Monday, January 23, 2006

The Following Took Place Between 11:00AM and 12:00PM the Day of Sean Astin's Bar Mitzvah

Real time never felt so real. Aside from the driving, cell phoning (When Jack says, "We're running out of time" from now on, i'm going to assume he means that his minutes are running out and that he can't afford the overages), and rat corpse finding, I feel like "24" went out to brunch this week. They did a lot to move the plot, which I respected, but they also didn't fire a shot until the last 2 minutes of the show when they remembered that Jack Bauer was a fine tuned killing machine. While there wasn't very much action, the espionage kicked in, so although I felt like I watched more commercials in real time than usual, I enjoyed this week's episode.

How could I not like the show when it began with rat corpses!? Curtis stepped up into his apparent new role as The Man (with bling!) and immediately used his skills to find what warty old homeless women and young mentally challenged girls have been finding for years: dead rats. The difference between Curtis and I is that while his first assumption was nerve gas, mine was Crispin Glover. I'm not saying anybody in America saw Willard, but I did suspect Fox had a cameo up its sleeve. Unfortunately/fortunately, the threat is not pretentious actors, but nerve gas, and the only cameo thus far is from now credited guest star Sean Astin who will now go by Astin Martin for his lightning fast thinking and his ability to handle the turns that CTU throws his way.

Before we get to trouble at CTU I have to mention the "Nobody believes the truth because its messenger is effing nuts" plotline which is slowly working out the vein in my forehead. When David Palmer was just assassinated, Jack Bauer is not actually dead, and Skating With the Stars precedes "24" on Fox, isn't it possible that you should believe your wife when she says she might possibly have information to tell you? At the very least it will shut her up! Politically, I'd thinking being 5 minutes late to a meeting would workout better than releasing a "the first lady throws her feces" memo to the press. NOT TO MENTION, when somebody passes out, barely lives and there is no medical evidence to prove that she did it to herself, MAYBE instead of giving her the heave ho, it would make some sense to see what the doctor believes. I mean, couldn't they call in House for this? Or what about Bones? Just because she shares her name with a serial killer played by Snoop Dogg doesn't mean that she couldn't see what's what. But what should I expect, really, given President "Weapon X" Logan's inability to do more than gawk at life and occasionally look like there's something in his pants where there wasn't something a few minutes ago? I have to give Jeff and Bill Simmons credit for bringing up The Peyton Manning Face in the previous post, because there is a new face in town-- The President Logan Face. It's that look he gets when everythings going to hell (but still fairly easy to understand) when he's forced to respond to something or make a decision, and all of a sudden the jowls drop, the eyes swivel back and forth and all you see running through his brain is, "I'm thinkin' Arby's." Unless one of the fifty states is run by Dachshunds and Basset Hounds, I don't know which votes he was pulling as vice president on the ticket. Now back to CTU.

CTU was really where the ish went down this week. It's where the terrorists got their groove on, where Audrey got her "I forget what happened last season relationship-wise with us" on, and where Jack got his Bauer on. First and foremost, however, it is where Edgah got the line of the show on. This line wins the award for best line of the show AND most blatant attempt at bypassing real time television. Mad at Chloe for not telling him about Spenser's Toys and Games and about Frank Flynn's existence, Edgah angrily yawps at Chloe, "How could you not tell me about you two? We've known each other for years!" Really? Have you? Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's been like, a year and a half TOPS. Before that, i'm pretty sure you were living in Jersey collecting points from Hesh. And what time you had seems like it's mostly a working relationship. I've known people for fourteen years that I sometimes lie to for no reason at all. "Did you like Jersey Girl?" Fuck it, yeah, it was delightful. Stuff like that. I mean, JACK FAKED HIS OWN DEATH AND CHLOE WAS IN DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR. Move on. And that's exactly what we're gonna do here.
Because back in CTU The Huxley's have arrived. Obviously written as a black mother and son, but changed by Fox due to its Cops target audience (not so big on the interracial dating), Diane and Derek Huxley awkwardly move back into Jack's life. It's very obvious this was not his plan. Diane was probably hot to him when he could pack up and leave at any minute (proven by the line, "You're mother's a lucky woman to have someone love her like you do." -Jack to Derek implying that he get off his tip), but now he has to treat them like they weren't "I Faked My Own Death" fodder. The first thing that happens when they arrive is Jack sends Derek to the infirmary. "But I'm fine," Derek tells him. "You look like you have rabies," Jack replies, and off he goes. "Hi Jack," Diane coos. "You're cute when I'm drunk," Jack woos and Diane is shuffled off to an interview room.
The biggest moment at CTU and of the show really, was when Spenser revealed himself to be (inadvertently, The Recruit style) both a terrorist and a bad Keanu Reeves impersonator. We all knew what was happening when his PAGER went off and he shuffled away to the "Bad Guys Utility Room." First of all, what the hell was he doing with a pager? Nobody found that odd in CTU? Were the terrorists planning on planting a bomb inside Jack Bauer's WALKMAN? Are they wearing sambas and gazelle's so they can run away faster?? IS WALT HIDING NIKE PUMPS IN THE CLOSET?? "You have until the end of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to meet our demands. After that, we will force the Bills to lose the superbowl three times in a row!" The more notable aspect of Spenser's betrayal is that one of our own members PREDICTED IT A WEEK AGO. The Xtreme Ops Award for snooping out a plot twist goes to Notyourmomula (comments, last week's summary post) for this sniping of plot. It's about time somebody sniped something around here.
My problem with the handling of Spenser (and I think others would agree) is that Buchanan did the old "C'mon, tell us" bit instead of the Jack Bauer The Untouchables impersonation where he sticks the gun in the guys' mouth. "We, uh, really need you to, uh, help us...Spenser." Has there ever been a more necessary time to give Johnson a call? I mean, where is he with his eighteen inch needles and truth syrum? Was it really that long ago that The Secretary of Defense's son was strapped down and tortured with VR Boy until he admitted that yes, he did have plans to go on The OC and date rape his brother's girlfriend? I'm just saying that yes, Jack did get the answer out him later, but that's not how CTU should present itself. AND the only reason it was so simple was because the terrorist assassin tried to kill Jack down in medical. This once again proves my theory that CTU has THE WORST MEDICAL ROOM IN THE WORLD. I don't think there's been a single person who left medical in better shape than they went in. Audrey's husband- dead, not enough doctors. That old Female CTU Head's daughter- dead, suicide. Dr. Paulsen- dead, shot for his scrubs. His name was Dr. Paulsen. His name was Dr. Paulsen. The odds on Tony coming out of that coma just went down. Place a parlay bet on Tony surviving and Chase re-emerging with a cannon fused on his arm Mega-Man style and you just might win a lot of money.

In the end, as we all know, Jack went buck on the assassin and they finally connected Spenser with Pastey Skeazeball Cummings. My money is on Mike Novick taking him out with his very own Skeaze-Eye, but Jack is apparently totally free to track Walt down himself and deal with it off the payroll. Let's just note hat the last time he said he would do it by himself he was caught on camera, dealt to the Chinese Government, and had to fake his own death. That really worked out for him. Good ole Jack.

Extra Credit:

Do a character study of Aaron the presidential security guard. What is his moral compass? Is he too loyal? Have we mistaken loyalty with blind adherence to the rules of his superiors? Why wasn't he selected to stay with Palmer's ex-presidential security group after Palmer left office? And how did Mike get away with locking someone in a closet? Did Aaron let that happen?

Keep It Jack,


Anonymous notyourmomula said...

Uh . . . which one is Aaron? (so much for sniping . . .)

I wonder: if Tony was awake enough to ask to see Jack, then why didn’t he even twitch when mortal combat was taking place not two feet from his bed? Kudos to the writers in this scene and lots of others, where Jack’s opponent actually lands a few and Jack actually sustains a little damage. Realism! in real time!

Probably a no-brainer, but I predicted, as she was sitting on her bed, hopeless and dejected that no one believed her, that Marty was going AWOL. You could see it in her eyes, through the Quaaludes and eye liner – she’s NOT giving up. Long term guess: she won’t live out the day, but her death will not be in vain.

So the big question is, who does Jack “end up” with – his former love, Audrey (I do think it’s a d, not a b) or Diane w/built-in family? There was no physical action in this scene, but three metaphorical punches to the gut – (1) Audrey looked pretty shell-shocked when she actually laid eyes on Jack – shouldn’t she have been able to hold it together a little better than that? And you could see Diane speed-reading the love story of Jack & Audrey on the wall when she saw Audrey gaping at Jack (2). And Jack showed us all a brand new facial expression when he saw Audrey interviewing Diane – not his usual “I’m supposed to be dead” blank mask, not his “!@#$%&?*& terrorists are goin’ DOWN” grimace of evil and intent, but a wordless, painful “uh” (3). Emotionally stunning – bordering on abuse.

The show tends to get a little soap-opera-y when it comes to Jack’s affaires de coeur, but it does provide moments to let down your guard a little.

From the imdb in my brain: the yellow-tie terrorist guy with the slight British accent (now clothed in a sweater & leather) is a bad guy from a long time ago in a little show called X-Files. He was Cecil Lively, a super-pyromaniac who was hired to be a gardener/chauffeur for British aristocrats, torched several individuals along the way, and ended up fried himself in an episode where we learn that Mulder is deathly afraid of fire. I also saw him a few weeks ago on “Medium,” as an evil spirit who urged the weak-willed to butcher young girls. Lovely. Compared to those roles, in this show, he’s almost likeable.

Was it a mistake, or a smart move, on Fox’s part to treat us all to two consecutive nights of two-hour shows, then mete out a measly one-hour a week later? I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK.

12:50 PM  

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