This season was a ludicrously mediocre, with meandering plots (hey, whatever happened to Graham? And Miles Papazian? And what about that whole Chinese... oh, there wo go) and workmanlike dialogue which the last two episodes couldn't overcome even though they were close to being crackerjack fungoodtimes. Usually I shut off my disbelief when I watch 24, but everyone was either so inept -- even new indie-heartthrob nerdette extraordinaire Chloe O'Brian -- or at times so impossibly right -- also known as the Always Bet on Jack rule -- that I was often at my wit's end when watching the show this season.
So when SuperJack got pwned by the Chinese, I actually felt it was just desserts and a great change of pace. I even hoped that they would kill Jack which would give Chloe the chance to become the Numero Uno of the show. But alas, Jack is too "valuable" -- but will that translate to a Most Valuable Player award for him? Read on to see!
YOU HAVE MY WORD! 24 Fantasy League Year-End Analysis
Jack Bauer - Just like Kobe Bryant, no matter how you feel about his roguish vigilante streak, you can't argue with how good Jack can be. 7 kills and 4 people knocked out is good numbers, and when he backs it up with a step-by-step guide of how to kill henchmen from behind, TTOW! And I don't care how often I've seen it, but the good old "Give the untrustworthy person an unloaded gun" trick always gets me cheering. One possible area he could've improved up on -- two, if you count getting abducted by the Chinese -- when Morris O'Brian delivered the suitcase and saw that Logan was all tied up, Jack should've tasered charming old Morris to make sure he wouldn't talk.
Chloe O'Brian - She receded further into the background even while Jack was going through his usual late-season ups-and-downs, but she's too solid not to end up on the HOTT side. After all, she's the best-looking one in CTU. But where she really got back on track was getting back to basics and saying the wrong things at the wrong time: "Jack, not to add any pressure on you, but if you don't get the confession, we'll all be brought up on treason."
Morris O'Brian - You'd think that going from selling women's shoes in Beverly Hills to CTU would be a step up for someone, but of course the job switch was "a terrible waste of my charm."
Chris Henderson - Normally, someone with a heart of a robot cop would fall down to the NOTT side. But when Henderson big-upped Jack for his unloaded gun trick -- "Good for you," he smirked to Jack -- this act of class was just enough to save him from ignominy.
Martha Logan - She's never been more sober... or more sane! She pulled out the good old "Use sex to delay husband from boarding a Navy helicopter" trick, and the vindicated look of triumph when she helped nail her husband (not like that!) with evidence of his complicity was pure gravy.
Vladimir Bierko - He almost made it to the HOTT side based on just his rugged, pseudo-Russian-but-actually-English charisma and his willingness to personally lead the investigation into a mysterious noise on a submarine, but dying from headscissors is a totally lame way to go.
President Logan - First, he's the two- to three-minute man. Second, Logan tried to give Jack his word when everyone knows that only Jack can trade in this currency. Third, Logan used Walt Cummings as a comparison when describing his toughness.
Clearly, the MVP is a race between two people: Chloe and Jack. Jack-backers will point to how much he gets done in just 24 hours, while Chloe Hoes cite the flair she brings to her incomparable technical prowess. So it's subjective, isn't it? In fact, it isn't! If you look at their respective VOHR (value over Homeland replacement), you'll see a huge disparity, and you'd be surprised who comes out on top. While Jack boasts a hefty 240 VOHR thanks mostly to his mad killing skills, Chloe owns with an astounding 329 VOHR. After all, we all saw how irreplaceable she was during the CTU/Homeland transition. Thus, a clear winner:
MVP: CHLOE O'BRIAN
Most Improved Player
Of the returning secondary players who made it through the season -- Curtis, Buchanan, Audrey, Heller -- only one was a useless and uselessly annoying character when 7 a.m. first rolled around this year: the "delightful" Ms. Raines. But where Curtis lost his role as the second offensive option for CTU and Buchanan was too busy jockeying in the managerial bed with Agent Samwise and then Karen Hayes, Audrey actually developed into a selfless 24er that's the bread and butter of the show, which of course means she won't be on the show next year.
MIP: Audrey Raines
Rookie of the Year
The second-toughest call after the MVP. Martha Logan dominated play among all first-year players for nearly all of the season, but then Chloe's ex Morris makes his dashing last-second appearance and threatened to steal what had once been a sure thing. Much like the MVP debate, two vastly different attributes have to be considered: the statheads want to reward Martha's measurables and ignore her reputation as an unstable White House influence, while scouts were blown away by Morris' intangibles and upside and energy. So what does one do? Answer: award them by league!
White House ROY: Martha Logan
CTU ROY: Morris O'Brian
Villain of the Year
Sports analogy alert: season 5's villains are like European basketball players. Although this year offered a proliferation of baddies (a quick look at a ballot reveals no less than 7 names), only two had any considerable impact on the show: Henderson and Bierko. So who was the bigger badass? Robocop? Or the guy from Loss of Sexual Innocence? Put this way, the answer is easy despite how their rankings look in the final episodes.
VOY: Vladimir Bierko
Tool of the Year
Even with so many losers this year, Logan was the runaway, unanimous choice and requires no explanation.
TOY: President Logan
Previous column: 4 a.m.
Indie rating: Solex - "That'll be $22.95"