After a hit or miss batch of episodes in the middle, 24 pulled together a strong finale. Though this episode may have been better paired with the previous one, it still sets up the final arc and what will come next year well. Mandy provides a sexy villain, much needed since the three best femme fatales are dead, but Tony, Michelle and Jack center the episode.
With Tony missing, Jack assumes that Mandy has captured him, but C.T.U. once again is understaffed. Jack requests more manpower. Curtis is taken away from what the writers concocted to keep him busy long enough for the hostage situation to occur and sent to work. Michelle panics, but has to calm down and realize that Mandy matters first. It doesn't make it easier for her.
Audrey reports to Novick that they haven't picked up any sign of the missile. Because the missile will detonate before the next radar sweep, Audrey's now assigned to create profiles of casualties and fall out for twenty of America's biggest cities. This helps to show us what is at stake with the missile's unknown target. Even if it hit the smallest city, the aftermath would be devastating.
Mandy does quick research and learns about Tony's actions in the end of the third season. Would Michelle be willing to risk national security for the life of someone she loves like Tony? Curious about the answer and desperate to escape, she calls her and asks Michelle to divert teams away from her exit, much like what Saunders did in season three.
Reiko Aylesworth gets to shine in this episode. Having a loved one kidnapped by a terrorist is scary enough, but she makes the fear of being blackmailed by them palpable to the audience. Michelle sits on this information for a few minutes, but unlike Tony, she tells Buchanan before she can compromise millions of lives. It's a tough personal choice, but it's the right one, considering what's at stake. 24 has always let us know that detachment is important to accomplish this work. Last episode we knew that she was willing to give up everything for a calm life with Tony. But she is still at CTU, where decisions have to be made for the greater good.
They figure that she should pretend Mandy still has control over Michelle and agents will reconvene elsewhere to apprehend her. It's the best way to do it. Mandy sealed her fate with that call. Though if she hadn't she would've been stuck waiting for them to find her door and barge in.
She tasers Tony unconscious to keep him dormant while she makes her next move. Then she slaps her leg on the table to get rid of the holster, causing men throughout the country to forget their names temporarily. For some reason they make a big deal of her applying lipstick. Some argue that this was to project a normal appearance to keep the neighbors unsuspicious. She walks down the hall to her neighbors'. When the neighbors let her in, she asks to see Joss. When Joss enters, she kills him. Now that just feels like she did it because she could. However, she likely did it to show the other two roommates that she was in charge and they should do what she tells them.
Logan's being squeezed by the Chinese regarding the raid. Palmer tries to assure him that the unmasked agent was removed from CTU before anyone could see him. Facing a disaster, President Logan does what he does best, panic like a little wuss. He has given up hope of finding the warhead in time. Palmer advises him to maintain composure for the sake of the nation. I, along with probably most viewers, hope Palmer pulls a Grover Cleveland and comes back as president.
Bern lands in San Diego, assured that everything would be secure for himself and that his family has been moved to a hotel. Unfortunately for him, Cheng has crashed his transport. The CTU men are bound and unconscious. Bern commences wetting his pants. He denies involvement at gunpoint, even though Cheng has evidence of his involvement and of his escape from C.T.U.
Tony's situation takes a toll on Michelle, who lashes out at Edgar. Even Chloe knows she's a wreck. Mandy calls C.T.U. again as Jack and Curtis watch two figures walk under an umbrella to a car. She warns Michelle again that Tony will die if she believes she was duped. When Buchanan sends the team in prematurely (as indicated by Jack's yell), Mandy calls Michelle a "bitch" and blows up the car. Michelle's scream is truly chilling, although I guessed that they weren't the ones who exploded.
Since they have no evidence that they weren't the ones in the car, Palmer decides to shift CTU's priorities to damage control. Palmer plans on enacting martial law. Logan ungratefully denounces Palmer, though had he not been around Logan would be cowering under a table by now.
Jack still doubts that the two people who exploded were Mandy and Tony. Mandy doesn't believe in the cause, she's a hired professional. She wouldn't kill herself. He continually replays the phone call and video looking for clues even when Buchanan orders him to stop. Jack noticed that the two left in an obvious fashion. We also never see them as she talks on the phone. The camera always showed them in a wide shot, nothing close enough for us to realize it wasn't them. Plus Jack realizes that Mandy's phone isn't picking up background noises like the rain (since this is a rare occasion to introduce weather to the storyline, it fits to have it as a plot device) or the car door opening and closing.
Mandy makes a break when she sees them return to the building. What she doesn't realize is that Tony found some broken glass on the floor and cut himself with it, leaving a trail of bloody spots. One of the agents sees this and alerts Jack, who follows the trail to the garage.
As Tony is lugged into the parking garage, he tries to disable her through a semi-humping motion. To be fair, he didn't have much choice. Mandy gets her advantage back and walks him further before Jack confronts them. She tells him that he will kill him, but Tony is willing to sacrifice himself. Jack's willing to accept this loss. When he looked over the footage of the explosion, he did it because he didn't believe she was dead. Mandy knows they need her alive because of what she knows, and this discussion gives Curtis time to sneak up and punch her in the face.
Through the season, rumors had persisted regarding Tony's death. Perhaps the producers leaked this phony spoiler so fans that read them would be anxious waiting for it to happen. It did add to my suspense. I was glad to see them spare Tony and it provided a great moment when he told Michelle, crying in her car, that he was OK. Luckily they found out before she killed herself, as indicated by false spoilers. Now that he's safe, they can say, "I love you". This episode serves to bookend the long rough spot between them. It started when one was taken hostage and now it ends with the other being released.
Jack's interrogation of Mandy is a little disappointing. Grabbing her by the throat, he offers to give her a full pardon for everything she's done. While it may have been more entertaining to see him mess with her, they don't have much time left and this pardon offers some dramatic repercussions in the next hour.
In a warehouse, Cheng interrogates Bern, taped to a chair. Bern stays loyal, but Cheng tells him about what he'll face when a Chinese barge arrives in San Diego. He'll board and after an 18-day ride, be sent several thousand miles to a work camp near Siberia. The strongest argument above all this is that CTU, the US government and his family won't know what happened to him, making escape or exchange impossible. However, Cheng offers him a deal. Since he was following orders, he just needs to mention whose orders he was following and he'll be released. He reluctantly tells them it was Jack.
It would've been nice to use Mandy to finish her past ties to the show, but since it is being lead open, she could play a vital role in the next season. I knew the Chinese storyline's break would still pan out and it did. The consequences are still growing as the final hour draws near. Tony and the reactions of those close to him regarding his situation also get to have a considerable role in the episode. It helps add more to the human element of the show. I do wish we saw more of Marwan, but judging by the next episode, there wasn't much to see.
What a great way to end the show, the two hour season finale was awesome.
The best part of this episode is Curtis. What a punch! When Curtis cold-cocks Mandy with a vicious right hook I literally jumped out of my seat and yelled. It was the best thing I had seen in weeks.
Curtis started out slowly in this season but he has steadily been gaining steam and becoming a much better character. It started with him being kidnapped by terrorists and then escaping by killing two of them with his barehands.
After seeing this punch all I can say is that Curtis better be back next season and have an important role. I enjoyed watching him this season...
Wow... That was my initial reaction. This episode really blew me away (and the car as well!)
Michelle and Tony have their tables turned. I was worried the storyline would be repetitive but it worked out nicely. I was really glad to see Michelle make the choice she made, because no matter how much I love the character of Tony Michelle knows it's his life or a million others and the only right thing to do is to sacrifice him. I LOVED Michelle in this episode alltogether, an outstanding performance by Aylesworth, especially when Tony is "killed". This was the second time during the entire show's history that I had tears in my eyes.
Logan is a jerk.
Nice ploy Mandy pulled. Being stranded in Sweden I don't get the spoilers, promos and rumors that the US audience does so I never know anything when sitting down to watch an episode, yet I didn't doubt that Tony and Mandy was alive. When the woman shut the car door it should have been audible through Mandy's end of the phone but it wasn't. I figured that would tip off Jack too, but instead it was the rain. Go figure. Nice touch to have it rain btw, I can't remember it ever raining on 24 before!
Logan is an ass.
Bad-ass Tony is back in business. Mandy can't be that much of an assassin if Tony can nearly kick her ass with his hands cuffed behind his back. Great watch though.
Logan is a turd.
I loved seeing the relationship between Jack and Tony in this episode. They really are great friends, even though neither seem too happy to admit it. They worked wonderfully as a team in this episode and honestly I half expected a hug between them. No hug, but still, great stuff.
Logan is a wimp.
Bern gave up the act... I can't really blame him to be honest, considering what he was facing. Though in my perfect world I would have wanted him to claim he wasn't told who was in charge. Yeah, they wouldn't have bought it, but in my perfect world they might have...
A CTU agent gets kidnapped by a group of Chinese agents who forces a confession out of him on film. Tony becomes a hostage and used as a bargaining chip. Palmer and Logan deals with their possible options for saving American cities before a nuclear missile detonates over one of them. This is a very entertaining episode, there's so much stuff that happens here, things go really fast. The writers did a good job making this a very watchable episode. The action scenes are well directed. Arnold Vosloo plays a really good terrorist. Mia Kirschner plays a really good twisted character.
It seems the actions that happened at the Consulate are going to be a lot more intense and serious then I had orignally planned. I didnt think they had enough time (3.5 Hours) to set up that storyline but they wrote it pretty well I think. What happens in the finale as far as the consulate goes it still a mystery. I dont like that Marwan has been without a scene for a full two hours now. The missle has also been given a lot of time, even though they said the three hour window could be what they were working with. Tony and Michelle getting back together was amazing and the emotions that Michelles character was able to show throughout this episode was amazing. From embracing love to thinking that Tony had died, that scene where she thought he was gone was one of the best of the season from an acting standpoint. I like that David Palmer is going to be around until the end, I think he and Charles have got a very good on screen connection at the moment.
So, we are getting to the end of the season, and the tempo is on. First and most it is still about Mandy and now they know she has Tony and Michelle is out of herself and she gets the choice Tony had in the end of last season - which she values more - Tony's life or what she is supposed to do. And she makes different choice and it seems like she has to pay the prize already. But Jack gets the game she plays (and ok.. it was too obvious because there had to be point why the neighbors had to be taken in).
Anyway, a lot of tears, great emotional stuff from Michelle side and the ending.. they got her.
And the China storyline.. oo.. it is getting good and bad for Jack. Cannot wait for last episode.
Great Way the writers managed this mandy mini plot.
Lets talk about the weak point of this episode, of course, the Chinese plot. Until now i didn´t undestand this plot place, but now is clear, is to put jack away or prisioner, until season 5 arrives. So this guy that tell the truth, was nothing that you cannot antecipated, and of course, this was just the details.
What is great in this episode is of course mandy mini plot. The writers filled the entire episode with this, but since mandy was not explored enough in the past, this is understandble.
She is very intelligent and I am glad that the writers managed to show us this. If was not Jack guilt and expertise, Mandy could be able to escape.
However, this Mandy plot is not enough to give this episode a 9, since a 9 episode, is that type of episode where something very important happen with our favorites character and Jack Bauer, twist, suspense, and of course, a ending that will be remenbered forever. Not in this case, this is why the i gave 8.
CTU goes off on a largely unnecessary tangent as they look for Tony and Mandy in the apartment complex. Mandy goes the Stephen Saunders route and tells Michelle to either let her escape or let something very bad happen to Tony.
But let's move on to what does interest me this hour: the kidnapping of Howard Bern by Cheng Zhi. Though I consider the Chinese plotline as ridiculous as anything else this season, I can pardon it simply because of Tzi Ma's delightfully creepy and sinister portrayal of Cheng.
Back to the bulk of the episode. Mandy appears to kill herself and Tony when Michelle betrays her, so there's a period there when all the characters give up hope on finding the missile in time. But then Jack manages to figure out that Mandy and Tony are alive and well, thanks to the rain. Hey, here's another complaint: I thought it cool that they were finally having it rain on the show, but later irritated that it was only a plot device. I would rather it rain just for the hell of it. And as you all have undoubtedly observed by now, the car door's slam would've been sufficient.
Does this hour do a good job of gearing things up for the finale? Have I ever had a girlfriend? The answer to both is…uh, nun yer bidness.
Either scene with Cheng. Nah, the second one.
The recurring Mandy character serves no purpose than to create filler plotlines such as this and totitillatethe male viewers. Unfortunately for me, the 2000 yard stare is hardly attractive, and her terrible acting is more of a distraction than her constant changing of clothes.
Besides that, the plot simply does not make any sense. She goes next door and somehow convinces the two people there to play the role of her and Tony, where one has a gun trained on the other while on the phone as they walk to the car. How did she get them to play those roles so perfectly? Who wouldn't simply run as they were released, and what leverage does she have on them to get them to do it? The biggest problem I see is the car bomb. She had just placed a bomb in a car just for that specific situation? Come on. What if she needed a car to get away, then there would have to be another one, or would have to do something to disconnect the bomb. She obviously knew a bomb was there. The questions are too many for the plot to be satisfactory.
Then the Chinese guys. Why do they want Jack Bauer specifically? They already have the guy they know was there. Jack really isn't the guy who gives orders, even if he lead the team.
Worst episode of the season. Too bad they feel compelled to make the season 24 episodes long and need to stretch it out with garbage like this.
People watching this episode are more bothered about Tony's plot that they tend to overlook the loop holes in other subplots. Chinese consulate part raises so many trivial questions. We also feel some link is missing. I guess Chinese set up is all for the last episode
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