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
•  Ever Carradine as Erika
•  Tony Todd as General Juma
•  Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Colonel Ike Dubaku
•  Kurtwood Smith as Senator Blaine Mayer
•  Glenn Morshower as Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce
•  Sprague Grayden as Olivia Taylor
•  Cameron Daddo as Vice President Mitchell Hayworth

The Episode:6:00 PM – 8:00 PM”

This is a special two-hour event.  Now that Jack has gotten word from Tony that there’s another terrorist attack imminent from General Juma, he has to get into the White house to extract information from Ryan Burnett (Eyal Podell), Senator Blaine Mayer’s chief of staff.  Burnett is Juma’s point man in the government corruption and his name was on Dubaku’s list implicating him and all of the others.  What this means is that Jack is going to have to torture Burnett for details of the next attack.  Meanwhile, Renee is with Dubaku at the hospital when one of Juma’s men kills him with a syringe inducing a heart attack.  She tracks the man down and gets intel on where the attack will be: the White House. Dubaku’s son chases Renee off the boat before she can get word to Moss or anyone else.  By the time the good guys learn of the target, it’s too late and Juma and his strike team have infiltrated the president’s crib, with Jack caught in the middle as usual.

The Lowdown:

These two episodes are a marked improvement over recent ones and get back to some of the better elements of the show: intrigue, action and Jack at his most determined.  the first hour dealt with Jack getting into the White House to run down the Burnett lead as to the next terrorist attack and Renee working the same goal by pursuing the Dubaku assassin angle.  Dubaku is dispatched old school Cold War spy-style and his killer just calmly walks in and out of the hospital.  Renee doesn’t buy the heart attack line and succeeds in tracking Dubaku’s killer, who is one of Juma’s men named Udo (Lovensky Jean-Baptiste).  She trails him to the staging area somewhere in D.C. and even to their boat which leaves shore to their destination.  Of course she loses her gun and phone along the way. 

Back at the FBI, there was more Janis / Chloe passive aggressive head-butting, and Janis got some payback on Chloe for earlier hacking the FBI computers to help Jack and Tony escape.  This time Janis hacked Chloe’s stuff and got word on what Jack was planning.  Moss detained her as a result.  Hopefully that won’t be the end for her for the season.  What we really need is some Chloe / Janis dual hack action to stop the bad guys. 

Anyway, Jack gets to the White House with Tony and tells him that what he has to do, he has to do alone, even without Bill: “I’m driving off a cliff here.  I don’t need to put him in the pasenger seat.”  He gets in and subdues Bill, telling him about Burnett and his plan to get the info by whatever means necessary.  With Bill out of the way, Jack gets to Burnett and gives him the electric chair treatment.  Burnett is about ready to fold until the President, who was meeting with Mayer about pardoning Jack, gets wind of Jack’s actions and her people blow the door in, stop him and arrest him.  Jack was determined to get the info, even ignoring Taylor’s order to stop.  This of course solidifies Mayer’s position that Bauer is a renegade and a dangerous loose cannon.  Jack never ceases to amaze me with how many different ways he knows how to get info out of someone and how good he is at it.

Burnett turns out to be a shifty but determined little bastard and doesn’t give up anything on Juma, even when the President offers him a full pardon.  There’s some good stuff between Jack and Mayer about how determined Jack is to protect the country no matter the cost and how the weak-willed Senator isn’t.  Also some good stuff later on between Jack and Bill when Jack implores Bill to finish what Jack started on Burnett, but Bill tells him he can’t, he just can’t.  By the time Juma and his men gain access to the White House, it’s a moot point and all hell quietly breaks loose.  Turns out Juma’s also got a man on the inside, who cuts off the alarm sensors allowing Juma and his men to gain access from the sewers below.  As this is going on, Renee is running for her life from Dubaku’s son, who was left behind and discovered her as she discovered the target of the attack.  She’s eventually saved by Moss.

The second episode is about the struggle inside the White House between Jack, Bill and the Secret Service and Juma’s men.  Jack is released by Bill in order to help and manages to get the President to a safe room before Juma can get to her.  But Juma and his men have control of the building and take hostages.  We get some good Agent Aaron Pierce action as he safeguards the President’s daughter, Olivia in the locked down White House.  A funny comment that he makes to her is that he’s served through five administrations.  But at the rate that 24 goes through presidents, that’s like a couple of seasons max.  There’s also some decent close-quarter firefighting action and the inevitable standoff when Juma wants the President and threatens to kill her daughter.

Meanwhile, outside the White House, Moss and Renee are stymied by Vice President Mitchell Hayworth (Cameron Daddo, looking way different and sporting an American accent), who’s more interested in not making a costly political decision than saving the President, whom they don’t know is even safe or not.  During Juma’s siege of the White house, he has a techie who seems to know all of the Secret Service procedures, including the President’s tracking device, and how to hack the keycard for the safe room door.  We learn that Juma was given inside help by someone named Jonas Hodges (Jon Voight).  The hour ends with Juma getting his hands on (literally, he bitch slaps her) the President and planning to have her make “the last statement she will ever make.”

The first hour was good for showing the lengths to which Jack will go to safeguard the nation and protect innocent lives, as well as Mayer’s witch hunt for Jack and Bill’s limits to what he will do.  Quite simply, he’s a good man, but he’s not Jack.  Renee’s B-story also was good, and she’s showing that more than a little of Jack has rubbed off on her as she gets the intel into the attack.  It was no big surprise that Dubaku got “heart attacked” and that Juma has now taken over things.  That’s fairly consistent with standard 24 policy when the season turns the corner into the second half as it always does.  It was also kind of humorous that if there was a brother on screen he was working for Juma.  It’s also nothing new that the terrorists have big shadow government help on the inside help beyond their payroll flunkies.  Jon Voight fills this role and it remains to be seen who and what his role is in the whole thing.

The second hour was quite good as the scale got smaller but the intrigue was amped up.  This is a little more of what I was hoping the show would get back to: more intimate action.  As always it’s a pleasure to see Tony Todd, and Sutherland was really on his A-game these episodes.  They gave me hope that the season isn’t a lost cause.

 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: 7.5 out of 10
 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: 8.1 out of 10