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24 Recap: Baddie in the Bubble

Jack was a little off his game last night. He barked at an EMT to keep Farhad alive for questioning, and the EMT barked back, “Let me do my job.” That should’ve been Jack’s line. He told Hastings to set up agents en route to the hospital and make sure suspects were brought in alive, and Hastings told him everyone had already been briefed. Hastings hasn’t been a step ahead of anyone in his life. Then Jack hesitated to jump down a measly two stories to chase after a terrorist. Hesitated! This is a man who not two hours ago was getting electrocuted in his stab wound and still managed to swing across a heating pipe like it was a jungle gym and wrench himself out of his shackles. Chalk up the change to the love of a suicidal woman. Feelings, they make you soft.

While Jack was busy bolstering everyone else’s ego, two young bloods picked up the slack with some hot terrorist versus counter-terrorist role-play. Still, we were denied close-ups of Kayla and Tarin’s hotel-room reenactment of scenes from 1001 Arabian Nights. Absurd-o-Meter, do your duty.

6. Moons Over My Fuel Rods. So you’re trying to make a dirty bomb out of some weapons-grade uranium, but the president of Kamistan’s triple-crossing brother warned CTU of your devious plans. Where’s a good spot to park your radioactive fuel rods and regroup? A local diner, obviously.
Absurdity Factor: 1

5. Racial-Profiling Loopholes. The IRK takes the “dead bait” and decides to dispatch an assassin to St. Julian’s Hospital to make sure Farhad’s dead. Samir, knowing the area will be heavily surveilled, opts to send Marcos. “His mother’s American, they won’t suspect him.” Are we going to see CTU agents miss a potential target because of the color of his skin or his facial features? Is Fox trying to foment unrest in viewers’ hearts toward Arab-Americans? Probably. But rather than do a little Doogie Howser song-and-dance, Marcos goes up to the first person he sees (Agent Owen), tells him he has a bomb strapped to his chest, bugs out his eyes, and demands to be taken to Farhad. What’s the point of sending in someone who can blend in if they try their damnedest to look like a psycho killer? And when did he have time to pick up scrubs?!
Absurdity Factor: 3

4. Body Disposal 101. Dana and Cole are CTU agents. Okay, so she’s a data analyst and he’s a shell of a human being, but at some point they must have at least caught a Law & Order rerun, right? Why, then, when they’re disposing of the corpses of Dana’s ex-boyfriend and his partner, do they go to the trouble of filling their sleeping-bag coffins with rocks if they’re going to wade out, oh, about three steps into the waist-deep swamp and dump the bodies there — where they could never, ever be found?
Absurdity Factor: 5

3. Freddie Prinze Jr.’s face. Something is really wrong here. Last week, commenter Obiwen said Cole looked like “one of the rubber faces Ahnuld wore in the first Terminator movie.” At first, we pegged it as more Keanu-ish, like an oddly-taut blank slate on which you could project your alien life-forms or hero myths. We could almost see Prinze’s earning potential uptick with the resemblance. (It gave us some relief about the power dynamic between him and Sarah Michelle Gellar.) But his complexion’s only getting greener in the swamp air and the skin is still stretched wrong across the face. Maybe that’s what’s responsible for his joke of a New York accent. “Der scum, Dana, and no one’s evah gonna miss dem,” he tells his fiancée. “You wanna go to prison for the rest of yo life? For dem?” Ahoy, matey!
Absurdity Factor: 6

2. “Make Him Show It to You.” For the past couple of episodes, 24 has been harping on Agent Owen’s age and inexperience. First, Cole had to help him snap his Kevlar vest, then Jack had to give him a pep talk before battle. We’re still not sure where they’re going with all this youthfulness. But this week we met his baby-faced IRK counterpart: Marcos, the covert operative with the white mom (Mare Winningham). We could’t have been the only ones that found the scenes between them kinda sexualized. First, there’s the panting stand-off outside the hospital. Then, when Chloe needs to see the vest bomb so that she can remotely disable the detonator, Jack tells Owen to “make him show it to you.” That yields a stand-off outside the nurse’s station where Marcos unzips and flashes Owen his explosives, which gives way to Marcos slamming Owen down on the hospital room floor.
Absurdity Factor: 6

1. Marcos the Half-Blood Terrorist and the Chamber of Secrets. Still limping from the two-story jump, Marcos conveniently finds a hyperbaric chamber in the hospital to hide in while he can figure out how to reactivate the detonator. Once he’s barricaded the chamber door, he forgoes the chamber’s manufacturer-installed screen-and-speaker device and calls Samir on his cell phone to let him know that his mission was unsuccessful. Search results for “cellphone reception + oxygen chamber” were profoundly unhelpful, so we can’t say for certain that it’s scientifically impossible to make a call from inside the walls of a hyperbaric chamber — but come on. Still, we can’t hate on the chamber too much. Watching Marcos stare down Jack, swing a pipe into the communications device (what, no brand integration, Cisco?), and the screen fade to black was the highlight of the hour.
Absurdity Factor: 7

Photo: Courtesy of Fox