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?
Speaking of Tanner… The way the show is addressing the issue of torture is cleverly written. Without renouncing the whole show and everything they’ve done in the past – or well, everything Jack Bauer has done in the past – they manage to respond to the accusations the show had had to deal with in the past. They shed light on different points of view by letting different characters comment on the issue and allowing Jack to still stay true to himself. He still believes that he had made the right calls at the right time and that was really the only play they had. Anything else would have been faking it.
I really do like David Emerson. I love how he isn’t just a thug, or an ideologue, or just a two-dimensional shooter. Although he doesn’t seem to have a cause in the operation beyond the money (and apparently doesn’t have a conscience either), he actually seems to be a worthy adversary – or a dependable and capable combattant – depending on which side of him you end up. And that loyalty is spelt with a capital L in his book of conduct is paramount to everything that happens in his crew. Which, of course, led to the loyalty test of Jack Bauer, which I’ll come to in a second.
Renée Walker is a very interesting character, and I am hoping for a long storyline for her, because she is the one character so far who has gone through the most significant evolution. It is a little ironic that, in order to catch Jack Bauer, she’s essentially had to become Jack Bauer, and to cross lines which she hadn’t planned on crossing – and more importantly, lines she wasn’t supposed to cross. I do think that she believed in Jack Bauer from the moment (or even before) she convinced Moss to subpoena him, yet she evolved from just trying to understand Jack’s morals and justifications to being willing to accept his methods to understanding their necessity and finally to actually going through with them herself, regardless of the consequences. And she quite obviously has a little thing for Jack, doesn’t she?
I rewatched eps 1-4 before watching ep 5, and paid more attention to Jack and Renée (thanks Kasia, for reminding me I hadn’t commented on that. I know you’re reading this). They take a lot of interest in each other, and there are looks given, moments savored and words said that might mean more than just two people having to work together. I’m not saying they’re falling in love, but they definitely do have a certain admiration for the other, even though they can’t completely support each other. Not yet, anyway. From that perspective, it was more than clear that executing Renée Walker would have to be Jack’s assignment. And naturally, Jack wouldn’t and couldn’t kill her. Frankly, I was keeping my eyes open for a magic flak jacket to appear out of thin air, but I guess Nina Myers’ ghost was out dancing in the desert with the Drazens at that point, and forgot to stand there looking over Jack’s shoulder.
So, after Jack pulled off the impossible non-execution (I really have to hand it to Bauer, he always knows where to shoot people to make them appear dead!) Almeida and Bauer are ordered to bury the FBI agent (clearly, another little test for both of them. Emerson really isn’t stupid) As she starts blinking rapidly, revealing her non-death, Tony notices it and just shoots Jack a look of “How the hell’d he pull that off?”
Of course, Tony wasn’t about to sell Jack out, also out of self-preservation – but Agent Walker must have seen that look, too. So now she has confirmation that Jack and Tony are working together; but as for how evil they are, and how much they’re really into this rogue operation, I’m expecting her to understand that she doesn’t know the whole story yet.
What are her options after she frees herself from her situation? She cannot go back to the FBI unless she wants to end up in the Senate hearing with Jack. So she has two choices. She can start working off the books with Larry, and bring him into the situation, trying to find the real reasons Tony and Jack are aligned. Or she can completely dodge the FBI, Larry and the rule book and start working for Jack and Tony and team up with them eventually. My guess is that she’ll continue to move further down the Bauer route, and conduct her own “rogue” investigation.
And poor Larry indeed! Not only is he being chewed out by the President and his Chief of staff, now he has to worry about his (ex-?)sweetheart, too. As good as he is at his job, now that Renée is in danger of getting killed, Larry’s feelings start interfering with his work for the first time. With the history that he and Renée undoubtedly have, that is understandable, isn’t it? I mean, it’s hard to stay on point when someone you care about is being threatened, or worse… How far would Larry go to keep Renée safe? Hmm. No, I won’t go there.
Going back to the White House, I’m starting to think maybe I was a little harsh on the President. She’s doing a decent job of portraying the conflicts inside her. I am interested to see if she’ll be able to put aside the grief that is about to come to her as well as she’s done with the death of her son. Frankly, I am disappointed at the imminent removal of Mr. Taylor. It was quite clear that the more he dug, the smaller his chances of survival, but I was really hoping that we would get to see more of the brilliantly cast character. Take note, the very first (relevant) character who is getting killed on the show proper is one who was part of a storyline with great dynamics – the Husband – Wife / President – Chief of Staff triangle. But then again, maybe that storyline HAD exhausted itself and it was better not to drag things out. We’d been shown the dynamics, we got to enjoy it for a while, and now it’s time to cut it.
Curiosity killed the First Gentleman. Rest in Peace.