24: Season 8, Episode 19
10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
I have defended President Taylor as a character a lot this season, mostly because of the solid performance by Cherry Jones. But the character continues to try my patience, and tonight lapsed into sheer unbelievability with her waffling back and forth on the cover-up conspiracy. Last week, 24 delivered the best episode of the season, ratcheting up the tension and setting the pieces for an exciting end to what has been a flat out terrible season. Tonight the show squandered what little good will it built up last week by putting the least rational character behind the wheel of the story.

Let's think about the rationale of President Taylor tonight. She is initially behind the idea of a cover-up to preserve this peace treaty whose goals are vague at best, and whose validity is questionable not only because an un-elected figurehead will be signing it, but also because at least one of the signatories smuggled nuclear weapons into the hands of terrorists and assassinated a world leader to keep it from being signed. So the chances of this treaty actually getting something done are shockingly slim. But she decides to engage in a massive cover-up anyway. Until Ethan tells her not to. Then she decides she has crossed a moral line and should end the peace deal and reveal the treachery of the Russians. Until Charles Logan tells her not to. Then she's back on the cover-up train towards impeachment town, and why exactly? Ethan tries to provide some rationale (presumably because even the writers were curious as to what the motivations of her character were) late in the episode, relating it to the loss of her family and personal motivations and blah, blah, blah. Her decisions are motivated by nothing even resuming consistent characterization, she is simply a walking, talking story contrivance with her own Oval Office. Charles Logan may be a bastard, but at least he's a convincing one, and you can understand his motivations at any given point. President Taylor is basically a noncharacter at this point, moving the story with her actions, but serving no other purpose.

The consistent problem with this season is the utter lack of tension, and after building some in nicely last week, the show revealed its hand early this week, and yet again, it had nothing. Think about it: at this point the only characters who are in any sort of danger at all are Jack (who will live not only because the writers lost the courage to kill him years ago, but also because without him there is literally no conflict yet) and Dana (who will live because Jack can't get the evidence without her), niether of whom is really in danger if we pause for a moment. The country isn't in any actual danger, except the scandal of having yet another corrupt President, and as Jack's effortless out-maneuvering of Cole and his men tonight proved, Jack isn't even in over his head like last week left us thinking. Further, it isn't like Chloe will ever fully turn against Jack, so even when Charles Logan inevitably calls in a kill order, she will figure out a way to help him. There is no tension driving this season, and that just leaves us with a whole lot of time on our hand to contemplate how absurd everything happening is. At the end of tonight's episode, I actually groaned at the realization that there are still 5 hours left. This season will not be saved at this point, I just wish someone would put it out of its misery.



-Michael Fucking Madsen guest starred as Jack's contact who had a bunch of weapons...because Jack needed one of those, and Quentin Tarantino isn't filming anything right now...That was the best part of this episode, and that is really sad.
Tags: 24
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