Wednesday 6 May 2009

24, 7.20 - "3:00AM - 4:00AM"

Wednesday 6 May 2009
[SPOILERS] We're neck-deep into Day 7 now, and hour 20 finally provides us with answers concerning Tony's (Carlos Bernard) agenda and who he's working for, prepping us for the final four installments...

Following last week's climax, Tony breaks through the FBI's perimeter by shooting a few agents and stealing their car, as Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) is rushed to hospital in an ambulance after suffering a seizure. Fortunately, he manages to tell Renee (Annie Wersching) about Tony's deception and the alarm is belatedly raised. Tony arrives at a motel to convene with his accomplice Galvez (Gabriel Casseus), who has the last canister of pathogen. But, after being wired his agreed payment, Galvez decides to double-cross Tony -- forcing Tony to suffocate him with a shower curtain...

There's not too much going on at the White House, beyond the fact we learn Jonas Hodges (Jon Voight) survived his suicide bid and is being held for questioning. When Jack's recovered, he volunteers to interrogate Hodges, believing he'll talk if President Taylor (Cherry Jones) agrees to falsify his death, as Hodges is only concerned about protecting his family from reprisals by his superiors if they discover his suicide failed.

The plan should work, but Olivia (Sprague Grayden) isn't happy her mother's effectively going to allow her brother's killer to spend the rest of his life in comfortable Witness Protection. Olivia's so upset that she makes an impulsive remark to new best-friend Aaron (Glenn Morshower) about killing Hodges, and later decides to act on that idea by contacting Martin Collier (Leland Orser), a political acquaintance who once insinuated he could bump off threats to her mother's political campaign.

With Galvez asphyxiated and the canister now in his possession, Tony meets with his lover Cara Bowden (Amy Price-Francis), suggesting they use it to mount an attack immediately, despite the plan being to wait and regroup after six months. Tony insists that it makes tactical sense to kick your opponent while he's down, as the FBI are currently overstretched dealing with the day's attacks. Fatal error there, as Tony should know to wait for Jack Bauer to die from exposure to the pathogen. Cara agrees to talk with the rest of her secretive cabal in an internet chat-room (shades of season 5's "Bluetooth Group"), who all eventually vote to let Tony proceed with his plan...

Jack's interrogation of Hodges doesn't unearth anything hugely revelatory, beyond confirming there are people pulling the strings and their plan is to stage an attack and make it look like unrelated terrorism. It was nice seeing Hodges almost turn Jack around to his way of thinking for a millisecond, claiming he's a patriotic hero who doesn't deserve to be condemned in the Senate for his methods. We'll ignore Sutherland's tendency to do that "headshake movement" he often does when baddies pour poison in his ear.

To help find the Middle Eastern patsies the Cabal are going to frame, Jack persuades the President to unseal CTU's old servers and get them hooked up at the FBI Field Office, because that's the only way they can track all known terrorist activity. Did anyone else have a tough time believing the US government would mothball the only technology that helps them track terrorists?! The country suffers terrorist atrocities every few years, like clockwork.

Anyway, Janis (Janeane Garofalo) isn't happy that her beloved FBI is being turned into "CTU-lite" and rules are being bent, becoming even more irritable when Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is called in to assist. Janis' constant snide comments rub Jack up the wrong way as he flies off the handle and rants at her in front of the entire office -- accidentally referring to President Taylor as President Palmer twice; a sign that the pathogen's beginning to affect his mental faculties...

Overall, there was nothing about episode 20 to actively hate. It was a repositioning episode with the inevitable talk-over-action feel that entails. But I'm still very concerned about this final jaunt of Day 7. I don't believe in the recent "Tony Twist" (although Bernard makes for a decent villain); Jack's illness is intended to give victory a tinge of uncertainty, but has become exasperating; the ominous Cabal idea is a great one, but deserving of more time to develop (maybe it'll continue into season 8?); and Olivia planning Hodges' murder just feels like distracting filler. 24 usually gives us a thrilling batch of climactic episodes, but I wish Day 7's didn't feel as improvised right now...

4 May 2009
Sky1, 9pm

Writers: Alex Gansa & Chip Johannessen (story by Juan Carlos Coto)
Director: Michael Klick

Cast: Kiefer Sutherland (Jack), Annie Wersching (Renee), Carlos Bernard (Tony), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe), Cherry Jones (President Taylor), Sprague Grayden (Olivia), Glenn Morshower (Aaron), Janeane Garofalo (Janis), Jon Voight (Jonas Hodges), Gabriel Casseus (Galvez), Nicholas Guest (Cabal #4), Jennifer Hetrick (Cabal #5), Matt McTighe (Tom Moran), Jorge-Luis Pallo (Agent Kilner), Will Patton (Alan Wilson), Brian Kimmet (Operative #1), Jim Staples (Cabal #3), Diego Klattenhoff (Sgt. Cadden), Amy Price-Francis (Cara Bowden), Leland Orser (Martin Collier), Carlo Rota (Morris), Omid Abtahi (Jibraan Al-Zarian), Christina Chang (Dr. Sunny Macer), Rafi Gavron (Hamid Al-Zarian) & Frank John Hughes (Tim Woods)