Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jack Bauer Tally: Hour 22

Jack begins the episode in fine form. When the bad guys take Josh his nephew away, he gets kicked in the ribs for trying to calm down his sister-in-law. Kicking Jack in the ribs is always a bad move. When Josh is escorted out, Chief Merc attempts to move the CTU employees into secure holding rooms so they can get away without being followed. Jack tells Nadia, who is by now certainly ready to beat someone down, to watch for his move. In the hallway, Jack decks one of the mercs and engages Chief Merc in hand-to-hand, finally strangling Chief Merc with his own web gear and then going for the always-effective cervical dislocation. Nice.

Nadia is wrestling with one Merc and appears to be losing, which is unsurprising since she goes about a buck-oh-five, and surprise only lasts for so long. Down the hall, Morris finally gets to vent and obtains a quality choke hold on one merc, taking him down (and fulfilling my prediction from last week). Nadia is about to be seeing the business end of a G36 when Mike Doyle shoots her attacker through the glass and the fight is over. CTU is rescued!

Jack gets back in action into the sewer, following the Chinese and Josh to their assembly point. Just as the Chinese are pulling away, Jack pops out of the hole and, one-handed, manages to kill the driver of the (moving) lead vehicle through the driver's side window, blocking in the car with Josh. The CTU team pours into the building, Jack nails another guy who doesn't know the difference between cover and concealment and, with the assistance of covering fire makes another sliding entry behind the last rearguard, getting another pistol kill.

Cheng, Josh and another Chinese Expendable make it to the roof of the building, Jack kills the expendable with a shot to the head coming up the stairs and confronts Cheng, whose gun (a Glock) has apparently been shot empty. Passing up the chance for Instant Karma, Jack offers to let Cheng live if he tells him where Josh is. Josh is stuck hanging from pipes below the walkway, and Cheng gets away as Jack is rescuing Josh.

Big Daddy Phillip Bauer is understandably disappointed that his legacy Josh hasn't been successfully kidnapped, and tells Cheng the deal is off. He appears later in the episode.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Lisa Miller loses her cool and finally bashes her traitor boyfriend with a wine bottle and later a lamp, which doesn't prevent him from strangling her. As predicted (I'm 2 for 2), Tom 'Biscuit' Lennox arrives with a Secret Service team and BoyToy uploads the files to the KGB. Crisis averted, right?

Wrong. Suvorov the Russian President knows his agent has been compromised, and the KGB tail on the guy saw the whole thing go down. The Russians are massing on the border of some Central Asian country and planning to put a smack on the Americans there with mechanized forces. Apparently they haven't gotten the data on the Sensor Fused Weapon and still think mechanized assaults have some kind of prayer, but Russians have not traditionally been casualty-averse.

At this point, Vice-President Daniels gets a phone call from Big Daddy Bauer with a deal: the FB sub-circuit board for Josh and a ticket out of the country. Willing to let one kid be kidnapped in return for averting a war, CTU gets the order and the final scene is Josh Bauer flying off in a helicopter with Jack under a pile of CTU tactical officers.

The next episode is a two-hour season finale. From the previews, there is a large explosion, and a rather roasted-looking Cheng says to Jack, "You're too late." The simple solution is to give Josh Bauer a hideout gun to kill his evil grandpa after the exchange takes place, but having lost his dad that day I'm thinking Josh's head isn't in the right place. I'll go 50/50 that Josh is actually Jack's son. They will get the circuit board back, it appears Cheng will die. As with all seasons of 24, it's how they do it that's the fun part.

Technical Notes

1. Choke Holds

Properly used, a submission "choke hold" isn't choking at all.

The proper pressure points are over carotid arteries. There are pressure sensors in the carotid wall (called baroreceptors) that read blood pressure and tell the heart to slow down if the pressure in the vessel is too high. Now, they can't tell the difference between internal pressure which would require slowing the heart, and external pressure from a properly-executed choke hold, so with pressure on the carotids the vagus nerve is stimulated to slow the heart down. Blood pressure drops, and without enough forward flow in the carotids, unconsciousness takes 10-15 seconds. Of all the ways to incapacitate someone, this is the most effective, but it does require a firm grip and optimal position. Pressure should be applied to the sides of the neck, not the front. An improperly-executed choke hold will damage the larynx and could cause asphyxiation. Ideally, get the front of their neck in the crook of your elbow, your left arm behind their head and pull back with the right arm and push forward with the left. Proper positioning is shown in the figure below.

They'll only be out for 20 seconds or so, so remember Duvall's Law Of Horror Movie Situations: Never leave an enemy alive behind you. I'm sorry for the law enforcement folks on the ground, if some bonehead tries to hijack my plane and I can reach them I'm going for the choke hold, no submission, followed a vigorous cervical dislocation or liberal application of whatever weapon they managed to smuggle. Question somebody else. If I have to fight someone open-handed in a hijack situation, only one of us is getting up.

2. Run and Gun?

I have to differ a bit with Jack making full-speed running pistol shots. I'm no pistol master, but I've seen plenty of video of people who can run-and-gun on the IPSC circuit, and if people could run and shoot one-handed like that the IPSC folks would. When it comes to pistol shooting, if Rob Leatham, Jerry Miculek or Brian Enos can't do it in real life, most likely nobody else can, either. I'd rather see Jack stop and use two hands, or go prone coming out of the hole. Some people do shoot one-handed, in Modern Technique it's usually not by choice. I'll give Jack style points, in the tally, but I'm unimpressed. They did show Jack and Doyle holstering before jumping down into the hole to the sewer, so they do show good gun handling in the series. They just are willing to sacrifice it if the shot looks cool, which bothers me a bit.

3. Sociopaths

In the episode, Phillip Bauer is referred to as a 'sociopath', and this certainly seems applicable. There is evidence for a genetic basis for sociopathy, Graeme Bauer was certainly a chip off the old sociopathic block and Jack Bauer displays some sociopathic tendencies as well.

The rules don't apply to him, he has issues with authority when it suits him. He doesn't seem to have much of a problem killing people without hesitation when needed, and he's very willing to inflict pain without much in the way of remorse. He's not risk-averse, and the prospect of physical pain really doesn't seem to bother him. If Jack is a sociopath, this may explain why being held captive and tortured for almost two years has had little effect on him, he lacks the emotional capacity to be overly disturbed by the treatment. He makes a good undercover agent because he lies easily.

He does break the mold in that he's a good planner, something that most sociopaths aren't. His attachment to his wife and to a few others is a good sign but it doesn't mean he's not a sociopath. It means he's a well-adjusted person with a sociopath's brain: little emotional response to highly disturbing activities.

The estimated prevalence of sociopathy, or more properly, Antisocial Personality Disorder, is estimated to be as high as 5.8% of males and 1.2% of females, with higher numbers in some populations (i.e., prison). Sociobiology predicts that the trait of ASPD is retained in the human genome because it's useful to have some functionally fearless people in the gene pool. If you abuse a kid with ASPD genetics, you can end up with a really dangerous person, environment is thought to be slightly more predominant in the creation of a sociopath. On the other hand, if a person with abnormally low fear levels and a willingness to do risky things is connected to his parents and peers, you end up with the kind of people who'll HALO jump into combat, become test pilots or run into burning buildings to save others.

Not that every firefighter is a sociopath, but there are some folks walking around who just don't get scared like other people, and we need them, especially if they're socially-appropriate. If there's ever a genetic test or functional MRI screening for "limbic underactivation", it wouldn't surprise me to see a bunch of otherwise nice people doing dangerous jobs showing limited emotional responses to otherwise horrible things. People can learn to under-respond, I know I have for certain situations related to work, but there are some people that are just born to do it.

So, be nice to your kids.

The Score so far:

Biting A Carotid9.0 -1 for lack of Universal Protocol
Shooting Curtis-8-10 own goal, +2 neck shot over a hostage
Shooting guard while handcuffed7.0+2 for while handcuffed
Handgun6.0+1 for saving hostages (Milo & Graeme's wife)
Handgun7.0+2 for disarm
Handgun6.0+1 for suppressor, because suppressors are cool
Handgun6.0+1 for suppressor
Handgun6.0+1 for through car window
Handgun10.0+5 for called headshot
Neck Snap7.0Always cool.
Handgun5.0Fayed henchman
Handgun5.0Fayed henchman
Handgun5.0Fayed henchman
Handgun5.0Fayed henchman
Handgun5.0Fayed henchman
Length of Chain8.0Strangled Fayed
Handgun5.0Chinese henchman
Handgun5.0Chinese henchman
Handgun6.0Merc, +1 for available cover
Assault rifle6.0Merc, +1 for three-round burst
Assault rifle6.0Merc, +1 for three-round burst
Strangled7.0Chief Merc, +1 for choke, +1 for neck snap
Handgun6.0Merc Driver, +1 for one-handed
Handgun6.0Merc, +1 for sliding entry
Handgun5.0Merc while running
Handgun5.0Merc on the stairs

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