Okay so the write notes while I watch the episode method was doing well, but my brothers nicked my tape of the episode to show a friend and it’s wednesday, so I can’t do that this week. So I’m gonna just have to wing this one, here goes nothing. This week’s episode didn’t suffer from being bogged down by explanations like last week’s did, although it still had a fair amount, and yes it was annoyying (am I spelling that right??), like it always has been this series, but ratings for this series have been very strong in the U.S., and as along as they are FOX are gonna insist on treating us all like idiots. I know me writing about it in these reviews isn’t gonna change anything, but I don’t know anything I can do to change it, so I’m still gonna write about it.
While I’m still in the complaining frame of mind, let me jump to the end of the episode and complain about that, it was the episode’s only main fault, although really it’s the fault of the series as a whole and it’s a big one. Because with the development at the end of this episode, the series is seriously risking being fragmented into 6 episode or so chunks. By the end of the sixth episode the intial kidnap threat had been dealt with and another one had been setup. Now five episode later that threat has been dealt with, and if you wouldn’t mind a quick prediction (no not a spoiler, a prediction) whatever was so big in episode 16 that FOX scheduled two repeats and hyped the hell out of it, I’m guessing probably brought to a close the third chunk. If this infact turns out to be true, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that, but the connections between the various chunks have to be made well and not come across like they were last minute. The links between the kidnap and the nuclear meltdowns were built up well as they had clearly been thought about from the beginning, but with Jack in this episode talking about a possible contincency plan, it seems to me like the move towards evading a new threat will not be as elegant. I’m talking about this so much, because it was a lack out planning during the first series which made the middle episodes slower than they might have been.
Wow, that was longer than I meant it to be, but still I stand by it. On to what they got right. Curtis actually doing something, I talked last week about how he was finally starting to come alive as a character, but you really don’t become worthy until you’ve had some action and you’ve got your first kill, on ’24’ it’s a sort of rite of passige (sp?). I didn’t like having more torture in this episode, I really didn’t think it was needed, Paul really isn’t that tough and if as a character he’s not working with the terrorists, then he’s surely more than willing to prove his innocence. Although I will concede that Audrey seeing Jack in a different light is an interesting angle, and if given enough time could provide us with some decent character development for everyone involved, and dare I say it end with Paul and Audrey back together?. I don’t have anything against Jack being happy, but he’s a tragic character, tends to work between when he’s miserable.
Sorry, but I’m going to complain again, this time about cliffhangers. Not just end of episodes, but going to breaks. They seem to thing that they need to throw complications at us for tension. I don’t mind complications and I don’t mind tension, it’s what the show is built on. But when they give them to us when the story doesn’t need or justify them, or anyone with two braincells could see them coming a mile off, they don’t work. They especcially don’t work when characters state why we should all be on the edge of our seats, it’s the equilant of a laughter track in american sitcoms. A case in point is when Jack and Curtis get into the IDS Systems office, they stand and stare at the office full of people, not knowing which one is Marwan. Instead of getting on with figuring out which one he is, they just stand there in plain sight, risk being spotted by Marwan and state “it could be anyone”. You can always tell when they don’t think there is enough tension, because they insert a “tension line”, telling us we should be nervous. We’re not thick, don’t treat us like we are.