Alright, gang this is the end of Season 7. What have we learned?
1) Tony is not "evil." He intended to take down Alan Wilson, the man responsible for the deaths of his wife, Michelle, and his unborn son (and David Palmer). This is the same man who helped orchestrate the Bluetooth group, Philip and Graem Bauer and Commander-in-Thief Charles Logan. This is a lot to learn in one episode. Something tells me we'll be chewing on the remainders of this revelation next season too. But back to Tony- he plotted to take down Wilson but apparently Jack Bauer made things complicated.
If we're to take Tony's plan seriously, we have to look back at how this would have played out had Bauer never intervened. Jonas Hodges was acquiring the bioweapon on behalf of Alan Wilson. Wilson and the group intended on deploying the weapon in several months. To that end, I think Tony's actions to infiltrate the group make some degree of sense. But Tony had to prove his worth to Wilson before he could get close to him, and that required that he steal the CIP device, wreak havoc around the country and personally kill several FBI agents along the way. Whatever the justification, Tony has truly fallen. His primary goal wasn't to prevent further deaths by Wilson, but to get right in the man's face and have his revenge. Tony will likely get the death penalty for his crimes. In the real world, he would never see freedom again.
But thankfully his motives make perfect sense given the losses he's suffered. His actions are that of a man who is numb to the world and those people who were once close to him. When you have nothing to lose, as Tony said last week, what is there to hold you back from doing whatever is necessary to see out your own goals? So, no- they didn't ruin Almeida's character at all. They developed him from a once-heroic figure into a very human and suffering man. They developed him from a once-heroic figure into a very human and suffering man. And the Imam's words with Jack Bauer could have just as easily been spoken to Tony:
"We live in complex times... nothing is black and white. But I do know this- I see before me a man, with all his flaws and all his goodness... simply a man. Let us both forgive ourselves for all of the wrongs we have done."Redemption comes from within, that's a major theme of this season.
2) Kim Bauer saved Jack Bauer. Kim, under attack at the airport, personally managed to save herself and track down the laptop one of the hitmen was carrying which led the FBI to Tony's secret hiding spot. Because Kim acted so courageously, she helped prevent Jack being used as a human hand grenade on Wilson. And at the end, she was able to give her stem cells to Dr. Macer for the experimental treatment that we all know will succeed for next season. Kim, you're a Bauer all the way.
3) Renee Walker is cut from the same kevlar as Jack. Renee and Jack had an interesting scene before Bauer is wheeled away to the hospital. She seeks advice from Jack on how to handle things moving forward. All season long, we've seen that Walker is an impulsive person, taking risks that she rationally knows are wrong. But she's also smart, capable and fearless (that "tuck 'n roll" during the shootout is a classic moment!). She's proven to be one of the best characters the writers have conjured in years. This season wins for Walker alone- and I look forward to her next character arc next season (and to learn what eventually happened in the interrogation room with Wilson).
4) Tim Woods hides under coffee tables. I'm sorry, but Secretary of Ubiquitousness
Tim Woods was in 80% of this season. Timmy was in Season 7 more than Chloe O'Brian! I hope that Tim Woods finds a private sector job as Ryan Seacrest's shadow for next season.
5) Agent Aaron Pierce is Deep Throat. The legendary Secret Service Agent put on his Nancy Drew slacks this season and helped to uncover the plot by Olivia Taylor to kill Jonas Hodges. I'm not sure how that will play out- I imagine politics may allow President Taylor to make a public case that Hodges was a scumbag of the highest order, creating some public sympathy for Olivia. But the catalyst, the key player in it all was Pierce. Had he not intervened, Olivia would have walked. I was pleased by Pierce's pivotal role.
6) Jack is in a better place now. No, Jack didn't die! Watching tonight's finale, I was thinking of the scene Jack had with Secretary Heller at the end of Season 6, where Heller tells Jack he's poisonous. I don't think that version of Jack exists anymore. Now, Jack has arrived at a place that only imminent death could have provided. I rolled my eyes at the "Jack is going to die" plot for a few weeks because we all know Jack is back next season. But what the writers did was use this plot to help Jack resolve some of those issues he was left with at the end of Season 6. This is great character work by the showrunners. I look forward to this new, reborn Jack next season. We've had the human weapon to entertain us for years. But let's see some growth here, please? This season has provided the perfect platform for that to happen.
I enjoyed the finale- I found it interesting, less action-packed than I expected, but the acting was very impressive. I like these characters a lot (except for Woods, but you know what I mean). I think the new "family" that Season 7 built is interesting and breathes new life into the show. Overall, this season was the show's redemption, in addition to Bauer's rebirth. Let's hope they don't regress next season. I highly doubt they will.
PS Stay tuned, I'm putting together another video that will be ready in a few hours (hopefully). I give you my word, it's going to make you giggle like the Pillsbury Doughboy on crack.