Last week I made the rather safe and obvious prediction that Mommie Dearest would put her own daughter down like a dog the moment that Simone threatened to betray her. What I didn’t expect was that Mommie would give the order to chop off her daughter’s fingers in order to get her daughter’s conscience-stricken husband to fall in line and command the drones. Then again, Mommie did say that she would do “whatever is necessary” to change Navid’s mind, and damned if she didn’t mean every word. In retrospect, Simone is probably embarrassed that she didn’t see that coming.
Still, holy shit, that actually happened.
I can’t help but think that this will win Mommie Dearest the battle, but lose her the war. (Well, obviously it will lose her the war, because the bad guys can’t ever win in “24,” but you know what I mean.) Navid knows at this point that there is absolutely no way he’s getting out of that room alive, unless he sends countless others to a senseless death. (Granted, he should have known that this was a possibility when he fell in love with a terrorist’s daughter in the first place, but you’re not supposed to think about that right now.) Navid is, in a way, Dennis Hopper in “True Romance.” He’s trapped in a room with a bad guy, and the only way to save his dignity is to sacrifice himself while taking his enemy down the best way he can. In Dennis Hopper’s case, he had no real way of hurting Christopher Walken’s character physically, but he could use Walken’s prejudices against him and insult him worse than anyone would dare, knowing that it’s the last thing he’ll ever do, and he can die knowing that he didn’t cower when staring death in the face. The end result is the film’s finest, and most controversial, moment.
Now, imagine Navid as Dennis. What is the one thing he can do that would save his honor, end his wife’s suffering at the hands of her unholy mother, and kill the imminent terrorist threat that he’s been recruited to unleash? He inputs the coordinates of the house they’re using as home base, and he blows them all up. He would be signing his own death certificate, but after what he’s seen Mommie Dearest do to her own daughter, he clearly knows by now that he’s not leaving that house alive, and while he doesn’t want to kill Simone, it’s not unreasonable to assume that if Mommie Dearest is willing to chop off her fingers, she’s not averse to putting a bullet in her head if she suspects a hint of treason. So boom, the house blows up. The terrorist threat is over. The device that Yates created to hijack the drones is destroyed, along with all tech that could have employed Yates’ device. The day is saved.
Of course, that cannot happen. We have eight more hours to go, and that, in a nutshell, is the good and the bad of a real-time TV show. “Yes, we could end this earlier, and it would make a lot more sense this way, but we need to stretch things out and raise the stakes.” If they do another season, they should get Adam Sandler’s permission to name it “24: Just Go With It.”
Better the devil you know, eh, Goth girl?
There were two other significant developments in this episode. Chloe is starting to realize that The Crow is more of an anarchist than a truth seeker, and he is more focused on bringing down The Man than, you know, using his hacker skills to stop a terrorist attack, because the attack would create instability, and instability is cool, yeah! (This is where Ricky Gervais would say, “Not really.”) The most significant development for me, though, was the long-drawn-out realization that Jack and the CIA are on the same side. It makes sense that they would consider Jack to be of hostile intent, considering the fact that he blew a hole in their London office in order to break out Chloe, as well as his rap sheet of killing Russians and Chinese and Mexicans. However, he has had multiple opportunities to kill people, and so far has not killed a single person. That has to speak to his intentions at least a little bit. And to bring the “True Romance” comparison full circle, Jack had a line that was a rewrite of one of Walken’s lines. Lieutenant Patsy tells Jack that he doesn’t know if he believes him when Jack tells him that he knows he’s innocent. Jack tells him that, in less colorful language, “That’s of minor importance. What is of major fucking importance is that I believe you.” So there you go, tonight’s “24” episode, unofficially written by Quentin Tarantino.
And on that note, you can even make a QT connection to the finger scene. For those unfortunate enough to have seen “Four Rooms” (please, for God’s sake, do not waste your time), there is a scene in the Tarantino-written segment that involves someone losing a digit. Man, Quentin’s a sick bastard. How does anyone sleep next to him at night without at least one eye open?