24: Season 8, Episode 10
1:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.
Remember the early days of 24 before Jack Bauer was Batman, James Bond, Jason Bourne and Chuck Norris combined? Back in those first few seasons Jack was a government employee who was very good at his job, in a sea of government employees who were almost as good at their jobs and an inexplicable amount of moles pretending to be government employees who were almost as good at their jobs. In the first few seasons of the show, CTU was filled with smart, competent people who mostly knew that Jack was the best around, and mostly trusted his judgment (at least until those bastards at Division showed up). But that has disappeared over the last several seasons as Jack graduated to superhero, lost his ability to ever be wrong, and found only Chloe on his side in the quest to always be right in the face of incompetent government bureaucrats. I understand why the show has moved this way, as watching a good man be great at his job against impossible odds and increasing psychological tolls would likely have lead us to either a boring show or an insane and suicidal Jack Bauer. In spite of all that, however, I was happy to see some of the other employees at CTU show off their abilities tonight, and do so in service of actually helpful goals.

When Jack's team faield to rescue Farhad due to Farhad's incompetence, Jack came up with a very clever plan to use Farhad as "dead bait" and Hastings went along with it. Hastings also stood up to Weiss by himself, taking the reins of CTU fully back into his control by refusing to press charges against Renee. Further than that, little Owen showed himself to be not only competent at his job, but exceedingly brave as he lead a bomb strapped terrorist through the hospital, stalling as much as possible and getting Chloe the necessary information to disarm the bomb. Most episodes of 24 over the past several seasons would have Hastings disagree with Jack and try ot stand in his way, or have poor Owen exhibit cowardice or incompetence that would further complicate the situation, but tonight even Arlo scored some points by disarming the bomb remotely (albeit with Chloe's help).

Hassan and all Hassan related plots continued to suck though, as he wavered between sympathetic foreigner in a serious situation and crazed dicator-cliche entirely on the strength of the performance, rather than any plausibility. Plus, I reall couldn't care less that Tarin and Kayla are together now, but in harm's way. Of all the tens of thousands of people the show has told us are in danger from the potential attack, those two might be the ones I care least about, and yet they get much more story than Mare Winningham's turn as the mother of the terrorist (who it seems will at least be back next week).

In Cole and Dana's subplot, Dana continued to follow the orders of whatever man was nearer as they disposed of the bodies they created in last week's episode ending gunfight. Dana seemd more concerned with the future of their relationship than with the chances of getting caught (she offered to just call the police and take the fall) but this was all pretty boring stuff, given any semblance of excitement only by the dark visuals of the two weighing down and sinking bodies (also, are they in Central Park? Because if so the idea of hiding a body in any "lake" there is patently absurd). This plotline didn't move at all tonight, but it looks like Stephen Root (who played poor, poor Eddie on Season One of True Blood and poor, sort of evil Dwight Dixon on Season Two of Pushing Daisies very well) will be showing up next week to complicate things further as a probably more dangerous Redneck.

Nothing all that exciting happened this hour, and there are still a slew of stupid plotlines detracting from my Jack-time, but for the first time in a while, the employees at CTU seemed like they might actually be capable of stopping terorist attacks without Super Jack and His Girl Chloe there to show them how its done. And that's comforting, in a fictional sort of way.

Grade: B-


-Asking "Are we alone?" is a surefire way to ramp up suspicion if you aren't alone...

-Now that Jack and Renee are apparently madly in love, is she going to die or go crazy?

-Is it just me, or has CTU continued to be shitty at setting up a perimeter for like 8 years now?
Tags: 24
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