Review: 24 - 4:00PM-5:00PM/5:00PM-6:00PM (season premiere)
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 17th 2010 11:15PM
(S08E01/S08E02) "You don't look like a Grampa..." - Jack's granddaughter, Teri
As if we needed another reminder that, yes, 24 has begun its eighth season and maybe, just maybe, Jack Bauer is getting too old for this crap. Good thing for us, this guy doesn't know how to say no.
Bauer's eighth very bad day kicked off tonight with a bang (literally) and with NYC as the show's newest (gimmicky?) setting, there's hope that season eight can reclaim some of 24's lost glory because, lest we forget, seasons six and seven started off wonderfully, too, only to falter as the clock kept ticking. Can Grampa Jack do the one thing that all old folks yearn to do and turn back time?
As the first hour opened, that possibility seemed very likely if only because Jack, happy as ever with Kim and granddaughter Teri, seemed determined to enjoy his life for once. Any hiccup in that plan would surely push him into a state of no return where he'd do absolutely anything to ensure he gets to accomplish that goal, right? Right.
Unfortunately for Jack, the hiccup came to him (since he's retired) in the form of Victor Aruz (that's David Aceveda to you Shield fans) -- there's a hit planned on the moderate, very well coifed, Middle Eastern prez Omar Hassan (Slumdog Millionaire's Anil Kapoor). Needless to say, the rest played out as you'd expect because, hey, what kind of example would Jack be setting for his young, impressionable granddaughter if he didn't go and kick some ass?
Hassan is at the UN with President Taylor (Cherry Jones) and, despite her preoccupation with her recent divorce from Henry (turns out she did send her daughter Olivia to jail and the First Gentleman had a bit of a problem with that), nuclear disarmament is the hot topic. Hassan, along with his brother and consigliere, Farhad, have already given into many US demands in the name of peace, but the constant requests are beginning to add up.
For the most part, the opening hour served to introduce us to the many new main characters both in the President's cabinet and the newly reopened CTU: NY. On the White House side, Ethan (Bob Gunton) has shifted to Secretary of State (remember, last season Taylor said she had a job for him) and following in Ethan and Olivia's footsteps is Taylor's new outspoken Chief-of-Staff Rob Weiss (Chris Diamantopoulos).
CTU has re-hired Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) because it turns out that Morris got downsized and she needed a job. Also on board are analyst Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) and head of field ops Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.). We learned early on that those two are engaged, so it's safe to assume that'll play a role and create some conflict as the day progresses. New head of CTU is Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson). He's fairly headstrong and doesn't seem very open to taking the advice or suggestions of others. Again, you know this will come up again and bite him in the ass (more on this later). And, speaking of CTU, it bears a striking resemblance to a fancy downtown nightclub and based on some of those aerial shots, it appears to be stationed on Roosevelt Island, just east of Manhattan.
So, with all those people waiting for Jack and Victor at CTU (with Blackberry headsets and not $18 vodka tonics), the plot began to unfold rather quickly as the token revelation that Hassan had a -- wait for it -- mole (gasp!) in his ranks created just enough tension to tide us over until it was revealed that a Russian paramilitary group was behind the hit.
Once hour two started, it became pretty obvious that Jack, while still reeling from the rocket launcher/helicopter explosion, wasn't going to be heading to LA with his family.
The second half of tonight's premiere lagged when compared to the first hour due mainly to the introduction of some terribly annoying aspects that we're going to be forced to deal with as Day 8 continues. The biggest culprits? Hassan's marital issues and Dana's shady past catching up to her are both near the top of the list, but Hastings' blatant display of sheer idiocy and ineptitude takes first place. How exactly did this guy get his job? He bungles Cole's mission to meet with Jack and Victor and then threatens Cole if he doesn't go easy on the debrief. Then he goes about following the obvious fake lead that led to reporter, and Hassan's mistress, Meredith Reed as the mole. Hastings didn't even bother to entertain Chloe's assessment, which turned out to be the only viable lead (even though none of them know it yet).
That lead? The Russian goon in charge, though, right now we know him as good guy NYPD cop Mike Farmer.
A few more season premiere observations:
- Any guesses on what those pills are that Ethan is popping? Heart issues? Anxiety from the new job?
- I was hoping we'd get a bit more about Jack's illness and the stem cell experiment that Kim agreed to. The only mention was Kim saying Jack was done with treatments and that the doctors had cleared him. I guess the procedure worked?
- Jack killing the Russian goon with an axe to the chest -- I vote it best 24 killing ever.
- Jack looking around CTU and mumbling "I hate this place" was priceless. After dealing with Hastings, the place might look fancier, but it's still the same old bureaucratic BS.
- Is it just me, or was Jack "deputized" by Hastings just a bit too easily?
So, with Mike (or whatever his real name is... I've got $5 on Boris) now assigned to the NYPD's UN security detail one day earlier than planned, it looks like his attempt on Hassan's life will be bumped up like Mike wanted. Check back here tomorrow night for our review of hours three and four -- Renee is back to help and Jack gets himself into quite the predicament with some NYPD cops in a basement. Tick tock.
[Watch full episodes and clips of 24 over at SlashControl.]