24 – Episode 8-10 Review

So here I am, another Wednesday and just getting to my 24 column. Granted, it’s because I didn’t get around to watching the episode until late Tuesday night, but then again, a few years ago I never would have imagined going to bed at 11 or so and simply putting 24 off until later in the week. Never would’ve happened.

I don’t quite know what it is about this season of 24 – perhaps it’s the writers or the lack of characters to truly care about – but there’s just no sense of urgency or suspense. I sometimes have to remind myself what the exact threat is that they’re trying to protect. And even when I do remember (and I really only do because of the funny way the Russians say “nuclear”), I don’t even come close to really caring. The villains don’t last long enough for me to hate them, and aside from Jack and MAYBE Renee, I could really care less if any of the “good guys” survive. In fact, there are more than a few that I actively want to die. And the only thing preventing me from hoping that it’s an exceptionally painful death is the fact that I want it to happen so quickly.

And thus, the revolving door of villains continues for yet another week, as Farrah was killed off next. And this actually made me wonder: What purpose did the Russians serve? The only real reason for Vlad and his crew was to crack them down on Sergei and his team. And, ultimately, Sergei didn’t really serve any function. At the VERY least Vlad’s story arc showed how completely insane Renee is, which in turn gave Jack a reason to return to CTU, but honestly, if Sergei was completely removed from the story, would anything have been different? And the utter ridiculousness of this is that they killed off all of the antagonists that we had the slightest bit of a connection with – the man who raped and abused the heroine, the man who was forced to kill his son, the man who turned against his father to avenge his brother, and the brother who betrayed his presidential brother – for a band of people I couldn’t possibly tell you the faintest thing about.

Not to mention how inconsistent the writing and character motivations are. One second we’re supposed to believe that this situation is insignificant enough for Dana to have a little burglary side project, for Arlo to flirt and coerce her, and for Dana and Cole to disappear for hours on end. But then the crisis is urgent enough for Hastings to apparently not even notice or care that his head of operations and technical analysis (or whatever her title is), respectively, have gone MIA. For that matter, did anybody else absolutely cringe when watching the preview for next week, after seeing that this Dana story is going to CONTINUE! You have GOT to be kidding me!

Of course, it’s not my intention to sound so negative, as this is hardly the worst show on television (Grey’s Anatomy is still on, right?), so let me say a few positive things as well. Even though the kid did look like an awkward, chubby Kirk Cameron, I did enjoy the portion with the terrorist with the bomb strapped on and the rookie CTU field agent. I also enjoy seeing Jack as the soft-spoken, caring mentor. And it was also nice to see Hastings acting as something other than inept. I’m sorry to say, that might be it.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. Be sure to visit his blog at [a case of the blog] and follow him on Twitter.