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'24': 'This is beyond madness'

March 29, 2010 |  7:01 pm


Hey, those are Ethan Kanin's words, not ours, but they do seem more than appropriate.

As night slowly turns to day in New York, Jack Bauer and the gang have let the IRK terrorists escape Brooklyn with weapons grade uranium. Bauer got shot in the process but was wearing a vest. Still, he may have "grade 3 level bruising" on his ribs. We think that means it looks like his ribs got worked over by Rocky Balboa.  

But sore ribs are not going to stop our Jack. With Renee back on his side and packing heat, they are hot on the trail of the IRK terrorists led by Samir and Tarin. Unfortunately for them, Samir and Tarin are not their only problems. Dana Walsh, too incompetent to get rid of a pesky ex-boyfriend and later said ex-boyfriend's even more annoying parole officer without leaving a trail of bodies, is apparently also a secret agent for the IRK.

One has to wonder why it's taken so many episodes for this little plot point to be revealed. Wouldn't Samir have reached out to her long before now? In fact, wouldn't the late Farhad Hassan, who was, after all, the leader of this merry band of terrorists before getting himself killed, have been aware of Dana when he called CTU in panic trying to get away from Samir? Wouldn't he have tipped Bauer off that there was a traitor amongst them? Yeah, yeah, he didn't know. OK, sure. 

Done ranting. Back to the action. Dana jams a satellite feed just long enough for CTU to lose the taxi transporting the uranium. Hastings delivers the bad news to President Taylor that he "can no longer guarantee the safety of Manhattan." On the plus side, that real estate Hastings bought in Brooklyn is about to skyrocket in value.

Even though Bauer is still leading the hunt for Samir, Taylor decides she needs him back at the United Nations to oversee the evacuation of Kamistan President Omar Hassan and his family to New Jersey where they will be safe. (What, is CTU outsourcing the job to Tony Soprano once they get across the Hudson River?)

Samir gets ahold of the president and tells her that he'll call off his dirty-bomb dreams if she turns Hassan over to him within an hour. After hanging up, her wimpy chief of staff, Rob Weiss, argues that they should do just that. He is seconded by Gen. Brucker, another weenie. With wussies like these, Samir doesn't need traitors to help him with his mission. President Taylor shoots them both down, reminding them about the pitfalls of negotiating with terrorists and selling out allies.

But Brucker persuades Weiss to go along with his plan to have Bauer, Renee and the rest of the security team guarding President Hassan taken out so he can be turned over to Samir. Ethan Kanin, Taylor's top aide, figures out what's what and tries to contact Bauer but has a heart attack before he can talk to Bauer. Just that he showed up on Bauer's cellphone is enough for Jack to get nervous. He decides to bag the trip to Jersey with the Hassan family, and he and Renee try to make their way back to the U.N. Honestly, I can't keep track of all these secret tunnels that seem to be all over Manhattan.

Brucker's special forces open fire on Bauer and Renee, and there is a huge gunfight. Even President Hassan gets in the action after reminding Bauer that he too is a solider and can handle a gun. They manage to survive and Jack learns from one of Brucker's men what is going on. Prediction: If Ethan does die, Weiss and Brucker will say it was his idea to sabotage Bauer.

In the meantime Samir is convinced that Taylor is not going to play ball and sends Tarin off to the Upper West Side (my old neighborhood) with the dirty bomb. You'd think the terrorists would take out the Upper East Side before the left wing Upper West, but anyway. The episode ends with 15 minutes until the bomb goes off and CTU no closer to finding Tarin or any of the other terrorists. Tarin does not seem to thrilled with the idea of being a martyr even though Samir promises him "your name will never be forgotten."

Tonight's episode had several "huh" moments. When Brucker's men go after Bauer they bark orders at each other in English. Why does it take Jack so long to figure out he's fighting Americans and that something is totally screwed up here?

Earlier in the episode when the satellite feed goes down, why doesn't Chloe (who can figure out anything) see that Dana caused it?

Brucker's men are told to get ahold of Hassan. If they had succeeded, how did they plan on getting him to the terrorists when no one knows where they are and he called President Taylor on a protected phone line?

Another what the ... moment is when President Taylor takes the call from Samir while in conference with at least a dozen aides and talks to him on -- yes -- speaker phone. After he makes his demands for Hassan, she tells her team the "ransom demand stays in this room." Half those people would be on the phone the minute they left the room. Geez, it's more realistic to think NBC would be able to protect its secret late-night plans.

There are also those little goofy moments that make you wonder what the writers are thinking like when Bauer, frantically trying to reach Ethan, gets ahold of that sleazeball Weiss, who hangs up on him when Jack starts demanding to speak to Ethan. Jack expresses his frustration to Renee, who says with a straight face that Weiss is "under a lot of stress."

Bauer has had more than nine lives this season. The last two hours really pushed it, though. First he's saved by Renee, who somehow made it from Manhattan to the docks of Brooklyn in 10 minutes even though the bridges and tunnels have been shut down. Then Hassan saves him at the end of Monday's episode. Can't wait till President Taylor grabs a gun and gets in on the fun as well.

This is the last season of "24," and I've never missed an episode of the show. I'm here to tell you what happened and presumably what I think about what happened. Maybe I'm too nitpicky, but this is a show that invites that sort of scrutiny. It's part of the fun of watching it. I'll miss it when it's gone. Even if some plot twists infuriate me, it's still a pretty fun ride. Just don't be like me and take it too seriously.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Kamistan President Omar Hassan answers the call to arms. Credit: Fox Broadcasting.