Under the right circumstances, silence can be more powerful than sound. In Hollywood movies, it’s always entertaining to see an explosion or two, but in the grand scheme of things, which is more eerie: the explosion itself or the silence that lingers over the aftermath? 24 has perfected the use of silence to achieve a more powerful effect via the silent clock that sometimes ends each episode. Normally, each episode of 24 ends with the ominous “beep, beep” sound byte, indicating that we’ve reached the end of yet another hour in the life of Jack Bauer (it also indicates when the narrative is about to be interrupted by increasingly irritating and lengthy commercials involving the Old Spice guy who rides backwards on a horse and Walmart “Rollback” sales). However, in a particularly powerful moment, 24 will turn towards an interesting gimmick: the silent clock. Instead of turning to the “beeps,” episodes that end on an emotionally heavy note will end in silence, as if to magnify the tragedy that has occurred. In last week’s two-part episode, 24 turned to the silent clock for the first time this season, providing some of the best twists, action sequences and dialogues between characters that we’ve seen so far in Season 8.
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