Monday, January 12, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

The following post was typed in real time.

The highly anticipated seventh season of 24 got underway last night. And what could be better for our country during these trying times than to watch Jack Bauer running around our nation's capital beating the snot out of people?

I’ve been a fan of the show from the start, and am going to attempt to recap and review each episode this season. I can’t guarantee reviews will be posted the very next morning, but I can guarantee they’ll be up before the next installment.

So how did season 7 start? Fairly low-key, actually; more of a slow burn. And that’s fine with me. And honestly, when season 6 started with Jack tearing a man's throat out with his teeth (which out-crazies Swayze's glorious throat-ripping in Roadhouse) and part of L.A. getting nuked, how do you top it?

Considering the bad taste season 6 left in most fans’ mouths, this was probably the best way to kick things off.

We open, as seasons of 24 usually do, with a glimpse of the villains as they kidnap Dr. Phlox Michael Latham off the streets of Washington D.C. Latham was the lead designer of Homeland Security’s new nationwide firewall project, and the men in black hats have nefarious plans for him.

Meanwhile, our hero, Jack Bauer, is also in Washington, having recently arrived following the events of November’s 24: Redemption prequel movie. Jack is testifying before the U.S. Senate about his…how do I put this delicately…overly-enthusiastic approach towards questioning suspects. He’s just given a speech to Red Forman Sen. Blaine Meyer about the fact that he feels no remorse for his actions given that they helped save American lives when FBI Agent Renee Walker interrupts the hearings. Seems she needs Jack’s help on a matter of national security.

We soon learn that a domestic terror cell is behind Latham’s kidnapping, and that they’ve been stealing technology to have him build a device that will let them infiltrate the national firewall. They want Jack because a surveillance camera at one of the thefts captured one of the terrorists: former CTU agent (and former dead person) Tony Almeida.

Jack can’t believe Tony’s still alive (And neither can I at the moment. I’ll buy the producers’ reasoning of “We always have the on-screen clock go silent when a major character dies, and it wasn’t silent during Tony’s Season 5 death scene,” but there’d better be a decent explanation coming, because I’m pretty sure the last time we saw Tony he was being zipped into a body bag.) Jack agrees to help Walker track down Tony and his associates, though he clings to the hope that Tony is working some sort of inside job to take down the terrorists.

I’ll just hit the major story beats from this point on, along with comments:

• Jack and Renee go to question a man Jack and Tony used to get illegal items under-the-table when they were working CTU ops. Before they can get much info out of him, a sniper takes him out. They give chase, and manage to trap him in the building he shot from. Walker says Tony must have been watching the thief; Jack argues that it’s more likely there’s an inside man in her office that told Tony where they were going. (Because it just wouldn’t be 24 without a traitor or two.) Jack turns out to be right, as the traitor lets the shooter go during a search of the building. Jack spots the shooter due to his wearing different shoes than the rest of the feds, and he and Walker give chase.

• The conflict in Sangala that was set up in Redemption is heating up, and new President Allison Taylor (First a black president, now a woman. Say what you will about this show; it’s equal-opportunity.) is preparing to send in U.S. troops to stop the ethnic cleansing by General Benjamin Juma.

• Tony and his crew use Latham’s device to pull a Die Hard 2 cause a near-collision of two planes as they land at JFK. He tells the air traffic controllers it was merely a demonstration, and their demands will soon be made.

• First Gentleman Andre Linoge Henry Taylor is (unbeknownst to his wife) running an investigation into the death of their son, who died sometime between the events of Redemption and now. It was ruled a suicide, but Henry refuses to believe it. Given that this is 24, where nothing is coincidence, and that the son knew some people who were involved in the Sangala conflict, it was likely murder.

• Tony is not the head of the organization, as we were led to believe at first. Methos from Highlander A man named Emerson shows up and takes Latham’s device, and in turn delivers it to a representative of General Juma. Ah, it all starts to come together…

• Jack and Renee trail the shooter to Tony’s hideout. A firefight breaks out and Tony makes a break for it. Jack tries to shoot him but can’t. After some fisticuffs, Jack takes Tony down.

Thoughts on Season 7 so far:

• I like that we’re done with Los Angeles and that CTU has been disbanded. The show was ready for something new.

• I like Renee Walker. Mostly because I think she may be as crazy as Jack. It’s also nice to see Jack with a partner again, something we haven’t seen since Chase Edmunds in Season 3. Jack’s been too lone wolf since then; with Walker being responsible for him, he’s a pit bull on a leash, and it’s a nice change of pace.

• Surprisingly, I like Janeane Garofalo as Walker’s version of Chloe O'Brian (even though I know we’ll see Chloe at some point this season).

• President Taylor’s got a pair on her, and Cherry Jones does a nice job with the role so far.

• Okay, I know there’s a suspension of disbelief inherent with the show’s “real-time” format, but Latham got that device put together way too fast.

• Didn’t expect Tony to get captured so early in the day. Way to surprise me, show.

The 4-hour premiere continues tonight, so I should have more up sometime Tuesday.


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