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TV Review: April Round-Up – Including 24, Lost, and Heroes

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US TV

24

“Day 6: 9pm-2am”

Jack recovers the suitcase nukes in by far the season's best action sequence as he takes down the terrorist cell single-handed. His brutal hand-to-hand showdown with Fayed reminded me that one of the reasons I watch this show is its ability to deliver some of the best action scenes in a weekly TV show.

Other events, including Audrey’s reappearance and President Palmer’s collapse reminded me of the other thing that keeps me watching – some of the most contrived plot twists ever perpetrated on a TV viewing audience. The screenwriters’ guidelines seem to be to do the unexpected no matter how improbable or implausible it may be.

Frankly I haven’t been able to take the series seriously since Jack’s wife collapsed only to wake up with amnesia in season one and to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to. There are better written, better plotted, and better acted shows on TV but this tops them for sheer self-indulgent fun. I can even see it continuing without Kiefer Sutherland (as others have speculated) with Ricky Schroder’s Mike Doyle sharing many Bauer character traits.

Now if they could just find out that Morris has secretly been working with the terrorists all along and let Jack go to work on him I’d really be happy.

Criminal Minds

“Honor Among Thieves”

This is a pretty average episode with the BAU investigating a kidnapping with Russian Mafia connections at the behest of Agent Prentiss’ mother. Special guest star Kate Jackson plays Ambassador Prentiss who pulls strings to get the team assigned to the case.

The episode was obviously designed to give us an insight into Emily Prentiss' character but she’s still the new kid on the block, having only been introduced part way through this season, not to mention something of a cold fish, so it doesn’t really work. While she’s fine within the confines of the team I just don’t have the same affection for her as I do for Gideon or Reid and consequently her relationship with her mother failed to engage me. Which leaves the kidnapping and, while it’s not the most interesting case we’ve seen, it provided enough entertainment to keep me watching.

The highlight, as so often with this show, is a face-off between Gideon and a suspect, this time Russian mob boss Arseny Lysowsk. Mandy Patinkin shows (again) that he’s one of the best actors currently working in episodic television as he engages in a battle of wits with the hardened criminal. Sadly the conclusion of the episode is a little farfetched but even an average episode of this far from average show is worth a watch.

CSI

“Big Shots”

This episode is most notable for concluding the Greg storyline as the brother of the man he killed in self defence becomes a suspect in a homicide investigation. Eric Szmanda has been given something a little more complex to play thanks to this plot-line, with Greg’s character becoming more than just the comic relief he’s so often used as. Other than that this is business as usual with a plot that fails to overshadow the still unsolved miniature killer case.

“Lab Rats”

It had to happen – a Hodges episode! Shows always used to have cheap episode to compensate for going over budget. These would be either: a) an episode built around flashbacks to previous stories, or b) an episode set exclusively on existing sets i.e. set exclusively on the Enterprise in the case of Star Trek. This is a cross between the two. It’s also extremely entertaining.

David Hodges (Wallace Langham) is the man everyone loves to hate, the smug tech who thinks he’s God’s gift to forensics. Convinced he can help solve the miniature killer case, he gathers some of the other lab workers to go over the evidence in the hope of uncovering an overlooked clue. This is the series' funniest episode ever, with Langham outstanding  as the nerd with delusions of grandeur.

And if that wasn’t enough we have Grissom, Doc Robbins, and a rat in a grossly funny homage to the chestburster scene in Alien.

“Ending Happy”

Another funny episode that features a couple of notable guest stars – Peter Stormare and James Whitmore. The case concerns a murder at a brothel and the multitude of potential suspects, all of whom not only had a reason to kill the victim (an ex-boxer named Happy) but actually attempted to. It’s up to the team to figure out who was ultimately responsible for ending Happy. It’s a cleverly scripted episode that raises many a chuckle with the aging Whitmore stealing the show and getting the biggest laugh, too.

About Ian Woolstencroft