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Review: 24 - 4:00PM-5:00PM/5:00PM-6:00PM (season premiere)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 17th 2010 11:15PM
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland, L) is briefed by CTU field agent Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr., R) about the escalating threat.
(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?

President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones, C) introduces visiting President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor, R) to her Chief of Staff Rob Weiss (Chris Diamantopoulos, L).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?

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland, R) returns to an upgraded CTU to meet with new CTU Commander Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson, L).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.]

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I think the tall Russian guy who got the ax to the chest was Marshall from "How I Met Your Mother". Anyone else think that?

January 19 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why does Hastings lurch around like a angry monkey. just thought that was weird.

January 18 2010 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why does hastings lurch around like an angry monkey. thought that was kinda weird.

January 18 2010 at 9:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pretty awesome season so far.

But you should see agent Jack Bowser take down the Underwear Bomber (hilarious!):


January 18 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bauer´s back. 8 season starts with a high tense and emotional episodes. I think that Bauer wants a retirement but olds gunners always return...

January 18 2010 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

2 hour premiere was for the most part, action packed with the usual loose count of the number of bullets fired in first 10 second, and start to count dead bodies but gave up after 5 minutes oodles oodles after 24 hours. CTU boss I hated him. In seven years has no one learned anything? Bill Buchanan was the best head of CTU at least he listened to Jack and Chloe. Fire this guy ASAP (yesterday would be too late!)

January 18 2010 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The best part by far was when Arlo asked, "Who's Jack Bauer?" The others at CTU looked at Arlo like he had just farted in church.

January 18 2010 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The season started off kind of slow, and I'm still waiting for the action to pick up. None of the stories particularly interest me right now, so I'm waiting to see how all the different stories develop. I'm just happy 24 is back, and we'll see if the season is any good.

Review of the episode on my blog:

January 18 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite part of last night was Jack's "granddaughter" and her stuffed polar bear! A bear fixation-I totally know who that kid is.

Last night's installment was just OK. Robert Bianco (USA Today) has seen the first seven episodes and he's says it gets dramatically better as it goes along.

January 18 2010 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What you neglected to mention was the level of maturity that has evolved in the Jack/Kim relationship. Jack was ready to flip the bird to a national crisis and walk away from it all to be a responsible father and grandfather. It was Kim (for a change) who accepted Jack's role as a patriot and encouraged him to go help CTU with the crisis because "[he] would never forgive [himself] if something were to happen and [he] could have helped to prevent it." This coming from Kim even after she almost lost Jack to the nerve toxin at the end of last season. What an incredible role reversal from past Jack/Kim interactions where she has accused him of being selfish in putting country before family. I like where this relationship is going and am beginning to see room in the series for Jack as both a family man and a patriot.

Many have argued that Jack would eventually die at the end of the series because his call to duty will never end unless he's dead. However, now I can see an alternative where Jack has something else in his life to live for besides his duty to the USA. Good for the show for bringing this into play! It works well.

January 18 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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