Monday, January 18, 2010

24 Day 8, 4PM to 6PM: Same Old, Same Old

Photos from Fox

It’s Day 8 for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), but it’s year 8 for viewers of ”24” (Fox). The show is starting to show its age, falling into familiar, and overused patterns in the two hour season premier covering the 4:00 – 6:00 hour period in a day in the life of Jack Bauer. These first two hours are always critical in setting up the rest of Jack’s day. But ”Day 8” seems like the same old routine, with tired scenarios and dialog more fitting to a soap opera. Also like a soap opera, there are lots of sideways glances in an attempt to convey suspicion and drama, instead, it comes off as being campy. The acting leaves something to be desired, with the exception of Cherry Jones, who seems to deliver the perfect presidential persona. Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is literally off the charts at being annoying, her petulant spoiled brat behavior wearing very thin. And of course, Jack leaves dead bodies in his wake, no matter where he goes. The same old, same old. The only difference I see is that the New York offices of CTU look like an old disco club, with too much glass and lights.

In case you missed part of the first two hours, and need to get caught up before the next two hours start tonight, here’s what happened:

Things have changed for Jack, as he’s no longer working for CTU, and he is living in New York City. His ever annoying daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) is also living in the city with her husband and daughter. She is hoping that daddy Jack will move back to Los Angeles with them, and I find myself wishing that Jack wouldn’t do it. Of course, he decides to go back to LA with them, but of course, not until another day from hell for Jack Bauer begins.

It seems that an old informant of Jack Bauer is being targeted for death because he knows about an assassination attempt on the life of Kamistan President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor). Hassan is with his brother Farhad (Akbar Kurtha) at the United Nations, negotiating some sort of disarmament or peace accord with United States President Alison Taylor (Cherry Jones) and her advisor Ethan Kanin (Bob Gunton). They seem to be at odds about the issue of weapons inspectors.

But when Jack’s former informant named Victor Aruz (Benito Martinez ) shows up at his apartment, bleeding from the gunshot wound when someone tried to kill him, Jack finds himself in the middle of trying to stop an assassination attempt. Only about 20 minutes into the episode, and Jack is already screaming in Victor’s face, so Jack clearly has not been able to turn off his CTU persona. Of course, this means that he just HAS to get CTU involved, and he just HAS to tell Kim that he will meet them at the airport.

Meanwhile, we also find that President Hassan seems to he having some sort of relationship with a reporter, Meredith Reed (Jennifer Westfeldt) and Farhad manages to revoke her clearance to enter. Farhad later has to restore them when President Hassan has a hissy fit over it. We also see that things are not so rosy with Hassan and his wife Dalia (Necar Zadegan).

When CTU becomes involved, I find myself laughing over the appearance of CTU headquarters in New York City. With all the glass and glitzy lighting, it looked more like a 1970s disco nightclub. Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is still the same old Chloe – petulant and annoying with a constant pouting face – but for some reason, her behavior grates this time, maybe because after all these years and all she’s been through, Chloe hasn’t grown or matured, and still hasn’t figured out how to get her point across without sounding like a whiner. And - what a surprise – Chloe seems to be getting on the nerves of her boss and coworkers because she doesn’t seem to be acclimating to the computer systems or her coworkers. CTU also has added another tech person Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) who seems to be constantly vamping in a sleek sleeveless dress. After seeing her as the tough-as-nails Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, her persona in this episode is a bit disorienting. Dana is also engaged to marry CTU coworker Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.).

Also now in charge of CTU NY is Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson) who jumps to mobilize the forces when Jack Bauer calls in and tells him about the assassination attempt. It’s a good thing for us that Jack’s name alone has credibility, because Hastings may not have done anything otherwise. Meanwhile, Jack is trying to get Victor to CTU and when Victor collapses and someone sees Jack trying to stop the bleeding from Victor’s gunshot wound, that person calls the police. This also alerts the people trying to track Victor as they are monitoring the airwaves. When the police arrive on the scene and confront Jack, gunfire erupts from the men trailing Victor and Jack manages to get them both inside a building to escape. When Jack ambushes one of them on a stairwell using an axe and disables the other, he and Victor flee to the roof to the helicopter. But Davros (Doug Hutchison ) the man behind the attempts to kill Victor is on to them, and, from another building, he fires a small rocket into the helicopter and blows it up. Jack and Ortiz are OK, but Victor is on death’s door, and before he dies, he tells Jack that someone on the inside, close to Hassan, is working to assassinate Hassan.

Meanwhile, back at the UN, President Taylor hears of the assassination plot, but, despite urging from her Chief of Staff Rob Weiss (Chris Diamantopoulos) to tell Hassan about it, she keeps mum on the matter, not wishing to tank the press conference that she and Hassan are set to give. Weiss is less than thrilled about her decision. We also learn that Taylor had a messy divorce from Henry and their daughter is in jail, which I suppose is closure for what happened to two character’s from Jack’s last “day.” We also see that Kanin is also taking some sort of medication, it may be nitro but it wasn’t made exactly clear what it was.

Reed is on a phone call telling someone that she is behind schedule "but it'll get done." I smell a large red herring here.

When hour 2 begins. Davros is leaving the area and he is on the phone telling someone that Victor has been taken care of. He doesn’t know how much Victor may have told CTU, so Davros thinks they need to "accelerate the hit."

Ortiz tells Hastings that two of his men are dead, and Ortiz is not happy with how the operation was handled. Jack tells Hastings about Victor’s last words about someone close to Hassan being in on the assassination, and Hastings tells Jack to come in to CTU. Dana tells Hastings they are checking into someone who seems to have accessed the UN's secure server.

At the UN, Weiss gets the update from Hastings. After the speech, Hassan makes a call to Reed. She’s on her way up to see him.

At CTU, they go over the operation and computer analyst Arlo (John Boyd) reminds Hastings he told them the drones weren't ready for an operation like the one to pick up Jack and Victor. Dana, meanwhile, found that the UN hacker was looking for Hassan's security information. Chloe quickly traces the IP address back to none other than Reed, and Hastings quickly calls UN security and who grab Reeds just before she gets to Hassan. I find myself thinking it’s a little to easy and a little too early in the series, so it must be a red herring. Of course, Chloe has the same feeling, telling Hastings she thinks Reed was framed, but she says it in a whiney manner which is a complete turn off, which makes Hastings dismiss her theory. He tells her to just debrief Jack, which essentially takes her off the floor working on the main case.

When Ortiz gets back to CTU with Jack, Hastings takes Ortiz aside and asks him to delay on officially reporting his complaint about the failed mission, seeing that Ortiz wanted more people and Hastings didn’t give them to him. Hastings reminds Ortiz that he helped Ortiz when everyone thought Ortiz wasn’t ready for his job, so he expected Ortiz to help him in kind. During this chat, Jack is going through a security scan and seems to overhear all this. Hastings also tells Jack about them catching Reed, and Jack calls Kim to say he is going to be delayed a bit, and she says they will pick him up at CTU because it’s on the way.

In Jack’s debriefing, Chloe tells Jack her theory that Reed is being framed, adding she found traffic camera footage of a man entering and exiting Reed's building at the exact time of the server intrusion. As Chloe thinks Hastings will blow her off again, she asks Jack to bring it up. Jack takes a “It’s not my problem” attitude, which is quite unlike Jack Bauer. Of course, now he has his daughter and granddaughter to worry about. Funny, that didn’t seem to stop Jack from pulling out all the stops and killing people to get Victor to CTU.

While all this is going on, we go back to soap opera mode with Hassan’s wife Dalia having an argument with Hassan about Reed. Despite Hassan's denials, Dalia knows exactly what he and the reporter were up to, and it wasn’t reporting. Afterwards, Farhad tells Hassan to deny any relationship with Reed. Farhad then makes a phone call to none other than Davros with an update. No surprise here that Farhad may be the real “inside” guy. Davros says they need to discredit Reed so CTU will continues to think she is his contact on the inside, and Davros will be ready to move on Hassan within an hour.

Dana, meanwhile, gets a phone call from a man who suspiciously refers to her as Jenny Scott. She is rattled, and quickly hangs up on him.

When Reed gets to CTU she denies knowing anything about the assassination, but Hastings doesn’t believe her and arranges for "biometric" interrogation. Jack gets in his two cents about what Chloe found, commenting that Chloe is someone to be trusted. But Hastings doesn’t bite. When Jack moves to leave, Chloe makes an impassioned plea to Jack to help her, as she has always been there for him. But he coldly turns her down, saying he can’t help her this time. (I find myself calling Jack a selfish asshole.) But it seems that when Kim called Chloe to find out what was going on with her father, Chloe told her everything about the assassination attempt and that she things Reed is being framed, and Kim tells her father to help. Of course because Kim says so, Jack decides to stay, proving again that Jack only cares for his family and could care less about Chloe.

While Reed is being interrogated in a special very bright room with a very special security door and her hand attached to a very special biometric devise. Meanwhile, President Taylor brings Hassan up to speed on security, and he asks her to keep him up to date on Reed.

Chloe easily hacks into the drone footage, shows it to Jack, who highlights the medallion on a cab carrying the man who was in Reed’s apartment building. He tells her to get the cab’s location and then goes to the CTU armory to get some guns, Chloe having managed to arrange for Jack to get a one time clearance.

Dana calls her sister Ruth, who also calls Dana by the name Jenny. Dana tells Ruth that Kevin Wade has found her and thinks Ruth told Wade how to find her as she's the only one who "knows the truth." Dana is worried that Wade could ruin her career and impending marriage to Ortiz. Clearly Dana has a big secret; I find that I could care less about it. But Arlo then tells Dana someone hacked into his computer station and looked at the drone records, to which Dana states the obvious: to find out who it was.

In interrogation, Reed continues to insist her relationship with Hassan is professional, but the biometric device shows this as a lie, which mean Hastings will now begin to yell at her for the truth. Why they just can’t ask her straight out if she was involved or not and see if that is a lie or not is beyond me. It seems it would be a lot quicker process.

Dana interrupts Hastings interrogation to alert him about Chloe's hacking into the drone records. Jack has managed to get into the armory, but as he is getting some guns, Hastings and Ortiz catch him in the act. Jack avoids being placed in custody by essentially blackmailing Hastings. saying if Hastings lets him look into Chloe's theory he won't mention to President Taylor the mistakes CTU made in attempting to bring Victory into custody. Hastings agrees, but he’s not happy about it. He allows Jack to have Chloe to help him out.

But we find that Davros is not just Davros, he is also posing as “Mike” who is assigned to work the UN security detail with co-worker “Jim”. When Davros comes to Jim’s house as “Mike,” his wife lets him in, and when Jim won’t agree to switch shifts with him, Davros pulls a gun on Jim and his wife. Davros orders Jim to take his wife’s mouth, and shoots her in the leg when Jim balks at calling in sick that day. This will likely not end well, but then does it ever end well for anyone but Jack Bauer?

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