"24'' finale: Just when it looked like it was bottoms up for Jack
In case you didn't notice, there was a lot of that going around on Monday night -- from Freckles (Queen of the Crocodile Tear) to Jack to the Prez to the Prez's hubby, Hank, to Tony (rage-fueled tears) to Kimbo (just barely).
"24'' did a lot of things well this season, but tear-filled emotion, eh, maybe not so much. It might be that I'm too calloused from 24 hours of watching Tony going bad, but none of the scenes suddenly meant to go all "family drama'' on us in the last two hours seemed to ring particularly heartfelt or sincere (although I thought Jack calling in Muhtadi for his death-bed conscience-clearing was a nice touch.)
There's just something about starting out the show with the "H'' word -- as in the uber creepy "We have Jack. We'll be able to HARVEST everything we need from his body'' and jamming a syringe the size of the Space Needle into his spine -- that makes it tough to buy what was supposed to be a tender face-touching moment between Jack and Freckles when he gave her the ol' "Don't say anything at all'' before he was rolled away. Freckles is millions of brain cells above Audrey, but it had the same awkward, hollow feel of the scene last year when he paid the Pale One a bedside visit. Apparently 24-hour sexual chemistry isn't Jack's strong suit, but then again, he's not feeling well.
That said, nobody can accuse the writers of not packing a lot in to the final two hours. A few notable recaps on our favorite characters:
Tony: See ... he wasn't totally evil after all!!! He was whacked, which was worse. He was apparently playing both sides as part of his own personal scheme to avenge the death of his dear, departed, doe-eyed Michelle, who we learn was pregnant when she died in the explosion. (Refresh my memory: That was news, right? It was never revealed previously that there was a Lil Tony on the way, was it?) Still, it felt like a bit of a ripoff to have Tony go all demented on us. But hey, at least he finally wiped that blood off his face that was making him look like something out of a horror movie.
Favorite Tony line of the night: When he pulled up an eyelid on a sedated Jack, who was bottoms up on the gurney, and announced casually, "He doesn't look too good.'' Really? You think so?
Kimbo: Well, we can't be calling her the victim anymore, can we? In the words of Coach from "Survivor,'' it looks like Kimbo has finally ''slayed the dragon'' -- or the cougar. In a total like-father-like-daughter move, she used a ballpoint pen to escape from the terrorists at the airport to go clomping around in her high heels in pursuit of the shaggy-haired terrorist down in the depths of the baggage department. Not only did she tip Freckles off to his whereabouts, when his car crashed and exploded, our Kimbo went right into the fiery wreck and retrieved his laptop, knowing there was crucial info on there. Some would say the writers missed their big chance there.
Favorite Kim line of the night: When her cell-phone battery went dead (which we knew it would): "Damnit!''
Prez's daughter: Busted! Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! Aaron and Ethan (our favorite new tag team) brought her down by retrieving the data card from the digital recording system in her office. Weird that Ethan still had clearance to the system after resigning as Chief of Staff, but OK, we'll buy it. Maybe White House IT is slow. And didn't you just know that it wasn't going to be the real data card that turned up when the Prez's daughter had him searched? Too easy. But let's be thankful Ethan didn't have to be "strip searched'' like originally threatened. Nobody wanted to see that. When "Livie'' confessed to her parents what she did, Mom yelled a lot -- yet still called her beee-otch of a daughter "darling'' -- but ultimately did the right thing by her "sworn duty'' and refused to cover up her hit on JoHo. Four more years of the Prez, please! Too bad her hubby turned out to be such a wienie, not helped at all by that bathrobe.
Freckles: In a move that would've made Larry Moss proud, she swooped in with the chopper just in time to save Jack before Tony pushed the button that would've made him go boom. And even better yet, she just happened to know how to disarm the bomb strapped to Jack's battered body. After having a heart to heart with Jack about staying within the boundaries of the law or going rogue and resorting to torture to get Alan Wilson (the new villain with the insurance agent name) to talk, she decides to go over to the dark side as she put her badge down, yelled at Janice to leave the room (loved it) and went, we assume, to "talk'' to Alan. And the new female version of Jack Bauer is born.
Jack: Yikes, a rough two hours. Tony & Co. decided to harvest the pathogen from the bio weapon that's in his body, which put Jack face down, twitching and out of it while (thankfully, not drooling) as they started poking around. But give a handcuffed, drugged Jack a scalpel and he's outta there. That whole scene with him by the taxis with the leaking gas and a handy flare within reach and Tony going gonzo on a forklift pushed the boundaries of ridiculousness, even for "24.'' But perhaps the most touching scene of the night was when, with death before him, Jack expressed regrets for all that he has done and Muhtadi reassured him that he saw a man before hims with flaws and goodness and all is forgiven. Just when it looked like it was time for the silent "24'' clock on our hero, Kimbo FINALLY decided to go along with that stem-cell procedure that could save his life and put hers at risk (note that last word). "I'm sorry, Daddy, but I'm not ready to let you go.'' Nothing like waiting to the last minute -- literally -- but hey, that's our Kimbo.
-- Kendra Meinert, firstname.lastname@example.org