Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Day 9: 4:00 - 5:00 PM

Where 24 was concerned, absence did make the heart grow fonder. But now I fear that familiarity breeds contempt. I wasn't thrilled by this week's new episode, that backslid into an awful lot of 24's old tricks. I could talk about Jack's big play to get undercover with a criminal organization in a matter of minutes, or having to watch one of our heroes endure a torture session, or about the reemergence of the boring Russian subplot from the final seasons of the show. But let's instead go straight to the most cliche, most tired element from the 24 writers' handbook: a mole.

Why does there always have to be a mole? Do the writers think it has to be this way? Do they think we like the formula always, always, always including this? Surely they don't think there's actually any suspense associated with this in any way, not when it plays out the same damn way every time. Early in the episode, when the plucky tech analyst started dredging up Kate's back story and Navarro pushed him off it, my friend watching the episode with us bellowed "MOLE!" and pointed to the screen like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And of course, 45 minutes later, the "shocking" end of the episode revealed that to be exactly the case. Yawn.

Other aspects of the episode were perhaps not as typical, but were just as silly and/or predictable. This season's villain, Margot, has been fun so far due to her extreme psychosis. But now she's picked up a healthy dose of "dumb," and that isn't fun. How delusional do you have to be to cut off your daughter's finger and kill her husband all in the span of an hour-and-a-half, and then send her out to run errands for you? Yes, Margot, I double-guess you. Slap me.

We might have gotten some decent tension out of Jack's attempts to work his cover and get information, but that was fairly well deflated by the knowledge that the MI-5 team was moving in. The moment the Prime Minister dispatched them, you knew they would show up just in time to simultaneously save the day and ruin the plan.

We didn't even get any drinks out of the hour to lighten the mood. British tactical teams apparently don't set up "perimeters," Jack opted for "son of a bitch" as his curse of the hour, and the only person who talked about doing something in "less than an hour" stubbornly refused to use the approved phrasing. Apparently, avoiding the buzz words is what passes for "shaking things up" among the writing staff.

I was bored and disappointed for the first time this season. I'd give the episode a C. Here's hoping this is just a dip in the road and not the beginning of a slide into more of the same.

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