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24: Season 7 - 10pm to 11pm (Review)

24, Season 7

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the Season 7 episode of 24 entitled 10pm – 11pm (as aired on Sky1 on Monday, March 30, 2009).

What’s the story? As the president’s daughter (Sprague Grayden) becomes increasingly involved in the day’s events, Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) and Tony (Carlos Bernard) go after the WMD Starkwood had shipped from Sangalla.

Was it any good? We’re over the halfway mark on Day 7 of 24 but there’s no sign of a let up in quality, tension or surprises. 10pm to 11pm was another cracking episode that combined action and moral dilemmas aplenty.

Admittedly, I feared the worst when the episode began with an unknown security guard ringing his wife to say goodnight, only to be employed by Jack and Tony to help them get to Starkwood. The stage appeared to be being set for another expendable innocent to be sacrificed – a recurring theme of the season so far.

Instead, it served to bring Jack to a crossroads in terms of who he was prepared to sacrifice for the greater good. And, just when it seemed that the guard was going to be killed off, Jack intervened – thereby compromising his cover and landing himself and Tony in a firefight with 10 mercenaries they could not win.

The implications of that decision formed the basis for the cliffhanger ending that ensued. Tony was captured and, in trying to steal the consignment of WMD in a lorry, Jack became exposed to whatever was inside.

The WMD itself was lost and then retrieved by the Starkwood task force, who subsequently airlifted it into the Washington night sky – leaving Jack to explain to the now sympathetic FBI boss Larry Moss (Jeffrey Nordling) that he needed a different kind of assistance.

The conclusion could well mark a watershed in this series. It could mark the point at which everyone stops ignoring and even hunting Jack, to listening and trusting him. We hope so…

But it’s a measure of 24‘s ability to keep us guessing, and even play on our pre-existing knowledge, that it could pull so many surprises. What seemed like an inevitability at the start of the episode (the slaying of an innocent security guard) was cleverly turned on its head to set up an alternative scenario.

As ever, Sutherland was brilliant at mixing the pent-up regret and frustration of his central character with a ruthless determination to succeed, no matter what the personal cost.

Nordling, meanwhile, finally displayed some positive thinking that enabled him to see past the cover-up designed to implicate Jack in just about every murder/assassination that has littered this series. How long they will remain allies, however, is an entirely different matter.

And just what has Jack been exposed to?

Many people had written off 24 as a spent force following its forgettable sixth day, but the change of personnel and location has really enlivened it.

Day 7 has set a cracking pace and while certainly prone to excessive set pieces (such as the storming of the White House), has competently juggled clever and topical story-telling with emotionally complex and involving character development (witness Bob Gunton’s heartfelt decision to resign his post in the early moments of this episode alone).

Of the topical stuff, it’s worth noting that the rise of privately financed armies is a hot topic in America right now (the forthcoming remake of State of Play charts similar territory), while the issues concerning torture and human rights is something that even 24 hasn’t been able to escape. Long may the current brilliance of this show continue…

What did you think?