(S06E22) *Warning, spoilers ahead from latest episode.*
If you're a fan of gunfire, dim lighting and foot chases through tunnels and dank warehouses, the latest installment of 24 was right up your alley. Sure, there were still campy moments. Like Jack Bauer's sister-in-law Marilyn sobbing and losing her composure, and Jack's "nephew" Josh being squinty and whiny. Again.
However the name of the game in hour 22 was action, shoehorned into nearly every tick of the 24 clock. And if there's one thing for which I was grateful, it was that there were no scenes with Chloe and Morris "Drill-Bit" O'Brian saying insipid things to one another.
(S06E21) *Warning, spoilers ahead from the new episode ahead.*
In order to enjoy the 21st hour of Jack Bauer's sixth bad day, I had to suspend reality and stop myself from wondering:
a) How in the world CTU could possibly be so vulnerable, b) Why a presidential chief of staff would be hanging out in a surveillance van, c) How a confused looking teen with a mop of blond hair could suddenly take on such importance, and, d) Why on God's green earth should I care about the romantic bickerings of a divorced couple with no chemistry?
But, once I decided to stop asking the why's and the how's I was able to enjoy this hour for what it was: An odd 60 minutes with surprising moments and real, actual dramatic tension.
(S06E20) *Warning, spoilers from the latest episode ahead.*
There were a number of unhinged people populating 24 in the 20th hour. There were tears. There was betrayal. Sex. Intrigue. An evil doctor. And, oh yeah, a potential U.S.-Russian military skirmish after CTU accidentally botched a plan to recover a Russian defense component from the Chinese that Jack Bauer had handed over.
Just your average day in 24-land.
Thankfully, there was a heck of a lot more of Jack in this episode as well as some action, albeit low-keyed action that was confined to darkened CTU corridors, though there was enough story during this hour to keep me entertained.
(S06E19) *Warning, spoilers from the latest episode ahead.*
A dirty old man. A trigger-happy agent. A politically cut-throat spouse. Wildly inappropriate personal bickering in the workplace. Special guest star Jack Bauer.
What do those five things have in common? The 19th hour of 24.
Maybe I'm just growing more cynical, but this episode bummed me out on many fronts. Overall, it felt like filler to just inch the story forward to the final episodes. All I know is that throughout the hour, I wanted to see more Jack, much less of Chloe and Morris "Drill-Bit" O'Brian and felt nauseated by that scene with Acting President Noah Daniels. You know the one.
(S06E18) *Warning, spoilers from the latest episode ahead.*
Who among us did not see this turn of events coming?
I mean, come on, when has life ever been easy for a Palmer politician? And who didn't expect another Jack-Bauer's-gone-rogue story line to surface, particularly when the love of his life's safety hangs in the balance?
Not that seeing these predictable plot twists play out lessened my enjoyment of this 24 episode, but I found the White House and CTU politics a bit too abrupt for a single episode.
(S06E17) *Warning, spoilers from the latest episode ahead.*
You see that giant question mark hanging above my head? (Humor me. Just nod and say, "Yes.") It represents the multitude of questions that abound following the latest episode of 24.
Not that the episode was bad, mind you. In fact, I think it was quite good. I was riveted throughout the whole thing. I didn't laugh or smirk. Well, I kind of did, when Milo Pressman started whining because he was jealous that Nadia Yassir showed compassion toward Mike "The Brawler" Doyle after Doyle was injured during a faux-scuffle. That bit was annoying.
But Milo aside, it was a strong, if not strangely ending episode that now leaves me questioning where we go from here and whether we've now entered the phase of 24 that sets up the next season, although it seems way too early for that, so I'm willing to entertain arguments that I'm wrong.
*Warning, spoilers for the latest 24 episode ahead*
(S06E16) Okay. This episode was a bit better than hour 15. Not substantially better, but somewhat better. Although I must say, about halfway through this episode, I was complaining bitterly that Jack Bauer seemed like, as some critics have complained, a guest star on his own show. He barely appeared in the first 30 minutes to do anything more than chat on his cell phone.
The episode's conclusion -- not including the bit with the renegade former Russian general Gredenko, who had given the suitcase nukes to the "bad" terrorist Abu Fayed -- did wake me from my bored stupor. Sick of seeing new story lines or potential conflicts abruptly introduced and then, just as abruptly resolved in a simplistic fashion, this unexpected turn at the end of the show was at least entertaining.
(S06E15) *Warning, spoilers from recent episode ahead*
It's really sad when the best part of a show is the last minute of a program, when you have to slog through 59 minutes of other material of so-so quality that seems very much like filler in order to get to something good.
That's how I felt about this new episode of 24. Did anyone in their right mind really believe that Nadia was a mole? Of course not, but I didn't expect her story to be resolved so quickly and simply, in less than an hour.
(S06E14) *Warning, spoilers from the recent episode ahead*
Jack Bauer must really be hurting, more so than ever before. More so than he was when he emerged from two years of being tortured by Chinese officials a mere 14 hours ago. Or during other seasons when he was tortured via any number of weapons or devices (though not by a cigar cutter . . . or plastic wrap).
For the second consecutive week, 24 viewers barely saw our boy Jack. He sustained rib injuries in the Russian consulate that caused internal bleeding, necessitating heavy bandages around his mid-section.(Though we did get glimpses of his severely scar-ridden upper torso.) When Jack was doing something other than groaning in pain, he was either close-talking with his sister-in-law, or perusing files from the CTU archives while an unmanned aircraft carrying a live nuke circled over California.
(S06E13) *Warning, spoilers ahead from the new episode*
What do you get when you mix together the following ingredients:
A blended shirt that doesn't wrinkle, a mysterious Denver connection, raspberries and kiwi from Mel's, a bungalow, a mental institution, Russian carnage, getting "stirred up" and Ricky Schroder?
A heck of a good 24 episode . . . though I must admit to laughing at scenes where the show's creators likely weren't going for guffaws. But when you bring back three old characters and put them in an awkward (Man was it awkward!) love triangle and sprinkle in some potential world destruction via nuclear bombs, you gotta chuckle, at least a little bit.
(S06E12) *Warning, spoilers ahead from the new episode*
Now, we're gettin' somewhere.
Argue all you want to about whether season six has been a rehash of other seasons. Nuclear weapon detonation? Been there in season two. President getting undermined by conspiring underlings who don't think he's being tough enough? Done that in season two. Tried to frame Muslim terrorists for something they didn't do when some sinister white dudes were behind it instead? Ditto.
And even though the fresh episode of 24 contained yet another repetitive story twist that viewers have seen in previous seasons, it was done surprisingly well, except if you're involved in one of those human rights groups who think 24 is a scourge. Those folks wouldn't have liked this episode at all.
(S06E11) *Warning, spoilers ahead*
Holy presidential secrets, Batman.
After conspiring to have a president killed?
And the public doesn't know about it?
I know that the White House press corps really hates being kept in the dark, but when the reporters find out about this doozy of a secret, boy are they gonna be angry. Keeping a secret of this magnitude under wraps, even in the wake of a nuclear bomb blast, is going to make run-of-the-mill White House leaks look like child's play in future seasons.
(S06E10) *Warning, spoilers ahead*
A President's Day gift awaited viewers at the end of the tenth hour of 24.
In fact the extremely brief scene involving a famously evil 24 president -- who is now sporting a beard that rivals Jack Bauer's when he was released from Chinese custody some 10 hours ago -- was my favorite part of the latest episode of 24.
That, and the scene where the chief of staff was lying on the dingy floor of another, non-descript boiler room with duct tape over his mouth. Those two scenes made up for the others, like Milo bein' a hero, Morris spitting out the drink and inappropriate flirting in a stairwell.
(S06E07) *Warning: Spoilers ahead*
I'm starting to miss the "good" and the "bad" terrorist story lines. This whole Bauer family drama -- with its cryptic references and long, anguished looks accompanied by soft music meant to indicate deep feelings of one kind or another -- are getting tiresome.
The last few episodes of 24, starting with the appearance of Jack Bauer's brother Graem, have been filled with unexplained familial angst, clipped utterances and baffling actions. There are times when I do enjoy the suspense of trying to figure out people's motives, playing the parlor game of discerning who's bad and who's good, but there's such a thing as too much melodramatic build up with insufficient action, particularly for an action-heavy show.
(S06E06)*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
At times, I felt as though I'd accidentally clicked over to an old episode of The Sopranos, what with all the references to stick by "the family" and the importance of family loyalty . . . all references made mere minutes after one family member had tried to suffocate another, after members of the same family drew weapons on one another and one member demanded the execution of both his brother and father.
There was even some good, old fashioned, familial taunting. Insults were hurled like calling one brother "simple minded" and later harassing him for his failure to adequately protect his wife from a terrorist.
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