ack Bauer is having the longest day of his life -- again.
Tis time around the brother of an incarcerated Mexican
drug lord has threatened to unleash a deadly virus on the populace of Los
Angeles unless the United States releases his big brother. Making things more
complicated is the fact that Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) was the one who brought
the drug lord to justice, the result of a year's worth of undercover work that
has left, it would seem, Jack not completely unaffected. And lest we forget, it
seems U.S. President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) hasn't completely recovered
from his encounter with a certain female assassin, a scene that closed out
"24's" Season Two in style.
It's 3 years after the events of Season 2, and all the
regulars are back for another long day, including lead Kiefer Sutherland, whose
counter-terrorist agent is now joined at L.A.'s CTU by daughter Kim (Elisha
Cuthbert), now a systems analyst. Jack also has a new partner in eager buck
Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale), who is secretly seeing bottled blonde Kim. And
although they were mostly at each other's throats last year, CTU co-workers Tony
Almeida (Carlos Bernard) and Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) are now husband
and wife. And oh yeah, the President is on the re-election trail.
The Season 3 premiere shows up purportedly without
commercial interruption -- that is, if you don't count the 15-minute Ford truck
commercial that bookends the episode. (Ford is the show's main sponsor, if you
haven't figured it out.) The episode itself, once it begins, runs for a straight
45 minutes, and is, as expected, jam-packed with subplots quietly churning away
in the background waiting to explode in their own future episodes. The main plot
is the sadistic drug lord's plans -- his people will unleash the virus on L.A.
if their boss isn't released in 6 hours. With 24 episodes to fill up, does
anyone think our "A" plot is only one plot, and not the plot? I
think it goes without saying, especially in light of the
terrorism-cum-conspiracy storyline of Season 2.
Returning as our lead is Sutherland as the veteran Jack,
looking a lot more frail than we're used to seeing him. In the three years since
Season 2, Jack and Kate Warner's relationship has fizzled, and Jack is harboring
a dark secret. By episode's end, we learn that Jack's big secret is that he's a
drug addict, and has been for some time. The source of the addiction is clearly
Jack's yearlong undercover stint trying to bust the drug lord, who claims a
kinship to the man who sent him up the river. A sort of "I'm going to kill
you one day you bastard" kinship, that is. The drug lord is played by
Joaquim de Almedia, who also played a Mexican drug lord in Robert Rodriguez's
"Desperado" and was recently seen in the cancelled NBC Mexican drug
cartel series "Kingpin", playing a Columbian drug lord. Get typecast
Other subplots involve the usual round of bickering and ego
trips by CTU personnel, including a grating (and gay?) analyst who expresses
dislike for Kim Bauer because of her status as Tori Spelling (i.e. nepotism by
way of Jack). Although Kim does prove that she has what it takes to work here,
including some serious skills with a computer keyboard. And for those who moaned
at Kim's portrayal of a perpetual victim in Season 2, Kim's new position with
CTU should offer the writers other reasons for keeping her in the
storyline other than getting her into yet another damsel-in-distress
situation, which was often the case last year.
There's also signs of a power struggle between the
demanding Jack and CTU boss Tony Almeida, who is looking for career advancement
with the CIA, a move that may or may not put a chink in his marriage to
Michelle. It's learned that Michelle was hoping to transfer over to the CIA
along with Tony, but things didn't pan out. Tony is told that by the end of the
day (the end of the season, that is), Tony must make the decision rather to
accept the CIA job or remain with Michelle at CTU. With a killer virus running
around, I'm not sure if the writer thinks we'll care about this little problem
On the Presidential side, Palmer is having an affair with
his doctor, a white woman, much to the dismay of his press aide, who may or may
not be his brother. (Palmer mentioned something about their mother?) At the end
of the episode, clips of the second episode features a clash between Palmer and
the aide over the doctor. Clashes, it seems, will be the rule of thumb between
Palmer and his aide, as the aide is on the arrogant side, and likes to push
people around, including the President of the Free World. How long before Palmer
tells him to shove it?
It may be obvious that this isn't much of a review. The
fact is, it's somewhat hard to review a show like "24" by just one
episode, because frankly, unlike a lot of shows out there "24" plays
by its own rules. And as such, evaluating the episode on a per-episode basis is
foolhardy at best, and completely impossible at worst. And so, the above rundown
will have to suffice.
Now, go buy a Ford or something.