24: Season 8, Episode 5
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
After a fairly standard premiere last week, 24 seems to have settled onto a pretty rote pathway for the coming season. Every plotline is moving forward exactly as any fan of the show owuld expect, from the agent in the field going arguably too far to get results, to the CTU operative forced into compromising herself, to the President being worried about something and receiving conflicting advice from the wisened old confidant who is always right and the younger hotshot who is too busy looking at political implications to get a good handle on right and wrong. If I just described pretty much every season of 24 over the last few years, its only because the show has become somewhat indistinguishable from season to season.

What kept the other seasons so interesting is that, while they did tend to be a bit repetitive after the first few, they quickly established a sense of urgency and at least one truly suspenseful storyline to hook in the viewers and keep us interested. I suspect Renee's walk on the dark side is supposed to do that for us this year, but it all feels a little bit done. There's nothing Agent Walker can do at this point that we haven't seen Jack do before, and while its a good performance, Annie Wersching is no Keifer Sutherland, and pushing him into the background this week clearly displayed how much the show needs Jack Bauer front and center to survive. Watching Renee stare down death didn't provide the suspense it was supposed to because there was really no doubt she would survive at least through this hour.

While the main plot lagged a little bit, it was still markedly better than the array of very standard subplots we've been offerred as yet. Easily the worst is Dana Walsh and her corruptive ex who is blackmailing her into infiltrating CTU so he can get a six figure pay-off. This may provide some limited suspense once she actually tries to pull it off, but more likely than not she will just glance sideways a lot until Chloe catches onto her suspicious behavior (or sideways glances) and pulls the plug on her, likely also ruining her relationship with Cole, who will be hurt, and possibly have turmoil to work out on some suspects later in the season.

President Taylor took on her standard role as concerned statesman as she tried to talk Hassan out of human rights violations in his fictitious Middle Eastern country, but he is not entirely the saint he appeared and knows he must round up those involved in the conspiracy to overthrow him to keep his power. He is also having a conflict with his wife, who knows her marriage is a sham and wants to leave New York. At the end of the day though, Dahlia is no Sherry Palmer, and the show really needs one right about now.

The most promising subplot of the evening involved David Anders' (Sark from Alias!) Josef taking his brother to a doctor who he then holds hostage and demands treatment from. This could create some interesting moments next week, mostly involving me yelling "Hey, its Sark!" to myself while watching, but even at its peak, this episode offerred nothing remotely new or suspenseful. In fact, this hour passed as the least eventful or important episode of the series in recent memory. Here's hoping it was just a build-up to some excellent twists and action up ahead, but I prepare for next week's episode with seriously lowered expectations after this week.

Grade: C


-I took literally no notes during this episode. That's how uneventful everything was.

-The people on 24 should watch 24. They'd be able to catch the traitors and wrap things up quite a lot quicker that way.
Tags: 24
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