'24' recap: You really blew it this time, Kayla | EW.com

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'24' recap: You really blew it this time, Kayla

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24_keiferImage Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FOXI suppose I can understand why 24 is down 10 percent in viewers this season - blame it on producers’ shocking decision to put Renee front and center so early in the season, or that damnable Dana - and yet I wish all those disillusioned fans who opted out would have given Jack a chance to win back their love. Last night’s episode was the season’s best by far; I didn’t see Tarin’s double-cross of Kayla coming for a mile, nor did I predict the plot point to take out CTU.  Granted, the episode ended up playing out exactly how Ken Tucker described last week - that so many of these scenarios have occurred in previous seasons so it feels like a so-so year - and yet I wasn’t the least bit annoyed that CTU was obliterated for the second time in its eight-season run (what year did it happen last?) Were you equally as forgiving?

And unlike my good buddy Tucker, I dug the hotel scenes involving Tarin and Kayla, if only because it gave we female fans a cheap thrill (nice pecs, T.J. Ramini!). Sadly, Tarin didn’t turn out to be the asylum-seeking hottie that Kayla hoped he was. And even worse, Fantastic Sam was right - he IS an enemy of the state! Kayla managed to alert the authorities of her whereabouts, but her efforts were made in vain (as was her attempts to open a double-hung window). I can’t imagine the NYPD will appreciate being depicted as a bunch of overzealous louts here; Sgt. Amis, in particular, was apparently too good to wait for Bauer and his brigade and decided to storm Tarin’s hotel room, instead. Pow Pow POW! Tarin takes the team out and Kayla is whisked away to an underground bank vault, where Samir beams video to Hassan and demands that he relinquish File 33, aka, 20 years of intelligence that reveal every last weak link in our country’s nuclear defense system. Yeah, says Jack to Fantastic Sam: I don’t think we’ll let you offer up that. “But what of my daughter’s life?” demands Dalia. “We’re doing the best we can!” he fires back. You tell her, big guy!

For a New York sec, we were lead to believe that maybe Tarin may not be so bad after all; he managed to sneak Kayla out of captivity and seemingly die in the process, which bought her enough time to step on the accelerator and get the hell out of harm’s way. This was a damn good segment - including when one of Arlo’s crack drones managed to capture video of Tarin looking very much alive. Dammit, indeed! (Special mention here of the moment when Jack shoots up the glass doors to gain access to the bank. I don’t know why, but this made my me and my husband bust a gut). Once more, the show managed to live up to its race-the-clock conceit as Jack quickly realizes that Kayla’s driving a bomb right into CTU’s belly (I know, I know, that Jack … so intuitive!) and that no one, not even some poor lackey who’s willing to get the behind the wheel, instead, can make it stop. Explosions are the bread-and-butter of this show, and the latest one didn’t disappoint, including how it shook the living crap out of Dana (who was no doubt hoping the bomb would out-and-out annihilate that nitwit from probation).

And speaking of our little criminal: maybe it was the way Stephen Root’s Bill Prady (the real-life name of Big Bang Theory’s co-creator, for those of you playing at home) kept threatening to “talk to her supervisor,” but I found myself actually hoping that she’d get away with murder. Bill was dang annoying - which of course means that Root was doing his job well - but I found it just a tad too convenient that he managed to have a buddy at the NYPD who tipped him off about the evidence locker situation and how he was completely unimpressed by the fact that Dana was up her to arse in a plot to blow up New York. But hey, tomorrow’s not another day on this show so better nip this mystery in the bud at 4 in the morning!

Meanwhile, all of this is playing out while a cloud of uncertainty still envelops the show and its future. As I write this, Fox has yet to dispel any speculative reports that it’s not picking up 24 for a ninth season. Michael Ausiello posted a promising report that NBC may give the eight-year-old show a look-see, but even that scenario seems like a longshot when it has fresher (and potentially cheaper) new projects in the works from the likes of JJ Abrams and David E. Kelley. And let’s not forget the peacock’s reboot of The Rockford Files! So the remaining episodes that we share together maybe Jack Bauer’s last - that is, until the big screen version hits your local multiplex!

So does Kayla have all the luck or what?