May 22, 2007
24: this goddamn season is finally over
Nobody liked this season of 24 much. The show's been picked up for at least two more seasons, and the producers say they're "recreating the series" for next year, which seems to mean that it might take place somewhere other than LA (I know, really going out on a limb, there.)
I'll tell you one change that I wasn't too fond of this season: Kiefer's transition from single-minded action hero to tortured Peter Parker during the season finale. Instead of a big final action sequence in which Kiefer does whatever it takes to save the day, this time all we got was an unresolved showdown with his evil father on an offshire oil rig which ends with Kiefer running away and getting lifted off by helicopter while the military comes in to blow shit up and kill the bad guy (recap of finale).
And how about that final scene where he kisses the forehead of the sleeping/catatonic Audrey and gives her the speech from the end of Spider-Man about how in order to protect her, he can't be with her? Which took a half an hour? Please! It was the least suspenseful season ender yet, because nothing bad or surprising happened at all, except that Kiefer can't hang out with his brainwashed girlfriend. Considering he started the day by getting released from a life sentence in a secret Chinese prison, I'd say he's still coming out ahead.
After the first few episodes, we didn't get enough Kiefer renegade action this season for my taste. But there were some great heroics going on elsewhere, in the form of Tom Lennox, aka Peter MacNichol, aka the guy from Ally McBeal. Tom Lennox started the season as a hawkish, weasly little fearmonger who was advocating surveillance and detention of "suspicious" Muslim-Americans in the wake of national security threats.
But before long he was cold cocked by Chad Lowe and tied up in a boiler room, an experience which helped him see the error of his ways. Pretty soon he was deviously subverting the power of this year's Evil Vice President (we get a new one of those every year,) disobeying orders and blackmailing his boss for the good of our nation and our democracy. He set up the lying traitor-tramp White House staffer Lisa Miller to plant false information with her Russian spy boyfriend, then had the best line of the entire season while out in the surveillance van uncomfortably watching them have joyless spy-sex and fiddling with his cellphone waiting for it to be over ("...Aaand finally we're done!") (watch the video)
The political "intrigue" subplots on 24 are typically the most tedious part of the show (though this year's CTU office romance dramas were much, much worse) but Tom Lennox made them bearable this year. He was like the White House policy advisor version of Kiefer, playing both sides, breaking the rules, and getting tied up by Chad Lowe for what he knew was right.
Thank God it's over.
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