For about 35 seconds last night, 24 remembered that this was supposed to be the season in which Jack Bauer’s torturous ways were revealed to be passé, and he would be admonished and then bathed in the ways of due process.
Fortunately, because the show does not want to suck, it quickly tiptoed back from the abyss. Spoilsport FBI chief Larry Moss is debating Bauer about torture, about how threatening to murder the wife and child of a potential suspect isn’t necessarily the most friendly way for the United States Government to do its business. There are rules, Jack. Frustrated — mostly because he’s losing the argument — he and Jack have the following exchange:
Moss: “The rules are what make us better.”
Jack: “Not today.”
And with that, Jack justifies his actions over the next ten minutes, which involve causing a major auto accident, stealing a car, and stabbing a man in the stomach. Hey, it happens. To the Absurd-o-Meter!
3. Jack Bauer is in the White House! Considering that over the last seven hours he has both been brought before the Senate on treason charges and been accused of aiding terrorists, it’s a little strange to see Bauer introduced to President Taylor and, eventually, giving her orders. But, alas, that’s the type of thing that’ll happen when the First Dude is kidnapped and threatened with death. President Taylor adjusts to the strangeness quickly, which makes one of us. Absurdity Factor: 4
2. Colonel Dubaku is having problems at home. As we learned in the last episode, Colonel Dubaku, a vicious terrorist who has killed almost 350 people today, pretends to be a man named Samuel so he can date a lovable, oblivious diner waitress. Well, turns out she has a disabled sister who doesn’t trust Dubaku/Samuel, and she calls to confront him about his lack of proper immigration papers. Dubaku isn’t pleased. He’s so not pleased, in fact, that he — only ten minutes before the deadline he’s been holding a nation hostage for finally arrives — actually leaves the site to go deal with his girlfriend’s whiny sister. We have no idea why this is happening, but the look on his face when he switches from Terrorist to Loving Boyfriend is too priceless and hilarious to not make it worth it. Absurdity Factor: 8
1. Whoa, they shot the First Dude! It’s true: Despite Jack and FBI agent Renee Walker’s best efforts — and by “best efforts,” we mean “shooting everybody in sight” — the First Dude ends up being shot by his captors awfully near his heart. In fact, he looks pretty dead to us, especially considering that just a few minutes before, we saw Jack kill a man by poking a knife halfway into his tummy. Killing the First Dude! A major character! Impressive! Oh, wait: The scenes from next week are about his “heroic fight for life.” It’s amazing how being a good guy on 24 gives you special healing powers. It makes you want to be a better man. Even today. Absurdity Factor: 9