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January 11, 2005

Jack is Back

I'm three hours into the new season of '24'. The best part so far is that we have not had to endure Jack turning CTU upside down on behalf of his daughter. But we are repeating several of the strengths and weaknesses of last season.

First of all it's absurd how Jack can just take over all the protocols of the CTU on his damned hunches. The force of his personality is just obscene. If I were the head of CTU I'd shoot him my damned self. His cajoling of Chloe makes he and she a silo of action. If the writers have any insight to our real CTUs, then this ladies and gentlemen is exactly the problem with American intelligence. Any idiot could see that there ought to be 30 people watching a satellite over Jack in persuit of the kidnapper. If only 10 people at one agency was in on this, we'd deserve to lose the Secy. Of course this is done for the sake of drama..

They've already gone straight to torture and kidnapping, and we've already seen some waffling. The reactionary son of Heller is a perfect character to throw into the CTU mix.

The soap opera elements are already making CTU itself a hotbed of distrust. It accentuates the paranoia of the entire series and allows CTU to get away with certainty in action that it oughtn't have.

The new female head of CTU, whose name I just can't recall, is making a monumental ass of herself. She is professionally incompetent. She 'hopes'. By following procedure she demonstrates how the best of the best can still make no progress. Just keeping the chain of command intact, she illustrates to great effect the limits of bureacracy. Although it adds to the soapyness, it's a good point to make in the series.

CTU life is already starting to seem cheap. This season I'm counting the number of friendlies that Jack's actions kill. My guess? 40 in 24 hours.

Three solid hours and I can't put the pieces together. The writers have done an excellent job of juggling multiple plotlines. The fact that I can't stand Jack's seemingly irrational hunches, even knowing that he will essentially solve this puzzle is just the right tension for results vs law and order.

That stupid red code scrolling on the screen 'with arabic comments' was a big huge gob of compu-fakery.

Jack isn't crazy or self-doubting this time. He is not a man possessed with super instincts that he's not in control of.

Posted by mbowen at January 11, 2005 08:43 AM

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I wish someone would put Erin Driscoll out of our misery, pronto. She's got an even bigger bug up her butt than Ryan Chapelle did, and that's saying a lot.

How come you're three hours into the season rather than four? Did your PVR/DVR screw up the same way mine did (tape both hours Sunday, but only the first hour last night)?

Posted by: Xrlq at January 11, 2005 10:24 AM

Also add to the "good" list: after three whole seasons, it looks like the authors of the show may have finally figured out that some terrorist acts are committed by Muslims. Then again, it's way too early to tell where this thing is going. Four hours into Day 2, we still thought Reza the innocent Arab was a terrorist and that is ditzy blonde fiancee was not, and the one Islamic guy who really was a terrorist (his name escapes me now) was then thought to be much higher up on the food chain than he ultimately turned out to be. So anything could happen.

Posted by: Xrlq at January 11, 2005 10:32 AM

I was up until two in the morning watching the first three hours on my Tivo. I wanted to go for the fourth but I needed to take a break and get some sleep.

I actually think that the writers have done well on the complexity of who is and who aint a terrorist or who could be. The little subplot with the American girlfriend could be a very interesting piece in this new season.

Posted by: Cobb at January 11, 2005 12:04 PM

And that's what's really important. I got to see all 4 hours and watch them over again from TiVo and I liked what I saw. Some of it seemed cheap and I'm usually hating Chloe, but not this season.

Xrlq is right, the Arab complexities are a nice twist. All in all, I wasn't dissapointed.

Posted by: ej at January 12, 2005 04:50 AM