24 – Episodes 7-3 & 7-4 Review

Jack saying, “This is gonna hurt” to himself just before crashing a car through a stone wall was kinda a bad ass moment. The whole climax of the escape scene was pretty exciting, with Tony crushing the top of the truck upon landing on it, and Buchanan parking his van with a 180 skid.

Yeah, so I’m definitely going to have to jump on that wagon of people that claim to have predicted that Tony was actually undercover. I’m really pleased with this revelation, and I’m glad that they didn’t feel the need to drag it out for much of the season. Like I said in my last column, we never saw him actually kill anybody (save for that one unfortunate guard during tonight’s episode), and he did seem overly eager to find out information on the next mission.

For the most part, I was pleased with the explanation offered regarding Tony’s resurrection. Nevertheless, you can completely tell that this was something formulated on the spot. I refuse to believe that this was the plan from the absolute beginning, when he was initially “killed off.”

I was a bit surprised, though, that we would later learn that Tony was, at one point, a legitimate member – and even leader – of a terrorist organization (it was surreal hearing him constantly referring to his “crew,” knowing that he’s talking about a terrorist cell). Although, I must admit, this is not necessarily inconsistent with his character. His “last words” (or so we thought) acknowledged that he had nothing left to live for. And from what we’ve seen and what we’ve been told, his attacks, while wrong and terrible, were aimed at the government and those directly associated with it. He essentially snapped out of it when innocent people were going to be harmed.

The reunion between Jack and Tony was a lot of fun, because both characters are in a much different place than they were when they were last together. I’d hate to make a wrestling reference – especially since it’s not a very effective one – but it’s somewhat reminiscent of the failed 2006 DX reunion. In theory, it was an interesting prospect. These two hadn’t been together in nearly a decade. And now they’re reunited, except HBK is now older and more mature. And Triple H had reverted into a cerebral assassin. Even physically, they were much different than they once were. Michaels now dons leather pants instead of tights, and Triple H exchanged the colorful tights for basic black trunks. Let’s just hope the Jack/Tony reunion pans out a bit better in practice. You know what? Perhaps the eventual Edge/Christian gathering will be a better example.

Nevertheless, my initial point is that this is a very different Jack and a very different Tony. Their dynamic and overall relationship is much different than it was before Tony’s “death.” Both have experienced loss, and despite what he might claim, Jack is disillusioned with the government as well. Can you imagine the Jack of season one or two fleeing the country for charges that are, more or less, legitimate?

I was really happy to see Buchanan again, and I loved how weathered he looked. In many instances, it doesn’t really appear that some of these characters have aged, despite the fact that multiple years may have passed between a single season. Buchanan, on the other hand, looks like a man on the brink of emotional defeat. His hair has whitened and matted, and his face is covered with lines and stubble. He also exhibits a darker mentality, willing to sacrifice the lives of Jack and the former Prime Minister in order to reach the end game. This is a far cry from the well coifed man we’ve seen the past few seasons. I’m interested in seeing if his relationship with Karen survived the whole firing thing, though.

I loved the brief split screen with Chloe and Janis, essentially symbolizing the battle of the socially awkward, computer geek titans. Actually, the whole dueling hacker scene was a lot of fun. I also got a kick out of Chloe telling Jack he “looked good” at the Senate hearing.

I’m still a big fan of Agent Walker. She’s basically the female Jack. I love how she was initially supposed to keep Jack on a leash, not allowing him to hurt suspects, yet just a few hours after meeting him, she’s learning that his methods are sometimes the only ones that work. She’s a maverick, that’s for sure.

I will agree with most people’s assessment that the political/presidential story arc is consistently the least entertaining aspect of the show. In a way, it is theoretically the driving force of the series. The frame or foundation, if you would. So I understand why it is a necessary evil, but it can drag a bit. And for whatever reason, the constant obstacles always seem the most contrived and unbelievable in the presidential arc. That being said, I am a big fan of President Taylor’s portrayal. She’s compassionate, rational, confident, and well poised. I like her.

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.