Day 4: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

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When Worlds Collide

Across the floor, Lispy Skip is lying to someone that he's been trying to get through to a number in the evacuation zone for ten minutes. He finally prevails upon someone to put him through, and he listens to the phone ring while watching radioactive steam pouring out of a cooling tower on the TV. Who would hang around and film that from so close up? Suicidal cameramen? The Amazing Race must be between seasons or something. MamaSkip answers. Naturally, she's a sweet older lady with a wheelchair and an oxygen tank, and she's been watching the news too. Skip wants to know why she hasn't left yet. Well, she doesn't have a car, she can't get through to anyone, and all the neighbors were gone by the time she got outside. Skip promises that he's going to make some calls and get her some help, and he wants her to sit by the phone. "I don't really have a choice," she points out as kindly as possible. Skip hangs up and gets to work on organizing her some transport. I hope he doesn't try too hard; he doesn't exactly look like his mom drove him to a lot of soccer practices when he was a kid.

3:18:27. DoDder approaches the conference room, where DaD's telling a whole room full of people and some hapless excuse-maker on the other end of the speakerphone that he's going to assign someone to coordinate between the state police and the National Guard. DoDder comes in as everyone else leaves (as if they needed to be there in the first place). DaD complains to her about his lack of manpower, and DoDder takes on the job that DaD just described. She looks at a map and makes a "plan." Riveting. "Kiefer has got to find the MacGuffin before the rest of these reactors go critical," DaD summarizes. Sure, put it all on Kiefer. He's not even supposed to be there today!

Kiefer arrives outside TerrorMom's hotel and meets up with a squad of riot-geared CTU agents. Maybe if Kiefer had asked for fully armored backup back at the helipad, they could have gotten there faster. This team's leader is an Agent Castle, and he looks like Fish from Ally McBeal would if Fish were a fascist. Castle welcomes Kiefer, but makes no secret of his contempt for Soul Patch. "He's not authorized to be in the field," Castle says. Soul Patch gives him an "I'm standing right here" look. Kiefer backs up Soul Patch by saying he wants Soul Patch to be his backup, and Castle gets Soul Patch a bulletproof vest. As Soul Patch is donning it, Castle explains that they're looking in on the room via a fiber-optic camera. Skip pinpointed the phone's location to a specific room? He's good. The hotel manager told Castle that the "suspects" are "a mid-forties female and a teenage male, possibly mother and son, both Middle Eastern. Kiefer reminds him that they need the suspects alive and they all head inside at 3:20:25. All this based on a few phone calls from TerrorGringo's phone. Kiefer would be so embarrassed if he found out he was coming down this hard on TerrorGringo's caterer or something.

Inside the oddly green stairwell, a CTU peeping tom is poking a wire through the wall and watching TerrorMom on a handheld video monitor. No sign of TerrorTeen yet, but Kiefer doesn't want to wait. TerrorMom appears to hear some noise made by the deceptively silent dozen or so guys in the hallway. Castle sticks the key card in the lock. When TerrorMom hears the lock click, she reaches under her pillow for the gun there. Which, I don't know where that came from. After TerrorTeen killed Wahabist Wolf, he left WW's gun at the scene, you'll recall. We just have to assume that TerrorMom had her gun when she left the house. With all the time I've spent talking about it, she could have shot herself by now. And that's the case on the show, too. By the time Kiefer rushes into the room with Soul Patch and the team behind him, it's been eight seconds and she's just now raising the gun to her head. Kiefer dives and knocks it out of her hand before she can off herself. Castle jumps on top of her on the bed and starts screaming at her about where the MacGuffin is. He quickly finds the bloody bandage on her arm and immediately starts digging his thumb into it to get her to talk. Which she does. Here's what she has to say: "AAAAA-AAAA-AAAHHA-HAAAAA-HAAA!!!" Over her screams, Soul Patch and Kiefer both yell at Castle to back off, but it's Soul Patch who pulls the zealous agent off of TerrorMom and angrily pins him against the wall. "We have to get her to talk," Castle rages. "She's going to go into shock before she does," Soul Patch yells back. And besides, she might just be the caterer. Well, probably not, since she was about to shoot herself. I'll give them that. Kiefer loudly orders Castle out of the room and follows him out the door, but not before ordering TerrorMom's prints and photos sent to CTU ASAP. Soul Patch looks at the suspect sympathetically.

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