Regular readers will have known that I did not review episode 5 for the reasons that I posted on the main page, in the name of tirelessly repeating them, they were time constraints and just generally not having an overwhelming flood of thoughts about the episode. What thoughts I did have which stuck out I’ll include here.
The difficult thing with reviewing the show is that it hard to keep a consistent benchmark to which to judge the most recent episode by, to you judge it by my rose-tinted view of the best episodes ’24’ has ever had? (most of which came in the first series), or by the overall standard set by everything which has come before?, perhaps it is best judged in comparison with the best television i’ve seen recently (The West Wing Series 1) or by this fourth series so far?. In the past i’ve used them all, depending on what I deemed approproiate. To use any of the first three would mean being overally critical of an episode which showed a marked improvement on the previous five episodes of the fourth series. So I’m going to use the fourth benchmark, for varying reasons including I’m sick to the back teeth of ripping ’24’ to bits, and quite truthfully this episode does deserve praise.
Last week ended with the tantalising prospect of Jack “one man army” Bauer going into rescue the Secretary of Defense and his daughter. This week saw the show open with this rescue attempt, in a manner not unlike the opening of “Tomorrow Never Dies” when James Bond fights to retrieve two nuclear missiles from a Terrorist arms dump before it is hit by two cruise missiles (sorry tangent). But needless to say, what followed was just what we’ve come to expect, showing the baddies no mercy and retrieving the secretary of defense with perfect dramatic timing. The gunfight did lack some of the punch of previous efforts, but it made for good realise of tension and a welcome change to Jack swearing over the latest minor setback.
After this the episode slowed to re-establish a plot, which viewers would have been forgiven for thinking was all but over, but we waited patiently while we sat through huff and puff about “finding out who was responsible”, (something CTU don’t usually bother with, to busy dealing with stopping impending doom) but we weren’t disappointed, as by the end of the episode another end of the world scenario had been revealed, this one a sort of mix of the threat of the second series, and that which CTU found themselves in during the dying hours of the third.
Between the choatic opening and the bombshell ending, there was a mixture of padding and character development, Jack and Audrey finally got to spend some time together to show us a connection which has been lacking since Audrey was kidnapped along with her Father in the first episode. We got to meet Audrey’s soon to be ex-husband, although he was a little more than further interference at this stage, and while I hope this could form some useful part of the plot I fear it’ll be pushed aside, being brought forward only as a time filler.
We also had what I feel is ’24’ exposing it’s anchilles heal, the Secretary of State and the President (Or Heller and Keller). They really haven’t been given enough time for us to well, care about them. John Keller was a very decent secondary character last series, playing a presidential candidate which we could all despise, signfying everything we really didn’t like about the U.S. political system, and his re-emergence in the latter stages of the last series re-invorgated the Palmer storyline. But to be given a new role, so different to his previous one can only lead to confusion for the viewer, as comparisons to Palmer are inevitable, and the viewer strugles to find out just why we should trust him. It’s a big ask in the first place, as he previously blackmailed one of our most loved characters into giving up his presidency, leaving the way clear for Keller, but the fact being they have made no attempt to bring us round to his trust worthy-ness, other than that he hasn’t done anything bad so far. We need more than, well he’s the President so you can trust him. On to Heller, as the one whose life has been threated, he’s the one we really need to care about, but we just don’t, or atleast I don’t. We don’t know anything about him as a person, as a man. All we know are snap shots of his political view. If more isn’t done to rectify these things, it could seriously undermine future plots and episodes.
After a slow and shaky start, it’s showing promise, fingers crossed, it’ll continue.