24 – “Day 8: 3:00 A.M. – 4:00 A.M. “
What 24 needs right now is an hour long episode filled with every element that has made the show successful for the past four years. Unfortunately, previous episodes this season have failed to deliver these elements, and Season 8 has suffered because of it. That said, however, this episode was a breath of fresh air; a reminder that 24's writers and show runners still know how to keep their fans on their toes.
24 is a show where one must suspend their idea of what is real and what isn't, or what is possible and what is impossible. The first season of the show was slightly more realistic than any of the seasons that followed, and it appears we'll never have a season so simple in the way the plot is laid out. Season 8 has undergone at least four different villain changes so far. Just as we grow used to the intricacies that are controlling these bad guys, they're killed off. The most disappointing death so far was Josef Bazhaev. They introduced him, hinted at his motives and than killed him off as if he were nothing more than a glorified extra. I was disappointed, especially since the villain who took his place, Samir, is so bland and two-dimensional (can a character be one-dimensional? Because Samir is really pushing it..) But Taran has proven to be a clever, sneaky and complex character. When he showed up on CTU's cameras, I was completely shocked. I expected him to be dead, but 24 is one of those shows where you can never be sure somebody is dead until you see their body being lowered into the ground (and I'm sure it's questionable even then).
Stephen Root as Ben Prady, Kevin Wade's parole officer, has taken the increasingly irritating plot about Dana and her wrong-doings and raised the stakes a little bit. He plays his character pretty straightforward, but nobody can deny they get the chills just a little bit after seeing him widen his eyes and interrogate someone. He brings an intensity that I wasn't expecting from that character, and it'll be interesting to see whether or not he's going to make a return next week. I agree with what I've read from dozens of users on this website, as well as critics on other websites: The writers had better have one incredible reason for focusing so heavily on this character, because right now there's no excuse for taking so much time to focus on a brand-new character while taking away from scenes with older characters.
The introduction of the mysterious and potentially game-changing File 33 could turn out to be extremely important to the rest of the season. It's interesting to see that Hassan, behind all of his plans to align with the United States government, is actually gathering intelligence on them, intelligence that is highly classified and revolves around nuclear defense systems, something I'm assuming President Taylor will not take lightly. Speaking of President Taylor, where the hell is she? Am I the only person who's completely frustrated by the lack of her pre-scene the last few weeks? It's one thing when you go a week without Renee or a week without Chloe, but the President of the United States, a character who was lauded by critics and fans alike, won an Emmy for her performance and has brought intensity to each and every scene she's in? Unforgivable. Bring her back next week or I will go Jack Bauer all over the writers.
The ending, as the previews last week hinted at, was a game-changer and will definitely give the show a lot to work with next week, but I sort of wish I hadn't watched the preview. It was an interesting marketing technique, to say the least, but giving us the exact time in the episode when the shocking events will happen? It slightly lessens the impact. Although I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, as soon as 3:52 rolled around, I was fully expecting something intense to happen. An intriguing marketing technique, but a huge spoiler at the same time.
So far, halfway through the season, I wouldn't say this is the worst season of 24, but it's far from the show's best moments. It's right next to Season 6 as my least favorite season, but after this episode, I'm hoping to see some more great moments. This episode had the action, the twists, the great character moments and really made me latch onto Taran as a villain. He's clearly a complex guy, and it'll be interesting to see what his motives are as the show goes on.