24 Review: Jack Shoots Secret Service Agents

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It's been building for weeks, but 24 finally went off its rocker this week.

During the 1 p.m. hour, Jack Bauer opened fire on secret service agents. This bears repeating, in all capital letters: JACK BAUER OPENED FIRE ON SECRET SERVICE AGENTS.

Apologists will echo Chloe and claim Jack was only shooting to wound, but I have a feeling that, also like Chloe, they won't be able to muster this defense with a great deal of gusto. He was in an enclosed area, with an automatic weapon, his vision affected by a mask and people were trying to kill him. Even if you wish to believe Jack was capable of using non-lethal force in this situation, are we supposed to defend him for shooting loyal American servants in the legs and shoulders?

It was an utterly ridiculous scene. It was cartoonish. Akin to a comic book movie. A really, really bad comic book movie.

The writers have somehow forgotten how to write Jack as a dark, layered hero - and just turned him into a vengeful murderer.

Logan and Taylor

Something is definitely wrong when you hear CTU has changed its orders to "shoot to kill" for Jack and you think: yup, that makes perfect sense.

In order for a storyline to possess actual resonance and suspense, we must consider what would happen if Jack fails, right? This should be a terrifying thought that causes us to side with Jack and understand his actions. So let's do that. If Jack fails...

... a worthless peace treaty will be signed.

That's it. The Russian President could still be brought to justice, one could easily argue, in a few weeks. There's no rationale explanation for why this is such an urgent mission. Instead of killing innocent Americans (yes, that's what Bledsoe, the dude torturing Dana was a couple weeks ago was: just a guy following the President's orders) AND Russians (pretty sure not everyone in that Russian delegate's office was in on Hassan's murder), Jack could simply wait a bit and the Russians could be brought to justice at a later date.

What would be the downfall of this delay? A useless peace treaty? Isn't that what we already have?

Now, consider the opposite: If Jack succeeds...

... the peace treaty will fail, the Russian government and the American government will both be brought down.

Please, someone tell me again why this is the course of action we should be cheering for?

Can anyone truly say they are excited for next week's finale? We know Jack isn't gonna die, as Kiefer Sutherland (who is doing all he can with this junk, hence the lack of a zero-star rating for the episode) has told anyone who will listen that a 24 movie is in the works.

So we can add Jack's life to the list of those that aren't at stake.

It would be one thing if President Taylor were covering up a murder she had something to do with. Then, like Logan when he was in the White House, she'd be an actual threat Jack must take down. But she learned about the Russians' involvement after Hassan was dead, and even then she didn't have any evidence.

She's clearly taken illegal, unethical actions ever since, but was she supposed to delay the peace treaty signing in order to pursue leads? Of course not. Sign the document, then follow up on the allegations and use back channels to bring down those involved if proof points in their direction. It's really pretty simple.

Instead, Renee was killed, Jack got angry over a woman he's literally known for two days and 24 turned into a show where there are no good guys. There aren't even morally grey guys.

There's simply a former hero who is heading into his final act with personal motivations overtaking loyalty to his country. He's the anti-Jack Bauer. It's all very depressing.


Editor Rating: 1.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (55 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Matt richenthal

andrew morag Says:
May 18th, 2010 12:46 PM 1) Bledso, my friend, is NOT an innocent anything. 1) he is torturing a prisoner, without any urgent reason. there's no clock ticking. he is following, like many good Nazis before him, illegal order. more, he is in fact not even following presidential orders. he intends to execute the prisoner and "make it look like the prisoner is trying to escape" Wait, are you describing Bledsoe or Jack? I can't tell. Torture, no clock ticking, breaking the law, not following presidential orders, executions. Sounds like Jack to a T!


1) Bledso, my friend, is NOT an innocent anything. 1) he is torturing a prisoner, without any urgent reason. there's no clock ticking. he is following, like many good Nazis before him, illegal order. more, he is in fact not even following presidential orders. he intends to execute the prisoner and "make it look like the prisoner is trying to escape". 2) how can the russian president be brough to justice when the president is trying to cover up the russian involvment? the only way the russian president can be brought to justice is if the evidence Bledso was trying to help bury gets into the open. 3. we've already seen president logan "brought to justice" for the murder of president palmer: he had to stay in a 100 acre ranch. 4. the only punishment for anyone involved in the murder of the brave, beautifu renee walker is death, preferably preceeded by a lot of pain. THAT would be justice, and so if "jack fails", there'd be no justice. 5. daliah hassan, and the IRK, have the right to know who was responsible for their president's/husband's death. jack wounded a policeman in the foot and 2 secret service men in the hand and shoulder. that's not something to be happy abput, but its a small price for the uncovering of all those responsible for murdering renee, president hassan, and threatening to oblitirate half of manhattan. 6. what's wrong with you? don't you have better things to do than defend "private security teams" dug up by criminals?


Another thing. Jack is their creation...not ours. I applaud the writers for allowing him to be morally wrong and totally unpredictable. At this point he might even kill Chloe. You gotta take it back 3 years ago when he was dying o the hospital bed. To survive that and spend 3 years trying to get in contact with Renee, (who jhe felt guilty and responsible for the turn of events in her life after the day she had with him)...practically everything he did today was motivated by her. Then think about the President NOT helping him and NOT being about the truth...TO HIS FACE. (After Renee got killed 5 minutes after orgasm) I'm sorry,...a man with jack's skills in that situation may do just EXCATLY what we are seeing play out. Yes, it hurts to lose OUR Jack...but that's life Truth is...he was never OURS. And these last few hours have been entertaining as all get out.


Jack's lack of a reason misses the point. Overwhelming emotions will crowd out overwhelming logic, every time. Jack is off the deep end. He does not need a "rational" reason. He appears to be driven by his searing emotions. This is what 8 years of corruption and a "take no prisoners" abuse of Jack by his own bosses at the presidential and CTU levels has done to him. Chip, chip, chip, flood. He is not the Jack of 2001. He is out there. And, from Teri to China to Renee, we know how he got there. (or maybe it was his daughter's encounter with the cougar) Thanks for your 24 blog. Have enjoyed it immensely.


I'm loving it. I'll give him some latitude because, in overall scheme of things, Jack is a positive influence. He's saved millions of lives in total without any rewards or credit. Its the first time he's chosen to get really personal and I'll tolerate it even if I don't approve of it. Its not about peace treaty for me anymore. Its just about the character. Even if he wounds innocent bystanders or risk their lives, I'll still cheer for him.


Actually, I think EVERYTHING is at stake. (in Jack's Mind) 1) Because the Treaty is going to be signed in a couple hours. That means all the guilty in one spot. He will never get another opportunity to get close to them all. Think about Logan, he brokered a backdoor deal and is free 7.5 years after his crimes in office. If the Peace Treaty gets signed, it will have no teeth, everyone goes back to their home nation and Jack never gets close to them again. We aren't supposed to cheer for this...we are simply supposed to watch.


How would you write vengeful Jack? I actually think the movie is a diversion and that Jack will die at the end.


In the Howard Gordon interview it was clear that the movie is about moving forward with the character of Jack, so the possibility of him dying on the show, is quite zero in my opinion. Howard stated that the movie is about starting with Jack in one emotional state at the beginning and brining him to another one towards the end. It is clear that season 8 will bring him to an emotional state where he has never been before. Even when Teri died in S01, he was all about vengeance, but he only acted upon it, when Nina was all dried out of information or use to the National security, now his state of mind is nothing else but revenge for all the wrong-doing in the world, Renée's death has just been the catalyst for what people in power did to Jack over the course off the last 8 seasons. He wants to bring those to justice that have no moral tought on doing the right thing. To make the justified calls, so Suvarov, Logan and Taylor are going down, coz they embody for Jack the soul off corruption on government level.

Matt richenthal

Who did Jack kill that was innocent? Deep breath... Bledsoe, the guy torturing Dana (what was he guilty of? Jack killed Dana in cold blood 10 minutes later!); tons of Russians last night (you think everyone in that delegate's office was part of the Hassan murder??); and he put about 100 mall visitors in harm's way last week by organizing a SHOOT OUT IN A CROWDED MALL.
I could forgive some of these if, as I keep harping on, there was actual urgency or a greater good at stake. But, as I said in my review, there's absolutely no logical reason why anything Jack is doing has to a) be done now or b) be done in such a violent manner. NOTHING IS AT STAKE.


if he shot anyone at close range with that gun he may have killed them.

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