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“24″ Airs Monday Nights at 9/8c on Fox

Synopsis: The hostage situation in the White House leads to a daring sacrifice, the dude from Empire Records turns up as Jon Voight’s right-hand man.

Review (contains spoilers): Before we get on to the review for this week’s episode, let’s discuss something that is regarded as a staple in “24″: Unless your character’s name is “Jack Bauer,” you’re never safe. This was established early on in the series when at the conclusion of season one, Jack’s wife Teri was killed and Jack finding her body was the tragic conclusion of the first season. In season’s following we’ve seen several characters get killed off to varying effect: George Mason, dying of radiation poison anyway, sacrificed his life to fly a plan carrying a bomb into the desert; Ryan Chappelle was sacrificed by Jack in season three; President Palmer and Tony’s wife Michelle were offed in the opening moments of season five; Jack finally got to kill Nina Myers in season three; Edgar met his end during a lock-down at CTU when nerve gas was pumped in; Curtis was killed in shocking fashion by Jack in the early part of season six. These have all been riveting moments that have crushed Jack in one way or another. When Tony was killed in season five, a big deal was made of the fact that it seemed to have no impact of what happened during the season–he didn’t even get the traditional “24″ send-off, which is a silent transition to commercial instead of the digital clock “beeps” that have been a signature of the show.

That all being said, it came as a shock to me that Bill Buchanan sacrifices himself to set off a bomb before the first commercial break. He got the “24″ treatment, but something seemed off about it. He went out as a hero, and his death is inspiring Jack to carry on, but Bill’s death only served one purpose over all. When a character has to do something heroic, unless it’s Jack, it generally ends up causing their death. It’s strange writing and makes the show a little too predictable at times. So I’ve come to accept the deaths as a part of “24″–which inevitably keeps me from getting too attached to these newer characters (except for Renee, I can’t help that I already love her). What shocked me about Bill’s death isn’t that it was so abrupt, but more the fact that the writer’s let Bill’s death only represent one thing: to let Renee see Jack being sad. She had questioned his humanity a few episodes ago, and now she was seeing it. And to the writer’s I have to say I think that’s a cheap way to write off a character.

Anywho, on with the review. This season of “24″ is starting to get ridiculous with some of its cycles. Just when Juma comes in, Dubaku is killed; just when Jonas Hodges (Voight) comes in, Juma is killed. And all the while, Jack keeps getting into trouble and easily escaping being detained. Jack going against his superiors has always been one of the recurring themes of “24,” but they’ve taken it to ridiculous new heights with this season. I love Jack Bauer, but come on, the writer’s just aren’t even trying anymore.

I’ve written before about how much I like Sean Callery’s music. His themes have always been a welcome addition to “24″ as they don’t distract from the action. Last night, however, was a bit of a shift there. Did anyone notice how Jack’s theme was even more amped than usual, almost reaching “superhero” proportions. It seemed like Callery’s music didn’t even want to end during the cut to commercial breaks, the soundtrack editing was very suspect in last night’s episode. They’re doing their best to highlight Jack being good and Hodges being bad with the music, but we don’t need swelling scores and loud transitions to denote that. After over 150 episodes of “24″ I’ve never been as disheartened with the music as I was last night.

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


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