Monday, March 26, 2007
(9:19 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
A Secret Outline of the Next Season of 24A major national crisis requires Pres. Bill Buchanan to call on Jack Bauer, who has been sidelined in some way. He reluctantly agrees to do this one last mission. Buchanan thanks Jack and tells him that he trusts Jack's judgment.
The initial presenting problem is solved within three hours, but Jack discovers that a much bigger attack is in the works. As CTU changes its focus, tensions are high; everyone gets to take his or her turn reminding co-workers that a national crisis is no time for petty office politics.
A situation comes up in which the president has to make a really tough call. Normally, the president would decide against Jack, but since Buchanan exists only to go along with Jack's instincts, that option is closed to the writers.
But at a crucial moment, Pres. Buchanan is somehow taken out of action, forcing Jack to deal with an evil vice-president who thinks Jack is a loose cannon. (It is never explicitly stated, but in 24-land it is constitutionally required for either the president or the vice-president to be evil -- but not both.) The vice-president makes the wrong call, but Jack goes against him and saves the day; Jack is thereby vindicated. Chloe is instrumental in this action when she gives Jack access to computer resources "under the radar."
The bigger problem, however, is that the vice-president's faction was actually behind the terrorist plot the whole time, because he wants to go to war for undisclosed reasons. ("This country" is the most detail we get.) Thus Jack spends the remainder of the season trying to do something to constrain the destructive actions of his own government -- but a monkey-wrench is thrown into the mix when Jack's love interest is put in danger!
In the course of this, the various moral ambiguities of torture are explored: at least one innocent person is tortured or threatened with torture, maybe one person is tortured to death before he can give up the information, but most of the time torture works pretty well. Also, a variety of private citizens find themselves in a situation in which they bravely agree to help Jack; all of them die.
Through it all, no one quite manages to ask the obvious question: "How did we get into a situation where our anti-terrorism program basically consists of this one guy?"