Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Mr. President, you owe me.": 24

When I don't know what to say about 24, I turn to Luke, who always has something to say. Fortunately, once again, our man in Edmonton knows what I should say about an episode where there was a lot of wheel-spinning and transparent attempts to shift the storyline from the one about the suitcase nukes to the hunt for Audrey (mostly shunted off to the White House plotline, where it rather died on the vine).

So here we go!

Luke says that the presidency in 24 has become a comical game of musical chairs. He's right, you know. In the 24-verse, there have been seven presidents since the show started: whoever was president when David Palmer was running, David Palmer, David Palmer's season two vice president, Keeler, Logan, Wayne Palmer and Daniels. Of these seven, three were never elected, advancing to the seat thanks to political machinations and the general misfortunes of their bosses. I realize that this made for some good drama in the past (Logan's ascent was great, as was the attempt to strip David Palmer of his office), but it's become ridiculous, especially now that the presidency has see-sawed back and forth between Wayne Palmer and Daniels all season long. The storyline has recycled bits from prior seasons endlessly, and it's probably time to ditch the White House as a place to cut to.

It's also time to ditch CTU as a place to cut to, even if that means we have to get rid of Chloe. Luke maintains that Chloe is a perfectly built character, largely due to Mary Lynn Rajskub who can say just about anything and chalk it up to her character's social awkwardness. Now, I liked it when Chloe disputed Jack about Audrey being alive just as much as anyone else, but she's the only good thing about an office that's dragging the show down overall.

Other than that, I don't have a lot to say about this episode. All it did was drag a new storyline out into sight (and now Jack's going to sacrifice everything for a woman he loves -- again?) and set up the latest international conflict that Jack is going to be involved in. It wasn't bad -- the scenes between Doyle and Jack were pretty good and it was nice to have the focus be back on the main character -- but it wasn't extraordinary or anything either.

In other news, I'm going to Miami for a few days. The other contributors will be taking care of you for the next few days. Try to treat them well while I'm gone.


David Sims said...

There have been eight presidents - you forgot Hal Gardener (Ray Wise), Logan's veep, who undoubtedly took over when Logan was removed from office.

And I think they should keep Chloe, but she should go rogue, like Jack. Fuck CTU. Just Jack on the lam, and Chloe co-ordinating on a laptop from a motel bar.

Luke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke said...


It’s not like 24 hasn’t seen its fair share of transitory episodes before. I mean, really, seasons 4 and 5 are the only ones where there’s some kind of continuous, unbroken narrative—and even 5 had its fair share of switching gears. But it has always felt somehow like a natural extension to the storyline. Especially season 2 (the series’ best), where the White House drama played perfectly into the scenario set up by the bomb storyline. It wasn’t quite as fluid, but in getting to the hotel and the outbreak, season 3 transitioned to great improvement (even if I’m not nearly so down on the first 2/3 of the season as most). Even season 1, where the quality took a minor nosedive post-episode 13 (Ira :(), everything managed to work together as a whole.

But this is the first time they clearly haven’t had enough story to fill a season. They sort of faced this problem with season four, where they had to rely on Marwan’s incessant escapes from CTU in order to fill time, but at least that season had the characters needed to make that time-filling enjoyable. Season three dragged a bit- but the story actually BUILT to something. This time they’re clearly just at a loss for content. It’s not like the suitcase nukes story built to something. The best they can do to create and sort of cohesive narrative is say its connected to the Chinese storyline because Cheng wants the chip or whatever from the nuke, because, like, it’ll give him complete access to Russia’s defence system. I mean, it’s just lazy.

But what I think is most telling about this season is that, lazy or not, it still comes as a relief that we’re finally moving on to something new.

Also, I hope this season ends with the Speaker of the House becoming President. Who, of course, will be some ultra-liberal chick.

Libby said...

24 has always walked that line between compelling and craptacular sometimes veering into the latter (see: Kim vs. the cougar) but always managed to find its way back. But now ... I just think it may be beyond saving.