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Dearest 24,

We’re four hours in and I’ve yet to have an anxiety attack.

Let me state for the record that it took me a while to join the 24 Boat. I was skeptical of the first season, after reading the plot line of the show and not exactly sure how it would work in a post-9/11 world. It wasn’t until I managed to get S1 on DVD and watch it uninterrupted (in less than a week’s time) that I got hooked. By then, S3 was about to premiere and I skipped S2 in favor of just moving forward. (I hear I didn’t miss much, other then a cougar trap.)

Between S3 and S5, I was having multiple anxiety attacks during episodes, riding the edge of my chair and screaming at the television screen. I suppose watching such intense drama is probably not good for a person with panic/anxiety disorder but I had to know what was going to happen. If Jack Bauer would once again save the world (well, the US of A) and set everything to rights again, usually at his personal expense.

I still remember moments from S4 and S5, where I was when they took place and how they affected me. Which is a huge compliment for the cast and crew. When your show can reach beyond a screen and cause a deep reaction in someone, that’s special. You’ve broken ground, continually, and achieved a permanent place in history.

Then you gave us S6.

I admit, around the last three or four episodes I was reading the Wikipedia entries on the episodes, so I didn’t have to watch them. The excitement was waning; it got too “personal” and your attempt to give Jack a life beyond being the American Hero really took away from the purpose of the show. I’m sorry, Jack can’t have a personal life anymore. It costs too much.

(I would like to state that I pretty much hated S6. You let me down, guys. Just being honest.)

Then you had a year off.

Last night, S7 premiered.

The end of S4 saw you kill Jack before our eyes, only to have him resurrected by his only “family” then smuggled out to try and put together a new life. The opening shot of S5, literally, was the assassination of ex-prez Palmer. I honestly fell out of my chair when that happened. S6? Jack ripped out a guy’s throat with his teeth and a nuclear bomb exploded in the vicinity of Los Angeles! Not to mention you made the bad guy Jack’s own father!

S7 didn’t even come close to any of this.

I’m sure the biggest surprise… oh look! Tony Almedia isn’t dead, even if the how/why was explained away so very vaguely I laughed. Dead for ‘ten minutes’? No way…. wasn’t much of a surprise in the end. Unfortunately, and I don’t know if this is because it was talked about too much in the press, shown in the season’s trailers, or if it was crammed too heavily into the first four hours, but the “surprise” part of said surprise was sucked right out.

Then the whole twist of CTU becoming a “shadow” group consisting solely of Bill and Chloe working under-cover and Tony actually working with them, yadda yadda yadda? I had that figured out the minute he wouldn’t speak to Jack at the end of Hour 2. And then Jack busting him out of FBI Headquarters and joining forces to get himself into the terrorist cell with Tony? Also figured that out. Does this mean I can get a job writing episodes since I seem to guess your next move before it happens?

It seems to be a problem with television these days. All the good ideas have been used up. Or beaten to pulp with a dead horse. I mean, even you guys know you used the nuclear bomb threat one time too many. Thank you for deleting that plot device. Now it seems everything is about OMG GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION (which, actually, is probably way true…if you read any of the news these days) not to mention people hacking into databases and through firewalls and controlling systems. Yawn.

And then, as it’s become standard, Jack trying to redeem himself in some fashion, repent if you will, by doing “good deeds”.

Is the saying not “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”?

I waited to write this post until I viewed the four-hour premiere, in the hopes that in the last two hours you might finally grab me back.

I’m really torn.

When Jack and Tony were busting out and kicking ass like the old days, a thrill went through me. Nothing like a little good ol’ fashioned violence in the name of justice. Jack driving a hot-wired car through a concrete wall? Loved it. Jack putting his fist into the face of Larry Moss? I prayed for that! Believe me, I cheered loudly when he did.

But the rest? Felt almost half-hearted. Like, “here we go again Jack, but not as exciting this time. Sorry!”

I don’t know what it is that’s causing this feeling of being let down. I don’t think it was the delay in seasons; if anything, that should have given you plenty of time to get really freaking creative. But instead, we get whiny and/or sarcastic FBI agents who I feel no empathy towards. A female president with a really stupid husband who is going to completely ruin her administration because he’s “obsessed” with “uncovering the truth”. A female FBI agent who suddenly starts resorting to Jack Bauer-esque methods of getting results after expressly forbidding him to do the same thing yet asking him how far he would go. So many “bad guys” in one story line that even I, being incredibly detail-oriented, am getting confused. Some plot about the president’s son “committing suicide”, that wasn’t addressed in any way, shape, or form between the movie 24: Redemption and S7, suddenly dropped in our laps as some OMG HUGE CONSPIRACY!11! yet we can barely remember the whole plot about the kid who was friends with him coming into a fraud cover-up and sending said files to said president’s son on the day of his mother’s inauguration. (Oh wait, there’s my penchant for details coming out.)

(An aside: I swear to god right now in this post that if you make Renee Walker A) Jack’s “love interest” or B) a female version of Jack I WILL QUIT WATCHING! Knock that shit off already! We already had Nina, people! And Audrey Raines! You can’t save the world and date at the same time. And NO ONE can be Jack Bauer but Jack Bauer.)

Honestly, I’m trying desperately to cling to perspective and say “but we’re only 4 hours in!” and tell myself S7 might live up to the whole “Redemption” bit. So far, not really. There have been glimmers of hope between 8am and 12pm, but they were fleeting.

Please don’t let me down, Jack. I’m counting on you.

a 24 Fan

Past, Present, & Future

June 2020


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