Last week on 24: it was a two-parter! Long story short, Juma’s launching an amphibious assault on the White House (I know, I know. I don’t write this crap) while Jack’s in military custody for torturing Burnett with a taser.
Thanks to their handy little drill, Juma and Co. were able to make a big-ass hole in the bottom of… somewhere underground. It looks like a tunnel to me. They move out. Meanwhile, the Ever Wonderful Aaron soothes Olivia (the First Daughter) when she demands to see her mother. There’s a knock on the door and it’s the Chief of Staff, come to fill Olivia in on the second terrorist attack. The Chief of Staff is heading to the Pentagon to deal with the invasion of Sangala.
Madame President is currently outlining a plan to deal with the media when people start to catch wind of the heightened security measures. The Secretary of Homeland Security bursts in to tell Madame President that Moss has a lead on the attack. She gets Moss on the phone, and he tells her that he found a staging area on the “south shore of the Potomac, near the ITP ship yards.” Well, I guess that answers my question about where Juma was docking the boat. Also: seriously? It can’t be this hard. If you’re at a staging area near a dock, then look for a goddamned boat! Moss has also identified one of the men as Juma, and his unit is armed for a small war. Walker’s still MIA, though.
Actually, she’s running through what looks to be Rock Creek Park, with Dubaku Jr. in hot pursuit. Walker hits a road, dripping wet and out of breath. She spots a ranger. She IDs herself and tells him to call Moss to alert him of a terrorist attack on the White House. Just as the ranger’s getting on the radio, though, he’s mowed down by a blast of automatic gunfire. Looks like Dubaku Jr. found Walker! She runs off into the night as the now-dead ranger’s radio squawks for his location.
Bill approaches Jack in the holding cell. He informs Jack that the Attorney General wants him transferred to the Department of Justice’s custody so they can file criminal charges. Jack is unconcerned about his fate, though, and only wants to know what’s going on with the attack. Bill informs him that they found the warehouse, identified Juma, and that Walker’s out there on her own. Oh, and Burnett turned down the immunity deal. Jack pleads for Bill to let him into a room with Burnett for five more minutes, but Bill can’t (and won’t) because Burnett’s being transferred to Kennedy Memorial Hospital. No access. Jack insists that Bill can get access. Probably, but Bill doesn’t do coercive techniques. “Damn it, Bill! That’s not good enough. You were the one who told me that the people who stand by, they might as well help them plant the bomb.” The Bauer Charm falls flat, though, and Bill apologizes as he walks out.
Cue flashlight fu as Juma’s team barrels through the underground tunnels (okay, I’m thinking they might be a part of an older metro system?) until they reach a door with a grate over it. One of the guys takes a torch to it while Juma calls another one of his men, who is masquerading as a White House groundskeeper, I presume, to tell him that they’ve reached “the other side of the conduit.” One of Groundskeeper Dude’s coworkers walks into the room and makes small talk until Groundskeeper Dude stabs him in the back. Brutal. Juma’s men get through the grate to discover a system of lasers blocking their way. They turn off, and Juma’s men have two minutes to get through the wall before the alarms come back online. They bust through the brick wall into the room where the Groundskeeper Dude is waiting (it seems to be in the basement of the White House). One of Juma’s men pulls out his laptop and accesses the Secret Service tracking network. Madame President’s in the Oval Office. Crap! Juma and Co. move out. They assault a hallway successfully and Juma gives his unit orders to find Madame President quickly and quietly. Because automatic weapons are fantastic for that task.
Juma and Co. continue their Reign of Terror upon the White House, mercilessly shooting anyone they come across. (Including women! GASP!)
Moss, meanwhile, has discovered the body of the ranger in Rock Creek Park. Cut to Walker, who’s found a building to take refuge in, but the door’s locked. Dubaku Jr. comes up behind her, weapon leveled at her head. “Juma had your father killed,” she blurts. Dubaku Jr.’s having trouble believing her. As he moves his hand to shoot her, Walker picks up a shovel and bashes him in the head. Oh, hell yes! Atta girl! The two shovel-duel for a few moments until it appears all hope is lost, as Dubaku Jr. slowly strangles Walker against a wall. Two shots, however, ring out and Dubaku Jr. drops. It’s Moss and the cavalry. “I know the target!” rasps Walker.
Too late, though. Bill’s signing a handcuffed Jack out for transport when he gets a call from Moss. “The target is the White House!” Moss exclaims and assures Bill the intel’s good. Bill gets on the Secret Service intercom and declares “Condition Red! Lock down the President!” Bill agrees to take the cuffs off Jack, but he needs to know Jack will do exactly as he says. Jack promises to be good. This time.
Madame President is whisked out of the Oval Office as Aaron separately drags Olivia towards safe haven as well. Bill informs Madame President that there’s no safe exit, so they have to go into lockdown. Madame President gets all bent out of shape when she sees Jack roaming the hallways with a gun, but Jack insists she needs all the help she can get. Bill can’t get in contact with some of his agents, and Jack deduces this means that Juma must be tracking Madame President. Bill grabs her tracking collar-thingy and runs the opposite direction with it, leaving Madame President with Jack to continue towards lockdown. Outside, a Secret Service team heads towards the lockdown as well.
Juma’s men close in on the President. Bill’s pretty much done. Juma’s men corner him and OMG DON’T HURT HIM. He surrenders the tracking device and Juma’s pissed. He surmises the Secret Service must be moving Madame President to lockdown. Juma looks like he’s about to shoot Bill (pleasenopleaseno), but instead pistol-whips him on the face. Beats a bullet in the skull any day! Juma’s taking Bill hostage.
There’s a shootout between the Secret Service reinforcements and Juma’s men, but it’s pretty obvious automatic weapons trump pistols any day. The rest of Juma’s crew takes the remaining White House staff hostage as Bauer ushers Madame President towards lockdown. Aaron’s on the radio, but he’s having trouble getting to the lockdown because Juma’s men are in his path. He’s got 30 seconds until Bauer locks the room down. “You will not close this door until my daughter gets here,” Madame President insists. “Madame President, right now, your life is the priority whether you like it or not. Please, step inside,” Jack responds before a volley of gunfire rains down on their position. Jack and Madame President manage to make it into the lockdown room before the doors close, but their two Secret Service escorts aren’t so lucky.
Safe inside the lockdown room, Jack radios Aaron that they had to lock the room down. Aaron reassures him they couldn’t have made it anyways, so they’ll try to find another way out. The comms go down and Aaron’s on his own. Jack turns on a monitor that shows the status of the area outside the lockdown door. Juma and his men are shooting athe door t, but to no avail.
The Epic Battle in the Hallway rages on and Juma’s men are starting to take a hit. They’re about to be heavily outnumbered. Juma realizes that no one knows that the President made it to lockdown. He accesses the communications channel and informs the Secret Service that he has Madame President in his custody and will kill her if they don’t back off. Special Agent Hovis orders his men to back off. Really? If Juma won’t give you proof, then a) he doesn’t have her or b) she’s already dead. Dumb move. Juma orders all the hostages to be brought to him and the exits locked down.
Aaron and Olivia have found a screen of some sort to hide behind, and they watch as Juma’s men move around. Aaron realizes that Juma’s bluffing about having the President and he needs to get out so he can make Secret Service aware of that fact. Um, hello? Cell phone, anyone?
The rest of Juma’s men herd the hostages into the area in front of the lockdown door. One of Juma’s men goes to work on the keypad that controls the locking mechanism. Juma asks him if he can get in, and he says yes, in about fifteen minutes, assuming the specifications Hodges (Jon Voight) gave them were correct. Oooh. The plot thickens.
Moss’ chopper lands outside the White House with Walker in tow. They meet up with Special Agent Hovis, who fills them in. It looks like there’s 53 hostages inside and no living Secret Service agents. Hostage teams can storm the building, but only after the Vice President has given the okay (Secret Service has him en route to a secure location). Moss orders an infrared scan of the building. Walker sees, “Bauer, Jack” on the hostage manifest and brings it to Moss’ attention. Moss already knows, and relates the torture of Burnett to Walker as he passes her a new phone. “RenÃ©e, the President is our priority, not Jack Bauer. Are we clear on that?” Walker’s clear. Moss walks off and it’s clear from the expression on Walker’s face that she’s troubled.
In the lockdown room, Madame President’s nervously watching as Juma brings in more hostages. Jack’s rooting around in the closet. Olivia’s not with the hostages, so she must be with Aaron. Jack’s deduced that the only way Juma could have broken in was with help from the inside. However, that begs the question of who was helping him out, since the FBI already got everyone on Dubaku’s list. Jack also concludes that this is Juma’s Last Stand — he’s come here to make a statement, and he’s willing to die for it. Madame President notices the guy screwing around with the keypad and the pad on their side starts beeping. “Oh my god. They’ve got the access codes,” breathes Jack. Jack orders Madame President to grab him the tool box while he undoes the cord to a lamp. The most powerful woman in the world is acting as Tool for Jack Bauer — I can’t help but giggle. Jack undoes the panel and short circuits the locking mechanism at the last moment. Juma’s man lets the General know that the keypad entry’s a no-go. They can’t use C4 to blow the door because it would take too long, and it might not even work. “Then we will find. another. way.” Juma orders.
Juma gets on the phone with Hodges (I’m just gonna call him Jon Voight from now on, okay? It’s easier.), who’s enjoying a nice steak dinner while he watches Sangala burn on CNN. Juma relays his little lockdown predicament. Jon Voight has nothing else to offer. “Are you forgetting you don’t have the shipment yet?” Juma asks. “Now General, I expect you to be an honorable man. We made a deal, we held up our end of the bargain, we got you the White House, now I expect you to hold up yours,” Jon Voight insists. “I don’t care about your expectations. You help me, or I’ll destroy the shipment before it ever arrives to you,” Juma says. I assume the “shipment” is diamonds, but maybe I’ve watched that silly movie with Leo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou a few two many times (SOB). Jon Voight puts Juma on hold and consults with his aid, who points out the shipment isn’t due in port for another two hours, so Juma’s men will have plenty of time to destory it. Jon Voight gets back on the phone with Juma and asks who the President has with her in the lockdown room. Juma’s men saw her go in there with another man. According to the White House manifests, Jon Voight says, the First Daughter should be in the building. “Your shipment will arrive as planned,” Juma reassures. Jon Voight hangs up the phone and decides to play darts. Yes, it’s really that random.
Juma scans the hostages for Olivia, but doesn’t see anyone who looks like her. Meanwhile, Mayer asks Bill what’s going on. Bill doesn’t respond and Mayer goes off about how Bill probably thinks that this is all Mayer’s fault for stopping Burnett’s torture. “You don’t know what I’m thinking, Senator,” Bill responds. Juma sends his men to go find Olivia.
Aaron’s slinking down the halls of the White House, Olivia in tow. (Really? Why didn’t he just leave her in the hiding spot? That seems safer.) All three exits are covered, so there’s no way out. They have to get a signal out so that the Secret Service knows Juma’s bluffing. Aaron tries to leave her behind, but Olivia’s having none of that.
Hovis tracks Moss down with the infrared scan. They can see the cluster of hostages, but not the individual bodies. Moss, Hovis, and Walker head back into the van to have a chat with the Vice President. The long and short of it is that despite the fact that Juma’s got the hostages outside the Roosevelt Room (which would only make sense if Madame President were in lockdown), the VP won’t authorize the hostage teams to enter until he can be absolutely sure that Juma doesn’t have Madame President. He’s kind of a punk as well. The VP has an exchange with his aid that’s got me thinking he may be a part of this conspiracy, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Aaron continues to head down the hallway until he encounters one of Juma’s men, and gunfire is exchanged. We got a man down! Aaron Pierce is down! NOOOO! Juma’s man is dead, but Aaron’s been shot in the shoulder. C’mon, Aaron! You gotta pull though! Aaron instructs Olivia to get a security kit out of a nearby bureau and go flash Morse Code out one of the windows. He explains the message to her (“Code Green” signals the Secret Service to move in). Olivia gets the flashlight, heads over to the window, and starts flashing it, but she doesn’t get very far, because one of Juma’s men sneaks up behind her and grabs her. Too late. He radios Juma that he’s got the First Daughter, and escorts Aaron and Olivia downstairs.
Jon Voight watches reports on the siege on CNN and looks generally mischievous. Back at the White House, Juma’s tech man informs him that he discovered fiber optic cameras that are feeding video into the lockdown room. Juma’s men bring Olivia and Aaron into the hostage area, and clearly Juma’s got an idea. Madame President watches the video monitor (side note: they’re totally not in the Roosevelt Room, so I don’t know what Moss was smoking.) as Juma sets up a chair in front of the camera. He sits Olivia down on the chair and threatens to cut out her eyes one by one, then her tongue, and then take her head off if Madame President doesn’t open the door. Olivia screams for her mother not to listen, but Juma covers up her mouth. “I know what you’re thinking. How do you know if you open the door that I won’t kill her? All you need to know is that I certainly will kill her if you don’t.” He plays with his knife against her cheek, and it’s really friggin’ creepy.
“Open the door,” Madame President orders Jack and she’s a little unhinged right now. Jack insists that he can’t. “That is my daughter out there. Do you understand? I’ve already lost my son. Have you any idea what it’s like to lose a child?” If only, Madame President. If only. Jack apologizes and says there’s nothing she can do for Olivia right now. “Do you have children, Jack?” Madame President asks, unwilling to let this go. “I have a daughter, unfortunately,” Jack admits. Okay, he didn’t say the second part, but I wish he did. “Could you do what you’re asking me to do, Jack? Stand by and watch her butchered?” Madame President continues. “No, ma’am,” Jack replies, “But I am not the President of the United States.” Madame President gets that crazy look in her eyes again and says, “Well I am the President. And I am ordering you to open that door.” Don’t do it, Jack! She’s going all Judge Dredd on you!
“You’re running out of time,” Dubaku announces from outside the room. When he gets no response, he covers Olivia’s mouth and points his knife towards her cheek, saying, “Maybe this will make your mother decide more quickly.” On cue, the doors to the lockdown room open and a sweaty Jack emerges (bow chicka bow wow), hands over his head, followed closely by Madame President. Jack looks like he’s about to be sick. “Mom, you shouldn’t have!” Olivia bawls. “I wouldn’t let then hurt you, darling,” Madame President soothes.
Bauer sits down with the other hostages and Mayer hisses at him, “Bauer! What have you done?!?” He didn’t do anything, Mayer! Shut the hell up!
Madame President orders Juma to let the hostages go, and he slaps her across the cheek. Woah there, Juma! Didn’t yo mama ever teach you not to hit women?? “You don’t give orders to me,” Juma says, “Get the camera ready for her statement.” “What statement?” Madame President asks. “The last one you’ll ever give,” Juma says mysteriously. MUAHAHAHAHA! …dun-dee-dun-dee-DUN.
A quick pace, lots of action, plenty of gunfire and peril — a good episode in my book. Admittly, I was on the edge of my seat at the thought of Bill and/or Aaron biting it, and although I don’t doubt that one of both of them will probably bite it before the end of the season (I’m not spoiled, so that’s just my conjecture), I was glad they both made it through the episode.
Next (this) week: hostage situation! Gunfire! Explosions! Madame President threatened! Explosion at the White House! Weeping Jack! Bring it on!