By: Jamie Samuelsen

To all the 24 producers and writers who read this blog religiously (Anyone? Hello?) – I have a message for you.

There are only 12 hours in this particular season. By my count, we only have seven hours remaining. Really the only reason that any of us have stuck with this show for as long as we have is because of one man – Jack Bauer. So if you’re going to give us an hour of television where Jack only appears on screen for about five minutes total – and for three of those minutes, his nose is inextricably connected to Audrey’s – can you at least give us a warning?

Don’t get me wrong. I thought this was a solid hour of 24 where the plot moved along quite nicely. But I also wasn’t crazy about the episode being as Jack-free as it was. I have little interest in the bizarre love scenario between Chloe and Adrian (WTF was that about?) I have little interest in watching Steve Navarro munch popcorn and watch the world go by around him (slight exaggeration). And I have little interest in watching Margot try to absolve Simone of any blame that the daughter might feel for the fact that Mommy cut off her finger. I want Jack. I want Jack killing. And I want it now. The good news is that it’s now clear that Heller is about to let Jack off the leash. And this dog will run, and bite. We can only hope. Until then, as you’ll see at the bottom of this entry, Jack’s kill count is right around Phil Coke’s save total.

The episode begins just as Kate and Captain Cordero are having a nasty spat over Jack and the state of Tanner’s flight key. Kate insists that this is a CIA matter now. Cordero insists that the whole scene is under his jurisdiction. Oddly enough, the flight key has gone missing. For reasons that I still don’t fully comprehend, Jack goes with the military guys, and Kate simply leaves (with the flight key down her jeans). If the entire scene was a CIA op, then why did she leave without the suspect (Jack) and without the flight key (which she actually had)? It’s like, “Hold up! This is OUR crime scene. Okay. We’re leaving now!”

Kate then hooks up via the com with Chloe (and exactly how did THAT contact take place?) and the long, painstaking download process continues on Tanner’s flight key. 77%…78%…Seriously, has Chloe now reverted to a dial-up modem? Is she communicating via Prodigy? Is she using a Commodore 64?

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of London, Simone is still recovering in bed from the rather medieval version of “This little piggy went to the market” that her mom pulled on her. Poor Margot is wracked with guilt and tries to absolve Simone of feeling bad. Her exact quote was, “Don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault. It’s mine.” Um…ya THINK? This would be like me letting my son eat a full chocolate cake for dinner and then having him throw it up all over the living room an hour later, screaming at him for making a mess, forcing him to clean it up – and then telling him that it actually was my fault. Or something like that…

Margot then goes back into the control room where Navid is slowly, painstakingly getting the override rolling on the drones. There is no love lost between these two and it becomes rather clear that short of taking out most of the Western Hamisphere, Navid probably won’t be in line to inherit much of the Al-Harazi fortune.

The download finally reaches 100% (surprised the server didn’t crash) and Chloe and Adrian start to take apart the code in Tanner’s flight key to find out whether or not he’s telling the truth. They look at a series of roughly a million different numbers and then they see that obviously his controls were overridden. It’s right there, as plain as day. And if you think for a minute that I have any clue what they were talking about, you’re kidding yourself. I have about as much chance of explaining that whole override/code thing to you as I do of explaining what happens at the end of “Trading Places” with the incorrect crop reports and Clarence Beaks. (Seen that movie 20 times – still no clue).

I’m glad to know that I have good company though – our fearless leader Steve Navarro also has no idea what went on. His exact quote, “What is that? What are we talking about?” That’s our boy.

But he trusts Kate and trusts Jordan (his internet lackey) enough to call Heller and stand by his intel.

When Heller, Mark, Audrey and his military team realize that the drone program has been compromised, the President immediately orders that all the drones be grounded. When Margot realizes that the drones are being grounded, she immediately orders Navid to alter his plans and concentrate on the drones they already control. “Don’t test my patience Navid,” she warns. She almost sounds like Bill Bixby in “The Incredible Hulk” – “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Heller is staring at a computer screen and sees that some of the drones are not responding. They’re disappearing. The Americans have lost control. Did this remind anyone else of the screen in “WarGames” when the WOPR repeatedly played a game of “Global Thermonuclear War” against Joshua? (A Trading Places reference, a Hulk reference and a WarGames reference in the last few paragraphs alone. Hi, I’m Jamie. And I’m a child of the 80s.)

Heller makes two quick demands – he wants to see Jack Bauer and he wants to talk to the British Prime Minister. Mark informs him that Jack is already on the premises because Mark assumed that Heller would want to talk to him. Weird. Audrey hops to it to set up a meeting with the Prime Minister. Christy raised a good question. What exactly IS Audrey’s job other than First Daughter and wife of the Chief of Staff? I seriously doubt that Sasha or Malia would be setting up meetings for President Obama.

Kate returns to the CIA office (with a flirty smile from Jordan – “Welcome Back” – Nice try kid.) She’s met by Steve who tells her that Cordero filed a complaint against her actions back at the embassy. This info got back to division who wondered why someone who had already had her credentials revoked was out in the field. So she was getting pulled out of action – again. I’m not sure Jack ever got reprimanded so many times in such a short period of time.

Right at that moment, Margot’s YouTube manifesto went public or viral or both. In it, she blames Heller and his kind for all the violence in the world. And then she vows to kill lots and lots of people unless Heller surrenders himself to her. I suppose that’s right up there with a billion dollars and a getaway car – but it seems awfully unlikely to happen – right? As this is unfolding, Mark has some rather bizarre glances and looks on his face. We all know that 24 is known for twists. I am starting to wonder exactly what Mark’s game is here – and it’s not simply the fact that he hid from Heller the fact that 23 children died in the drone attack that killed Margot’s husband.

Heller realizes that he has to track down Margot, and the only man who might be able to do that is just down the hallway. When the President enters Jack’s room, our hero refuses to stand which is odd. The thing about Jack is – he always respected authority. But as I’ve said many times in this blog, I can hardly blame him if that’s wavered just a bit.

Jack tells Heller that there’s an arms dealer in London who might be able to lead them to Margot. Heller asks for the name and Jack declines. He says he’d have to find him on his own and asks Heller to return him to the field.

“That’s a big ask, Jack,” Heller declares. Then he tries to claim that returning Jack to the field would piss the Russians off so much that it would put the US in a worse scenario than they are now. Really? You have nuclear bombs pointed at you in your own drones that you can’t control AND you have to turn yourself over to a crazy lady in a matter of hours who just lopped off her daughter’s finger. What exactly could the Russians do to Heller if they happened to hear that Jack was back in the rotation? It’s kind of like hiring the successor to Matt Millen. Could it REALLY be that much worse?

Navid is still at the controls (for now) and tells Margot that the first drone will hit in 14 minutes. He then takes a break to go check in on his beautiful, fingerless bride. He confides in her that he put a code on the Margot video so that the authorities would be able to track it. Seriously, this dude deserves whatever he has coming. He marries into this psychotic family in the first place. He then gets cold feet because Simone is sleeping around. Then he tells Simone he’s out but that she CAN’T tell Mommy. That lasts about two minutes. And now, he’s confiding in her again?

Well, it turns out that it doesn’t matter if he’s confiding in her or not because Ian (I THINK that’s his name) has been watching Navid all along. He’s learned how to run the drones and he’s learned that Navid put the secret code in to make their location transparent. In other words, Navid has now become redundant in the Al-Harazi family business. Two weeks notice and a 401K rollover? Nope. A bullet to the head instead. Damn, Margot now has one kill and one digit to her credit. And Jack is just sitting in a room.

Well, Jack has another visitor – the lovely Mrs. Boudreau. Jack stands up this time and the two of them do some weird mating dance where they eskimo kiss for what seemed like an hour. I’ve seen every episode of this great show and I’ve written this silly blog and even I have no memory of what Jack did to put Audrey in a catatonic state. Apparently she went to China looking for him and she was tortured or something or other. The bottom line is this – she needs to seriously get over it. I’m so tired of watching Jack “apologize” for all the good things he’s done for this country. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now.

Navarro leads the CIA ops team into Downton Abbey or Margot’s property – I’m not sure which. But by now we realize that this is a trap. Kate, who somehow STILL has access to CIA communications even though she’s been banned more than Ron Artest, warns Navarro that it’s a trap and some of the men get out before Margot orders a drone strike on her own property to take out the CIA boys. I’m assuming Navarro makes it out alive – I have NO idea how the CIA office could operate without him. And I guess that Erik makes it out too although I hardly see why. This guy was supposed to be the hotshot up and comer who was taking over Kate’s position. Now he’s just along for the ride watching Steve and Kate make all the calls in the hunt for Jack and the hunt for the drones.


–          The scenes for next week might have been the highlight of the entire hour. Jack has a gun. Jack calls for Kate to be his partner. And there was an unmistakable drill. Oh torture. How I’ve missed you so.

–          So Adrian tells Chloe that he loves her. Two questions. 1) WHAAAAAA? 2) WHYYYYYYY?

JACK BAUER KILL COUNT – Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. (Season – Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.)

ANNOYING TIME ISSUE OF THE WEEK – By the time Kate got back to the CIA office, Cordero had already filed a complaint and the Division office had already picked up on it. What was this? Ten minutes? And the US Government can’t fix the issues with the VA?

STEVE NAVARRO LEADERSHIP AWARD – Steve actually took charge of the field operation which may find him in a casket. So as Max Scherzer would say, “Kudos to him.” But I have to give this week’s award to the British Prime Minister Alastair Davies who told Heller, “We take the Al-Harazi threat VERY seriously.” That’s some brave talk right there. It’s like the scene in “Few Good Men” when Demi Moore “strenuously” objects in court.

Five hours in the books and I think things are REALLY starting to get good. Let me know what you think!

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