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24: And Now to Go Way, Way Over the Top …

Every season, 24 has upped the terrorist mayhem. Season two had an attack on CTU Los Angeles. Season three gave us a chemical attack on a hotel. Season four saw that chemical attack and raised you a shooting down of Air Force One. Season five blew up a mall, and season six — not to be outdone — unleashed a nuclear bomb on a Los Angeles suburb.

Season seven has now beaten even that: In this episode, Sengalan terrorists, led by General Juma, take over the White House. They shoot people and set off grenades and everything. Even for 24, this was a bit much. Well played. To the Absurd-o-Meter!

1. General Juma, an elusive fellow. Within minutes of the United States’ successful invasion of Sengala, General Juma, the soon-to-be-disposed Sengalan leader, shows up on TV to get his Iraqi Information Minister on, claiming he’s fine and still in charge. But he’s not: He’s actually just across the Mall from the White House. You might wonder how such a man would be able to move around so freely and quietly, but 24 has an answer for you: He’s wearing camouflage. So there. Absurdity Factor: 7

2. Yes! More torturing! Poor Jack Bauer: being forced to answer to the Senate about his “interrogation tactics” and all those Bush-era buzzwords. The guy just wants to zap some people, and the stupid namby-pambies keep wanting to throw him in jail for it. Fortunately, Jack gets his first chance to go off this season, locking himself in a room with Senator Meyer’s nefarious chief of staff for some “questioning.” (The scene where Jack secures a Taser is as romantic as anything from the sappiest chick flick; the man is, finally, happy.) Jack ends up frying the fellow right next to the Oval Office, until President Taylor herself stops him — just before he got the information he really needed. Honestly, Jack Bauer would be the most entertaining game-show host of all time. “You KNOW who the nineteenth president is … TELL ME!” (Bzzzzzzzz!!!!!) Absurdity Factor: 8

3. Jon Voight, the most evil human alive. Who’s behind this raid on the White House and the whole Sengalan uprising all together? Who’s providing all the intel? Why, it’s Jonas Hodges, a soulless businessman played by Angelina Jolie’s dad like he’s Dick Cheney, J.P. Morgan, Walt Disney, and Satan all wrapped in one. When General Juma can’t get into President Taylor’s safe room, who does he call? Hodges, who taps right into the White House computers to discover that Taylor’s daughter is in the building and therefore ideal bait. Then, just to show how blasé he is about this taking-down-the-government business, he plays a game of darts in his underground lair. Jon Voight is a worthy adversary for Jack and company, and he looks poised to dominate the whole second half of the season — because he is all knowing and all evil. Wait until Jack gets in that underground lair, though. Bzzzzzzzzzz!!!! Absurdity Factor: 9

Photo: Courtesy of Fox