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24 Fodder

2 PM - 3 PM: Under Government Supervision

Curtis ManningI have a confession to make: I'm a liar. On multiple accounts, apparently. One of them is my fault, the other one I chalk up to misinformation. So here goes.

Despite my prounouncement last week that I'm OK with story-of-the-hour episodes, I'm really not. Please 24 people, this is just getting ridiculous. There's absolutely no way that this episode should be relegated to one hour of the day. It's not plausible, it's not exciting and, in the end, it will not have meant anything at all.

The other confession I have is that, no, Kim did not come back, despite my posting otherwise. I chalk this up to USA Today, but a good journa-blogger should get to the bottom of it all. So, my mistake. Maybe the 24 folks are just dragging us along, even putting out a photo, and Kim won't appear at all. I doubt this, but two weeks in a row we've expected to see her, and she's not there.

On to the episode. It starts off with Lynn heading back into CTU dishoveled and messy, bleeding from the mouth after getting mugged by his sister's skeezy boyfriend (and in the previouslies, it's confirmed that his ID/badge/access card was stolen ... so look for that plot later). Rossler's phone rings, and Chloe confirms that it is Erwich calling (couldn't they not figure it out last week because he was on a sat phone?). Jack picks up the phone, gives it his best Russian grunt, and Erwich tells him to meet a couple of his stooges in a parking lot to deliver the chip. Jack convinces the CTU guys to let him pose as Rossler when delivering the chip, and Curtis installs a tracking chip ... on the chip. It's the real chip, so the nerve gas is a gonna go when it's installed.

With Walt dead, Mike suggests to Logan that they cover-up Walt's terrorist affiliations. That would pretty much just eliminate a whole scandal plotline, now wouldn't it? Unless someone releases that info later ... like Martha. Logan knows his wife is going to get pissy when she finds out that the terrorist connection was covered up, but you just have a feeling he'll do it anyway.

In FLOTUS's room, nosy-as-ever Evelyn wants to know what happened to Walt to make him kill himself, and "other people" want to know too (worst excuse, ever!). Martha doesn't want to tell her and say she can wait until the official statement is made, but that's not good enough for little ol Evelyn. So Martha gives in and tells her. And you just know an awkward scene is forthcoming.

Now that there's been approximately 5 minutes of non-Jack Bauer-centric action, it's obvious that he's made it to wherever he was going. Hanging outside of the parking lot in his car, Curtis spots a blue van making its way inside, relays the plates to CTU, and Edgar gets his one line of the night, saying that the plates don't match the van. The van parks and Jack heads over to drop the chip off, acting scared (as Rossler apparently would) and doing a good job of it. He wants to see "his" money, and they show it to him, but Jacksler's not going anywhere. After Chloe leads him through replacing the chip (CTU's listening in through Jack's earpiece), the baddies tell him to hop in the van, because they're testing out the nerve gas, and if something goes wrong, they need him to fix it. Jack's obviously hesitant to do this, but as Rossler, he's got no choice.

The baddies knock Jack in the stomach and pretty much toss him in the van. Audrey's pissed off (and it won't be the only time this episode) and wants Curtis and the team to move in, but the big boys say that they've got to let Jack be taken to see what the plans are.

After the break, Evelyn comes into Martha's room, even more confused. She's got an official press release that doesn't say anything about Walt being a traitor and praises him for his work. What's the deal?!? She heads over to her hubby and rails on him for covering it up. No bitch slap this time, but the prez seems to get the best of her this time, telling her to break the news to Cummings' wife, who is coming to pick up the body in a bit. Martha says she will, so we'll see if she does or not.

Meanwhile, Jack is in the back of the van with the baddies, but Chloe is able to figure out that they're probably on their way to a shopping mall up ahead. Lynn won't let the team move in and take them out -- if one canister has to be used in order to get the other 19, so be it. Audrey is pissed, pissed, pissed at this. Bill decides to call up Logan and make it his call. Not a good idea, guys, especially since you know the prez can't decide which side to get out of bed without someone telling him.

Jack and the team get to the mall, where they throw on repairman uniforms and head in. They make their way to a maintenance area and one of the baddies shoots and kills a security guard. They start figuring out where to deploy the nerve gas through the HVAC system, while Logan discusses the options with CTU. He tries to wussie out of the decision, but in the end sides with Lynn and Bill that finding the other 19 canisters outweighs the loss of the people in the mall. Audrey, once again, is pissed. Especially because there are a bunch of kids in the mall.

After they've got the canisters set up in the duct, the baddies want to know the unlock code. Jack tells them the wrong one. Lynn gets pissed off. The baddies get pissed off. Jack gets handcuffed to a table right next to the body of the security guard ... who has the keys to the handcuffs. Good idea, terrorists. Erwich tells his crew that they may have found a different way to get the canisters open (basically making the entire last hour, the character of Rossler and the sex-slave-mail-order-bride null and void), so they start trying to open them.

We've got a commercial, and when we get back, the baddies have pretty much figured out how to get the gas out. They put on their masks, and one of them goes to kill Jacksler, stupidly from like two feet away instead of blowing him away from farther. Jack scissor-kicks the guy, breaking his neck and either killing him or knocking him out, and grabs the mask. He's able to reach for the handcuff keys, put on the mask, and fire a couple of shots at the other baddie who is running away. Jack runs over to the canister and stops more nerve gas from going into the system, but there's already some in the vents. He finds a security guard and tells him the situation and to evacuate the mall ASAP.

Everyone in the mall (which, by the way, literally only consists of women -- I didn't see a single man) runs for the exits when an announcement is made to flee over the PA system ... this is not a test ... but one little girl isn't going to make it. Jack takes off his gas mask and places it over the girl, holds his breath and then runs outside. He administers an eppy pen to her -- yet again saving a minor girl from danger -- and then takes off to find the other baddie. Thankfully for CTU, he's still got the chip with the tracking unit in it, so they'll be able to find him wherever he goes. And he does go, breaking into a car, hot-rodding it and heading toward ... well, he calls Erwich to find out. Erwich asks if he's being followed, and he says no, so he heads back to the auto-body shop base (where apparanetly everyone is still at lunch).

Logan gets po'ed when told that Jack did not let the terrorists release the gas, but he's happy to find out that instead of the 800-900 people that could have died, only about 20 actually did. Unfortuantely for him, Martha was not one of them. Instead, she's off to talk to Cummings' wife, and instead of telling her all about the terrorist ties, she tells the wife that Walt loved his country. Ka-blamo, couldn't do it could you Martha? Logan overhears the conversation ... and looks pleasantly surprised.

Curtis and Jack follow the baddie back to Erwich's base, but Erwich isn't there. He's in a car across the street, and when he sees the CTU cars pulling up, he calls his cronie and tells him he was followed, so "you know what to do." The baddie pops himself, leaving CTU without a lead. But obviously something will pop up next week, whether it's Erwich's mailman who notices that Erwich's dog isn't barking at him anymore, or the girlfriend of one of the terrorists who conviniently lives in LA and is also a scientist with an expert focus in centex nerve gas.

Actually, it looks like Nathanson will come back into play. That's convenient. -- Jason Unger

Posted by Jason on February 16, 2006 9:46 AM
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