24 8.13: "Day 8: 4AM - 5AM"

It wouldn’t be the eighth season of “24” if there weren’t several ridiculous plot points held together by a few classic moments. That has been the story for the season since the underwhelming premiere. With the reappearance of yet another classic “24” trope, it may be that the series has reached the end of its rope.

For once, Jack’s plot thread missed the mark, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. The writers chose to make everyone other than Jack and Cole a complete and utter idiot. They also seemed to think that Jack and Cole would be unable to land even one shot until the end of the firefight. That left only the option of stripping down an armored vehicle and walking to an emergency callbox, which resulted in two characters making stupid, emotional decisions against Jack’s advice. Because that always ends well.

The problem was that it was predictable. It was inevitable that Jack and Cole would be the only ones to make it to the end, just as it was predictable that Renee would arrive just in time to save Jack from certain death. Not that Renee’s return to the field is a bad thing; it could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Renee’s short arc with Jack and Vladimir was the best part of the season thus far.

Chloe has been snarky this season, but she hasn’t had much of a chance to shine. This is clearly supposed to be her big moment, a long time in the coming, but it feels forced. It’s hard to believe that NSA agents would allow Chloe to intimidate them, even taking the gun into account. And just as everything that happened with Jack was predictable, so was Chloe’s success. Did anyone really doubt that she would manage to get the system running before the end of the episode?

More surprising was Director Hastings and his support for Chloe, though it was in character. The writers certainly got the inter-agency sparring down right, even in this post-911 age, and Hastings rankled at the obvious barbs tossed in his direction. Given his established political concerns, scoring a victory over the NSA and getting back online faster had to be worth it. Besides, if anything went wrong, he could just blame Chloe to cover himself.

So with all of the mediocrity throughout the rest of the episode, it seemed like Dana’s plot thread would live up to its well-earned reputation throughout the first 12 episodes. Prady’s ridiculous insistence on pursuing his agenda in the middle of a massive national security crisis was enough to earn him a painful death. Of course, killing a man in the middle of CTU doesn’t seem like a sound strategy.

That said, the revelation at the end of the episode does make sense of Dana’s actions throughout the season to date. Well, at least to a degree. If the terrorists were banking on the assassination of President Hassan to smuggle nuclear fuel rods into their country, why would they need to have a mole in CTU? Just in case something went wrong, and they needed to execute this “Plan B”, which was initially framed as a last-minute gamble? Or was this always the plan, and the writers just didn’t make it clear that the terrorists were using Farhad to execute their true design?

But it was predictable for CTU to be attacked, and it was equally predictable for someone to be a mole. It should help to give Katee Sackhoff a lot more to do, something more suited to her range, but it feels like something that the writers decided to do late in the game. This is the kind of shocking twist that they used to toss into the mix when they were making things up as they went along.

Overall, this episode suffers from being all too predictable, even when it comes to aspects of the admittedly unforeseen twist at the end. Fans of “24” have seen it all before, and after eight seasons, the tropes are becoming more than tiresome. This season just can’t seem to pull itself off the floor.


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