(S07E23/S07E24) "You don't know what I've done." - Jack
When 24 first premiered back in 2001, we were all taken off guard. It was so different, innovative, and action packed - like nothing we'd seen on TV ever before. But do you remember why it worked so well? Sure, there was a vast conspiracy that enshrouded the whole day in darkness, but for the most part, it was all about Jack and his family. The Bauers were what made Day 1 so memorable.
You felt horrible when Jack held Teri's lifeless body in those final seconds, and it was because the season focus was weighted towards them and not Drazen or Nina. Because of that formula, the show took off and with each season from then on, 24 became bigger than itself and so did the conspiracies. Then the bubble burst with Day 6 when it all came crashing down - we'd seen enough nukes, bio-pathogens, and Middle Eastern terrorists. The difference? All of that became more important than Jack. After Day 7's stellar finale, I think we can all agree that 24 has found its roots again.
(S07E22) "Why did you betray me?" - Jack
Since next week's finale is actually the last two hours of the season back-to-back, I think it's safe to refer to tonight's hour as Day 7's penultimate episode. As is so often the case with pivotal installments that precede a finale (especially with 24), going into it, I couldn't help shake the feeling that the bio-terror threat would be erased for good only to reveal one more crisis ready to spill over into next week. I'm not trying to say that it was predictable, but ... well ... nevermind. It was predictable.
(S07E21) "I have to see this through." - Jack
After a run of so many good episodes, it had to happen sooner or later - the calm before the storm. Hour 21 wasn't much more than that. A lot of filler and only a little bit of action.
All the events that are going to play out over the season's final three episodes were set in motion, but it was done with such a deliberately slow pacing that you probably would have been fine just watching next week's "Previously on 24" clip.
(S07E20) "Another attack today is all we need to push this thing right over the edge." - Tony
Only four hours left. All the pieces are in motion and sides have been chosen. Following Tony's betrayal last week, things have progressed quickly - his cohorts aren't exactly the waiting type. As tense as the plot has become, I have to say that I'm a little disappointed. Essentially, the plan is exactly the same and Hodges has just been replaced with the dozen or so people in that bad guy summit ... not sure what else to call it.
(S07E19) "I would think you'd know by now that no one can change my father's mind when it's made up" - Kim
Wow - talk about a complete 180°. A lot of this season has played it safe, but after last week's shocking final minutes, Day 7 has kicked into overdrive. During last night's episode, at times it felt like we were watching something out of season five. It was that tense. New conspiracies, new players, and confirmation of the one thing we've all assumed but couldn't bring ourselves to admit - Tony has been lying to Jack all day.
(S07E18) "Kim, I'm dying." - Jack
That, my friends, is what you call a game changer. Initially, I wasn't feeling the vibe of this episode. It was slow, predictable, and the Kim/Jack reunion that we've known about for ages was about as anti-climactic as you can get. But it worked. Kim's return created precisely the distraction we needed so that hour eighteen's final minutes made our jaws drops. When I spoke with Carlos Bernard recently, he said that production was shut down for over a month at one point to reassess the direction of one episode. I'm guessing this was it.
Look at him! American hero turned rogue black-ops bad-ass turned American hero again. Carlos Bernard has taken Tony Almeida around the block more than once on FOX's tick-tocking drama 24. Despite the fact that he "died" in season five, Bernard has made one thing clear during Tony's "resurrection" on the show's seventh season - you can't keep a good man down.
I had the chance to speak to Bernard last week. Lots of scoop on the remainder of the current season, some info on the soul-patch era, and the one thing that everyone is dying to know - where's Tony's Cubs mug?
(S07E17) "I'm not giving up on you." - President Taylor
Not a bad pep talk to get from your President after being indicted, considered a federal fugitive, and becoming infected with a bio-engineered virus all in the same day. However, if I know Jack (and speaking of "knowing" Jack, check out this 24 quiz that TV Squad's own Joel Keller put together for Parade), then those words probably meant the world to him. That was until Dr. Macer gave Jack a pouch full of pre-loaded syringes. She looked at his file! She knew he had a daughter. I guess she glossed over the part about that raging heroin addiction he picked up in Mexico while undercover in the Salazar organization.
(S07E16) "But I don't know anything... Mr. Hodges." - Tony
Nooooo! Jack Bauer cannot die! After last week's shocking conclusion, two questions have been on everyone's mind - just what exactly was Jack exposed to and more importantly, is he actually infected? Now that we have our answer, something tells me 24 might never be the same again.
(S07E15) "Because we're fugitives Tony! No one's gonna believe us!" - Jack
Maybe I'm just far too optimistic, but I'd like to think that if Lockheed Martin (or some other major defense contractor) started making a bio-weapon with plans to release it in say, rural Tennessee, we'd know about. Well, not you and me, but someone up high. That's been my biggest gripe with this season and I've mentioned it before - even in the world of 24, far too much is happening that shouldn't be happening. I'm starting to think that maybe next season, Day 8, 24's clock should be punched for good.
(S07E14) "What we're doing is fundamentally and absolutely necessary." - Hodges
After all that, is it really that simple? Does it really just boil down to survival of the fittest? Fourteen hours into Jack Bauer's very bad seventh day and we finally found out the motivation behind the day's terrorist attacks. Like everyone else, I've been on the edge of my seat, but after that revelation... well, it's going to take another crazy twist for me to really care about Jonas Hodges.
(S07E13) "It was supposed to be me." - Jack
Just past the half-way point in Day 7, and as everyone predicted would happen, the threat has changed drastically. General Juma was neutralized (he's gone just as quickly as he appeared) and Jonas Hodges has taken on the role of main baddie now. However, despite all the fanfare that put him in that infamous position, it's going to take a few episodes before I buy into whatever it is he has planned. Right now, he's just some old dude with a big mahogany desk.
(S07E12) "Madame President, right now your life is a priority whether you like it ot not." - Jack
That wasn't as gripping as I thought it would be. After all the set-up in last night's first hour, I assumed there'd be a lot more pay-off. Instead... it was more set-up.
Yes, the taking of the White House was exciting and I loved how we got to see more of Agent Pierce in action, but overall I'm left wanting more and we just didn't get it.
(S07E11) "I can pull the trigger 128 more times before this battery dies." - Jack
Jack Bauer doing what Jack Bauer does best - torturing one to save many. It only seems appropriate that we heard Jack drop that line in tonight's first hour, immediately following a conversation between Senator Mayer and the President about how the United States shouldn't condone torture. Mayer doesn't. Allison is on the fence. And Jack ... well, we know where he stands.
The entire debate about torture and "how far do you go to save lives" has been at the forefront of this season since the opening minutes as Jack sat in front of the Senate sub-committee at the beginning of the day. Now it's been thrust right back in our faces, and Blaine's, too, as he's now been put in the unique position to witness Jack doing the exact thing he's trying to prosecute him for.
(S07E10) "...but this ain't over yet." - Tony
Just like in the middle of season three, the game has changed. One threat down, and one(?) to go. Last night's episode of 24 did a great job of wrapping up the first half of the season without leaving too many unresolved issues. For the most part, it's a clean break and things seem ready to reboot with next week's back-to-back episodes.
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