"Day 6: 11AM - 12PM"
Written by Joel Surnow and Michael Loceff
Directed by Milan Cheylov
In which the terrorist plot continues as President Palmer deals with conflicting advice and political maneuvering among his advisors and Jack deals with his family issues...
Status Report - Final Analysis
In the previous episode, it wasn't clear how Jack knew that his brother was up to something related to the terrorist attacks. Nor was it clear why Graem Bauer would want to see his brother dead. One reason is perhaps too obvious: his parents named him "Graem". That would be enough for most people, especially when your brother is "Jack". How did Jack end up with so few vowels?
Graem's explanation for his connection to McCarthy sounds logical enough, but it's obvious from the beginning that he's being rather selective with what he reveals to Jack. Still, it goes a long way towards explaining what kind of business Graem and Papa Bauer had been involved with over the years, and why Jack might be seen as a threat. If Graem is ruthless enough to allow thousands of people to die for his own interests (in at least the past two seasons), why not eliminate his own brother?
For all that his perspective might have broad support, Tom's activities do step over the line. He also continues to support the president while undermining his dictates. It certainly doesn't speak well for his position that he conspires to remove someone who dares to keep his proposals within reasonable boundaries. More to the point, if his position is the correct one, why does he need to blackmail and attack his philosophical opponents? The answer is simple: he knows his position is untenable otherwise.
Ironically, if Karen had such a high regard for Wayne's ethics and fair-minded thinking, she would have simply disclosed the situation about Bill and Fayed and let the chips fall where they may. Bowing down to Tom at this point only gives him the chance to use the information at a later time of his choosing, and the resignation would be seen as admission of guilt.
For once, the drama at CTU is related less to soap opera nonsense and more to the national security issues already on the table. It also draws the fine distinction between racial identity and religious identity, and how mistaking one for the other can be a disastrous error. (Leaving aside, for the moment, the recent trend of casting Latina women for Middle-Eastern roles, as on "NCIS"!)
Sandra Palmer continues to be ridiculously naive regarding the needs of counter-terrorism efforts. One would expect that someone dedicated to protecting the rights of a beleaguered population would understand the nuances involved. Her concerns is naturally for Walid's safety, but she should also be considering the benefit of cooperating under these circumstances and showing how valuable American Islamic support can be to anti-terrorism efforts. Even though the intelligence was ultimately incorrect, the due diligence of following that lead was necessary.
That said, Walid is not an undercover agent, and they never should have expected him to do anything requiring any measure of finesse. It was that miscalculation that led to his beating. Sandra Palmer, of course, sees it differently, as though they allowed Walid to be brutalized for nothing. She ought to know the simple concept of 20/20 hindsight.
This is the second episode in a row where the FOX promotional division spoiled the end of an episode. While this is nothing new for the idiots at FOX, it is incredibly annoying for fans looking for the most exciting and unspoiled experience each and every week. This complete and utter incompetence on the part of FOX, the latest in a laundry list of blunders, should be openly lambasted.
However, that is nothing compared to the major flaw creeping into the storyline. After establishing Jack's lack of confidence over the course of the first four episodes, a psychological state that made sense within the context provided, the writers have seemingly abandoned that aspect of the character in favor of an immediate reversion to his usual cold-blooded efficiency. None of the self-doubt seems to remain, and so the potential for a long and revealing restoration has effectively vanished. It's not too late for that to slip back into the story, but as the writers begin working on the fly again, it's doubtful. Once again, the writers trade quality for expediency.
Overall, this episode continued the slow but steady exploration of the consequences of the terrorist attack earlier in the season. While the drama at CTU is thankfully centered on more realistic and topical concerns, as opposed to tired relationship issues, some character choices remain hard to reconcile. Also, the writers have abandoned an important element of the earlier episodes, which takes something away from the depth of the arc.
Final Rating: 6/10
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