Lesson Learned: When poison gas is leaking into your safe room, it is best to try to cover the vent.
I love how the writers of 24 keep viewers on the edge of their seats. So what was with the incredibly stupid reaction of Sangala Prime Minister Matobo and his wife after Jack plays MacGyver and pumps poison gas (bleach and ammonia makes what can be a lethal combination, so do not try this at home) into the vents providing air to their safe room? Wouldn’t the scene have played out better if Matobo had used the table in the room to stand on and held something up to the vent to cover it and try to stop the flow of the gas? It might not have worked completely, he might have coughed, dropped whatever he was using to try to hold the poison back, fallen off the chair, broken his leg and moaning and coughing and in pain, his wife would … well, you get the picture. Instead, the scene was just silly and made Matobo look horribly inept.
All that aside, this was one of those episodes that continued to hammer home the theme of the season – how far will you go to thwart the evil-doers? Sadly, the writers don’t have the guts to show the faithful Matobo assistant, willing to die to keep his prime minister safe, being shot while Jack looks on, though I suspect Jack would have let it happen. He also didn’t kill Taylor, but he didn’t have to. And I think that was a mistake, at least as far as the covert mission goes. But for the sake of his soul, he did the right thing.
In what seemed a slow hour, Henry Taylor looks like he’s a goner and possibly his son’s girlfriend as well, but at least he’ll die knowing his son did not commit suicide.
But the biggest wild card this season is still Pres. Taylor, who does not seem to have a clue where her loyalties should lie. Torn between preventing genocide in Sengala and preventing the loss of American lives should Juma use the weapon that has unfortunately fallen into his hands, she chose to prevent the genocide. She chose, it seems, to be a one-term president, should she last long enough to run for re-election.
So, does negotiating with terrorists show weakness? I say that in this particular case it would show the president is a good chess player, willing to negotiate for the moment and wait until the device is disabled (it would only be days, according to the computer experts) to strike. Troops? Please. She won’t need to reassemble them on Sangala’s border when we have drones and remote-controlled missiles.
Maybe that’s the point here. Jack’s mission is useless, all the deaths will be useless. Things change, maybe not in a day, but in days, in weeks. Patience, patience … but still, I can’t wait for one more hour.