7:00:00 to 7:12:49
So, when we left off last week, the entire surviving CTU crew was exactly where Mumia al Jamal should be... in a gas chamber with less than an hour to live. Early on in the show, we get a lovely shot of Edgar oozing drool... when I am old, and senile, and barely able to remember the sequence underwear first then pants, the image of Edgar dying on the floor of CTU will be seared, seared into my memory. And that is a fitting opening for an episode so maudlin it makes the Smashing Pumpkins sound like the Jackson Five.
A helpful PA announcement brings us up to speed, explaining that all of CTU has been gassed with Tex-Mex except the special zones reserved for major characters. Chiggy is on the phone with Token, who is coming back with a chemical response team, but they are thirty minutes away. Chloe is out-freaked, but Jack needs her back at work. Fortunately, Cougar Bait's cradle-robbing boyfriend, Tom Green, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist... he can fix anything!. He sits Chloe down. "Chloe, my name is Dr. Green. Tell me about your childhood..."
Meanwhile, Sam PHB Gamgee is confessing to a redshirt that all of this is his fault for losing his CTU Club Card. "So, we're all going to die because you were embarrassed," he says. "Yeah, basically," Sam answers.
Then, Tony gets up out of bed to look for a mirror to check his face again. Dr.... let's see, has a beard... we'll call him Dr. Fuzzy. Then, Tony, for some reason takes out Dr. Fuzzy, goes into the next room and grabs a gun. He wants to kill Biff Henderson in revenge for him killing Michelle and messing up his ridiculously good-looking face. . In the situation room, S4GF manages to get a video feed. Jack tries to talk him down. "Tony, Biff Henderson has info that could save thousands and thousands of lives. Let him live long enough to torture him. Then, you can kill him." Mel Gibson goes back to working on Biff Henderson, pulling out a scourge and muttering in Aramaic.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Frau Blucher informs President Weasel that the CTU has suffered 40% casualties in a clip Fox has played approximately 800,000 times since last week. Frau Blucher says she can take over CTU and run things once the place is decontaminated and the bodies are stuffed into the dumpsters. Meanwhile, Vice President Commander Murphy is still pushing Martian Law. "Think about, as Emperor of Mars, you'll have the power to marry anyone you want." "Adrienne Barbeau," Weasel asks. "You betcha," Murphy assures him.
Meanwhile, Comrade HATO is pulling up a satellite photo of a huge, vaguely rectangular, and completely unidentifiable building. Pleased with their success at turning CTU into a roach motel, he orders the other terrorists to take all the remaining Tex-Mex to the next target.
7:17:13 to 7:24:07
Jack is pacing the situation room like a trapped cougar, which is making Kim especially nervous. Also, the cougar. Tom Green is still working on Chloe. "Good, now tell us about the time you found your uncle in mother's wedding dress...." "Is she cured yet?" Jack wants to know. "I need her scowling at the screen." Tom Green tells her they are just beginning to make progress and even though they're out of time for this week, they can schedule another appointment with his receptionist. Then, the warning alarms go off and indicate something beyond the ability of human technology to detect in real-time... that the seal is decaying at the molecular level. (While folding space-time to cross Los Angeles, Jack must have gotten hold of some Asgard Technology.) They'll be dead before the Chemical Response Teams get there, and Chloe's so upset she can't even play a decent game of Free Cell, let alone access building systems.
Back at the presidential retreat, Mary Todd and Dick Cheney discuss how Murphy is driving the president toward Martian Law. "We've got to stop him," Mary Todd says. Knowing that it begins with Martian Law and ends with humanoid robots and chainsaw hands. "You know what a weak, spineless pussy your weaselly husband is. He's Murphy's bitch, and he knows it," Cheney tells him. "You have to stop him. Use your secret First Lady powers." Mary Todd Grimly decides to try again.
Jack stares out the window at the ventilation system. Los Angeles building codes require all buildings to have ventilation systems large and sturdy enough for a person to crawl through. Chloe soon figures out how to handle the gas, using the air conditioning, but it will require assistance from Jack. Jack will need to disable some kind of computer for some reason to get the air conditioning system to flush the gas. Fortunately, in his eighteen months off, Jack became a licensed HVAC technician. And he can hold his breath a really, really long time.
7:28:33 to 7:34:44
Jack makes his way through the CTU crawlspace, past the bodies of partially chewed teenaged hitchhikers Edgar has collected over the years. After checking in with Chloe, Jack pauses at the edge of the contamination zone, take a deep breath, and slices through the drywall to get to the computer that controls the ventilation. He sees a computer on the inside
Meanwhile, nervous about Jack's safety, Chloe and Cougar Bait have a catty little flare up. Tom Green tells them they need to calm down and just breathe. So, Chloe turns her claws on him, "What's with you and the breathing is that your solution to everything?" Tom Green shuts the hell up, because, as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, breathing actually is his solution to everything. And since their immediate problem is poisonous nerve gas, this might not be a good time to try out that when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail cliché.
Jack checks in, earlier than expected. Tom Green wants to know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. "Could be a good thing could be a bad thing, that's what I don't know means," I'd say Chloe is fully back to normal. Jack tells her he couldn't do that thing she needed him to do because of some computer that locked him out. Chloe checks into it and finds out it was a security upgrade. "Somebody... (meaning Edgar) ... didn't file it properly. That's why I didn't know." She quickly checks the situation and discovers the only way they can survive is to kill Sam Gamgee.
Jack calls Sam Gamgee. "Hey, Sam, how'd you like to see your sister again."
"Sure, Mr. Frodo. What's the catch?" Jack tells him. He has to sacrifice himself to save the rest of CTU. Sam is okay with this. Redshirt Riley... not so much.
Then they cut to that creepy M. Night Shamalamadingdong AmEx commercial.
7:39:13 to 7: 46:54
Back at CTU, the major characters wait in the Situation Room to see if Sam Gamgee will succeed. Cougar Bait apologizes to Chloe, and asks if she ever had contact with Jack while he was pretending to be dead. "Yes, once a month, I supplied detailed reports... your break-up with Chase, your depression, the results of your pap smear." This makes Kim feel queasily better.
Meanwhile, Redshirt Riley is saying his goodbyes to his little girl. If it helps you to cope better, just imagine that the daughter was a little demon-spawn who tortured neighborhood animals and that with the death of her father, she'll be institutionalized and isolated from society. As Redshirt Riley and Sam take their final breath of sweet, sweet air, Chloe, in a classic understatement, says, "Thanks for doing this."
Sam runs to the computer room and exits the program that was preventing Chloe from venting the gas. Chloe is able to get the system working and miraculously the gas stops corroding the seals as well. Sam Gamgee gets back to the room in time to hear his atta-boy from Jack. "Lyn, I don't know if you can hear me, but I want you to know what you did was successful. The seals are holding. I will personally contact your families and let them know of the sacrifices that you made." Then, Redshirt Riley can't hold his breath anymore and momentarily thinks he's going to live. Nope. He and Sam Gamgee die twitching like roaches and puking like Ozzy Osbourne.
Meanwhile, back in Medical, Tony is displeased with the lack of progress on Biff Henderson and tells Mel Gibson he's wasting his time. Jack is about to give up on torturing Biff and tells Chloe to keep working on Biff's files. Then, Jack tells Cougar Bait to get herself checked at medical as soon as the gas clears. Cougar Bait tells him to forget about it. "There's nothing left to say except I don't want to be around you." She explains that she hates being around Jack because whenever she's around him, people start dying. "It's like having Bill and Hillary Clinton for a father... mostly Hillary." Then, she goes back to Tom Green.
S4GF tries to comfort Jack. "You OK." "No." "Wanna torture somebody?" "Maybe later."
7:51:24 to 7:59:59
The plans for Martian Law seem to be coming along well, but they're stuck on what to call them. "Emergency Peacekeeping Force," President Weasel says, trying it on for size. "Couldn't we just call it, 'The Feelgood Happytime Cuddlebugs?' It will make the civilian population feel better when they get shot for looting, and the strong begin striking down the weak to feast on their warm, sweet, brains..." Mary Todd tries to talk him out of it. "Look, if you declare Martial Law, I'll still support you... but I'll be real pouty for like three weeks." Ah, now Weasel remembers why she married him.
The terrorists are in the position awaiting final command. So, Comrade HATO calls Dial-a-Whore. "Have you got it yet?" "I told you I would call you as soon as I had everything. We're still waiting on the studded black manhandler." "No, I meant the data..." "Oh, those detailed spec thingies... you'll get them." Then, she goes back to bed with a slackery, unshaven stud.
You know, considering that hitting an American target was Plan B, the terrorists were able to put together a pretty major back-up plan up in a hurry ---- major target, connected hooker with specs all lined up, a plan to bust into and gas CTU. Makes me think they aren't just winging it because they couldn't get the nerve gas to Russia.
Then. Frau Blucher calls Chiggy and asks how many fresh expendables she'll need to run CTU. Answer, about fifty. She consults with a shadowy man with a clipped accent, who seems to relish the thought of pushing Chiggy aside. Frau Blucher reassures him, "Chiggy won't be in charge when I get there. I will be. CTU is just a building." Oh, Fabulous, FEMA is taking over. Maybe they can call in Ray Nagin to do a consult.
Cougar Bait says her good-byes to Jack and then Tom Green thanks Jack for saving his life and then, in true MTV fashion, licks up Edgar's drool.
Then Jack and Tony are on the phone. Tony tells Jack that Biff Henderson is in a coma and he's gonna go Michael Schaivo on his comatose ass. Jack tries to talk him out of it, but Tony hangs up. He takes out a big needle and prepares to plunge it into Biff. But then Biff comes around, stabs Tony with the needle, grabs a gun, and takes off. Jack comes in and finds Tony on the floor. Jack holds Tony and screams for help. Then Tony dies, which is good, because up until that point, I couldn't imagine how this episode could possibly be any more depressing.
You all have no frakkin' idea how hard it was to find the humor in this episode. I feel dirty.