Inching towards mediocrity.


Bauer’s Baddies. (Now with 71% less Dennis Hopper!)

Well.

“24” week continues with a (hopefully) quick look at some of “24’s” Greatest Villains.

Again, spoilers lie ahead…be weary, fair traveller.

Seven: Jonas Hodges, Season 7, Redemption. (Jon Voight.)Jonas Hodges

Angelina Jolie’s biological father was born to be a “24” villain. And the man did not disappoint. Chewing the scenery with gleeful abandon every step of the way, Jon Voight proved to be a formidable opponent for Jack Bauer – and whoever else got in his way along the way. Hodges fast became one of my favorite Big Bads in the entire series, and I had high hopes on his returning in the future to antagonize Jack over and over again. Sadly, it turned out that he actually wasn’t the dude in charge, and was just another pawn in an increasingly ridiculous operation, and he exited the series…well, kind of lamely.

Too bad…he coulda ranked a helluva lot higher! Still a fun ride while it lasted, though.

Six: Habib Marwan, Season Four. (Arnold Vosloo.)

Habib MarwanIn Season Four, Jack Bauer was menaced by the Mummy. That’s right, the Mummy.

I kid you not.

Okay, so it was just the dude who played the mummy in those horrible Brendan Frasor films, but still.

The Mummy.

I have nothing else to add here.

Five: Christopher Henderson, Season Five. (Peter Weller.)Christopher Henderson

So we had the Mummy terrorizing Los Angeles in Season Four – that’s a tough act to follow. But the producers were more than up to the challenge.

They brought in RoboCop.

Christopher Henderson was once Jack’s mentor, and that’s cool – he’s basically an older, grizzleder, meaner Jack Bauer. The perfect nemesis, in other word. Not only can he predict Jack’s methods, but Jack can predict that he can predict his methods, so he realizes that his normal methods are all but useless – forcing him to find new methods, which I guess means Henderson didn’t really predict anything at all.

Still pretty badass, though.

Four: Tony Almeida, Season Seven. (Carlos Bernard.)

Tony AlmeidaIf Christopher Henderson is Jack in twenty years, than Tony Almeida is Jack now – which is far more lethal. Add to that the emotional element of discovering that your best friend, partner, and really the “only man you can trust” is now your adversary, and we have the makings of the ultimate “24” villain. Or so I thought.

The writers didn’t seem to want to commit to Tony one way or the other – they wanted him to be the bad guy but didn’t seem to want him to be, you know, evil. Key element there.

So instead we got a mostly bad Tony, but a Tony who was bad for the right reasons. It turned him into a more tragic figure than an outright villain, and while I enjoyed the more complex journey he ended up taking, part of me still really wanted to see some hardcore Bauer vs. Almeida action.

Oh well…at least they didn’t kill him off this time.

Three: Mandy, Season One, Two and Four. (Mia Kirshner.)Mandy

Here’s a character that needs to return, like yesterday. While appearing in three separate seasons, Mandy has only appeared in seven episodes. Yet she still clocks in at Number Three.

That’s pretty incredible.

Mysterious, deadly, and, let’s face it, hot, Mandy has been a thorn in Jack’s side long before the two even came face-to-face. She always seems to appear at the worst possible moment, shocking the viewer and messing things up for Bauer and Co. even more. Whether she’s leaping out of exploding planes or poisoning presidents with a simple handshake, she’s generally pretty awesome. She’s still alive as well, which is a rarity for “24” characters, let alone villains, and hasn’t shown up since Season Four.

I’d say her unique brand of havoc is long overdue.

Two: Nina Meyers, Season One, Two and Three. (Sarah Clarke.)

Nina MeyersOf all the enemies on this list, I think it’s safe to say that Nina Meyers has had the most impact on Jack. She was kind of his arch-nemesis over the course of the first three seasons, and a seemingly unstoppable one at that. She started off as Jack’s most trusted ally and friend, and ended the day by killing his wife, Teri.

Jack was never a very good judge of character.

Nina would return in Season Two and Season Three to once again tangle with Bauer, and haunt him about his wife’s death. I’ve always said that a really solid, returning antagonist would really up the ante of the shows threat level, and Nina was perfect in the role.

And then, in the third season, Jack shot her like sixty times.

One: President Charles Logan, Season Five. (Gregory Itzin.)President Charles Logan

When it was revealed midway through Season Five that it was the President who had been behind the events of that day, no one even questioned it. It was unexpected, it was terrifying, it…didn’t make a whole lot of sense. But we bought it. Without question. Because the writing was quality, but more importantly: because Greg Itzin, who had played Logan since his introduction in Season One, was just that good.

Logan’s characteristic bumbling and poor decision making skills had been an act – and we believed it because of Itzin’s performance. He (and Jean Smart, who played his wife Martha) were unbelievable that season, treading the fine line between duplicity and outright lying to your audience. They had great chemistry; and they both knew their characters inside and out.

But never mind the acting…the mere thought of the president, the most powerful man in the world being a terrorist was just too delicious for the writers of the show to pass up. Even if Logan’s turn to the dark side hadn’t been telegraphed from the very beginning (they say it was, but I think they’re lying) it was an intriguing premise – one that led to one of the best seasons of the show, and undoubtably, the show’s best villain.

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