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“24″ Aired Monday Night at 8/7c on Fox (2-hour special)

Synopsis: With the day winding down, Tony finds away to re-constitute the virus using the toxins in Jack’s blood; Olivia Taylor has to fess up to what she’s done; Kim Bauer is still being held captive at the airport.

Review: Those of you who have been keeping up with my re-caps know that my patience has been wearing thin on this season of “24.” The first 2/3 of the season were a lot of fun, with excellent action and a rejuvenation of the excellence this show displayed in seasons 1-5. After that, things started to go downhill. They brought back Kim Bauer, gave Jack a distracting disease, bestowed Olivia Taylor with the worst sub-plots in “24″ history, created too many villains in a short amount of time, and just ran on auto-pilot. The action was lackadaisical and the character interactions were forced.

Basically what I’m saying is there was a lot that “24″ had to do to redeem its season in the last two hours; and redemption was the running theme of this season, so I guess it’s fitting.

Did it live up to it? Sort of.

Here’s what worked: Olivia Taylor getting pwned by Aaron Pierce and Ethan Kanin was good, albeit predictable (who didn’t know that Ethan had a back-up disk?) and Allison Taylor not succumbing to her scheming family the way that David Palmer always seemed to. This almost assured that President Taylor will either be back in office next season or be impeached or something fun. I liked Tony’s motivation. It was a nice way to keep him as the villain, but I also bought his revenge plot. I really liked it when he stuck it to Jack, “I’ve saved more people than you have today!” Jack giving his advice to Renee was a really effective scene, and Renee using Jack’s advice to rough up Will Patton at the end was a great way to end that story arch. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next season with her and if she and Jack are together or not. I also liked Chloe and Janis’ awkward encounter. I wish it was coupled with the most uncomfortable hug in TV history.

Oh, and I loved seeing Jack kneeling in a puddle of gasoline, prepared to torch himself so that they can’t extract the gas. But just like any other attempt to take his own life, someone stopped him from doing it.

Here’s what COULD’VE worked: The whole Kim-Bauer-going-after-the-bad-guy sequence was almost thrilling. What killed it was Kim running in high heals. Why would anybody run in high heals while chasing after someone? 1. They make too much noise, you’d give away your location. 2. It looks ridiculous, totally squeezing all the tension from the moment with each wobbly step. I liked Kim diving in to the fiery car trying to recover the laptop and the look Renee gave her when she was trying to relay instructions to Chloe.

Here’s what failed: Kim telling the doctors to try the operation to save Jack. When you’re putting the last scene of your season in the dreadful acting arms of Elisha Cuthbert, you’re probably doomed for a mediocre ending. I’m sorry, she’s mostly acceptable as Kim Bauer, but to make her carry the last scene of the season is not smart. Also, this was the moment we knew was coming ever since Jack was afflicted with the toxin, so it was a little anti-climactic when it actually happened. I’m pretty sure we all suspected that Will Patton would be the villain for next season, but he tarnished his cred a little bit in the final hour. Why did he come to the site? Couldn’t they have just sent the blood paperwork to him the way they send everything else? And why, after Bauer escaped would he not turn around? That whole sequence did not make much sense.

So, overall, I will say that what “24″ sought to do, they pretty much achieved. It escalated itself back into the top tier of television drama with Season 7 and I’ll definitely be tuning in for Season 8. However, I will say that after 168 hours of television (not including the 2-hour movie event and the DVD-only “prequels” to each season) the producers of “24″ have to think about wrapping it up. I’m not sure whether or not Season 8 will be Jack Bauer’s swan song, but they are definitely running low on material.

Or maybe Jack Bauer was never meant to have a swan song.

What did you think of this week’s episode of 24?


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