Always interesting when Fox schedules a "24" two-fer. Usually, it seems done to compensate for a slow episode by following it with a slam-bang one, but this double feature flowed in the opposite direction. Lots of guns, ammo and power tools in the first hour, then a second hour where characters mostly stand around and talk about their feelings until the final five minutes.
Like Fienberg, I'm really curious about what kind of training program you have to go through to become a CTU data analyst. Morris holds up under torture for quite a while, then Milo turns into a master of defensive driving and demolitions at the end of hour two.
(Oddly enough, "24" wasn't the first show I saw yesterday that used a power drill as a torture implement, since I spent my afternoon going through my screeners of BBC America's "The State Within," where a minor character also suffers badly from a cordless tool. One more and we've got a trend, kids.)
Because I didn't comment on last week's episode, and because several critics have started condemning this season as some kind of fiasco, a few e-mailers have wondered if that means I've given up on the show. Absolutely not. I got to watching the previous show so late in the week that I didn't feel I had anything to say on it, and I don't see this season as being substantially worse than any other. Sure, the supporting cast is almost universally-lame (lowlighted by D.B. Woodside failing to fill Dennis Heysbert's shoes), and we're seeing the same devices used again and again (incompetent security on CTU's part, aides plotting against the president), but all of these flaws have been around from the start. The pre-Chloe supporting cast wasn't exactly riveting; they were just there from the beginning, and occasionally someone got a standout moment. (George Mason, RIP, remains my favorite.) And if you're still willing to watch into the sixth season, it seems silly to complain about "24" repeating itself, when it's been doing that all along.
Admittedly, I may have a higher tolerance at the moment because I skipped large chunks of seasons 3 and 4, but I think "24" is shark-proof. You may tire of it, but the show hasn't changed significantly. Cool stuff happens, then stupid stuff happens, and hopefully another cool thing is another 20 minutes, an hour at most, away. The beauty of them making it up as they go along, as I've said, is that it gives them the freedom to ditch plots and characters that aren't working, without having to worry about how this will mess with the (non-existent) master plan.
That said, I think we're another episode or two away from needing to ditch Papa Bauer. I love James Cromwell, and I like the idea of giving Jack a personal stake in what's happening, but I'm already getting bored with daddy getting away with stuff because no one at CTU can be bothered to put a body on the old man or secure a damn room. And I know I just said the show has had these faults from the start, but, again, when the show's on its game it moves past that kind of contrivance. Maybe having Rena Sofer give Jack the 411 on his dad will change the dynamic enough that I'll get back into it, but I groaned when we saw Philip deleting the cell phone contacts (as if all of Graem's effects wouldn't have immediately been given to a techie to analyze), and I groaned when he offered to take Jack's son/nephew for a ride.
A few other quick thoughts:
- Liked Jack and Chloe's emotionally-stunted reunion "I'm really glad Fayed didn't kill you this morning."
- Any theories on what Chad Lowe's planning? My guess is they try to assassinate Wayne and make Assad the fall guy.
- And speaking of which, how fast does a military transport travel, exactly? He seemed to make that cross-country flight awfully quick.
- The lack of any logistical ramifications -- no traffic jams, or any kind of seeming panic in the streets -- to the Valencia detonation still bugs me. The show could have gotten a whole lot of mileage out of Jack trying to save the day in a city that's completely paralyzed by fear, but instead it's like the nuke never went off. Waste of a perfectly good plot twist.
What did everybody else think?