** SPOILER HEAVEN, if you have not seen it and don’t want it spoiled for you, you can see it on Amazon Prime
*** Side note, I’m leaving out most unnecessary sub-plots involving the re-election campaign of David Palmer and anything involving Jack’s daughter, Kim. ***
Fox Broadcasting Company’s popular counterterror action drama, 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland took a slight detour from Day 2’s radical Islam coming to nuke your Grandmother’s house narrative on Day 3 to wrap the War on Terror and the War on Drugs into one burrito to scare the shit out of the American people and sow seeds of misanthropic cynicism, paving the way for today’s current fear of the other who may be sneaking in from Mexico.
At the very beginning of the day, a van plants a bomb to blow open the entrance to the National Health Services to leave a dead body. Jack Bauer is back, and together with his partner, Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale), they’re in a Federal Prison and a deal being made with a drug lord, Ramon Salazar (Joaquin de Almeida) that they took down who does business with terrorists, only for him to turn and stab his own lawyer in the neck, threatening that what happens next is on Jack. Immediately thereafter we learn that the body left at National Health Services was addressed to a scientist, Dr Sunny Macer (Christina Chang), and that it had been previously infected with a type 3 immuno pulmonary disease.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: bio-terror – as if scaring the shit out of Americans with nuclear terror wasn’t already enough, a biological weapon is ever scarier, and an even more perfect consent manufacturing mechanism to remind us that they could sneak in from Mexico with diseases to wipe us out from the human race altogether.
We learn right away that The Cordilla virus (a fictional virus), a type 3 immuno pulmonary virus, similar to the Hantavirus, has an incubation period that was initially 14 hours but decreased significantly as a result of a weaponized variant added. The symptoms of the virus were nose-bleeds, hemorrhaging, skin abscesses and death occurs within the first 24 hours, and they have no idea how they’ll release it or what form it’s in. Immediately we see that some nice young white boy, Kyle Singer (Riley Smith), carried a bag of what he thought was cocaine across the Mexican border.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: war on terror/war on drugs wraparound – by inferring that a bio-weapon can be engineered to be in a crystalline form to be hidden within illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin engineers public opinion towards fear of drug traffickers and terrorists working together to destroy America.
Shortly thereafter, the FBI receives a call demanding the release of Ramon Salazar, or else the virus will be unleashed. His brother, Hector Salazar (Vincent Laresca) runs the operation from Northern Mexico and he has an operative working within CTU, Gael Ortega (Jesse Borrego), who is monitoring everyone.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: racial stereotype reinforcement – subterfuge to confuse the viewer about the loyalty or moral ambiguity of Latino personnel, whom as we witnessed in Season 1 might sell out the USA for money since they come from poorer communities.
To make the story more interesting, we learn that Jack had acquired a heroin addiction during his time spent undercover working to take down Salazar. In order to stop the release of the virus, Jack gets silent authorization from the president to break Ramon Salazar out of prison and starts a prison riot to make it happen, subsequently evading pursuing authorities and absconding with Salazar to Mexico.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: counterintelligence – not that this is much of a mind-fuck, but at times it is necessary for operators to maintain cover by engaging in drug use and illegal activities.
After Jack has the tables turned on him and ends up being taken to Mexico by the man he just broke out of prison, through the use of chemical interrogation, we discover that not only was Gael Ortega not a traitor.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: torture (chemical interrogation) – Gael is tortured with hyoscine-pentothal (fictional drug) which is a drug designed to induce nerve pain throughout the body. Sways public opinion with the perception that we’re willing to torture our own people and they’re willing to endure it in order to protect American lives.
In reality, Jack, Gael, and Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) were actually covertly using the opportunity to work Jack’s way back in with the Salazar brothers as part of a sting operation so as to get to the actual source of the virus because the Salazars weren’t really the ones in possession of the virus but merely seeking the virus themselves to act as brokers to sell it to other parties (terrorists) still unknown. The virus was originally developed by Ukrainian scientists who were looking to sell it on the open market. The entire ruse was so that Jack could gain possession of the virus and catch or kill the parties seeking to sell it. Chase, unaware of Jack’s sting operation, pursues Jack to Mexico and ends up getting tortured by the Salazar’s men just before Hector’s
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: plausible deniability – providing the Executive Branch from liability of criticism from public opinion by giving public perception that sometimes the president has no idea what’s going on behind his back, whether he does or not. Note the last line, “he did do the right thing.” Now if that isn’t a deflection of criticism, I don’t know what is.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: predictive programming – Ukrainian scientists foreshadow a recurring theme of potential inflammation of geopolitical tensions between the United States and the Former Soviet Union. Ukraine is a part of the Former Soviet Union and also a Nazi sympathizer enclave in the Eastern Bloc today and in the past. This is actually important when you understand that the Vor v Zakonye (Thieves In Law) criminal fraternity known vaguely as the Russian Mafiya or the Organizatzia. Since the end of 24, the series, the United States and Russia (Former Soviet Union) have had continued growing tensions that have reached the point that many are calling it a restarting of the Cold War.
I’m sure you’ve already noticed by now that I haven’t stated much about cartel based corruption in Mexico, of which Day 3 of 24 makes abundantly clear throughout the first half of the season. But let me bear emphatically clear, anyone who wants to criticize the drug cartel related violence that happens in Mexico has no need to look any further than Washington D.C. for a place to point their fingers. More importantly, Americans need to stop allowing their state and federal governments to continue treating them like livestock. All of this violence is 100% spawned but US domestic recreational drug policy and US foreign policy towards Central and South America. Back to my analysis of the true lies of 24.
The virus is auctioned off when another buyer appears to contest the cartel brothers in an auction brokered by the man in possession of the virus, one Michael Amador (Greg Ellis), which was basically a means to bring back Nina Myers and make the show more interesting before Jack and the cartel brothers take it away from her and Jack’s people come in for the sting, only to have the virus turn out to be a bomb that puts an end to the cartel involvement with terrorists narrative by killing Ramon Salazar whom incidentally had just killed his own brother to keep the deal in motion.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: stereotype reinforcement – Latinos are hot-blooded and fly off the handle over emotions or money (because they come from poor countries or communities, which I stated in True Lies on 24 – Day 2), and it was also illustrated throughout this story line by making Hector Salazar’s girlfriend, Claudia (Vanessa Ferlito) a hotblooded firecracker gold-digger whom just happened to be killed by her hotblooded boyfriend’s fired up pursuit of her as she tried to escape with her father and little brother.
Meanwhile, even though I stated I’d leave out President Palmer’s re-election campaign, his brother, Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside) who was his Chief of Staff had wooed the wife, Julia (Gina Torres) of his biggest contributor, Alan Millikan (Albert Hall) and carried on an affair with her, thus Millikan was willing to torpedo his healthcare bill to coerce the President into firing his brother over it
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: plausible deniability – back room deals and favors can always torpedo necessary legislation that could actually help the American people as a whole, thus leaving the President potentially blameless and the people shrugging things off to government corruption or bureaucratic bungling.
After Jack and his teams lose the virus to a double cross, Amador escapes with the virus after having his mercenaries cut down the Delta Force team that was on the scene and destroying his cellphone. Needless to say, Nina tricks Jack once again by promising to help find the virus in exchange for another immunity deal, persuading him to make a phone call that triggers a worm that shuts down all of CTU’s counterterror database and threatens to expose all of CTU’s cover agents around the world. But short episode consuming detour later, newbie CTU Data Analyst Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub) saves the day for the first of many times throughout the series. Short detour longer, they get to interrogating Nina with pain inducing drugs and she manages to break free, putting CTU on lock-down and ultimately ending Sarah Clarke’s recurring role on 24.
With Nina Myers dead, we discover that the baddies are in possession of 12 stolen former Soviet bio-weapon dispersal devices and that Michael Amador wasn’t supposed to fish for his side deal with the Salazars and that his employer knew who Jack Bauer is. Later, after they send Marcus Alvers (Lothaire Bluteau) to plant a device at the Chandler Plaza Hotel on Wilshire to “send a message”, we learn that the person behind the whole conspiracy, Stephen Saunders (Paul Blackthorne) knows Jack Bauer quite well as he was part of the original team sent to Kosovo to kill Victor Drazen, which was the original inciting incident of the first season of the show itself. When the virus is dispersed in the hotel and Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) catches Alvers, he informs her that there’s 11 more dispersal devices, and she subsequently locks down the hotel, nobody in and nobody out. It doesn’t go very well.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: bio-terror – a virus can infect a single person who can transmit the virus far and wide, causing catastrophic outbreaks that can wipe out an entire population.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: weapons proliferation – loose stockpile weapons from the Former Soviet Union are out there. Propaganda or not, this is truthful information. Semion Mogilevitch was once considered the world’s most dangerous gangster by the CIA because he had taken control over the entire arms industry of Hungary after the fall of the Soviet Union, making him the world’s first nuclear armed gangster. There are loose suitcase nukes that it’s suspected he may be in possession of, and this season is just a fictionalized account of such realities we may actually be facing.
Jack and Chase follow a thread that takes them to a local MI6 branch office that is subsequently helicopter attacked and a C4 explosive blows up the servers that hold drives with information that is available nowhere else on earth, which of course Jack manages to get one. Meanwhile, after having already been coerced into saying the phrase “the sky is falling”, which we never become aware of its intention, terrorist mastermind, Stephen Saunders emphatically orders President Palmer to have Regional Division Director of CTU Los Angeles, Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze) or else he will release the Cordilla Virus at another location, has has until 0700 to deliver his corpse to a given location.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: terrorists can win – don’t you ever forget that the USA is constantly vulnerable and that it’s important that we win “by any means necessary” , including torture, murdering our own officials when necessary. This also works to further justify your tax dollars not going to schools, roads, bridges, environmental preservation, because it’s best for all your money to be routed to the military and our intelligence apparatus, and don’t you forget it.
Plot thickens when it’s discovered that Stephen Saunders has a daughter, Jane (Alexandra Lydon) and that some insurance salesman was at the hotel cheating on his wife and went home to his wife and ended up also going to the pharmacy and the hospital and came into contact with a number of unknown people, thus upping the chances of the disease going viral and possibly killing millions of people. Already, the majority of the guests in the hotel were dead or dying. They capture Saunders’s daughter, and just about the time that Jack and Chase have Saunders surrounded, his people capture Michelle Dessler (whom just happened to be immune to the virus) and uses her to coerce Tony Almeida, having almost lost his his wife to the virus, helps Saunders escape. Needless to say, Jack sniffs him out like a fart in a car and Tony is charged with treason after he tries helping Saunders get his kid back. Ultimately, they get Michelle back, catch Saunders, and Jack goes all in to stop Saunders from going any further.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: manufacturing consent – there is nothing the US government won’t do to get what they need when they need it. They’ll sacrifice their own operatives and officials, allow Americans do be murdered, allow terrorist attacks to happen, even put your daughter into a hotel filled with people infected with an incurable disease. Because contrary to popular belief, the US government does negotiate with terrorists, often.
Though they have Saunders in custody, the writers just couldn’t resist taking one last stab at a racial stereotype. Of the 11 other vials of the virus, 10 of the terrorists tasked with dispersing them in various highly populated areas in major cities around the country were captured and the dispersal devices deactivated and secured. While Saunders was going helping CTU go through numerous photos to identify the last terrorist, Gael Ortega’s wife, Teresa Ortega (Kamala Lopez), who’d come to pick up the rest of her very recently deceased husband’s thing, shot him with Gael’s gun in a fit of mournful rage just before he was able to identify the last terrorist. Naturally, Jack and Chase caught the guy and took the last vial to a safe bioweapon safe container just in the nick of time. But not before Jack had to chop Chase’s hand off to make it happen.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: racial stereotype re-enforcement – those hot-blooded Latinas and their wild emotional outbursts, the firecracker hot tamale woman just couldn’t keep herself together and killed the only witness who could identify the last terrorist.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: racial profiling – Tony Almeida (Latino) turned out to weak of character to the point that he would put American lives at risk just to save his wife.
- RAND/Tavistock/Stanford mind-fuck: war on terror engineering of consent – our guys go all the way, so be thankful that they’d even let each other chop their hands off just to save your American ass and keep you safe, so COUGH UP and don’t complain about astronomical military expenditures on your dime. Fuck your roads, bridges, school, and infrastructure.
After high jinks and shenanigans that ultimately lead to the death of his ex-wife, President Palmer chooses not to seek re-election.
MORE TO COME…
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