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
•  Jon Voight as Jonas Hodges

The Episode:8:00 PM – 9:00 PM”

General Juma has assumed control of the White House and taken prisoners, not the least of whom is President Taylor.  He’s demanding that she make a statement to the world admitting that she attacked Sangala without provocation.  Jack and Bill realize that this was certainly a one way trip for Juma and he’s going to kill the President after she completes the statement.  Luckily Jack has already put a plan into motion.  But it’s not going to come without sacrifice.

The Lowdown:

This was another good episode.  Quite a good one actually, especially the first ten minutes.  That’s where the bulk of the action was and Jack nicely set up that plan to retake the White House last episode.  As soon as Bill mentioned that Jack’s plan was a suicide mission, I unfortunately knew how it was going to go down.  Sorry to lose Bill, because I liked James Morrison’s work.  But it’s getting to be that there usually has to be at least one hugely personal sacrifice or loss for Jack during the season and this was it.  I’m thinking takes a bullet to the head somewhere in Season 9.  Anyway, another loss is Juma, and we barely got to know him.  Dubaku got essentially five times the exposure and he was the #2 guy.  Two episodes for my man, Tony Todd?  That’s just criminal. 

The whole “Jack’s under arrest, Jacks not under arrest” thing is way old by now.  Eventually they had to go one way or the other and glad that by the end of the episode the bad guys have set Jack up as a murderer.  It’s a bit cliched but some hook is needed to carry us into the majority of the rest of the season now that Dubaku and Juma are gone.  So it looks like Jon Voight as Jonas Hodges is taking over the reins of evildom for the foreseeable future, unless he answers to someone higher up in Starkwood. 

Of course they’re planning some strikes from the weaponry they got from Juma.  What that is is anyone’s guess, but that eventually means that the season is going to devolve back into some national terror threat involving thousands of people, which is the same tired shtick.  I think the season has shown marked improvement since they got away from that and went more intimate, more localized settings making for more tension.  The stuff in the White House was very good and sorry to see it go so fast.  Was hoping Jack could play lone wolf and take out some Africans before he got caught or had to surrender himself.

I liked the Moss and Renee action, first with Moss disobeying the chickenhearted Vice President and going into the White House against orders.  Also liked their interaction afterwards where Moss suspended her.  I’m thinking this is going to put a crimp in the ole sex life when this day is over.  But Moss’ by-the-book rigamarole is also becoming tiresome.  You’d think by now he’d have seen enough to at least acknowledge that Jack’s methods work.  Perhaps his stalwartness is his defining characteristic, but when he’s actually on the phone saying that “Bauer’s a wildcard” (my money was on loose cannon personally), it’s boilerplate and it’s trite.  Renee seems to be getting better-looking with each passing hour though. 

Much as I thought I would despise Jack getting set up as a murderer by Hodges, it actually makes a lot of sense and is a good way for them to cover their tracks.  I believe I’ve mentioned before that if the show followed its standard playbook, there would be some new and bigger baddies revealed halfway through and Hodges and Starkwood are them.  Now Jack’s a fugitive, which is nothing new by a long shot, but he is at his best when he has to go renegade (which is every other episode, but hey, that’s the show).  Not too particularly interested in the Olivia Taylor / Ethan Kanin C-story.  She’s going to hunt down the people who failed her mother.  Oooh, I’ll be glued to that story.  Just God please don’t let Kanin be some sort of mole.  If that happens, I won’t even finish the season.

So far I’ve called the season disappointing.  I’m not backing off of that claim, but I do see the improvement in the last three to four episodes.  Jack on the run and after Hodges has potential.  We’ll have to see how it goes.

 8.3 out of 10