I just caught the preview/pilot episode of Fox’s new Kiefer Sutherland starrer: Touch, and was very pleasantly surprised. I normally don’t write on here about new TV shows, but I was impressed enough with this one to give it my full recommendation.

 Very well written fun, cerebral and emotional show. Kiefer Sutherland is great as a very un-Jack Bauer like character. Those looking for an action or mystery show like Lost or Person of Interest might be disappointed but those looking for something that feels new, has some real depth and has the potential to be some really quality television, give Touch a watch. 

The full episode is available at the link above. 

Kind of a bummer that this was just a preview and the real run doesn’t start until March. I’ll be watching then for sure. 

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Merry Christmas to all!

To get you in the mood, if you’re not already. Here’s Kiefer Sutherland attacking a christmas tree. (Apparently he’s a pirate.)

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24. Farewell old friend.

Warning: This Post Contains Spoilers for 24, the complete series. 

9 years ago on a Tuesday night, at my father’s suggestion, I sat down to watch a television show that would end up defining how I watched TV and movies for the years to come. I didn’t know it then but this show would change television and it would change me all for the better. This show of course was 24. 

I mean that part about changing me with little grandiose too. If it weren’t for 24, I may never have written my first feature length screenplay, tried to produce it and discovered my passion for filmmaking, but this post isn’t about me, it’s about 24. A brilliant and groundbreaking show that ended tonight. 

Lost may have gotten all of the publicity for the last couple of years and its finale will probably have pulled in higher ratings, but 24 was and will always be my show. I tuned in every week for every episode, stuck it out through stupid plot lines and never gave up, knowing that even when Kim was getting chased by cougars and we were all stuck in the twisted brady bunch episode that was season 6, the writers would still find a way to pull it all back in and keep us loyal fans entertained. 

It’s hard for me to put into words what exactly 24 has meant to me over the years. As anyone who knows me can attest, it was my obsession. It was the one thing I totally nerded out for: knowing the names of peripheral characters and even being able to name what happened in what episode in what season on cue. I let myself get immersed in this show and loved every minute of the ride. I did this with no shame or self consciousness because I recognized this as a show that offered escapism into a world where things were simple, Jack was always right and the good guys could be counted on winning, by any means necessary. 

I’ll miss the comfort of knowing that this coming January, Jack Bauer will be back for another power hour to help protect us innocent and clueless Americans from threats we can only imagine and will never find out about. 

I could go on and on about what 24 has meant to me, how it redefined the serial television show (and it could be argued, paved the way for other groundbreaking shows like Lost) and everything else, but I am still trying to process that my show for the last decade has just ended. 

Eventually, maybe I’ll give a more detailed review of tonight’s finale as its still too fresh and I haven’t totally unpacked it yet but my first reaction is #1 making a fully satisfactory finale to such a monumental show is a huge task but this last episode delivered. #2, for those of us watching Lost, 24 had the bar set pretty high in terms of drama in the final moments. What I will say is that these final 2 hours were very tight and very tense. Like the best 24 episodes throughout the years, these final 2 hours kept us on the edge of our seats the entire time with some really great scenes and about as much resolution as we get from 24. I liked Jack and Chloe’s final conversation and the fact that in the end no one was clean and once they all had become corrupted like Jack himself, he of course was the true voice of reason.

I think president Taylor summed up pretty much the whole show in her final conversation with Jack…

"If only I had listened to you from the beginning, none of this would have happened this way."

Ah, that has been true for so long. In a world of both extremes and terrible gray areas, Jack Bauer is the only constant force of what is right. 

Before really giving myself some time to think back on this season as a whole, what I can say looking back on it now was that I appreciated this season for taking the show back to its roots. It was once again a character drama built around a fast paced plot. Jack had depth again and he had purpose. He had to save Renee because that was the only way he could save himself. Once the forces of corruption took that away from him, he realized he would have to go down destroying the forces of evil and corruption in the name of justice. As it should be. 

Also, I really liked how they very consciously put in little throwbacks to previous seasons throughout this one, between the cole and dana walker parking lot fight all the way up to the ending which is incredibly reminiscent of season 4, the strongest ending of all of the finales, I feel like the writers knew it was time to end they were paying tribute to their previous success as they got ready to say goodbye. 

I could go on and on but I won’t. I’ll wrap this up by rating the seasons not including season 8 since i’ll need to decompress a little before i figure out where it fits in the grand scheme of things. 

Max K’s official 24 seasons 1-7 ratings of the seasons overall.

2

1

3

7

4

5

6

And there it is. 

Farewell 24. Thanks Kiefer Sutherland and the incredible staff who put that show together. It was certainly a remarkable feat. 

Also I would like to thank all of you who read this or at least had to put up with this big block of text filling up your dashboards these past few weeks. If you didn’t know the show it probably sounded like the ramblings of a lunatic and if you do know the show, I hope you could appreciate with me the true impact of a show like this ending. 

So that’s that. The terrorist plot is resolved, order is restored to the world and Jack is still out there somewhere.

 ”Shut it down.”

Farewell Jack Bauer. Farewell 24.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock. 

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 7

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This Post Contains Spoilers for 24 season 7

Part of me almost wishes that 24 had ended with season 7, not because season 8 hasn’t been strong, it definitely has, but season 7 marked a return to form for the show after the disastrous season 6 and, more importantly, the conclusion of season 7 was the conclusion of a story arch that had spanned all the way back to season 5. Finally the man behind Logan, the man behind the Christopher Henderson and the blue tooth team in s5, the man responsible for the death of David Palmer and Michelle was finally caught and brought to justice, or as close to justice as 24 gets.

Additionally, all throughout season 7, we finally get to see Jack struggle with the decisions he makes and he is finally forced to ask himself if what he has been doing is really right. This was a brilliant new side to give Jack. For once he is conflicted, not sure that what he is doing is neccessarily the right thing. He is forced to hold himself accountable. To ask if the ends justify the means. At the end of the season, we also get to see Jack finally face his own mortality and it is there that we see him really struggle. Where before, he never worried about his actions once they had been taken, with death imminent for him, he finally has to question his philosophy of uncompromising action towards doing what needs to be done. Seeing Jack in this light was a great new bit of character development for him. I have said that I thought Jack exhibited little real character development from seasons 4-6 but over the course season 7 he changes which is part of why this season is so strong. 

All of this internal struggle that Jack goes through wouldn’t have happened without the introduction of Jack’s female counterpart Renee Walker. She is Jack 10 years ago but she still operates with moral rules and standards and challenges Jack to keep the morality in his actions. What is so interesting about their dynamic is the fact that, after a day with Jack, Renee’s sense of morals becomes completely skewed and warped after living a day in Jack’s world. Together they discover the grey area that exists, realizing that it is impossible to stay completely morally clean when fighting those who don’t play by the same moral rules. By the end of the season, we also see that Renee has become Jack-if-ied and suddenly she is struggling with the same issues that he is. They are eachother’s counterparts and watching their relationship unfold over the course of the season was by far one of the most interesting parts of the show.

Another master stroke by the writers that came in this season was how they dealt with Tony Almeida and his final motives. I like many fans grew weary of Tony flip flopping back and forth between being a good guy and a bad guy throughout the season and I admit that they almost lost me when he went evil for the last time. They won be back with this storyline in this finale however, when Tony finally reveals his true motives Jack, telling him that everything he had done today was all so he could catch the man behind Michelle’s death. In the end, Tony played everyone to carry out his revenge plot. Now, at first glance a simple revenge plot may seem like a cop out, but actually, if one thinks about just how complicated a character Tony Almeida is, it actually works quite nicely. Consider that Jack and Tony follow very similar paths, both devoting their lives and livelihoods to CTU, only to lose everything because of choices they made on the job. The key though is how Jack and Tony handle things differently. Obviously, Jack manages to do the right thing even in the face of the personal tragedy that his job has caused but Tony deals with his path differently, choosing the darker path that ultimately lead him to Jack and Allan Wilson. It is kind of interesting that Tony was considered a villain in the end of the season for carrying out his actions after seeing season 8, where Jack has finally stopped caring about right and wrong and is on a revenge plot of his own. I wonder how much of this parallel is intentional.

Interestingly enough, Tony is never acting with a terrorists motivation of hurting America. He is actually, in his quest for revenge, working towards protecting his country by destroying this silent threat by whatever means necessary. If you think about Tony as compared with Renee, they represent Jack’s moral sides, the one side that wants to maintain the laws and morals of the land and the other who will do whatever is necessary no matter what the cost. After his lame original death in season 5, I really liked this as a conclusion for by far the most complicated character in 24’s span. 

Best Moment of the Finale

There were a lot of great moments in this first finale in 2 years, but I think the winner here goes to Jack and Renee’s final conversation before he gets wheeled away. In it you see two people struggling mightily with their morals in the face of a world of threats that don’t regard them. We get to see that, for every difficult choice he makes, Jack Bauer struggles mightily, even if he doesn’t show it. We get to see Renee, the next generation Jack, on the start of her struggle with the very same issue, whereas Jack is at the end of his. The dialogue here is some of the best of the series and reveals some great character traits within our two heroes. In the end they realize together that they must exist in the gray area even if it is the harder place to stand. 

Jack sums it up perfectly with one of his last lines to Renee:

"The only advice I can give is to tell you to try to make choices that you can live with." 

Brilliant. 

Special mention also must be made of Jack’s final scene with the Imam. A brilliant moment where Jack asks a muslim man of faith to help him find forgiveness, a beautiful moment of closure in the face of all of the muslim terrorists that Jack has taken out over the years. 

And so we have come to the end of the 24 countdown. Once I stop crying over Lost and 24, I’ll hopefully give a review of that finale, give my take on the season as a whole and write my final sendoff for 24. 

The clock has almost run out. The finale is tonight. 

Farewell 24, I know you’ll do it up right in your final 2 hours. 

Tick Tock Tick Tock. 

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 6

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This Post contains spoilers for 24 Season 6. 

Most hardcore 24 fans look back on season 6 as sort of a lost season, where the writers let the story get too big and convoluted to the point that it went into self parody range. I remember trying desperately to like season 6 as a whole while all my friends talked about how it was just awful. In retrospect they were right, from Wayne Palmer being President to moles, multiple villains, CTU getting invaded AGAIN and the whole Audrey and the chinese storyline being sort of tacked on at the end when the initial threat ended, the season as a whole was by far the weakest of the show’s 8 years. For 24 fans, the writers strike was actually a blessing in that it allowed the writers time to go back and rework the show, its characters and its plot into what became season 7, which I would argue is the most successful of the later seasons, but that’s for another post. 

So, with so much wrong with season 6 as a whole, this finale was about par for the course with the rest of the season, with the climactic final battle looking and feeling more like the final level of a shoot’em up video game then the once intelligent and tight show that was 24. I think the writers started to get a sense towards the end that things had gotten to the point of silliness and so, in the final minutes of the season, after most of the strands are tied up one way or another, we are given a sobering final scene where Jack, who has only just returned a day earlier from 2 years of torture at the hands of the chinese, is forced to deal with the betrayal and abandonment by the government that has asked so much of him over the years. I felt this was a particularly brilliant note to end the show on, finishing the larger than life plot of the season and then ending it with a completely character driven scene where Jack is finally able to express himself. 

I won’t talk about the ridiculousness of the whole Jack’s evil family storyline since it was something I thought was stupid from the beginning, but I will say that it did play nicely into the final scene. Jack having been betrayed by his family, looked elsewhere for a father figure, only to have those people take advantage of him as well. The end of Season 6 finds Jack a lost man who finds his loyalties tested after yet another betrayal. I think one of the biggest problems for the show in seasons 4 5 and 6 was the lack of Character development on Jack’s part but thankfully, in that last scene they brought it back.

One last thing I like to point out about this episode before finishing up the entry is the scene where Morris and Chloe are talking and Chloe tells Morris she’s pregnant. Aside from the fact that this little plot device seemed so forced and uneccessarily just stuck in at the finale, there was one little gem that always got to me. After Chloe tells him she’s pregnant, morris responds by saying “You mean like, with child?” and Chloe replies, “Yes, that’s usually how it works.” What I loved about that was this was the exact same exchange that Jack had with Terri during his final conversation with her at the end of season 1. It was a cute nod to an earlier season that I, being the huge 24 nerd that I am, greatly appreciated. 

Best Moment of The Finale:

In a mediocre finale of a lackluster season, this one’s pretty easy, it goes to the final 10 minutes of the episode wherein Jack appears at the Heller house to get Audrey back and finally tell former Secretary of Defense James Heller how he feels. I think what makes this scene so great was how un-24 like it felt. It is very slow, just Heller and Jack talking and there is hardly any music throughout their exchange. This was effective in that once the music came back on, it was noticeable though still very understated. 

This scene was all about Jack finally being forced to deal with everything that happened over the day but also how he had been treated for the last 3 seasons. He felt betrayed and used and he was done with it.

"Earlier today, you said that I was cursed, that everything I touched ended up dead or ruined. How dare you. The only thing I did, the only thing that I have ever done was what you and people like you have asked of me." 

That pretty much sums it up right there. He then goes on to see Audrey, but realizes that he can’t take her with him the way he wants and finally understands that the best thing for her is to let her go. 

He says his goodbye and walks out of the house over to the cliffs over the sea. Our final image is of Jack standing at the edge, a man completely lost. For the first time we get a fade to a silent clock and the season was over. It was a chilling and gripping way to end an otherwise just ok season. 

Next time, season 7 followed soon thereafter by a season 8 review and my farewell to 24.

There are only 6 days left until the 24 finale. The clock is about to run out. 

Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. 

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 5

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I think the great thing about this finale is that, 2/3 of the way through, you still don’t know how it’s all going to end. Most of the other finales leave one last task to be carried out in the last hour, taking down Peter Kingsley, securing the final nerve gas cannister etc. and so too does this finale begin, with Jack literally kidnapping the president of the united states in order to bring him to justice, but this time the writers throw us a curve, Jack fails at his initial attempt. 

He of course is successful at kidnapping Logan and delivers one of his most badass monologues in the series, but Logan, being the slimy snake that he is, stalls long enough to secure his rescue. The SWAT team runs in and Jack gets tackled and put in handcuffs. This is at 6:25am. As we get back from commercial and the clock reads 6:30, Logan lands triumphantly at the airfield and gets out. With less than a half hour to go and Jack in custody, it honestly looks like the bad guys are going to win. I remember leaning over to my dad while we watched this and asked him “how the hell are they gonna get to Logan now?” 

Brilliantly though, if you watch again, the writers and editors of the show lay the groundwork for Logans takedown subtly throughout the episode. His undoing ends up being his pen, onto which Jack places a microtransimtter device when he has him captive. The cool thing though, is that they purposely kept showing us quick cutaways of Logan taking out his pen or putting it into his jacket so that when he finally pulls it out and we see the microtransmitter, we’ve already been prepared for it in a very subtle and clever way. 

On another note, Gregory Itzin has to be one of the best and most underrated actors on television today. President Logan could have been played as a straight up evil villain. A president who has let the power corrupt him and has no regard for his morals or his fellow man. Itzin however, plays Logan with more complexity, showing him as someone who honestly believes that what he is doing is right, but his job and the power have become too much for him and he lost his way. He is one of the best and most complex villains in the 24 o verse and I am very glad to see that he will be part of the endgame in season 8. 

The David Palmer funeral was a heartwrenching scene for us David Palmer fans. As his casket is carried to the podium, Sean Callery’s theme for Palmer plays one last time and lets us all reminisce about our favorite television president (suck it Martin Sheen). 

Best Moment of the Finale

There are alot to choose from in this finale. special mention has to be made of Logan’s final walk of shame away from the podium and into the car as it is juxtaposed with the marines carrying David Palmers body into the awaiting jet and the 21 gun salute. 

Another honorable mention has to go to Logan and Martha’s final confrontation which begins with one of the best bitchslaps I have ever seen on television. That scene solidified Itzin as a great great actor for me. In that moment, at his most evil, he still manages to come off vulnerable and hurt.

The winner though, has to be Jack’s speech to Logan when he has him in the paper processing plant. Kiefer Sutherland gives another great performance recounting the betrayal he felt after being forced to fake his own death. 

"Now that I see the depth of your corruption unfold, I have no doubt that you are the source of that danger." He goes on to talk about David Palmer and the rest of his friends who were killed because of Logan and then delivers the punchline…

"You are going to be held accountable for your part of everything that has happened today, you are not gonna be able to hide behind the presidency. RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW YOU ARE GOING TO FACE JUSTICE!"

Ah I still get goosebumps watching that scene. 

Next time, season 6. 

There are 2 weeks left of 24. We are getting down to the end here. 

TICK TOCK TOCK TOCK TOCK 

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 4

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This Post Contains Spoilers for 24 Season 4

Wow, it had been a long time since I watched the season 4 finale in full and what impresses me most about it is that, while every 24 episode is jam packed, this s4x24 might have been the most complicated and dense plot wise. When the episode starts, the missile is still in the air and Marwan, the terrorist mastermind is still at large. By the end of the episode though, the threat has been neutralized and Jack has successfully escaped a president approved death sentence by faking his own death and walking off into the sunrise in what is arguably the most epic shot in 24 and possibly television history. While most of the other 24 finales were predictable in how one knew that the threat would come to an end and our heroes would all reach their conclusions for the day, this finale was anything but. They gave us a false sense of security when the missile is destroyed in the first 25 minutes, but then introduce an entirely new problem that must be solved in the final 35 minutes. All this on top of finally seeing the resolution to the Tony and Michelle love story and finding out where Jack stands with Audrey. 

I loved seeing Dennis Haysbert back for this final chapter of the season, I think the producers knew exactly what they were doing bringing back the morally pure David Palmer to contrast the always slimy Charles Logan. They played this dramatic piece perfectly when Palmer tries to stop Logan from going through with the plan to kill Jack, only to be shot down and realizing he cannot do anything about it since he is no longer the president. It is interesting how they played Logan then, a slimy but still goodhearted politician who is clearly in way over his head, to how they developped in him into the corrupt villain the following season and now, with his reappearance in season 8, as the voice of evil and corruption, pulling President Taylor down the wrong path. I wonder what would happen if Palmer was still alive to advise Taylor and prove the counter balance to Logan’s evil plotting. More presidents should be asking WWDPD? What would David Palmer Do?

The parallel of Palmer saving Jack’s life this time around was also a brilliant touch, showing that things had come full circle, perfect now that their relationship was coming to an end. 

I also loved that Tony and Michelle finally got their happy ending. Seeing Tony go to Rock bottom after his prison stint and losing Michelle, day 4 was very much his redemption day the way day 2 was for Jack. Their final embrace was a beautiful moment that I know had a lot of Tony and Michelle fans cheering. 

This was also one of the most emotionally effective finales. While all of the final episodes bring with them a sense of finality and urgency, season 4 stands out because literally, at the time we believe we are seeing the end of Jacks life as he, and we, know it. Every thing he does is the last time he’ll be at CTU, last time he’ll talk to Audrey, last time he’ll speak to Palmer etc. Additionally, so much had to go right in so little a time that it gave this episode an extra dramatic kick. The scene where Jack is on the ground “dead” while his friends surround him and Tony tries to revive him is heartwrenching. We know deep down that Jack will wake up but with Tony’s attempts to revive him seeming not to work as he keeps urging Jack to wake up, you can’t help but get caught up in it. 

Best Moment of the Finale

…and possibly one of the best moments on the show goes to the final 3 minutes of the season. It begins with Audrey dropping the papers she was holding after finally reacting to Jack’s death and then a beautiful musical transition and split screen takes us from Audrey to Palmer walking out of the white house and watching Logan get congratulated, then we go to just outside CTU where Tony and Michelle have snuck Jack out of the building. 

Their goodbye scene is poignant and understated, Jack merely says “Thank you both, for everything.” and begins to walk away, before Tony calls him back and tells him “Be careful.” Jack gives a final look at his two closest friends at CTU and shakes Tony’s hand before leaving them for what he thinks will be the last time, and in a way it is. 

As Tony and Michelle drive off, Jack makes his final phone call to the man who will always be his President. David Palmer. They say their final goodbyes and end the brief conversation ends with Jack “Mr. President, it’s been an honor.” “Same for me my friend.” The perfect final conversation for these two great american heroes. 

Then, Jack hangs up the phone and walks out on to the train tracks where the sun has begun to rise. Sean Callery’s great soundtrack begins to play and Jack puts on his shades, looks back one time and then begins walking away. 

Looking back on it, this might be the best finale of all 7. I’ll have to wait til I rewatch them all but this is definitely the current front runner. 

Next time, Season 5. 

There are only 3 weeks left of 24. 

Tick Tock, Tick Tock. 

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 3

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THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR 24 SEASON 3

I have said for a long time that I would have been happy if 24 had ended after season 3. Aside from the fact that the 3rd season represented what I consider to be the end of Jack’s main character arc that began in season 1, the finale episode had just about everything a season finale should be and would have been a perfect series finale. 

Why would I want a show that I’ve loved and been obsessed with to have ended after only 3 seasons? Well besides not wanting this great show to get stale, in my opinion, Jack’s story really ends in season 3. Consider, in season 1 he starts as a normal guy put in an extraordinary situation and rises to the challenge, becoming by the end, the full fledged bad ass we know and love, but in the process losing everything dear to him and is left a hollow, empty man with little to live for. In season 2, that’s how he begins, we see him bearded and pathetic, at one point actually choosing between a gun and a picture of his family in his ultimate moment of self pity. As the season progresses though, he finds himself again, gets back in the game, saves the world and, most importantly, gains redemption for himself and from his daughter. In season 3, we get to see Jack fully operational as head of field ops CTU for the first time and now, the story of Jack’s day is about him facing and evaluating everything he has lost in the line of duty, and trying to stop the cycle from continuing with his protege, Chase. By the end of this season, Jack has successfully saved Chase from the lifestyle and, for himself he has faced his demons with his addictions. The final scene of the season serves as a representation of just how far the character has come and is brilliant. Jack, after keeping a brave face for the entire day, makes his way out to his car and finally allows himself to break down and feel the magnitude of everything that has happened, from killing Chapelle to cutting off Chases hand to everything in between. We finally see Jack embrace his humanity after 3 seasons of him being forced to be superman. But of course, because his work is never done, no sooner has he had his three or four sobs, then he is called back to CTU. Because he is Jack Bauer and because finally, after 3 seasons, he is ready to move on, he answers the call and just goes back to work. TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK. 

I remember watching this in 2004 and being content with that final scene as an ending to the show, and in many ways it was. S4 had a new CTU, a new president and an all around different feel. 

Aside from all of that, this finale might have been the most emotional of the 3 I have reviewed thus far. From Palmer reacting to Sherry’s death to Tony telling Michelle that they’re taking him to prison, to Palmer’s final walk out of district as President of the United States, I watched many of these scenes with a lump in my throat.

While there is no big shootout to cap this one off, the climax is equally thrilling as any gunfight and brings everything to an exciting close. 

Best Moment of The Finale-

"Roger, I don’t have a green wire."

Jack delivers this line after trying to disarm a virus dispersal device that has been attached to his partner Chase’s arm. Kiefer Sutherland delivers it brilliantly, looking directly at Chase as they both realize that the dispersal device cannot be disarmed. The sequence that follows is one of the most intense and horrifying moments in 24 and is written with almost no dialogue, adding to the dramatic effect of the otherwise very talky  show. Chase looks behind him and sees the fire axe hanging on the wall and tells Jack to do it. Jack refuses but you can tell he knows what to do and eventually, as Chase grimaces and ties his belt around his arm, Jack breaks the emergency glass and proceeds to separate Chase’s hand from his body in order to free the dispersal device. Jack doesn’t even have a chance to comfort his fallen partner though, as he runs with the device and the seconds count down he gets it in a sealed container just as time runs out. Crisis averted. Awesome. 

Next Week Season 4. 

Only 4 weeks left of 24. 

Tick Tock Tick Tock

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 2

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(This post contains spoilers for 24 season 2)

24 season 1 is the gritty establishing story of the Bad-ass superman we know today as Jack Bauer and so Season 2 is him acting at his full potential for the first time in a clash of the titans wherein he faces a weapon of mass destruction and the threat of world war for the first time. While these ideas have been repeated ad-naseaum in the seasons that come later, seeing Jack save the lives of millions of people for the first time was an incredible and still original thrill. No where was it more exciting and intense than this epic season finale which may be my favorite season finale and is definitely in my top ten best 24 episodes. 

With Presided David Palmer out of office for wanting to stop the war that is about to begin under false pretenses, Tony Almeida and Michelle Dessler in CTU custody for attempting to aid Jack in his efforts, our hero finds himself alone with the Presidents ex wife on their way to meet the man responsible for the nuclear bomb and the false proof that is leading the country to a false war. If Jack can prove that this man is responsible, all will be forgiven, David Palmer will be reinstated as president and the war will have been averted meaning Jack will have quite literally saved the world (for the first time anyway). This meeting with the evil and slick Peter Kingsley, (played brilliantly by a pre-Saw Tobin Bell) at the LA Coliseum leads eventually to what has to be the single best fight scene in all of 24. Jack vs. 10+ henchmen in the awesome and epic looking LA coliseum. The shootout that ensues along with the amazing run-up-the-wall-and-break-the-bad-guys-neck-move showed Jack at his absolute finest. The final stare down between Jack and Kingsley before Kingsley gets shot Saving Private Ryan style by a sniper on the worlds quietest helicopter may have been a little heavy handed, but as a denoument to the incredible fight scene moments before it really works well.

So, with the threat averted and things settling down, it appears it’s over. But wait, and here’s why this episode was truly brilliant, suddenly we start hearing from Max on the boat talking to his boss eating a posh early breakfast at some restaurant about how this is only the beginning, and, it will begin today. These are the men behind Kingsley with oil interests in the middle east whose stock would have gone up had their been a war. Now, the fun part is that we know that these guys can make evil and insidious things happen, so while the happy music plays over the scenes of everyone congratulating eachother, Palmer pardoning the cabinet who betrayed him and everyone getting ready to go home, in the back of the viewers minds, we know that something big and bad is about to go down, even with only ten minutes left in the episode. There are some happy scenes and then boom, the last scene of the season shows Palmer giving an inspiring speech outside, and then a pan in the crowd and suddenly you know we’re in trouble. Mandy, the super hot, super evil, lesbian assassin from the season before is there in the crowd and oh no! she’s shaken the presidents hand! We see her walk away and take a sticky looking film off of her hand and put it away without touching it. This was an assassination attempt. With literally 2 minutes left in the season, we get an assassination attempt! The craziest part is that throughout the rest of the seasons, we never again find out who did this or why. They introduced an entirely new threat with new characters and then never alluded to them again. Seeing Palmer lying gasping on the ground as the final clock ticked was one of the biggest “what the fuck” moments in show history and I loved it. 

My hope is, that with this nefarious evil organization that was introduced in season 7 and I am still hoping they return to in Season 8, who we know is responsible for the death of Palmer, Michelle and the sentox nerve gas from season 5 and most of season 7, wouldn’t it be crazy if it turned out that Max and his boss had been part of the same organization way back in season 2? And what if Nina had been working for the same group back in season 1 when she was hired out to work for the Drazens? I know its a big stretch but I think it would be an incredible way to tie the whole series together at the end and make Jack’s eventual bringing down of the organization all the more climactic, that’s just one die-hard fans dream though. 

Best Moment Of the Finale

No brainer, this one goes to the epic LA Coliseum shootout. It was the biggest shootout to date for the show and just seeing Jack fighting all of those bad guys with the sun shining through the arches with the blue sky and the openness of the arena was just awesome. The perfect climax in which all of the tension of the entire season was released and resolved in one great 3 minute sequence.

Next time, season 3. 

The clock is ticking… 5 episodes left. 

Tick Tock Tick Tock

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24: Countdown to the Finale- Season 1 

The following takes place between 11pm and Midnight on the day of the California Presidential Primary.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR 24 Season 1 and some of Season 8.

Wow, watching this finale reminded me of just how far this show has come since the original season. Conventions and Cliches about the show were still original and shocking in season 1, not to mention the fact that the whole feel of the show was definitely grittier and far more raw. While the mole at CTU has become a much bemoaned cliche now, Nina’s ultimate betrayal of Jack in season one is, in my opinion one of the most shocking TV moments in recent history and has cemented Nina as a great television villain. 

The finale of the first season is a perfect illustration of how well crafted the season was overall. A single threat that existed throughout the day was neatly tied off at the end in an incredible hour of drama, action and tragedy. Both Kiefer and Dennis Haysbert provide amazing performances in the culminating moments for their characters at the end of this harrowing day. 

I was also reminded of how much the character of Jack has changed in the 8 seasons he’s been fighting terrorism. In season 1, he is just a normal guy who has been put in this terrible situation and is doing whatever it takes to fight his way out. His behavior throughout the day is, in my opinion not beyond what any of us would do were we in the same situation. Additionally, the strength of this season is that the fact that it all takes place throughout one day is still acknowledged as a dramatic element in the show. The characters get tired, Jack falls asleep at one point and we actually see people eating throughout the day. I think that detail, combined with the originality of the show at the time was a big part of why the first season may be the best. In later seasons, Jack becomes the hollow shell of a superman that we know today and while he is still a bad-ass, he is far less relatable that Day 1 Jack who was merely a father trying to fight for his family. Similarly, while it gets dark and then light again while the events of later seasons go on, there is no acknowledgement of the magnitude of the events that all take place within the 24 hours. This first season though, is not afraid to point out that, as Jack says in one beautifully written and acted scene in an earlier episode, “Today has just been a really really long day.” 

BEST MOMENT OF THE FINALE:

This is a tough call between a few great scenes including the doc gunfight scene against the Drazens that begin with Jack driving a truck through the back door of the hideout and proceeding to fuck shit up, Jack catching Nina in the parking lot and Kiefer delivering what might have been his best moment when he has Nina up against the car, ready to kill her for her betrayal (This scene was rather brilliantly mirrored in a recent Season 8 episode that was a nice nod to the original now that we know the show is going to end). I think however, the best moment of this great hour of television goes to Palmer telling Sherry that “after tonight, I don’t want to see you anymore.” When he gets up to walk away from her and her lies and manipulation, she chases after him screaming “you don’t just walk away from me! David I’m talking to you!” and, like the G that he is, he keeps walking and doesn’t turn around. A brilliantly directed and acted scene that was a great conclusion their season long story arch. 

Honorary mention for the final minutes of the episode where Jack discovers Teri. I remember watching this as a 13 year old and being utterly floored that, after an entire season, this was how it ended. 8 years later I still got a little teary watching Jack try to revive his wife. The only time the show ever made use of a flashback added a unique poignancy, and the introduction of the silent clock to end the season was brilliant. This was the moment that insured I would watch 24 for seasons to come. 

Next week, the season 2 Finale. 

7 Weeks left of 24. 

Tik Tok…

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