Boobs for Bauer

As the two-hour special prior to this season of 24 made totally clear, Day 7 is all about Bauer’s “Redemption.”  How, exactly, is Bauer to be redeemed, you ask?  By standing trial and serving jail time for violating the Geneva Convention on a daily basis?  By admitting his mistakes and dedicating his life to the peaceful resolution of international conflict?  By embarking on the twelve steps to recovery from violence addiction, confronting his countless victims or their families, and asking for their forgiveness?  Or maybe he’ll redeem himself by becoming even more intransigent and recruiting even more of the simple-minded to his one-dimensional vision of the world?

This season’s dupe is very obviously Renee Walker.  Was anyone fooled by her presence?  Is it not patently obvious that Renee’s femininity (which has been on prominent display ever since she changed into that translucent, V-neck sweater) is meant as an apology for or vindication of Bauer’s politics?  Just because a womanly woman serves as Bauer’s “hard won” ally-slash-mouthpiece, is his extremist patriotism now suddenly something other than the fulfillment of a conservative’s wet dream?  (Chloe O’Brian’s unconditional trust in Bauer was a lot harder won, but her femininity is, shall we say, less than convincing.)

Am I the only who thinks she bears a striking resemblance to Skeletor?
That's a standard issue FBI push-up bra, obvs.

The season’s other strategy for redemption is of course Bauer’s martyrdom: he has now been tragically infected by an experimental bio-weapon in the line of duty.  The problem with this particular plot twist, however, lies in the fact that we’ve known since January that we can expect yet another season of 24 next year.  So unless the show’s producers have the guts to write Day 8 as the immediate, “real-time” continuation of Day 7 (during which we might finally see Bauer get in a well-deserved cat nap or two), we already know that Bauer’s gonna be just fine at the end of this season.  No dice, then, Bauer: TubaTV, at least, will not be granting your redemption any time soon.

For the lulz, here’s some more priceless dialog from this season:

Jack: I think I found us a new way in.  Look: these are Senator Mayer’s files.  This is Douglas Knowles.  He’s the chairman of Starkwood.  He was actually helping the senator with the investigation.  He’s the one who brokered the deal to open the company’s books.

Renee: What, another insider?  Didn’t we just get burned?

Two minutes later, we cover the exact same ground when Jack relays the budding plan to Larry and Tony.

Jack: Tony, you’re gonna need to find a way to stay behind.  We’re gonna get your vectors over to a man we contacted inside Starkwood.  His name is Douglas Knowles, he believes he knows where the weapons are.

Larry: Isn’t that how we got into this mess?  Almeida and some supposedly friendly contact?

Renee: Knowles is chairman of the Starkwood board, but he was cooperating with Senator Mayer’s investigation of the company.  Larry, he’s all that we’ve got.

[24‘s writers just LOVE the Only Option scenario, by the way.  In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that the Only Option structure is what organizes the development of all seven seasons of the show.  There should be a 24 drinking game that requires a shot for every time the writers resort to the Only Option logic, every time someone (usually Jack) says something along the lines of “We don’t have a choice” or its kindred invocation, “You’re just gonna have to trust me.”]

– J.C. Freñán


TV pet peeve #2: “So what you’re saying is…”

Smile, boys!

Prime time’s non-stop lowest common denominator is BACK.  This time around the exceptional acting talents of Mary Lynn Rajskub may find themselves outshined by the dramatic stylings of such masters of stage and screen as sassy comedienne Janeane Garofalo, TV’s Red Forman and that guy from Entourage.

The Bowler! I'm talking to YOU, dumbasses! 'Ugly Betty.'

If the writers on 24 didn’t invent expository dialogue, they’ve certainly perfected it.  A choice example from the two most recent episodes, just to give you a taste:

It’s Day 7.  “Sengalan” insurgent Iké Dubaku is holding the entire American nation hostage.  CTU renegades Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida — reunited in deep cover, both having been revived from the dead — have cornered Dubaku’s key political and moral rival, Prime Minister Ule Matobo, in his safe room. In an aside to Jack, Tony reminds us what’s at stake: “Jack, we leave here without Matobo, we lose our only chance of getting at Dubaku.”  (Thank you, Tony.  Jack probably wouldn’t have reached that conclusion all by himself.)  According to my calculations, the time is 11:59:50am.  A full 68 seconds later, Tony huffs another aside to Jack: “We’ve gotta get Matobo.  Without him we’ve got nothing.”  (Jack must somehow have forgotten since Tony last relayed this exact same piece of information.  A minute ago.)  Several more minutes pass.  Jack and Tony make their way to the kitchen, where Tony warns Jack of the danger posed by trying to gas Matobo out of the safe room.  Jack responds, at 12:08:20pm: “Delivering Matobo is our only chance to get to Dubaku and the CIP device.”  (Jack realizes, of course, that Tony has forgotten what he had said to Jack, twice, just 8 minutes ago.)

We’re all clear on the central dilemma of the hour, right?  Whatever they’re paying you, David Fury and Alex Gansa, it’s not nearly enough.

– J.C. Freñán