catch22girl: (awkward reunion by kools_pad)
[personal profile] catch22girl
Hm. So, I haven't said anything on ep 7 and I rewatched it last night. This...isn't about the entire episode.

Who will you lie for?

Who will you steal for?

Who will you cause pain for?

Who will you die for?

Who will you kill for?

24 has always been about how far are you willing to go and what are you willing to do to protect what you love/value. This season isn't about terrorism or saving the day - it's about family and the different permutations of family and how that impacts the character's lives. Especially important this season is the sibling dynamic. In the Bauer family they eat their young and the company is more important than any one person. It kind of reminds me of Enron and the cable company in New York and other companies where CEO's have embezzled millions of dollars and destroyed lives. There are also obvious mafia and organized crime references, only in the family people do what must be done without hesitation.

Since season one, the audience has been introduced to mirrors of Jack, people who share traits but have somehow gone over to the other side. We had Nina, Syed Ali, Saunders, Henderson, and now his actual family. If anything the writers could be accused of bringing subtext into text. Instead of a twisted father figure, we have Jack's actual dad as an evil father and Graem as evidence of the danger of loyalty. Now, when looking back, Jack isn't only afraid of becoming like Nina and Saunders: he fears becoming like his family. By making the patriarch the root of the threat, 24 has moved from action-thriller to tragedy; it also bears the question of how could someone as good hearted and self-sacrificing come from a family so evil?

Now, I could understand the complaints about how making Graem Jack's brother is over the top and ridiculous, but one thing I like about this season is that I don't feel beaten over the head with "Jack is a hero who knows all". Instead, he's human and breaking apart - for the first time the audience questions if he should even be out there or if he's too irrational to do his job. Years of torture have changed him, and when at his most vulnerable, his own father keeps guilt tripping him and telling him that "everything was for him". Jack, for all his suspicion and harshness, is unable to stop believing in people, even when faced with mountains of evidence to the contrary. I thought that it was a sexual thing, but as I mentioned in a review of last season, he always tries to appeal to people's better angels, he has a belief in innate goodness. But while Graem was willing to sacrifice, Philip acted only out of self-preservation. By killing his son, he became the most heartless character in 24 history. And his motive for killing, not because the son disappointed him (unlike Navi who is the other villain that violates this code and there's a mention of how Ramon doesn't care about his children) In almost every other instance, fathers and mothers would do anything to protect their children. Wives, husbands, siblings, those have been betrayed by numerous characters, but destroying your child is rare and goes against one of the themes of the show. In season one, Drazen was motivated by the deaths of his wife and daughter (beyond his own insanity), in season two we had Syed Ali and how he broke when faced with the death of another of his sons, season three brought Saunders and his weakness was Jane, season four, Dina and Behrooz, season five, Ivan's son was in an orphanage and his wife in jail. Now, in season six, we have a villain that is willing to sacrifice his own children to the "greater good"- it's a line few have crossed and by making this person Jack's father, the show edges into some interesting territory.

From Wikipedia's article on filicide - one can see that the 24 writers are reaching into Russian history a bit with the killing of heirs (and hey, I wonder if that's intentional). In light of revelations, Philip's cold behavior and lack of concern for Jack's well being make sense, although one does wonder if he still wants Jack to take over the company or if he's just trying to clean up this mess. But more of interest is how making Jack a product of this man affects our understanding of the character and his history. It also makes his relationship with Kim and the outcome even more tragic because he tried to be everything his own father wasn't and still failed because of things beyond his control.

Now this quote from Gordon makes more sense: "Once Jack's family comes into it, you'll get a sense of the context. And to the extent that character is destiny and family is destiny, you'll see why Jack is kind of cursed.". It's less soap opera and more myth -- it's not too hard to imagine the Erinyes as punishing Jack for his father's mistakes (interesting stuff here: Erinyes). And it's tragic because it means that the character is cursed for reasons both in his control and the sins of his father and this kind of plot twist would have much less meaning on a show that hasn't been on the air so long and that the audience hasn't seen all the evidence of how the character's life goes from bad to worse. By making the family the root of the problem, Jack doesn't suffer for *our* sins, he suffers for his own (and inherited ones), which thankfully undercuts the Jesus metaphor.

The question remains, how did Jack come out of this family and will the writers ever explore it?

The other conclusion? The 24 universe God is a wrathful God.

Date: 2007-02-08 04:26 pm (UTC)
withherhands: (604 - Things Fall Apart)
From: [personal profile] withherhands
Wow. I really like the thoughts you've put down here, and it does sort of put the show and the character in an interesting light. It really does sharpen Jack's struggle to do the right thing and to be "good" (in the overall, relative sense of saving lives, etc.), and yeah, I was thinking about how it does make the estrangement with Kim all the more woeful.

Obviously he likely didn't--and doesn't--know his father is a baddie, but then he does likely have some sense of his father's faults, (if not their scope) and that's what he was trying not to be.

And wah, this is the second father that's kind of disappointed him in that way, as I could see a bit of a father figure thing going on last season with Henderson. :( When Jack finds out how much his father knows and was involved... Oh, boy.

Date: 2007-02-08 04:28 pm (UTC)
withherhands: (24_604_alone)
From: [personal profile] withherhands
And speaking of family, 2.0's tag I think. ;)

Thinking about how horribly isolated Jack is this season just makes me cling to Milliways all the more. I mean there are people he trusts, but there's no one he's really close to, not like he was to Kim, Audrey, Tochelle...

Date: 2007-02-08 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But more of interest is how making Jack a product of this man affects our understanding of the character and his history. It also makes his relationship with Kim and the outcome even more tragic because he tried to be everything his own father wasn't and still failed because of things beyond his control.

Fabulous analysis. Jack might have failed with Kim, simply because he tried too hard to prove he wasn't the same as his father. Yet, in just the two episodes that we've seen Philip Bauer, it's clear that Jack comes from the same mold. Both are ruthless when they need to be, to further their goals.

That could also explain his almost reckless need to self-sacrifice, to show the world that he is not his father's son. Yet his survival instinct appears to be far stronger.

Date: 2007-02-08 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Very interesting insights! I do hope Jack isn't "cursed". I mean, I don't believe in curses in real life, so I wouldn't want someone I care so much about suffering from something that I think isn't real. Especially because it's something that's beyond his control. :(

Basically, i've got a big I DON'T KNOW sign on my head. I just want to wait to see what happens next. Seriously though, I don't think Jack can take much more of this. They have to give him some kind of hope to carry him through the day.

I was thinking it would be awesome if Chloe had kept tabs on Kim for Jack. Like she did while he was in hiding. There Jack is in a Chinese prison and she isn't able to do anything about it. It would make sense for her to want to do that, in honor of him.

Date: 2007-02-08 10:12 pm (UTC)
aberration: Pabu from LoK taking a nap next to an old-fashioned radio. (together we must stand strong)
From: [personal profile] aberration
First off, I have to say - while it's certainly arguable and probably true that it may take a greater tolerance of cruelty to kill one's (adult) offspring for simple self-preservation, I would argue that the effects of actions are as important as what it takes from a person to commit the actions themselves. We often consider a crime of passion as less heinous than a pre-meditated murder, but the produced outcomes aren't really that different - and often are really that much of a factor when it comes to sentencing. So while murdering one's son out of pure self-interest likely requires greater cruelty on the part of the perpetrator, actions like hinted at prolonged abuse and certainly prolonged childhood indoctrination have substantially severe effects. I could see a comparison if, say, Philip doted on Jack while abusing Graem in the other room - and actually, that wouldn't be very difficult for me to see at all after the last episode, and would make me more sympathetic toward Graem, who would have essentially had his life stolen from him. And understandably, would have never liked Jack that much.

In fact... I guess that would make more sense to me, really. While you're right about Philip's murder of Graem, his attack on Jack do still seem to be motivated and rooted in a sense of disappointment of how very different Jack's turned out. We don't know that much, which is part of the problem I have with the storyline (as in, I don't care about Marylin, can we please stop referring to her now?). Obviously I'm extrapolating somewhat (as are we all), but if his views are like the ones Graem espoused than there certainly is disappointment when it comes to Jack and that's a motivating factor in Philip's actions. If I were going to be basing this off my impressions of what's happened, I'd say Philip's been far more cruel to Graem (in a tolerance-for-cruelty way, not the effects of such cruelty way, as explained above blah blah blah) than he has been to Jack.

Date: 2007-02-09 04:27 am (UTC)
aberration: Pabu from LoK taking a nap next to an old-fashioned radio. (jack)
From: [personal profile] aberration
While Philip's now apparent lies and manipulations toward Jack are cruel, the motivations behind them when directed toward Jack are not necessarily unique among 24's villains or... quasi-villains, so to speak, which is kind of the point. If Philip is the "most heartless villain in 24 history" I don't think it's necessarily because of the way he's treated Jack.

I brought up Marylin because I find her unnecessary, really. If there's a female character in this part of the plot, why does she have to be defined by her sexual relationship with Jack? And also? I don't care.

Date: 2007-02-09 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love your analysis and don't have really anything to add. I'm so glad you wrote your thoughts down. As usual, it's so well researched and it opens up a lot of new perspectives for me. Like the fact that Kim and Jack are estranged as he is with his father. I hadn't had thought about this so far, but you're absolutely right. :) :(

Date: 2007-02-11 07:43 pm (UTC)
silveraspen: silver trees against a blue sky background (silveraspen - the path before you)
From: [personal profile] silveraspen
Intriguing analysis! And very thought-provoking, as well.

Now granted, I am still operating from a lack of depth in my knowledge of overall canon background, but extrapolating from what I've seen so far...

Is it too early to say that I suspect the theme for this season may be one of good people doing the wrong things for the right reasons? AKA, the old "good intentions" pathway to hell. If so, then it's no wonder that I've been absorbed into this show instantly, as that sort of moral complexity and exploration of situational ethics is something that I tend to ponder.

We see it in part with Tom L.'s work in the Palmer administration-- there are few, if any holds barred in what he seems willing to do in order to accomplish his goal, and at present seems to still be presenting himself as someone who is certain of his own moral conviction. (Whether this turns into a naked power grab, pure and simple, we'll find out.) We see it -- unless Graem was utterly lying -- in his impassioned declaration under stress that he did what he did because he "loves his country," which had such a chilling effect on Jack.

The next questions of course, are this: what is Phillip's motivation? What drives him? What happened between him and Jack that drove his eldest son away nine years ago, and possibly into CTU besides? What could be so important that he'd sacrifice his own (younger) son, with his own hand?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, or so the saying goes. Is that what's happening here? (In the same context, I find Karen H.'s speech to Wayne Palmer about him knowing the right thing to do really interesting, and I bet it's a signal of what's to come.)

Add to that the human fallibility in the person of Jack Bauer, who is a man pushed utterly to the limit, and, well. How much more can one man take? What happens when he passes the breaking point? It looks to me as though we're seeing someone being pressed beyond reason in a variety of ways -- he came straight out of 18 months of torture and back into hell where those he trusts and loves are the ones to betray and sell him. Where does he turn, in the end? What's the "right thing," and how does anyone know it?

I am betting that's the question we're going to explore, here, and Jack Bauer's the vehicle to seek the answer. What it is is anyone's guess.

(Or is this the normal way of things on 24 and I just don't know it yet?)

Date: 2007-04-18 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi :D

I'm new to Live Journal... so no clue what to do.

But Bill and Karen rock <33333



Date: 2007-06-04 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dear [ profile] catch22girl

We are both friends of [ profile] queen_kiwi and I am not certain that you know this but on Friday June 7, 2007, she will be marrying her Doctor Paul.

Starting on June 5, 2007 (US CST), I will be putting an entry on my journal ([ profile] queenof1000days) where you can put your messages and wishes for the couple.

If you so desire, I can leave you a link to the journal entry in another comment or I can send you an e-mail message with the link. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact me at or leave a comment at my journal.

Thank you!

[ profile] queenof1000days

Date: 2008-05-15 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you really need it

Date: 2008-05-22 02:07 pm (UTC)
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