24 Season 7 Analysis — Hour 9

24season72

Episode 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Last night, Monday, February 16th 2009, hour nine of 24’s season seven aired and took some brave steps toward an exciting final 16 episodes of this season and perhaps toward future seasons.

There was definitely a marked departure from its sometimes predictable tendencies shown in the show’s dialogue and plot structure previously. It wasn’t a complete departure, Jack once again forces an innocent person who has been mislead by someone they trust implicitly to go along with a meeting with the person they’ve just been told is not who he says he is (sound familiar? *cough* season 1 *cough*). Rather than have say, Agent Walker talk him down like she should with a more pragmatic course of actions like detaining the driver and questioning him of Dubaku’s location, they once again go along with the bait and hook strategy.

But the departure was prominent enough to peak my interest. And not only did the show take huge steps in its writing and plot development, it also introduced some very popular characters from previous seasons into season seven. Those characters being secret service agent Aaron Pierce (now retired it seems) and Chloe O’Brien’s ex-husband. Both of these character’s appeal lies in their strong wills. They have a very strong sense of personal integrity where they are not only very trustworthy amongst their peers but also morally right. Quite simply, they do the right thing, stand up for the correct cause.

In hour nine, there are numerous examples of these departures from predictability and excellent character development and I want to highlight three:

  1. The further development of Renee Walker, primarily displayed in opening scene in convenience store.
  2. President Taylor being removed from the White House and placed into a more personal situation — at a hospital caring for her husband.
  3. Sisters Marika and Rosa

All three helped turn a somewhat stagnant season into a much more interesting and compelling one.

Last week, I noted Agent Walker’s role as one of humanizing the job of an intelligence agent. She clearly had trouble threatening the lives of an innocent mother and child regardless of whether the husband/father was good or bad. This week the show continued to build on that theme and when you have a character like Jack Bauer who is so righteous that he seems to remove himself completely from all emotional involvement with anything, it is so refreshing to see this counter balance, someone who actually is human and has those very honest and human feelings of “I can’t let this person get hurt” or “what if this were me or my family?”, etc.

Well there was one particular scene in hour nine that had me captivated. As Agent Walker rifles through the bodies of Dubaku’s dead men in the basement of the convenience store, she bloodies her fingers and subsequently her face. She then takes a call from her boss, Larry Moss and while talking to him about the events with Vossler’s family she has a moment where she catches her soiled reflection in the mirror she is facing and stares at it. Just that sense of here’s a single woman, in her late 20’s- mid 30’s (or whatever) who hasn’t experienced anything like this. She’s not an FBI agent anymore, she’s a single woman who graduated Georgetown (or wherever) with a MBA in criminal justice and has worked her way up the FBI. A daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Walker and sibling to some brothers and perhaps a sister. You know what I mean? She’s completely humanized by this look of “what has happened to me?” as she wipes blood off of her face almost as if she can’t bear it.

I think her character is absolutely wonderful. Yes, she yields to Jack but hello! this entire show is about Jack Bauer, let’s not forget that. Every character yields to him. Yes, it would be nice to see Jack’s will not be the course of action decided upon every single time, I agree. If anyone caught the preview for next week’s episode where a tearful Renee slaps Jack twice asking him if he can feel that pain, I don’t think I need to tell you how awesome that was to see. I don’t think we’ve EVER seen that display of emotion from ANY character on 24. I just can’t wait to see that unfold next week.

That, to me, was the best development but there were a few others that I want to touch on briefly. First is the removal of President Taylor from the White House and into a much more human position of caring for her husband at a local hospital. Sometimes the show gets caught up in the business side of being President and the role of the government, etc. and etc. that they forget that behind the suit and tie and the position of being the nation’s leader, this person is still a person. He/she is husband and father to a family or wife and mother to a family and especially in this case, has some very serious issues to deal with. Not only does this give actress Cherry Jones a chance to really act, it gives the viewers a chance to take a breath and just watch some human elements rather than the constant robotic ones of the government. It allows us to connect with this person and really get into the show.

Another one was the relationship between sisters Marika and Rosa, Marika of course being Colonel Dubaku’s love interest. As Dubaku flees the convenience store hideout, he now seeks to leave the country as soon as possible so as not to be detained by the U.S. intelligence agencies and wants Marika to join him (and ultimately her sister). Prior to hour nine, this relationship seemed very extraneous and perhaps only written to give Dubaku a reason to leave the hideout and thus remain elusive. But in hour nine we see more into Marika and Rosa’s relationship and just what Marika’s level of devotion is to Dubaku.

“He’s everything to me.”

What a line. I mean seriously, the writers for 24 really stepped it up this week. Instead of the basic blank stare, shake of the head response we usually get when a character is suddenly informed that the person they trusted is a completely different person than whom they thought, we actually get a very human response.

“You’re a little bitch, you know that?”

“You’re a little bitch.”

Who else just had their mouth drop a little on this exchange between FBI operatives Sean and Janis? Mine did and then I laughed. I was like “wow, that was awesome.” And it really was. Awesome exchange. And then the writers present us with a curveball when they sort of imply that Janis is the mole for Dubaku even as unlikely as that could be in reality and then comeback to the earlier theory of it being Sean. I thought it was very clever of them to pretend they cleared him of the charge earlier in the season and then come back to him later on as being the guy all along.

As the show rolls along into hour 10 it will be interesting to see not only what plays out at the FBI headquarters (i.e. how quickly Sean is discovered, whether they detain Janis first and what happens to her, Chloe O’Brien’s role, etc.) but how Aaron Pierce and Tony Almeida (remember him? he’s been absent from two straight episodes now…) are worked in and the continued development of the Jack and Renee relationship.

At the end of hour nine, we are presented with the cliffhanger of what Dubaku will do with his precious girlfriend now unfaithful informant. Is he going to kill her? Or will he try and assuage her doubts and take her to Somalia with him anyways?

Stay tuned. It’s going to be very interesting indeed.

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