24
Day 4: 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: D+ | 3 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
I Got the Digits

And then gets zapped in the back of the neck with a taser gun and drops unconscious to the ground. Kiefer -- for it is he who has done the tasering -- raises a gun to Prado's forehead and says, "Make a sound, and I will blow your brains out all over the windshield." He hands Prado a pair of handcuffs and orders him to cuff himself to the dashboard. Prado obeys. It's 12:58:12 as the Weissmobile pulls out of its parking spot, its driver either oblivious or indifferent to what's happening to his client. Brrr. Kiefer tells Prado, "Now we're gonna talk." He hops into the back seat behind Prado and cuffs his prisoner's free hand to the door pillar. "Now," he begins, "you and I both know your heart isn't in this. You just wanted the money. I don't want you. All I want is ImhoTerror." Which, of course, makes torturing Prado, and by extension this whole ridiculous charade, even more unnecessary. Kiefer's really lost it this hour. Prado continues to plead ignorance about ImhoTerror. Kiefer says, "I'm running out of time here, so why don't we just cut to the chase." And he pulls Prado's thumb out of its socket. Hey, it's not like the guy isn't used to inflicting hand trauma. The splitscreen starts as he asks again about ImhoTerror, gets another "I don't know," and breaks another digit. At least he's efficient. I guess now is a good a time as any to mention that something's been bothering me this season about Kiefer. It seemed odd to me that a man who cultivates his own emotional detachment still manages to wield such powers of persuasion and manipulation over others. But then I remembered that that's the popular definition of a sociopath, and his character made a lot more sense.

Anyway, the splitscreen. Inside CTU, folks are going about their business. The Veep is holding court in his bunker lobby, Buchanan wonders how long it'll be before his ass is in a sling over this, Lispy Skip stands there glaring into space like he's about to either start a shooting spree or have a stroke, and Bitchelle, as far as we know, doesn't have any idea what the men under her command have just pulled. Best to keep the womenfolk in the dark about such dealings, you know.

Prado is still denying everything and Kiefer's out of fingers to dislocate, so he puts his knife to Prado's throat. Prado caves. That took exactly thirty seconds. I'm tempted for a moment to think that this is where my whole interpretation of the episode as satire falls apart, and that this episode has been dead serious all along. That the speed with which Kiefer finally got his information is intended as a demonstration of the ultimate efficacy of torture as an interrogation method. That the fact that we have yet to see a direct, tangible downside of any torture, even when it's against innocents, means that any atrocity is justified in the interest of saving innocent lives, even if you haven't tried anything else. That the terrorists are succeeding in dragging us down to their level, goading us into abandoning the moral high ground, duping us into ditching our aspirations to serve as a beacon of freedom and justice to the world and getting down in the filth and the blood and the teeth and the claws in a blind, brutal cockfight for nothing more than bare survival at the cost of every higher ideal we've been fighting and dying for for more than two centuries. But I still want to like this show, and I'd rather give it the benefit of the doubt than assume it's descended permanently into utter nihilism for no reason. Let's just assume that the episode was running long, shall we?

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24

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