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Previously on 24

I’ve been meaning to write another post about 24 for a while now, but haven’t got round to it. However, now seems like a good time to do so. Please be warned, this post contains spoilers.

Season4 had a pretty stunning and chilling opening, with former President Palmer being shot dead, and, as usual, I streamed the subsequent episodes almost as quickly as I could. It turned out to be a decent season – as they all are – but maybe the fact that the ultimate bad guy was President Logan didn’t quite work in its favour. Although the casting of a man who looks like a cross between Nixon and Carter was an inspired choice. There were other notable casting decisions, like Dr Romano from ER (Paul McCrane) as a shadowy puppet-master who will doubtless turn up again in the future. And Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) as Lynn McGill. And Robocop (Peter Weller) as Christopher Henderson. I think I prefer unknowns – people who’ve been in other things just distract from the action. Having said that, now we have Dr Bashere from Deep Space Nine (Alexander Siddig) in Day 6.

Another thing that distracted me was the subtitling. About halfway through watching Season 4, all the links I was using were pulled. They were then replaced by new ones, but these had French subtitles. In a way it was interesting, because I have a little French, so I could compare the text with the dialogue and see the connections. I learnt that ‘on y va’ means ‘let’s go’ like this.

So I finished watching Day 4 a two or three weeks ago, and last week started watching Day 6. A few days before it was broadcast for the first time. It looks like Fox allowed the DVD of the first four episodes to be leaked to generate a bit of hype. They’re on various video hosting sites now, although most of the ones I’ve tried have been removed. There’s a discussion board linked to the site I use to find these episodes and on there some said something about Jack having become a vampire in China. I hadn’t seen any of the new programmes at that point, but the reference became clear at the end of the first episode when Jack, chained to a chair, sinks his teeth into a guy’s throat.

I’ve just finished watching episodes 3 and 4 and the end of the latter programme was another Palmer assassination moment. You see, usually – usually – in 24 whenever some terrible act of violence is about to be committed by the bad guys, Jack or one of the other heroes gets there in the nick of time to prevent it. At the end of episode 4 Jack shoots and kills Curtis because he’s about to kill a former terrorist. Curtis was by far the most boring character in the programme, but I kind of liked his steady dependability. Evidently the writers didn’t – or maybe the actor didn’t. Anyway. Jack’s devastated by what he’s done when, on the other side of LA, a tac team raids the location where the nuclear bomb is being prepared … and the terrorists detonate it.

I was sitting there expecting it to be a normal episode of 24, although I was still processing Curtis’s death and wondering actually how moved I was by Jack’s plight. I was also wondering why CTU was already moving in on the nuclear device so early in the season. And then there was a kind of 9/11 feeling of some part of reality crumbling and falling away.

So: Airforce One has been shot down, CTU has suffered a nerve gas attack, a biological agent was released in a hotel, nuclear reactors have melted down, a nuke was averted to detonate over the desert (not all in Season 6, of course) … The series keeps raising the stakes. I’ve read talk of Seasons 7 and 8 and a 24 movie; you kind of have to wonder what else they can do.

I’m looking forward to finding out.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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