My sincere apologises for this review being so late, I’d planned on having this review written and posted on Wednesday, so that I did rush it, and that I’d seen it atleast twice to give myself a more objective view of it. Put events conspired against me so it’s been pushed back to today.
I’m trying to work up to my opinion about the final two hours, because when I want to some objective, reasonable, well thought out, if I just let loose I risk sounding like an imcomprensible idiot (or even more of a imcomprensible idiot). Regulars readers might be thinking, of here we go again, he’s about to tear into it. Well you’d be wrong, because I loved it, these last two hours are what all of series four should have been like, to paraphrase something I wrote on the sites forum after seeing the episodes “it took them 22 episodes but they finally got there.” And in that way the finale broke the mould for final episodes, usually the final episode is a reflection of the series itself, a quick way to see how a series compares with all the rest. But I think to use these two episodes as a barometer for the entire series would do these final two hours a distinict diservice.
On to just why it was so good, for the first time in the series there was the definte feeling that the writers knew where this was going, ofcourse that probably wasn’t hard since there was only two hours left, but however easy it probably was it went a long way to getting rid of the heavy handedness of previous episodes and give us back some of the final detailing we had previously become accustomed to. There were also the first attempts at genuine surprise, while most failed to do anything but be spotted for the outright deceptions that they were in the Hardy house it is certainly worthy of note at the writers attempts to deceive an audience that has become increasingly preceptive of the writers illusions, as are some of the scenes which could only have come about because of the deceptions. Michelle crying in her car after the apparent death of Tony, did make for an emotional moment all but the most cyncial of viewers could buy into, not because we thought Tony was dead, we knew he was safe and sound, but because we could still understand what she was thinking and feeling.
Another first for the series in this episode came with the the handling of the chinese consulate subplot, in past episodes subplots have become nothing but padding, a distraction from the main plot, providing the odd cheap thrill every now and then, but never really ever feeding back into the main plot or giving it anything back. The chinese storyline did this in a great way, splitting off from the main storyline but never feeling like a less worthy part of the show, in effect become the main plots equal, certainly in the build up to it’s pay off when it took over from the main plot and became the sting in the tail that usually justifies what would otherwise be a happy ending. Certainly it would have been a completely happy ending had it not been for Jack’s ‘death’, Tony and Michelle back together giving us moments that made the audience at home go “Aah” in unison, deep down Chloe and Edgar have acknowledged there mutual love (or atleast respect) even if the writers denied us their moment of happiness (somethings better left unsaid, but we know what would have been said) and the missle was stopped in what was possibly one of the finale’s weaker moments, although really I can’t help but feel the writers had written themselves into a corner there by leaving them no other real options for CTU saving the world again and that a little far sighted-ness on the writers part would have gone a long way, something they will hopefully learn from next year.
And ofcourse there will be a next year, the shows ratings are up on last year, DVD sales are strong, other franchises are about to come home to roost, there’s no way FOX would let it stop here, and for all the oh to subtle criticism I heap on them, who can blame them for this, but it does raise an interesting point, after we see the start of day five, will this ending be rendered completely meaningless, like past series endings have been to some extent, I’m thinking particularly of series three, which seemed to shove established characters out every door they could find (only to bring them back at the first oppourtunity when the going got rough in day four) and that seemed to remark that Jack would never be the same again (only for his neccesary change of scenery and lifestyle to be reduced to a sidenote in Day Four) or will the writers be smart about it, and use it to build on and to give us a more interesting fifth series, after having my faith restored I hope beyond hope that it will be the later.