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Red Highlighters and House Arrests: Does "24" Feel a Little Tired?

Is it just me or is 24 feeling a little... tired this season?

Sure, it's had to face a crippling onslaught from new kid on the block Heroes, but it just sort of feels this season as if the series is just going through the motions: another presidential assassination attempt, another possible raid on a foreign consulate (don't get trigger-happy, Jack!), familial drama, etc. When half the episode involves Chloe wondering if Morris is drinking (hell, after being tortured with a drill and forced to create a suitcase nuke trigger, I'd need a drink too) and bursting into the men's room, something's not right in Bauer-land.

Yes, there were some nice twists... like Logan being the one that Jack needs to turn to in order to find Gredenko, though seeing as it was Jack's murderous dad Phillip that gave him the phone number, I wouldn't totally trust the crazy SOB to play fairly. And, wait, no one knows that Logan arranged the assassination on Palmer? So the grizzly dude is now under house arrest at his palatial estate and no one in America wonders where he is or what went down? Um, okay.

But the entire episode felt way too stretched out and a little unbelievable. (I also have a hard time accepting Jack tenderly stroking Marilyn's cheek as he bundles her and Josh--so obviously their son that it's infuriating--back in the car headed for CTU.) There's no way Morris would still be standing, much less plugging away at work. Why would Jack and Logan drive 45 minutes to the consulate when going via helicopter would be so much faster?

But why oh why would Reed Pollack plant that tape-recorder-turned-bomb on the podium and activate it before Palmer got up there to speak? That's just foolish. As soon as he started to position it (and it's highlighter-laden lode) on the podium, it was painfully obvious that it was Assad who would be killed/injured/plot deviced away by the blast. Similarly: why wouldn't the Biscuit (aka Tom Lennox) have told anyone about the assassination plot rather than go and meet his deputy chief of staff in a darkened basement room alone?

And that's perhaps the problem this season. In a show that's governed by the unexpected twists and turns (along with a clear through line and theme), 24 feels a little bit like it's gone off the rails lately. We've gotten so far away from any concise understand of what's going on (or going on inside these characters heads) that it's hard to really take this seriously... and we're nearly halfway through the season already.

Was it really only a few hours ago that Jack was nearly executed after being released from a Chinese prison? Did a nuclear bomb really go off in Valencia just a few hours ago? 'Cause no one seems to be acting that way. Instead, Chloe is moping around CTU, suspicious of Morris' erratic behavior, Bill Buchanan seems willing to give Morris "one more chance" despite putting at risk the lives of millions should the recovering alcoholic analyst not be up to the task.

But the real question is: where the hell did Jack get a suit from, all of the sudden? And why are they waiting around for Charles Logan to get dressed when there are millions of lives at stake?

Hmmm. Maybe that's just me asking that. But if that's what's sticking out most in my mind as the burning question after an episode of 24, there might just be something wrong.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Dateline (NBC); Gilmore Girls (CW); America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC); American Idol (FOX; 8-9:30 pm); Wicked Wicked Games (MyNet)

9 pm: The Unit (CBS); Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC); Veronica Mars (CW); Primetime (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (FOX; 9:30-10 pm); Watch Over Me (MyNet)

10 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8-9:30 pm: American Idol.

Tonight, the top 10 male contestants perform for their chance at pop credibility and probable future anonymity.

8 pm: Gilmore Girls.

Le sigh. I'm not sure why I am still watching this, as it's just so damn depressing to watch this once-great series continue to fall off the tracks. On tonight's episode ("Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?"), Rory gets a call from The New York Times for an interview, Logan is forced to admit a business disaster, and Liz and TJ try to sell Luke's boat--Wait, sorry, I just can't do this anymore. I quit.

9 pm: Veronica Mars.

Sadly, tonight is the last installment until the dreaded Pussycat Dolls show steals its timeslot for, oh, two months. Grr. On tonight's installment ("Papa's Cabin"), it's the conclusion of the Dean O'Dell mystery as Veronica catches creepy TA Tim Foyle breaking into the Mars Investigations offices, Keith questions Mindy makes he believe Hank Landry killed O'Dell, while Wallace notices Logan and Parker canoodling at lunch. Have I said how much I love this show?

Comments

Anonymous said…
It's SO not just you asking. I asked myself ALL those questions last night. Actually, I asked myself the question about the biscuit not just telling someone about the assassination attempt last week, when it was ridficulous.

The suit question almost had me distracted to the point of not paying attention to what was going on. Seriously. Where did he get such a perfectly fitting suit?

The Chloe/Morris thing - yawn.

This season? Yawn. What a disappointment after last season.

"So the grizzly dude is now under house arrest at his palatial estate and no one in America wonders where he is or what went down? Um, okay."

Totally. This was bugging the hell out of me. It's been 2 years. All it would have taken is one line of explanation.

And it's ridiculous that they wouldn't just kill the biscuit. I mean, how do they really think he's going to stay quiet afterwards?

And where was Milo through all this?!? I guess it was Nadia's week to talk.
Unknown said…
Heh. Totally. The Biscuit thing is clearly the writers changing their minds in mid-stream. Again. Some more. But if Prison Break can get away with not just copying the darn file off the USB key, then 24 gets some slack, too. Remember, 24 is just about pushing the viewer along the timeline as fast as they can. "Don't look back! Don't look over there! Keep your eyes straight-ahead! Run, run, run!!" It's (obviously!) not about plot holes, continuity, or the laws of physics.
Anonymous said…
Just a note: The Biscuit's actual name is Tom Lennox. Harry Lennix is the actor playing the missing-in-action plot device known as Walid, Sandara Palmer's boyfriend.

And "24" obviously isn't about obeying the laws of physics. How else to explain Assad arriving in D.C from L.A. faster than it's taking Karen Hayes to arrive in L.A. from D.C.?
Unknown said…
Tailwinds? I assumed Karen was stuck in line at the airport gift shop buying Buchanan an "I (heart) LA" keychain.

Nitpick: Tom Lennox is the character's name; his actual name is Peter MacNicol. But I know what you mean. :-)
Jace Lacob said…
Stefan,

You might just be on to something re: Karen's delay. The lines at the gift shop can be looooong.

Re: The Biscuit. Oh, I know his name is Peter MacNichol. He might be called Tom Lennox on 24, but he'll always be The Biscuit to me.

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