Given the nuclear strike related stakes from last week, this was a rather surprisingly routine episode of 24. It’s not that it was a bad episode, in fact I quite enjoyed it, it’s just that they had a bit of a cop-out resolution to the nuclear strike issue by delaying it at the last moment, to be dealt with during another hour.
Jack seems to be doing a pretty good job of putting Audrey out of his head and getting back to what he loves, putting civilians into life-threatening situations. It was kind of surprising that Brady actually survived helping Jack; whenever Jack enlists the aid of random civilians, they almost always end up dead. Admittedly I’ve never seen seasons two or three, but from the rest of the series I can only think of one example off-hand where civilians provided Jack with any kind of meaningful help and didn’t die (back in season four when Jack and Audrey’s ex-husband where helped by two Muslim sporting store employees (and seeing as that storyline existed primarily to appease people who were criticizing the show’s portrayal of Muslims, the writers probably were told to keep those two alive). I figured Brady was toast, especially when, for pretty much the first time ever, Jack actually seemed conflicted about using a civilian to capture terrorists. Maybe the writers figure there’s enough going on right now without adding to it with Jack dealing with guilt over getting a mentally challenged guy killed (though if it was anything like Jack’s getting over being tortured for a year and a half, the guilt wouldn’t have lasted long).
The Wayne Palmer arc this week kind of highlights the difficulty with having your season take place in a single day. Wayne needed to suffer a critical enough injury so that the exceedingly crazy VP Daniels could be put in charge. But for Wayne to then get in to a power struggle with Daniels over who gets to be in charge, he needed to go from coma to quasi-healthy in a very short period of time. Of course, it was made even more implausible by Wayne going from ‘he’s crashing’ to completely up to date and perfectly lucid in just a few minutes.
I’m starting to wonder about the Joint Chiefs and other members of President Palmer’s administration. With the exceptions of Karen and Tom, nobody seems to be offering even token objections to Daniels and his constantly revised rational for launching a nuclear strike. Granted most members of the administration aren’t given speaking roles so they can’t actually object, but Daniels has been getting pretty extreme. I’m starting to think that either A) President Palmer filled his administration with a bunch of spineless yes-men (which doesn’t seem too likely given we know that the Joint Chiefs were apparently in favor of Tom’s plan, i.e. the one that Palmer decided was a bad plan) or else someone else, quite possibly Daniels, has been stacking the administration with ideological extremists who share Daniels’ ‘Nuke First, Nuke again later’ view.
And on the inside CTU front, it turns out that all my speculation from last week was for naught. There was no mole (or at least if there is mole, said mole isn’t being revealed yet), CTU apparently just runs an incredibly insecure network. While I had predicted an eventual reveal of Doyle not being quite as much of an asshole as he first seemed, I was still surprised by swerve they pulled this week. When Doyle pocketed the evidence that proved Nadia wasn’t really working with the terrorists, I was ready to write him off as a solidly dislikeable guy. So it was surprising when Morris revealed that Doyle had given him the evidence to check out.
I don’t know what the deal is with Johnson. When he told Milo about the evidence he had given Doyle, it seemed like he was just trying to set up Doyle for some reason. But after Johnson’s plan seemingly backfired, and Doyle threatened retribution, Johnson not only didn’t look worried, but he smirked. It’s almost like he wanted to piss Doyle off for some reason. Hmm…
When I get to the end of this column every week, I really wish that Global didn’t feel the need to air other promos in place of the one for the next week of the show you are actually watching. So while I can tell you what to look forward to this week on The Black Donnellys and House, I probably won’t be seeing a preview of 24 until at least Saturday or Sunday. I’m guessing that getting information from Gredenko and the power struggle between Daniels and Palmer will factor in prominently though.