When a show gets it right it feels so sweet! 24 has been lagging lately, but the last two episodes have set up something worthy of our attention (if a bit OTT). The bad guys, led by Tony Todd’s General Juma, take the White House and prepare to humiliate the President online and then execute her. Jack, Bill and others are being held at gunpoint mere metres away from where this is meant to take place. A very shaken President Alison Taylor tries to hold herself together. Outside the FBI are doing all they can to find away around the Vice President’s indecision to storm the building. With so many people gathered, and tension mounting by the second it makes for the stuff that writers love to dream up, and audiences love to lap up.
And then what happens? A gun fight that lasts about 30 seconds; abruptly bringing it all to an end.
Make no mistake it was a good 30 seconds. Started by old timer Bill Buchanan, bravely setting off an explosive that claims his life as well (I told you one of the regulars was going to get bumped off about midway through! Not that anyone would have doubted it for a second). But then our mighty terrorist Candym…err General Juma is taken out by Jack fast. A little too fast! And then all is well again. The president makes up with her estranged daughter and then gets her a job on her staff. What the hell is that about??? Can only lead into more political drama later in the show; as evidenced by said daughter’s confrontation with the Chief of Staff played by the wonderful Bob Gunton. (And the audience lets out a horrific groan at the prospect of this new dramatic strand.)
It’s one that seems merely to serve as an extension of political argument that will help extend the show’s run time. The rather spoilt brat attitude of Olivia Taylor needs to be developed through character first before she goes off ranting at the people around her, purely so that we understand her fully and not see her as just some annoying character we wish would get taken out in the most horrific way possible.
But to be honest, the show is losing its balls (if you will pardon the term). Jack lost his wife right at the climax of season 1. Ok the President lost a son, but it was off camera and before the season actually started. Yes, her husband is critically wounded. But to be honest I predict he will pull through and the daughter will be fine by the end of it all, and come the finale the President will be merely pondering thoughts of the day with the ordeal they have all been through. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a moment like the first season where we think all will be well and right there and then both daddy and daughter drop to the ground. Or maybe even the president herself!
That might all sound a bit sick in mind, but it will wake the audience up, who are otherwise going to fall asleep.
Elsewhere, FBI leader Larry Moss finally gets some guts and disregards the Vice-President and goes in to help clear the mess; and then abruptly goes back to be a total arse the moment a fresh lead opens up. Renee is then fired (Yup – so we can expect her to disobey more orders soon and leap right back into the action as a rogue agent – Cause that will make things more exciting for us as viewers if she goes rogue and teams up with Jack again).
Oh hang on. This time Jack wants to do what? Oh yeah. Interrogate someone again. The same guy he electrocuted a couple of episodes ago. Once this finally gets cleared as a course of action to take we find an assassin has been set to finish him off too! Can only mean one thing! Yup! They won’t get the info they need out of him in time before he is killed, but it will open up another shard of evidence for Jack to hit the road and chase down. And sure enough! Jack is framed and instead of staying put to claim his innocence he goes on the run (sigh, again). Much better to go trace the assassin because he just doesn’t have time to go by the book! Somebody shouts “Dammit!” in a loud voice as all the pieces fall apart.
So the show has done another loop and landed right back in the trouble it was in at the start of the season. So is this show really losing ideas? Do the writers literally sit in a room and go round and round until they fill a 24 hour period?
The following takes place…
We got a terrorist threat. Chase down a lead. Catch someone and interrogate them. They die. We got a small traceable lead out of it though! Chase it down! Leads to another secondary villain posing as the main villain. They get stopped and either caught/tortured and eventually killed, and all evidence is destroyed, except one shard of evidence, lets chase down that lead too. And so on, round and round. All the while the guys in charge get in Jack’s way as much as possible. A main player loses their life as do lots of guest stars in forgettable roles. Then we get a semi-big finale and then perhaps a slight twist at the very end that sees Jack not quite the happy bunny we all hope he’d be.
Check out Stephen’s review of episode 12 here.