And we’re back.
As 24 tries to persuade everyone it can function without Jack Bauer, this week’s Designated Survivor half-heartedly tries to fool people into thinking it might do the same thing: President Jack Bauer’s been shot, y’all. Let the panic commence.
Well, kind of. The reveal is well done; both PJB and I initially thought it was Alex who’d been shot – my excuse is that PJB said so, although I’m not sure what his is. I’d have expected him to notice the bloody great hole in his chest, but maybe he had other things on his mind. Anyhoo, the leader of the free world is rushed to hospital, and everyone pretends to be worried for a few minutes, except the audience who know how this goes. Sure enough – as if the writers realised there was no point pretending – in no time at all, turns out it was a “through-and-through” and the Commander-in-Chief is going to be fine. Until someone else – the writing team leader? – decides, well, wait a minute, you didn’t even try, and we go through the whole rigmarole again with “bullet fragments in the chest, oh my, will the President survive surgery?” To which the answer is: of course he will, have you never watched tv before?
Of course, although there’s no danger of anyone actually killing off PJB mid-season (or indeed at all), that’s not really the point, is it? He just needs to be out of the game for ten minutes so new VP and comic-book villain (there’s even a scene where he sits alone in his bedroom with yoghurt-pot-shaped hair and his own evil theme music), egged on by Lady Macbeth Macleish, can bring down both Catalan and the global economy – Catalan on a permanent basis, the economy on more of a temporary one. The increasingly decent Kimble and the bewildered, slightly heartbroken (Emily, FFS, he is NOT THE MOLE) but still super-competent Aaron try and stop him, but the 25th Amendment gets in the way, so everybody just has to grit their teeth and wait for PJB to wake back up again so sanity can resume. (If only there were a similar fix available in real life.)
While PJB’s unconscious though, Mike is sort of in loco Presidentis, or more in loco Baueris, I suppose: Agent Q is in federal custody, accused of all sorts of high crimes (although any idiot can see she was shooting at the shooter, rather than the shootee) and refusing to talk to Reed Diamond’s character, because nobody ever wants to talk to Reed Diamond characters on procedural tv. She’ll only talk to the President. But she’ll whisper a bit to Mike; some clever blocking, a nice big showy diversion, and a chat with Chuck, and eventually we get the scene we’ve been waiting for since this show started. Jack Bauer and Nikita are going to TALK. Oh, yes. This show’s not going to win any awards for subtlety, or even for sense, but it’s exciting and fun and I’m glad it’s back. I love it.