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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

24 Jack is Back...The Allegory II

I have been unable to write anything following episodes of 24 because I have been so disappointed with the season so far that frankly, I have had absolutely nothing to say. That finally all changed last night. Last night's episode was finally full of the action, suspense, and conflict that has made 24 one of the greatest pieces of artistry of all time. To me, what differentiated last night's episode from much of the season as a whole is the screen time that Jack Bauer got. The season as a whole has featured significantly less time for Jack but last night he finally grabbed much of the attention. Because I have been totally unimpressed with most of the rest of the cast, the reduced screen time has made the show bland until last night. As such, hopefully, the show will continue to be redeemed going forward.

Now then, one way to look at 24 is as an allegory for the ideological battles that surround our own GWOT. I believe this season is an allegory for the ideological battles surrounding our own interrogation techniques. What is and isn't appropriate, and furthermore, how far should our nation go in getting information. The pinnacle scene in this allegory was the scene with Ross, Agent Walker and Agent Moss. The President's husband is kidnapped and there is less than an hour to find him and rescue him. Jack has information about a rogue agent named Vossler. Jack suggests that Agent Walker go to Vossler's home and hold the family hostage in an effort to extract information from the Agent. Agent Moss objects. The debate that ensues on screen is very much an allegory for the debate over these techniques that happen on television, in academia, and mostly within government itself. On screen in 24, the forces that support tough interrogations won. Agent Walker agrees. Ultimately, Vossler's family is used to break Vossler and he gives up vital information. Yet, Agent Walker is herself deeply affected. As such, the overall debate is far from over.

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