Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B- | 1 USERS: A+
Crushed Velvet
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Well, we're back for another non-stop season of 24. This season finds our show weighted down with a few Emmys, including one for Kiefer and one for Best Drama. In light of these developments, I plan to begin treating this show with the respect and the gravitas it deserves. And there you have it: my first joke of the season.

Unless you're new, you're already aware that the 24 DVDs include short prequels for the upcoming season. We're starting with the Season 6 Prequel that was included on the Season 5 DVD set. So none of what I describe in the next several paragraphs ever actually aired.

Oh, except this part: the last couple of minutes of the Season 5 finale. We get to relive the joy of seeing a beaten and bloodied Kiefer get dragged into the cargo hold of the freighter Shanghai. He once again asks for death, and once again the Consulate Cop drops some hardcore shit on him. Then, on a black screen, this title card: 7 MONTHS LATER. Do you think they were good months?

Probably not. In a barn somewhere in, presumably, China, a bearded, shirtless Kiefer, his hands cuffed high above his head by a chain hanging from the ceiling, is having electrical paddles applied to his torso. From behind a small, eye-level hatch that leads to another room, the Consulate Cop watches dispassionately. Hey, who's running security at the Chinese Consulate in L.A. while this guy is making Kiefer his pet project for years on end? His single-mindedness is certainly not in question, as we see him defying a torture guy's subtitled exhortations that they'll kill Kiefer if they don't stop for the day. Consulate Cop goes to confront Kiefer with a pair of glossy photos, and demands to know which of the two men, "Hong" or "Lee," is working for the U.S. government. Because Kiefer is completely up to speed on all of his government's covert Chinese operatives after seven months in prison, a year and a half underground, and another year as a Defense Department wonk. Whether he knows or not, Kiefer doesn't utter a word. Unless you count "Ungghgngh" as a word, since that is what he says when Consulate Cop orders the paddles applied again. Finally, CC orders Kiefer unchained and returned to his tiny, filthy cell.

Kiefer suffers on the floor of his unfurnished cell for an unspecified amount of time (no 7 MONTHS LATER title card, at least), until a silenced handgun goes of in the hallway outside and the uniformed guard falls to the floor. Two black-clad, hooded men enter Kiefer's cell, shining a flashlight in his face. In American-accented English, one of the men tells Kiefer that they're going to get him out. Kiefer just stares at them wide-eyed, until they all but drag him to his feet and into the hallway, where we can see that the putative rescuers are indeed quite Caucasian. So they must be for real, right?

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