24 Review

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Fox's "24" is having a strong season, but last night's shocking fade-out certainly left me wondering: What have I been watching?

I look forward to the writers' explanation about the latest twist.

The Jack Bauer drama remains one of TV's greatest high-wire acts. The producers certainly have fallen off, even this season.

I found the early episodes hard to buy. How could Bill Buchanan (James Morrison), Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and back-from-the-dead Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) be operating outside the government after CTU had been disbanded?

A terrorists' assault on the White House -- although exciting -- was far-fetched.

Still, the good stuff lately has been top-drawer. Jon Voight has excelled as a maniacal corporate boss determined to have a role in the U.S. government. Voight and Cherry Jones, as the thoughtful U.S. president, had a stellar acting showdown last night. Jones acts with a powerful mix of humanity and determination.

Then there's Kiefer Sutherland, who has seized his harrowing scenes as the supposedly dying Bauer. Did Garbo suffer as extravagantly in her waning moments in "Camille"? She, of course, didn't have the chance of a last-minute reprieve.

Voight, Jones and Sutherland deserve Emmy recognition this season for keeping "24" ticking in such scintillating fashion.

The show even delivered its best scene ever for Jack's daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), last night. Fans know that's quite an achievement. Kim returned last night to say goodbye to papa.

Yeah, right, that's going to happen.

Jack is needed now more than ever to fight a newly revealed hero. The dramatic fireworks should be something to see.

How good a season has it been?

Good? Yes.

Great? Well, let's reserve that judgment until it's all over May 18.

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