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24: Season 7 - 1pm to 2pm (Review)

24, Day 7

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 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 1pm – 2pm (as aired on Sky1 on Monday, February 2, 2009).

What’s the story? President Taylor (Cherry Jones) is faced with an angry cabinet after an unpopular decision results in the loss of many American lives in a terrorist attack. Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) and Tony (Carlos Bernard) convince Prime Minister Matobo (Isaach De Bankole) to go along with their plan when their undercover mission is revealed in a showdown with Emerson. Meanwhile, Henry (Colm Feore) is stuck in an unthinkable situation, paralyzed and unable to help Samantha Roth when she returns home to find Agent Gedge in her apartment.

Was it any good? After the high of last week’s episode finale, 24 continued to raise the stakes as the clock ticked on from 1pm to 2pm. But there were also one or two warning signs that Day 7 could be repeating old territory.

On the plus side, Jack and Tony’s contined alliance delivered more thrilling fireworks. Tony’s clinical killing of Emerson and his cohort was slickly executed, while a face/off with Dubaku’s allies was also exciting and well-choreographed.

President Taylor, meanwhile, continues to prove herself an excellent First Lady, emerging as unshakeable in her resolve to not be held to ransom by the latest terrorist threat to her country.

But that also brings us to the first problems. Ever since detonating a nuclear bomb in Season 2, 24 has faced an ongoing problem of how to top that threat level.

When it does so successfully, as in Season 5, it’s among the strongest shows on television. When it fails to do so and thereby stretches the realms of credibility, or feels like it’s repeating itself, 24 can often be quite trying.

In this latest hour, Dubaku (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) managed to stage a mid-air collision between two US aircraft within view of The White House, to demonstrate how far he was willing to go to persuade President Taylor from invading his country. The casualties ran into the hundreds.

He next has a power station in mind, with casualties running into thousands… President Taylor, meanwhile, has an angry cabinet to contend with, several of whom appear to be plotting an overthrow.

Given the catastrophic events that have befallen 24‘s America in recent series, another major disaster would seem to be straining credibility still further… and this strain is a result of the show’s insatiable desire to raise the stakes with each series. It’s a strength and a weakness.

Likewise, a challenge to President Taylor’s authority would seem to be replicating the events of Seasons 2 and 6, which wouldn’t be the best course of action.

That’s not to say Day 7 isn’t enjoyable. Indeed, on current form, it’s likely to take its place among 24‘s best seasons. But there are causes for concern.

Another plus, however, is the secondary story involving Henry Taylor’s (Colm Feore)‘s ongoing search for his son’s killers. Last seen drugged and paralysed, and facing near-certain death, he was now forced to watch as his son’s killer brutally stabbed informant Samantha Roth in front of him. It was a cold-blooded, staged murder that had echoes of a similar murder in the movie, Michael Clayton.

Henry was able to eventually save himself and kill Agent Gedge, but remains in a dire predicament… not completely able to move freely, and with another rogue government agent waiting outside.

It’s tribute to 24‘s continued ability to juggle several different storylines and characters and still be able to make each one exciting. Let’s just hope Henry has a few more hours left in him yet… as his story is another of Day 7’s successes so far.

And let’s also hope that the pitfalls that have befallen past seasons don’t come back to haunt the otherwise excellent Day 7 as we continue to move forward…

Read our verdict on the previous episode