I’ve been sitting, watching a blinking cursor for half an hour, trying to figure out how best to describe my thoughts on the first four episodes. To coherently present thoughts I’m sure many of you have been having about the episodes we’ve seen so far, that moves beyond “That was awesome!”
But in truth i’ve run out of time, so this review isn’t going to be as comphrensive as I’d like, more simply an overview of why it was so good, using as few cliches as possible.
I’ve already written up my thoughts on the first 17 minutes, but in brief when I saw the first 17 minutes on the 24: Redemption DVD I loved them, I couldn’t imagine how they could have been any better. And so in the manner of those first minutes episode 1 and 2 continued, solid, subtle, with slowly building tension creeping up on you, all created by masterfully crafted dialogue.
The first two episodes have so much to love, Jack’s testimony to the Senate, and in general how the episodes very slightly changed the shows position on torture. They’ve received a fair amount of criticism for the shows use of torture in the past, and rightly so in my view, but whatever your opinion on torture you couldn’t have failed to notice how the writing had grown lazy in using torture as a way out of every corner. This left them with a bit of a condundrum, continue as before and it sends a clear message to a legion of fans who are tired of the repetition that the writers aren’t listening – do a complete u-turn on torture, and it would be seen as a cynical move. But they managed to negiogate the minefield well by being slightly more open about it, not being as defensive, and airing various different sides of the argument. All this added up to some interesting and dramatic moments, how far would Jack have gone after Agent Walker appear to give him the green light?, and how far was Walker prepared to let Jack go?
The most intelligent writing the series has had in a long time means the episode 1 and 2 are extremely entertaining and engergetic, but in reality are just a good solid foundation for the rollercoaster ride that was to come in 3 and 4.
Episodes 3 and 4 is some of the best the show has ever produced, the interrogation scene between Jack and Tony was an electric scene which had me shaking. So shook up was I after the first jab, that the second (The reveal of Bill and Chloe) sent me flying. After that it was all I could do to hang on, as great scene followed great scene and I grinned from ear to ear. This was the 24 I remembered, in fact it’s been so long since we’ve had 24 at the top of it’s game that this was better I than remembered.
I think J_A but it best when she said that this was “everything we wanted”. This was indeed everything we wanted and more besides. Tony is back, and not simply as a crowd pleasing stunt, he’s back at his best with a reasonable enough explaination of his “death”, and a believably darker character given his three years working underground, and even better a strong storyline for Carlos to sink his teeth into. Tony’s return plus that of Bill and Chloe as a “shadow CTU” with no genuine authority whilst the FBI field office does it’s best to run the leads from the other side, this is something which is bound to create some interesting dynamics in the episdoes to come.
Chloe and Janis’ “tech battle” was a great example of what we can perhaps expect as these two “agencies” clash, and a perfect way to reintroduce Chloe, to get her doing exactly what it is she’s good at against a worthy adversary in Janis. I know the initial reaction to the character of Janis will be of suspicion “are they trying to replace Chloe?” etc, but Janis isn’t so much a replacement but more of a counterpoint and I predict Janis will be a fans favourite soon enough.
I could go on and on about just how they’ve given us everything we wanted, just as good as the “and more” moments they gave us which we didn’t know we wanted. The president’s dead son storyline is an intriuging one which they are taking and precisely the right pace, and with Colm Feore as “the First Gentlemen” the driving force behind it, this storyline is set to be a slow burner which in the end helps tie everything together, and don’t be surprised if Colm Feore delivers the stand out performance over the course of the season in much the same way as Gregory Itzin (Charles Logan) did in series 5.
Right about now i’d like to be offering up some suggestion of where the show might take us from here, but really I dare not make any predictions, as I simply want to sit back and enjoy the ride, I suggest you do the same, and if they manage to carry on in the same vein, you may want to find something to hold on to.