Quick Hits: “24″ Season 8 — 20:00 to 21:00
Once again, it’s a Monday night in the New Year, which means family night with “24”. As I mentioned last week, my folks come over for the one show they watch to catch it on the big screen TV. The benefit to me is my Mom’s a wicked solid cook and I get a home cooked meal… and the impetus to leave work early.
As I’m going to try to do all season, here are my quick hitter thoughts on last night’s episode. Spoilers ahead, so don’t read unless you’ve already watched the episode.
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On the Menu:
Mom cooked up some poached salmon with Greek tomato salad and spanikorizo (spinach and rice in a tomato sauce). Not my favorite dish (cold fish should not be in a form other than sushi or tuna salad), but it was still darned good. I’m gonna have to push for Brunswick stew, Greek beef stew or corned beef and cabbage for next week.
On the telly:
Am I the only one who thinks that the producers may have put it in their minds to have Renee Walker as a possible replacement for Jack Bauer next year? Renee actually plays almost exactly like a composite of Jack in each prior season. Ironically, it is Jack playing the role of the tempering figure (a role previously held relative to Jack by just about every other CTU employee not named Chloe O’Brien).
Renee’s over the edge actions seemed at first to just be a bit much. Sawing a dude’s finger off and convincing him that she did it for his benefit and that he will be fine afterwards is just about the most ridiculous of many ridiculous things “24” has ever pulled off. Chick removed his digit and once she says $2 million dollars he forgets all about it and defends / semi-vouches for her at Vladimir’s. Let’s not forget that he was all worried about the device being proven to be tampered with. Do you think his probation officer isn’t going to flip out if he sees the guy no thumb holding on his tracking device? That just gonna be cool?
I always love abhorring the stupid little side stories that “24” comes up with. They’re almost always ridiculous and only remotely brought from their tangential position into play with the main story. In this season, it’s Starbuck’s relationship with the Appalachian Ex-Con that takes the cake. We get a little back story here: the AEC has just gotten out of prison for a homicide of some sort and Starbuck (PS, I refuse to call Dana Walsh by anything other than her true “BSG” name) also served time as an accomplice to said homicide. The AEC is back in her life and blackmailing her to set him up (through her job at CTU) with a six-figure robbery score. Starbuck seems to agree to give in.
Last week I complained about Starbuck’s background check. In every damn season, CTU has been infiltrated by a mole of some sort. As a result, they must have background checks that are at least somewhat effective. Add in that the building uses biometrics and we know that they have Starbuck’s fingerprints on file. So my first “suspending suspension of disbelief” moment of the year is this: “24” is going to try to explain away them not figuring out Starbuck is a freaking ex-con accomplice to murder with the simple explanation that she was a minor when she was convicted…. Umm, no. I have a very, very hard time believing that a felon can have their record completely expunged for a crime of that caliber or that, even if the record were sealed, that their fingerprints wouldn’t come up flagged in some regard by a CTU agency that serves as a partial TV proxy for the NSA. I’m calling bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit. I was already not wild with what they were doing with Katee Sackoff, but this is starting to peeve me.
Back to the ever lovely tangential stories, the relationship between President Hassan and his wife is just a bit much. Unless she becomes another Sherry Palmer (please!), let’s just let her slide away. I don’t care if she’s to blame, he’s to blame or they’re jointly to blame for their marriage going to shit.
Speaking of annoying ex- and soon-to-be-ex-wives, President Taylor has to be the most ridiculous of four very ridiculous “24” Presidents. We’ve had a treasonous bastard (Logan), a soft skinned brother (Wayne Palmer) and a guy who’s post-Presidential gig was selling All-State Insurance (David Palmer… though he did help get Obama elected, so he does get credit for that). The elder Palmer kind of rocked (despite being a bad enough President that all he does is walk into assassination attempts), but for as bad as Logan and Wayne were, Allison Taylor is just plain dreadful. In this episode, we see her get hoity toity (like she did last season when turning her own daughter in for murder or stopping Jack from using torture to save DC from a bioweapon) by objecting to Hassan’s crackdown on conspirators against him in the IRK. Admittedly, it looks like the writers tried to frame an Iranian-Twitter type uprising against the crackdown, but please. President Taylor is just plain ridiculous.
Anyways, we’ve seen a bit more of our two additional repurposed actors (“Alias” alum David “Sark” Anders as Josef Bazhaev and “BSG” skinjob Callum Keith “Leoben” Rennie as Vladimir Laitanan). So far, Bazhaev has been somewhat of a sad sack, taking care of his brother in one of those tangential storylines that will eventually be rewoven to allow Jack a lead on the uranium. Meanwhile, Laitanan seems like a character with some real promise.
Anyway, time has run out on Quick Hitters for this week. But not before mentioning that we’ve had our earliest 5 minute turnaround by my Dad yet. Usually it’s not until mid-season that he starts to curse the ridiculousness and predictability of the show. But, sure enough, at 20:52, he complained “This show isn’t worth it anymore.” Exactly seven minutes later, he instructed my Mom to wait before the next week’s preview before getting up to pack up and leave. Yep, for as much as the show is ridiculous and you can’t deal with it, you are powerless to stop watching.
Help us Jack Bauer… you’re our only hope.
[Ed Note: I don't actually think Renee would replace Jack, but we're definitely seeing somewhat of a character transition]