UK readers please note: this episode doesn’t screen for another couple of weeks on Sky1.
24 Season 8 – 5:00-6:00am
Okay, so it’s nearly official. 24 has been axed. But we’ve still got the rest of this season to go, and the inevitable movie, of course. Thankfully, to ease its loyal fans’ pain, this week’s episode was a marked improvement over recent hours.
After last week’s revelation that Dana has been a terrorist mole all along, I was keen to see how the show would handle this plot twist, as I was far from impressed at the show’s sudden curve ball.
It didn’t take long for us to find out that Dana is fully prepared to aid the cause of the IRK nationalists in this episode, and Dana’s character, totally switched. Whereas previously she was more scared rabbit in the headlights, she’s now a cold, calculating traitor, so confident in her abilities that she’s more than happy to sit in the middle of CTU’s bullpen, communicating with Samir, the terrorist leader.
Still, Dana, surprisingly, didn’t actually have much to do this episode, and the focus of events was shifted to both Jack and the upper echelons of power, with both threads amping up the stakes, and producing the kind of 24 story that we’ve been missing.
Having successfully moved the nuclear fuel rods to Manhattan with the help of Dana, Samir’s lackeys assemble the nuclear bomb, although, strangely, despite Bashaev’s son falling a cropper to the radiation earlier in the day, not one of the terrorists assembling the bomb needs protective gear. Hmmm.
With the bomb ready, Samir makes his intentions clear to President Taylor, and demands the return of President Hassan to be tried as a traitor. If the U.S. fails to comply, 40-square blocks of Manhattan will be reduced to a radiation-soaked wasteland. This, in my opinion, was a long overdue bit of tension in the main nuclear plot, and after long last we’ve got a finite deadline, and plausible threat to work with.
This also helped to bring President Taylor and the U.S. government back into the limelight, and is initially where the episode really started to impress.
It wasn’t long before Taylor’s military advisors, headed up by General Brucker (Michael Gaston), turned on Hassan, and despite originally planning retaliations against Islamic nations, became all too happy to hand over Hassan to the terrorists.
Then, pulling out a good old fashioned, patriotic speech about Americans not giving in to terror and rising up together to fight, Taylor laid down the law, unwaveringly shutting down any plan to hand over Hassan. It was all a bit clichéd and trite, but it set the scene for the show’s real kick into gear – General Brucker’s plot to use a covert ops team to kidnap Hassan and hand him over to Samir, covering up the whole thing in the process.
Brucker confides in Weiss, with some heavy persuasion, and the two promptly head off to Ethan Kanin’s office for the details of the evacuation route the Hassans are using.
Kanin walks in on them, of course, and a tense standoff ensues. Brucker stops him from leaving, and, perhaps a little over the top story-wise, Kanin promptly has a heart attack. Brucker is happy to let him die, if it will ensure his plan goes smoothly, and, reluctantly, Weiss agrees. Booo, hiss! It seems as though the presidents in 24‘s world just can’t pick reliable staff, can they?
Luckily for Hassan, President Taylor had previously tasked Jack with the safety of the President and his family, and, from a simple missed phone call from Ethan Kanin, he deduces that something is wrong and anticipates the attack.
Jack, now partnered up with Renee again, quickly gets Hassan’s family out of Dodge, and, showing that he’s well land truly got his mojo back, proceeds to take out the entire spec-ops team, with the help of Renee, and a life saving shot from President Hassan.
This was classic Jack and, combined with the cloak and dagger U.S. government story, it made for great 24 action.
Even with the immediate threat to Hassan taken care of, things are far from over, though, and due to Taylor’s reluctance to capitulate to the terrorists’ demands, Samir orders Tarin, who has driven the bomb to the target zone, to start the timer on the device. We then see the 15 minute timer come to life – cut to clock counting to 6:00am…
All in all, this was a great episode that did one very important thing: it moved the story forward constantly, and didn’t get too bogged down in details and stalling tactics.
In one episode we’ve seen the rods arrive in Manhattan, get assembled and moved into place and be armed; we’ve seen President Taylor’s staff turn on her and we’ve seen Jack kick some much overdue ass.
And, with the bomb now due to explode about 15 minutes into the next episode, we should see some more fast paced story and action, and hopefully the momentum will continue.
Read our review of episode 13 here.