Monday, January 15, 2007

24: Taking a Bite Out of Terror

Jack bites a guy to death. Bites him. To death. Yeah. It's kind of like, when Jack Bauer is on the case, everyone is safe – and no one is safe. 24 is back for sure.

So this day starts in the middle of an 11-week string of terrorist attacks, when everyone is paranoid and blaming every vaguely Arab person they see (with good reason, because most of them are terrorists – it's the 24 Law of Averages). Their only lead to Assad, the man behind the attacks, is Fayed, who says he will lead them to Assad if they give him Jack, and that's how he gets sprung out of his Chinese prison. Jack is totally cool with dying to save millions of Americans, but if there's one thing he can't stand, it's dying for nothing. So when Fayed, with a typical villain's arrogance, tells Jack that he's actually the one behind the attacks and Assad's been suing for non-violent solutions, Jack gets mad. And that's when the biting occurs. Way to leave him alone with a redshirt, Fayed.

Jack tries to warn the brass, as he always does, and as they always do, the brass ignore him – instead, they decide to go ahead and launch an airstrike on Assad's position, which happens to be a house. In the middle of a residential neighborhood. That seems like a spectacularly bad idea to me, given the high probability of collateral damage, as well as the fact that it's bound to send the already frightened citizens into a panic. But the neighbors don't care. They don't panic, but neither do they come out waving little American flags and brandishing apple pies. If they're so blasé about airstrikes in their own backyards, what does that say about the Palmer II administration? Anyway, Jack gets Assad out of the house in time, and the two of them team up. Jack has finally met his match in Assad, who loves torture as much as he does (if not more – 20 months in a Chinese prison has sort of taken away Jack's appetite for it, which is a little sad, but at the same time - not so fun when it happens to you, is it?), and the two of them make a good team. Assad is certainly one of the few competent partners Jack has ever had, so that's a point in his favor.

Lest you think that all Muslims, except perhaps Assad, are bad, there's Kal Penn, as a teenager whose dad gets carted away for no reason – but who is totally, and obviously, a terrorist himself. But wait! We've also got Marisol Nichols as Nadia Yassir, an Arab-American woman in a leadership position at CTU – who has the whiff of incompetence about her, and, if patterns hold, will be summarily dismissed and/or die stupidly halfway through the season. How about Harry Lennix, as the head of the Islamic-American Alliance? There we go. Knew there was one good one – for now, anyway. It's nice to know that actors of Arab extraction, or who just look like it, will always be able to get roles on 24, either as terrorists or as the exceptions that prove the rule. Whatever happened to that PSA, Kiefer?

Wayne Palmer is now, inexplicably, president – I guess they needed someone who had a connection to Jack and William Devane was busy. He's awfully indecisive, but that's why he has Karen Hayes (now the National Security Adviser and Mrs. Buchanan) and Peter MacNicol to advise him – or, really, to bicker like the little angel and devil on his shoulders. Peter MacNicol is the devil in this metaphor, as he's advocating moving all Muslims to concentration camps. And yet, Muslims usually are terrorists on this show, so, in practice, he's right. But he's still the bad guy in the administration. There's always one.

And what else? Milo is back, and useless; another Palmer has crawled out of the woodwork, in the form of sister Sandra; and Morris is creepy, and not just because he calls Chloe a hottie and squeezes her ass. Does anyone else think he's up to something? Or that he's actually working for the terrorists? Because there's something about that middle-distance stare he's working as he hugs Chloe that I don't like. It's a stare that says, "I am totally a mole, and you will never suspect me, because I'm too obvious to be a mole, and yet I am anyway."

Tonight: two more hours!


Dylan Borgman said...

Let's review a few things. First of all, you forgot to include that Peter MacNicol was the former advisor to another soon-to-be-elected-president, Ally McBeal. Next week I hear Palmer II will walk in on him dancing around the oval office to the song "Gimme That Thing".

Secondly, there's no time!

Thirdaly, I can't believe that you didn't bring up the most important and enjoyable part of watching the premier of 24 every year - Dave Barry's live blog commentary. Some of my favorite moments from the web broadcast:

UPDATE: OK, here we go. Having received advance information about one of tonight's killings, er, tactical field maneuvers by Jack Bauer, this blog strongly recommends that you have a barf bag handy, if not a small wading pool.

UPDATE: If we had any discretion, we would not be viewing.

UPDATE: Not Los Angeles! What are the odds?

UPDATE: Morris knows a little private satellite.

UPDATE: Just six guys against Jack? How stupid are these terrorists?

UPDATE: Don't you hate it when you're about to cut off somebody's finger and the phone rings?

UPDATE: I am so grateful that the terrorists speak English to each other.

UPDATE: I'm sure that's covered by the homeowner insurance.


UPDATE: "Does this suicide vest make me look fat?"

UPDATE: "You'll remember. You have a multi-year contract."

UPDATE: Big deal. My computer erases files all by itself.

UPDATE: There's a conductor on the subway? Is that an LA thing?

UPDATE: Next time, those people will take taxis.

UPDATE: Huh! Jack was right again. What are the odds?

Dylan Borgman said...

I also forgot to mention this great bit of news from Dave Barry's site regarding an upcoming Jack Bauer action figure. Kiefer, in one of his hillarious drunken binges, set fire to the prototype. Now that's the Jack that we all know and love!

According to the article... Sutherland explains, "They tried to come out with one a couple of years ago and they had sent me the doll for my approval... We took the doll out for a night to have some fun and we'd had some drinks. We sat it on the corner of the table.

Colleen said...

Jesus christ. I mean, jesus christ...

In oither news, just yesterday i was explaining kims horrible uselessness to Mike, as exemplified by The COugar Incident.

Anonymous said...

Okay, two points here.

1. How does that Bill Buchanan guy have a job? I watched last season, and last night, and in all that time, he has exhibited exactly ZERO control over anyone who works for him. He can't even control that Chloe broad (who still does not look hot despite her off-season trip to some sort of salon).

2. I'm guessing that Dylan is a guy. If Dylan were a woman, then please disregard the rest of this point. But if he were a dude, then I believe all of his points need to be removed from the record because he referenced that Ally McBeal show.

John B. said...

You have made a sexist comment about men. Ally McBeal was over the top and was often times female-centric but that doesn't make it a bad show. It won 4 golden globes as well as 29 other television awards and has had an additional 94 nominations. I'm not ashamed for watching it when it was on and I am a man. Good TV is good TV. Sexuality has nothing to do with it.

By the way, Peter MacNicol won an Emmy and a Screen Actor's Guild award for his performance on Ally Mcbeal. His performance in that television show is broadly thought to be the roll that jumpstarted his career and led to being cast in NUMB3RS and 24.