Recap: ’24’ Episode 17 (12 a.m. to 1 a.m.)

04.06.09 9 years ago


I need Elisha Cuthbert’s stem cells and I need them now!

No, I’m not attempting to start some sort of Bizarro Jurassic Park where cloned Elisha Cuthberts roam free and NHL players pay a hefty fee for entrance (though that might be a good business plan).

No, I need Elisha Cuthbert because she may be the only person capable of saving Jack Bauer’s life.

OK. To be perfectly fair, I’m doubtful that Elisha Cuthbert could actually save Jack Bauer’s life, but Kim Bauer may be able to and I hear Elisha Cuthbert knows how to reach her.

All of that will make a lot more sense (complete with spoilers) as I recap Monday (April 6) night’s “24” after the break…

So last we were told that the biological weapon that Jack and only Jack had been exposed to had no cure and that Jack would basically be dead within a day or two, which meant either that next season of “24” was going to take place without any time for sleep and that it was going to be advertised as Jack Bauer’s Most Demented And Twitchy Season Ever or that it was going to be The Agents Moss & Walker Variety Hour. I’d probably watch either show, but not with any level of excitement.

This week, though, hope came courtesy of Christina Chang’s Dr. Macer, who for some reason forgot to mention to Jack last week that a University has been doing studies into Prion Diseases and that they’ve had some luck with a cure involving stem cells. It’s not like they’ve found a cure. That would be a different thing. But no, they might be able to give him hope, but only if they find a immediate family member. Unless they’re going to just come out and admit that Jack’s alleged nephew Josh is actually his son, that only leaves Kim Bauer and barring some sort of “That ’70s Show”-style after-the-fact recasting, that means Elisha Cuthbert. 

I know there was a lot of spasming and seizing and he probably moved from one conference room to another, but was this the most geographically contained episode for Jack Bauer in the show’s history? This was a tough episode for Kiefer Sutherland, because there wasn’t really any room for subtlety. It’s a bit like the actors they showcase telling fibs on “Lie to Me” who have to play every quivering lip and raised eyebrow as broadly as possible so that it can be seen in the back-row. So Sutherland had to play that he had a hand tremor and instead it looked like Thing from “The Addams Family.” And he had to fall to the floor in full-on seizure and the eye-popping was so drastic he looked like Steve Buscemi. 

It looked unpleasant and Dr. Macer tried to offer hope and Jack’s only response was that he and Kim don’t talk anymore. A bigger problem would be that this season has only seven remaining hours in which to find Kim, find a doctor with loose enough ethics to treat Jack as a human guinea pig and cure him so that he can be back and battling crime with the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” host from “Slumdog Millionaire.” For now, though, Jack his hedging. How much do you want to bet Agent Walker taps into her handy government database, finds Kim (conveniently working as a governess in Georgetown) and gets her to FBI headquarters within the next two hours?

Til then, Monday night’s episode was about letting other characters prove that Jack Bauer isn’t the show’s only character with a background in badassery.

Look at Agent Moss, for example. No character has been a bigger pill for the first three quarters of this season, but now that he’s clear on the Jack Bauer Is Always Right agenda, he was willing to take a swing at The Stoner From “Dazed & Confused” and willingly take a blow to the head just to provide a distraction for Tony Almeida to sneak away to meet up with Chris Mulkey’s Doug Knowles, Chairman of Starkwood and conscientious objector to Evil Jon Voight’s plans for World Domination.

I was glad to see Mulkey begin to redeem himself for his misdeeds as Coach McGregor on the Let’s Forget It Ever Existed second season of “Friday Night Lights.” Unfortunately, he didn’t get long to do right by America, because he fell victim to the badassery of Evil Jon Voight.

Bit by bit, Jon Voight has gotten into the spirit of “24” villainy, which means eating scenery like Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs.

He got off to a good start in his standoff with Agent Moss when, after Moss said he couldn’t function with a gun pointed at his head.

Evil Jon Voight protested, “I’ve got a government that I served FAITHFULLY! For 30 YEARS!” I’m sure he said something after that, something about feeling betrayed by democracy and its discontents, but I was too busy laughing at the sort of line reading that Al Pacino might have found too hammy.

His dispatching of Doug Knowles, though, was beyond outrageous. He bashed him about the face with a crystal booze decanter and then lifted him up, threw him over a railing and had his body land perfectly draped across a map of the world, the same world Knowles and Evil Jon Voight once ruled. Oh, the irony. Oh, the badassery. 

Then, to top things off, Evil Jon Voight gave President Taylor an ultimatum to turn around the planes that were ready to vaporize Starkwood headquarters and she had no choice but to listen, because not only did he tell her he had missiles with the biological agent ready to be launched at three cities, but he was able to whip out his Sprint phone and take a picture to show her. It takes a certain amount of attitude to do a product plug and threaten the President of the United States at the same time. Kudos to you, Evil Jon Voight. 

And speaking of evil, Evil First Daughter Olivia finally used her malevolence for good-ish, rather than, well, evil. I don’t know how Tim Guinee finds the time to be on every show on TV, but his Ken, White House beat reporter, proved to be as unscrupulous and nasty as every reporter ever featured on “24.” He was already going to report on the WDM theft, because it was good for his career, but he wanted to make sure he got one last tumble with Olivia first. At least he presumably got 20 minutes of pleasure out of it, before Olivia let him know that she’d been recording the whole thing. Well played, Olivia. Well played.

To recap, quickly, the episode ended with Olivia killing a potentially dangerous story, Jack injecting himself with the symptom masking drug, President Taylor calling off the air strike and Evil Jon Voight scheduling himself a meeting in the Oval Office. I’m not exactly sure where Tony is or where Agent Moss and his team are or where Chloe is.

Other quick thoughts on this week’s episode:

*** Did I forget to mention Tony’s badassery? He took out a small team of Starkwood soldiers on his own and also managed to use his Sprint camera phone. 

*** So the point is that Evil Jon Voight is like an extreme corporate version of Jack? Starkwood is the company that the government sent in to do its dirty work. They never faced accountability because they always got results. But now people have the nerve to question his service to his country? I don’t expect Jack to join his cause, but I wonder if Jack will have a moment of understanding before this day is through.

*** Have you ever felt more sorry for a “24” character than for Aaron Pierce? One minute you’re quietly retired and your old buddy calls you and asks you to do a favor. The next minute you’re risking your life and getting shot protecting the First Daughter who is, as I may have mentioned, evil. Then, you figure you’re ready to go home and take some pain killers and get you to sleep. Then you get called into active duty and that consists of going with the Evil First Daughter to a hotel and standing outside the door while she makes sweet, sweet love to a member of the White House Press Corps in the name of national security. That’s just unpleasant on so many levels!

Anyway, how soon do you expect to see Kim Bauer back? And do you wonder why terrorists keep getting to hang out with the President in the White House?

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