Cable for One – 24 Day 6 – 12 AM

The whole Jack/Audrey/Cheng/circuit board storyline continued to be high in predictability this week, but at least we had interesting and/or unexpected developments on other fronts.

Was anyone even remotely surprised that the Cheng ended up escaping with the circuit board? The whole situation from Jack’s plan going awry at the last second to the Cheng and his henchmen getting away was extremely by-the-book. Maybe after next week’s Jack convinces someone to let him lead the search for Cheng scene the writers will then add some unpredictability but I’m not holding my breath.

And it turns out that Jack almost certainly gotten away with giving Cheng any random circuit board as he didn’t even hand the thing over until Audrey was leaving and presumably it would take Cheng at least a little while to verify that the circuit board Jack gave him was the correct one.

Speaking of Audrey, preliminary evidence would suggest she’s not quite so good as Jack with the whole being tortured bit. Jack spends almost two years being tortured and he’s pretty much back to normal in an hour or two; Audrey gets a few months of torture and looks to be pretty much insane (oddly enough she seemed more lucid (though still pretty messed up) when she was talking to Jack on the phone. Perhaps Cheng did some quick, last minute torturing in the limo on the way to the motel).

As a nice change of pace things were pretty interesting back at CTU and at the White House this week. First up, the writers really are pushing Daniels’ creepy factor. I guess he figures now that he doesn’t have anything to nuke he can spend even more of his time hitting on his Lisa. I’m not sure if there’s any point to the scenes between Daniels and Lisa or if they exist for any reason other than to creep the audience out but they certainly succeed on that front.

As for the whole Department of Justice scapegoating storyline, I’m not sure if I buy it. It’s not that I don’t think the administration would be looking for scapegoats in a situation like this (I’m sure they’d be falling all over themselves to pin the blame on someone), it’s just that they really have very little to pin on Bill. He once had Fayed in custody but had no choice put to release the man due to lack of evidence. It’s not like he accidentally released Fayed or through miscommunication he failed to learn about evidence they did have. So while he may make an easy target any reporter doing even a cursory follow-up on the story is going to find there’s not really much blame to heap on Bill over this one.

Even if the DoJ does have enough evidence to successfully make Buchannan into the administration’s scapegoat, he’s not enough. A nuclear bomb was detonated in the United States kills thousands of people; firing (and possibly prosecuting) someone as unimportant as Bill Buchannan isn’t going to satisfy the people. Someone a lot bigger than Bill has to be seen to be held responsible (not necessarily actually held responsible, but at least the illusion of such needs to exist). If President Palmer dies, I’m guessing he’ll be quickly joining Bill on the people to blame list.

Of course, even if he recovers President Palmer still could be used as a scapegoat, particularly considering that Daniels’ isn’t going to want to give up his newfound power. While it was never said aloud, it’s obvious that one of the real reasons Tom was pushing so hard for Karen to save herself and fire Bill is because he isn’t too happy with the idea of Noah Daniels leading the country for the next 3.x years. The other reason, along similar lines, is that Tom wants Karen around as an ally in order to minimize the damage Daniels during his run as President (regardless of whether or not Palmer eventually resumes the mantle).

While it makes sense for Tom to want to keep Karen around, ironically, Karen’s decision to stay makes her less worth having around. It doesn’t really matter that it’s her husband that’s being made into a scapegoat (well, it matters on a personal level to both Bill and Karen, but not in the bigger picture); by choosing to make someone into a scapegoat for the ‘greater good’ Karen’s taking a step down the path to the dark side of politics.

I’m curious as to what will happen with Bill now that he’s been (at least temporarily) fired. If Bill ever gets around to checking the messages on his phone, he’ll learn that Jack was supposed to have blown himself up. If he decides to take it upon himself to check on Jack’s fate, it’s possible he could turn up at the motel (assuming Jack/CTU stay there for more than a few minutes into next week’s show). Maybe Bill and Jack can team up and go on a wacky adventure.

Chloe and Morris are well on their way with their quest through Relationship Troubles land. Chloe’s been pretty big with the not trusting Morris all day and it looks like the crack about arming nuclear bombs may have been the final straw. Of course, seeing as Bill was fired immediately after Morris requested a transfer, it looks like Morris and Chloe will still have to work together (I can’t see Morris asking Nadia to transfer him seeing as she’s got enough to worry about right now with her suddenly being put in charge and Cheng getting the circuit board from Jack and all) so they’ve still got plenty of chances to work things out.

I’m still not digging the Cheng/circuit board storyline but between the return of (the newly crazy) Audrey and all the stuff going on both in CTU and the White House, there’s plenty of stuff going on to keep the interest level from sinking too far.

Sir Linksalot: 24