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ThoughtsOnline

Sunday, January 14, 2007


It's 6 AM and repeat after me: JACK IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

24 PLOT SPOILERS - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK


* Of course, this year doesn't happen if the Chinese hadn't fessed up to having taken Jack some 20 months earlier. And apparently the Chinese didn't just fess up to the Americans, they also told the world... or at least enough of it for Fayed to learn that the Chinese were holding Jack. Now maybe the Chinese kept things quiet on their end, and it was Chloe hacking into the Chinese network who learned of Jack's whereabouts, and it was through his hacking into the CTU network that allowed Fayed to learn the Chinese were holding Jack. Now, none of this explains how Fayed learned the 'price' Palmer paid for Jack's return; perhaps he didn't really know but was simply guessing that the Chinese weren't apt to be selling Jack cheap.

* Considering how important it was for 'us' to get Jack back as quickly as possible, it makes all the sense to have Jack brought back, not on a MACH 2+ fighter, but rather on what appeared to be a C-130, which certainly isn't the fastest airplane in the fleet. And considering the C-130 doesn't have a lot of range (and I didn't see any refueling prong on the plane as it taxied up), assuming Jack was being brought in from a Chinese prison facility, where exactly did he get on the C-130 that it would have had the range to get to the LA area? Can a C-130 even make the flight from Hawaii, let alone from China to Hawaii? Of course, sticking Jack on the trans-Pacific equivalent of a Greyhound bus did give CTU plenty of time to set up the little grooming area for Jack, right? And just why did they need Jack to get cleaned up?

* While not a 24ism, just what were the Chinese doing on the USAF plane? Why wouldn't the US have taken the opportunity to take them into custody? And what accounts for the Chinese telling Buchanan how tough Jack was? I wouldn't have thought they would have been eager to admit they couldn't break Jack.

* Why was Jack still in handcuffs? He didn't know what was going on; wouldn't he have simply thought he had finally been rescued?

* Sometimes 24isms are when something doesn't happen you would expect to happen. For instance, Chloe - who knows just about everything - had no idea why Fayed would have wanted Jack?

* Another 'the dog-wasn't-barking 24ism: CTU didn't bother to try to track down Fayed after he gave up the coordinates for Assad and after Jack called in? No tracking down either of their cell-phones, no activating the satellite, not even asking Jack for his location?

* Of course, Morris remembers the exact log-in for the private satellite. And of course, the company that owns that satellite would have never bothered to change access codes or passwords.

* Keeping in the tradition of having our friendly terrorists be more than just fanatical suicide bombers, this year's batch also happens to be whizzes at hacking into CTU and other government security systems. And it's nice to see the writers are also keeping the tradition of having CTU have security systems that are crackable by just about anybody with a TRS-80. CTU loses control of its systems more often than Kirk and Picard lost control of the Enterprise. And showing how competent they are, nobody at CTU bothers to wonder how the terrorists were able to detect Morris' commandeering of the private satellite?

* Just curious: why no mention of Ryan Chappelle, who was sacrificed a couple of seasons ago in pretty much an identical set of circumstances? Is FOX trying not to spoil things for any of this year's viewers who haven't already bought that season's DVDs?

* Fayed must have really been planning for a long time to get Bauer, evidenced by his carrying with him the exact set of torture tools he needed to exact his revenge on Jack. Let's see, Fayed is packing for his terrorist excursion to the United States... he's got his bombs, the transponder he needs to set up Assad, and, oh yes, all the knives, prods, finger cutters and so on that he'll need to torture Jack. All that and the heart monitoring device.

* Since when has CTU ever been short of manpower? They're always kicking people out. Sometimes they fire the people, sometimes they arrest them, sometimes they simply send them home. CTU is never short of talent.... except for tonight when Buchanan couldn't fire Chloe. Or... perhaps Buchanan just didn't want to fire Chloe and Morris and just made up an excuse... and excuse that no one challenged?

* And when did Jack disable the steering wheel lock on the car he stole?

* Of course, the technological whizzes that are this year's batch of terrorists manage to overlook the transponder?


MOVING ALONG TO 7 AM:

* Jack biting the guard to death. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a 24ism, as Jack can kill people in just about everyway possible... but it's sure nice to see that Jack took care of his teeth while in the Chinese prison camp, that they wouldn't have rotted away from neglect during the 2 years of presumably terrible hygiene and lousy food. They beat him, they tortured him, but they let him brush and floss?

* If Fayed had thought enough to bring the flashlights he needed to try and track down Bauer after Jack escaped, why didn't he think to keep more than one guard watching Jack?

* Another no-dog-barking 24ism: in ordering the gunship attack on Assad's location, since when does CTU not go for ground assaults? And since when would they have passed up the opportunity to take a terrorist alive?

* Karen Hughes (sorry, Hayes), this year's bleeding heart in the Administration, doesn't object to sending in helicopter gunships to take out a house based on nothing more than the word of a terrorist? No insisting on visual confirmation of Assad?

* The car Jack breaks into just happens to have a cell phone sitting in a cradle. And the cellphone just happens to have some pretty neat location mapping program on it (notice the plug for Nextel?). Given that the usual life of a cellphone is somewhat under 2 years, should we assume this particular model wasn't around when Jack got taken away... so the Chinese, in addition to letting Jack brush his teeth, must also have given Jack the latest geek magazines to let Jack stay up on the latest cellphone software.

* And no, it's not a 24ism that Jack was able to remember the coordinates he heard Fayed give to CTU. Jack is a god and can remember just about anything, even while he is in incredible pain after just having been tortured.

* Why didn't Jack give his location to CTU? Why wouldn't they have asked? Why wouldn't they have wanted to go after Fayed? He 'may' have given them Assad, but wouldn't they have wanted to bring him in as well?

* Chalk this one up to Jack being a bit rusty: he learns that Fayed is the guy behind the attack... so he leaves Fayed and goes to try to rescue Assad? Let's see, Jack knows who the real terrorist is, he knows where to find the real terrorist... so he leaves the real terrorist to go chasing down the (potentially) former terrorist? It's not as if Jack is unfamiliar with the idea of sacrificing someone for the greater good, is he (Ryan Chappelle?). How many times in past years has Jack left the bad guy in order to go off on a feel good mission?

* Of course, Jack gets to Assad's location faster than the helicopter gunships. It must have been a holiday weekend in that there wasn't any traffic on the LA streets. Or maybe the streets are just empty as everybody is staying home afraid of the terrorist attacks.... oh wait, neither can be the case, as a bit later we see the streets have plenty of people going to work.

* After the helicopter attack, Curtis is on sight within minutes... and in just a few more minutes, verified that Assad wasn't one of the bodies.

* AAAACHMED keeps his package hidden in the drywall in the living room. Did he stick it there while the house was being built? If not, why pick a spot in the living room wall? You can cut a hole in the drywall, but then you have to patch and paint... not the easiest thing to do. And unless his parents are in on the scheme or were away, wouldn't they have noticed AAACHMED putting holes into their living room wall?

* Some of the fun of 24 is when they have a character do something that is inconsistent with the plot as it unwinds. For example, when AAAACHMED is first confronted by the neighbor, he cowers behind a chair, just as one might think a frightened innocent Muslim might do while being attacked. Of course, when it's revealed some minutes later that he in fact is a terrorist and has a handgun and isn't afraid to use it, his cowardly cowering seems a bit contrived.

* Not having any reason to think that Assad would have escaped the attack, CTU has a ten block security perimeter set up around the location, again within minutes of the attack. Of course, their doing so was made easier by the fact that nobody was milling around the site of the attack. A house is blown up in a residential area and nobody - no neighbors, no media, no body - is standing around?

* Notice how Jack has stopped bleeding from the chest wound? No blood on the tight shirt he is wearing... and no bandage either.

* Tickets on subways? No tokens as in NYC, no farecards like in DC? Conductors? What kind of a mass transit system does LA run?

* The flimsy door on the train that Jack kicks the terrorist through.

* And the explosion that takes place in the confined space of the tunnel does absolutely no damage to the train or anyone on it. No derailing the train, no popped eardrums or injuries from the pressure wave. Just Jack and some happy passengers.

Here are 8AM and 9AM's 24isms