Tuesday, February 6, 2007

24 S6 E7

Well Dad turns out to be a Bad Guy after all. Too bad about Gray because the chemistry with Jack was turning into the most interesting part of the show so far. Now it won't be "can Gray outscheme Jack" but "when will Jack find out about Dad?" Then there'll be some recriminations, explanations, gnashing of teeth, all very emotional and quite tedious. I wanted more soap opera but good soap opera. Oh, and fascinating that CTU protocol to prepare a prisoner for transport involves leaving the "interrogation" equipment STILL HOOKED UP! It's not clear which is more painful: hearing some of this dialogue or feeling like you missed the important bits. Gray practically brags that he killed Palmer and Jack's friends, pulling Jack from hiding and eventually into the Chinese prison. And why? I saw last season only three or four months ago and by now am not sure it makes sense. For a show that makes a point of having characters recap plot elements ("We need to hurry because, you know, a nuclear bomb went off in Ventura.") sometimes the big stuff just passes right by.

Much of the episode turned out to be repeats. Fayed's phone call is made before a commercial break then played almost in its entirety afterwards. Jack tortures the brother in his own house. Again. Relative of CTU agent caught in terrorist attack. Again (even if it turns out to not be true). One of the Palmer brothers states his principles. Again. Actually by now Palmer is getting a bit annoying. Does he always have to speak in big, abstract statements? Hard to tell how much is intended to be his character and how much is just the clumsy writers; I'm guessing more the latter and they think they're actually making an important statement. By this point you'd almost welcome a coup like in Season Two. Or anything that gives Palmer some complexity. Same for his sister.

And I don't care a whole lot about "reality" in a show like this but can't help but think that L.A. seems awful calm considering that a nuclear bomb just went off. The blackout after the EMP blast in an earlier season was much more convincing but then again at night the special effects are easier. And Morris? A computer hacker who's also a nuclear physicist? Well OK I'm sure that's overstating it, maybe systems analyst who's also a nuclear engineer, but er what? A career change? Hobby? Even though it's the bad guy go-between's job it's convenient he knew Morris' background, where he would be at noon and what car he drives. CTU must be the least secure secret security facility in the world.

Remember when we were told this season would be about Jack starting from his darkest moment and regaining his confidence? Or that it would be a chase after Jack? Or that it would be more damage control than preventing attacks? So far barely true about any of these. Again hard to tell if the writers think they're actually doing the above or if they just talked a good game but fell back into familiar 24 style.