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What Kind of Day Has it Been? 24: Day 7 In Review

So, after a technical malfunction last night left us all watching The Mist, we caught a repeat of the 24 season finale last night. I have to say, I quite enjoyed it, as I quite enjoyed the whole day. It’s the first full season my brother has sat through, and my aunt and uncle seemed quite impressed with it too. I’m not sure how the whole season will rank up there in the pantheon of 24 seasons, but it was at least very watchable.

Jack Bauer helped U2 find what they were looking for. Fact.

Jack Bauer helped U2 find what they were looking for.

Looking back, I get the sense that this year might be more than the sum of its parts. It was a season that changed focus almost as often as the worst offenders in that regard – It’s about Africa! No wait, terror attack on the White House! Oh, there’s Jon Voight being evil! Hey, where’d Jon Voight go? Why is Tony evil? Who is that dude with the creepy monotone? – but somehow it holds together in a broader way. For the first time in years, I sense that the year’s themes were a lot more solid.

So, what was this day all about, apart from terrorist attacks with the attention span of a goldfish? As ever, it’s anchored in Jack. Kiefer continues to be the best reason to watch the sow, and this year gave us a deeper insight into the man than any attempt since the second season. This year was about consequences – for Jack and for others. Admittedly it didn’t play out completely – it’s a theme very difficult to tie into the Sengala arc (though it is hinted at in the prequel movie in conversations between Daniels and his successor) – but it was at the core of the season. Jack is introduced facing a Senate hearing for his actions; Tony is still reeling from the loss of his wife; the big bad guy is defined by his responsibility in events several years ago; Olivia Taylor is forced to account for her actions half-way through the day; we even get some focus on Jonas Hodges accepting the consequences of his failed coup d’etat before he gets all blowed up. I appreciated the quieter finale, and the attempt by Jack to find peace (praying with an imam on his deathbed).

The season benefited from terrific casting. Jon Voight and Tony Todd were exceptionally nasty bad guys who got too little screentime – though that’s par for the course on this show (big villians generally die in pretty crap ways – Sayid Ali was sniped by a bigger bad guy after he’d confessed; the business man at the end of the year was shot in the back by a chopper; Saunders was killed by a grieving widow after he’d been captured; Marwan threw himself off a building; Jack’s dad got blown up real good). Outside these guys, it was great to see Leland Orser, Connor Trinner, Bob Gunton, Sprague Grayden, Kurtwood Smith, Rory Cochrane, Glenn Morshower and Colm Feore, among others. The additions to the regular cast were fairly solid as well – particularly Anne Wershing as Rene Walker – and Elisha Cuthbert felt necessary for the first time in years. The only performer I wasn’t really impressed with was a fairly important one – I didn’t buy Cherry Jones as President Taylor. In fact, the presidential plotlines worked better when she was off screen (her husband investigating her son’s death; her daughter going off the deep end).

Jack and Jill went up the hill. Only Jack came back down. Jill was a terrorist.

Jack and Jill went up the hill. Only Jack came back down. Jill was a terrorist.

Still, it wasn’t perfect. With the exception of Jon Voight’s delightfully insane performance (which was incredible fun to watch) and Tony Todd’s dignified African dictator, the bulk of the villians for the year seemed… kinda flat. The constantly shifting plot was a bit jarring, though I’m happy that they managed to loosely connect it all with the bioweapon thread. Luckily that the writers’ strike gave the crew time to work out several kinks – there’s an increased continuity in the day’s events as characters who go missing for long stretches (the first dude, Senator Meyer) weren’t simply forgotten about. The fact that we’ve seen Jonas Hodges in the feature-length movie that introduced the show means his appearance doesn’t seem like as much of an ass-pull as it would otherwise. Also, I got the sense that Washington could have been used better, as it just felt like “not Los Angeles” at some points. Still, I’m looking forward to Jack’s trip to New York next year.

Overall, it’s an above average season. Maybe not up there with the fifth and the first two, but solid and entertaining. I’ll be rewatching it on Blu Ray over Christmas, to see if it holds up.

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One Response

  1. […] surviving Kennedy brother would die only a year after the Palmer family had faded away on the show. The seventh season – that most recently produced – featured an entirely new White House administration […]

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