Tuesday, March 31, 2009

‘24:’ Episode 16, 11 p.m.-midnight

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 7:51 PM

click to enlarge WEAPONS? What weapons? Oh, those weapons...
  • WEAPONS? What weapons? Oh, those weapons...

This week's episode opened with a downtrodden Jack perched on the side of the interstate next to a hijacked semi robbed of its very precious cargo. Jack curtailed the bio-weapon threat the previous hour by plugging a leak and exposing himself to the chemical only seconds before Starkwood swooped in and airlifted the WMDs straight out of the 18-wheeler.

CDC meds arrive on the scene this week in full-on body suits and command Jack to get undressed, which he does right there in the middle of the road. No one holds up a sheet or anything (I'm not complaining...), but our view was strategically obscured by some indefinable blur in the foreground. Foliage? The back of someone's head? Stray woodland creature? At any rate, we finally know that Jack's definitely a boxers guy.

Jack gets hosed down, tested and quarantined. Meanwhile, Hodges and his boys are trying to "convince" Tony to reveal what the FBI knows with the help of their fists and a chain-link fence. Hodges tries to play the Michelle card, telling Tony he's familiar with his file. (It's apparently crazy easy to get your hands on people's files. Who hasn't read everyone's file at this point?) Greg Seton interrupts to tell Hodges they should destroy "the evidence" i.e., the bio-weapons. Hodges disagrees strongly and leaves in a huff, barking to Tony, "Think about what I said young man!"

At the White House, President Taylor and Olivia are doing some mother-daughter bonding and discussing Ethan's replacement. The President has her eye on someone within the administration while Olivia thinks she needs a "fresh perspective" and name drops Rick Berman. Surely not this Rick Berman? (I'm racking my brain trying to think if we've met this guy yet and am coming up empty... .) In the meantime, President Taylor appoints Olivia as interim Chief of Staff since she "needs someone she can trust." Cue ominous music.

Before Olivia can continue to manipulate her mother further, the call comes through informing the President of the bio-terror threat. When Larry Moss indicates Starkwood's likely involvement, Olivia responds, aghast, "You're not saying Starkwood had anything to do with this?" Well, actually, yeah Olivia. He just did. Her reaction really had me wondering about her M.O. Is she involved with Starkwood? What exactly was her private sector job? Her conniving attitude and penchant for sabotage must go deeper than a bruised ego. Who's paying her?

Olivia wants Aaron Pierce to be her secret service agent. Sure he's retired, and seems untrusting of her, but she basically doesn't give him an option. The CDC debriefs the Joint Chiefs on the chemical threat, mentioning dementia, physical deterioration, saying the toxin kills in a day maybe two. The President wants "those bastards found an arrsted." Military advisor responds by saying Starkwood's compound is too difficut to infiltrate. PUH-LEASE. Jack could take care of this by himself!

Jack's bloodwork comes back positive. He's infected but not contagious. Larry breaks the news to Renee who lets a single tear slip down her cheek. "Renee, I owe you an apology," says Larry. "I was wrong not to trust you, but you were wrong not to keep me in the loop. You should've trusted me." The man even has to apologize in cliche.

Back at Starkwood, Hodges is trying to fast track deployment of the weapon and has ordered Tony "put down." Tony's staring down the barrel of the gun when two shots go off and his assasin drops to the floor, shot dead by Greg. Greg appears to be getting cold feet about this whole chemical warfare thing and offers Tony inside info in exchange for immunity. A phone call later, the President's signed off and the FBI's en route to intercept the weapons. Larry won't allow Jack to accompany them, saying he's too sick and he needs his best men out there. Jack replies, "I always knew we'd eventually agree on something." Cue Renee looking dumfounded.

The FBI roars into Starkwood with authority, but it's all starting to look too simple. We all know this won't wrap up nice and tidy by the end of the episode — there has to be a catch. Plus, Jack's waiting in the wings back at FBI headquarters. You can't have any sort of resolution without a Jack attack. Turns out Greg's brought them to an empty warehouse with the intent to implicate Tony.

As Moss orders his team to search building to building, Hodges' infantry arrives hollering something about how it's private property and that they're prepared to defend it. Larry reminds them that they're threatening federal agents. Dude, apparently, does not care.

I knew Jack would have to take care of this himself!

Next week: Jack collapses, Olivia sluts out, and the FBI is surrounded.

A couple of final thoughts: Every week there's some blatant product placement that goes on. A few episodes ago it was shameless Hyundai promtion, this week it was Cisco's Webex Signature. I'm kind of disappointed with the "infected Jack" storyline. We already saw this a few seasons ago when Michelle was infected, but had some natural immunity to the toxin. It was heartwrenching because we know the writers don't have any qualms about killing characters we love. Jack is another story.  It's clear that he's not going to die (Kiefer Sutherland's already signed on for next season), so what's the point? Why spend time on something we all know the outcome of already and that's been done before?

(Photo courtesy Fox)

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