If you haven’t already figured out that these posts contain spoilers, you deserve to know that Monday (May 14) night’s 24 ended with Jack Bauer accidentally detonating a rogue nuke and destroying half of downtown Los Angeles. More spoilers will follow.

But seriously, I kid.

Nothing nearly that exciting happened in Monday’s episode, which mostly served to lay the groundwork for next week’s two-hour finale and to make it clear that everybody feels just darned awful about the way things have gone in the past 22 episodes.

Marisolnichols_24_s6_240Nadia feels responsible for Milo’s death and for the infiltration, not that it’s in any way her fault that CTU is the both the nation’s most efficient intelligence-gathering body and its least secured or her fault that Eric Balfour wanted to go off to appear in a CBS pilot that doesn’t seem to be getting picked up (Next season? Zombie Milo!). But she feels unhappy because Division only employs badly dressed middle aged white men with large branches up their posterior who invariably disapprove with whatever CTU was doing previously. She found a sympathetic ear in Morris, who’s still dealing with his own internalized blame for the events of the day.

Vice President Daniels feels responsible for causing Lisa to get briefly strangled by her spying lobbyist boyfriend, which came only after she broke the cheapest breakaway bottle ever manufactured over his head (the lobbyist’s head, not the VP’s). He also felt just miserable about keeping Karen Hayes-Buchanan out of the loop on the operation. Who is this V.P. Daniels and what happened to the character the writers developed for a half-dozen episodes?

Tom Lennox feels awful because he had to listen to Lisa and the evil lobbyist have sex for roughly 45 minutes and then he got castigated by the Vice President for not saving her life, even though leading a top secret field operation may be just a smidge outside of the purview for the White House chief of staff.

Kiefersutherland2_24_s6_240At the end of the episode, Jack Bauer ought to feel like the biggest fool in the world for falling for Mike Doyle’s old "Hey Jack, there’s a, um, phone call for you" ruse to re-kidnap whiny Josh Bauer. You could tell how tortured Jack felt by his hoarse wails of "JOOOOOOSH!!!!," mirrored by Josh’s muted shrieks of "UNCIE JAAAACK!!!" Jack may also find himself wishing he shot Cheng in the head when he had the chance. I’m certainly wishing that.

And actor Nick Jameson should be able to muster just a bit of shame for that hilarious Russian accent he keeps perpetrating every week as President Suvarov. Ugh.

So yeah, there was a lot of self-recrimination going around on Monday, but if the scenes from next week’s episode are any indication, Jack has a plan to set everything right.

Whew. Otherwise, the viewers will be the ones feeling disconsolate.

Some quick thoughts from this week’s episode:

  • Yes, Daddy Bauer talking to Josh about how the boy is his legacy and the promises he made when the boy was born was creepy. But the strange rant he went on about how China will take over the world within 10 years was just funny. Also funny? Daddy Bauer responding to Cheng’s threats with the line, "The next time you threaten me, the consequences will be serious. And not for me." Isn’t that last part assumed?
  • It was an up and down episode for Doyle. First he swooped in like Superman with a gun and saved Nadia, which totally gave him an advantage over Milo in the romance sweepstakes, particularly with his being alive and all. But then he had to go and pull the "Look, Jack, the Pope!" distraction, snagging Josh. Once again, just following orders. And what happened in Denver, Doyle? I’m sure somebody wants to know.
  • Just as CTU has never successfully infiltrated the correct safe house on the first shot, CTU has never once been able to successfully set up a perimeter fast enough to catch a bad guy escaping on foot. Something is just wrong with their training procedures there.
  • UNCLE JACK!!!!!! I’m not impressed with any of the kids in the Bauer family.
  • No mention of President Palmer’s condition, nor of President Logan’s condition. Also no mention of Audrey, Secretary Heller or anybody in that family. Grumble.

    What’d you think of this week’s episode? And what do you hope to see happen in next week’s finale?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg