“A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.” – Woody Allen in “Annie Hall”
This is how I was starting to feel about 24. There had been parts of season 7 that piqued my interest, some interesting plot lines, but there was a sinking, ominous feeling of been-there, done-that. From season one through the fourth episode of season 6, 24 was on a clear escalating path. Each new plot line was more extreme, more absurd than the previous. The writers constantly attempted to outdo themselves and more or less succeeded, up until the nuke was detonated in Valencia at the end of season 6’s fourth episode. It’s been downhill since then. How can you top a nuclear bomb going off in the Greater Los Angeles area? Last night, 24 finally topped itself. For better or worse, the shark has been revived.
As much as I enjoyed last night’s two-hour 24 installment (and I did, very much so), it was an incredibly filling platter of abject silliness. Which is fine, because 24 is, by definition, silly. But, never has it been sillier. With that in mind, this is what we learned during last night’s 24.
What We Learned
Jack Bauer is Crazy and Self-Destructive
Bill Buchanan has been a good friend to you, Jack. He’s bailed you out of various predicaments and, just in the last hour, vouched for you in front of the goddamn President of the United States. Don’t you think you owe it to Bill to at least discuss the matter at hand? Maybe Bill has some good ideas on how to deal with Ryan Burnett. To knock out the armed guard, pull your gun on your friend and then put him in a Million Dollar Man-esque sleeper hold reeks of self-destructiveness. Jack Bauer has officially gone insane.
The White House is Super-Easy to Break Into
This is what it takes to get into the White House: 1) Scuba Diving Gear, 2) Welding Tools, 3) A Very Suspicious Inside Man Who’s Willing to Murder People with Screwdrivers, 4) Lots of Guns. That’s it. Is there really no security around that underground tunnel? There are only laser sensors in one five foot long area of the tunnel? Is it that easy to place an man inside the White House? Don’t they vet these people?
Everyone Has Panic Rooms Nowadays
This was the second panic room utilized this season. I assumed that the White House was secure enough that a panic room was not necessary. Maybe the secret service knew that there was an underground tunnel that could easily be used to enter the White House, which necessitated the existence of the panic room. Also, shouldn’t the panic room’s surveillance abilities be kept under wraps? That camera was far too easy to spot. If Juma didn’t think he could contact Jack and Taylor, things would have been a lot easier.
Torture is Pretty Much Always the Best Option
The 24 writers have scrapped the relative subtlety of early episodes to ram it down our throats that if you don’t endorse torture, you are a complete wuss and hate America. Giving weaselly Senator Mayer the voice of non-torture is offensive before you realize that this is 24, and you are watching the most absurd show on television. We get it, writers – you think torture can be used to the advantage of the country. Let’s move on from the pseudo-philosophical debates.
Watching the President Get Bitch-Slapped is Strangely Exciting
The Presidential Bitch Slap, laid down by General Juma, made me laugh. I suppose it shouldn’t have, but it was totally unexpected and is something I don’t think we’ve seen before. Anywhere. The fact that, in this case, the president is a woman made it all the more out of the blue. I hope this is the beginning of a media-wide trend. Generally, people should get bitch-slapped on a more regular basis.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)