Let’s start with the better storylines. Grimes confirms that he wants two mill for the McGuffin, in 45 minutes, or he’ll be selling it to the terrorists. Cash, mind you; none of the fancy-schmancy electronic transfers which have become de rigueur in procedurals these days. Problem: Carter doesn’t have access to that sort of money, and nor does Rebecca, who in any event has a more immediate problem: using her authority as the former director of CTU (?) she’s detained Keith, and wants him to provide his login details so that she and Andy can establish whether he’s the mole. Once again I’m driven to observe that a counter-terrorist organisation’s screening and recruitment policy should be much better than it is.
Carter asks his drug-dealer brother for the money – way to stereotype there, dude – who doesn’t quite have it lying around either, but is able to tell Carter about a recent drug bust which led to $4 million being seized by the police. So all Carter needs to do is singlehandedly get into evidence lockup, walk out with $4 million – maybe even $2 million would do – pay Grimes off, and save America. Now we’re talking. That’s the sort of thing 24 is here for.
Getting into the police building is easy enough – as Carter mordantly observes, getting arrested is straightforward if you’re black – and he even makes it as far as the evidence room, but he’s found out. And is now surrounded, with no obvious means of escape.
Meantime, Senator Donovan has a meeting with his father Henry – played by the wonderful Gerald McRaney, presently working miracles on This Is Us – who reveals that Donovan’s opponent is about to release an attack ad, going after his Huma-a-like aide Nilaa for attending a radical mosque years ago. Nilaa admits it and offers her resignation, but says that she was only there to tell them the error of their ways. So Donovan is all, bygones, I’m not getting rid of you. (I still think they’re hitting it, or that at least one of them wants to.) So well done, Senator. Except that back at CTU Rebecca and Andy have traced the leak: it came from a terminal in Donovan’s campaign; specifically, that used by Nilaa. Ooh! But given that we’re only two episodes in, and 24 normally sets up a Bad Muslim scenario before pulling a switch, I don’t for a second think it actually was Nilaa. Then Keith gets freed and orders Rebecca and Andy to be arrested.
This is all decent stuff; hardly earth-shattering, but enjoyable enough. On the other hand, I could not care less, for now, about what’s happening at the School of Terror. Drew, the schoolboy dude, works out that there’s something going on between Amira – now confirmed as his ex – and Mr Harris, the compromised teacher, when he sees her fellating him. Not slow on the uptake, our Drew. He then gets his head caved in by Mr Harris, in one fell swoop disproving those who claim that schools just aren’t disciplinarian enough these days. Bizarrely, Mr Harris – who is apparently mixing enough explosive to kill everyone in the school – seems somewhat upset by this. But wasn’t Drew, uh, getting killed anyway? Maybe I’m missing something.
I’m also entirely uninterested in Aisha, who has overheard Isaac telling Nicole, his ex, that Aisha is getting kicked to the kerb, and so decides to touch base with a rival gang, offering them Isaac’s head in return for a piece of the action. Nicole, though, has worked out what is going on, which means that her place of safety isn’t quite so safe, not that I’m remotely bothered about any of them. And I can live without Jadalla, Jihadi Jr., taking over his father’s business as well.
In short, it’s a mix of good and not-so-good. And, with the exception of the scenes with Eric, it just isn’t quite exciting enough. 24 can afford to be many things – absurd, #problematic, and so on – but it really can’t afford to be dull. Not only that, but by the end of the episode Grimes has extended his deadline. An extended deadline? In 24? By now Jack Bauer would have rammed the $2 million up Grimes’s hoop.