24 “Day 8: 5:00am – 6:00am” Review

It’s Political Intrigue Week on ’24,’ the dreaded time where I have to bite the bullet and learn the names of Madame President’s cabinet. Because “The Weasly-Looking Man in the Tie” is probably not a useful identifier for readers. So this week, we got to know Rob Weiss, Madame President’s Chief of Staff, and General Rucker, who I’m assuming is a member of the Joint Chiefs. But first, some context: the IRK leader, Samir, called Madame President and told her she had an hour to hand over Hassan or he would set off the radiological device in NYC. Her cabinet started to get caught up in the group-think of “Hand him over and save our own asses!” but Madame President was having none of it and gave a rousing speech about not caving into these demands, blah blah… actually, it was a little bittersweet because with the news that there will be no renewal after this season, this is probably the last rousing presidential speech we’ll get, even if it was a little over the top. Sniff. Anyway, General Brucker approached Weiss afterwards and suggested a covert action: his men, who were already conveniently positioned, would take out Hassan and blame it on the IRK. This sounds like a great plan, General Brucker! I can’t imagine what could possibly go wrong!

So General Brucker decided to take Hassan out while he was being escorted (with his family) by Jack and Renee through some tunnels under the city from the UN to wherever Madame President is. Do you see where this is going? Yeah. Brucker’s guys don’t stand a chance. Before one of the most epic firefights I’ve seen on this show (or one of the best I can remember, at least), the political intrigue continued as Brucker and Weiss invaded Ethan Kanin’s office to get Hassan’s location. Ethan walked in on them, though, and smelled something fishy. Brucker blocked his exit before he could leave to tell Madame President and Ethan, quick thinker that he is, pocket-dialed Jack (I guess he has him on speed dial?) so he could hear what the two schemers had to say. Brucker saw what was going on and went after Ethan’s phone, causing Ethan to go into a well-timed heart attack. OH NOES! Not okay, guys. Not okay. Weiss went for Ethan’s bottle of what I can only assume is nitroglycerin and got a pill in him before he faded away, but Brucker wouldn’t let him go for medical assistance. Jack called Ethan’s office phone after the dropped call and Weiss insisted that Ethan couldn’t come to the phone. Jack wasn’t buying it and Weiss hung up on Jack Bauer. I know! I’m about as affronted as Jack was.

Sensing something wasn’t right, Jack ordered his convoy to retreat. Brucker’s troops, who were about a hundred yards away, opened fire and started chasing Jack and Co. down the tunnel. Outmanned and outgunned (and toting an injured Kayla), Jack and Renee figured out a rather awesome tactic where Jack threw a smoke grenade, Renee started shooting from one side of the tunnel to draw the troops’ fire and Jack waited until a few guys got close enough so he could pick them off with his pistol. It was working great until one of the soldiers flanked the group and Hassan ended up firing a few rounds to save Jack’s life. Badass. Jack got one of the stragglers in the knee, ripped off his tactical mask and realized he was an American. OMG. The episode ended with the group retreating as the rest of Brucker’s men made their way through the smattering of Secret Service agents blocking their way (along with a particularly awesome female agent, who I assume didn’t make it out alive). I really enjoyed the interaction between what was going on politically with Weiss and Brucker and the way it played out in Jack’s quest to get Hassan somewhere safe; it kept the pacing of the episode up and, most of all, it kept me entertained. Plus, Hassan’s WAY more badass than I originally suspected.

The Jack/Brucker/Weiss/Ethan/Hassan drama made up most of the episode’s action. Mole!Dana continued her subversive activity by talking to Samir on her cell phone in the middle of the CTU bullpen. Clearly the girl has never heard of text messaging. I have no freakin’ clue why no one noticed that she was suspiciously talking to herself for about ten minutes. She let him know about the NYPD roadblocks, since it turns out the nuclear rods are actually being transported by taxi, not boat, into the middle of the city. Thanks to Dana’s help, Samir was able to get the rods assembled and stuffed in a van with Tarin. Because Madame President didn’t deliver Hassan to Samir by the end of the episode, Samir ordered Tarin to start the timer on the bomb. Tarin has to stay with the bomb until it detonates, and he didn’t look to happy about it.

While I’m sad that this season will be the show’s last (though, as far as I know, the movie deal could still go through), I think it’s time to pack it in. As much as I’ve enjoyed the last couple episodes, my enjoyment has stemmed mostly from production values and firefights — the plot itself is more or less a ripoff of every previous season. Terrorist threat, mole, conspiracy within the President’s administration, CTU blow’d up, Jack stranded in the field by himself, etc. Every season makes the repetitious nature of the plot more apparent and yet every time the writers try to deviate from it, it doesn’t work. So I’ll be enjoying this season, but I’ll be happy that some of these fabulous actors will be able to move on to new projects.

Don’t forget, next week is a two hour extravoboganza! Wheeeee! I can’t wait.

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