24 7.20: "Day 7: 3AM - 4AM"

It's been clear since the beginning of the season that the plot arc was all about the restoration of Jack Bauer and, by extension, CTU. And sure enough, that aspect of the story takes a big step in the right direction in this episode. It may be framed as a temporary situation for now, but President Taylor has all but noted to everyone that matters that CTU clearly has its place.

It was a little surprising to learn that Jonas Hodges survived, since his death seemed to be a done deal. Initially, it seems a bit far-fetched, but it turned out to be a smart move. Not only did this allow the writers to continue the overall philosophical torture and patriotism debate, complete with a showdown between Jack and Jonas, but it's going to lead to escalating tension between President Taylor and her daughter.

Frankly, it never made sense for Olivia to be made acting Chief of Staff, and it's ludicrous to think that no one in the rest of the Taylor administration would have objected by now. Olivia's inability to see how her mother's stance is a necessary tactic speaks to her inexperience. She's not suitable for the role she is playing. As seen a thousand times over in the real world (and as established several times on "24"), sometimes it is necessary to lose a battle to win a war.

Setting aside the fact that the scene was structured as a glorified product placement, the conference between Tony's hot terrorist friend and the rest of the private-sector domestic terrorists was quite interesting. Not only does it place this particular season in context, but it also could set the stage for next season as well.

It also ties back into the notion that the decommissioning of CTU and the disuse of agents like Jack Bauer, essentially the moth-balling of black-ops within the intelligence community, can lead to the emergence of threats that would otherwise be recognized much earlier in the game. This is strongly suggested by the need to bring in the CTU servers, CTU protocols, and Chloe. (And how great was Jack's smackdown on Janice, for so many reasons?)

With only four episodes left, this may have felt a little too slow and methodical for some, but considering that the writers retooled the final six episodes to strengthen the impact of the finale (and likely, set the stage for Day 8), patience is likely to be rewarded. After all, this has been the most consistent season of the series in a very long time.


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