Dear Reader, 

I'm not saying that you're an evil criminal mastermind. I don't want to imply that you're plotting a way to destabilize the government for your own nefarious purposes. I'd never dare accuse you of colluding with any hostile regime, African or otherwise, as part of any sort of anti-democratic cabal. And I'd never want to suggest that you might be fictional.

But bear with me for a second as I impart this advice to you: If you ever have the means or opportunity to kill Jack Bauer, please do so. Don't try to be clever and brainwash him. Don't think you can set him up to take the fall for whatever horrible thing you did. Don't do anything that might leave Jack Bauer walking the Earth, because if Jack Bauer is still walking the Earth, eventually he will find you and he'll kill you twice. Because that's the way Jack Bauer rolls. 

[Please note the in the previous advice, the name "Jack Bauer" can be removed and replaced with "James Bond," "Jason Bourne" or "Rocky and Bullwinkle"]

Trust me. Given the number of people you intend to kill anyway, you'll never regret killing Jack Bauer.

Love Daniel

[More thoughts on Monday (March 9) night's "24" after the break.]

That introduction either did or didn't contain spoilers. We're in the seventh season of "24" and just about every baddie has had the chance to kill Jack Bauer at some point.

Monday night was Jon Voight's turn. [I'm pretty confidence that Jon Voight is playing Jon Voight, so even if his name has been given (and it was in "24: Redemption"), I'm not interested.]

But wait! I'm getting ahead of myself.

When we left our heroes (and villains) at the end of the last episode, General Juma and his band of a dozen slightly armed Sangalan soldiers had snuck into the White House through the sewer system, overcome the arm of security personnel who probably guard the place and guilted President Taylor into guilting Jack Bauer into letting her be taken hostage and pimp-slapped by the General.

As the episode began, President Taylor had, in only four short minutes, taken advantage of her time under armed guard to reconcile with Inconvenient Daughter Olivia. Sure, she had to read a Juma-scripted note apologizing for American war crimes in Sangala, thereby showing that the American President is willing to capitulate to direct terrorist threats and pretty much weakening the office and the nation irreparably, but at least she got to make nice with her daughter. 

It's unclear how much of the note she got around to reading before Jack revealed that he'd already set up his next move. He'd released a natural gas valve in the President's Panic Room and he was going to set a diversion  and make a run for the room in the hopes that the explosion would turn the tide. But no! Bill Buchanan was all, "I've served all of my usefulness this season and, perhaps, forever... You got find out about Jon Voight, while I blow myself up heroically." He didn't really say that, but only because he doesn't know about Jon Voight yet. Otherwise, the point was well made. With  Jack barely protesting, Bill made his move and KABOOM!

SILENT CLOCK.

R.I.P. Bill Buchanan. You were a pill, but you mostly stopped getting in Jack Bauer's way after a while, which is all that Jack could ask of a boss. Perhaps that's why Jack was so overcome by emotion that he slid down a wall and crouched silently by Bill's body, making a constipated Sad Face and not moving for at least seven minutes. That's a pretty big sign of respect from Jack.

Really, we knew somebody was going to die this week and I'd rather that it be Bill than Agent Pierce. Despite taking a bullet to the chest and looking on the verge of croaking last week, Agent Piece recovered sufficient strength to maneuver President and Inconvenient Daughter Taylor to safety after Bill blew himself to smithereens. Agent Pierce paused to get medical attention, allowing for an awkward conversation with Inconvenient Daughter Taylor where we learned that something bad happen with Martha Logan. Was that just a reference to her maybe-or-maybe-not murdering her ex-husband?

And why did we get a Martha Logan reference this episode, but Jack didn't stop and ask who was going to give poor Karen Hayes a call?

Boo. Karen Hayes deserves better.

I could recap the bureaucratic nonsense that led to Jack briefly being in federal custody again and then to Agent Walker going behind Agent Moss' back to get Jack sprung to interrogate Burnett again, but that was just filler, especially given what came next.

So Evil Jon Voight gets an FBI memo saying that Jack Bauer is going to interrogate Burnett. Why this memo existed in the first place, I'll never know, much less why it was disseminated so quickly, much less why it was distributed to a listserve that includes EvilJonVoight@gmail.com. Let's just say he got the information, and thanks to his assistant, the stoner from "Dazed and Confused" who talked his way off of "CSI: Miami," Voight sends alleged killing machine Quentin off to the hospital to take care of both Burnett and Bauer.

Quentin is such a cold-hearted dude that he kills a recovering heart surgery patient just to create a distraction to find out Burnett's room. Whatever happened to just pulling the fire alarm? Or checking a directory? He's so slick he can download a whole hospital's blueprints onto a handheld and then sneak through the crawl space above Burnett's room. It's an breeze. He disables the video and audio to the room and drops a weak nerve agent that incapacitates Jack. It's a turkey shoot! Kill them both and leave, right? No. Instead he kills Burnett, but frames Jack, who instantly goes on the run.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, STUPID EXPERT KILLER MAN?

The explanation Evil Jon Voight and his Stoner Sidekick give is that folks will be so desperate trying to find Jack that they'll be too distracted to worry anymore about the supposed conspiracy still alive in the government.

Yes, but what did you think Jack Bauer was going to be doing, Evil Jon Voight? 

If Evil Jon Voight is so connected that he gets inter-agency forwards updating him on Jack Bauer's whereabouts, he's bound to also be connected enough to have read Jack Bauer's dossier. And if you're Evil Jon Voight and you've read Jack Bauer's dossier and you think there's any advantage to leaving him alive and walking the streets, you don't deserve the title of Criminal Mastermind. This leads me to the suspicion that there has to be somebody above Evil Jon Voight on this season's conspiracy totem. Somebody less stupid and glib.

So the episode ends with Jack on the run and Evil Jon Voight contemplating a dozen targets on the Eastern seaboard. Targets for what? 85 percent annihilation. 

Other thoughts on the episode:

*** I was going in and out during the big action set piece. Jack shot Juma several times in the chest, but since Juma was surely wearing a bullet-proof vest, he isn't dead, right? Because if that was the only punishment he got for pimp-slapping the president, that was not a deterrent.

*** Inconvenient Daughter Taylor is a bad character. She worked for the Taylor campaign, but leaked secrets about their opponent? So? And now she's vowed to go all Terminator on whoever's been messing with her family today? Oh really? And did President Taylor get that update on her hubby's condition? Will Colm Feore be back or not?

*** Why you need to kill Jack Bauer when you have the chance: Agent Walker said that while she could acknowledge that Jack did some pretty mean stuff, "He has been right every time. I can't help but think that if we'd stayed out of his way, none of this would have happened." Yeah, Agent Moss, Senator That '70s Show and LIBERALS.

*** Given how much "24" loves the 25th Amendment, how is nobody suggesting that under the circumstance of this day, President Taylor might have iffy credentials to lead? She's freaking out over her husband, freaking out over her daughter and she pretty much gave any terrorist nutjob the sign that if they can just take her hostage at the same time as her Inconvenient Daughter, she'll do anything short of giving up the nuclear launch codes. It's going to take another hundred years for the Fictional Presidency to recover from the damage President Taylor did today.

Thoughts? Are you sad about Bill? Or are you just relieved it wasn't Aaron?

 

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