24: Day 2 – 11:00pm to 8:00am Review

(My review of the first half of Day 2 can be found by clicking HERE)

How do you follow up a nuclear bomb exploding in the outskirts of LA? Well you don’t try and top it, instead you go to the other side of the thriller spectrum: espionage and suspense. While Day 2’s second half (well not quite half, but you know what I mean) has a lot of the same faults it does at least bring the season to a satisfying conclusion… only to leave a cliffhanger that ends up getting resolved in a subpar PS2 game. Yay! Let’s take a look…

Synopsis:

In the wake of the near nuclear disaster Jack and the CTU team is immediately faced with a new threat, that of war. America is ready to go to war with three Middle Eastern countries over a recording of their leaders conspiring with the terrorists responsible for the nuclear strike, but Jack, President Palmer and several other members of CTU suspect the recording to be forged…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

This might be 24 box transition over-load…

This collection of episodes are all about a recording placing lead terrorist Syed Ali in a meeting with three “heads of Middle Eastern Countries” that then leads to President Palmer beginning to make preparations for war. Jack and Michelle become convinced that the recording is false so the former begins to investigate new leads, including a mysterious phone call from a man who claims to have evidence of the fakery but won’t give it up without having Kate Warner, who’s father’s connections could get him out of the country. Jack escapes CTU with Kate, despite Tony not wanting to run that play (and as he’s now in charge of CTU LA, this is a problem) and soon the meeting takes place … then turns into a shootout. The informant is killed, Jack is captured and Kate ends up with the crucial evidence but kidnapped by some racist criminals who assaulted a foreign agent who was helping her. Jack is tortured until he literally dies, but is brought back to life by a medic and tortured a bit more before escaping and eventually rescuing Kate from the racists… It was quite the few hours!

Jack continues to follow the leads while CTU is visited by Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze), the “man from division” who’d be phoned a bunch of times across the two seasons. He begins to get frustrated as Tony soon joins Michelle in helping Jack while he is being told it’s a dead end because the top tech guys have declared the recording legit. The tension eventually gets to the point where Tony smothers Ryan with chloroform so he can help Jack, which… yeah. A tad extreme, but hey-ho. Jack meets the man responsible for the recording as well as Sherry Palmer, who is involved with the whole conspiracy, but the former dies while trying to run in a panic. In a last ditch effort Jack arranges for Sherry to meet with top brass businessman Peter Kingsley (Tobin Bell) who was one of the masterminds behind the whole thing as he wanted access to the Middle Eastern oil fields. After Jack understandably has some chest pains due to the whole heart stopping thing earlier Sherry meets with Kingsley at high risk to her own life and a shootout happens, with Jack sniping a bunch of people and eventually once again succumbing to heart issues before Kingsley is shot by an arriving CTU team.

“Seriously Mr. President, the evidence is right here!” “I don’t care Mike, Jack Bauer has his doubts…” “ARGH!”

It was a good core plot, which worked really well along with some legitimately interesting political stuff with Palmer being unseated by his Vice President for believing in Jack’s instincts instead of the evidence in front of him (which… yeah, good call frankly. Even if it did end up Palmer was right…) and eventually regaining his Presidency. Trusted advisor Mike Novick ends up sacked for siding with those plotting against Palmer rather than with him, which I’d completely forgot about due to his reappearances later, and series regular Aaron Pierce (Glenn Morshower) gets his first proper role as he helps Palmer get access to a phone. It was a good compliment to the action. It ends with series irregular Mandy (Mia Kirshner) being hired to take out Palmer, which she does via a special nerve toxin she had on her hand when he shakes it. It’s a good cliffhanger, even if its effects aren’t as major as you’d think…

The Bad:

The big bad! … Or “one of the big bads, but the other one doesn’t count unless you play a PS2 game.”

Let’s start with Kim again, shall we? She winds up in a convenience store which of course then comes under attack from a panicked shopper, who end then ends up killing the store owner and then threatening her, I mean… obviously. She eventually finds her way home to collect some stuff and runs into Gary, the abusive father / wife-killer from the first part of the season and eventually kills him in self-defence. At least that was actually a tense scene with Jack talking her through it… Kate appears to pick her up and to everyone’s surprise actually just make it back to CTU in one piece with no issues… Still though, especially the shop part, it was just… ugh. Kate also is rather dull still. She has no personality apart from “Jack seems to be into her”.

There was a subplot with an old colleague of Michelle’s generally being a spiteful bitch that was just unpleasant and worse ended up going nowhere, with her not receiving any kind of karma for her actions and instead just fading into the background in the finale. That was annoying. Likewise Palmer’s assistant was nearly killed when Novick had her locked in a room and it was never brought up again, though at least this time Novick got the sack for related reasons, so there was an end there even if he still technically got away with being an accessory to near-murder.

Lastly towards the end we see Kingsley talking to a man known only as Max (Thomas Kretschmann) who masterminded the whole nuclear attack and the attempt on the President’s life seen at the end of the series, all from the comfort of his luxury boat. This was interesting, and I was looking forward to seeing him get his comeuppance! … Then it didn’t happen. Season 3 has an entirely different set of villains and the writers eventually went back and ended the whole Max story retroactively in 24: The Game, which as you’ll see on this blog in a few weeks, isn’t a very fun experience…

Overall Thoughts:

The director of the final episode gets a thumbs up for some of these establishing shots!

24’s second season / day is a poorer experience than the original series, and while the key plot is still interesting and there are some fun shoot-outs and twists, the side stories are often really uninteresting or at worse extremely annoying. I won’t say it’s a “waste of your time”, but it’s certainly one of the weaker seasons in the series…

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