Season 8 Episode 19

Day 8: 10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 26, 2010 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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  • Character assassination

    This episode is a perfect example of how this season has gone completely off the rails. There are many familiar "24" elements and tropes throughout the hour, but the logic is missing in many areas and some character assassination continues.

    Most of the issues surround Jack and his chess match with Chloe throughout the episode. The writers had set up Jack to be taken down by one of his closest allies. Chloe was suddenly (and inexplicably) placed in charge of CTU, and under pressure to serve the demands of the President, had every reason to follow orders. And in fact, that's exactly what she did, while ostensibly using her relationship with Jack as a tool to get the job done.

    That was all logical. What didn't make sense was Jack's realization that he was being played. How many times has Chloe, despite enormous pressure to fall in line, bucked the system to support Jack? Even when there was little to no evidence that Jack was right? It's practically her character's reason to exist. In fact, it was made clear earlier this very season that Chloe is still too wrapped up in her own world and loyalties to know when to shut up and fall in line, when she kept butting head with Hastings!

    All of which is plenty of reason to question how Jack would come to the conclusion that Chloe's apparent support was a ruse. Nothing that Chloe said or did was outside of her usual behavior, and Jack never gave an indication that he was questioning her support. Yet when all is said and done, Jack isn't just banking on Chloe to tow the party line; he's predicting which agent she's going to send to ambush him!

    This flies in the face of what Jack Bauer's strengths are supposed to be. This season is all about learning from past experience. But in this instance, Jack's conclusions are in direct conflict with what experience would be telling him. Instead, Jack demonstrates a superhuman level of intuition and insight that just doesn't feel earned.

    And that is unfortunate, because the point that the writers try to make is well-intentioned. They want to stress, through Jack's choices and actions, that he is not on a violent rampage of revenge. He may be motivated by personal pain, but he's apparently transforming that into fuel for pursuit of justice. This is a good thing, but not when it requires Jack to act out of character in the process.

    Similarly, President Taylor is once again pushed into territory that the principled character from the seventh season never would have touched. The writers themselves make it clear that this is not typical behavior for Taylor, and even try to put together a reasonable defense for her decision to seek a legacy despite her moral objections. But it just doesn't ring true, and the idea that Charles Logan would twist up Taylor's mind enough for her to accept his reasoning is ludicrous. If anything, Taylor would have been diametrically opposed to everything about Logan's agenda!

    It also ignores the growing evidence, flashed right in Taylor's face, that Logan is hip-deep in the Russian/IRK terrorism that has taken place, and he's more interested in covering up his own involvement than seeing to the good of the nation or the world. It's hard to imagine that Logan, given his cynical bent, would think of this peace process as an adequate reason for the ends to justify the means. (After all, any peace process built on such a flimsy foundation would hardly last.) The net effect is to undermine President Taylor in an overall sense.

    Overall, this episode continues the season-long tendency to forego established character logic in favor of plot expediency. It is a similar problem to the writing techniques employed in the fifth and sixth seasons, and the quality of the show is suffering as much as it did then.