24: Tortured Logic

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Photo: Courtesy of Fox
Character from 24
Show
24
Episode Title
Day 7: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Season
7
Episode
5

As 24 settles into its seventh season, we’re already confused by the double- and triple-crosses, all the federal offices becoming “compromised,” utterly pointless office romances (even at the FBI), and the overwhelming wealth and power of fictional African countries. But hey, at least Jack Bauer now gets to bury people alive — even good guys who desperately want his approval. Time to rev up the Absurd-o-Meter!

2.Who designed this panic room? Former Prime Minister Motobo is in a safe room in the Sangalan embassy with his wife, and Jack and Tony have to pry him out and get him back to the Super Secret Device, or something. Unfortunately, nobody thought to build a safe room that isn’t easily accessible by ventilation system. (The ventilation system: That’s how people were always escaping from the super secret Heroes prison, too.) So Jack channels his inner MacGyver (MacGruber?) and mixes some household chemicals to smoke ‘em out. Motobo would stay and die for the sake of his country, but his pesky wife is all, “I need air! Sweet, precious air!”, and as she opens the door, Jack’s crew (half of which are bad guys, half of which are Jack and Tony) whisk them away. The best part of this is that five minutes before Jack attacks, Motobo’s bodyguard receives an important call from the FBI. How did we know it's the FBI? Because the Caller ID says, “Call From FBI.” Absurdity Factor: 6

1.“You know as well as I do that coercive intelligence is unreliable.” Stupid us, we really believed the producers when they said during the break that the show was going to ease up on the torture business and not use it as a cheap plot device. That line of dialogue above is delivered — in a tone about as convincing as that of a child being forced to give an apology — ten minutes after a torture sequence and fifteen minutes before someone else threatens some more. The FBI is already being investigated for such “coercive intelligence” by the Attorney General’s office, and, as you’d expect, the AG lackey is portrayed as annoying, obnoxious, and TOTALLY IN THE WAY OF CATCHING THE BAD GUYS. You don’t have to pay pittance, 24. We know you want to keep torturing, inauguration or no. Either do or don’t, but please, quit dithering. No matter how much you claim that you now understand torture is bad, we will never, ever believe you. Absurdity Factor: 8