The following takes place between 8:00pm and 9:00pm.
8:00:02: Still in a panic over missing last week’s back-to-back episodes of 24 (and over learning that two of my friends had DVR-ed them, but deleted the episodes last Thursday), I continue searching online on my laptop for a streaming version of the episodes on websites that blatantly violate copyright laws.
8:00:54: I think I’ve found a source: a French user on Dailymotion.com has what he claims to be “episode 8” with French subtitles. But I soon discover that it’s actually episode 7, and I therefore wasted several minutes watching the “previously on 24″ recap.
8:03:02: I have a sudden stroke of genius: I should Google “I missed 24” and look for a solution there.
8:03:58: Shockingly, Yahoo Answers finally comes in handy: it directs me to the 24 page on MySpace. I feel like an idiot for not knowing this sooner.
8:04:22: I begin downloading the software to view the episode.
8:04:56: It freezes. I reload the page desparately. I also panic and open a new browser.
8:05:53: It finally loads. And then it starts playing in both browsers at the same time, causing my computer to completely freak out.
8:06:22: I finally close both browsers and start all over again in just one.
8:06:47: At last, success! I am watching the first episode that aired last week. I quickly skip over the “Previously on 24” segment, as it wastes valuable viewing time. I now have roughly 53 minutes before tonight’s episode airs, yet I have about 84 minutes of the two episodes to watch.
8:10:25: While watching, I start to devise a plan: cut out anything unrelated to the plot line. Cut out Morris’ discussions with Chloe. Cut out Marilyn’s chat with her son and with Jack. Cut out the technical points of the political posturing in the White House. It’s not important, and I don’t think I missed a single detail.
8:35:05: I finish watching the first episode. I quickly dive into the second episode. I have 25 minutes
to watch roughly 42 minutes of a show. I made it through the last episode in slightly more time than that. I will have to be vigilent: when it appears that a scene will soon end without any plot-thickening details, I must skip that scene.
8:56:02: Everything is coming together. I am about to enter the last segment of the second episode. The segment is four minutes long, meaning that if all goes well, I should be able to watch straight through to the end and segue directly into tonight’s episode on TV.
8:56:03: DISASTER! AIM shuts down. My Internet connection is suddenly not working. 24 freezes. I scream and curse at my computer. My roommates discover that their connections, too, are not working. While we’ve had these problems in the past, our wireless hasn’t done this in over two months. It picked the absolute worst time to do it.
8:56:30: After seconds of screaming and desparate skipping ahead in the player, a jerky five seconds come back on. Never are the last four minutes of an episode of 24 insignificant enough to skip. It freezes again. I skip ahead some more.
8:57:02: I am about to throw my brand-new MacBook out the window. I should not be allowed to own a laptop this light, as it’s very tempting to take out aggression on it in a Bauer-like rage.
8:57:14: Inspired by 24, I consider putting my wireless router in a torture chamber. I suspect the router is behind a larger conspiracy in absolutely ruining my Monday night. And maybe an even larger one involving suitcase nukes.
8:57:27: I yell to the router: WHERE DID YOU PUT THE NUKES?
8:57:33: The router is sweating and ready to break under the pressure. I split an electrical cord and send a shock through it, while shouting, TELL ME WHERE YOU PUT THE NUKES!
8:57:38: The router is really struggling now. I can feel that it’s ready to break, but division is putting pressure on me to stop. They think I’ve gone too far.
8:57:42: I tell Buchanan to trust me on this one: I will get the answers I need. The fate of the world, or just one guy’s Monday Night, rests in my hands.
8:57:49: I stare straight into the router’s blinking orange lights and prepare the wires again. It winces in horror. It weeps out of the ethernet cable. I am about to give it another shock, but it finally submits to my request.
8:57:52: The router gives in. I have 24 back.
8:59:59: The episode literally ends just as the digital 24 appears on the TV screen. I am all caught up, and just in time. This particular episode – the one in my living room – sucks by 24 standards. There’s no cliffhanger. And Jack didn’t kill anyone, either. In this case, that’s probably for the better.
Let’s hope that this episode never gets repeated.