Tuesday, January 18, 2005

24: The Season Thus Far

A show like 24 has so many twists and turns, it can be hard to keep up. But when ABC throws out, what, eight hours of this stuff within a couple of weeks or so, well, I think a brief recap of the events so far might be appreciated by even the most attentive of viewers. Allow me to oblige then.

Early in the first episode, of course, Jack Bauer pulls of his mask to reveal the sultry Russian, Oksana, the KGB agent who took over Bauer's identity at the end of season one. The third Bush administration had revived the KGB, we soon learn, in case they needed to stir up another Red Scare. In a flashback we learn that Jack actually did not survive that freefall from a Blackhawk over Baghdad. Instead the KGB intercepted his falling body mid-air and the Jack Bauer we saw turn into a neat roll and start running when he hit the ground was none other than the aforementioned Oksana.

Episode two finds Vice President Cheney (played with steely resolve by Eddie Izzard) kidnapped by oil executives, who demand that he stop distancing himself from the industry in order to be released unharmed. Bauer (or Oksana acting as Bauer) must track down the VP, so he can resume planning the invasion of Iran. Jezebel, Bauer's gorgeous Moroccan girlfriend has other plans, however. Not the Moroccan starlet she told Bauer she was, Jezebel is actually a member of an Al Qaeda cell living quietly in rural Alabama. As Bauer careens off in his Audi TT to save the Veep, Jezebel stands high above the freeway on a hillside with a high-powered rifle. She shoots the tires out of the vehicle. Bauer leaps from the car and catches a bullet in each kneecap. Satisfied that she has immobilized Bauer and determined to let him survive for several more episodes, Jezebel absconds from the scene on her Segway. The hour runs out with Bauer crawling towards the freeway exit.

Episode three and Bauer crawls into a gated community. His goal: to secure monies for a car rental to continue his hunt for the Vice President. From a distance, Bauer sees a Lemonade stand run by a flaxen-haired girl of approximately eight years old. He assesses the situation before pulling a balaclava from his wallet and approaching the young entrepreneur. He pulls a Sig Sauer P226 from his ankle holster and demands all her money. The girl screams and hands over a dollar and 37 cents. Bauer realizes he will have to hold the girl hostage. He grabs the girl and fires a few shots into the air before the girl's mother comes running from the house. Bauer demands that she hand over some money for the release of her daughter. The woman returns with $37 and Jack mutters that he won't be able to get the new Mustang with a sunroof for that amount. Spying a minivan in the driveway, he demands that the woman take him to an ATM and then on to the car rental. "What about your bloody kneecaps?" the woman asks. "The security of the homeland is at stake," Bauer says. "Why didn't you say so?" the woman says. She pops a button on her key chain and the garage door rises to reveal shiny new gunmetal gay Mustang. Convertible. Bauer considers taking the woman and her daughter as hostages anyway. Instead, he tags them with satellite tracking devices, in case they turn out to be Al Qaeda operatives, then he's into the Mustang and away. The episode ends with Jack driving slowly down the freeway followed by 13 police cruisers and a convoy of Freightliner trucks.

Episode four: Bauer uses his cell phone to hack into the government's super-secret "LASER BEAM" spy satellite. He taps in four digits and the laser incinerates the row of police cars and trucks following him. Meanwhile, the Vice President kills two of the oil magnates with his bare hands and in a private moment, pulls of his mask to reveal he is actually Howard Dean, who took over for the VP when after he died of a heart attack at home. Dean, it seems, is working to undermine the administration's attempts to mount another Red Scare. The anguish at having to complete this important mission alone finally causes him to break - if only for a moment - and he lets out a brief, muted "Aaaaaaaaaarghghhggh!" Cut to President John Ellis "Jeb" Bush who paces the Oval Office angrily. Unfortunately, my TIVO screwed up at this point and started taping reruns of Hogan's Heroes, so I can't tell you what happens next.

I'll keep you posted though.

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