Man, don’t you hate it when you set up a clandestine meeting with a Chinese colleague to discuss matters that may send the entire planet into full-scale nuclear war, and the park bench where you chose to meet her happens to be within 100 yards of the building occupied by the man who tortured you for over a year, leaving you in a catatonic state? This despite the fact that the last time we saw him, he was in a truck, supposedly heading for a pier to board a Dutch freighter? Damned if that doesn’t happen to me a couple of times a year.
Unless it doesn’t.
On an unrelated note, why is it that every single person on “24” mispronounces the word ‘nuclear’? They all say ‘new-cue-lar,’ not ‘new-clee-ar.’ Look at the word, people. It’s pretty clear how it should be said.
All right, enough negativity, for the moment. As second-to-last hours of “24” go, this one didn’t screw the pooch for the sake of convenience like most of them do. (Hey, there’s a quote for the DVD box. “Didn’t screw the pooch like they usually do,” says David Medsker of Bullz-Eye.) Sure, they conveniently wrapped up the Russian and Cheng story lines so that they’re one and the same, but that move actually makes sense, since Cheng is a free agent and Russia would stand to gain the most from a war between the US and China. I’ll let that slide.
”Since I have a gun and you don’t, I will force you to help me at the expense of your country.” “Uh huh. Enjoy this moment of leverage while you can, fucko.”
It was pretty amusing that Cheng claimed to know all about Chloe’s technical expertise, yet didn’t seem to know a thing about her ‘personality disorder,’ (R.I.P., Big Balls Bill Buchanan), which made it even sweeter when she grabbed the pipe in the truck and kicked more ass than she has ever kicked in the show’s history. Cheng also doesn’t know about covering his tracks, which is kind of valuable when you’re trying to convince the world that you’re dead; if the Americans’ most resourceful counter-terrorist techie reaches for a phone, you should probably put a bullet in it. Instead, you left the equivalent of a hand-written note at the scene of the crime. Dumbass.
Do you think Chloe suffered a concussion as a result of hitting that log? Probably not, but in real life, almost certainly, never mind a broken arm or leg to boot. It was a great scene, but not terribly realistic. Then again, we’re talking about “24” here. This is pure fantasy. Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream…
Next week is the end. The scenes for the final episode promised a twist. I wish they hadn’t done that. Of course there is going to be a twist – it’s “24.” But now you’re going to have me outguessing myself. Is Kate the one who actually framed her husband, in conjunction with Navarro? Nah, that wouldn’t make sense, because then Navarro wouldn’t have been scared into confessing when she held a gun to his neck. God help them if that is the twist, that’s all I’m saying.
That brings us to this week’s episode title and song. I’ve been using songs by UK bands for this entire season – and most of the other seasons,, to be honest – and this one was too perfect to pass on, even though they are relative unknowns on this side of the pond. In 2005 I reviewed an EP by a band called Barfly for this very site. They were in the vein of melodic pop bands like the La’s (they of “There She Goes” fame) and Delays, who were picking up steam in the UK at the time. The band made the EP free to download from their MySpace site (insert your own MySpace joke here), and I was a fan from the start. Some time passed, and I discovered that they had changed their name…to Bauer. How do I not use them here, especially when the title describes Audrey’s predicament to a T? And seriously, she ventures outside once this entire season, and she’s caught in Cheng’s crosshairs? Hello, future agoraphobe. Of course, I say that, but I’m betting that Audrey is the one unloading an entire magazine into Cheng before the final clock tick, at which point she bashes his skull with the butt of the gun, leaving it a mess of shattered bone not unlike the guy that Ryan Gosling dispatched in the elevator in “Drive.”
Unless…oh, God. Audrey’s the twist.
Now that I’ve had time to sleep on this, I’m convinced that Audrey is a sleeper agent in the literal sense, that Cheng is going to utter a phrase in her phone when Jack comes to save her, and she’s going to become activated like the neighbor in that episode of “Dollhouse.” Cheng wasn’t torturing her – he was reprogramming her for this very moment. I hope I’m wrong about this, but at the same time, that would be really fun to watch.
For the handful of Anglophiles reading this, Bauer finally released a proper album in the States, a good seven years (!) after those early demos. It’s called Sleeping Giant, and you can find it here. Enjoy, and buckle up for next week’s finale. I already have a title from Pop Will Eat Itself in the wings, but really, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that, since it would mean that Jack has failed, and obviously that can’t happen…can it?