Besides Jack, Chloe is the one constant in 24. Since Day 3, her character has always been loyal (to Jack, at least), competent and involved in the action with very little personal drama or wasted subplots getting in the way.
However, during the last two days, Chloe was always treated as a sideshow- forced to withstand the mendacity of the intellectually challenged Agents Janis, Arlo and Dana. But tonight, that all changed. 24 may be the story of the longest days in Jack Bauer’s life, but tonight’s episode was all Chloe.
It would be an understatement to say that Chloe has been underused this season. Just like last season, Chloe has played the part of a fish out of water in the new CTU (although last year, it was the FBI). But in her actions tonight to get CTU back up and running after an EMP attack, Chloe’s story brought me back to simpler times when she stopped a terrorist’s runaway car with an automatic weapon. Or that time she put down a lecherous barfly with a taser.
With CTU’s computer system out of commission thanks to an EMP attack and the NSA honing in on CTU’s territory, Chloe took matters into her own hands and went rogue, Bauer-style. She pulled a gun on the head NSA tech and locked herself in the server room, trying a risky procedure to get the computers back online. Her plan almost didn’t work, and was nearly foiled before Hastings stepped in to give her more time. Not only did she restore CTU’s servers, but she also got Agent Renee back in the action, as she was the one person Chloe trusted to help Jack, who was unreachable.
I did worry for Chloe for a second, after she got the computers back online. One of the servers blew a circuit (technical term) and Chloe told Hastings that she needed another minute or two in the server room. Usually, it’s at that moment when the whole system goes kablooey (another technical term) and fries any and all in the vicinity. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and Chloe was back upstairs getting everything else under control.
In a surprise development, I have to say that I’m starting to like Hastings. Sure, he’s still a perv. And he’s got that hunchback thing going on. But lately, he’s been showing some backbone. Early on this season, he looked like another pencil pusher whose priority was anything but fighting terrorists. But lately, whether it’s standing up to the FBI, striking a deal with Jack, or sitting back and letting Chloe do her thing, he’s been an effective head of CTU. And that’s good to see.
His only shortcoming tonight was, as Chloe suggested, not sending any reinforcements into the field for Jack. Jack, Agent Owen, Agent Freddy and some other CTU agent tracked the bad guys to a pier and were immediately pinned down by snipers. They sat out the longest shoot-out (necessary for everything to go down at CTU) before Jack made a play to use the world’s last landline phone to call CTU. Jack’s play involved stealing an idea from the A-Team; cannibalizing his vehicle for a shield.
Unfortunately, Agent Owen and the other member of the CTU junior squad had never seen an episode of the A-Team. Consequently, they panicked, not realizing the shield would hold. And they died. Letting Agent Freddy make a run for the phone, Jack took a few bullets to his vest and ended up in one of the sniper’s crosshairs before being saved by the return of Agent Renee.
Unfortunately, while Jack, Freddy and Renee stopped the snipers, the main terror squad, headed up by Tarin and the dude with the goatee was across the river, loading the nuclear rods into a taxi. And in tonight’s most shocking development, they now have an ally at CTU. Agent Dana gave 24 fans even more of a reason to hate her- in addition to having a horrible, boring sub-plot, she’s now evil, making a phone call to the terrorists in the episode’s closing minutes.
In addition to the call, she also killed Stephen Root. In the discussion after last week’s episode, pretty much everyone thought that Root’s character would turn out to be much more than a parole officer. Unfortunately, he was just that, and he went out like a chump. I thought it was upsetting because it was a waste of such a great actor, even if the idea of some jabroni parole officer making himself at home at CTU during a terrorist attack was implausible to say the least. At least Root got something out of his death scene by copping a feel on Dana as she choked him out.
Dana thought she was being clever by hiding his body in a super-sized ventilation duct. However, she apparently didn’t notice one thing: she left her fingerprints all over the room.
I think CTU’s crack squad is going to trace this back to her and soon, thanks to some lingering odors. I’m not talking about his body decomposing, at least not yet. But Root’s character was in the car all day. He was probably overripe before he got to CTU. That room won’t be smelling CTU fresh for long.
Overall, I thought tonight’s episode was above average, especially in the wake of the last few weeks. I’m glad Dana’s evil, because now I have a rational reason for disliking her. I’d still like there to be a bigger bad guy, but there’s time for that.
One other thought:
-CTU started recovery efforts pretty quickly. Last week, I bemoaned the fact that CTU’s machinery wasn’t protected from an EMP attack. According to Popular Mechanics, it’s costly, but not that difficult.
What did you think?