The ‘24’ Absurd-o-Meter: Take Your Jack Sack and Go

In Daily Intel's 24 Absurd-o-Meter, we each week count down the most incredibly ridiculous (ridiculously incredible?) plot points in the last hour of Jack Bauer's crappy day. Last night's was a breather episode, as new plot wheels were somewhat laboriously put into motion for the final six hours of the season. How absurd is now?

3. Noah and Lisa, sitting in a tree. After President Palmer demands that Powers Boothe's gravelly voiced slimebucket Vice-President Daniels resign, the previously hinted at romance between Daniels and his (only?) aide, Lisa Miller, got ratcheted up one creepy notch. Her turn-ons include unblinking eye contact, the occasional touch of tobacco-stained hand to perjury-spouting mouth, attempts to seize the presidency, and crazy-ass nuclear strikes. His: all of the above. Ohhhh, yeah. Also, he has a thing for 1870s frontier prostitution and mind-controlling gorilla super-villains. Absurdity factor: 4 (of a possible 10)

2. Deep thoughts with Wayne Palmer. Even before President Wayne Palmer's cerebral-hemorrhage-induced collapse mid–press conference, it was pretty clear something was very, very wrong with this picture. The man's supposed to be the president, and there he was, taking questions! From reporters! At a press conference! It was surreal. Hey, 24 writers: We can only suspend disbelief so far. We also enjoyed the shots of Wayne Palmer studying the publicity photo of AllState pitchman and The Unit star Dennis Haysbert, movingly mulling, viewers can only assume, whether his recent bout of brain-swelling will affect his premium. Absurdity factor: 4.

1. Handle your own business, Jack! We understand that the whole chain of events in the episode hinged on Jack's needing Chloe to identify exactly which nuclear FB sub-circuit board — or, as we call it, the MacGuffin — the Chinese wanted. So then Chloe would have to tell Miles, and then Bill, and then he'd tell Doyle and the president … and voila, one episode of 24, ready to go. But why couldn't he have grabbed all the whosits, instead of the specific one that Chloe told him about? They could have all fit in his Jack Sack, no problem. We know, we know, you gotta hang a plot on something, but this was pretty weak. Absurdity factor: 6 —Ben Wasserstein