Twenty-Four episode 4.01 "Day 4: 7:00 A.M. - 8:00 A.M." + episode 4.02 "Day 4: 8:00 A.M. - 9:00 A.M." {Season Premier(s)} (01/09/05)

(Original Air Date: 01/09/05)

Anti Heroes and Logic Lassos and Exploding Trains!
Oh My!

J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
Season 5: Season 4: Season 3: Season 2: Season 1:
Twenty-Four can do no wrong for many, and the action-packed and excitingly nail-biting adventures of Jack Bauer and his CTU Team are the very Tea and Cakes of fans everywhere. I know... in the first season I was one of them. I was able to forgive the logic-lassos and just enjoy a good show. But in subsequent seasons, Joel Surnow & Robert Cochran's little spy show has constantly tried to push itself and outdo itself becoming almost a caricature of itself, leaving little of what made it a unique and fascinating show in the first place.

More the fool am I because I never miss it! It is a good show... it's just not the "perfect" show that Fox executives want you to eat without salting first. Oh, it always starts off with a bang, but as the season draws to a close and Joel and Robert start to look at each other and say "Dude, how the hell are we going to wrap this up and still have it be only 24 hours?" the show turns into a veritable Fun House of Reason! - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

I'm happy to state that Season Four of Twenty Four has started off with a great set up once again, and it's certain to be another viewer-grabber this year. However, the seeds of logic are already resulting in rotten fruit even in this first night (two full episodes masking themselves as one two-hour 1/2 opener). Jack is Back, and Kiefer Sutherland's gritty performance is as steady as it has been since Season Two (he's either bored, or the Specter of Teri Bauer is still hanging over him like Damocles' Kitchen Cutlery). After last season's bout with Heroin Addiction, Jack's been canned from CTU, and is now working for Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane), and coincidentally sleeping with Heller's daughter Audrey Heller (Kim Raver). Echoes of Last Year's Chase and Kim secret romance abounds here like a borrowed plot.

Lucky for the producers, Jack is making a routine stop at CTU for Budget Approval, just as the next exactly 24 hour Terrorism Crisis kicks off. This time it takes the form of a Commuter Train Bombing loosely linked to a Family Terrorist Cell in the USA (consisting of House of Sand and Fog alumni), and a career terrorist from Turkey. But why would a big time Terrorist waste time with a minor train bombing? I mean George W.'s already been re-elected! The answer hits Jack closer to home than expected, and sends him into one of those Day Long Agony Spirals that only he can pull off while still being called the Hero!

Of course, with every season, Jack grays that thin line between Hero and Villain, and here he jumps right into it in the first episode, kicking that line into gray matter. He Bitch-Slaps security guards, tortures a suspect and holds plot-changing information hostage from Alberta Watson's New CTU Chief Erin Driscoll in order to be reinstated to CTU (for 24 hours or less). Both hours show Jack doing anything to achieve his goal, as always. On paper, he's not a great guy. It takes an actor like Kiefer to still make this guy likeable.

The show (and this two part episode) is still likeable as well, even without the expected supporting characters hanging around this time. Yep, Elisha Cuthbert's Kim isn't around to get stalked by a Cougar. Neither is James Badge Dale's Chase Edmunds to do his impression of a young Captain Hook! Tony and Michelle are gone as well, likely modeling for the Gap! Sadly, after deciding not to seek re-election, Dennis Haysbert is seen here only during the Obligatory All State Commercial Break, damn it!

But any good show has to reinvent itself, and even though they're missed, the concept that each and every character would appear for each and every Terrorism Crisis is as unlikely as each and every terrorism crisis being solved in exactly 24 hours to the minute three times thus far.

Such is the logic of 24, the good show that misses greatness like a cross eyed archer. Usually 24 waits a few hours (i.e.: Episodes) before spanking Logic and sending it to its room without din-din, but such a practice is in there like Prego in just the first night!

I won't bother commenting on every flaw here, but my favorite logic leap of the night surrounds Lukas Haas' Andrew Paige. When finding malicious Cyber-Attack Code on the internet, just poised to crash the entire internet, Paige leaves the office to call "The Feds" from a Payphone in order to keep them from tracing the call, knowing it was him, and knowing he was downloading Adobe Photoshop for free. Throwing intellect out the window like a used banana peel, Paige then uses the payphone to call his fed-friend Mary Lynn Rajskub's Chloe O'Brian (of all CTU characters to keep from last season)! He confesses everything to her, tells her what he was doing, who he is and where he was doing all this. Chloe then tells everyone in the office who her friend is (by name), what he was doing, where, and what he found while doing it. Okay, so he left the office to use a Pay Phone for what purpose again? Because the plot called for him to be absent when the bad guys raid his office looking for him. Hell, he even gives Jack Bauer his Cell Phone Number. It's as funny as it is fun.

Okay, so Twenty-Four is no Documentary, and it makes less sense than the final episode of Twin Peaks! It's still a well-acted and fun show to watch. Let's see where they go with this one, though... It could be the best season yet, or... well, it could degenerate into a Cartoon like Seasons 2 and 3 did by the 24th hour. We'll know soon enough. In order to push the whole season into the last half of the T.V. Year, Fox has decided to double up on some episodes, calling the four episodes from 1/9/05 and 1/10/05, a Two Night Four Hour Season Premiere! Look for more doubling-up in the small hours of the day... anything less and they'd have to change the name to 12!

My repeated plea for the producers of 24 to make a Prequel without Baggage has been ignored, but still, the first two hours could be one hell of a lot worse... At least Penny Johnson Jerald hasn't been resurrected by Sarah Clarke to wreak havoc and pillage the nation yet again. And for that reason, if nothing else, Season 4 of 24 gets Four Stars out of Five (at least for its first two hours). Keep an eye out for the rest of the season, if for no other reason than to see if Jack turns into Darth Vader at the 11th hour and disintegrates Osama Bin Laden with Force Lightening! Okay, so I have an over-active imagination... Sue me, someone has to have one. See you in the next reel... Oh, I mean... HOUR!

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Twenty-Four episode 4.01 "Day 4: 7:00 A.M. - 8:00 A.M." + episode 4.02 "Day 4: 8:00 A.M. - 9:00 A.M." {Season Premier(s)} (01/09/05) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who is responsible for his own opinions and for his two hour weeping session after seeing NO Reiko Aylesworth!
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Chase Edmunds killed Dr. Richard Kimble's wife!

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Twenty-Four episode 4.03 "Day 4 900 A.M. - 1000 A.M." + episode 4.04 "Day 4 1000 A.M. - 1100 A.M." {Season Premier(s) (night 2)} (01/10/05)

(Original Air Date: 01/10/05)

Only the second night and Jackie-Boy's already lost it!

J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
Season 4: Season 3: Season 2: Season 1:
Sometimes, as I watch 24, I get this strange feeling that I'm watching a guy engaging in a Role Playing Game and making all the most asinine decisions that he possibly can. Each episode, I see Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) presented with those proverbial "two paths you can go by", but in the long run, The Jack never fails to make the most oddball decision, and, naturally the one that guarantees a most action-packed and nail-biting, if completely illogical, outcome! Each season, Jack becomes that conceit of the "Loose Cannon" that nobody understands because he gets RESULTS!

And do we ever love him for it, kids! There's nothing like the impossible heroics of Jackie-Boy as he cuts a one man anti-hero swath through the Terror Threat du jour. "Du Jour" because every threat on 24 by definition must be solved in exactly twenty-four hours. Any more and we'd never find out how the damned thing ends... any less... well, then the last few episodes would chronicle the intrepid CTU Team showering, having a drink and going to bed... and with both Elisha Cuthbert and Reiko Aylesworth no longer on the show, that's a none-too-inspiring concept. - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

But I digress. When we left our CTU C-U-T-E-Y-S, last night (which was a minute ago in 24 time), Jack's Field Ops Replacement had been REDRUMed by the terrorist geek who had grabbed Lukas Haas' Andrew Paige, and Jack was in Chili-Sauce-Hot Pursuit!

Meanwhile the rest of the USA Terrorist Cell, represented by the Araz family is deciding what to do about young Behrooz Araz' (Jonathan Ahdout) girlfriend Debbie (Leighton Meester), who followed Behrooz on his little Brief-Case Drop Off, hoping to catch him Cheating on her. Now, whether she realizes it or not, she's the only one privy to where the Terrorists are holding the Secretary of Defense (William Devane) and his daughter (Jack's new "Main Squeeze") Audrey (Kim Raver)... so naturally, Debbie's gotta die!

If she doesn't die, she could unintentionally let slip where these sweet folks are, preventing a Falluja-like webcast trial and beheading of the Heller Family. Naturally, this makes time of the Essence for the Jackenator, whose trail of the Terrorist Jackass whose got Paige is as slippery as his relationship with the only CTU Agent who wants to help him, the always-annoying Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub)!

With everyone else at CTU (now consisting of cast alumni from The Sopranos and First Wave) either spending all their time hating on Jack, or dealing with Family Squabbles, or even torturing Secretary of Defense Heller's son (Logan Marshall-Green) for Information on Daddy's disappearance, Chloe's having what Eric Cartman would call a "Hella Hard Time" getting Jack the Satellite support he needs to follow his douche-bag quarry!

So what does he do? Well, of all the possibilities out there, Jack decides to put on a ski mask and hold up the Convenience store that this douche goes in to. He holds that guy hostage, the owner hostage, a young couple hostage and some cop who comes along hostage. I know he's always blurred the line between Hero and Villain, but damn! You'd think that something further than the padding out of a two night opener would make sense, no? Ah, well, I'll give them this... it did make the episode a lot more exciting, but it didn't make the episode any smarter. The muscles in charge of Eye-Rolling got a work out on January 10th, I'll tell you that.

Fox's decision to cull the first four hours of Season Four and call them a two day four hour Season Premiere sounded like a smooth idea, but is actually sort of backfiring on them. Both nights had Cliffhangers half way through that showed how self-contained these episodes were meant to be, actually. Further, the proximity of these episodes to each other, are actually serving to point out one of the most surprising flaws of any season of 24! That being, they're beginning to repeat themselves!

Last season had Jack as CTU Chief, with Chase and Kim seeing each other on the sly and struggling to tell him about it... This season has Heller as Defense Secretary, with Jack and Audrey seeing each other on the sly and struggling to tell him about it! Last Season, at the height of danger, Chloe is interrupted at work by the news that the baby she's caring for (which happens to be Chase's) is about to lose its baby sitter and she has to figure something out to fix the scenario... This season, at the height of danger, Erin Driscoll (Alberta Watson) is interrupted at work by the news that the schizophrenic daughter she's caring for is about to lose her mind and she has to figure something out to fix the scenario! Last Season a sexual relationship that ended badly between Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside) and Julia Milliken (Gina Torres) rears its ugly head and results in blackmail and all hell for those in charge... This season a sexual relationship that ended badly between Curtis Manning (Roger Cross) and Marianne Taylor (Aisha Tyler) rears its ugly head and results in blackmail and all hell for those in charge! Last Season Jack went rogue to catch a Terrorist in the only way he could, while having a secret benefactor inside CTU who knows the truth... This Season Jack goes rogue to catch a Terrorist in the only way he can, while having a secret benefactor inside CTU who knows the truth! The list grows from there, and we're only on the fourth hour, here, bro!

You'd think that if each season covers only one day, there might be a few different days they could cover.

Or not. Twenty-Four is doing well, and it's pretty well saved old Kiefer from the $5.88 DVD Bin at Wal-Mart. And let's face it... it is a good show. It's fun to watch and exciting (and getting more so with the addition of Aisha Tyler to the cast, HUZZAH!). My issues here are the moments when intelligence is sacrificed for action and logic takes a back seat to excitement! I'll still watch it, but the realistic, almost real-time, well-planned show that the first season was has morphed into a repetitive and occasionally cringe-worthy program that happens to utilize the split-screen technology that Season One Pioneered. It's still good, but remember when it was great?

Three Stars out of five for night two of the 4th Season Premiere of Twenty-Four! The good news is that it's still TV worth watching... the bad news is, not as much as it once was. If Dennis Hopper appears out of nowhere with Sherry Palmer and Chase Edmunds in tow and declares that this whole shebang was a plot between Nina Meyers and that Joaquim de Almeida character... I'm... I'm taking a hostage, I swear! Then the only man they could send against me would be... Jack! Or, really, Walt the Post Man... I'm a lover, not a fighter. See you in the last reel, extra-boy!

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Twenty-Four episode 4.03 "Day 4 900 A.M. - 1000 A.M." + episode 4.04 "Day 4 1000 A.M. - 1100 A.M." {Season Premier(s) (second night)} (01/10/05) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who is responsible for his own opinions and for his glee over the return of Chloe... Oh, wait, I hate her... nevermind!
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