Spoilers.



24 Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 8:00 PM, Fox

The Show:

Jack
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
•  Carlo Rota as Morris O’Brian

The Episode:9:00 PM – 10:00 PM”

Jack is still on the run from the FBI after he was framed for killing Ryan Burnett, who was Juma’s main mole in the government cabal.  Jack contacts Renee after identifying Burnett’s assassin, a mercenary named Quinn.  Although Renee is suspended, she directs him to Sen. Mayer’s house for info, before Moss arrests her for helping Jack.  Meanwhile, while Jack is on Quinn’s trail, Quinn is on his, looking to plug him before Jack can uncover the connection between Juma and Starkwood.  As this is going on, Ethan Kanin and Olivia Taylor are butting heads for the President’s attention in the Juma White House attack aftermath.

The Lowdown:

After two or three high-tension, action-filled episodes, this hour slows things down a bit as Jack is starting to piece together the fact that Starkwood is behind the entire government corruption conspiracy.  He identifies Quinn via the hospital security disc and with Renee’s help, is directed to Senator Mayer’s house to try to get answers.  On a side note, he also shows an impressive ability to multi-task by analyzing the security footage and e-mailing Quinn’s picture to Renee while driving.  On another side note, props to Jack for also choosing what I believe was a ’75 Ford Galaxie as his getaway vehicle. 

At the FBI, Chloe’s husband, Morris, has shown up asking about his wife, who is still in a holding cell on obstruction charges by Larry Moss’ order.  When Renee sends Jack the data on Quinn, Moss and Janis need Morris’ help in breaking the encryption she used.  He barters a deal of immunity for Chloe in exchange for helping them.  We now know that Janis is nowhere in Chloe and Morris’ league as a techie because she couldn’t break the code.  Kind of disturbing that she’s the best the Bureau has, or Chloe and Morris are just absolute computer badasses (which we already knew).  I did like that Moss is finally starting to get his head out of his ass and show that he belongs as the head of his division when he realizes that Renee had been in contact with Jack.

Jack and Mayer get some face time when he arrives at Mayer’s house and they talk about Quinn and Starkwood.  Jack learns that Mayer was going to shut down Starkwwod for their various abuses as a government military contractor (the swipe at Blackwater is glaring here…and rightly so).  Together, they discover that Starkwood and Juma were in bed together to develop a bio-weapon, and that’s the shipment coming into the country that Hodges and Juma were discussing, and what Hodges is preparing to use on Americans, because he’s a patriot.  Mayer and Jack, once ideological enemies, are starting to find some common ground, until Mayer is ventilated by Quinn, who shows up at his door and chases Jack out of te house.  Got to say I didn’t see that coming, so that was a nice surprise. 

Now Jack’s not only on the run from the Feds for Burnett’s murder, but Mayer’s as well, and he’s got a trained assassin with a silenced machine gun chasing him.  Quinn chases him to a construction site and Jack drops a trailer on him with some Caterpillar-fu. They fight and Jack gets the upper hand and kills him.  He also finds out that Starkwood’s bio-weapons are already in the country.  One call to Tony and they’re off to save the day, with the Feds oblivious to the whole thing.  On the White House side of things, there’s a power struggle between Ethan and Olivia.

Not a bad episode all things considered.  I liked the stuff between Jack and Mayer, as they started to see a bit more eye to eye and Mayer was coming to realize that Jack isn’t the man he thought he was – at least not completely.  Also dug the fight at the end between Jack and Quinn.  Nice to see Jon Voight in the show as he’s taking more of a center stage in the whole season, but I’m getting the feeling he’s merely channeling Reynolds.  I’ll leave it to you to make the connection there.  As for Olivia and Ethan’s pissing contest, if it weren’t for AICN’s Hercules’ invisotext, I’d be wondering why the producers are even bothering.  So I’ll have to wait on that one. 

I’m now more interested in the season after the last month’s episodes, but I’m still seeing all of the old plays and formulas that I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that I’d hoped that they would have gotten away from.  Stuff like the shadow government conspiracy behind the terrorists for one.  And now we’ve got another large-scale WMD attack in the works.  I thought the season had really turned the corner when the threat became more contained and personal rather than another save the world (or at the U.S.) kind of thing.  I’m really hoping the show doesn’t fall back into all the tired old habits that it had in the early episodes.

 6.9 out of 10