This weekend marks the return of 24, a series which, coincidentally, hasn’t had a season premiere in 24 months. Last season was severely panned by fans, critics, and even those involved with the popular show – for good reason – but thankfully much of the bad taste left in people’s mouths were washed away by November’s very exciting and enthralling 24: Redemption. I know I fall into that camp.
While I typically steer clear of entertainment columns revolving shows I want to avoid spoilers for, one thing that did disappointment me, however, was that, evidently, Jack is back to his own self by the end of the two day, four hour premiere event. I can’t help but sigh a bit because of that. Every few seasons, the writers come up with a really clever and believable character flaw that could impact Jack’s ability to do his job effectively. Season four had him addicted to drugs. Even better was season six, which had him hesitant to torture his prisoners after being on the receiving end of some brutal treatment for nearly two years. However, in both cases, this plot point was disregarded within the first few episodes, and completely forgotten by the end of the season.
One of my favorite aspects of 24: Redemption was that Jack, the ultimate patriot, had become a spurned and beaten man, essentially betrayed for the country he had sacrificed his life for countless times. So for Jack to return to his heroic, patriotic ways within four hours is a bit disappointing. But to paraphrase a famous expression, you can take the man out of the country, but not the country out of the man.
Anyway, this pre-season column is actually going to focus on another troublesome aspect of this season: the return of one of my favorite characters, Tony Almeida. I was originally hesitant to write such an article, because I worried that it would spoil his return for some people who were unaware. However, his return his being used in the commercials that air on television, so at this point you must be under a rock not to know.
It’s not so much that I’m against him returning. Like I said, he’s one of my favorite characters. I’m even going into the premiere with an open mind, seeing what possible explanation they have for how he survived and lived undetected for all these years. And while I’m skeptical about how somebody could go from attempting to protect innocent civilians all his life, to suddenly re-emerging as somebody who is terrorizing those same people, I’m willing to see how that plays out as well.
No, my big problem with his return is how everybody – the writers, producers, the network, stars, etc. – are saying that it’s okay for Tony to come back, and that he wasn’t “really dead,” because they never showed the silent ticking clock following his “death scene.” Please. Forget the fact that he was clearly shown dying, and that he was repeatedly referred to as dead by several characters throughout the following seasons.
I really wish they had just said, “We intended on having him remain dead, but this great story possibility came up and we decided to bring him back. But don’t worry, you’ll appreciate our explanation.” Come clean and admit your mistake. Why open yourself up to the constant second guessing that will now occur. The silent death clock was a subtle, classy, touching way to pay tribute to a fallen character. Are they now going to do it for every time a character that might possibly be considered “major” dies? That will only dilute its importance and symbolism. And I can just imagine the onslaught of people saying “no, that person isn’t dead….the clock was ticking!” whenever some arbitrary character is killed.
It just seems like they’re opening themselves up to a lot of unnecessary second guessing. Sometimes the best thing to is just admit that you initially made the wrong decision, but that you’re going to rectify it in a logical manner. Coming up with some lame eleventh hour excuse about how you never intended on him REALLY being dead just makes me nervous about what they’ve got up their sleeves this year. Especially after the parody that was season six.
Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, Heroes, Prison Break, and Smallville. You can visit his blog at A Case of the Blog.