24 Review: Jack Shoots Secret Service AgentsMatt Richenthal at .
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.
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.
Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.