The following post was typed in real time.
Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Things really kicked into gear last night, as more was revealed about Tony's role in the crisis and Jack made some hard choices. I like where this is going.
Much more after the jump.
The best way to recap a show like 24 is probably to break it down by subplots and do it that way. So let's try that, shall we?
* We start out with Jack questioning Tony. He can't believe how far his old friend has fallen. Tony says they're not that different, and brings up how crappy Jack's life is. A dead wife slain by his former lover (Terri), a daughter that wants nothing to do with him (Kim), and a girlfriend who was tortured and had her mind broken by the Chinese in an effort to protect him (Audrey). Jack loses it and starts to choke Tony, demanding to know where the CIP device is (That's what they're calling the module doohickey Latham whipped up last night. I missed exactly what CIP stands for. Regardless, looks like it's the MacGuffin for the first chunk of the season.)
* Tony gurgles out two words, "Deep Sky," and Jack recognizes it: It's an old CTU emergency code for a specific phone number. When Jack dials the number, he's connected with none other than former CTU director (and my favorite 24 supporting character) Bill Buchanan. When Bill finds out Tony's been arrested, he tells Jack he'll call him back in ten minutes with more info. After he hangs up, we see that Bill's not alone: Chloe's there too! She questions whether Jack will help them get Tony back into deep cover (A-ha! So he's not really a terrorist! Kind of a shame though, since such a radical character change was really shaking things up.).
* Bill tells Jack there's a faction inside the government aiding the Juma regime, and may have ties as deep as inside the president's cabinet. Tony was supposed to stay near the module to keep it safe, but now that plan's gone to hell. Looks like Jack's going to have to break Tony out of federal custody, going rogue...again.
* Jack wants to bring in Renee, and tells Bill they can trust her. Bill argues against it, so Jack settles for choking her into unconsciousness. With an able assist from Chloe, who hacks into the security system of the federal building, Jack and Tony bust out and make for Bill's hideout. (In the midst of things, Jack hotwires a car and drives it off the second floor of the parking garage. Way to keep the crazy alive, Jack.) Jack apologizes to Tony for nearly snapping his neck during the interrogation.
* We find out that Tony was dead for nearly ten minutes. Emerson had been watching Tony, thinking he could turn him, and paid someone at CTU to revive him so they could use him. And in his anger (and remorse over Michelle's death), Tony did turn. He worked with Emerson for 3 years until the CIP device was built. At this point he decided the bad guys had gone too far and contacted Bill.
* The plan is for Tony to bring jack into Emerson's organization under the reasoning that he's also bitter towards the government, and wants to avoid jail time. Jack proves his resolve to Emerson (mostly by almost killing two of his men), and he gains the villain's confidence. Emerson's plan is to kidnap Matobo, the president of Sangala, who has been meeting with President Taylor about how to best regain control of his country. It's a dicey situation, and Bill's willing to let Matobo die in order to find Juma's right-hand man, Dubaku, and get the CIP device back. Jack, Tony, and Emerson storm Matobo's compound and he flees to a panic room.
* Dubaku sends his demands to the president: Troops out of Africa or they'll start crashing planes for real.
* President Taylor gives Moss (Renee's commanding officer) a verbal smackdown for letting Tony escape. They have less than two hours to withdraw their troops and meet Dubaku's deadline. She's worried she can't appear weak this soon into her term.
* Matobo won't help Taylor stop the invasion He wants his country back. Chief of Staff Kanin recommends postponing the invasion.
The late First Son, Roger Taylor
* Kanin tells Henry that First Son Roger was about to be investigated by the SEC, and that's why he committed suicide.
* Roger's ex says he was murdered after finding a connection between the financial firm he worked for and Juma's organization. This ties in to some things we saw in November's Redemption.
* Janice (Garofalo) initially suspects Sean, one of the other techs, of being the intelligence leak. Turns out his wife is on a plane, and he's trying to make sure she's all right given the threats Dubaku has made. Sean ends up misrepresenting Moss by impersonating him to get his wife's plan moved up in the landing queue. The review at TV Squad pointed out (and rightly so) that Sean's subplot is basically the same thing Sylar Adam Kaufman went through in Season 3, when his sister was in one of the quarantined zones.
* Renee and Janice go to the hospital to question Tanner (the sniper that took out Schecter last night) and Renee goes over the edge, nearly killing him. But she gets the info she wants. I was going to say she's She-Jack, but I like TV Squad's nickname for her better: Renee is Jill Bauer.
I was initially turned off to the idea that Tony was on the side of the angels, as I thought making him a villain was a good change in status quo. But this works, and I like that he was truly a villain, at least for a short time. And it's nice to see Bill and Chloe again. I like the idea of this new CTU: A quartet of old friends who have ended up as sort of a guerilla group to root out a corrupt group within the government. Season 5 dealt with Jack uncovering a lot of corruption, and it was one of (if not the) best seasons of this show.
Again, I really like the character of Renee Walker, and I suspect it won't be too long before she (and possibly Janice) are working with Jack and his crew. Their characters are too good to waste them as obstacles for Jack to overcome.
Things are shaping up nicely for Day 7. I'm looking forward to seeing where we go from here.