Wednesday, January 24, 2007

24: Do sharks have siblings that jump over them?

Belated "24" spoilers coming right up...

Let's begin at the obvious love-it-or-hate-it twist: Evil Bluetooth Man, the mastermind behind all of last season's mayhem, is Jack's brother? Um... uh... really? They're going there? Ooookay...

This obviously wasn't something that was planned last year, any more than I believe that the writers knew President Logan was evil any more than a month before they did that script. For the last few years, they've only been working a few weeks ahead at any given moment, nevermind saving stuff for later seasons. I can't find the link off-hand, but I remember Howard Gordon doing an interview after the spring finale where he was asked what happened to Bluetooth and admitted that they just forgot about him.

Do I think it's silly? Yes. Did I groan when they revealed it? Absolutely. But here's the thing: I had almost the exact same reaction to the Logan reveal, and while I never felt like the show explained or earned the twist, I learned to live with it, because Gregory Itzin was such a good actor and because the writers got so much mileage out of the twist. Paul McCrane is also a terrific actor, and while I think the Evil Brother gimmick is even cheesier than Evil President, I expect McCrane and Kiefer to really sink their teeths into this stuff. The genius of "24," as I've said so often in the past, is that it never stops moving, and the bad ideas can be left behind quickly. We forgave them for the amnesia, and the cougar, and that thing with Chase and Chloe and the baby that I never saw in season three but heard about later, and whether this latest idea works or not, the show is very quickly going to be on to five or ten others. We're only at episode five and already we seem to have abandoned Jack Bauer, Reluctant Torturer. Time to move on to somthing else. It's what makes the show fun, and it's what arguably makes it shark-proof.

Since I'm coming so late to the party, others have already commented on the possible Rocket Romano vs. The Helicopter shout-out, as well as the probability that McCrane and Rena Sofer's son is really Jack's.

I'm disappointed that Assad is being shipped off to Washington, as that will A)take him out of action for at least four episodes, and B)probably eliminate any future Jack/Assad team-ups. I'm intrigued by how the Peter MacNichol character was written far more sympathetically this week; maybe he's not this year's token Disloyal Presidential Subordinate. And I continue to love Bill Buchanan's absolutely deadpan reactions to whatever crazy stuff Jack tells him each week. "I thought you were out." "I'm back in." "Um, okay."

What did everybody else think?


BF said...

For me, the most disturbing news from last night was when I saw Rena Sofer's name pop up in the credits. Why would the show tempt fate like that by brining in a known show-killer? Perhaps this year's mastermind is Ted McGinley.

PS: In addition to being Romano's wife on 24, she's also Nathan Petrelli's crippled wife on Heroes. How soon before she turns up on 2.5 Men?

Perhaps someone here has the background, but why is James Cromwell playing Jack's dad? The obvious chose should have been Donald Sutherland.

My minor nitpick of the night: why is a Presidential Address starting at 58 past the hour? Hasn't every address ever given start at 1 or 2 minutes past?

wonderbug said...

re: Donald Sutherland as Jacks' Dad
- damn! that would have been good!

re: Presidential Address starting at 58 past the hour?
- i think all the rules can bend in the aftermath of a nuke going off on US soil.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't buy the twist with the President last year. I know a lot of people thought last season was the best (and Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart were admittedly great) but I thought it was the worst season so far. Mostly because it finally became totally obvious the writers were completely making things up as they went along. The conspiracy and terrorist plots made no sense, the villain changed every week, and storylines were dropped left and right. I know 24 is a hard show to do (and that a lot of the plotlines are just MacGuffins to give us more action) but would it really kill the writers to plan out at least a general arc at the beginning of each season?

K J Gillenwater said...

My problem with Bluetooth, as you call him, as Jack's brother is that there was little to no emotion between the two of them. No set up or build up to their relationship before it obviously fell apart in adulthood (except for the bit about Rena Sofer being involved with Jack some time in the past). Wouldn't there be just a tad of a problem with Jack hooking his brother up for some torture sessions? I mean, some little bit of reluctance or hesitation before something pushes him over the edge? It just was too quick for me to believe they were ever brothers.

I like the idea of the boy actually being Jack's, but when would this have happened? When the show began six years ago, Jack was married, having just finished an affair with Nina, and had a 16-year-old daughter. This boy would have been about 10 or so when the series first began. I just don't see where that would fit into Jack's history...unless he and Teri had marital problems well before Nina came into the picture. It would make for a good story twist, but it wouldn't be believable to me...

There are several articles online mentioning that Donald Sutherland was considered for the role of Jack's dad, but due to 'scheduling concerns,' it just couldn't be done. Who knows how many episodes Jack's dad will appear? A TV show with this type of intense schedule requires a lot of time commitment, and it sounds like Donald just couldn't do it...but how awesome that would have been!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't there be just a tad of a problem with Jack hooking his brother up for some torture sessions? I mean, some little bit of reluctance or hesitation before something pushes him over the edge?

I think what pushed him over the edge was Graham mentioning his time in China. And they're brothers with an obvious sibling rivalry in their past. I had no problem believing Jack would lose it on Graham.

As for Assad, he ain't on his way to Washington quite yet. Plenty of things can happen that would require him being sent back to CTU (such as an assassination attempt). I'm just speculating, BTW.

Why did Eddie Izzard quit after a day of filming? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if you're going to play Jump the Shark, you have to go all the way back to Nina Myers. Hell, all the way back to Jack shooting George Mason with a tranq gun in his own office! Jump the Shark? 24 IS the shark!

Sounds like you need to Netflix season 3, Alan. You missed some great (well, "great") stuff.

"Perhaps someone here has the background, but why is James Cromwell playing Jack's dad?"

Because he's all wrong for Jack's mom?

"Why did Eddie Izzard quit after a day of filming?"

The director kept wiping off Izzard's lipstick.

(My dumb thoughts about the episode are here.)

Mac said...

According to Kiefer, they tried to get Donald but he's shooting a film in Australia.

Anyway, no wonder Bluetooth is evil considering what he had to put up with as a child.

JACK: Give me your pudding cup!
PAUL: No, it's mine!
PAUL: Okay, here it is, but I'm telling mom!
JACK: If you tell mom, I'll rip out your toenails!

Anonymous said...

JACK: Who are you working for???

BABYSITTER: Your parents! What are you doing with that lamp cord? Wait--KHHHHHGGHHH

Mac said...

In retrospect, Jack's last line should be: "If you tell mom, I'll rip out your hair!" So obvious.

Anonymous said...

1) Everyone is talking about how Jack is to torture is brother. Do we not recall that he can tell when someone is lying to him (when it's good for the story) such as when he knew tony was lying to him about Michelle in S3 and he took CTU from him in a heartbeat.

2) I predict that BTB is his half brother or stepbrother, not full blood.

3) The reveal that BTB is Jack's brother had me laughing and freaking at once. Such a balls on move to make. that being said, I thought having the Prez be the bad guy last season was a masterstroke.

4) Also about BTB being his brother, they better make it more then a gimmick (like they did with Bad Prez in S5). It HAS TO work, folks or it is nothing but a gimmick and shark bait.

5) Yeah, I wish Don Sutherland had played his dad, but James Cromwell kicks ass. Period.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you need to see S3, Alan. really. It's one of the best seasons and has so many great moments but it has the single best ending of any of the seasons. that last scene with Jack alone, letting all his sadness out over what he has done in that day is just heartbreaking to watch and took a sometimes robotic kill machine and made him all the more human. People who piss on this show have no idea what they are talking about. 24 is about one man and always has been. It's about watching him do what the rest of us don't have the balls to do while he loses his soul in the process. Cheesy? Maybe, but it's the heart of the show.

Anonymous said...

FWIW... though this is season 6 of '24', I think the actual timeline on the show puts the year at 2012 (i.e., season 6 starts 18 months after season 5, which started 18 months after season 4, etc etc...). I read somewhere that the clocks on all the computers/phone read '2012'.

In which case, if Bluetooth's kid is Jack's, and he's maybe 15 years old, then that puts his birth around 1997, and means Jack last saw him 9 years ago, which would be 2003.

So, if Jack last saw Bluetooth 9 years ago, it would've been after Terry died, and after he stopped the nuke attack in season 2.