This week’s episode of 24, perhaps more than any other this season, contained a great deal of palpable romantic tension. After Chloe decides to kiss Morris in order to check his breath for alcohol, Morris said it best: “Gotta love this place.” The episode was filled with reminders of those romantic tensions: Jack’s revelation regarding Audrey’s apparent death in China, Marilyn’s attempt to get herself some Jack lovin’, Milo’s attraction to Nadia being brought into question, and, of course, Chloe’s snogging of Morris.
24, despite being quite the serious show dealing with international disasters, thrilling action scenes, and large explosions, has always had a certain romantic component to it. While it has never been arrested by these romantic endeavors, overcome by the sheer love of its characters, some of these relationships stand as memorable moments from seasons past and present. There might not be the level of shipping that is seen on other shows, since a lot of these people proceeded to be killed, but there is certainly some affairs to root for.
So, without further adieu, the Top Ten ‘24’ Romances. I’d like to acknowledge that, although not a conscious ripoff, I have to send props over to Erin and Matt over at “BE Something” for their fantastic Top 10 lists and television discussion.
10. Mandy and Everything That Moves
She blew up an airplane to open the show’s very first episode. She attempted to assassinate President Palmer with a crazy hand virus in Season Two. She withheld information from an important investigation into Marwan’s location in Season Four. Mandy has certainly had her fair share of involvement in 24’s more serious plot points.
And yet, she’ll always be the hot lesbian. She’ll always be the one who uses her sexuality to get the job done, and the one whose return illicits sweaty palms across the world. Her romance with every single character she encounters is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the show’s most interesting, and most pervasive. With her presidential pardon in place, she’s capable of returning whenever the producers desire to have her to do so. I can’t wait to see who she seduces next.
9. Chase and Kim
I figure we had to work Kim in here somewhere; although I was much more tempted to include the Cougar or the crazed bomb shelter maniac, her relationship with Chase was one that played a fairly substantial role in Season Three’s storyline. It had a small child involved, some inter-office tension, and the whole issue of dating your father’s partner.
In a season which was all about personal relationships, this one actually managed to make a fair amount more impact than Kim’s other relationships. It never seemed to get in the way of the storyline outside of its normal dramatic intervention, which is what’s best for these type of romances.
8. Jack and Audrey
Most relevant this week, these two certainly faced quite a few difficult situations over the span of two seasons. They were always a little disconnected, but their relationship was threatened when Jack basically killed her ex-husband by forcing doctors to operate on another man instead. That’s kind of a buzzkill, when you think about it.
And yet, their love survived that and so much more. Perhaps more than any other of Jack’s post-season one romances, these two actually seemed to gain traction; this week alone, Jack was suddenly struck with a desire to speak to Audrey, even while Marilyn offered to sex him up. That shows a sense of commitment that we’ll be seeing more of for the future.
7. Tony and Michelle
Tony went to jail for Michelle’s life. They’ve had more than enough teary goodbyes to shake any couple’s romantic foundation, whether it was during Michelle’s near-fatal brush with the virus or Tony’s apparent death at the conclusion of Season 4. These two fell in love at CTU, fell out of love when Tony went off to the big house, but the tension was always there.
I think this is why it’s one of the show’s most powerful romances; even after being gone for nearly an entire season, with the barriers of alcoholism and a felony in their way, their love eventual won out in the end. Their deaths at the beginning of Season 5 were tragic, heartbreaking. Their romance may have been tumultuous, but it was nonetheless integral to the ‘24’ universe.
6. Charles and Martha Logan
One of them was hiding a hidden agenda which threatened the lives of millions of his own citizens. The other is batshit crazy. This pairing, introduced in Season 5, is perhaps one of the most important couples that the series has ever had. Emmy-nominated for their work, Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart gave Charles and Martha Logan true personality, and a twisted and confusing romance lingering on the edge of betrayal.
While Martha’s romance with Aaron Pierce may have been a fan favourite, I think this one is more important. Their short return in Season 6 was heated, torrid and fascinating; the romance, in all its oddity, is clearly still intact. It was a pity that this week’s episode abandoned their storyline entirely (Is Logan alive? Hell if I know!), as they were pumping some life into the season. Either way, their effect is clear, and their romance, however unconventional, is fascinating.
5. David and Sherry Palmer
They began Season One as a loving couple on the campaign trail, and ended it divorced. Her drive to succeed was too much for her comparatively passive husband to handle, and they never could get along after the trying events of that day. And yet, somehow, their relationship lingered for three seasons until Sherry’s ultimate death. Their romance, despite never becoming physical, became a political one which eventually saw David Palmer tossed aside as President of the United State of America.
Sherry was manipulative, cunning, and ruthless in her actions…and yet at the heart of it all there was a connection between them. David trusted her even when he clearly never should have done so, and even as she abused his faith something was still there. Their romantic spark may have been hidden under the surface, but one cannot deny that it somehow lingered through three seasons relatively intact despite their tribulations.
4. Chloe and Edgar
Two tech geeks, each awkward and outcasts within society, brought together by a love of all things with wires attached to them. Chloe told Edgar what to do, Edgar mumbled to himself and became flustered, and Chloe just walked off shaking her head. It was certainly not your normal office romance, and it certainly never became physical. But, the small moments were there; Edgar was clearly miffed at Chloe’s relationship with Spencer at the opening to Season 5, and geek love is a subtle medium of romance.
And yet, it was a moment of tragedy which cemented this high position for Chloe and Edgar. With toxic gas filling CTU, everyone becomes sealed in the conference room. As we start to think everyone is safe, we realize that we forgot about someone. Edgar, lumbering onto the CTU floor, stops and looks at Chloe. They lock eyes, and Edgar says her name…it was perhaps one of the most powerful moments in the show’s history, and the silent countdown was entirely justified for this romantic moment.
3. Jack and Nina
The sexual tension was there from the very beginning, their affair being the elephant in the room as Jack dealt with the tragedy of Day One. Their relationship was, seemingly, shattered as Nina was revealed to be little but a German spy. I will never forget that moment as Jack throws Nina against the car and moves in close. Their romance had been one of passion, and it continued even as arch nemeses.
Nina’s subsequent returns continued to bring out the most neurotic in Jack. He lost all control of himself in the wake of her actions at the end of Season One, and her return always shook him up a little. Her power was in her persuasion, something about her always convincing Jack to do as she asked. Their romance was one, much like the Palmers, which managed to keep them connected even on opposite sides. When Jack finally put a bullet into her head, it was vindication, but also the end of an elaborate tango of manipulation, death and lust.
2. Chloe and Jack
Chloe was first introduced as an incompetent “potato face” who got in the way during Day Three’s activities. Who could have imagine then that she would become an integral part of day-to-day activities at CTU, and that her romance with Jack would become one of the show’s most pervasive unrequited loves. While I don’t believe that they should ever embrace their relationship, it’s always nice to know that Jack has someone to look after him.
When Jack returned from China in Season 6, it was his reunion with Chloe that was the most heartfelt. His wife dead and his daughter estranged, Chloe is the closest thing Jack has to family as far as we’re aware. She is his friend, his colleague, but you can’t help but feel that she means more to him than that. One of these days, Chloe will be thrust into peril, and I believe we will see Jack truly become unhinged in such a scenario. Chloe and Jack’s relationship, their romance if you wish to call it that, is the one thing keeping Jack human as he shuffles between mistresses. It’s his constant, and one of the most powerful relationships in the show’s history.
1. Jack and Teri Bauer
Their love was what brought this show into the world, really. Jack’s devotion to his wife and daughter led him to rescue them from Gaines, and their continued peril drove him forward. Their relationship felt real, even though it was clearly in some trouble based on Teri’s attempted affair and Jack’s affair with Nina. There was just something about their dynamic that stood out within the show’s first season. When the season ended with a deceased Teri in Jack’s arms as he broke down, their tragic story became ingrained in creating one of the greatest TV seasons of all time.
And yet their romance had true ramifications in the series, and I almost wish this had continued past the 2nd season. His pre-season depression which led to him growing a beard and becoming angsty was really the last we heard of Teri, and Jack even moved onto Kate by the time the season was over. As we have seen Jack have numerous relationships since this point, we clearly see that he’s gotten over it, but I almost wish that we could return to what I believe was 24’s greatest romance. In a show which loves reliving its own past, could we not revisit Teri’s tragic death? While killing Nina gave Jack some amount of closure, I don’t think that her memory and their romance should be defined by Nina’s existence.