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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'24:' Episode 22, 5-6 a.m.

click to enlarge It's OK, Jack. There's always next season.
  • It's OK, Jack. There's always next season.

Snore. I never thought I'd say that say after watching the second-to-last episode in a season of "24," but it's true. Last night's episode was awash with unoriginality, to the point that a Jack-Tony face-off was only mildly thrilling. Eyeballs should have been hanging out of sockets! Jaws should have been dragging on the floor! Tongues should have exhausted themselves with wagging! Instead, I got up to move the laundry into the dryer.

In a way, "24's" charm has always been the unpredictability of its predictability. In nearly every episode, we can usually count on a tangled, twisty knot of seven or eight of the 10 following elements:

1. A terrorist plot

2. Torture

3. Finding/following up on a lead

4. Terse reminder of the time issue (Dammit!)

5. Petty, time-wasting office politics

6. Family/relationship drama

7. A betrayal of trust

8. Last-minute scramble to subvert said terrorist plot

9. Stay/elimination of the threat

10. Vengeance

The problem with season seven has been its unwillingness to push the limits of the show's recurring themes, so we end up feeling like we've seen it all before (because we have). Olivia's proven to be conniving and self-interested, but she's no Sherry Palmer. Renee's a capable wing(wo)man, but Audrey Raines was sharper and more complex. President Taylor's righteous and moral, but she's got nothing on David Palmer. Bio-weapons are scary as hell, but the threat had greater hold the first time, during season three.

While it had its highlights (Bill's kamikaze move to save the president; Tony's murder of Larry Moss and betrayal of Jack; Hodges pummeling a coworker's face with a brandy decanter), Day 7 will certainly go down as one of, if not THE, least memorable seasons of "24." But in anticipation of next week's two-hour, Kim-Tony-Jack-centric season finale and a bigger and better Day 8, I'm compiling a list of the top 10 all-time most memorable Bauer hour moments. Leave your suggestions here and check back Thursday for the list.

(Photo by Kelsey McNeal/FOX)

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