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October 28, 2003


24, the Love Conquers All edition


Now, those of you who know Amy's Robot know that our one true passion in life is 24, one of the most frustrating and brilliant shows ever. We basically spend the 5 months between seasons listless and depressed, rewatching old tapes and poring over the trade magazines in search of any fragment of news about the show or its stars, which we then breathlessly re-report here. But now, of course, the wait is over: Season Three has begun.

The Plot

Three years have passed since last season. (It felt like it, too!) Terrorists are planning to wage biological warfare on LA. They drive up to a hospital and drop off a body infected with a Class 3 pulmonary-cardio-immuno-bovine-defeco virus. Seems like the primary symptom is a really heartbreaking case of psoriasis, and that's about as terrifying a virus as you could ask for in LA. As they drop off the body, the terrorists blow up the door of the hospital, apparently for effect. So everybody's cell phone starts ringing as the facts of the disease become known. Meanwhile, Kiefer and his new best buddy Chase (think Ryan Phillippe) visit a Latino man named Salazar in prison. It's the main bad guy from Clear and Present Danger, which is a clue to the developing plot, because that movie was all about the connections between drug trafficking and terrorism. We learn that this year's backstory is that Kiefer spent 6 months undercover setting up Salazar. As Kiefer tries to bargain with Salazar and his lawyer to get some information about terrorist activity, somebody makes the mistake of giving S. a pen, and you know what happens when dangerous men get pens in prison. They go for the jugular! The lawyer's jugular, in the case. There is death. Kiefer gets mad.

In this plot thread, the next 20 minutes are spent explaining the connections between Salazar, his brother Hector (subbing for his hermano while Salazar rots in prison), and the bio-threat. But in the midst of all this death and terror, one glorious thing shines through: LOVE!

Everbody is in love this year. Tony (now Director Tony) is in love with my real-life girlfriend Michelle, Kiefer is in love with Kate from last year (but they broke up), President Palmer is in love with his doctor, and Chase is in love with -- get this -- Kiefer's daughter, Kim, WHO NOW WORKS AT CTU. They even engage in some back-office snogging. Hey that's just like Chris Rock and Danny Glover's daughter in Lethal Weapon IV. Meanwhile, Hector the Substitute Drug Lord is in love with his ranch foreman's daughter Claudia ("Clowdia"), who gets mad when she sees her dad setting fire to a dozen corpses in the back 40. With all this love, how can there be so much hate? Well, perhaps Kiefer will get to the bottom of this eternal mystery by way of a little habit he picked up while investigating Salazar: heroin addiction. Kiefer gets all cranky because he hasn't had a hit in a while, and we seem him remove his works from a secret compartment (in a fine silver case, by the way), and he goes through he whole Trainspotting routine, and is just about to shoot up when....ring! ring!...it's KIM, calling from downstairs. She wants to tell him about her secret relationship with Chase, but he's "in the middle of something." But love saves the day, and Kiefer throws all his addiction gear across the room as major-key orchestral music eggs him on and stresses to us his strength and superhuman will power. Hurray Kiefer! Shake that monkey off your back! To be honest, I pretty much expected him to take the plunge -- usually when this show sets you up like that, they pay it off. ("They're not really going to torture that guy," you think, and then they stick the cattle prod in his face.) But oh well, it was probably just methadone anyway.

There is one new character, though, who has no love in his life: Adam, apaprently just in from the counter-terrorism unit of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Adam's pissy because Kim keeps messing with his data files. He later gets all catty and is (predictably) like, "My problem, sister, is everyone else is here because they earned it, and you're here because of your daddy. And besides, those shoes totally don't go with that blouse." Almost unbelievably, another character in the show actually says of Adam, "He's really anal and he hates women." I am not making that up. Who writes this stuff? Opus Dei?


Like I said, love is in the air, and all these office romances will be fertile ground for the emotionally overwrought scenes in which everyone will inevitably find themselves as they tearfully decide what to do when guns, bombs, and needles threaten their loved ones. I can already see Tony looking at Michelle or -- I HOPE! DEAR LORD I HOPE! -- Chase looking at Kim and giving them the old "I'm sorry" look as they choose the survival of millions over their hormonal needs.

We also see some interesting character development. Three years is a long time. No longer the damsel in distress, Kim is now like some kind of computer hacker at CTU. She's throwing around all this jargon like "DES encryption," "pipe," and "tree structure." She even hacks Adam's user directory and CHMOD 000's all his stuff. We learn from her character's profile on Fox.com that she has an associates degree in "Computer Programming" -- put that diploma right up on the wall with your GED, honey! Another sign of her maturity is that she's obviously so over all those dorky dangerous teenage boyfriends she had the last two seasons, and is now really into Chase...it's been TWO WHOLE MONTHS now, so it must be serious -- since the average duration of her relationships seems to be, uncoincidentally, about 24 hours. Kiefer's obviously been through some shit, too, just like Gene Hackman in French Connection II, and Chase has to ask him, "Are you ok? Are you ok?" every 10 seconds. But if that Superman music at the end of the episode tells us anything, it tells us Kiefer will prevail, even if he has to do some H. to get by. President Palmer's relationship with his doctor seems much healthier than his marriage to the evil Mrs. Palmer. We even get to see the Prez (Dennis Haysbert) do something he never got to do in Far From Heaven*: he kisses the white lady! Wow, that was way better than Ellen Degeneres kissing Sandra Bernhardt. When was the last time a black guy kissed a white lady full on the lips in primetime? If you know, can you email us?

Anyway, it looks like this season will yield some expected unexpected deaths and have some hot miscegenistic romances, so hopefully I'll be able to contain myself from screaming at the television every time deus ex machina, the preferred plot device of 24, rears its ugly head.


Here's a site with a lot of spoilers/discussion/rumors about 24. Here's a suspiciously new and well-designed blog dedicated solely to 24. Here's the site of the official fan club, featuring all kinds merchandise for sale, including CTU t-shirts.

*At least I don't think he ever kissed Julianne -- that movie was so tedious I walked out just before my body dessicated and turned into dust.

categories: TV
posted by adm at 11:39 PM | #


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