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
•  Carlo Rota as Morris O’Brian

The Episode:12:00 AM – 1:00 AM”

When we last left our heroes, Tony, Moss and his strike team were surrounded by Starkwood’s mercenaries, having been betrayed by Seaton, who never really turned against Hodges.  The weapons are still on the compound, just not in the building they searched.  And now they’re facing three platoons of ex-military, armed to the teeth.  Meanwhile, Jack is still on the sidelines back at FBI HQ, having been exposed to the bio-weapon and now starting to show symptoms, with Renee worriedly watching over him.  And at the White House, Olivia Taylor has to deal with a reporter who has gotten wind of the whole affair and is threatening to go public…unless she can convince him otherwise.  And Hodges has some of the weapons ready to deploy, just as the President is calling in an airstrike.

The Lowdown:

Much better and more interesting episode than last week’s.  Tony gets to remind us how much of a badass he really is, Olivia Taylor shows us how far she’s willing to go to get what she wants, Jack is determined to see this through to the end, and Hodges lets us know just how much of a megalomaniac he really is.  Things pick up right from the get go, with Tony, Moss and the SEALs surrounded by the Starkwood mercenaries.  They hide behind legalities, as well as a shload of guns, to thwart the FBI’s raid of their weapons.  Since the President’s authorization to search the one building recovered nothing, they hide behind the constitutionality of the FBI search and threaten armed response if the search goes any further.  Tony and Moss have to quickly find an alternative or risk a bloodbath.

The alternative comes when Jack suggests they contact the Chairman, Douglas Knowles, who had assisted Sen. Mayer with his investigation of Starkwood and is still in the compound.  Tony manages to slip away as the FBI is forced to evacuate and with Knowles’ help, gains entrance to the actual building where the bio-weapon is being kept. although Knowles is captured by security.  Once inside, Tony is guided by Jack and Renee.  He shows us some old commando moves by taking out two guards and  and disguising himself as one.  When he gets visual confirmation of the bio-weapon, he relays this to Jack and the FBI notifies the President, who calls in an airstrike.

As this is going on, Olivia Taylor gets a call from Dellao, the TV reporter to whom she leaked the story earlier that made Ethan Kanin resign.  Dellao gets word on the fracas at the port involving the bio-weapon and threatens to go public unless Olivia meets him.  He blackmails her into bed and then says he’s going public with the story anyway.  But she turns the tables on him, revealing that she videoed their tryst and will expose his role in his planned blackmail, and also reveal it to his wife if he goes public.  She then tells him to clear out of Washington.

At FBI HQ, Jack has a spasm from his exposure to the bio-weapon.  The doctor gives him medication to keep the symptoms in check.  She tells him about an experimental treatment that holds promise.  All that would be required is a stem cell donation from a close blood relative…his daughter perhaps.  But Jack dismisses the possibility and walks away.  Although Renee won’t let the matter drop, Jack tells her that getting Kim to help him isn’t an option.  And at Starkwood, Hodges gives us a big look at just how nuts he is, beating Knowles to death with a bottle and shoving him off a balcony.  He then sets up a phone call with President Taylor, where he shows that he has rockets full of the bio-weapon ready to use if she doesn’t call off the airstrike. 

Some good work all around by the characters here.  Sprague Grayden is gathering my interest in her character of Olivia, a C-story I’d previously written off.  Sutherland and Wersching have good interplay and Bernard is reminding us why we love Tony.  But this is Voight’s episode hands down.  Few actors could portray the sliminess and arrogance that he does with Hodges.  I love the fact that he not only is willing to hold the country hostage, but that he has the balls to demand an Oval Office meeting with the President to discuss terms.  This is the kind of role that Voight sinks his teeth into every time and he’s not disappointing here. The door has also been left open for a surprise appearance by a certain other Bauer down the line, which will either make you happy or send you running. 

In retrospect, I think I’ve been so hung up on what I didn’t like about this season as to miss what is working.  The implications as to what would happen if Starkwood (i.e. Blackwater) decided to stage a major revolt is becoming more and more apparent and that not-so-subtle commentary isn’t lost on us.  The final third of this season could have Jack in a race against time to get a cure and see the bad guys brought to justice.  And I’m now finding myself wondering just how far Olivia Taylor weasels herself into her mother’s administration.  But I’m very interested in how the Starkwood scenario plays out.  It’s too bad that in the midst of all of this, Bill isn’t around to lend his presence, though.  Need more Chloe and Morris as well.  Still, a good episode all around.

 8.3 out of 10