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24 Fodder

8 AM - 9 AM: Not Another Mole

President LoganWe've just witnessed arguably the most intense episode of 24 ever and get treated to one more go-round before the night is over. And I have to admit I'm glad, since potentially having to wait a week to get the follow up to the premiere would probably have caused me to pull my hair out.

We start off over at CTU, where Edgar is showing Bill and Audrey a security tape from the building where Palmer's sniper was earlier in the morning. And surprise, surprise -- who shows up on that tape but Mr. Jack Bauer himself. While we know he wasn't there, the headshot looks like a really bad Photoshop job, sort of like last year when they stuck Marwan's head on the "Harris Barnes" body for his McLennan-Forster ID card. I could probably do a better Photoshop job, and I'm hardly an artist. Anyway, back to the show.

Neither Edgar, Bill nor Audrey seem especially surprised that Jack is alive (although we do get a token "shocked" look from Audrey). Here's my beef with this: this season is supposed to be 18 months after last season. Eighteen months is a long time. It's not like 18 days, where maybe Jack just went into hiding or was lost in the woods or something. If you're not surprised that someone "came back to life" after 18 months, well, I don't know. You should be. Edgar confirms that the tape hasn't been doctored (except by that bad Photoshop job), and Audrey can't believe Jack would kill Palmer. Lady, you should be more worked up about the fact that your ex-boytoy is alive. Bill's got some proof that Tony, Michelle and Palmer all spoke to Jack before his "death," basically taking 30 seconds to unravel that no one could figure out in 18 months. That's why he's in charge. And then Curtis comes in saying that Chloe was in on all this too, and Edgar gets his feelings hurt. What would Tony think of you, huh Skip? Be a man.

Meanwhile, Jack has a bright idea. He wants to go over to Wayne Palmer's apartment building to check the scene for clues as to who really killed DP. Chloe basically says he's stupid since there are going to be Feds all over the place. Nevertheless, we all know who is in charge, so Jack, Chloe and Derek steal the bad guys' van (do bad guys leave their keys in the car or did they have to search the pockets of all the dead guys? Or maybe Jack hot-rodded it.) and head over to the WP residence.

On the Logan front, Walt -- one of the president's aides (along with Mike) -- offers to look into the First Lady's claim that David Palmer phoned her with a national security warning the day before. Logan thinks his wife is crazy (which she probably is), so he lets Walt check into it just to make her happy. The prez then talks to the folks at CTU, who tell him that JB is the prime suspect in the murder of Palmer. Logan tells them to bring Jack in. He really should have said "dead or alive," that would have been funny. Get it? Dead or alive... Jack is supposed to be dead, but he isn't? Anyhoo. The summit with the Russian prez -- which we know, Logan has staked his entire presidency on -- won't be pushed off.

Speaking of Logan and his entire presidency, the one thing we haven't heard a single blip about yet is what happened to President Keeler. I think everyone's assumption is that he died sometime after Air Force One was taken out, but for all we know he could have been paralyzed or comatose and unable to continue. Maybe we'll find out that he's really the bad guy this year, pissed off at Jack for not stopping Mitch Anderson from stealing that plane. Though I doubt that will happen. Segwaying from a guy who probably isn't the bad guy this year to one who appears to be, one of the goonies calls a man in a dark room and a Bluetooth (I think) headset on. He's got a lot of screens behind him, leading me to think he's hanging out in the big-screen department at Best Buy. Bluetooth (his real name is Nathanson) finds out that Haas, DP's shooter, is dead, and says that the "launch" is less than an hour away. At first I thought he said "lunch," so I assumed he just ate early, but then I rewound my TiVo and heard it for real.

Jack, Chloe and Derek are almost at Wayne Palmer's building when Diane calls wanting to know whats going on. Of course Jack doesn't really tell her what's cooking, just to keep on driving. When they pull up to the building, Chloe flashes the Secret Service agent ... her CTU badge (you sicko) and, after checking out the van (which apparently has a built-in container for hiding Jack, Derek and illegal immigrants), they are let through. Chloe's PC of magic pulls up schematics of the building and she's able to track all 167 feds inside, making it a bit easier for Jack to go around. Oh wait, he's still the prime suspect in the murder, so he needs to blend in. Jack hops out of the van, goes over to an FBI guy pretending he lives in the building, then knocks him out and takes his clothes. Really, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo couldn't have done it any better (in case you didn't get that reference, remember how Shaggy and Scooby always used to dress in disguises or as potted plants to hide from whatever monster was chasing them that day? Same thing... well, without the talking dog).

Inside the building, Jack makes his way up to the penthouse level, getting a bit worried when he has to share the elevator with some other folks (could have been that breakfast burrito he had). When he gets to the top level, everybody gets off and heads toward the scene of the crime. Jack sees Palmer's body on the floor -- covered, of course -- and he gets a little emotional, but Chloe tells him there's an empty room nearby, so he slips in. Down in the van, Derek and Chloe talk about who Jack really is, with Chloe saying she shouldn't be telling him things, but she does anyway. And then she stops. Anyway, Jack heads into the office, turning on the computer to look for clues (another Scooby reference could be appropriate here) in DP's email. Chloe gets the password from her terminal in the van and Jack logs on. However, he hears someone entering the room. Chloe says no one is there, but it turns out Wayne has just walked in. Obviously he's heard that Jack is the prime suspect, so he get's po'ed and starts to flip out. Jack professes his innocence, pulling out his gun and giving it to Wayne to point at him. There's that one moment where Wayne is shaking and he looks pretty upset, but it's obvious that he isn't going to shoot Jack ... which he doesn't. Jack asks for Wayne's help in finding clues, and one magically appears -- an encrypted document on the computer. After it gets de-crypted, they realize that the file is a copy of a page of DP's memoirs. But why would he have it encrypted? Let's find out...

Back at CTU, Edgar and Spenser trade jabs for a bit, until Edgar gives Spenser Chloe's log on info so he can do something or other that only she can do. He can't log on with Chloe's info because she's already logged on, just from somewhere else. Edgar figures out that she's logged on from Wayne Palmer's building, and he deduces that she's in the parking garage since the signal is faint. If Edgar is so smart, why doesn't he single-handedly decode today's conspiracy? He tells Bill about Chloe, who assumes that Jack is forcing her to track the feds for him. Bill calls over to Secret Service to let them know Jack is onsite.

Jack and Wayne compare the encrypted memoirs page to a different version, and figure out the discrepency. There's a name and an address hidden in the body of the text, a Chevensky at 16 Transport Way. He calls in Chloe for help, and they figure out the address is the Ontario Airport. Jack thinks that Chevensky is a passenger on a plane, but it turns out that he's a baggage handler there. Uh oh, Chloe notices on her screen that a bunch of the FBI guys (who apparently all have those dog-tracking chips in them) are congregating, probably to get Jack. Time to run! Wayne wants to help Jack get out, but Jack says no thanks -- but don't tell them what we found. Jack slips out of the room, notices a bunch of guys looking at a picture of him and heads out a side door -- with Chloe's help -- taking out one federale in the process. He hops in to the elevator, but Chloe tells him that a bunch of feds are ganging up on the lobby floor -- so Jack hits the "2" button, hops out of the elevator and heads down the stairs. Of course, one of the feds tries to stop him, so he gets knocked out (sorry, pal) and Jack heads into the garage and hops in the van.

The FBI surrounds the van in the garage, but Chloe kicks it into high gear and drives past them all, busting through a barricade or two. She finally gets surrounded outside, so she comes out the van but, surprise surprise, Jack and Derek aren't inside. Somehow they've managed to sneak out and they're currently busting into a parked car, which Jack hotrods and they are on their way to Ontario Airport. Note that this is the second car Jack has stolen this hour, and the third vehicle (including last episode's helicopter) so far today. They should make a Grand Theft Auto: Jack Bauer game. Really, besides all the ill-treatment of women, Jack basically lives a life of GTA. But Jack has commercials, and it's time for one.

In the car, Jack calls up Diane and finally tells her where in LA to go. OK, so it's Ontario Airport, which isn't really in LA. Meanwhile, back at Wayne's building, Chloe's on the phone with Buchanan telling him that Jack is being set up and that Palmer's assassin is at the oil refinery. Of course, Chloe won't tell Bill where Jack is going, so she'll be brought in to CTU, tortured, and then released when they need her to do some programming no one else can do (that was a joke, of course, but two of those three things did happen). Derek and Jack have a moment in the car, sharing their inner-most secrets about family, life and love.

Down on the ranch, Pres. Logan confronts his wife about David Palmer's murder, saying that Jack did it and it wasn't her fault he was killed. Martha goes on about the call from the day before -- tangent: I think this is the first time in the history of 24 that any character has ever talked about what they did "yesterday" (correct me if I'm wrong) -- and Logan still doesn't believe her. In fact, he has a copy of the recording (on the weirdest audio device I've ever seen). The call has Palmer inviting the Logans to a benefit he's having, not saying anything about wanting to talk to her about a national security issue. Martha says that's not the call and gets a little worked up. CTU gets intel that the Russian prez's landing at the summit could be a target, but Logan won't postpone it. Break time.

When we get back, Jack has just arrived at the airport, where they run into Diane. Jack tells them to get to CTU, but -- surprise, surprise -- they never make it that far. While Jack goes into the airport, the Russian president's helicopter lands safely and he meets with Logan. At the airport, Derek notices a bunch of goons hopping out of the back of a truck and rushes inside to warn him. Jack finds Chevensky and wants to know what's cooking, but before he gets an answer, the bad guys' van blows up. Jack goes to see what happened and Chevensky pops a cyanide pill, killing himself.

Then the chaos breaks out, with the bad guys busting out their guns, firing into the air a bit, and in general looking pissed off. They want Logan to listen to their demands or the peeps will be shot. We get a shot of Chloe being led into CTU under arrest, and then right over to Walt, who's calling up bad guy Nathanson to tell him that he doctored the Palmer recording. And we've got another mole. Mole-y mole-y mole-y. I wish they didn't consistenly use the mole plot line in 24. It's getting a bit old, but the fact that they revealed Walt as a mole so early in the season reminds me of the way they handled Gael in season three - who didn't turn out to be a mole. But I don't know if they can realistically not make Walt a mole. We'll see. -- Jason Unger

Posted by Jason on January 21, 2006 6:12 PM
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Love the reviews. This season is the best ever (So far) Now if they can just make sure to stay away from any Kim/cougar missteps.

-- Posted by: jlou at January 22, 2006 7:34 PM

I look forward to a sweeps episode that sees Jack and Samwise Gamgee smack the smirk off Logan's face.

BTW -- Jason you make an excellent point about the lack of shock regarding Jack's return. I mean, he was DEAD! They checked his vital signs! He was DEAD DEAD DEAD and now that he's back it's like "oh, hey, is that Jack? I thought he was dead ... anyone wanna get a taco?"

-- Posted by: mac at January 23, 2006 1:06 AM

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