Pardon me while I go off on another topic for a moment:
This season was supposed to be different. Or so we were led to believe. Either the formula or the crisis would be different, and the writers took the extra time off to re-tool the series. But in the end, we’ve been fed little more than a regurgitation of past seasons. And I have to confess, I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of it. But first, let’s take stock in what has been different about 24 this season:
• We’re in Washington DC instead of Culver City, CA. Finally.
• It’s the FBI instead of CTU. That adds a little punch to it.
I think that’s it, other than the 2-hour opener which was pretty cool. Let’s see what’s been the same as most other seasons of 24:
• When there’s a crisis threatening our nation, there are only about 3-4 agents in the entire country that we can turn to
• Jack never needs to eat or use the restroom (and I think I’m generally okay with this, but just once I’d like to see them cut back to Bauer at the FBI just as he’s returning from the lieu)
• Jack nearly dies in an awfully slow and painful way
• The President is either completely noble or completely insane
• The President’s family is completely insane, and yet he/she insists on hiring them and consulting with them during the nation’s most trying moment
• The President’s family is embroiled in scandal and murder, tangentially related to the crisis itself
• There is a mole, followed by another mole, followed by another mole - I'm just waiting for them to bring Nina back before this season ends
• The enemy isn’t a Muslim extremist group, but instead is a bunch of rich white American dudes
• Some innocent Muslim will be wrongfully punished, either by the gov’t or the real bad guys
When you tally it up, 24 seems to be just one big con job. It’s almost the same thing every season, with maybe a few new characters and a new President. How do I continue to fall for this? I guess I fall for it because it delivers so well on a few things, the same things that have carried me this season:
• The issue of torture. I mean, they probably wrote most of the show several months ago, but they hit a bullseye on reflecting our national dialogue over this issue. The best exchange this season was between Agent Moss and Agent Bauer:
Moss: “The rules make us better, Jack”
Bauer: “Not today”
This is the exchange I hope takes place if/when the next 9/11 comes to our doorstep. We all hope that, right? Rules are great and all, until we find out some terrorist group has a plan to kill us. Then we take a temporary moratorium on the rules, right?
• Jack’s escape from the FBI, about episode 5 or so. Pretty awesome stuff. 24’s action scenes are movie-quality.
And finally, this season's biggest weakness, and probably the main cause for my disappointment: Tony Almeida. I guess he's the anti-Jack Bauer now, kind of like the black Spiderman. We can't trust him, his loyalties are all over the place, blah blah blah. I never liked the actor, never cared much for the character, and now they've robbed our trust by bringing him back to life from a few seasons back. Yeah, it's a commonly-used old TV trick, and frankly I hate it. Because on a show like 24, I now have to see a character dismembered before I believe he/she is really dead. Thanks 24 writers, I no longer trust you. I guess we should be prepared for Tony's annoying wife to return in the near future.
Anyway, I’m too invested at this point to cut out, but I’m pretty sure it’s my last season. Who’s with me?