Hey, you! Yeah, you. Are you opposed to your government using torture to get information on terrorists? Do you think that organizations like Amnesty International actually do important work? Do you believe in the rule of law, due process, civil rights, and the Constitution? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the writers and producers of 24 would like you to know that you're a fucking pussy.
Like the Veep, who's more worried about his own safety and his place in history than about the security of the American people. Like the weaselly lawyer who comes to the rescue of a guy who killed one of ImhoTerror's men before he can give up any information. Like Potato Face, who just wants everyone to concentrate on doing their jobs. But not like Lispy Skip, who's just itching to go all Jack Ruby on a suspect. Or like Kiefer, who goes off the reservation to get the information he needs by illegal means (which takes about a minute, of course). Basically, you're playing right into the hands of people like ImhoTerror, who won't hesitate to use our own laws against us.
So what we're saying is that it's time for you to get on board with the whole government-sponsored torture thing. Otherwise Kiefer might come to your house and break all your fingers. He doesn't have time to do this any other way, you see.
Due to some graphic violence, viewer discretion is advised. But all the violence is against terrorists and collaborators and the U.S. Marshal duped into being their stooge, so who gives a fuck?
Okay, I'm kidding. In fact, I've calmed down quite a bit since I wrote the recaplet for this episode. You know what did it? I remembered a comment by a Dutch film auteur named Paul Verhoeven, who was pointing out that if you're watching something that seems to endorse fascism, you're really watching a parody of fascism. This was of course his defense of that bit of Swiftian cultural commentary we know as Starship Troopers. And is any of us really prepared to say that our beloved 24 is less subtle and layered than Starship freaking Troopers? I think not. So I'm now prepared to read this episode not as the incoherent, unhinged, right-wing screed I initially mistook it for, but as the wickedly pointed satire that it's no doubt intended to be. Join me, won't you?
Previously on 24: Air Force One crashed, but President Keeler survived, although he wasn't exactly a hundred percent. Or even five percent, probably. The nuclear Football got sucked out of the plane before it crashed, so Kiefer retrieved it from ImhoTerror. Except for the pages from the Playbook that held the actual warhead codes. Which, it turns out, is enough for him to take control of a warhead. So much for the components being useless if kept separate. The nervous Veep swore to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States" (which is totally going to bite him in the ass) while getting sworn in as President. Yet even the freeze-frame with his name on it still refers to him as the Vice President. As if I needed another excuse to keep calling him the Veep. He got the news from Poor Man's Hume Cronyn that part of the Football was in the hands of terrorists, and had himself a quiet little freak-out. The following takes place between 12:00 AM and 1:00 AM.
Buchanan opens the episode -- and a CTU briefing -- with the news that the Veep is now President of the United States. Nice try. I notice that Roger Cross is back in the credits. Buchanan says that in the call they have scheduled with the Veep fifteen minutes from now, the Veep is going to want to know how Air Force One was shot down with a plane that was stolen from an American air base. Oh, that was Soul Patch and Lispy Skip's fault, not that anyone knows that yet. Hey, Evan Handler's in this episode. You may recall him as Harry from Sex and the City and as Doug from The West Wing. Yes, I'm still watching the credits. Soul Patch explains that Kiefer's working on "reconstructing" the part of the Football's Playbook that was stolen, collaborating with a guy from the DoD who teleported out there during the previouslies. Here's a thought: maybe a little less "reconstructing" and a little more "recovering." Speak of the devil -- Kiefer calls in and gets put on speaker. He breaks the news that his reconstruction of the missing chapter is finished. That's great, but a not-allowing-to-get-stolen-in-the-first-place of the missing chapter would have been even better. Never mind, I'm sure that reconstruction is going to be vital later on when it comes time to prevent the use of a stolen warhead. Kiefer explains that the missing chapter lays out the contents of the "entire domestic nucular [sic] arsenal," of which there are thousands of warheads. Some of those warheads are being moved around for some reason. "It would take over an hour to account for all of them. Listen, everybody: we've got to remember, ImhoTerror only needs one." Awfully bossy for a guy who let ImhoTerror get away in the first place. Buchanan orders Kiefer back to CTU so he can work with DoDder to start accounting for weapons in transit. Kiefer's on his way.
ImhoTerror, having already shaken off the helicopter that was supposed to be pursuing him, is now standing by the side of the road, using a game-show-host voice to read off coordinates from the stolen pages to a flunky: "Latitude 37 degrees, 14 minutes, longitude 115 degrees, 21 minutes." Which are actually the coordinates to the Nellis Bombing Range in southern Nevada, but somehow the flunky punches the coordinates into a map of the U.S. and comes up with Jefferson City, IA. Oh, and since I'm still looking at the credits, I see this one was written by Ann Coulter. No, I kid. The flunky says the warhead is due to arrive at "7:00 AM local time, five hours from now." Since military convoys apparently travel at 40 miles per hour, ImhoTerror calculates it as being 200 miles east, in "Ill-inois." The flunky says they can intercept it, using his light pen to trace an imaginary road across the Iowa/Illinois border. "Let's put our people in place," ImhoTerror orders, and both men hop into a black van. Does ImhoTerror have people everywhere in the country? And who pays them all?