Tuesday, February 07, 2017
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Two hours in, and we have Islamic terrorists popping up everywhere. Highly organized hit squads chasing down our hero. Sleeper cells in our high schools. The most trusted advisor to a candidate for President of the United States. It's patently ridiculous. It's patently ridiculous in a way that should be fun and escapist for being so implausible. Yet our actual president is trumpeting exactly this sort of "Islamic terror" conspiracy as a completely real thing. So the experience is contaminated; watching 24 both is not the escape from reality it should be, and is laughable for trying to depict something insane with a straight face.
But in brief flashes, if you can somehow forget about all that, there are some good thrills. In the spirit of a taser as a first solution, our new hero Eric Carter leaps to breaking into a police station evidence room as his best option. This is a big "hold my drink" to even Jack Bauer's more ridiculous escapades (like infiltrating the Russian consulate.) Just so over-the-top that it's kind of awesome. Plus, it included a not-subtle dig at racial stereotyping to almost make you forgive that the story line surrounding Eric's brother Isaac is sort of non-stop racial stereotyping.
That's seems to be kind of the whole season in a nutshell, actually -- inclusivity as cover for stereotyping. We have a black protagonist, a Latino presidential candidate with a white father, and (if I read the hints right near the end of the episode) a pair of gay CTU agents. When the writing digs behind these facades to show us the character, as with Carter trying his best to one-up Jack Bauer's boldness, things start to work. But, being only two hours in, we haven't got there for most of the characters.
I think I'm still entrenched around a B- for now. I'm engaged enough to come back next week... though I can't say there's not maybe a ghoulish "watch the train wreck" element to that. I hope it will get better, I fear it will get worse.