24 – Episodes 7-1 & 7-2 Review

Let me just say this: Jack and Agent Walker is soooooooo much better than Jack and Chase.

Anyway, I was thoroughly impressed with the first two episodes of this season. It had a wonderful feeling of freshness. Between the new location, the new presidential administration, a new federal bureau to deal with, and an overall new cast of characters, this seemed like dramatic departure from last season. And that’s a very good thing.

During my “Countdown” article, I mentioned how I was slightly disappointed with how they’re having Jack revert back to his Captain America routine. I must admit, though, that I’m presently surprised with how his character has been handled thus far. I thought his behavior at the Senate hearing was consistent, but did show a certain degree of resentment and growth. His borderline indifference during his conversations with Agent Moss further illustrated how disenfranchised – for good reason – he has become with the government. I think the comments Jack made during his Senate hearing and in his private conversation with the FBI agent in the van hit the nail on the head: Jack will always love his country, and he’ll always want to protect the citizens, but he’s not completely fond of the people running the show.

Oh, and I loved how Jack immediately spotted the shooter upon his “hidden in plain sight” escape. It’s always fun when they remind the viewers that Jack isn’t just some violent killing machine. He really is that much better than everybody else. I’m not sure how I feel about having a rogue agent ALREADY, though. That is one plot device I think the show needs to retire. Or at least put to rest for a few years.

I’m a patient man, so I’m willing to wait and see if the writers provide a better explanation behind Tony’s sudden resurrection. I mean, I suppose it is acceptable that Jack never had the opportunity to check up on Tony’s status because he was kidnapped by the Chinese hours after Tony had “died,” but I do believe we need an explanation as to how – and why – his death was faked. And by whom. I mean, I would imagine it’s awfully difficult to stage a death with a fake body and remain hidden for years. And I imagine he wasn’t revived and decided, “Hey, I’m going to become a terrorist now.” Obviously, providing a long winded explanation right off the bat wouldn’t have meshed with the natural dialogue, so I’m willing to give them a reprieve for a few episodes.

Speaking of Tony, I love the visual ways they’re attempted to portray him as a villain. The close cut hair, the goatee (goatees, if you aren’t aware, are evil), the leather jacket, the black clothing. Little touches such as those, despite coming dangerously close to becoming cliche, are an effective way of helping us disassociate just enough from the character we’ve grown to care a great deal about over the past several years. That being said, I’m also grateful that they haven’t gone overboard with his “heel turn.” So far, he hasn’t taken anybody’s life, so he’s thankfully, not yet at the point of no return. Tony is one of my favorite characters (I was especially fond of his portrayal during the second season), so I’m holding out hope that he finds the err of his ways. Or maybe it’ll turn out this WAS an undercover operation all along.

Returning back to that “freshness” thought, the current terrorist crisis also feels like a welcome departure from the various Middle Eastern threats we’ve dealt with for the majority of the series. So far, I’m also a big fan of President Taylor. She’s very reminiscent of David Palmer: Somebody who just oozes confidence and class. She carries herself very well.

Anyway, I’ll be back in about 24 hours (how appropriate!) for the next two hours with some more thoughts.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, Heroes, Prison Break, and Smallville. You can visit his blog at A Case of the Blog.