In Daily Intel's 24 Absurd-o-Meter, we each week count down the most incredibly ridiculous (ridiculously incredible?) plot points in the last hour of Jack Bauer's crappy day. This week saw CTU get invaded, a certain computer stud get shot in the head (tragically, his goatee seemed unharmed), and the little-explained, absolutely nutso return of Jack's family. Let's get to the absurdity, shall we?
3. How hard is it to go to the bathroom? So Lisa Miller, Acting President Daniels's aide-slash-lover, gets involved in a Charlie's Angels–style scheme in which she has to get her other lover, a mimbo lobbyist who sells state secrets to the Russians on the side, to read her PDA. Otherwise, says presidential chief of staff and official-mimbo-tricking-scheme-supervisor Tom Lennox, she'll be executed for treason. Let's just ignore the many implausibilities in this setup and focus on the mission itself, in which Lisa finds herself entirely unable to leave the dude alone with her purse. She tries to go to the bathroom to "freshen up"; he stops her, pointing out that she showered about an hour ago. Somehow, she lets this logic keep her from going to the bathroom. She couldn't say she has to wash her face? Needs a tissue? Has to use the toilet? Just walk over? Nothing? C'mon, Lisa! So they make out. By the way, here's what else happens with this plotline: She makes another attempt to go to the bathroom and is, once more, somehow incapable. They end up gettin' it on for the rest of the episode. Tight plotting this is not. Absurdity factor: 5.
2. Maybe it's time to up the security at CTU. As a commenter on Ain't It Cool News so aptly put it, "CTU is easier to get into than Lisa Miller's pants!" The Chinese invasion of the premier counterterrorism office goes extremely smoothly; the evil goateed muscley dude in charge even kills good goateed dude Milo, who pretends he's the head of CTU to save Nadia, whom he kissed a few hours ago. Nadia, for her part, has been exchanging meaningful glances with Agent Doyle. The smoldering tension between the pair began, lest you forget, with Doyle revealing that he's read the Koran, the Bible, and the Upanishads, and this information somehow making Nadia forget her lip-lock with Milo. But weep not for Eric Balfour, the actor who plays Milo, who's landed a lead role on the wittily named CBS pilot Protect and Serve. He plays a cop. Absurdity factor: 5.
1. What the hell are those Bauers still doing in CTU? The extremely annoying Marilyn Bauer and her suspiciously Kiefer-coiffed son Josh have apparently been hanging around CTU since we saw them last, seven episodes ago. Why? The show doesn't even bother with much of an explanation for what they're doing in spy-ville at two in the morning, half-heartedly offering some awfully convenient spiel about them having to stay there overnight and be processed in the morning. Then Marilyn tries to get Josh to get some sleep on a cold, hard bench. Strange way to treat innocent bystanders, especially compared to the way they treated Old Man Philip Bauer, who, as predicted, made his dramatic return. But once we saw Marilyn and Josh appear at CTU for no plausible reason, it was sadly obvious that Philip would be showing up too. Absurdity factor. 7. —Ben Wasserstein