In November of 2001 a timely, suspenseful series debuted on the Fox Network! Twenty-Four starring Kiefer Sutherland was fast paced, exciting, and certainly very interesting, especially in the post 9/11 world that we are forced to live in every day. Sure Twenty Four was a little unbelievable in its use of time, but, why nitpick... it worked for EMS, News, Cops, and CTU to all be at the scene of a plane crash within seconds even though in real life it could take so much more than that!
The second Season of Twenty-Four followed a very similar formula: "Real-Time" countdown of the minutes of each episode; each episode representing one hour of a 24 hour day; Terrorists attempt to outwit, outplay and outlast the Counter Terrorism Unit led by Jack Bauer (Sutherland); no sleep; a bending of temporal reality to facilitate the plot! Unfortunately it's that last ingredient to the formula that is not only used this season but completely abused. Don't get me wrong, Twenty-Four is still a great show, and better than most shows currently on the old tube, but this season had so many moments of action that in real life would take hours or days that looking back on the season as only one day... it's a little... hard to buy! It's still one of my more favored shows, but it's about as believable as O.J.'s alibi!
Take the plight of Miguel for example... an automobile accident sent him to the Hospital... yet within a few hours he's not only taking phone calls and completely conscious, but the camera pulls back to show both legs having been amputated! O...Kay... so after only that amount of time, he's not only awake and out of Surgery, but in a private room (not the recovery room), taking calls, with his covers off, and airing out his stumps? Folks... it doesn't work that way except on shows like Mercy Point or Babylon 5! This show is praised for its realism! How about Jack's death! That's right... he's dead for several seconds and he's brought back from the brink because he still has valuable information! Sure he's shaken up and has a hard time concentrating... but this guy's heart was stopped... he'd need a minimum of some Physical Therapy, wouldn't he? I know... it's just a show! Yeah, Jack's tough, man... but let's get real! And don't even get me started on Kim! She's been in more trouble in one day than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!
Last episode before the Finale we see Jack Bauer and the nefarious Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald) crashing their SUV into a concrete Drainage ditch because of the slight inconvenience of Jack's death earlier in the day! Sherry is unharmed, but Jack is trapped. Sherry leaves, then comes back. We only have one hour, folks! Do we have time for these teases?
Meanwhile, Mike Novick (Jude Ciccolella) starts feeling guilty for betraying President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), so he insists that Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze) reinstate Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) and Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) to work with Jack (who isn't as dead as he could be) just in case Palmer was right the first time! Lots of names to keep track of? Yep! Lots of loose ends to tie up, man!
The real culprit in all of this has been Kingsley the whole time, who artificially manufactured a Terrorist Nuke in the USA to create a war with the Middle East (no nation named ever) so that his Venezuelan oil can skyrocket. Not that this makes much sense, but, hey... it's fiction! Since Sherry returned for Jack (whew) that was close) and Jack at the 11th (or rather 24th) hour gets the support of CTU back (whew, even closer), Jack and CTU plot to have Kingsley confess to Sherry on tape that he was behind the whole thing and that "The Cypress Tape" was fabricated to frame the unnamed mid-east leaders! Talk about tense! Talk about in real life you couldn't get across Los Angeles in less than an hour, much less all this to go with it!
Well, like I said, here there be spoilers: You'll never guess what happens... she gets it all on tape, almost gets killed, is saved in the Nick of Time (speaking of "real time") and the whole day is saved. I mean, it's perfect-o! Kim (the uniquely hot Elisha Cuthbert) is reunited with Dad in the parking lot! Palmer is restored as President and even keeps the Cabinet Members who voted against him (talk about a nice boss)! The War is averted, and everyone gets to have a snappy dinner with their good friends at TGI Friday's!
You have to think that the Producers were aware of this "nice little package" ending because they had to throw in a shocker at the end! A really hot Goth Chick shakes David Palmer's hand while wearing an invisible glove coated with poison and David begins to die right in front of his constituency as we fade to credits and switch back to CNN! Wait... I thought this was CNN!
Still this wasn't a terrible episode. A scene between Kate and Marie Warner while Dad looks on is dramatic, touching and Chilling. Marie, the Prom Queen turned terrorist is already getting visiting hours (though she was just arrested about 5 hours ago) so Kate, the Prom queen turned... hot yuppie... confronts her on why this happened. Marie's statement that Kate won't ever be safe "out there" is a creepy portent that is a real sign o our time! Dennis Haysbert's acting is universally good! He's always believable as a President and as a genuinely good man in this and every episode. Shining as he does in such an improbable series he might be one of the most underrated actors on TV! Also, it was nice to see so many Quality Ford automobiles, not only in this episode, but throughout the entire season. Every new Ford was well represented here in every outdoor scene. You could really tell that Quality was job One. Ford should thank the producers of 24 and the Fox Network as a whole for the free advertising. They really could have paid for... wait a minute!
I would love to see next season as a prequel with Jack and Teri (Leslie Hope) married (and breathing again), and Palmer still a trouble making Senator! This would be daring and fascinating (as long as yummy Elisha doesn't get too old to play a high school kid too fast), but they set up next season too well to even try that. We know we have to follow up on the Palmer poisoning, and Jack is going to get hot and heavy with Kate Warner as her sister and their Cronies make her pay! I'll still watch it. I nitpick it because I love it! Three Stars for Twenty-Four "7 AM - 8 AM"... it was good, but a little silly in its timing and its last minute loose end tie ups! Still, it beats the hell out of watching Porky compete with Hicky to see who gets to be the next Cheese-Puff Idol. Who else is burned out on this horse hockey?