to start off, i lost my lost my 24 viewing buddy this season, who dropped off even before i took my hiatus from watching the show. he dropped off for the same reason i think a lot of people didn't like it - the formula started to show. "when's that chopper coming in?" "it's 10 minutes out..." or, unless they want to stretch it out to another episode... "the russians are ordering we get the chip back. we've got 2 hours" and then the viewer knows something's either happening in this show or in the next one or two. but it's not only that - there was a lot of the same political backstabbing (almost too much this season), same terrorist plot (I swear this one felt a lot like last year), same killing of strong characters before they have a chance to be developed, jack's going rogue - wait jack's working with us - now jack's gone rogue again... the list goes on and on...
i mean how many consulates does jack need to bust into before he gets what he wants? :)
i stopped watching the show for 8 episodes in the latter half of the season. i eventually downloaded them all and watched them all in one night... which was actually surprisingly good. something else this season suffered from was lack of stuff happening. there was more than 1 episode that a lot of political talk would happen and then that's it - other than the obligatory twist at the end of the episode (that's another writing trait of 24, that belongs above). so watching 8 in a row... well of course a lot happened.
the highlights this season were few and far between, but they were there. here are a few:
- jack getting out of chinese prison camp, and seeing what it did to him
- jack losing it when the bomb went off
- jack interrogating his brother (who we knew at the time was responsible for last season, which made it all the sweeter to watch)
- closure from last season, with president
- jack taking out the terrorists single-handedly at the end of that episode where he got the nukes (very kick-ass)
- we got to see the aftermath of the terrorist plot, the political cleanup, which we usually don't see, and i liked that
- the turnaround of the vice president; they wrote him so that we'd hate him for most of the season, then feel for him at the end, and it worked
- the last 15 minutes of the season
ok, this entire season was a mish-mosh of "big huge terrorist plot" and "this time it's personal," and the two didn't mix as well as they could have. i would have liked it better if the entire season was personal... instead, jack's family only came in and out of the picture. don't get me wrong, i'm glad they had that in there, otherwise it would have been exactly like seasons 2-5. instead it was like a mix of season 1 with it's personal issues and then the big terrorist plot of the other seasons.
i mean i would have been fine with a season that focused just on cleaning up the mess that last season left behind. jack could have gotten back at the chinese, or the government that abandoned him. it could have just been him versus his father for the entire season, not just parts of it.
so the best parts of the season were when things got personal for jack. we were promised a "changed" jack bauer - and he came out every once in a while, but it wasn't nearly enough. the scene where he lost it after the bomb went off, interrogating his brother, when he finds audry... and then the last 15 minutes... that's the best stuff. in fact, the last 15 minutes of the season almost make the entire season worthwhile. that, and the way he took out all the terrorists at the end of episode 17 (i think it was 17).
i liked ricky schroeder more than i thought i would. at first i thought it was sort of a joke, but then he won me over. he's like trying to be as tough as jack bauer, which at first was annoying, but then he grew into his own character. of course, i don't think he'll be back next season since he's practically blind now... which of COURSE they'd do because they always get rid of strong characters! like...
milo. oh poor milo. just another example of 24 killing off characters before their time. i mean i didn't give a CRAP about the guy until he and nadia started having a thing... and then WHAM he sacrifices himself for her. really wish they didn't kill him.
there were too many relationships in this season. i can't remember another season that had as many... chloe and miles, the semi-love triangle of milo/nadia/ricky schroeder, buchanan and his wife, vice president and his secretary, the jack/audry/sister in law triangle... the list was too long.
i found it suspicious that we're totally in the dark on how president palmer was doing at the end of the season. the last we heard about him was like 4 episodes before the last... very weird. i think they should have wrapped that up a bit more, even a line like "the president is still touch-and-go" would have been better than nothing.
chloe pregnant. i think it's a cool development IF it means she's leaving CTU. while i like how she's jack's inside girl, i think it might be time for a change there. i mean they're killing off everyone else, what makes chloe so damn special? let her have her kid and be gone with her. at least they didn't kill her. ...poor milo.
so, the last 15 minutes. THIS is what the season was supposed to be all about - great acting from keifer, showing that betrayal, that change. the exchange between him and heller, and then him and audry (well she didn't participate in the exchange, but you know what i mean), it was solid gold, writing and acting. jack wants her, but he knows where he's going he can't help her get better... at least that's what i'm reading into it. right? it's the typical "i gotta take care of some things" but with the added "and i can't take special care of you too" on top. so that was pretty heartbreaking. and his speech to heller - wow. the betrayal he feels by his government... i'm thinking maybe jack's going to take it to us next season, i don't know.
oh, and i loved the final seconds, with jack walking out to the cliff, looking down, gun out (you're thinking "suicide? no..."), the sun rising, but only on half of his face - the other half, darkness (a man torn in half, who can be good but is too good at being bad)... and then the seconds ticked off without the loud "beep, beep, beep, beep" ...just the sound of nature around jack, morning approaching. it was good.
so what will next season hold in store? i hope they keep things personal, jack taking his revenge on those that wronged him, both here in our own government and then in china too. this is similar to what i wanted jack to do in season 5, and then again at the start of THIS season... so i don't think it's going to happen. but who knows. and don't forget the germans still hate jack for screwing them on that list of names... last season? i think it was last season.
and we'll have a whole slew of new characters, with buchanan and his wife out, ricky gone, maybe chloe and miles gone too... it'll be interesting for sure. and i'll stick around. for all its flaws, this season was still worth it... just maybe better watched on DVD, so you can watch 2-3 episodes in a row. that way you're guaranteed something will happen.