This is probably one of the hardest episodes so far ro review because it has me completely torn, not just torn like I usually am over series four so far, where it’s not been up to past standards, and yet it’s still 24 and so something in my brain tells me it must be good, in this case, theres not such definition, where what I really know to be true wins through and that small voice in my head saying “it’s 24 so…” just gets a foot note, I am not at all sure what I’m going to say about this episode. I’ve watched it twice, and had different reactions both times. With only one difference in the way I approached each viewing, expectation.
Yep, expectation. On my first viewing I had really high hopes, there had been a buzz about episode 16 before, during and after it aired in the states, the informal reviews I get from my friends were all very positive and I’d seen the U.S. trailer for the episode, U.S. readers probably known what I’m on about, it went something like “we promise you a twist SO BIG…” in that so completely over the top voice, yep the hype was on over drive, and like the sucker I am I fell hook line and sinker for it. All this meant I was expecting something SO BIG! that I would immediately forgive all of day four’s sins against the show, and run to my computer desparte to pre-order the dvd. That’s what I was expecting, what did we get?, a twist everybody saw coming about a month ago, here’s me thinking another old character is gonna comeback. Needless to say I was disappointed, I tried to cover it, but deep down, I hated it, I had to stop myself from running upstairs and putting my S1 DVD on, thinking maybe it was all a bad dream and it had always been this bad.
A day went by while I was trying, with little luck, to banish my bad thoughts about the episode, as I faced a huge dilemna, what should I say in the review?, everyone thought it was great, but I hated it, may I would take the easy option and not review this week, no couldn’t do that, did that last week, maybe I’d lie, tell everyone what they wanted to hear, that it was top notch, that the show had made a glorious return, no couldn’t do that, my creative integrety would never recover, I would just have to tell the truth, I hated it, and everyone could like it or lump it. Problem solved, well no not really but put off atleast, for now I had another problem. My brother hadn’t seen it because he had been working the night before and now he wanted me to watch it with him. Being the ambassador of 24 that I am, I agreed, it would have tarnished my image to turn him down. So I watched, but this time with no expectation, except to confirm my worst fears, this time I let it just wash over me, trying not to over analyse, and something strange happened, I like it. Things that I had dismissed earlier as time wasting, actually worked, seemed to give the show more intenstity, stuff like Audrey and Paul, Chloe and Edgar, Michelle, Tony and Buchanan, they were actually worthy of there air time. It didn’t all work, The president and his son really was terrible, especcially the ra-ra isn’t America great stuff like “your the best this country has to offer.” just made me cringe , but I’d be willing to bet that was a network enforced scene to some extent. But the fire fight worked, even if it was at a purely visual level, it was certainly better than most fire fights this series. Also the search at Anderson’s apartment was a half decent time filler, which I have to say could have been dealt with better, but still made for good drama.
If this is a turning point, and a stepping stone for even better things to come, then we could be in for a treat, but if this will be a standout episode and that’s the best we’re gonna get, then Surnow, Cochran and Co need to buck there ideas up for next time round.