YOU HAVE MY WORD! 24 FANTASY PUNDITRY
Ever since its first season, 24 has focused on family in the workplace, either through the figurative work-family or the literal Bauer family. Family and loved ones, coded as the ultimate target of terrorism, are often brought to CTU for their own safety -- CTU are filled with battle-hardened professionals who are supposed to deal with terrorism on a regular basis and are thus the exact people who should protect innocents.
Of course, family brings the idea of personal interdependence to CTU (don't mistake CTU Boss entreaties that so-and-so would be fired if only someone else as qualified were available -- competent CTU desk jockeys are a dime a dozen, even Sylar was one once) and with that comes vulnerability. Whenever some family member is brought in, they compromise the hard and rational workplace with their hysterical emotionalism and weakness. You can't torture Jack or physically intimidate him, but you can shoot Teri or you can sic a cougar on Kim.
Family vulnerability is why Kim eventually became a CTU desk jockey, GED and all, and why Jack in more recent seasons has so willingly alienated himself from those he loves. (Also from a dramaturgical standpoint, bringing family to CTU incorporates peripheral characters into the main narrative.) However, in this season, work has finally infected family in a way as profound as a suitcase nuke, because, as it turns out, Jack's blood family is as cold and hard as he is when he's CTUing it up. Kim got well out of the CTU game, but Graem and Philip are so inextricably caught up in it that the only way they can get out is by dying.
Morris O'Brian - Downloading freeware to finish recovering the file of the engineer -- outside-the-box thinking. Getting nabbed by a guy driving a Maserati -- head-in-the-sand thinking. Morris's pace has fallen drastically since his blistering start, but take note that he'll play an integral role in the upcoming weeks, and with that, prime minutes and opportunities to help his stats.
Agent Burke - Like long-range shooters (Steve Kerr), left-handed pinch-hitters (Mark Sweeney), and third-down running backs, an unspectacular situational guy like Burke -- CTU's pins-and-needles man -- is useful to round out the end of your roster.
Philip Bauer - Bauer père wasted very little time before revealing his villainy, but of all the bad guys this season, Philip would seem to have the longest staying power. Then again, he shot himself in the foot -- metaphorically -- when he killed Graem, thus slimming down the odds that he'll finish the season -- dead or alive.
Jack Bauer - None of that pansy effete "new-clee-yer" pronunciation for Jack Bauer, no sir! "New-ku-lar" -- it's a man's man's man's word! But it would be nothing -- nothing -- without sudden displays of fraternal affection during torture to give a break from all of his "Dammit!"s and head-dipping tics. Unfortunately, all of this touchy-feely tripe was overshadowed by how far Philip pulled the wool over his eyes.
Graem Bauer - Graem authoritatively answered any lingering questions about his toughness with his performance under stress -- though paradoxically, now his season's in jeopardy since he came down with a case of death.
Josh Bauer - The powers that be apparently have little faith that Josh is ready for primetime. Instead, what little screentime he's given is devoted to cliched dialogue (e.g. "What are you doing to my dad?"), being a prop for his mom and his uncle to fight over, and sporting Kim's season 3 haircut. "JoBau" should be left off of any and all squads.
Marilyn Bauer - She showed off her steely nerves when she called for and got an isolation play, going one-on-one against Jack and actually getting the best of him. But in the tradition of Johan Santana, Jonathan Papelbon, and Tim Lincecum, she's being brought along very slowly, as evidenced by her limited screentime; unlike Santana et al, however, Marilyn doesn't have as high a ceiling, since she's not on a starting pitcher track. Then again, they don't have her eyes. ~*Le sigh*~
Darren McCarthy - All he has left to do before he's obsolete is to drop off Morris, then die.
Goons - I've never seen two goons disarmed and Bauerized so easily like the pair Graem assigned to kill Jack and Philip ("kill" in Pappy's case). Of course, these goons were specifically assigned to screw up, but that doesn't mean the other goons who will show up down the line are a good play.
Noah Daniels - Is he even in the same party as the POTUS? For the time being, you can ride his awesomely, obviously Bad Guy face (ewww, not like that, though who am I tell you what not to do in your privacy) until the yearly Presidential coup starts to pick up.
The rumors are swirling that Detainment Camp is being moved, possibly to Nondescript Hospital. So this week, they're the Expos.
Sandra Palmer - In comforting Walid, she admired the way he stood up for his principles, which apparently included spying on "fellow" Muslims when pressured by his white masters. Let her stay on the waiver wire where she can spout her nonsense without holding back your team.
Rita - With Marilyn Bauer promoted to Team Bauer, Hot Rita is left holding down Fort Foxy. And though she knowingly helped McCarthy abduct Morris, I'm holding out hope that she's still undercover. Or at least a very naughty girl.
Indie rating: Ghost - "Motherly Bluster"