Tuesday, May 25

"Shut It Down"

Very few television shows fail to jump the shark. Even some of the greatest, after a few seasons and the employment of fresh scenarios and new writers, eventually lose their cool. 24, that 'real-time' drama which concluded in the US about two and a half hours ago, by all means had its ups and downs. But as toilsome as it is to conserve consistency, Jack Bauer, in the main, was pretty darn notable.

"There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal," Russian naughty man Yuri Suvarov tells US naughty man Charles Logan of Bauer on Day 8 at roughly 1.57pm. See, 24 itself had often been "wounded" by falling ratings and threats of the axe prior to its eventual cancellation. But, like the protagonist up'd his savageness, Day 8's final few hours saw some of the show's most fearless and brilliant writing and acting to date. It turned in the goods when the clock was ticking.

And the actual finale? Well, for all its great anticipation, it certainly wasn't soaring on emotion in those final few minutes - Not like the Hollywood-style blistering violins roasting away at the end would have wanted anyway. But then maybe it was its ridiculous expectancy that overshadowed the whole thing. In terms of the plot, Chloe shooting Jack was nowhere near as jolting as it sounds on script, though Jack viciously biting off Pillar's ear probably made up for it.

The last hour for sure asked a multiplicity of questions - Will Jack go with Chloe? Is President Taylor going to sign the treaty? Surely Logan won't finish not being finished himself?! Plus, just like the rest of the series, the story was exceedingly unpretentious to follow, and it truly left you hanging on right 'til the very end as to Jack's demise. But see, we already knew that there's a movie on the way. So - another query - why put a gun to Jack's head with minutes to go when Fox has previously announced a film deal for the show?!

The thrust seen through Jack in the last eight days shone through President Taylor's refusal to sign the treaty - good overpowering evil, a healthy conscience equals inner peace, etc, etc, etc... Further, Chloe's teary-eyed sayonara to Jack was sweet, though (at least for I) not cogent enough to transmute outside of the screen. And so, it's over but it's not really over, then. Sure, the clock counted three seconds down for the first ever time to mark the end, but all concluded with a sense the scriptwriters are still high on notions to sensationalise politics for its corruption and decipher more ways to save a man from, well, I'm all out.

In short, the finale was more than competent, however those last few minutes were perhaps too predictable/anticlimactic/like-a-film-before-the-film's-even-made for the show to go out on that high we were all praying it would. Really though, 24 jumped the shark before it even hit halfway. But accept it for its stupid absurdity, and you've got yourself eight days of utter satisfaction.

Sufjan Stevens 'Jackbauersonville'