Time’s up.

June 18th, 2009

I write this having now seen the final two episode of Season 7 three times. This has thankfully given me some distance from the emotional impact of the episodes. I thought about writing a season recap and finale review immediately after seeing the episodes, but it would have been entirely postive and I would have revealed the idiotic fan-boy within.

With that distance I can now more easily point out the weak spots, and unfortunately there where still a few. The Taylor’s storyline did finish strongly and all involved made the best of what they where given, but as a political family the show didn’t get us emotionally invested in them as we did in the Palmers during Day One, and so there scenes never had the weight and gravitas that the writers were clearly going for. Kim never looked truly comfortable in the scenes which required her to stalk bad guys & talk technobabble nor did Renee in her final scenes.

Looking more generally at the season, during the hours that Tony’s true motives were shadowy (at best) many online hoped beyond hope that when revealed they wouldn’t be a betrayal of the character, and that they would make sense. Thats up for the individual to decide, i’d say they did. But actually I don’t what to focus on Tony, I think he’s recieved enough coverage this year thanks to the sterling work by the folks at aig.com.

The most interesting thing for me was Jack revealing how he became the one man counter-terrorist army he is now widely seen as being (especcially by the wider media when they report on and review the show), because this is far from the man he was back in the very first episode. Perhaps it’s been a gradual change, but at several points during the season i’d wondered how he went from this….

Nina, you can look the other way once, and it’s no big deal, except it makes it easier to compromise the next time, and pretty soon that’s all your doing is compromising because that’s how you think things are done, You know those guys I blew the whistle on?,  … , You think they were the bad guys?, because they weren’t, ‘bad guys’, they where just like you and me, except they compromised, once ~ Jack Bauer, 12:49 AM Day 1

… to this …

If you don’t tell me what I want to know, then it’ll just be a question of how much you want it to hurt.” ~ Jack Bauer, Day 5

There are numerous answers, ranging from the one Jack himself gave about “Adapting to your enemy” at the beginning season when testifying to the Senate to the one I’d always tried hard to accept which was that losing everyone he cared about meant he grabbed hold of protecting his country as the last worthwhile thing in his life. But during the course of the season the show seemed frustratingly unwilling to explore this as much as i’d expected given the events of the prequel TV movie “Redemption“. Instead the season often at times gave us the most abrasive and unapologetic Jack we’d ever seen.

The final two hours where therefore a refreshing change of pace, the final twenty minutes as Kiefer’s performance and some wonderful writing finally reconciled the two extremes …

“I’ve been wrestling with this one my whole life, I see 15 people held hostage on a bus and everything else goes out the window, I will do whatever it takes to save them, and I mean whatever it takes, because maybe I thought if I save them, I could save myself, … , it always starts out with a small step, before you know it your running as fast as you can in the wrong direction just to justify why you started in the first place, these laws where written by much smarter men than me, and in the end I know that these laws have to be more important than the 15 people on the bus, I know that’s right, in my mind, I know that’s right, … , I just don’t know if in my heart could ever have lived with it” ~ Jack Bauer, 07:31 AM Day 7

In that beautiful moment, Jack made sense again, not just to me, but I think to himself, in admitting (and maybe realizing?) why he was willing to take the extreme measures he does, he found the closure he as a character had been chasing ever since he held the dying Teri in his arms at the end of Day 1.

Kiefer and numerous producers have often been quoted as saying that Jack isn’t indesctructible, despite what many of us believe, and that given the right time and circumstances they would kill Jack off.

I’d suggest that at 07:59:59 on Day 7, those right circumstances have been reached, and i’m firmly of the belief that if Jack does return for Day 8, it can only take the show and the character backwards.

His time has run out.

9 Responses to “Time’s up.”

  1. Joshon 04 Jul 2009 at 12:50 pm

    That was a good review right up until the last few lines! Kill Jack off? 24 has gone downhill since the dreadful Season 6 but to kill off Bauer would be to kill the show-the season was predictable and the ending was the worst ever last few minutes of 24 Ive ever seen. The last episodes were good but the ending was as i said predictable, lazy and rushed. They need Jack to save the show with hopefully a better storyline next year.24 is starting to reach its end thatn to the excellent Season -since then it has been hard to top a storyline about taking down the US president-everything now seems small in comparison. They need Season 8 to be much better or its going to sadly be the last season.

  2. hardy24on 04 Jul 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I’m not suggesting that they necessarily kill Jack off, just that we don’t see him again. Let each viewer decide for themselves what happens from there.

    We seem to fundamentally disagree on something, and that is that Jack alone does not make 24 what it is, Jack is simply one of the characters who inhabit the world of 24. And a clean break with a new lead actor may be just what the show needs.

    From Jack’s point of view, I strongly believe that the characters story is over, there is no new or interesting storylines for Jack to play with, none, and so to bring him back they would simply be repeating themselves. The show has to try and accept that and make the hard choice.

  3. Robsterson 11 Jul 2009 at 3:14 am

    I am personally huge fan of 24 up until this season, which seems crazy because everyone said 6 was really bad and 7 was clearly better but there was just something really lacking this season. Maybe its the end of Day 7? it was a little to toned down, I was all for more character driven plot but to be honest 24 just never gets the balance in day 7 it went to far the other way by the end of it. seeing jack lying in a bed with kim crying just screams out soap opera :/ Where are the toture scenes on a big chinse ship? the shocking death of a character? herion addict? or the cover up death? I think series 7 they should of just killed jack in some big explosive way because he was going to die anyway and just ended it on 24/7 Im sad to say it but keeping jack alive was just to much of a cop out this time. Day 8 just beginning of the milking of the franchise now, they could of so easily killed jack in a good way they had it set up nicely and bought in a new character and a new set of 7 days or just finished it altogether. 7 series is a good enough run for a tv show before it gets stale and old. I honestly think 24 just getting to boring and predictable (honestly thought i never lose interest in 24 as i was such a huge fan) but the day has come where it should have ended this series and for jack.

  4. J_Aon 13 Jul 2009 at 11:20 pm

    dan, first of all, let me apologise for not seeing this review (or the new poll) until just now. I haven’t been checking the main site as much as I’ve been checking the forum.

    you’ve written a beautiful review, and I agree with everything you’ve said.

    well, we all just KNOW that jack is returning in s8, right? I mean, he HAS to?

    yeah, he does, because the show is gridlocked. jack is simply not expendable now. especially one year before the show’s end. 24 can’t go on without him. not anymore. not after 7 years. if they’d done things differently after season 1, yeah, maybe. but we’ll come to that in a moment.

    but as for season 7, I do agree, they should have let him die. the season was really set up to be the last jack bauer year, the ending of the season was written as the end of jack bauer. I really wish they would have had the guts to let him die. but no…

    honestly, killing jack now would have been the only way to get rid of him in a way that would have moved people. we were all ready to cry, I’m sure. they had built up to that moment and then just didn’t have the guts to go through with it.

    sort of like in season 2.

    remember jack on the plane, and george’s sudden appearance to save the day, and jack bauer? jack should have died there. we were so ready to see our hero die, and then, they backed out of it.

    yeah, it was cool and it was unexpected and I did like it. and I enjoyed watching the series many times and many hours after that, in ways that wouldn’t have been the same without jack. but he has cheated death so often he’s an unbelievable superhuman. and for a show that wants to seem (at least somewhat) realistic, jack bauer’s 100 lives are just too far from any realism.

    maybe kiefer could have been replaced by someone else, if 24 had used a different cast each season… however, even with a different leading actor, there would still have been the issue of repetitive storylines… that had nothing to do with who was acting the main part.

    and so I opt for keeping kiefer, and the rest of the bunch, because it really allowed us to follow these people through years, and see how they’ve evolved, how they’ve changed. I think if we had had a whole different cast each season, the show as a whole would have been poorer – fewer relationships, much less character depth overall etc.

    and frankly, I don’t think there’s anyone else who could have carried the show like Kiefer did. he’s really brilliant. but we’ve seen it many times, even the most brilliant acting just can’t change a bad script. and repetitiveness gets old at some point.

    I’ve said during the season that I didn’t really care how many times I’ve seen a story element before, as long as it was done well now and made sense in the context, but when you take a step back and really think about it, it’s true, the writers are running a little dry, the innovation and inspiration are gone.

    you know, many times, kiefer and carlos have mentioned how 24 is unlike shows like CSI, who are just caught in the same place day after day, year after year and can’t actually evolve, change and start a new season from a new place… but 24 is caught in a merry-go-round of its own, it’s just one that turns once every 24 eps – and sometimes, it backs up.

    I know that it’s hard to write a show and stay innovative, not to borrow from yourself, from earlier seasons. I’ll give them credit for really going back to the roots this season, for really trying to do the best they could.

    but maybe the best they can do is just not good enough anymore.

  5. hardy24on 18 Jul 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t know if they necessarily should have used a whole new cast each year, but certainly the focus could have shifted. For example, The Wire, a great show with a great ensemble cast, shifted focus to new cast members every year but still kept most of the old cast in place. So the the first season focused on the drug dealers and the detetives trying to take them down. The second focused on corruption at the port and how the drugs got smuggled in, with the detectives shifting focus somewhat after being frustrated that no matter how many people they locked up the drugs still got sold. The third season focused on the local politics, elected officials and the bureaucracy inside the city police force. The fourth on the citys education system and the fifth and final tied it all together whilst also looking at the media and why some crimes get reported and others don’t.

    So you see, all related areas and interconnected, there was never a true lead, some characters where bit part players for years before finally stepping into a key role, other key players stepped back for a year because what there characters where naturally doing wasn’t that dramatic.

    I’d actually always had the thought of “what was the 24 hours immediately after day one link”? I bet they where pretty stressful for someone. Maybe some republican strategists who where tearing there hair out trying to figure out how to beat this dynamic Palmer guy in an election.

    Unfortunately at a meeting somewhere after Season Two had been picked up a FOX exec asked the producers, “So, how you going to make the next season BIGGER?”, and all true innovation went out the window.

  6. Xavion 21 Jul 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Hi, Well I agree with most of your words, however, I disagree in your opinion when saying that season 8 will move backwards. If Jack bauer had really to die , 1st ) you would be killing the main character. 2nd ) Don’t you think that would be more emotive to kill the main character with an heroic action, like a shooting or whatever, than just lying in a bed with some combulsions….. And all this treatment, etc… Sorry but this is not Jack’s end.

  7. PhillyPrincesson 11 Oct 2009 at 6:19 am

    Hmm… Thoughts to ponder. Checked out your remarks ’cause I thought Day 7 kinda sucked. The suspense just was not there compared to the Marwan and virus seasons. They need to clean the show up, as far as removing clutter, do a “Hoarders” intervention if you will.Too many unrelated or cryptically related subplots. If you go back to the earlier years, the subplots all relate somehow to the main story. Did not get this impression this year and ended up confused, and as they say with juries, first they get confused, then they tune out, then you lose ’em. Story needs to get back on track. Personally, I think Jack is still not over Teri, and there’s major PTSD going on. But less of the personal stuff. Concentrate on the story first and then fill out with personal details. There is a place; just don’t muddy up the story.

  8. Aimeeon 15 Oct 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hi!

    I’m a representative from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and I have some very exciting news for 24 fans.

    24 favourite Carlos Bernard will be signing copies of 24 Season 7 on DVD and Blu-ray at HMV, 150 Oxford Street from 6pm on Monday 19th October. As well as getting to meet the legendary Tony Almeida, the first 50 people in line will also receive some exclusive 24 goodies!

    Tony’s back from the dead with a bang in Season 7, leading one of the show’s most explosive ever storylines. This is your chance to meet the man who (with the exception of Jack Bauer) has appeared in more episodes than any other character.

    Carlos will also be doing a webchat with Sun Online on Tuesday 20th so head to http://www.thesun.co.uk/bizarre now to submit your questions to him.

    Thanks,
    Aimee

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