Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Some Spoilerific thoughts on 24
Posted by Raznor

(and yes, this post has spoilers)

First off, I thought tonight's episode of 24 may very well have been the single best episode of 24. And I've seen all except for half the second season (was in Budapest at the time). Yes, I'm truly hooked on the show, even if it gets occasionally a bit ridiculous.

But tonight's episode was simply amazing, as it brought up a true moral question. And not the standard "Jack has to break the rules to do what's best" thing, like where Jack tortures his girlfriend's ex-husband or kills the director of CTU so the terrorist doesn't release his megavirus. Tonight's episode had a much more pressing moral question to it- and it has it by creating an anti-Jack Bauer. Walt Cummings aided and abbetted the terrorists for what he thought was best for the country. He broke the law, and hurt and killed innocent people because he thought in the long run it would be best for the nation. Jack does this too. He tortures people, some of whom turn out innocent, he invades a Chinese embassy, he shoots the director of CTU in the back of the head, all because he is confident that these are the only things he can do to make the country safe. Yet Jack Bauer is the hero, and Walt Cummings is the villain. Why?

Sure, Bauer has better judgment than Cummings - when he breaks the rules it usually ultimately does save thousands of people instead of give chemical viruses to terrorists who then intend to use it on Americans. Also, Bauer would have known better than Cummings apparently that when you have to assassinate a former president because he knows too much, maybe there should be a few more red flags going up. But it's not that that makes Bauer the good guy instead of Cummings.

It's the accountability. When Bauer breaks the law, he's fully prepared to face punishment for it should things not go well. This was exemplified in tonight's episode when Bauer turns himself in after revealing Cummings, and in Bauer's willingness last season to be handed over to the Chinese authorities. Cummings, when he's about to get caught, goes to Logan to cover up his tracks. He uses his closeness to the president as his get out of jail free card. This is what makes him the bad guy. When he breaks the rules, he knows that if things go wrong, others may have to suffer for it, but not him. It just didn't work this time.

On a side note: Sam Gamgee should turn out to be a pretty good director of CTU. You can always trust the hobbits.

. . . and yes, now I realize that my first in depth blog post in who knows how long is on a somewhat silly yet exciting television show when there's much more important stuff going on, but I find the adventures of Jack Bauer far less depressing than the inevitable confirmation of Sam Alito. Also, it's a nice bit of virtual schadenfreude to see the Karl Rove character with a knife to his eye. Take that - you Rove equivalent you!

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