1)Why does CTU have the worst security protocols. EVER?
2)Why is Cheng the man who tortured Jack Bauer in China for two years because he invaded a foreign consulate on U.S. soil willing to do the same now?
3)Why does NO other government agency notice that the premier counter-terrrorism agency that is protecting one of the largest population centers in the United States has gone offline?
4)How is it possible to access this secure government from a simple sewage system? Didn't no one think to properly seal it?
5)Why doesn't CTU, shown to have the capability to detect chatter of possible attacks in the past, detect the intrusion upon their own facilities all the sudden?
6)Why is Philip Bauer able to fix the nuclear circuit board when Cheng isn't? Doesn't Cheng theoretically have the greater resources of the Chinese government?
7)Why is Cheng very willing to work with Phillip Bauer, the father of the prisoner he tortured for two years?
Yes, faithful viewer, all of this is more dumb than: bringing a baby into CTU, Kim Bauer being chased by a cougar, a CTU Director treating her bipolar daughter using the in-house medical facilities and a recording between a president and a terrorist admitting culpability in the assassination of a former president being so easily deleted. That's a high bar to vault over.
On a recent round of publicity for "24: Live Another Day," Kiefer Sutherland referred to his series as a "soap-opera on crack." The show always sprinkled these moments liberally in between whatever terrorist plots the country faced. "Chloe brought a baby into CTU and won't say who the father is? Fine, we'll deal with it after we help Jack and Chase Edmunds in the field."
The actors brought in to play these scenes always tempered these moments by pretending the fate of the world rested upon them, which it did, to perform their jobs exceptionally. One of my favorite instances of this was about halfway through season two when Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) broke down behind closed doors in front of Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) due to the current nuclear bomb threat, and then went back to work.
Yet, putting Philip Bauer front and center is the straw that breaks the camels back. Intrinsically, the idea of the Chinese being a pawn in Bauer's game plays as too much mustache-twirling and histrionics. In a nutshell, that's why the whole plot line was doomed to fail.
It started as a decent idea, but bringing in Jack Bauer's family was without a doubt the worst idea the show has ever done. Initially, the writers staged it as a way of straining the main character at his worst, yet this was unassailable with the then-current writing staff.
Even at this late juncture, the show continues to produce fine action set-pieces — which is this episodes only redeeming value — yet it doesn't mean anything when the people and the plot tasked with keeping the show from imploding fail at that job.