24: Live Another Day: 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Adrian: “The truth is always best.”
Chloe: “What truth? The truth when you decide to tell it?”

As we reached the beginning of the end of this season, we watched relationships implode and ships explode. We also got a few reminders of past seasons, which made me consider how television has changed since this show’s first season.

In the first season of 24, the show changed the game. In the final episode of the season, a main character is suddenly killed, the first time I remember that happening on a network show. I watched that episode and just sat afterwards, shocked and unable to believe what I had just seen.

It didn’t end there. As the years went by, important characters were assassinated, nuclear bombs went off, and in one memorable opening episode, three of the most beloved characters in this universe were all killed within fifteen minutes of each other. 24 was a show that pushed the envelope every year.

Over time, however, these kinds of shocking moments have become more commonplace on television. In this season alone, two important characters were killed in shows as different as Person of Interest and The Good Wife. The result is that the shocking moments are less, well, less shocking.

I don’t mean to imply that this show has lost its ability to surprise. It hasn’t. I just mean that the twists and turns of the plot and the interactions among the characters no longer steamroller the way they did.

Take, as an example, Kate getting the tracking code from Navarro. I knew what she was doing, and did not for a moment think she was really going to kill him. Similarly, as soon as the Chinese were mentioned back at the beginning of this season, I wondered when Cheng would show up. And, here he is, back to his old tricks.

What really worked in this episode and what made it so good for me was watching all of the various relationships begin to implode. Adrian and Chloe, always an odd couple, were even odder this hour. She tries to run; he forces her to stay with him. Then, just before he dies, he tells her the truth about her family, admitting that he lied because he wanted her to stay with him. I’m not sure I believe him about her family, but I do hope it gives Chloe some peace.

The scene with Mark and Audrey was terrific. I’m not a fan of Mark’s and I believe his comeuppance is approaching fast, but what he said to Audrey was dead right. She does still love Jack and Mark is not interested in a wife who stays with him out of a sense of obligation. Audrey knows what she’s doing. She tries to turn the conversation, but when she can’t, she just leaves the room.

The best scene, however, was the one in the car between Jack and Kate. Jack has changed. He is harder, harsher, and much more jaded than we have ever seen him. Yet, when he shares with Kate what he went through after Renee’s death, my heart broke for him. This man is covered in scars, yet it is the internal ones that continue to bleed.

While the show no longer shocks on the same level, it does provide wonderful moments, excitement in spades, and relationships that are complicated and interesting to watch. This was an excellent episode. Three out of four immunity agreements, or almost immunity agreements.


— Speaking of which, how many immunity deals have we had in this series?

— So, we’re going into the final two episodes with Jack fighting both the Russians and the Chinese. I can’t wait to see how this all comes together.

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


J.D. Balthazar said...

Yes, the shocking deaths aren't as shocking as they used to be, but there were two developments that I wasn't expecting (at least in this episode). The first was the death of Adrian Cross. I had hoped he would stick around for a while long, even though his character had already served it's purpose.

The other one was the reveal that Kate's husband was dead. They kept that information back this entire time. She's always been upset about his arrest, but the fact that he killed himself because she no longer believed in him is a much greater way to give Kate the right amount of survivors guilt that pushed her into that scene with Navarro. Her journey this season has been familiar, but I've enjoyed it a lot.

Great review Chris, I'll admit I totally forgot about Cheng so I didn't see him coming.

Billie Doux said...

It was obvious what Jack and Kate were doing to scam Navarro, but I still loved it. It showed how in tune they were after knowing each other for what? just a couple of hours? And I was so surprised by Adrian Cross's death, and the ambiguity of his motives.

I so hope they're not planning to leave us with a cliffhanger.

WADEZILLA13 said...

Hate to get nitpicky, but only two of those three beloved characters died in that Season 5 premiere, then Tony died later.... Only he didn't. I'm still holding out hope that he somehow appears in these last two hours.

Instead of a Tony comeback, we got the return of Cheng, whom I hate more than some commenters on this site seem to hate Chang on Community. I should've seen it coming, with the mentions of the Chinese and the fact that Jack (and Audrey) never got definitive revenge for their respective tortures. Gotta think that'll be rectified before this day ends.

All in all this was another great episode, though it's hard to top last week's level of awesomeness.

ChrisB said...

You're right, of course, wadezilla. I should have been more clear. I trying to illustrate the shock I felt when all three were shot within minutes of each other.

Wouldn't it be awesome if it turns out that Tony is the Vice President? A narrative stretch, but cool nonetheless.