Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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TV O.D. : “Say Hello to Your Brother”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on April 11, 2007

(Spoiler Alert)

Or, “The Greatest 3:10 in Modern Television History.” Somehow managing to combine the awesomeness of the climactic fight sequences of action classics Die Hard and Commando, the final fight between Jack Bauer and Abu Fayed on Monday’s 24 was nothing less than jaw-dropping. It’s definitely the most engrossing 24 battle I’ve ever seen, and possibly the high point of the show thus far.

‘Coz let’s face it, the season’s been dragging like hell. No one’s expecting anything real left field from 24 at this point–obviously, most of the fun comes in knowing when there’s gonna be a twist, when simmering CTU sexual tension is gonna finally be unleashed, and when Jack’s gonna yell “DAMMIT!!” But when you’ve got yet another vice president trying to usurp the presidency to further his own agenda (Season 2), another torture of a possibly rogue CTU agent who lo and behold, turns out to be clean as a whislte (Season 3), and another retarded brother who turns out to be a computer idiot savant unknowingly passing on surveillance tips to Middle Eastern terrorists (uh, I’m sure there must’ve been at least one in there), it’s kind of hard to stay motivated.

But most importantly, it just feels like Jack’s heart hasn’t really been in it this season. After years of torture, the recent death of his girlfriend (well, maybe, more on that later) and the inability of the rest of the world to save itself every once in a while, Jack simply doesn’t seem to have the gusto he used to when it comes to getting the bad guys. This season, he’s mostly just going through the motions (which is secretly why I suspect that the once-sporadic “DAMMIT!” outbursts now come out essentially at the same time every episode–Jack just seems to think that it’s something he’s expected to say, it’s no longer really coming from the heart).

But you can tell that he really got his groove back with this one. I can’t remember the last time I saw Jack so aching to kill someone–so badly that upon arriving at the complex of Fayed and his men, he doesn’t even bother to wait or even call for backup. He takes out the lookout with less difficulty than I have cracking an egg–for me, that’s at least a three-step process, but for Jack, it’s just sweep, crack, done. Then he goes into the main facility, with Fayed and the rest of his men. He gauges the odds of the situation–roughly a half-dozen trained soldiers with machine guns, vs. him with his handgun–and he thinks for a few seconds, and then you can almost hear him think “ah, fuck it,” as he puts two in guard #1.

He takes out guards #2-5 with superhuman, nee supernatural precision, and then it’s time for Fayed. Instantly it becomes clear that this is gonna be that rarest of 24 phenomena–the extended hand-to-hand combat fight, last seen I believe in the stadium finale to Season 2–as Fayed foolishly throws his ammo-less gun at the oncoming Bauer (side note: does this ever, ever work? Has there ever been a tv or movie fight where an empty handgun, thrown at an assailant out of frustration, conks the foe square on the head, knocking him unconscious and eliminating him as a threat? Wouldn’t it make more sense to secure the gun in hopes of, I dunno, finding some more ammo?) The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been, with Jack looking to lay the smackdown on the man who tortured him, killed thousands of people and forced Jack to kill his partner, and with Fayed looking for some vindication for the death of his brother at Jack’s hand, as well as for Bauer’s continual foilings of his devilish masterworks.

After some strangulation, some knee blows and a couple good throws each, Bauer breaks out the giant wrench. At any other point in the series, this would be the point when you’d say “OK, fight’s over”–Bauer can kill a man with his teeth and no hands, being equipped with any hand weapon greater than two inches in size should mean automatic victory. But Fayed holds his own, enduring just one blow to his right arm before tackling Bauer and disarming him. Bauer floored and badly hurting, it looks like Fayed has the advantage, but he makes the same mistake that all supervillians seem to make in this situation–the overconfident, slow punishing of the victim to really enjoy his victory, meanwhile allowing him to regain his strength/resolve and/or find other weapons. Bauer does his trademark leg sweep and we’re back to even ground.

Then Bauer picks up a chain, Fayed picks up a pipe, and you know it’s fucking on. After some even sparring, both men clearly lose their patience and start with the dirty fighting–Fayed grabs Jack’s wounded shoulder, while Jack starts up again with the biting (those teeth’ll kill ya, mang). Then Jack gets in a prime headbutt, and it’s over–Jack wraps Fayed’s neck in the chain, and prepares for his finishing move, but not before brutally reminding Fayed of how badly he has failed, with what might be his first truly great one-liner in all the show’s six seasons:

Say hello to your brother!

I wish that the internet allowed for double-italics on a quote like that, because just single doesn’t nearly do the quote justice. Jack isn’t just relieved to have defeated his most recent nemesis, he’s practically getting off on it. So much does Bauer relish this opportunity that he risks a last-second escape from Fayed in order to really get the line’s maximum effect, before he raises the chain, hanging Fayed with it. My first instinct at this point was to assume that Fayed had managed to arm the nukes while Bauer was deploying guards #2-5, and now Jack had lost his only chance to get them disarmed (DAMMIT!). But apparently the 24 people were fine with just letting Jack have this one victory untainted, and after a season of losses and compromised wins, that seems only fair.

Of course that’s not to say that Jack’s work is done now–wouldn’t you know it, not two minutes after he’s done saving the West Coast from imminent peril, Jack gets a call from his previously thought to be dead ex-gf Audrey Raines, alive but not-so-well. She’s at the hands of the Chinese–that’s right, the same Chinese that Jack pissed the fuck off at the end of season four, the same Chinese that discreetly abducted him at the end of season five, and the same Chinese that tortured him for the three years leading up to season six–who apparently haven’t finished their business with Bauer just yet. Heeeeere we go again!

Really, though, I think the producers are going to regret wasting this fight in the season’s mere 17th episode. Even if Jack ended up single-handedly taking on the entire population of China in the final episodes–and for all we know, he very well might–it’d still be real fucking hard to top this.

(Amazingly, the scene is up on the internet in all its glory already–what did people do before YouTube, anyway? Even if you’ve never seen a second of the show before, do yourself a favor and watch this)


One Response to “TV O.D. : “Say Hello to Your Brother””

  1. Well, damn.

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