Jack Bauer Power Hour Rewind: Week One

With Heroes on hiatus for a number of weeks, and 24 continuing to truck along with new episodes due to its half-season schedule, it is necessary to retire the Superpower Bauer Hour for a while. However, I don’t think I could go a Monday without some indepth analysis of everyone’s favourite torture-filled hour? However, of course, it’s nice to have something to compare it to, but what is there that could compare to Jack Bauer?

The answer? Jack Bauer.

It’s a popular sport to compare the various seasons of 24, and I’ve oft been known to engage in such discussions with great conviction. There’s no question that each season has its own style, its own flow, but which season stands out the most? And, specifically at this portion of the season, how was each “Day” dealing with its multiple storylines? These are important questions that I believe could perhaps be answered as we head back into Jack’s past to analysis the 13th hour of each season this week in the Jack Bauer Power Hour Showdown.

24: The 13th Hour

Season Six

This season’s 13th episode was dealing with two specific story threads which each held up fairly well in the episode.

1. Black Ops

The introduction of Mike Doyle, our Black Ops specialist, is an interesting one purely because it replaces Curtis who died earlier this season. It’s always strange to see these types of activities done without Jack’s involvement, and I always wonder to what extent Doyle will play a role in future episodes. He’s joining the cast, we know this much, but it’s still a bit strange to see.

Jack might not have had much to do in the scenario, but the huge gunfight to end the episode is certainly more than enough to make up for any lack of action in the earlier portion of the episode. We don’t see many missions like this very often, so when they get a chance to just plain ol’ open fire on a consulate, it’s something to talk about.

2. International and Interpersonal Intrigue

I was typing the above Black Ops portion of this post when I stopped everything and nearly screamed. Martha Logan, hysteric and delusional but certainly fairly stable, suddenly turned on a dime and plunged a knife into the right side of her ex-husband’s chest. The audible gasp was something that only 24 is able to accomplish to the same degree.

The characterization of Martha and Charles Logan was stunning in the fifth season, leading to Emmy nominations for both Jean Smart and Gregory Itzin. The madness of it all continues here, and it continues to be a stunning piece of acting from these two. Here, even as its contrived into the international conflict at the episode’s centre, it just plain old works.

Mind you, I do wish that we wouldn’t have ended the episode with Logan on his death bed, but the way the situation was resolved seemed natural if a tad fast. More importantly, it was all balanced quite well, which is always the toughest problem for an episode of 24.

And, on top of this, we end the episode with word that one of the bombs is ready to launch, and the threat is once again increased. On the whole, the episode set up a fair amount of constructs for future weeks, and resolved the consulate conflict. A fairly eventful episode I’d say.

However, how does it compare to the other 13th hours in the show’s history? If you’re curious, continue reading after the break.

[SPOILER NOTE: Plot details of the first five seasons will be discussed in medium detail, so if you haven’t watched them yet and plan to stay away! Well, actually, I shouldn’t be turning people away. So stay and watch them later, they’ll be just as exciting]


Season One
Perhaps the most important episode in the show’s first season, this would have ended the show should FOX have decided to cancel it. It ended, without a doubt, the Gaines portion of the storyline, and appeared to give Jack and his family a relatively happy ending. As a result, it was action-filled, dramatic, and kicked off the march towards the Drazen family’s introduction into the storyline.

Season Two
Similarly, this episode ended the Marie portion of the bomb’s storyline, but did not end the bomb storyline in itself. While they were looking for the real bomb, this was just a decoy [locked box]. The episode, along with this rather anti-climactic end, also suffered from the, although superior to the cougar who came before it, dreadful “Crazy bomb shelter rapist in the woods” portion of Kim’s storyline.

Season Three
While it was perhaps Chloe’s first moment of networking genius, and featured a rather large amount of the awesome Nina, this episode also featured a rather large amount of focus on President Palmer’s rather boring storyline regarding his wife’s exploits with Milliken, as well as Chase’s baby being babysat at CTU. It was tense, yes, but seemed disconnected with main storylines, a stopgap before the virus kicked into full gear.

Season Four
Season Four had so many bloody plots, and this one was smack dab in the middle of them. After an EMP had gone off as Jack and his girlfriend’s ex-husband were stealing files, they hole up in a Sporting Goods store and team with young Arabs in order to quell media pressure on their portrayal in the show. It did, however, include some great Tony/Michelle tension back at CTU, and Paul being shot would lead to some amazing tension in the next few episodes. The Marwan stuff? Bah, who cares.

Season Five
Oh wow, this episode makes me angry. A week after the sad and unfortunate death of Edgar at the hands of nerve gas being released at CTU, we have some good drama with the hobbit, the introduction of Desmond, and some nice Homeland security takeover as well. And yet, the entire episode is ruined when Tony gets a cheap, emotionless death at the end of the episode. It was worthless, lame, and killed the episode for me.

In general, these are episodes which represent a transition from one storyline to the next, or at the very least feature a situation which represents a turning point in things. Whether it’s the detonation of an EMP, the conclusion of the Nerve Gas storyline, Nina’s computer virus, or what could have been the last episode of 24 ever, things seem to in some way be resolved, and in order reopened all over again. Tonight’s episode continued that trend, but where does it sit quality wise?

Well, I think it was one of the better ones, but you be the judge.

2 Comments

Filed under 24, Television

2 responses to “Jack Bauer Power Hour Rewind: Week One

  1. Wow, that’s an interesting analysis. Going from what you posted, and my (poor) memory, I think this was one of the better Episode 13s. It didn’t strike me as a transition episode at all — in fact, it was probably the best episode of the season, discounting the first four.

    Good blog!

  2. http://www.andrewcohen.org/blog/index.php?/blog/post/my-latest-hero/

    Talk about heroes, Jack is the hero of quite a few spiritual practitioners, myself included, and yes, we compare episodes, seasons etc. Believe it or not, it’s stress relief from high intensity, high creativity days. I say your post, thought you might like this quote from today’s blog by Andrew Cohen, founder of EnlightenNext

    I remember being struck, in the opening minutes of Season 1, when Jack tells a colleague: “You can look the other way once and it’s no big deal. Except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time, and pretty soon, all you’re doing is compromising because that’s how you think things are done. You know the guys I blew the whistle on? You think they were the bad guys? ’Cause they weren’t. . . . They were just like you and me. Except they compromised—once.”

    Wow.

    I’m not usually one for making goofy comparisons between pop-culture heroes and the spiritual quest…but what the hell! In a cultural climate where the word “spiritual” has become synonymous with a dubious and rather syrupy interpretation of compassion, and where even many spiritual teachers don’t seem to aspire to the ideal of deep and profound integrity anymore, I’ll dedicate this passage from the book I’m working on to Jack.

    No matter how profound our success in the spiritual quest, our conviction and our surrender will be tested, again and again and again. How much love do we have in our hearts, even when we are being challenged? How strong is our integrity, even at those times when it seems that the whole universe is conspiring to tempt us to compromise? How alone are we willing to stand in what we know to be true? Soul strength is spiritual strength. It is the ultimate source of dignity and self-respect. And it is exactly this unwavering conviction that we so desperately need to cultivate if we’re going to change the very fabric of the emotional, psychological, philosophical, and spiritual field that we all share.

    Nobody can do this for us. Others can lead by example, but we alone must develop our own souls. And soul-strength needs to be cultivated daily, never assumed or taken for granted. Once we have consciously said yes to the noble task of soul cultivation, there can be no turning back. If, after saying yes, we do allow ourselves to compromise and fall prey to the powerful forces of inertia and cynicism, we may lose faith in our very capacity to develop. That is why it has been said that it is better never to begin on the spiritual path than to begin and give up before one has succeeded unequivocally. Once we have said yes, we must succeed, because we have seen with our own eyes, felt with our own heart, and recognized with our own mind what integrity, authenticity, transparency, goodness, and conscience truly are: the only solid ground in the universe.

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