“24” airs 9/8c Monday nights on Fox

Synopsis: Agent Moss calls down a stand-off with Hodges’ troops, but creates a diversion so Tony can get inside the compound to find WMDs. Jack is struggling with his infection. Olivia Taylor meets with a newsmaker to get a story covered up.

Review: First off, let me apologize for the absence the last two weeks. I was out of town the first week and incapacitated by a busy workload the second. But let me answer some questions regarding the latest developments on 24.

RE: Jack’s infection - I like it. Now, I’m pretty sure that Kiefer Sutherland is signed on through an 8th season, so I think we all know how this plotline will end, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting. It’s always intriguing to me to see Jack lose the ability to control himself. If you all remember Season 3 when Jack was going through heroin withdrawals, this is just another obstacle for Jack. Plus, if it brings him closer to Renee Walker and brings back Kim Bauer, I’m on board for that. I really hope Renee sticks around for the whole season and next season. Otherwise, if them giving Jack a deadly virus is them saying “Things with Kiefer have been bad ever since his run-ins with the law,” I’d be afraid if Fox tries to “Lost” him. If you watch “Lost,” you know that at least three of those characters were killed off because the real life actors were convicted of DUIs. But since ABC is owned by Disney it became a morality thing that I don’t think is any concern for the network that ran “Temptation Island” and “The Moment of Truth.” So, it’s either Jack will be cleansed of the disease before the 24th hour or the show gets handed over to Annie Werschling. I don’t see the latter happening.

RE: Jon Voight - Whoa. He’s bad. Voight is achieving new heights of over-acting, and for that I give him credit, but he hasn’t been this out-of-the-box since his overly diabolical performance as head coach of a high school football team in Varsity Blues. In this episode, he does some very intimidating things, including killing someone with a blunt instrument, yet I’m just not sold. “24” has had its share of high-profile actors as villains, going all the way back to Dennis Hopper in Season 1. Voight may be as bad as James Cromwell was last season. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. And also, does Rory Cochrane’s Greg Seaton still have immunity? I’m not sure how that works. He gave the President faulty information, but since the letter of immunity is signed, is he still exempt from future wrong-doings? And how come Hodges didn’t kill him the instant the FBI left?

RE: Olivia Taylor - Sigh. They got rid of Rhys Coiro’s Sean from being a distraction from the main plot, and what do they do but bring in Sprague Grayden’s Olivia as even bigger distraction. She spends 20 minutes having sex (off-screen of course) and then has enough time to blackmail someone with her video-phone* at the end. Oh, by the way – Tony just found a nuclear weapon . . . but you know, let’s devote 15 minutes of screen time to this pointlessness.

Overall, weak episode. I did like how easily Tony was able to maneuver throughout the underground compound, that made me laugh. Also, he’s in an elevator going down to where there are WMDs and someone sticks their hand in there before the elevator door closes . . . and Tony doesn’t at least put his hand on his gun? Really? That could’ve been a dude standing there with an AK-47 trained at Tony’s head and he just would’ve taken it. Jack Bauer never would’ve let that happen.

* I know they have to get some product placement in the episodes, but the whole “I’m sending you live video with my Sprint phone” thing was more than a little ridiculous. In a 42-minute episode, we saw three different shots of video someone had recorded with their cell phones. This show uses all the technology at the disposal of the U.S. government, yet what it comes down to is Hodges and Tony sending video with their phones to make the two biggest decisions of the episode: To start an airstrke; then to call one off.

Sprint: “Don’t start a nuclear civil war without our camera phones.”

Next week: Hodges visits the White House, inexplicably. I’d fear for Tony’s safety in this one, too.

What did you think of this week’s episode of 24?

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