Tuesday, February 16, 2010

24 “Day 8: 11PM – 12AM” Same Old, Same Old

Photo from Fox

At the 11th hour of the day, but only the 8th hour of the season, ”24” (Fox) is falling into the predictable pattern – Jack gets tortured, Jack kills people, CTU employees act like idiots. This weak episode made me wonder if we are seeing the last season of “24” as the series seems to be running out of new ideas, and is filling time with what seem like wasteful, uninteresting side stories.

In this episode, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is being tortured because Sergei Bazhaev (Jürgen Prochnow) wants to know how Jack knows about the nuclear rods, and he also thinks Jack is a cop. Jack, bound and hanging from a pipe, can handle being subjected to electrical charges, among other things. Of course we know that Jack will escape, and, despite the fact that he has been given the electrical charge several times, he is able to easily knock his torturer off balance and use the same electrical charger on him – all while Jack is still bound. Jack manages to break the pipe off and get free, just in time for his torturer to come to and be subdued by Jack for the last time. Of course, Jack is able to steal a phone and make a call to CTU so they can track his location and send help. After a shootout where Jack gets everyone but Sergei, Jack manages to evade several shotgun blasts from Sergei and then knocks him out with a table under which Jack was hiding. The police and CTU get there within a nanosecond, as CTU is only 5 minutes away. How (typically) convenient!

Meanwhile, Dana (Katee Sackhoff) finds that Wade (Clayne Crawford) and his pal are going to blackmail her in to continuing to help them steal tons of money. Since there is always someone at CTU who has to act like an idiot, Dana will continue to do so, and uses an excuse to leave her post so she can deal with Wade. Arlo (John Boyd ) is on to her that something is off, and she realizes that she has to tell her fiancé Cole (Freddie Prinze Jr.) something. When she attemps to do so, Cole gets interrupted to do actual work (!) and Dana never finishes telling him her secret before she goes after Wade. I find that I am less than interested in this storyline than ever and feel badly that they’ve given Katee Sackhoff such a pathetic storyline. Let’s not forget that Freddie Prinze Jr.’s acting skills leave much to be desired, made worse by his bland facial expressions, and any scenes he has with Sackhoff seem lifeless.

Renee Walker (Annie Wersching), who went off the deep end and murdered her contact last week, is back at CTU and Hastings (Mykelti Williamson) has Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) get her report and then take the nutty Renee off to medical. Renee Walker is the only character this season who has kept up the drama, often adding that element of shock and surprise. Renee wants to help find Jack, but wisely CTU doesn’t seem to want her kind of help now.

President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is still at the UN, doing pretty much nothing except waiting. Same for President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), whose only action seems to be a tiff with his daughter Kayla (Nazneen Contractor ) who is upset that Hassan is having her lover Faroush, a key aid to Hassan, held. Boredom with this story is building quickly.

Back at Sergei’s place, Jack uses Sergei’s grief over killing his terminally radiated son to get Sergei to tell them the location of the rods. Sergei does, only after getting immunity from the President of the United States, handled via a phone call that also seems to be easily set up within a nanosecond. Bad news for them, it seems the rods are not were Sergei thought. Sergei’s son Josef (David Anders) went rogue after helping to bury his brother killed by his father, and has absconded with the rods, hoping to complete the deal with Hassan’s brother Farhad (Akbar Kurtha). Josef appears to have left his dead brother Oleg’s gold cross and chain at the scene where the rods had been held – along with a few dead guards – and now Sergei knows Josef has them.

It seems that Dana has now left CTU and is armed. She appears to be hunting down Wade, likely with the idea to shoot him and his pal dead so they can’t reveal her past and the help she gave them in their recent robbery. Back at CTU, the busybody and meddling Arlo, who has been hinting to Cole that something funny is going on with his fiancée Dana, shows Cole some surveillance photos of Dana talking with another man. I find that I care even less about this story line, and have come to the realization that the people at CTU are a sorry bunch. Cole asks Arlo to trace her calls, a great use of CTU time seeing that there are nuclear rods on the loose.

While we see Dana waiting in her car, with a gun, outside the strip club where Wade and his buddy were partying, we also see Josef speaking over the phone with Farhad about finishing the deal with the rods. Thankfully, the episode is over.

Usually, most side stories in "24" occurring in tandem with the main crisis du jour seem to fit in later somehow. But in previous seasons, those side stories seems to at least be somewhat interesting. So far this season, I am already bored with Dana’s self made drama, and have no interest whatsoever in Hassan’s daughter and her disagreement with her father. In fact, I have no interest at all in Hassan or anything going on at the UN right now. The only person who seems to show some promise is Renee Walker, but I don’t think it’s enough tp keep the excitement level up. While I plan to finish out the season, right now I'm at a point where, after this season, I don’t care if Jack Bauer comes back for another day.

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