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24 Fodder

7 AM - 8 AM: Holy Crap

Jack BauerWe've been waiting for this episode for months. Literally, months. And then it doesn't start until almost 8:15 because of football. Was I the only person trying to contain my anger at the delay? Seriously, they made me wait long enough, and now I have to sit through the postgame bit. At least Fox had that little 24 countdown clock in the corner.

When the episode finally does start, we get a recap of Jack faking his death last year, complete with an "18 months" montage so we know when Day 5 takes place. Literally, the first thing I notice about the show is how many regulars are listed. Kiefer, Audrey, Tony, Chloe, Bill, Curtis, Edgar, Pres. Logan and the First Lady. For a show that -- at one point last year -- only touted two regulars (Kiefer and Kim Raver), this is impressive. Not to mention the fact that we've also got appearances by Dennis Haysbert, Reiko Aylesworth, Jude Cico-whatever (Mike Novick), and DB Woodside.. it just got me in a great mood. And then the unthinkable happened.

Well, first off, we meet Jack, a.k.a. Frank Flynn, waiting for his name to be called at the oil refinery. His pit boss says he isn't needed today, and Jack -- I mean Frank -- is okay with that. Fast forward over to David Palmer, who is working on his memoirs with his brother Wayne, who conveniently lives in LA (just like Sherry Palmer did in Season 3). It's not clear what exactly the former president was doing in LA, whether or not he was to attend the summit scheduled for the day, but in any case, there he is. Wayne -- who it was great to see, and a total surprise, too -- asks his brother if everything is alright, since he seems to be acting a bit distrought. David shakes it off a bit, saying that everything is okay, so Wayne continues to go over his memoirs with him. As he's looking out the window, a bullet comes shattering through, hitting David in the neck, instantly killing him. We see the assassin's face ... and then I stopped moving.

I've been thinking about why Palmer's assassination was so shocking to me, despite all the signs that he would die. First off, the signs: he's got a new show coming up, he was only listed as a "special guest star," and there are no more plot lines available for him. He wasn't promo'd at all until the couple days before the premiere came on, so it was safe to assume he wouldn't be playing a big role in Day 5. Yet his murder was still a jaw-dropper. Here's why. For those of us who've been watching 24 since Day 1, there has always been that recurring plot line of killing David Palmer. Obviously, the whole first season was dedicated to that. The end of season two was dedicated to that. So much of 24 has focused on his murder, with the pulls-and-tugs both ways and how his potential death was always drawn out, the fact that they killed him within two minutes of the show -- and the season -- opening was astonishing. His death gave me the title for this hour's episode, although the actual words out of my mouth substituted a different word for crap -- use your imagination.

Cut over to President Logan, at his California ranch with his aides, Mike and Walt. They're getting ready for the Russian president's visit, when Mike gets a phone call. He finds out that Palmer was killed and, after a momentary blank stare, relays the news to Logan. And then everyone else knows, since the news is broadcasting it, literally minutes after it happened. And they say news travels fast these days ... just think if we lived in the 24-verse. Logan, on the phone with Bill Buchanan and Curtis over at CTU, wants Palmer's assassin found or killed on the double. Buchanan suggests Logan call off the treaty signing, but the president says that it's the defining moment of his presidency and he's been working on it for too long to delay.

On to our favorite analyst, Chloe, who we seeing waking up in bed with ... a man. Well, actually, it's just Spenser, one of her underlings, and she doesn't want him to tell anyone at work they slept together, for fear of being labeled a slut. She gets a message that Palmer has been killed, and gets on her way to work. Meanwhile, Jack's watching the news reports of Palmer's death, getting a bit emotional, in his room. There's a knock on the door, and Jack, always prepared, pulls out his gun. (Can you imagine Jack as a Boy Scout? He would have been worshipped.) It's just Jack's landlady and pseudo-girlfriend Diane, inviting him to breakfast. Diane's son Derek -- who I actually did think was David Spade -- starts quizzing Jack (Frank) about some work he says he did on an Alaskan oil rig. Obviously Jack is fibbing, so Derek, naturally has to investigate. Not a good idea, kid.

Over at the Almeida residence, Tony and Michelle debate whether or not to go to CTU to help with the Palmer assassination investigation. Michelle says that their experience is valuable, while Tony is focused on a meeting they have later that morning. Michelle decides to go, so Tony phones the guy they're meeting to let him know Michelle won't be there. Well, if she's going in, Tony figures, may as well too! So Tony cancels the meeting, but before he can make it outside ... BOOM. As Michelle goes to get in the car, it explodes. Tony runs out and a second explosion knocks him and wifey out. And that folks, is all before the first commercial break. By the way, great shoutout to Tony's Cubs mug in this block. I was never a huge fan of Michelle -- she always seemed a bit fake to me. I'm not necessarily happy to see her go, but damn, that was a shocker too. What I'm a bit rolly-eyed over is how Tony will come back so quickly from being burnt. More on his treatment in a bit, but seriously, he's a regular this year -- is he really going to be in any shape to do whatever the same day his wife died? I guess he's got a super-healing system (see Season 3, gunshot wound to the neck).

Back from the break, Chloe is still on her way to work -- actually, just to her car, when Edgar calls her to say that Tony and Michelle have been killed/whatever. Realizing that she's the only one alive of the four who know that Jack's not dead, Chloe decides not to put her key into her new fancy-shmancy Prius, opting instead to run away from the guys in the white van trailing her, including Palmer's shooter. Good idea, Chloe. If only you had that machine gun this hour. She gets chased for a bit, into a crowded mall (at 7 AM?) and manages to fool one of the guys chasing her during his escape. She stops at a payphone (they still exist?) to call Jack, telling him she knows she's breaking protocol, but she's in trouble. Jack tells her to come to the oil refinery (what is it with oil refineries this season?) north of LA and he'll meet her there. Since I guess he can't afford a safe, Jack takes his jackpack out of a vent in the wall and heads out.

Tony's getting sent over to CTU for medical attention, since CTU's reputation as a hospital is great -- just ask Paul Raines... oh wait, I guess you can't -- but his former wife Audrey, you can ask, since conveniently enough, she walks in to CTU, as the DoD liaison for the summit today (or is it the assassination investigation? Guess it doesn't really matter). Well, back at the ranch, we get to meet the woman we've heard so much about... First Lady Martha Logan. And boy, is she a piece of work. After her aide/assistant/whatever Evelyn finishes putting her makeup, Martha dunks her face in a bowl of water. Wacko! Then she finds out that Palmer was killed, and we find out that apparently they were best buddies at one point (I assumed that at some point she was going to reveal she had a child with him, but I guess I'm just a dreamer). So she gets upset, again, and wants to talk to her hubby about it, but he's giving a press conference about DP's death, so she gets kept away. Commercial break.

Back from the break, at another oil refinery (I just don't get it!), Jack knocks out a helicopter pilot (who just happens to be hanging out waiting to be knocked out and have his 'copter stolen) when he notices that Derek has followed him. Kid, why you gotta be doing that? You know you're just going to regret it. Jack has to take Derek with him in the helicopter, so they'll have some quality time flying above the city together. At CTU, Tony gets wheeled in and Curtis finds out that he had spoken to DP right around the time of Jack's "death" -- a link between the two -- but the files are corrupted (thanks Chloe).

After his press conference, Pres. Logan meets with his wife, who tells him that she had spoken with David Palmer the day before. DP wanted to tell her about a national security matter, which Logan doesn't believe, and it sounds pretty ridiculous at first. Now obviously something will come out of this, but seriously, David you (were) a smart guy. Why are you calling this whacko woman with matters of national security? You've got Secret Service guard. You know everybody. Hell, you used to work with Mike. Give him a call, not a crazy lady. That was just dumb. Seriously. Anyway, Logan tells Walt about what Martha told him, saying she's having a delusion.

Over the skies of California, Jack spits out that line we've seen in the promos a million times... "Someone who's not supposed to be alive!" and it isn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. The same thing happens later with the "My name's not Frank, it's Jack Bauer" line. That's a shame. Jack calls up Diane and tells her to start driving to LA to pick up Derek. She doesn't get it, but she says she'll do it anyway. Commercial break.

Edgar and Spenser (That second "s" really kills me) are trying to get in touch with Chloe, but she's not picking up her phone, and Spenser tells Edgar he saw her this morning, and Edgar looks like a deer in the headlights trying to figure out what he means. Poor Edgar, we feel bad for you. Maybe Spenser will get killed (or be a mole) today, giving you that shot with Chloe everything thinks you should have. Speaking of Chloe, she hops out of her taxi at another oil refinery and meets up with Jack and Derek, who have landed. But uh-oh, the bad guys are right on her tail. They don't have a car, so they try in get in the helicopter, but dumb Jack turned it off, so it's going to take awhile to restart -- even longer than my old Tandy computer -- but believe it or not, they don't have that kind of time to spare. So the three of them start running, but Jack has smoke grenades in his bag, so he tosses a few to cloud them from the bad guys. He pulls out the handy firearm, and takes them all out, except for DP's assassin -- Haas -- who is all over town today. Chloe and Derek are hiding in between some tankers, but Haas sneaks up on them. Jack hits him with a bullet in the leg, and then Chloe fires a few shots right into him.

So Jack goes over to Haas, sprawled out on the ground, and tells him he'll only get medical attention if he reveals what their big plan is. Of course, Haas doesn't know everything, but he does spill what he knows -- that Jack is being framed for DP's murder. Tony and Michelle's hit was just a diversion -- I don't get that -- and when Jack finds out that Haas was the guy who pulled the trigger on Palmer, he gets po'ed. So he delivers medical attention, in the form of a bullet. Bang. Haas is dead. Probably the most fulfilling revenge murder for Jack since Nina's death, but in this case, Jack doesn't even look a bit guilty. Which is intense, but kind of creepy at the same time.

Overall, the episode was awesome. The focus on framing Jack is an interesting idea, but seriously, this is Jack we're talking about. Everyone at CTU knows he wouldn't kill Palmer, so how long they try and run with this I don't know, but hopefully it won't get either painful or just stupid. -- Jason Unger

Posted by Jason on January 18, 2006 8:01 AM
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Good stuff!
Congrats on the mention in

-- Posted by: Matt at January 19, 2006 12:43 PM

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