Some spoilers.

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:4:00 PM – 5:00 PM”

President Taylor’s husband Henry has been rescued by Jack and Renee, although he’s taken a gunshot to the chest and his survival is in doubt.  Meanwhile, Jack and Renee follow a lead that takes them to Marika, Dubaku’s American girlfriend, who is unaware of his true identity.  And Dubaku’s FBI mole is revealed.

The Lowdown:

After Jack’s homage to GTA IV last week, this is a bit more sedate episode, where Jack and Renee continue to track their available leads to Dubaku, this time hitting upon Marika, Dubaku’s shapely American waitress girlfriend…the one with the fat, wheelchair bound, obnoxious bitchy sister.  With all of Dubaku’s options for committing terror now gone thanks to our resident badass, his plan now is to get out of the country.  The thing is, he actually has feelings for Marika and wants her to join him, even though he hasn’t told her who he really is.  Who says cold-blooded terrorists aren’t people too?

Anyway, that’s Jack and Renee’s last chance to get to Dubaku.  When Jack makes with the breaking down her door, the heavy screaming and scaring her half to death, he actually manages to get her to agree to help them by allowing Dubaku’s car to pick her up and take her to him.  Of course fat nosy bitchy Rosa’s making with the cock blocking and worse, the Jack blocking, which we just can’t have.  Still hoped that Dubaku would send an African hit squad to take her out, but oh well. 

One big development that occurs is that the President reinstates Bill Buchanan’s and Chloe’s security status so they can help her track down Dubaku.  There are two big returns from former cast members, if at least on a temporary or cameo basis.  the other development is that the mole is revealed.  I hate myself that I let the show play me into thinking one person while the obvious suspicion was the right one.  Must be getting senile.  But Dubaku is covering his ass with the names of all of his government payroll flunkies, including the mole, which is his safeguard out of the country.

But what this mole reveal reinforces to me is that this season is pedestrian at best and severely disappointing at worst.  If this show is determined to remain cutting edge – which it truly hasn’t been for at least two seasons now – some kind of complete revamp is going to be necessary.  Of course we were promised that this year but didn’t get it.  Trailing suspects, Jack intimidating a source, government corruption, a mole inside an agency, a President dealing with devastating personal matters: it’s all the same old shit. 

For instance, what good is office intrigue when you honestly don’t give a crap about any of the office players?  These are all crutches on which the show has relied on for far too long.  And where is the emotional connection for Jack to this case?  In the past, there was something personal to link Jack to the situation at hand.  This season it was Tony.  Now he’s gone until probably somewhere in the middle of the season.  Without that attachment, Jack is going through the motions and there’s little if any substance or resonance.

I’ve mentioned this before but the rest of the season plays out like this, I say end the show and move on to the big screen.  It’s been seven seasons, a solid run for any show.  And you don’t need the 24-hour theme to do so.  Just make sure we get Naked Mandy.  And sure, keep some kind of clock motif, but all we’d really require is something completely different than the same shit new location tripe we’re getting now. 

 6.1 out of 10