24 Season 8 episode 12 review

24 pulls off a trademark double bluff as we head into the second half of Day 8....

UK readers please note: this episode doesn’t screen for another couple of weeks on Sky1.

24 Season 8 – 3:00-4:00am

It’s all starting to kick off in season eight this week, and by the end of the episode things are really shifting into gear, continuing to improve what has been a distinctly dubious 24 outing.

After last week’s reveal of Tarin’s true nature, we all knew that President’s Hassan’s daughter was just so much terrorist ransom material, and thanks to a stubborn NYPD SWAT sergeant, Tarin is alerted to the presence of the approaching authorities, and proceeds to kidnap his ‘beloved’.

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The NYPD, wearing amazingly ineffective Kevlar vests, possibly from a discount superstore, are quickly dispatched with one or two pistol shots, and Tarin escapes with the President’s daughter in tow. If only they’d listened to Jack. Really, they just won’t learn, will they?

Meanwhile, Dana is thrust back into the limelight with her continuing bungle-along. Kevin’s probation officer, Bill Prady, who is surely the most work-proud ever, having travelled thousands of miles and up and about at 3:00am, turns up at CTU asking for her. Once more this makes a mockery of the CTU incarnation, which, despite being an ultra-high security operation, thinks nothing of letting any old Joe in. Hell, he even starts to wander around the offices later, with nary a guard paying any attention. Nice security there, people!

He grills Dana on her relationship with Kevin, which she passes off as one night stand, and although in the middle of an anti-terrorist facility, with Dana’s warnings of national security and major incidents, he simply keeps on going, and insists he stay around. I don’t know about you, but if I heard even a fraction of the goings on in that building, I’d be on the first plane out of NY, but then, I’m not a nominee for the most jobsworth probation officer 2010, so what do I know?

Later in the episode, Prady reveals that, thanks to his contacts in the police, he knows about the NYPD warehouse break-in, and that Kevin’s buddy, an ex-con, was involved. He wants the raw footage from the CTU records, clearly well aware that someone from CTU could have helped Kevin out. Dana, backed into a corner, has little chance but cave in, and makes the decision to give him the footage he needs, implicating herself in the process. Luckily for Dana, though, she may never get a chance to fulfil her vow…

Back to the main thread, Tarin arrives at the IRK nationalist’s base of operations, a disused bank, and the group quickly demands a copy of something called file 33 from the President, which turns out to be top secret information about U.S. nuclear defences, including CTU’s nuclear detectors. It seems President Hassan has been a bit of a naughty boy, and has been gathering info on U.S. defences due to various American sanctions on his country.

It’s also revealed that Tarin was in on the plot to kill President Hassan after all, as the head bad guy (hey, he’s got a thin goatee, he’s got to be evil, right?) confirms Tarin was willing to give his life in the limo for the cause.

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Jack’s plot to feed the terrorists a fake file while they track them down isn’t needed in the end, however, as Tarin, after a little persuading from Kayla, decides to pack in his plans and elope with her, and the two try to escape, and although Kayla gets away in a car, Tarin is shot dead.

Now, at this point you may be forgiven for thinking season eight has collected the most ineffective and incompetent bad guys ever seen on film. First, scary hitman, Davros is killed with ease by Jack, then Russian crime boss, Bashaev caves in to the pressure, quickly followed by his son, Josef. Vlad is killed by Renee, and then Farhad is shot dead after wimping out on the big plan. And now, Tarin is stepping down, adding to the list of quickly dispatched villains of the season – or is he?

Yep, Tarin isn’t one to give in so easily, faking his death. The escape of the President’s daughter is all a ruse and a cover up of the real plan – to take out CTU itself.

Driving into the CTU tunnel, Kayla Hassan unwittingly delivers a massive EMP bomb (although, how she didn’t see the chunky cables on the back seat is a mystery), then… BOOM! CTU goes dark, and Jack, uncharacteristically abstaining from what would be a rather fitting ‘dammit!’, is left out of the loop.

Alright, it’s another 24 cliché, and an attack on CTU is hardly new, but with the EMP taking them out of the picture, Jack’s side of things may well get far more interesting, and the OTT, and often Deus Ex Machina-esque tech solutions to his problems out of the way, Jack’s more, how shall we say, ‘specialised’ tactics may come to the forefront as he struggles to cope without CTU backup.

Dana’s also going to be safe, of course, and the EMP will undoubtedly have wiped the data the probation officer needs, so her critics will, no doubt, be gritting their teeth for a while to come.

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It was a good episode this week, and one packed full of big events. Tarin has been placed high on the villain list now, as a solidified IRK nationalist, and the other terrorists are also a little more interesting and believable as a threat.

As long as the pace keeps up, the second half of the day could still prove to be great. Here’s hoping.

Read our review of episode 11 here.