Monday, March 05, 2007

Episode 12 Recap Delayed

Hey loyalists, I'm going to have to delay this week's review a few days. I've watched nearly all of the episode and must say that this week's could have been the best and worst of the season. Powers Boothe rules as an actor and is easily the most believeable character the show has had in several seasons... unfortunately, this week featured a lot of "let me explain the plot to you while I ask you questions and/or make statements." I continue to argue that writing like this shouldn't be rewarded with Emmys. I'll be back with my recap as soon as you can say, "Assad must have smuggled in a bomb," without laughing.


Anonymous said...

I guess I will wait to post my whole thoughts on what I suspect you will say. That was easily the best show of the season so far. As far as Emmys go...Awards shows stink to begin with. THe very idea of an Awards show is based around money and the industry patting itself on the back and trying to sell more of whatever is nominated.
If 24 getting several Emmy's winds you up..have a look at the the list of musical artists that never got a Grammy or films that never got an Oscar...

bryan h. said...

I agree that this was the season's best episode, but I don't think that's a very good sign of the state of things. And what the fuck: Assad spends several hours in CTU custody, then gets transferred to the secret service and somehow we're supposed to believe that anyone finds it plausible that he had bomb making materials nobody noticed? Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Plausible? Well think about what the American People, the Senate, and the House believed was a legitimate reason to go to war in Iraq. The fact of the matter is after 911, most of us would have believed anything to make ourselves feel avenged. In the context of the show, a Nucleur bomb has been detonated on American soil. Most people wouldn't care about details like what was plausible. They would just want blood.

bryan h. said...


I don't dispute your logic about the (24 version of) the USA following a nuclear attack (I don't agree with the implication, though, that there weren't plenty of people both inside and outside of government who disagreed with the iraq war rationale, but that's beside the point).

My point is this: as the latest episode ends, the public is just now finding out about the bomb and President Palmer. Up until now, everyone who knows is inside the government, and they only remotely realistic responses from any of them would be:

1) "We have to immediately get the secret service away from the president because they are obviously completely inept at their job." Or,

2) "That's total bullshit: there's no way Assad got a bomb past CTU and the Secret Service."

I'm just saying, the secret service is smart enough to call Reed Pollock out on this; they would be pissed the hell off if someone intimated that they let a bomb get anywhere near the president.

All I mean to say here is that, on this plot development, the writers of 24 are either total dipshits, or they think we are.

Jonk said...

I've been on the extreme bitterness train of this show ever since Tony's senseless death in season 5. I'm watching this season only out of respect of the show 24 used to be, and because in the end, I'd like to see how the character of Jack Bauer is sent out (I presume that he's going to be killed when the show ends its run).

To be honest, Kiefer Sutherland was given a lot of good material to work with at the beginning of the season. He was showing a lot more of Jack's emotional state than the past 2 seasons combined. The main plot quickly became outlandish, and it's become rather ridiculous by now. To boot: what exactly is Fayed doing now? It appears that Gredenko is the only guy they should really be worried about, given that he is trying to set up unmanned drones to drop nukes. Phillip Bauer leaves Jack with Logan's number...and that's all we see of him? The only riveting thing had been Jack's occasional flashes of humanity, but that went away quickly enough. The only new character that's been worth a damn is Tom Lennox. Wayne has been written awfully. Powers Boothe as a scheming VP - where have I seen this before? To me, this season represents an amalgamation of a lot of past storylines and plot undercurrents, and it sucks hard, IMO.

The show functioned better in the first 3 seasons, I feel, because there was a lot of real, gritty interaction between a tight group of regulars at CTU. A lot of the drama from CTU has been sucked out by the replacement of characters worth watching in the building (Tony, Michelle, Chappelle, Mason, even a guy like Brad Hammond) with non-personalities such as Buchanan, Morris, Nadia, Milo (who lost his personality after disappearing from season 1), and even present-day Chloe. Stories like Morris' alcoholism or this ridiculous 'love triangle' with Chloe in the middle are a joke. Buchanan does whatever Jack wants - even Tony would usually play a rougher CTU boss than Bill does.

Lastly, the show has suffered from the cramming in of numerous plots that just don't make any sense put together. Since season 4, 24 has fallen victim to running several of the 'next biggest thing' storylines. In season 4, it was spreading an Internet virus to hog bandwidth to broadcast Heller's 'trial', which was just a cover for melting down nuclear reactors, which was just a diversion from shooting down AF1 to recover the nuclear football to arm a nuclear missile stolen in the mountains of Iowa that was shot at Los Angeles. Season 5 was framing Jack for killing everyone...and then they take hostages at an airport as a diversion for removing nerve gas that was stored underground, which was then used to try and infect a mall, a hospital, CTU, and then a natural gas pipeline...which somehow leads back to Henderson, following orders from Logan, to take Jack out, and this coincides with Bierko's telegraphed escape from custody to use a magically rediscovered canister of nerve gas to knock out a submarine crew so that it can be stolen and used to fire missiles at who knows where. Season 6 was about Fayed scamming the federal government out of $25 million so he could kill Jack for shits and giggles, and when that failed, he has a suicide bomber try and blow up the subway; after that, he cons the government into releasing a nuclear scientist in custody so that he can arm the nuclear devices using something that Kumar was supposed to deliver but some random guy ends up bringing to him, but when CTU shows up, they blow up Valencia and then somehow are able to predict Morris' behavior such that they can steal him and have him arm the nukes instead...and now it's on to Gredenko with the drones...In other words, the plots are just full of run-on sentences. Season 1 was simple to understand. Seasons 2 and 3, even though they had 'bigger' plotlines, were also relatively simple to follow the thread. It seems that the writers are just more interested in throwing out bigger and bigger plots - and more of them in each season, usually with no interconnecting thread - simply to prop up Jack Bauer, American pop culture icon. Writers, if I'm still watching the recorded episodes next season (I watch Heroes during the timeslot), you have got to make the plot smaller. Develop characters we can give a damn about instead of having false starts (Walid, Sandra Palmer) and killing off others (Graem Bauer)...because right now, I really don't care what happens to any of them. Even Jack.

Seth Gunderson said...

Well said, Jonk!

Anonymous said...

I agree, that killing a large portion of the cast off has been a problem for the show. Tony's death was a big blow. I have posted on many boards about this. I felt other than Jack, Tony was the most significant character on the show. The chemistry between the two of them really gave the story a balance. I felt that was the single greatest mistake of the show. If they were going to kill
Tony it seems like they could have come up with a better way for him to die, a way that befitted his
significance. I think that was one of those experiments the writers tried that failed miserably.
No argument there. I also agree that killing off so many characters that people liked and loved to hate also hurt the show. The writers will tell you that this was done to show the viewers there is a human cost in this war, blah, blah, blah.
I think it was more arrogance than anything. It was the producers saying the show is what draws people in, not character attachment like so many other dramas. They were wrong.
The real problem is these characters were not replaced by new characters and in some cases they were replaced by new characters that were in turn killed. Somehow, I think that is why Chloe is still around.
For instance Stephen Saunders was a great villian who should have at least gotten another season. Maybe sometimes this also has to do with the actors availability as well.

Now this season...Well for me the only real complaint was the choice of Wayne Palmer as the POTUS. (Maybe the bomb will take care of that).
I can live with some of the rehashed, unrealistic, storylines. I don't watch 24 for reality. There have been many things in past seasons that were not very realistic or plausible. I mean is there ever any traffic in LA? The whole repositioning satellites in 5 minutes. Some of the techno-stuff. No computer crashes, etc...THat's not even getting into the idea of so many moles, or conspiracy plots.

I watch it because Jack Bauer is an existential superhero that has many characteristics we wish we would all have and many defects that we can relate to.

I am going to let this season play out and see what happens.

As far as other shows...what can I say. I watch Heroes and Lost. I think its a great thing that dramatic TV is coming back. If one has to make a choice between them fine. I am living and working in Vienna, so I have to get my TV fix from home via Itunes so there is never a conflict.
I hated the whole reality television thing...still do. Those shows (Heroes, Lost) will suffer in the future as well. Lost is already starting to lose me a bit, ending every show with more questions every week has its own price and you can't hold people's attention forever.

I would love to blame the "decline" of the show on Tony's death, because I think that was just a huge mistake of arrogance by the producers, but in reality we are in the 6th season of a show. It is very difficult to make something work for much longer. M.A.S.H. ran for like 12 seasons or something. The X-Files ran for about 1 season too many. I don't know if 24 will make it past 8 or 9 seasons. Maybe the best thing would be to have the sprouting of another 24 e.g CTU NY or an International wing of counter terrorism working in the field.

We'll see what happens. I am there till the end for 24 because i have invested so much up to this point. Sometimes I think I should have watched the last 2 seasons the way I watched the first 4, via DVD. Your feeling of the season is so much different that way.
Anyway..those are my 2 cents..

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