Archive: March, 2009
Many of his lines sound like they were written on a dare.
Featuring: Evidence of Jack's breath-holding skills, more i***nsight into Jack's bizarre sense of morality, and the semi-return of Skelehubby.
FBI agents are swarming Senator Mayer Weiner's house. We get a close-up of the now-dead human rights advocate. This seems like a good time to offer a belated apology to the senator, who, with his final actions last week, earned the right to officially drop the 'weiner' from his name. Anyway, back at the crime scene we see Larry putting on his classic 'I'm the boss/I'm confused' face. He seems to automatically assume that Jack murdered Mayer and fled. You know what happens when you assume, Larry ' your girlfriend totally ditches you for Jack Bauer.
Larry calls Chief Maybebad-but-starting-to-look-like-he's-not-bad to tell him that Senator Mayer is dead, saying of the much-maligned Jack, 'he had us all fooled.' Chief Maybebad and Larry snip at each other a bit about who is to blame for releasing Jack back into the wild. Chief Maybebad's determination seems to be that it was all his fault, and he sinks into his chair and acts like he's having a heart attack for a second. Apparently that's just how he reclines, though.
Meanwhile, in Rebeltown, Jack tells Tony about the weapons and Sangala and the Blackwater, er STARKWOOD corporation. (Imagine that writers' meeting: 'Ok guys. We can't say Blackwater or we get sued. So, let's play word association! Everyone think of a word that describes a tone, and then something you find in nature. GO!' Rejected options: Palewind, Taupefire, Austereladybug, Shinyraindrops.) Upon hearing about all of this evidence against Starkwood, even fugitive rebel Tony basically says, 'you should, like, call the police,' but Jack's all, 'I'm a loner, Tony, a rebel.'
At the White House, Pillowface enjoys a split-screen phone conversation with the newly alive and revived Skelehubby. She gives him lots of good news: Juma and Dubaku are dead! Our son was murdered! Our daughter loves us again! For some reason, Skelehubby seems the happiest that his son was murdered. The president says she and Olivia will come to visit soon, and Skelehubby says not to rush because he's not going anywhere. Hmmm. Saying that on 24 is kind of like saying 'I'll be right back' in a horror movie. For a second it seemed like someone was immediately moving in to smother him with a pillow, but it was just the president looming at the top of the screen.
Chief Maybebad comes in and the president exposits to him that the doctors say Skelehubby will make a full recovery. The Chief says, 'I guess he's stronger than we thought.' Hah. That would have been the funniest line all night if Jon Voight didn't speak. The president does not defend her hubby's honor. Chief Maybebad tells Madame Pillowface about definitely-dead Mayer and alleged-murderer Jack. The President says it doesn't make any sense, which it doesn't, but then she just buys into it like everyone else. Chief Maybebad offers his resignation and comes clean with the president about his complicity in letting Jack out of custody. He manages to mention how bitchy Olivia was to him several times. The president gets all teary and pillowy but Chief Maybebad insists. The president gets handsy with former-Chief Maybebad and he leaves.
|Chief Maybebad / President Pillowface|
Tony and Jack are hiding by a fence waiting for the weapons to arrive at the dock. Tony does some instant recon and says there is only one port authority officer present. Good security, United States. Our lone officer is one guy named Carl. Currently, Carl is chatting on the phone with his very pregnant wife. They seem loving and happy, which means Carl probably has about 8 seconds left to live.
He hears a noise by some of the storage containers and goes to investigate. He is, of course, immediately taken hostage by Jack.
The Starkwood Baddie Brigade is assembled by the gates. Lead baddie is on the phone with Jon Voight. Apparently Quinn was supposed to meet them and is late. Jon Voight correctly guesses that Quinn is suffering from a severe case of Baueritis, but he says to give the guy five more minutes. Jon Voight then heads to a board meeting, telling his increasingly sweaty minion Greg that 'they're six year olds' and they need to eat their carrots.' Jon Voight is perfection in this role, even though many of his lines sound like they were written on a dare.
At the Starkwood board meeting, Jon Voigt goes through some 'facts' about having the largest private army in the world but being treated like crap by the US government and its 'subcommittees.' For those of you who don't speak Fox News, here's a translation: 'There are bad guys out there! We are bad guys, too, but we kill other bad guys so we are sort of like good guys! Why can't we have more guns?' It seems that all of this murder and terrorism might be just a horrifying way to drum up business for Starkwood. Have they considered a new ad campaign instead? Seems like an easier step than smuggling in weapons and killing lots of people. Just sayin'.
Jon Voight gets the board all in a tizzy with his speech and then leaves Greg, who is now sweating profusely, to answer questions. The suits swarm poor Greg.
Outside the board room, a Starkwood boss confronts Jon Voight, who tells the boss that Mayer is dead. The boss immediately intuits that Jon Voight was involved in Mayer's death, and Jon Voight denies it but mentions that Starkwood might want to look into assassination because it's a 'growth market.'
|Jon Voight / slummin' it|
Back at the port, Jack and Tony have Carl tied up and they are looking at manifests to find the shipment. Carl says he doesn't have the password for the files, which are appear to be stored on an Apple IIE. Jack offers Carl his standard 'there are terrorists out there and they are going to kill people, so it's ok that I kidnapped you at gunpoint' speech. Carl immediately spills that he has been paid to let some baddies in tonight, but he swears he thought they were smuggling radios or teddy bears or something not at all like a biological weapon. Carl's no fun ' usually Jack at least gets to shoot out a kneecap or something before his hostages talk. Jack finally decides to call the FBI but the phones have been jammed. The baddies radio Carl and ask him to open the gate. Jack tells Carl to act normal and open the gate, and we know that his track record with sending civilians into situations with terrorists and telling them to 'act normal' always work out really well. Cough, Crazy Driver Marika. Cough, Stabby Elizabeth Nash. Cough, Mentally Challenged Brady.
Despite this stunning record, Jack convinces Carl to do the right/stupid thing and go talk to the baddies. Carl asks if Jack will have his back, and Jack promises to keep him safe. If this dude lives, it will defy every law of the 24 universe. Before going to the gate, Carl blathers on about having to use in vitro to have babies and how expensive insurance is and lots of sympathetic stuff, and with each humanizing bon mot he seems to move one step closer to a bullet-riddled death.
Carl finally goes to let in the baddies, doing a terrible job of remaining nonchalant. The head baddie asks Carl about his wife and if he told her anything. He stops just short of saying 'let's tie up any potential loose ends before I totally kill you.' Carl tries, badly, to cover for being so obviously nervous. Baddie has Carl escorted to the SUV of Certain Death. Jack, watching, offers a passionate 'damnit,' to which Tony replies, 'forget it, he was dead the minute he stepped out that door, you and I both know that.' Aw, Carl.
As he packs up his office, Chief Maybebad is looking fondly at his Pillowface snapshots. Ew. Olivia comes in to 'apologize' for her tone or whatever. Ethan apologizes to Olivia for accusing her of contacting the media. He then offers our budding Lady Macbeth some advice: 'ambition is a valuable quality, but unchecked it can be unhealthy, if not dangerous.' Livs is still working from the Sherry Palmer playbook, though, so the second Chief Maybebad leaves the room she calls the reporters that she obviously had called in the first place to tell them the Ethan-destroying story is 'back on.' In exchange for all of this leaked info, she insists that the story only skewer Chief Maybebad and not Pillowface. The representative of the media is eager to report her obvious half-truths in exchange for a scoop and maybe dinner someday with hottie first daughter. His station was not specifically identified, but one must assume it was an affiliate of LME (liberal media elite).
|Olivia / Drive-By Liberal Media Scum|
Back at the Mayer residence, Larry is actually starting to use his brain. He realizes what should be obvious: Jack probably did not turn into a serial killer. He cites computer files, bullet patterns, and other semi-interesting pieces of evidence.
Larry calls Rene, who is still in holding at FBI headquarters. He tells her Mayer is dead, but he swallows his pride and admits that Jack may not have done it. He tells Rene he wants to meet her halfway, but she has to help him explain how Jack might have found himself in this situation. Rene is still firmly on Team Jack and gives Larry the silent treatment when he asks her about Starkwood. Three seconds later, though, Rene has a change of heart and tells Larry everything about Starkwood and Quinn, the guy who most likely, definitely, actually killed Mayer. Larry pulls a 'thanks, but you can't leave holding' and Rene hangs up on him. Trouble in paradise.
|Larry / Rene (cell phone use is permitted for recent traitors)|
At the port, the baddies have reached the Big Container of Death (BCD). They want to do a diagnostic. They still have Carl with them, but clearly he is not long for this world. Jack and Tony are doing what they do best, lurking in the shadows. Tony says it's time to go to the car to follow the container but Jack wants to save Carl, who is being told he needs to follow one of the baddies into the darkness to 'get paid.' Oh, Carl. As the baddie, Cooper, pulls a gun on Carl, Jack prepares to shoot Cooper. Tony offers Jack a bit of his own logic to try and stop him from taking out Cooper and starting a gun battle with the baddies. 'You may save one man,' Tony says, 'but how about the thousands that could die in a biological attack?' Jack thinks over these words, which he totally has said 800 times in the past seven seasons, and then shoots the baddie to save Carl. Carl instantly becomes the luckiest semi-extra in 24 history.
A truck comes in to pick up the container. The baddies find Cooper's dead body and Jack and Tony have to enter into the firefight about which Tony warned Jack moments before. A bullet hits the operator of the large crane currently lifting the BCD to put it on the truck. Lots of container smashing ensues, though, oddly, the man seems to recover enough to stop swerving around on the crane and successfully load the truck. Clearly this man is a very dedicated terrorist. Tony and Jack somehow hold off all of the baddies, though one does drive the truck towards the exit. Jack climbs up on a container and jumps onto the moving truck to perform a classic Indiana-Jones-driver-punch-out move. He steals the truck and starts heading out of the port.
Tony does not fare as well ' he is captured by the head baddie, who recognizes him from Emerson's crew. Jack hears on the radio that Tony has been caught, but keeps driving. Wow, Jack. Way to use that moral compass. Let's just get this straight: You risked thousands of lives to save Carl the Criminal Security Guard, but you throw Tony Al'freakin'meida to the wolves? TONY? In fairness, Tony would want it that way. But it doesn't make Jack any less of an enigma. If only Rene were here to slap him around a bit.
As he flees from the responsibility of rescuing his only living friend, Jack calls Larry to tell him to send the troops. He does mention that they might want to go save Tony. Thanks for nothing, Jack. After a bit of whining, Larry agrees to send help.
The truck starts beeping, which is never a good thing when said truck is apparently carrying a large biological weapon. Turns out all of the shenanigans with the crane operator messed up the BCD. Looking into a hole in the container, Jack sees that a valve is currently leaking death mist all over the place. Jack decides to expose himself to try and stop an explosion. He holds his breath the whole time he is in the truck, because obviously holding one's breath will protect one from deadly biological agents. He runs out of the container and finally exhales, only to immediately be shot at by multiple baddies. The baddies grab the weapon via helicopter. From behind a rock, Jack aims his little gun at the cable holding the BCD, but realizes even he's not that badass (although he did once shoot down a helicopter with only a handgun).
|Larry / Jack (BFFs now n 4evr)|
The head baddie calls Jon Voight to tell him that they have the weapon but Jack is on the loose. Jack calls Larry again to reroute the troops to Starkwood's local military base, and he tells Larry he was exposed to the death mist. Larry suddenly likes Jack now that he thinks Jack is going to die and not hit on Rene anymore, so Larry tells Jack to 'sit tight' and promises to send the CDC. Jack sits down and looks like he's having trouble breathing, though it could just be a panic attack. We are left waiting to find out if Jack is going to die or not, even though we kind of stopped believing the show would have the guts to kill him around season 4. Considering the extended virus hoax in season 3, until the CDC tells us differently, no one should be convinced that the valve leaking anything but baby powder and Evian.
- Cooper (murderous baddie)
- Other baddie crew members
- Not Carl (shockingly)
Photos | Carolyn Huckabay and Brian Howard
A funny thing happened on the way to the second set.
On Saturday at Johnny Brenda's, Berks County's Frog Holler was in the house. And so were we, at least at first. With a packed house on hand, the Darren Schlappich-led six piece took the state for the first of a promised two sets in celebration of the release of Believe It or Not, the band's first release since 2006's Haywire. The band kicked off with the bitter "WJKS" from Idiots before launching into a steady flow of songs from the band's new longplayer. Songs like "To Turn Back Now," "Fundamental Blues" and "Not Like Us" betray a world-weariness that, while evident if not dominant in the band's earlier releases, is amplified in this current batch of songs.
Lead singer/principal songwriter Schlappich has been through something like a personal hell in the three years since the band's last release ' he lost his father, endured his own health crisis and dealt with the premature birth of his now-healthy son, Eli. It was a stretch that tried the prolific songwriter, and the wear shows on his face. Once a big-bearded sort, Schlappich's face is now clean shaven, the hollows around his eyes and the gray hair peeking out from beneath his trademark knit cap stand as testament to hard times. "Strange Powers," the second song of the set, with its chorus of "believe it or not," seemed to dare the crowd to believe their eyes. "This is a celebration," said Schlappich half convincingly as if regaining his bearings. "So we're gonna play two sets tonight," an announcement that was met with exuberance by the large crowd, a curious mix of locals and itinerant rurals.
The band played the new "Control Freak (I Know, I Know), a playful song that's not too hard to read into as a song about a man looking for a bit of order. They played "Fundamental Blues," which displays Schlappich's curious knack for a superbly crafted metaphor: "sentimental leaves hang on to the trees too long / because when they fall they don't know where they'll go." And "Alibis," with the bluntly burning "you keep using alibis, some of them too many times."
Guitarist Todd Bartolo ripped through a mighty solo on old favorite "One Last Time" from Haywire which led into "Million Good Things" from The High, Highs and The Low, Lows and then into the wary "Not Like Us" from the new album. The band seemed to be acquiring its groove, prepared to jump into the sort of rollicking bluegrass-meets-guitar-pop hayseed hoedown sets they're known for.
And that, good friends, is when I left the show. A freakish incident involving the pint glass i was holding in my right hand nesting in the pint glass I was holding in my left hand ' causing a shard from the latter glass to break off and slice off much of the skin on the palm side of my pinky ' forced my rather hasty and bloody exit from the venue.
So I implore you, good readers of City Paper, to let me know about the second set. What did they play? Did it rock?
This video shows the corruption of a jpeg, by saving it with increasingly severe compression settings. It's like watching the universe entropize into static. It's a little like that. Go here for instructions on how to do it yourself (very techy instructions).
And we're back ...
Sorry to be away for so long, folks, but the 1-Upper bought a house and started referring to himself in the third person. I've been spending my days installing storm doors and not helping you waste your precious time.
Anyhoo, I give you Don't Look Back this week. Doing throwbacks seems to be all the rage these days, what with Mega Man showing up in all his 8-bit glory on the next generation consoles and new franchise entries like Street Fighter (which I used to play in the arcade) outselling everything else by miles. Don't Look Back does exactly the opposite of its name and looks and plays like it strolled right out of the Atari 2600.
A straight-forward platformer, which you don't see often enough, the game is simple to play. Arrow keys move you and make you jump, spacebar makes you shoot your little rectangle of a pistol. It's a little like Pitfall meets Super Mario Brothers. Just watch out for the darkness.
Play it here.
Twice is once too much.
There's a pretty well-known rule in the world of musical comedy: Never put a joke in the chorus. Because choruses get repeated and jokes are rarely funny on the second go-round. Stephen Lynch breaks the rule a couple times on 3 Balloons and it's really annoying. Titties. Heh. We got it the first time. I saw Lynch open for Mitch Hedberg a few years ago; his schtick is simple and often effective in concert: angelic vocals, blissful troubadour acoustic guitar and surprisingly ornate and lewd lyrics. It's the kind of stuff that makes girls so oh you're so horrible with your odes to unkempt naughty bits ("Medieval Bush") and ugly S.O.s "You (Prettier Than)." Sober and alone, I'm having trouble getting into Lynch's silliness. He's got four "Dear Diary" songs (wherein a narrator describing a wonderful day turns out to be some doomed historical figure, Marvin Gaye, Anne Frank, etc.), but he never quite puts the sweat and smarts into it the way, say, Jonathan Coulton does. 3 Balloons was a little amusing the first time through, but I don't see any reason to own it.
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