Spoilers.



24 Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 8:00 PM, Fox

The Show:

Jack
Bauer is a former government agent, most recently assigned to the
now-defunct Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), which was tasked with
investigating and preventing threats to American national
security.  Doing whatever it takes to get the job done, Jack
is a dedicated and deadly instrument of justice who has saved the
country on numerous occasions, though frequently paying a high price
for his service.  Following Jack’s exploits over a full 24
hours of one day in real time, 24 is an award-winning political and action thriller that created a new format – and standard – in TV drama.

The Stars:

•  Kiefer Sutherland – Jack Bauer
•  Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O’Brian
•  Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor
•  James Morrison as Bill Buchanan
•  Annie Wersching as FBI Special Agent Renee Walker
•  Colm Feore as First Gentleman Henry Taylor
•  Bob Gunton as White House Chief of Staff Ethan Kanin
•  Jeffrey Nordling as FBI Special Agent in Charge Larry Moss
•  Rhys Coiro as FBI Special Agent Sean Hillinger
•  Janeane Garofalo as FBI Special Agent Janis Gold
•  Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida
•  Peter Wingfield as Emerson
•  Ever Carradine as Erika
•  Tony Todd as General Juma
•  Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Colonel Ike Dubaku

The Episode:5:00 PM – 6:00 PM”

Jack and Renee are still following Marika, who is their last possible lead to Dubaku.  But Dubaku’s people found out she’s working with the Feds, which puts her life into danger.  Meanwhile, Hillinger, now revealed as being the FBI mole, is working to prevent Jack and Renee from capturing Dubaku for fear that Dubaku will give up everybody on his list.  President Taylor confronts her estranged daughter and yet another FBI mole is revealed.

The Lowdown:

Last week I wondered about the importance of Hillinger’s office romance with Erika, the bubble-headed FBI techie.  Turns out there’s much more to it than was initially revealed, and it has to do with Hillinger’s trying to keep Jack and Renee from capturing Dubaku.  And speaking of Dubaku, it turns out he’s a big softie for Marika.  Rather than just putting a bullet in her head when he finds out she’s betrayed him, he still wants her to go with him.  He says that everything that she’s heard about him is a lie.  She agrees to still go with him and they get into a car and head for Dubaku’s plane. 

Jack and Renee have been stopped by D.C. Police thanks to Hillinger’s fake arrest warrant, and it takes some doing by Moss to get them released.  Luckily Chloe is on it with the satellites and she guides them to Dubaku’s SUV.  A short car chase and Marika’s grabbing the wheel leads to a crash and Dubaku is seriously injured.  Unfortunately Marika is killed in the crash, which is a downer because I did like her character.  But it’s just another reaffirmation that chances are, if you help Jack Bauer, things aren’t going to turn out good for you.  Jack then does what he does best: threatens Dubaku’s family unless he turns over the list.  And in a move straight from Season 2 (remember the voice chip?), the list is hidden under Dubaku’s skin.  Jack then gets it to Chloe via a cop messenger.

This spurs Hillinger to plan to crash the FBI servers once Chloe uploads the files, which are of course a one-time deal.  Hillinger succeeds in crashing the servers, with some help from Erika, who it turns out is also a Dubaku mole.  Then he offs her and tries to pin the whole thing on her.  But Chloe works her magic to save the files.

As this is going on, Renee confronts Jack about the consequences of their actions, specifically Marika’s death and is close to losing it.  She slaps Jack and asks him if he even feels anything anymore, and brings up his past losses.  Jack finally snaps and asks her what she wants from him.  He also tells her if she ever pulls a gun on him again to be prepared to use it. 

It was obvious with Dubaku’s capture that this was to be the turning point episode of the season, where one story wraps up and the other shoe drops on the terror plot.  It looks like Juma is going to get his hands dirty and take over the bad guy duties.  It also looks like a small civil war is brewing in the White House, which could be interesting.

I’ve been very critical of this season, and rightly so, but this episode wasn’t bad.  The confrontation between Renee and Jack was good.  Hillinger’s story was simultaneously classic yet overplayed 24 bad guy fodder.  What I’m hoping for from here on out is that the story becomes more personalized.  That Juma is working his plot directly against the President rather than some grand terrorist plot aimed at a nuclear thing or another biological thing or a chemical thing, because that’s been done…this season in fact.  What we absolutely don’t need is a Season 4 replay.  Remember Arnold Vosloo as Marwan?  And how he went from the nuclear plant terror plot to shooting down Air Force One to launching the nuclear missile?  It was one terror plot after another just to sustain the season. 

I think that the list could become more important if the corrupt elements of the government put up a fight and there’s a microcosm of a civil war in the capitol with Jack and Renee in the middle.  Not sure that the back 14 episodes could sustain that, but it’s not too late to salvage the season, which has really been quite disappointing and unoriginal. 

 6.8 out of 10