I have to admit, when Bill Buchanan showed up at CTU all those years ago (season four, anyone?) as a division stooge, I wasn’t a fan. But over these years, Bill has grown on me. And now, he’s gone.
Usually, when 24 introduces a character, I know right away whether I like them or whether I want Jack to put us out of our misery by crushing their windpipe with his legs. I have to admit, I was wrong about Bill. Maybe it’s because even though he was a division guy, he didn’t get in the way. Maybe it was because even though he was “seeing” Michelle, that was all water under the bridge between him and Tony. Or maybe it was because he was one of the few authority figures who saw the benefits in letting Jack be Jack.
Well, after five seasons, Bill is gone, having gone out in a selfless (typical Bill) blaze of glory in a successful attempt to liberate the White House and it’s hostages.
At least he got a silent clock. And in an effort to memorialize Bill, I’d like to quote something that I wrote in an episode recap from February of aught-six:
I read James Morrison, the guy who plays Buchanan, is a yoga instructor and poet. Because of this, I imagine Buchanan lives in a sparsely-decorated home, and sleeps on a stone tablet. Bill Buchanan is the man.
Yes Bill, in a television world where 95 percent of government authority figures are portrayed as idiots, you were the man.
I don’t know if it was me, but other than the first 15 and last five minutes of tonight’s episode, I was kinda bored.
Sure, Jack and Bill saved the President and the hostages at the White House. All the while, Senator That 70’s Show whined about being included in the big kids club, while Jack took out Juma. The president dealt with some family drama while taking charge again, Special Agent Larry Fine was once again shown to be a wuss and the one lead to tracking down [My Name Is] Jonas Hodges died while under interrogation from Jack (and sadly, Jack didn’t have anything with that death).
The story moved along tonight, but that doesn’t mean that it was action packed. If anything, tonight was a night for character development, highlighting two characters, one of whom took a turn for the better, the other, well…
First up we have [My Name Is] Jonas Hodges, played masterfully by Jon Voight. Hodges is something 24 has never really had before (unless you count Peter Kingsley from Season 2, and even then, not really): a Bond Villain-type as the 24 bad guy. Most of the past terrorists have been men of action, always part of the plans and not afraid to get their hands dirty.
But Hodges is different. He has a locked-down office, with real-time map of potential targets. He eats Chinese food and plays darts. And he tells his underlings to relax when things are going against them.
As a character, this is interesting. His end game hasn’t been defined. And we don’t know what his motivations are. But it’s looking like he’s going to be fun to watch.
Another reason for the Ernst Stavro Blofeld comparison- in that scene where he told the henchman to relax and have a drink, I could have sworn that the henchman would not have left that room alive. I thought either the drink would have been spiked or the henchman would have fallen into a shark tank. But either way, I was convinced he was going to end up dead. I’m allowed to be wrong sometimes.
Now let’s talk about the other character I don’t like. I mentioned a few weeks ago that it’s a bad sign when they introduce a relative of someone in CTU or the White House. And as far as the first daughter is concerned, it’s just gone downhill from there. She must have been reading the Secret Diary of Laura Sherry Palmer, because she has that manipulative princess role down pat. I’m sure she’ll cause no further tension in the White House.
A few other things happened tonight–we saw the bad guy from General Hospital take about 15 minutes to go through the hospital before framing Jack. We saw the vice president gain and lose a Southern accent multiple times in the same conversation. We didn’t see Tony, Chlöe or Special Agent The Bowler (although the lack of Jeneane Garafolo is never a problem in my world). And we saw Special Agent Larry Fine descend deeper down the spiral path of idiocy. Here’s hoping he soon learns what we all know:
What did you think?