24 Season 5
As 24 entered its fourth season it may have looked to many like it had begun a gentle decline. With its powers fading, the storyliners seemed to be running out of twists, the terrorist threat had escalated to a point from which there was no escalating and even, Ave Maria, the prospect of 24 becoming formulaic – a show like any other – loomed ominously like the shadow of a dead terrorist hung by his own rifle strap.
But season four picked up in the latter half and we were given a barnstorming finish with Jack faking his own death to avoid World War Three after the embarrassing Chinese embassy incident where he led a team who shot a Chinese official on embassy turf. Only they Never Done It – it was one of the Celestials’ own who fired the shot but as we know, in war the first casualty is truth (shortly followed by a Ching-Chong Chinaman with a punctured lung).
"In war the first casualty is truth (shortly followed by a Ching-Chong Chinaman with a punctured lung)."
So as we enter season five Jack is an oil field worker in Shitstain, Illinois living with a strapping Milf and her annoying bozo teenage son who suspects (correctly) that there’s Something Not Right about mummy’s boyfriend Frank. Man, if he only knew.
Bozo doesn’t have long to wait for the reveal however, as he is dragged out of his suburban shell into one of the most barnstorming season premieres in history – a headlong freefall into the world of Jack Bauer, one-man army, Mozart of impromptu torture, and man the headless paedophiles fear.
“When 24’s back is against the ropes it comes out swinging, teeth bared, eyes blazing, fists set to KILL.”
There are certain things only 24 can do. Things only 24 dare do. One of these things is to kill off two of its most loved characters in the season premiere. When 24’s back is against the ropes it comes out swinging, teeth bared, eyes blazing, fists set to KILL.
The opening two episodes grab you by the throat and body slam you from one side of the room to the next. It’s as if they’ve made a conscious decision not to bother with lengthy set-ups and just catapult you into the thick of things, breaking your heart twice in the first 15 minutes. It’s true: they really do kill President Palmer and Michelle Dessler. That we will never again see the divine Dessler hips squeezed into the Leather Trousers Of KickAss is a source of much anguish in Casa Aerial.
Damn those lousy terrorists. They are really going to pay this time. For a show that is not character-driven they certainly know how to make you care about the characters. Thankfully Chloe survives the attempt on her life to retain her role as potato faced computer guru with no social skills. What a wonderful thing Chloe is, providing so much comic relief and humanity. Her inability to deal with social situations is one of the many joys of this show.
The incompetent Nixonesque President remains in charge of the country (just) making Palmer’s assassination all the more poignant. Jack is out to solve the President’s murder once he has exonerated himself (perhaps unsurprisingly, he gets framed for the killing and is number one suspect despite saving his life, like, a dozen times) although once he does he’s faced with a much bigger threat. Those goddamn dirty terrorists are planning chemical warfare on Russia, America and whoever the hell gets in their way. The shit is getting major. Will Jack be equal to the task?
"Expect slaughter, intrigue and betrayal. Oh, and torture. There will be torture. Lots of it."
Damn straight he will be. And you can bet there’ll be retribution in spades for those who killed his buddies. Expect slaughter, intrigue and betrayal. Oh, and torture. There will be torture. Lots of it.
And, believe me, you will talk.
The best thing about it: They always go for the throat.
The worst thing about it: They killed David and Michelle!
The verdict on 24 Season 5 : Peerless post 9/11 insanity.
Marks out of 10: 9