Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Idol Thoughts on 24's Season Finale

It was an appropriate end for a bummer of a season -- a bummer of an ending.

Practically start to finish this season of 24 has been a disappointment -- weak or annoying new characters, annoying changes to characters we've come to love, repeating plot points from previous seasons, and the list goes on.

Sure, the finale had it's moments -- I enjoyed seeing Bill Buchanan getting some field action and get to play the part of the hero; it was nice to see Tom Lennix become a redeemable character; and the action sequence with the helicopter and the oil station where the Chinese and Jack's father were holding Jack's nephew was very well executed.

But there was so much to hate! Let's start with Chloe, who, appropriately for how her season has gone, spent most of the episode lying in a hospital bed. What happened to the fiesty Chloe that we've fallen in love with over the past few years? Is this lame Morris/Chloe/pregnancy story really the best the writers could have come up with?

And why blind poor Mike Doyle? They never figured out how to use Ricky Schroeder on the show, and the "fake contraption blows up in his face" device was just lame, no two ways about it.

Then there is the miraculous redemption of the Vice President. In the course of half-a-day, he went from being an evil schemer (I'm still not convinced that he wasn't behind the attack on President Palmer), to an even more-evil schemer (trying to oust the President once he had "recovered" from his attack), to being a dupe (with the wool pulled over his eyes by blonde baddie Lisa Miller), to an actual good guy (choosing to release Karen Hayes). That's quite a journey in just 12 hours or so! His redemption was so complete, in fact, that Tom Lennix thought it appropriate to return the incriminating tape? If Richard Nixon was alive I bet he would have wished he was a character on 24, so he too could be so quickly and easily forgiven for his actions.

The most egregious part of the episode for me, however, was the final 15 minutes. As Jack dramatically waves good bye to Bill and heads off in pursuit of Audrey, I had hopes that something really dramatic would happen, setting up this "reboot" next season that the producers keep talking about. Instead, we found ourselves on the set of "One Life to Live," with Jack tearily realizing that he is not able to provide for Audrey in the way that he wants to, and that she is actually better off without him. Blah blah blah. The writing was so heavy-handed that even Kiefer Sutherland, who I generally love, couldn't make it work. The entire sequence screamed "emmy bait!" so loudly that I was almost offended. And are we supposed to believe that Jack, as he stares down into the water at the end of the episode, is contemplating suicide? Jack, who survived years of Chinese torture, is now considering ending his own life? I don't buy it.

I love 24, I do, and I really hope that the writers find a way of breathing some new life into the series next year. But for now, I'm not sorry to see Jack walk off into the sunset...or dive of a cliff, as the case may be.

Click here for more Television News/Commentary, including thoughts on the season finales of Grey's Anatomy and Brothers & Sisters

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