Minor spoilers afoot.

24 Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 8:00 PM, Fox

The Show:

Bauer is a former government agent, most recently assigned to the
now-defunct Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), which was tasked with
investigating and preventing threats to American national
security.  Doing whatever it takes to get the job done, Jack
is a dedicated and deadly instrument of justice who has saved the
country on numerous occasions, though frequently paying a high price
for his service.  Following Jack’s exploits over a full 24
hours of one day in real time, 24 is an award-winning political and action thriller that created a new format – and standard – in TV drama.

The Stars:

•  Kiefer Sutherland – Jack Bauer
•  Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O’Brian
•  Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor
•  James Morrison as Bill Buchanan
•  Annie Wersching as FBI Special Agent Renee Walker
•  Colm Feore as First Gentleman Henry Taylor
•  Bob Gunton as White House Chief of Staff Ethan Kanin
•  Jeffrey Nordling as FBI Special Agent in Charge Larry Moss
•  Rhys Coiro as FBI Special Agent Sean Hillinger
•  Janeane Garofalo as FBI Special Agent Janis Gold
•  Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida
•  Peter Wingfield as Emerson

The Episode:12:00 PM – 1:00 PM”

Jack and Tony are stuck with Emerson outside Mutobo’s panic room, trying to find a way to force him out before the FBI get there.  Walker is on the way to Mutobo’s residence after torturing a suspect in order to get info, and at FBI HQ, Moss has the Attorney General breathing down his and Janis’ necks to bring Walker in for questioning for the torturing.  Meanwhile, Henry Taylor is looking to get the flash drive decrypted that his murdered son’s fiancee gave up to him that will reveal the traitor in President Taylor’s administration and his son’s murderer.

The Lowdown:

This is a fairly transitory episode.  Only a couple of things in the status quo change from the previous episode.  However, Renee finally catches up with Jack and Tony, and is captured along the way, as Emerson and company manage to get Mutobo out of the room, thanks to Jack.  Jack and Tony still have Emerson’s confidence and are using that to get closer to the CIP device.  The other thing that changes is that Henry Taylor discovers who his son’s killer is in a reveal that was telegraphed a couple of episodes ago.  It’s actually such a non-reveal that I thought the producers might have been playing up the obviousness of Taylor’s betrayer to throw off the scent.  Nope.  It’s who you think it is.  I mentioned it before last week, but I sincerely hope that there is a bigger significance to this sub-story than what we’ve been given so far.  Otherwise it’s a colossal waste of time.

Jack doesn’t have to torture or kill anyone this week, which is a downer, but rather has to keep people alive, namely Agent Walker.  The method he gets Mutobo out of the panic room is clever, unless you consider the fact that for a secure panic room, it’s way too simple to compromise it with lethal gas.  A nitpicky point, but a point nevertheless.  There are further side stories in the FBI office, involving minor characters Hillinger and Ever Carradine’s Erica, both of whom are boning.  Of course Hillinger just broke protocol to get his wife’s plane on the ground ahead of other ones in order to take it out of harm’s way.  Still an issue with 24 this “new” season: minor characters in stories I just don’t care about.  I want to know what’s been going on with Chloe and Bill.  I need more face time with Jack and Tony, to catch up on what’s happened in Tony’s life.  I know it’s coming, but in the meantime we’re dealt this office romance bullshit.

At the rate that the story is progressing, it’s almost certain that this CIP device hunt is the tip of the iceberg.  Tony and Jack seem to be making progress toward it a bit too quickly for it to be used as a plot device for the entire season, unless something big happens.  The Attorney General subplot is also misplaced.  Yeah, it’s a commentary on the outgoing Bush policy, but I’m not particularly interested in it.  Another thread I wish could be pulled so we can get to the real fabric.  On the whole, this new season is not impressing very much so far.  Again, only the location and most of the players have changed.  The formula, including some of the old flaws, is still essentially the same. 

 6.1 out of 10

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