Monday, May 18, 2009

24 Season 7 Hours 23-24 Finale! How 24 Reinvented Itself

A fabulous, altogether wrenching, satisfying, and brilliant finale of Season 7 of 24 tonight, with up-against-the-wall story lines and jarring resolutions for just about all of the major characters. There will be spoilers galore in this review, so if you haven't seen the finale yet, trust me, wait until you do to read this.

I'm going to present these resolutions in ascending importance, though every one of them is important to the continuing lore that is 24.

1. I take back what I said last week about Kim Bauer, being the eternal victim - tonight she was the best she's ever been, cool on the phone to the FBI when the terrorists are watching, courageously risking her life to get a briefcase to stave off another attack and locate her father, and not taking Jack's no for answer about using her stem cells in a dangerous medical procedure to save him. This was far and away Kim Bauer's finest hour - she's finally becoming her father's daughter (as my wife pointed out ) - and beautifully and movingly played by Elisha Cuthbert.

2. I knew that Jack couldn't die - and for all we know, he still may - but, yeah, they made it tough tonight. When the imam comes to talk to him, it sure looks like it's a final conversation before death. And the substance of the conversation was about the best we've ever seen from Jack about his life and work - he tells himself that he has to break the law and torture to save 15 people on a bus, but he's not so sure that he's right, and he realizes he may be taking the extreme action so he can live with himself. In an earlier conversation, he tells Renee - who is tempted to torture the head bad guy to extract information - that she has to follow her heart, whatever her head may tell her....

3. And looks as if Renee's heart may indeed be telling her to do what Jack Bauer, in less self-reflecting seasons, was quick enough to do (even though Jack has told her that he's been struggling with these demons of what to do all of his life). Renee handcuffs Janis, takes off her badge, and walks in to ... likely do whatever is necessary to get the information from Wilson (played by Will Patton). But the scene ends before we see what Renee actually will do ... leaving us hanging until next year. And I gotta say - great earlier scene with Renee riding on the side of the car, gun blazing!

4. Meanwhile, President Taylor has some spectacular scenes, in which she goes against her husband's advice, and turns her daughter over to legal authorities for her role in getting Hodges killed. She's been one helluva a President. And it makes me realize why I'm better suited to writing and teaching than public office: The President had no other real choice in tonight's situation. But I don't think I could have put what the law and public service may require above my children. (On the other hand, Olivia, objectively, did deserve whatever she got.)

5. And, then, there's Tony - I knew he wasn't bad! I said so in those blog posts, lots of times, but few of you believed me. Well, at least not all bad, not even mostly bad, just a little bad, on behalf of a greater good. In one of the best scenes ever on 24, Tony tells Jack that whereas Jack ran away, Tony went after the head guy who was most behind Palmer's assassination and Michelle's murder (and we find out Michelle was pregnant with Tony's baby boy). So Tony hunted Wilson, for years. And he did what we could to stop the worst of what Wilson was doing - the attack on numerous American cities, the germ-tipped warheads that Hodges was about to launch. But he did kill three FBI men in cold blood, and he was about to let some of the deadly prion-germs loose on the Metro. I would have felt better had Tony at least figured out a way to substitute a dummy for this weapon - but, I'm still satisfied that he is a good man, at heart, whose vision and purpose was blurred by the awful pain of losing loved ones, and who still did mostly the right and brave thing. And I hope we see him next season...

And, so, 24 has reinvented itself with a President of utmost morality and personal courage, Kim Bauer at the top of her game, Renee becoming more like Jack, Tony a far more complex and powerful character than ever he was, and Jack a little less like the classic Jack and far more human and contemplative....

I'm looking forward to Season 8.

10-min podcast review of 24 Season 7 Finale!

See also: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22

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