"Day 6: 5PM - 6PM"
Written by Evan Katz, David Fury, and Howard Gordon
Directed by Tim Iacofano
In which Jack is forced into a difficult situation when Logan's contact is uncooperative, while the fallout of the assassination attempt brings a new philosophy to the table...
Status Report - Final Analysis
This episode represents the mid-point of the season, and coming into this installment, the writers seem to have lost a lot of focus. After a strong start with an unexpected level of destruction, suspense, and loss, the writers have failed to maintain that level of tension and complexity. The main villains seem to be shuffled off to the side, while Bauer family politics have been introduced in a rather ham-fisted and unsatisfying manner.
The best aspect of the previous episode, the assassination attempt against President Palmer, takes away some of Jack's support system. This is a tried and true tactic used in nearly every season. Like in other situations, Jack is in a somewhat compromised position when it happens. For all that Logan speaks of redemption, this is the perfect time for him to make a move. And this would also suggest, under the right circumstances, a connection between Philip Bauer, Logan, and the conspiracy against Palmer.
There's still no attempt to explain Philip Bauer's decision to let Jack live or put him in contact with Logan, but that shouldn't reflect directly on this episode. Logan's conversation with Markov was a lot of fun, and Gregory Itzin gets some time to shine. It's only a short time in the spotlight, of course, since Jack needs to raid another consulate and torture another diplomat.
Back at CTU, Chloe is back in her usual role as Jack's secret support team, complete with a mission that has to be kept from everyone else. Thankfully, that doesn't last long (much like Morris' coping issues, apparently). Jack is instead forced to wait on the sanction of the acting Daniels administration. Jack gets that sanction from one side of Daniels' mouth, and he's sold out by the other. So while Jack manages to get the critical intel, he's in no position to make use of it.
Despite the fact that he would make an easy scapegoat along with Assad, Tom Lennox is given a chance to survive by Reed, who seems to think that the conspiracy can afford to play the odds during such a delicate time. Tom displays his true loyalty and patriotism by exposing Reed. This is a nice bit of complication for Tom's character at this stage of the game, since he's likely to be implicated as well. After what he did with Karen Hayes, it's well deserved, but it's hard not to like his choices now.
It seems unlikely that Vice-President Daniels was directly involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Wayne Palmer, as it would be a foolish thing to do if he wanted control. His interaction with Tom is therefore rather important. Daniels comes across as an opportunist more than a ringleader, but after Logan's inexplicable reveal in the fifth season, it wouldn't be hard to imagine that Daniels was the one who started the conspiracy.
Assad's death is a serious blow to the season. His rapport with Jack was a strong element earlier in the premiere, and he was completely misused after that point in the narrative. None of the other supporting characters have his presence. Even Logan, a relatively compelling character in the fifth season, doesn't have that gravitas.
This episode provides the usual "24" hook of setting a new short-term deadline for another terrorist attack. The writers give themselves two more episodes to work out some scenario for Gredenko's plan. Perhaps in that short stretch of time, the writers will clarify the terrorist connections and some of the other disparate plot threads dangling since the premiere. With the season now on the downhill stretch towards the finale, it's time to start pulling the pieces together and making sense of it.
Overall, this episode brings the season to a mid-point that represents the season as a whole. While there are some good elements related to the Palmer administration and the Russian consulate, the scenes with Jack bring nothing new to the table. A sense of the overly familiar is beginning to take hold, and the challenge will be to find a way to make the rest of the season fresh and exciting.
Final Rating: 7/10
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