Monday, February 20, 2006

24 - 5x09 "3 P.M. - 4 P.M."


Start 'em
Jack Bauer - Escaping from CTU custody, killing two Terror Minions, and singlehandedly downing a helicopter with a handgun -- all in all, an understated box score for Jack. But "Don't fight it, Curtis!" more than makes up for the low productivity.

Vladimir Bierko - The much-anticipated rookie villain finally made his presence known -- and how. His first minute of action was barely over and he had already stabbed someone to death, and from then on he stuck closely with his short-term game plan. That didn't keep some people from complaining that Bierko vanished towards the end of the episode -- but isn't the ability to vanish a quality you want in a bad guy? Anyway, too much emphasis is put on "crunch time" in sports journalism -- if you get off to a good start, you don't need to come from behind, do you?

Martha "Hillary" Logan - Even though she's proving herself to be one of the streakiest players ever in the 24 game, her decision to ride with the Sukarovs was a bold gambit, and you've got to appreciate a woman who isn't afraid to wear the pants.

Bill Buchanan - He may be cooling his heels in a holding cell, but at this point, his detention is a mere formality before he'll get his shot at reclaiming the starting QB job.

Chloe O'Brian - For the second or third week in a row, Chloe's been limited to a (tech) supporting role. Given her career numbers, though, it's still too early to give up on her. She'll snap out of this slump sooner or later.

Bench 'em
Curtis Manning - It was Curtis' turn to catch the turnover bug this week, but the powers that be apparently are sticking with his untapped potential -- why else would they let him escort known badass Jack Bauer back to CTU, without backup?

President Sukarov - Whether he survives or not, Sukarov's been more trouble than he's worth. Moscow and Chechen rebels aren't American concerns, now are they?

Rudy Hobbit - Yes, he successfully quarterbacked an earlier CTU operation, but Flank 2-gate was the CFL's Grey Cup compared to the NFL playoffs of the whole Sentox plot. Now that he's in the middle of the real deal, McGill is snapping under the pressure. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Jeff Garcia of 24.

Audrey Raines - Scouts are announcing that she has at long last turned the corner, but the stats don't lie: with McGill playing tight man-on-man defense, she let the phone ring twice. Way to not arouse his suspicion.

Drop 'em
Ivan Erwich - At this level of play, deviating from the playbook -- you're supposed to terrorize the Russians, not Americans! -- will get you killed in a heartbeat.

Nathanson - Not so fat, after all. But much more dead than I expected, and judging by the way he handled a gun and disobeyed Jack's orders, his death wasn't a long time coming.

President Logan - He's only as effective as his personnel, but when he shuts out his most dependable go-to guy (or gal), he's doomed. If America wasn't the best country ever in the world with a clear line of succession, then I'd suspect a team mutiny where Martha would be installed as at least the interim POTUS.

Next column: 4 p.m.
Previous column: 2 p.m.

Indie rating: Yann Tiersen - "Monochrome"

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