24: Season 8, Episode 7
10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
So this week's 24 was a step in the right direction, even if it was a pretty small step. I would take most of the near boredom of the last several weeks just to get to the scene where Jack pulls a knife out of his stomach, and throws it into another guys throat. As a 24 fan, this is the stuff I live for. Most of the plotlines tonight moved from insufferable and boring to just pretty dumb, but at least we've stepped into watchable territory now.

On the main front, Renee pushing Vlad harder and harder (and then pushing that knife into his face harder and harder) was realyl pretty interesting, and I would have loved it a lot more if she didn't get "woman on 24" syndrome the second she had to kill Vlad. The show really has a problem with female characters, who (with the obvious exception of Chloe, who can be filed under "Awesome" instead of "Female" on any list of 24 characters) are almost always victims or manipulative bitches, with almost no wiggle room in between. The show's introduction of Renee last season seemed a step in the right direction, moving them past their reductive and occasionally flat out misogynistic view of the fairer sex, but this year has taken her character several steps back on the path to equality. Last season it looked like she could keep up with Jack, trauma for trauma and torture scene for torture scene (after of course being torubled that they were torturing people for a few episodes to show she's human), but now she clearly has a few screws loose, and instead of being the empowered Dark Renee that I thought we'd be treated to, the show has reduced her to a simpering road block between Jack and day save-age.

Speaking of the show's inability to present a realistic, well rounded and capable female character (or, to some degree, not Jack Bauer or Chloe character) Dana's plotline tonight demonstrated mostly what a boring character Dana was. Yet, for the first time there was an upside, as Kevin's attempt to slip past the cop was probably the first scene of true tension this season has given us so far. Sure, Dana just furthers my belief that CTU should really increase its internal monitoring protocols, and has so far shown herself to be every bit the victim that 24 must think every woman is, but if her plotline can give me even half as much suspense as it does annoyance, I'll stop complaining about 24's lack of female empowerment for a while.

Meanwhile, President Hassan is quickly changing from Middle Eastern Jesus (or, I guess, just Jesus) to Middle Eastern Dictator as he rounds up even those loyal to him and threatens to torture children to get the truth. I think Hassan was a much more compelling character when he wasn't a cliched paranoid and power hungry Middle Eastern leader, but rather a progressive working against a system that is begging for his failure, but again, the show has trouble with complex and realistic characters outside of its main duo, so we're left with the inevitable cliche in place of a far more interesting character dynamic. While we're on the political front, does it feel liek President Taylor has literally done nothing this season to anyone else? She seems concerned a lot, but that amounts to little more than a time waster at this point.

So clearly, I still have problems with how this season is progressing, but tonight's episode presented the first ray of hope we've had this season and gave me some reason to become cautiously optimistic about the weeks to come.

Grade: B-


-"Yeah, sure. No biggie. Just unsecured nuclear materials." I know Arlo was being sarcastic, ut I couldn't help but think, that this threat still feels like "No biggie."

-If the show entered a contest to see how much expository dialogue could be fit into an episode, it would win in a landslide.
Tags: 24
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