24: One to the Gut

Periodically, my latent hypochondria is fed by the discovery of a hitherto unknown malady. So when I learned that 24 star Kiefer Sutherland has been temporarily felled by a ruptured kidney cyst (who knew that was even a thing?!?) my paranoid imagination shifted into overdrive.

The good news is that Sutherland is apparently fine and that production of 24 is only temporarily shut down. While that bastion of measured journalistic response The Sun in London bannered the headline “Kiefer Cyst Agony,” other reports described the procedure as minor elective surgery.

Granted, it’s hard to imagine a ruptured anything not being painful, so here’s to a speedy recovery for Sutherland and a rapid return to production for the show. More than any other series, 24 depends on its star to carry the load, and with an apparent six weeks of shooting remaining on the schedule, it’s hard to imagine what might've happened if Sutherland had been laid up for an extended period of time. What, Dana Walsh to the rescue?

Shot, electrocuted, contaminated, addicted to heroin, heart stopped: Over the years, Jack has turned into one big walking, talking, growling catalog of espionage-related preexisting conditions. But last night, there was Jack Bauer, suspended from overhead pipes with a gaping wound in his torso that his torturer felt compelled to probe with his finger. Ick.

In light of Sutherland’s real-life condition, Jack’s wound took on the quality of a stigmata. Not that Sutherland’s ruptured cyst was likely to blow an Alien-like hole in his gut, but it was weirdly serendipitous to get news teasers about his real-life condition and then see Jack strung up with his oozing wound. The parallels ended there, although it might have been cool if Sutherland had glanced at his co-pay, lost it, and then took out the hospital’s accounting staff a la Jack working his way through Bazhaev’s crew.

Speaking of which, Jack’s takedown of Bazhaev came much earlier than I would have anticipated. I liked Bazhaev as an adversary. Raging madmen are a dime a dozen. But Bazhaev is all about control and compartmentalization. Spend twelve years in a Russian labor camp and you undoubtedly develop some unique survival skills.

Consider last night’s scenario: There Bazhaev was, wearing an apron and chopping up carrots for a stew. When he received news that Vladimir was dead and that it wasn’t clear how Jack/Meier knew of the fuel rods, it was off with the apron and on with his suit jacket (button buttoned) for a little pre-dinner torture and interrogation.

All grooved face and narrowed eyes as Bazhaev, German actor Jurgen Prochnow (who played the submarine commander in Das Boot) is flinty incarnate. He has a way with a line too, such as when he hissed, “As a child, I saw KGB throw an entire family off a roof of a building. Two of them small children. I know what cops are capable of.” Then it was back to the stew.

By the time he and the escaped Jack confronted each other in the supper club, you know that Bazhaev couldn’t have been happy to bust up all that china and stemware as he tried to flush Jack out. The man doesn’t like messes, that’s for sure, and now he has a bunch of them. There were brief consolations: The prospect of full immunity and a phone chat with the President of the United States suggest that all hasn’t been lost. But a man of his exquisite control and twisted views on family order certainly can’t be happy that his one surviving son has absconded with the fuel rods and that he has lost his bargaining position.

Ain't that a kick in the head. And das boot to the gut too.

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Feb 23, 2010
Kiefer's had some bad luck lately. Hope he gets better soon. I need my "24" fix. If you want to read more about Kiefer, check out "Kiefer Sutherland: Living Dangerously". You can order a copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kiefer-Sutherland-Dangerously-Christopher-Heard/dp/1926745043/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265052016&sr=8-2-spell
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Feb 17, 2010
Yea, he would have ripped the cyst out with his own bare hands and taken out an enemy with it, just for good measure!
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Feb 17, 2010
"It couldn't be that easy for Jack", is what I keep saying when he solves one problem and another arises immediately..man, I thought I had bad days..
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Feb 17, 2010
Never piss off your kids. They'll choose your nursing home...or your jail cell...
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Feb 16, 2010
Heh, Jack Bauer would've kept filming
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