1:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Episode Report Card
Gustave: B | 1 USERS: A-
It's one o'clock -- do you know where your Kiefer is?

The opening credits roll. And by that, I mean that there's that black screen and then the computer font lettering gradually appearing, accompanied by some blip blip blip noises until it forms the number "24" in gold.

Last week on 24, presidential candidate David Palmer is going to be assassinated and there's a scandal brewing that may threaten his presidency…and his marriage to Mrs. Cosby. Kiefer's boss tells him that there might be an element within the agency behind the attempted hit on Palmer. Spawn of Kiefer sneaks out of the house to go party with some frat boys, who turn evil on her and refuse to drive her home in their Purple Van Of Teen Impertinence. Bride of Kiefer is out with Spawn of Kiefer's friend's father, who may or may not be legit. Mandy the Terrorista steals a photographer's wallet and blows up a plane, narrowly escaping incineration by parachute.

Kiefer explains, along with the Powerpoint presentation, that the show is in real time and takes place between the hours of 1:00 AM and 2:00 AM the day of the California presidential primary.

Mandy lands in the Mojave desert and quickly gets to work gathering up her parachute. At CTU, Nina is trying to get Walsh, a.k.a. Boss of Kiefer, on the phone for Kiefer. Kiefer, learning that reaching Walsh is going to take a while, walks over to Soul Patch's desk to see how much info he's gathered on the plane crash. Soul Patch wants to check the maintenance history of the airplane, but Kiefer commands him to assume the explosion was a non-accident and keep checking the political affiliations and criminal records of each passenger. Soul Patch, who really needs to get his ass fired pronto, demands to know why he should. Kiefer points out that the downed flight originated from Germany, which is where they just learned the assassin was supposed to be coming from. "Yo, [Kiefer]," says Soul Patch, as Kiefer walks away from his desk. "Do you want to explain to me what is going on tonight?" "You mean besides a 747 falling out of the sky and an attempt on a presidential candidate's life?" asks Kiefer. Soul Patch says he wants to know why George Mason (Xander Berkeley) disappeared into Kiefer's office for over a half an hour during the last episode…I mean hour…and exited limping. Well, personally, I can't figure out why Soul Patch is hung up on limping Xander Berkeley. Shouldn't he be more freaked out by the fact that his very own boss's hair just lightened spontaneously by six shades at exactly 1:00 this morning? Heh. Seriously, Kiefer's hair is majorly blond all of sudden. And it's not even that "bleached blond" that balding male therapists dye their hair when they turn forty because they need to make a life change. Kiefer is Dresden Doll Blond. He looks like Ricky Schroder on a very special episode of Silver Spoons in which Ricky Stratton catches Progeria, that disease that makes you age really fast. You'd think that when he agreed to star, someone would have made him sign something promising not to play with his hair color during the season and ruin the real-time visual consistency of the show. And speaking of hour-to-hour visual consistencies, Soul Patch's hair is almost half an inch longer and Nina's lesbian businesswoman's 'do is crushed in the back like she slept on it. Although knowing Nina's workplace reputation, a quickie with a mail room clerk a few minutes ago could easily explain that away. The least they could have done at the end of the last episode would have been to let Nina say, "Okay, but before we investigate the plane crash, let's all go out and get split-second makeovers and meet back here at the top of the hour and pretend that nothing happened!" To be honest, I felt a little guilty this past week over what I was writing about the hairstyles of these actors. It's not fair to make fun of their hair, I realized, because they're all wearing wigs in order to make it easier to establish visual consistency from week to week. That's why their hair looks like ass. Next week, they'll have the same ass hairstyles and it will be cool because it's the same ass hair they had an "hour" ago. Well, after viewing tonight's ep, it has become clear that the hair looked like ass for no apparent good reason last week -- or this week -- so I am guilt-free.

But I digress. The whole office staff -- apparently a bunch of extras showed up at 1:00 AM as well -- looks up from their work to catch a listen to the power struggle. Jalapeno Spice, whose peroxide highlighted pigtails from last week are gone, looks up from her computer screen as if to say, "Oh no you di-i-n't!" -- and if she did say it out loud, she certainly would have accompanied it with the pointing of a super-long gold-tipped nail, a repetitive side-to-side head movement a la Miss Cleo, and the cracking of more gum. So not only does Soul Patch have the gall to question his superior -- the CIA is practically a branch of the military -- but he's also doing it in full view of the entire office. Real time or no real time, this guy would not still have a job at this point. Nina saves the day by inventing a story about Xander being close friends with the agents that were ruined by Kiefer's agent bust last month. She tells the office that Xander accused Kiefer, and certain co-workers of Kiefer's, of some nasty things, and Kiefer got mad and fists flew. "In case you all haven't noticed," says Nina for the benefit of the eavesdropping office, "[Kiefer] doesn't have a lot of tolerance for criticism." Soul Patch, by way of apology, decides to do his job and go look up the passenger list for Kiefer. Kiefer gives Nina a covert high five for saving his ass.

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