Episode Review: In Honor Of The 13

March 28th, 2010

Alright, then: I’ll admit: I actually liked episode 13.

Stuff happened, y’know? Chloe  saved CTU, Renee saved Jack and heck, Jack got yet another chance at a Suicide Mission and then managed to cheat death by the skin of the teeth (or by the Bullet of Renee). Though I doubt that anyone watching truly believed that Jack would be offed by terrorists, I suppose it was nice to be reminded again of Jack’s willingness to Die For Something. Some might call it The Death Wish: one of Bauer’s character traits that have been following him since Day Two.

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Can Jack ever find peace?

January 3rd, 2010

Having read and re-read Dan’s last two articles, and his beautiful analysis of just why Jack’s time has run out, I find myself having to agree – Season 7 has so nicely rounded up things for Jack that bringing him back for one final day – and possibly a movie or beyond – just seems unnecessary, no matter how I twist and turn it in my head. And regardless of whether or not I’ll miss 24 when it ends. The most organic thing for his character at this point would have been to let him go and rest in peace.

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Stop The Clock

January 1st, 2010

It’s 2010, and with Season 8 is fast approaching I thought i’d pause for a minute and reflect on Season 7 and what we hope and expect from the new and possibly final Season of ’24’. This will contain spoilers for the end of Season 7 and discussion of rumours about Season 8. You’ve been warned.

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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.

Filling the gap – Thoughts on Season 7

April 13th, 2009

Time flies and good intentions sometimes fly out the window. So it looks like neither Dan nor I have managed to keep our little site here updated with our thoughts on the newest episodes of the show… We’re quite a few weeks behind. Eleven, to be exact. With episode 18 just around the corner, this means we’ve been silent here for almost one half of the season. So first of all, allow me to apologize for that. But let me also remind you that we do have a forum on which we and some other fans have been sharing our opinions and criticism of “24” and anything related to it. You’re very welcome to chime in.

Down to business, then.

In the US, episode 17 aired last Monday, and it will air in the UK today, so I’ll start right there. I watched this episode 2,5 times by now, and thought that it was very good. At least 9.5-ish good, on our 1-10 scale. It pulled me in, made me hold my breath, had me cheering for Tony in the field… Action-wise, acting-wise (which really goes without saying), and tension-wise, it was flawless. In fact, this whole season has managed to stay on a high quality level throughout – with a couple episodes a little below that high standard, but I can’t go into all the details here.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t see Olivia pulling a Sherry or having more than a work relationship with her journalist friend, or Starkwood having missiles to launch the pathogen on or many other things, actually… A lot of plot elements have been predictable throughout the season, but I do understand that it is hard not to be when you’re writing in this genre, especially after all this time. It may even be unfair to expect new solutions to the same problems seven years into the show, and in some ways, it is unnecessary to develop them, if the old solution is the most plausible one. The important thing is to remember that those solutions had already been offered before, and that the characters involved would remember that. And that worked so far, so I’m okay with it. And hey, there are only so many secure places a goon can hide relevant information – and I admit that having a chip implanted under your own skin is one of the cooler places, if not the coolest! So, I don’t mind that Ike Dubaku did just what Jonathan Wallace had in S2 because it worked, it was plausible, and because Jack also had an instant flashback at the mention of metal in the guy’s chest and instantly acted upon the information. Maybe the other most memorable instant flashback was that of Jack faking Renée Walker’s execution much in the same way he’d staged Nina Myers’ execution back in S1, when he shot her in the flak jacket he’d previously given her to wear.

I’m also willing to swallow the implausible to a great extent. Like that of Tony’s return from the dead because “Henderson purposely missed the artery” (in the heat of the struggle!) or the unlikelihood of anyone breaking into the White House that easily, or even Jack and Tony being able to mix up a fake gas from household chemicals since Jack is so awesome! The one thing I won’t be able to swallow is if Jack walks out of this season cured – because that would not be plausible at all. It was a very brave move on their part to actually infect Jack, the star of the show, with something lethal and incurable. They should stick with it now.

Do I miss CTU? No, not really. The FBI turned out to be a good replacement for it. Yes, it’s just another government agency and employs the counterparts of everyone we’d had back at CTU, but it still does feel fresh because the surroundings are different and the characters are interesting. Even after 17 episodes. Among my favorite new characters are Renée Walker, David Emerson (who died much too soon; I would have loved to see more of him, but at least it the showdown between him and Tony was as perfect as it could have been) and Larry Moss, who is putting on such an amazing performance, being caught in situations both Tony and Jack had been through in earlier seasons. Watching him dance inside the triangle between himself, Renée and Jack with such a turmoil inside himself makes the emotions inside him palpable. I hope we’ll see him again next season. That said, I did get annoyed in one of the more recent eps with his damn stubbornness at his not going along with the suggestion of letting Jack interrogate Senator Meyer’s chief of staff at the hospital. I was annoyed because it seemed like he was refusing just because it was Jack’s idea, and unnecessarily wasting time, when he could have and should have gone to the President and suggested the option. However, I eventually became convinced that Larry wasn’t doing anything different from what the others are always doing – what he believed was right. And in his case, he believed following protocol was the right thing to do. Continue Reading »

The Return of Real Time: An Immediate Response to Episode 6

February 3rd, 2009

I’ve just this minute finished watching Episode 6. Downloaded from itunes. Watching on a 25 inch HD TV. It’s the easiest way for me to watch it in a timely manner, and in good quality.

I wanted to give my reactions to the episode while they where fresh in my mind, before they faded, because thats what this episode was all about. The very real sense that the situation is evolving and changing, and that the facts and scenarios this second could be different in the next. You dare not miss a beat, or you’d be lost. This firmly re-established 24’s true premise, that we see a story unfold one piece at a time, nothing skipped, or abbreviated or summarised.

You didn’t watch this episode, you witnessed it. The cabinet meeting scene made be me feel as if I was an aide sitting in the shadows, whose opinion maybe sought at any second – and if it was, the episode prodded – what would your opinion be. Many people won’t have known what their answers would have been, but I betting a lot of people thought about what their answers would have been. And thats the point, it made you think, forced you to try to form an opinion, and then forced you to re-evaluate it based on new information and thoughts presented.

Right here I have to stop to make an apology, because in the cabinet meeting scene, Cherry Jones as President Taylor suddenly made sense, as if a reveal has been made, a new depth to the character has been unveiled. She gave a terrific performance in that scene. Perhaps it’s only now we’re seeing her give the performance that was apparently always in her as she’s suddenly being given something to work with, and is more than just an explanatory device.

She truely conveyed the sense on conflict in her mind, but also the resolve she felt that the course of action she was taking was indeed the right one. Even as I came to the conclusion that the only logical conclusion in this situation would be to withdraw the invasion force, she explained her own logic and even though I disagreed with her, I couldn’t call her naive or hopelessly idealistic, all I could think in reply to her argument, “Then your braver than I am”. Continue Reading »

Nothing New In The West – First Thoughts On Episode 5

January 20th, 2009

So… I’ve just watched it. It aired at 3AM my time, and I’d stayed up to watch it live on FOX. so right now, it is way beyond decent bedtime. The 5th ep in this season was an okay ep really. Not quite as strong as the 3rd or the 4th, but good nonetheless. A lot of the energy in the eps 3 and 4 was drawn from the in-your-face Brotherhood revelations between Jack and Tony, of which we got none in ep 5, so I didn’t feel quite as drawn into it as I had been during The Interrogation. However, we did get quite a few more subtle moments between them, secret looks and such – which is really all that you can expect when people are undercover. This episode also got to explore other characters a little more – and above all, advance the plot.  The writers are continuing to bring back stuff we’ve seen before.

As for the plot, you know, it is possible that I have simply watched WAY too much 24 in the past. I’ve possibly spent way too much time thinking and rethinking plot lines, but so far the storyline – none of it – has been a true surprise for me. I still don’t mind it yet because the way it is all being done is still excellent, and frankly – how could you really surprise an audience that has been following the show for 6 years? There are just so many elements and terrorist threats for prime-time television people can come up with (and get approved by the network). But I do wonder how far they can take this before even the greatest addicts among us get bored. We’ll see. That being said, the dialogue is still enjoyable, and Jack’s “Shut up or I’ll shut you up,” was a priceless one-liner.

But as far as surprises go, if Sean Hillinger really turns out to be squeaky clean, that’ll be one, because I still feel like they’re leading us on. They’re still setting him up as a twighlighty character (although the actor said in an interview that Hillinger is a by-the-books guy), I don’t know… It just seems too convenient. Obviously, even if he is a mole, he won’t be the one.  The person helping with the conspiracy must be higher up than Sean, possibly even higher than Larry Moss. I guess a true surprise would be if Janis turned out to be the mole, cause so far, she’s been doing such a great job that she’s the person we’d least expect to be working for the other side. But we’ll see. I just hope it isn’t Moss, because I really like his character.

I do wonder whether the mole at the FBI is actually working for both sides. Does he possibly know about Tony’s true purpose in the group right now? Did Tanner know? If he had, would he have told Renée? Continue Reading »

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