24 Talkback, 8:00am-10:00am

Monday, January 8, 2007


Written by Adam A. Donaldson

“One of the reasons I worked so hard to stay alive in China was so that I wouldn’t die for nothing, but this way I can die for something.”
“You might want to attenuate your thoughtless remarks once and awhile.”
“I don’t know how to do this anymore.” “You’ll remember.”
“Just stay with the handler, he’s our only connection to Fayed.”

Well, last night’s 24 double shot had everything but the kitchen sink, although there were some scenes in a kitchen. The producers are truly taking full advantage of the two-night premiere format by loading us up with a lot of over-the-top action and instant twists that change the game on a dime.

Here’s what I liked about hours 6:00 am to 8:00 am;

A demure Jack Bauer - After 20 months in Chinese custody, not talking, Jack returns to the US a shell of his former self and is then asked by President Wayne Palmer to sacrifice himself in a prearranged trade with the terrorist Fayed: Bauer for the location of supposed terror leader Hamri al-Assad. In a typical 24 switcheroo, it turns out that Assad is looking to reform and Fayed is the one responsible for a dozen terrorist attacks in as many weeks across the United States; Fayed wants Assad killed as a traitor. The Jack/Assad team-up will surely provide for a lot of friction as Jack reacquaints himself as a CTU agent in the next two hours. Also providing friction is Jack's lost mojo, he simply can't call the big plays the way he used to.

Thomas Lennox – Palmer’s Chief of Staff is driving much of the socio-political backbone of this season’s storyline. He’s the guy that wants to round up and intern all Muslims and it appears he’s going to go over the president’s head to do it. How will Palmer react when he finds out his sister is caught up in Lennox’s net while defending the civil rights of law abiding Muslims?

The O’Brians – Chloe may seem to be less a prickly pear this time around, but she still knows how to hit below the belt with the right putdown all while being a CTU superstar. The addition of ex-husband-turned-current-boyfriend Morris is a stroke of genius as Mary Lynn Rajskub and Carlo Rota bounce off each other well, and Morris’ interactions with newly returned Milo are priceless.

Ahmed Amar – In one of the more provocative aspects to this season so far has been the open hostility towards Muslim Americans. Last night’s episode began at a bus stop and a driver refusing to let an Arab man with a backpack onboard his bus; as it turns out the suicide bomber already caught that ride.

The social studies lesson is enhanced with the case of Amar, who sees his dad taken away by the FBI on suspicion of terrorism, only to then find himself the target of neighbourhood bullies shouting the usual stereotypes about getting out of ‘their’ country. (As Bill Maher says, “I think the roads were pretty much built by the time you got here.”) Amar is saved by his friend’s father and invited to stay with them for his safety. Unfortunately, it turns out that Amar is one of Fayed’s sleepers and he has a mission to do that involves a mysterious package.

Near the end of the second hour, Amar is cornered by the returning neighbourhood watch guy and you find yourself struck with conflicting emotions. You know the guy is being driven to attack Amar simply because he’s Muslim and that’s wrong so you’re rooting for Amar; but then you know that Amar is, in fact, everything the bigots think he is. Only on 24, can the action have academic subtext.

Gravitas! – The action sequences were killer; Jack biting the neck of his captor vampire style, Jack and Assad running for their lives as Cobra helicopters blow away Assad’s safe house and Jack’s knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out with a suicide bomber on the subway.

Let discussion begin on what the 8:00 am hour will bring and how things will end by 10:00. Any other 24 comments welcome too.

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