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24 – Episode 8-11 Review | Inside Pulse

24 – Episode 8-11 Review

I received a comment regarding last week’s episode of 24:

I actually thought that the last two weeks were pretty solid episodes that appear to be driving the main storyline for the bulk of the season. Now, we have the potential for a serious threat to the US, instead of the indirect threat of the nuclear rods. However, I do agree that too many of the villains from this season have been disposable. Furthermore, the current crop isn’t really all that interesting.

What this week did pretty well is to ratchet up the tension among the Hassan family–what is left of it anyway. The daughter and the former security chief have an interesting storyline going on in their tensions with Hassan–although given 24, it will turn out that one or the other was really in cahoots with Farrah.

What has also worked is the evolution of Hastings, who has turned out to be a pretty solid CTU head, and one who may drag his heels, but will do the right thing eventually (much like Larry from S7, or even Buchanan from S4).

On the other hand, President Taylor has done almost nothing noteworthy this season, aside from her interactions with Hassan–and even then, there is nothing to distinguish her character from President Keller’s in S4.

At least they’ve ditched the main part of the Dana subplot, although I expect the aftermath to continue for at least a few more episodes. However< I agree that this is one of the worst subplots in 24 history–perhaps not quite as dire as Kim vs. the Mountain Lion, but one that rests on a pretty flimsy premise–that CTU, even after they had been infiltrated by mole after mole, would still not catch someone working there under an assumed name. You would think their vetting process would have improved over time.

Last week’s episode was an overall improvement, which is why I didn’t want to sound TOO negative, but it was still nowhere near what we have come to expect from 24 – which, in the past, has shown extended periods of precision and brilliance. I would disagree, though, that Hastings proved to be a solid CTU head. The thing is, he DIDN’T eventually do the right thing. Sure, he argued about using Renee as a scapegoat, and he echoed his disapproval later on, but when push came to shove, he was willing to allow it to happen. In fact, the only reason he eased up was so that he could use it as leverage to utilize Jack’s services.

That said, I actually don’t mind that President Taylor’s arc has taken a back seat this season. As many have argued (although I haven’t necessarily agreed), the political portion of the story isn’t necessarily, well, a necessity. Why force it then?

But speaking of forcing things, the Dana thing is absolutely inexcusable. But more on that later.

Anyway, good news!! This is going to be an overall positive column! Truth be told, this may very well have been the best episode of the season. Or, at least, since its downturn. For whatever reason, keeping things geographically isolated and in close proximity really helped focus the story and the episode as a whole. And unlike prior episodes where there was constant shooting and explosions and carnage, the action packed moment was steadily built up throughout the entire hour. I really enjoyed this episode.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence, but for the first time in a long time, it actually felt like the focus was on Jack. And he really hit a home run. He was compassionate when he had to be (particularly with Marcos’ mother), but when he had to turn up the volume, man he really turned it up to the max. His performance when he told Marcos he was going to take his mother to the blast zone was positively chilling. It was actually quite remarkable. And, oddly, Jack didn’t come off as a monster either.

It actually also made me realize that, for the first time ever on this show, we’re actually bringing the focus to the foreign government. And although it was a bit shaky at times, it’s actually really beginning to work. This is going to sound very exocentric, but after seven years it’s a bit easier to watch another person’s government ridden with moles and saboteurs. And while I suspected that this double fake out was coming, I was pleased to see how well Hassan’s daughter handled the news that her lover is actually a turncoat. I’ve joked about it in the past, but this show has a bit of a history of having spurned women just lose it and kill those who have wronged them. It was nice seeing her acting calm and collected. Oh, and that guy deserves to get caught. I know I might have to hand in my Man Card for saying this, but when you’re trying to get freedom and you want to turn against your leader, you shouldn’t really stop for an hour to sleep with your girlfriend. Priorities!

If there’s one thing I was disappointed with, it was the kinda/sorta attempt to deal with and resolve the fact that Dana and Cole disappeared for a number of hours without any explanation whatsoever. Okay, I guess I can excuse Cole, because he at least attempted to give an explanation and wasn’t gone nearly as long. But Dana? She gave a half reason to her subordinate and was gone for numerous hours, completely out of contact with everybody. And yet they’re continuing this story? An arc that can’t possibly end well? I mean, this storyline has literally been the kiss of death for this character in every sense of the word. Which, at this point, may be a good thing.

Oh, and yet another villain died. At least this one had a little emotion to it, though.

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.