Jack Est Retourner

So 24 is back! As one might well imagine, I'm fairly excited about this fact, but not so excited that I can't be bothered to offer some good-natured nitpicking of a couple of the show's weird choices. Specifically, I'd like to discuss how strange it is watching two episodes of 24 back-to-back. Despite the show's premise inviting marathon viewing, actually watching two episodes in a row brings the implausibility of the show's timeline into sharp focus.

Take, for example, the end of the first episode, wherein a hacked drone blew up an joint US/UK convoy in Afghanistan.

Thrilling way to close out the show leading to noon, right? Now let's check out a scene from the next episode, in which the drone pilot proclaims his innocence, trying in vain to convince people that his drone had been hijacked, and being countered with the evidence his accusers have gathered that the drone attack was an act of revenge against a supervisor who had slighted him.

According to that file, the military has gone through his online record and discovered threatening posts he made, as well as examined the 'flight key' that records all of his actions, and found planted evidence that he actually fired the missile in question. There's nothing wrong with the military being tricked by planted evidence - the villains are effective that way - the problem is that this scene, in which the accused is being informed of the charges and evidence arrayed against him, is happening FIFTEEN MINUTES after the attack. How is that long enough for any of that evidence to have been put together? Shouldn't they still be figuring out what happened?

In this scene, Tate Donovan reveals the the UK's opposition party has started claiming that the US government is whitewashing the investigation into the attack and covering up its findings. This scene is set at 12:30PM - a single half-hour after the attack. The investigation hasn't even realistically started yet. How can they be covering anything up when nothing is known just yet? I know they're making a statement about how rabidly critical that

This habit of eliding over just how long things take even bleeds into the show's oft-times sketchy relationship with morality. Take, for example, Jack's mini-debate with Chloe about Wikileaks in the second episode. Jack feels it's dangerous to just put secrets out there for anyone to see, while Chloe suggests that the CIA keeps things secret because those things are incredibly illegal. The conversation ends at a stalemate, despite the fact that Chloe has a fairly major card that goes unplayed-

Less than half an hour ago, Jack rescued Chloe from a secret CIA torture dungeon in which she was almost murdered by the US government. Maybe the president is a great guy, as Jack suggests, but the fact that the government is regularly signing off on these types of activities would tend to put more weight onto Chloe's side of the argument. Except that torture/rescue scene happened in a previous episode, and although the timeline suggests that Chloe should still be high off the adrenalin Jack used to save her life, the producers are hoping we'll think of that as the distant past.

None of these problems would seem all that bad with a full week of downtime between episodes - the producers rely on the fogginess of the audiences' memories, confident that if viewers just have a general sense of what happened last time, the week since they last saw an episode will blend in with the show's timeline, and the rate at which all this is happening won't seem so preposterous.

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