Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Day 9: 7:00 - 8:00 PM and 8:00 - 9:00 PM

I'm going to take brief interruption from the Yellowstone stories so that I don't fall even farther behind on 24 than I had already. Last night, I caught up with the episode I'd missed last (a one-drink "perimeter"), then double-headered it straight into this week's episode (a two-drink "dammit" and "perimeter," with a bonus for a bullet to the thigh).

It turns out that these may have been the two perfect episodes to go back-to-back on, because they essentially covered the transition from one major storyline to another. This is a tradition from past seasons of 24, wrapping up one plot to open another; it happened at least once or twice a season, a product of needing to keep the story going for 24 episodes. Usually, these handoffs were handled rather awkwardly, smacking of desperation and/or boredom with the outgoing story. And given the unstoppable grind of a 24-episode television season, they probably were.

Here, in a more cable-like 12 episode format, the writers had a chance to plan for their plot transition, and the result was probably the smoothest the series has ever managed. The plot threads of the new angle felt like they'd been in play well before the old angle came to a close. What's more, the new direction felt like it had increased stakes and an urgency that will really propel the final two hours.

First episode first. After chastising the writers for doing the predictable 24 thing and killing the president, I was pleasantly surprised to learn they in fact hadn't done that. Because the convention was reversed on 24, what would have been a cop-out for another show came off like a breath of fresh air.

Things then vaulted into an extended action sequence that saw an assault on Margot al-Harazi's base of operations, and culminated in Jack throwing both her and her son out the window. Crazy fun. But in short order, the mole reared his head and put the tech Macguffin device back in play.

In hour two, the foot chase between Jack and Navarro offered a different kind of action for the show. The show delivered well on a dramatic level too, as we learned that Kate's husband had committed suicide when she abandoned him.

Then, just when I was thinking that I wasn't buying into the weird relationship between Chloe and Adrian, it didn't matter! Cheng, the Chinese baddie from seasons past, emerged as presumably the final Big Bad of the season. And then it all hit the fan. The hour ended with Jack and Kate in a shootout with the Russians, Chloe facing imminent death (or perhaps worse, captivity), and an American sub taking out a Chinese carrier in what will surely be seen as an act of war. Insanity!

In short, I can't remember the last time I had this much fun with 24. I give the 7:00 hour an A-, and the 8:00 hour an A. Now if they can just stick the landing, I think this Live Another Day special event season could turn out to be the true finale I wished the show had managed four years ago.

1 comment:

Jared said...

While I enjoyed these two episodes and the set up for the final two hours, I did think the whole "I was using the Chinese" felt a little like Doc Brown using the Libyans.