plot to you while I ask you questions and/or make statements." I continue to argue that writing like this shouldn't be rewarded with Emmys. I'll be back with my recap as soon as you can say, "Assad must have smuggled in a bomb," without laughing.