I didn’t plan on reviewing these 3 episodes together, the double episode caught me out.
On the whole three good episodes, and just at the right time, when it looked like the show could be drifting off into soap land these three episodes showed that 5 and 6 where the exception and not the rule.
Start with the good stuff. The torture scenes between Jack and Graem made for great drama, and it becomes the first torture scene in a long while which I thought was more than merely a plot device, it actually gave us more character, incredibly after 6 years we are still learning more about Jack. And even the actor playing Graem raised his game, pulling off the ‘I love my country’ speech with more than a little originality. When I heard it coming I rolled my eyes, but he did it remarkably well, although helped by the intense situation, and some very good writing and the acknowledgement that he had done some “unspeakable things”. It’s certainly fair to say that Graem went out at the top.
Another old tired cliche which they some how revitalized was that of a ‘loved one in peril’ – It was another roll your eyes moment when it came up but they did something a little more interesting with it – although it perhaps was not the biggest shock when we found out the twist.
Still, onwards and upwards. The chase sequence at the beginning of 8 was really quite a step up for the show for this type of action, the sequence I felt genuinely pushed back the boundaries of what is actually possible on a TV budget. Impressed to by it’s length, usually they go for short and sharp, that they managed to sustain it for so long was quite impressive. This I think bodes incredibly well for the film when we get there. The second action beat of 8 was also a masterpiece, quite frankly you can’t go far wrong with Jack and an a pump action shot gun.
Jack disarming the nuke also delivered a fair amount of tension. I read one review which waived this off saying “if jack’s the one disarming it, there’s no way it’s going off.”, but I think that completely misses the point. These string of sequences over the course of recent years where they just hint it might be Jack’s time are now playing a game with us viewers. The audience is thinking “go on, I dare yah, kill him off”, and I honestly think that at one point when we least expect it, they might just take that bet.
Best I deal with Washington is one go. At the moment, some of it is bad, and some of it is good, I’m just have trouble deciding exactly which is which. I like the Palmer/Assad dynamic, in the last review I was moaning that Palmer really needed someone he could actually trust, and while Assad wasn’t quite what I had in mind and I doubt the current situation will stay as it is at the moment, it was a welcome development. The scenes where if he knew it or not, the person Palmer can trust the most is Assad, were un-24-like. It was almost the holy grail for 24, a scene which isn’t going a mile a minute, but which doesn’t feel like it’s slowing the pace.
The bad I guess would then be the lets betray the president so we can put in power someone who will do what we want. Ho-hum, we’ve been here before, and sure it made for great tele at the time, but once they commit themselves I don’t see it playing out much differently than it did last time. They’ve either got to change the dynamic of the story line fairly soon, or we’ll be in for a whole lot of Deja Vu.
Which brings me on to “oh yeah, the russians are involved as well”. I really hope they have a plan to link some of these shady groups together, or this part of the show could descend into farce. At last count we now have 4 (I think) groups going around doing bad deeds. We have Bauer Evil Empire limited which knowingly or not supplied Fayed’s terrorist group who are being used as pawns by the New Cold War Russians who plan to well get revenge on America for winning the first one, meanwhile there’s the group currently planning the Coup in Washington. Frankly if I was Jack i’d just let them all go at each other. The writers have to consider there next moves very carefully or it may take forever to untangle the web.
As for 9 in general, hrm, first half wasn’t so hot, second half made up for it.
Sorry for such the disjointed review, i’ll do better next time, probably.