And he’s back.
A little history lesson before we begin: I never really watched 24 on a week-to-week basis during its original run. In April 2010, I binge-watched my way through Jack Bauer’s enormous 8-season run so I could watch the series finale on live TV the following month. Suffice to say, 24 proved itself to be a fantastic addiction; I fell in love with the show’s groundbreaking concept and relentless thrills. Yes some seasons were weaker than others (although I didn’t loathe season six like the general public), I was still thoroughly riveted the entire time. So imagine my sheer delight when FOX announced they were bringing the show back for a limited event series – and let’s be honest, if the ratings are good enough, Mr. Bauer will undoubtedly be back for more. But does the legendary agent still have a place in today’s highly-populated landscape of super-spies and prestige cable dramas?
All in all, the ninth season’s two-hour premiere does a serviceable enough job of setting up the shortened season (24 hours in 12 episodes – don’t ask). The premiere isn’t exhilarating right out of the gate, but Bauer’s return alone is enough to hold my attention. Interestingly enough, Keifer Sutherland doesn’t utter a single word before the 30-minute mark, and that’s what really gets the ball rolling. His dynamic with Chloe was always one of the show’s highlights, as Mary Lynn Rajskub’s awkward confidence contrasts beautifully with Keifer’s stone-cold ferocity. Thus I was pleased to see that relationship take center stage as the duo found themselves facing yet another save-the-world plot. Thankfully, the focus on lethal drone technology adds a relevant present-day twist that’s jam-packed with blockbuster potential.
This season also introduces a ton of new faces to varying degrees of success. Tate Donavon is effective as the President’s Chief of Staff, although I’m a less a fan of Benjamin Bratt’s turn as the head of the CIA’s London office. I’m most excited for Kim Raver’s return as Audrey. Raver is an enormously likable actress, and I honestly can’t wait for the moment when she discovers that Bauer is out and about causing havoc across London. As for her father, The President, his Alzheimer’s subplot could prove compelling as an added complication. Finally we have Yvonne Strahovski as Agent Morgan. The actress is convincing in the role although she’s saddled with the stereotypical agent who’s on to something (yet no one in the vicinity wants to believe her). Haven’t we seen this archetype enough times? Ugh.
A successful season of 24 is only ever as good as its baddies, and it looks like we’re getting a good one this season with the addition of Michelle Fairley as our antagonist. Fairley was undoubtedly iconic as Game of Thrones‘ Catelyn Stark, however, her performance on Suits this year left a lot to be desired (let’s blame the writing for that one). Nevertheless, her intensity is one that suits the show’s pace quite well. Plus the final bombshell with Yates’ girlfriend is the kind of blood-pumping twist the show was great at executing during its heyday. More please.
– Ross McCall, who plays Mark’s right hand man, has a very growly voice no? It was pretty distracting (and laughable).
– Loved Bauer’s escape plan. The manner in which he hatched Chloe out of the compound while his mysterious Serbian accomplice blew the roof off was damn riveting.
– Bone-chilling moment with the drone pilot losing control of his aircraft before it blew up the British/American convoy.
– The episode’s most poignant scene: Mark cornering the President during his mock speech as he tried to remember the fallen soldier’s name.
– Highlight: Jack punching Morgan. I really didn’t expect that.
– Chloe saving Jack at the end was just amazing. I forgot how capable she could be.
– Yates’ death at the end was tremendously brutal. I think I’m going to enjoy this twisted mother-daughter combo.
A somewhat slow-start to 24‘s highly publicized return. I felt somewhat detached from the proceedings, but I have faith this season will be a great one. The show’s legacy deserves nothing less.