24 7.13: "Day 7: 8PM - 9PM"

The previous episode was one of the best in quite some time, if only based on the pure adrenaline level related to a terrorist attack within the White House. It was hard to imagine how the writers would effectively follow up on that, and sure enough, this episode was a bit of a letdown in comparison.

The episode certainly starts out well, with Juma continuing with his lethal tactics. It might have made more sense for him to make an example out of, say, Jack, Bill, or Senator Mayer, but pulling a random victim out of the crowd has the intended psychological effect. The intensity of the situation is well-maintained, particularly during the tense arguments between the Vice President and Agent Moss.

Sadly, it all ends too quickly. While it helps to know that Jack convinced the President to let him rig a trap before surrendering, it seems a bit convenient. And it's quite unfortunate for long-suffering "24" fans to lose Bill Buchanan, one of the better additions to the cast over the years. At least his death was more meaningful than some others have been, and that it had a profound effect on Jack in the process.

The intensity of the episode falls off dramatically at this point, and quietly builds to one of the more annoying retreads imaginable. How many times is Jack going to be considered a "rogue" agent? It's easy to see why they went in the direction they did, but the situation had to be carefully constructed (and illogically so) to make it happen.

Agent Walker had to go behind Agent Moss' back to ensure that her status would be questionable moving forward (giving her the chance to pull off some "rogue" activity of her own, ala Jack). Moss had to get the orders from Ethan to make sure President Taylor was out of the loop, thus giving Olivia direct ammunition for blaming him for letting the situation get so out of control. Jack, of course, now has a personal reason to hunt down Jonas, which was somewhat unnecessary. Even within the plot, this is so; who would believe that Jack would slash the throat of a suspect in the midst of an interrogation? So many other, more plausible things could have been done to frame him!

At this point, all of "CTU" is dead or in serious trouble. Tony is wanted, Jack has been framed, and Chloe is under suspicion. Even Agent Walker is having a rather bad day. This makes sense, given the fact that it's the middle of the season and things should be getting more complicated for the heroes, but it's unfortunate that so much of the process of getting there has felt so baldly manufactured.

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