24 Season 8 episode 9 review

24 shaves a few salaries off the cast payroll, but those nuclear rods are still AWOL as we head into the wee hours of day 8…

UK readers please note: this is the episode that doesn’t screen until 28 February on Sky1.

Day 8: 12:00 – 1:00am

Season eight of 24 is taking some strange turns, indeed, and this week’s episode served as an effective method of culling many of the current players, as the body count of main antagonists soared, even though the episode itself was a little mundane.

Bazhaev, who turned almost ridiculously easily from hard ass sociopath with no morals to a blubbing girl in a matter of minutes, was a wet flannel, easily giving in to the pressure applied off-camera, apparently making a deal for his son’s immunity, should he turn himself in. And, in an almost equally wimpish turn, Josef quickly decides to put all of his hard work on the shelf, and agrees to return the nuclear rods to CTU. Luckily for the watching masses, who would like some form of main plot to continue, Farhad and his new generic terrorist allies quickly pop a cap in Josef – scratch another main villain.

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Farhad then learns of his new allies’ plan to use the rods as a weapon against America, another fairly predictable plot twist, and in my opinion, a sign that the writers are quickly running out of steam. This series’ main plot just isn’t even slightly original, and while it’s drawing in some current events, like America’s presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s all very hackneyed stuff, and just isn’t interesting – something I never thought I’d say about 24.

With Farhad seemingly back into the fray as the major antagonist, we then headed for a bit of a CTU diversion, as presidential big hitter Rob Weiss began to lean on Brian ‘Hunch Attack’ Hastings, forcing him to stump up a scapegoat for the operation going south. Renee is the one to be fed to the lions, and is quickly ushered into a closed room to be grilled about her supposed self-defensive killing of Vlad.

Of course, Jack didn’t take kindly to this, and promptly beat the snot out of a CTU guard, and threatened the Justice Department representative in order to get the powers that be to let her go. His efforts were for nothing, though, as, yet again, he’s hit by a tazer and subdued. That’s twice he’s been hit by a tazer this season now, not to mention his electrifying torture session last week. Maybe electricity is Jack’s Kryptonite – terrorists of the world take note.

No sooner is Jack marched off to Hastings’ office than his expulsion from CTU is interrupted as Farhad calls in to inform CTU of the real threat, which he wants no part of. So, when Hastings, unable to find Ortiz (who’s gone off the grid after Dana), tasks the operation to grab the rods to Agent Owen, who seemed like a 15-year-old in a bulletproof vest, Jack quickly strikes a deal to release Renee for his services. Hastings proves he’s not totally stupid and agrees, meaning Jack’s back on the case.

So, with not all that much going on in the main thrust of the story, the blunders of Dana Walsh continued. Well, I say continued. She simply sat watching Kevin’s van for much of the episode, and didn’t get up to much until the closing scenes. It was only when she got her ass out of her car to kill her ex that Ortiz turned up. Finally, she confided in Ortiz who then, despite his anger at Dana/Jenny, proceeded to threaten Kevin and his beardy friend. Unsurprisingly, Kevin’s partner didn’t take kindly to this, and promptly killed Kevin and tried to kill Otriz, with Ortiz coming out on top. Well, the Dana haters out there can rest easy for now, and that story is taken care of, at least for the time being.

And that was it. With Kevin’s death the clock stuck 1:00. Not the most thrilling ending ever, and a close to a fairly boring episode. With even Dana’s story over, and no sign of President Hassan, I’m not sure where 24 is going to go now. The traditional nuclear threat on American soil is a tried and tested formula, but with no clear main villain, the direction season eight is taking isn’t entirely clear. The story hasn’t gone very far, the rods themselves moving maybe a NY borough or two since the opening.

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Unless things heat up, or some major plot twist turns up to brighten up the proceedings, season eight risks becoming the least enjoyable 24 outing, which, as a loyal fan of 24, I feel is a crying shame.

Read our review of episode 8 here.