Monday's Episode of 24 Was the Best So Far This Season

There’s no point in holding back. Monday's episode of 24 was the best one so far this season.

It had a bit of everything: Jack doing Jack things. Romantic betrayal, redemption, then more betrayal—by a ripped terrorist who looks like he's been hitting the monkey bars pretty hard at the Al Qaeda training camp. The clock ticking on a webcast execution. Compromised nuclear security. Another direct attack on CTU. And maybe even a tiny bit of redemption for the Dana Walsh storyline, thanks to Stephen Root.

The episode came at just the right time in the season: We’ve hit the halfway mark, and while 24 was guaranteed to pass its midterms, Day 8 has been slow to take form. Jack has seen less action than usual, and has lacked a good sidekick because poor Cole Ortiz was caught up in fiancée Dana’s travails. The first wave of bad guys got taken out quickly, and central characters like President Taylor and Renee have gone MIA for long stretches—just like they did last night. The drones haven’t factored in much, nor has New York City; with most of the action taking place at night, the location has thus far proven inconsequential. So even though there have been some memorable moments (I’ll never again pick up a circular saw without thinking of Annie Wersching), the season has been hit-or-miss. Maybe that's finally changed.

For now, I’m going to give 24 a B- at the midterm. I could have rounded it up to a B, but let’s keep the show motivated. The second half of the semester always counts for more, anyway. What's your grade for 24?

Individual midterm grades:

Jack Bauer, A-
Let me be a fan and just say that Jack is always great, but he just hasn’t had enough to do. His highlights, though memorable, have been scattered, most notably his cold threats to Marcos the suicide bomber and his escape and battle with Bazhaev. And who can ever forget Ernst Meier?

Evildoers, B
It's too bad Renee offed Vladimir so quickly. He had a nice, twisted romantic sensibility. Bazhaev also had his moments, and a wonderful disconnect between his self-image and his actions. Samir Mehran offers a world-class scowl and a serious goatee, but one suspects that another really bad criminal mastermind will emerge soon.

Political Intrigue, B
President Taylor has spent most of her screen time cooing over President Hassan in an attempt to keep the treaty alive. Like Jack, she hasn’t had much to do—though the discovery of File 33 and information that could neutralize U.S. nuclear defenses should kickstart things. Big hair and all, the personally and historically vain Omar Hassan could be a worthy adversary for Taylor, and the echo of the situation in Iran has added an element of contemporary international politics to the season.  

Dana Walsh, D-
There are people out there who think we Dana Deniers spend too much time dissecting this plotline. My response? The show spends too much time on the Dana plotline. It has sucked a lot of energy from 24 and effectively neutralized Cole. All I can figure is that Dana’s story was created so Katee Sackhoff would have something to do other than sit behind a computer. Or maybe, in the biggest twist in the history of 24, the writers have been testing our patience and will somehow pull it all together in the end.

Because when I first saw Stephen Root comin’ round the mountain as the Arkansas parole officer, I thought, 'What is this, The Night of the Living Clampetts?' But with his persistence and weird little mentions of his NYPD friend and IDRANs, he has at least added some curiosity to Dana’s situation. That said, how does she leave him in a holding room at CTU? And then how does he just go wandering around without anyone stopping him? After all, it wasn’t Bring Your Hillbilly To Work Day. Dana said it best: “We are in the middle of a national security crisis. I have to go back to my desk.”

Right. Get to work already. Your nation is counting on you.


Follow TV.com writer Matthew Jaffe on Twitter: @MattAtTVDotCom

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Enlist jack bauer - check
Kill the initial threat against usa - check
Fail to secure Bio/Radioactive weapon - check
Blow up/Poison CTU - check

Points to fulfill this season - Get betrayed by someone working inside ctu/presidential staff. Discover the final enemy, current terrorist is just a scapegoat. A couple of main characters is going to be killed off (provably Dana)
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it's true, this episode was great. but some of the renee episodes were right up there. i like that this season has been a little slow, some of the previous seasons had too much happening, this seems more realistic.
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24 is the best show in the world right now ......seasan 8 is very good and last night epiode was amazing fantastic i can give the show or last night episode it's right cuz what i say about 24 amazing or fantastic 24 is more then that
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It was in terms of plot devices the best episode of the season. The major problem I had with it was the EMP. An EMP wave would no more affect a person any more than a radio wave (unless said person had a pacemaker or some other electronic device in their body). So the car blowing up and various people flying around in CTU when the EMP was set off made no sense. But on the upside maybe with all the electronics in CTU wiped we can finally shed ourselves of the Dana storyline and replace it with political drama that 24 is so used to delivering.
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At best I give this episode a C+, and that's only because it ended on a high note, with that surprise package received by Hastings and CTU. Jack got one thing right: Call-in the NSA, and let the pro's handle the situation, because CTU has acted like a Class-A minor league franchise all season. With or without Stephen Root, the Dana Walsh plotline continues to drag the season down.
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It took 12 episodes !
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This was a great episode. The writers got rid of Vladamir WAY too early. Callum Keith Rennie plays incredible villians and Vlad did not disappoint. And a CKR/Sakhoff scene would have been epic.
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Thumbs up for this episode. I jumped when that guy came through the car window for Tarin, but was puzzled why he did not shoot first. Now I guess we know why. Stephen Roots has saved the Dana plot from the tremendously ridiculous stamp to kind-of-ridiculous. And the EMP thing was pure slight of hand, in a Governor Tarkin and Darth Vader sort of way. Princess Leia: They let us go. It was the only reason for the ease of our escape. Han Solo: Easy? You call that easy? Princess Leia: They're tracking us. Han Solo: Not this ship, sister. Princess Leia: [sighs] At least the information in R2 is still intact. Han Solo: What's so important? What's he carrying? Princess Leia: The technical readouts of that battle station. I only hope that when the data's analyzed a weakness can be found. It's not over yet.
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I agree lets just hope they get even better and don't go down again. This is one of my most fav shows on TV, please don't frak it up.
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Say it was the best episode this season; that's fine (as far as being the best of the worst goes)



Saying it was one of the best EVER?



Nothing this season has come CLOSE to ANY of the 48 episodes of Seasons 4 & 5 ... so it'd would be starting at #49: at best.



Of course that would mean ignoring anything associated with Nina completely ... so let's drop last night's episode down to about #70 ... so far.



Now let's throw in last season's White House invasion episode where Bill sacrificed himself ... that ONE episode beats everything from this season all by itself.



Break it down:

1) you mean ANYONE can just drive up to CTU's front door? Ummm ... I live in NYC. Since 9/11, every government building has a car bomb inspection outside. Nice research there writing team!



2) CTU visitors are left in unlocked/unsecured rooms so they can freely galavant around ... during a nuclear crisis?



... and those two are JUST from one of "the top 10 episodes of 24 ever"



Never understood the infatuation with Katie. Starbuck was a great character, but it was the writing that made her great. Katie was pretty much playing Starbuck again in The Bionic Woman. Now she's been given a HORRIBLE storyline with an massively unsympathetic character.



hmmmm ... maybe I should cut her some slack huh? Then again, the Dana Subplot has been a season-long "Kim & The Cougar".



... yet I still tune in like the Lemming I am every Monday @ 9PM; keeping hope alive.



"never give up; never surrender" (lol)
More+
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when I first heard about NBC taking over 24,i got disappointed but somehow at the moment i thought bringing fresh writers is essential for the show.but after watching the12th episode i think fox doesn't want to lose such a fantastic show.
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when I first heard about NBC taking over 24,i got disappointed but somehow at the moment i thought bringing fresh writers is essential for the show.but after watching the12th episode i think fox doesn't want to lose such a fantastic show.
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I COMPLETELY agree with this article
not only this episode was the greatest this season, it was the in the top 10 episodes of 24 ever.
by the way, did you notice that it was directed by a new director and written by to relatively new writers? it would be great to give them more chance when we see they can bring fresh ideas into 24
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yup i'm in total agreement not even dana's stupid storyline bothers me anymore and i'm just ashamed for ever doubting the show.
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You bet your ass it was! Screw all you naysayers who said "The Clock has run out" the EMP scene at the close was awesome and now I can't wait for next week. I just pray they wrap up the Dana/Cole side plot nonscence.
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the ending was the biggest twist i've ever seen in 24 history! wow! really really suprised
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Of course, this would be the one episode I missed! :o{ Do agree with the "Dana" assessment. Bad idea from the get-go...
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Looks Like I am the only one who thinks this season is great
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The episode was great and we are back! Can't wait until next week.
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Attention 24 fans… We’re running a campaign to try to have a Season 9. Show your support.

Save 24 - Give us a Season 9, add a #twibbon to your avatar now! - http://bit.ly/b84nqW

Also see www.tinyurl.com/save24
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Definitely the best episode of the season, Agreed with the Dana Walsh storyline stinking it up
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last night episode was fantastic . it was the best so far .i agree .....24
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Agree %100, finally this season is impressing me and I believe the writers can keep it up until the end! 10/10 for 3am-4am
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Agree that there's a repetition of scenarios this year and I'm half expecting and hoping for a twist that takes it in a different direction. As for Season 6, what really brought it down for me was the whole subplot involving Jack's brother and father.
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true one of the greatest episodes
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To say last night's 24 was the best this season is similar to saying Moe is the smartest of the 3 Stooges. This season is on par to be as bad and uninteresting as Season Six. If you remember that one included a group of Arab terrorists loose in LA who detonated a nuclear bomb. Sound familiar?
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Katie Sackhoff is stuck in the worst role ever created on "24" -- she isn't the problem, its the writers fault.



Getting rid of the awesome Callum Keith Rennie "Vladamir" was a huge mistake because it also got rid of Annie Wersching's "Renee" as well. (Plus, just one scene with Callum Keith Rennie and Katie Sackhoff would have totally made the Dana Walsh garbage worth it.)
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Good job on writing this article.
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I totally agree with this article.
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Nice writing!
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