Season 5, Episode 1: Day 5: 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m.
Season 5, Episode 2: Day 5: 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. {Season Premier(s)}
(January 15, 2006)

(Original Air Date: 01/15/06)

Jack Bauer lives... but he's about the only one!

J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
Season 5: Season 4: Season 3: Season 2: Season 1:
Ah 24, 24, 24, 24! Another surprise event leading to a nap free day! At least this time we get started just as folks are waking up. I mean, let’s face it… Jack’s not gettin’ any younger.

When we last saw old Jack Bow-wow-wower, he was doing his best impression of David Banner or Hal Jordan as he hitchhiked across the country after faking his death with the skill and talent of Elvis Presley himself. While this is a little far fetched considering all, it did give old Kiefer Sutherland the chance to slowly raise his head in dramatic fashion toward the camera in a big, slow reveal adding up to the world’s biggest "I’m Back Bee-yautch!"

Jackie-poo is now Frankie-poo, an oil rigger with the comparative luck of Billy Macy’s character in The Cooler (but somehow with enough scratch to drive an Infinity SUV). He’s living on the property of a young mother and her obnoxious teenaged son (to whom, I’m quite sure, Jack is just dying to say "You ever see a movie called The Lost Boys... H I I S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S !" But continuing to hide out is the Einstein move of the season, seeing as how former President David Palmer is quickly assassinated to the chagrin of... President David Palmer. At that point, Jack (blissfully out of work) is doing what he's doing every morning... getting his minimum deadly allowance of Conservative Rhetoric from the Fox News Channel. He gives a look that says "Aw, man! David’s dead like I am!" Then another that says "Hey, man! Maybe David’s just dead like I am!"

Sadly, Jack (only mostly dead) and David aren’t the only ones applying for a daisy-raising job. Nope, as soon as we raise a fast rejoice to the fact that Michelle Dessler-Almeida (Reiko Aylesworth) and sleepy eyed husband Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) are both back, and that their hair is still perfect, sweet, sweet Michelle is blown to bits, showering poor Tony with bits-o-Michelle. As he holds what’s left of her in shaky tears, he seems to utter "Oh, Michelle, you died as you lived… with perfect hair!" Let me just point out that anyone who would subject us to LESS of the treat of Reiko Aylesworth on Television is the REAL threat to American prosperity. Yes, the bad news is that Michelle was a target… the GOOD news is that Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is too (oh, yes, that’s right I said it... I went there)! If the show wasn’t tense and frightening enough already Joel Surnow penned a scene in this one in which Chloe has just finished getting laid. Shudder, shudder.

In order to warrant a (no more than, no less than) 24 hour marathon of Counter Terrorism Action, all of these assassinations (and attempts thereof) fall on the date that President Logan (Gregory Itzin) is to meet with the Russian president in the defining moment of his career. Need I say, mayhem is sure to ensue? Might I add… Well DUH, this is 24!

Returning this season are Roger CrossCurtis Manning, D.B. Woodside’s Wayne Palmer, Jude Ciccolella's Mike Novick, James Morrison’s Bill Buchanan, Kim Raver’s Audrey Heller Raines and (because Arrested Development has finally ended) Smilin’ John Beard from LA’s Fox 11 News. Yeah, Dennis Haysbert is back (for less screen time than one of his Allstate commercials), and our brief shot of sweet Reiko is welcome, if depressingly short. Let’s all give a standing ovation to that Designing Woman Jean Smart who would be your typical corn-cheese-ball conspiracy theorist... if she wasn’t ACTUALLY married to the President. Mercilessly, Kim is nowhere to be found. No Kim, No Michelle... why watch this anymore, now?

But, as usual, the focus is (and ought to be) on Jack himself. Clearly the plan is to frame old Jack Bauer for the murder of Davey P. Now, on one hand, the notion of slapping the wrap on a dead dude makes about as much sense as your average Fairly Odd Parents episode, we all know how many defenseless people, both "good" and "bad" Jack has shot in the face at point blank range in the past five years. If ANYBODY could show up to kill some folkarinos even beyond the grave... it’s him, man.

It’s to the point now that Jack’s cliché TOUGH GUY WHO GETS RESULTS is just expected to kill more people before 9 AM than I probably get around to killing all day. I’m thinking he probably tortures hamsters in his free time, man. When Jack’s obnoxious tagalong kid (Brady Corbet) witnesses Jack’s usual lead-sharing activities (on the ass of the clown who ACTUALLY iced David Palmer) and then says "I can’t believe you just killed that guy!" I (and most Americans) all screamed "Didn’t you watch Seasons One through Four, kid?"

Jerk even incapacitates an FBI Agent and steals his clothes like Han and Luke going after Stormtrooper armor. Yeah, way to prove your innocence... Kill the one schmuck who not only knows the truth but is also WILLING to talk, kidnap your girlfriend’s kid, assault a government agent and hang out with Chloe. Joke, man, why not just throw on a turban and start making videos for Al Jazeera?

So, how is Season 5 going to pan out? Well, every season of 24 kicks off really well, but usually ends up about as orderly as a game of 52 card pickup. I’ll admit that they’ve got the momentum, seeing as how they’re coming off of Season 4, the best since Season 1. As an episode (well, two adjacent episodes in "jam sandwich" fashion) this has both happy feet moments and, of course, the laugh out loud moments of logic staining silliness that even the best seasons are rife with. The way it pans out will depend quite a bit on how they all proceed. If Jack ends up in multiple geographic locations within seconds of each photo-op (without getting caught putting on his Flash leotards), if Tony wakes up from surgery (again) and is immediately large and in charge of CTU before even leaving the recovery room (again), and if no one as hot as Reiko or Elisha bounces onto the small screen, this could be twenty four dumb hours. But then again, if Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow pay a lot more attention to story than to action packed moments of the nifty yet iffy, this one could kick ass like a donkey ridin’ cowboy!

Taken individually as episodes, the January 15, 2006 batch earns a respectable Three and One Half Stars out of Five. There’s nothing like a new Season of 24... Mostly because 24 goes off the deep end so fast each year no other show can keep up with it. It does give me some interesting ideas for predicting the good old future! Hmmmmmm. Maybe 24 will pull a Dallas and later reveal that Season Five was all a dream, then Sue Ellen can wake up and discover Kim and Michelle in the shower TOGETHER, and that both are wonderfully alive and perky. That’s my fantasy anyway... no joke intended.

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Twenty-Four Season 5, Episode 1: Day 5: 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m. (January 15, 2006) + Season 5, Episode 2: Day 5: 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. (January 15, 2006) {Season Premier(s)} reviewed by J.C. Maçek III who is responsible for his own opinions and for the fact that he's taken No Doz to finish this review within 24 hours...
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Season 5, Episode 3: Day 5: 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Season 5, Episode 4: Day 5: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. {Season Premier(s) (night 2)}
(January 16, 2006)

(Original Air Date: 01/16/06)

So this is what would happen if David Brent became the leader of the Free World.

J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
Season 4: Season 3: Season 2: Season 1:
You’d think that a company with an overall conservative agenda like Fox Television would be a little more careful about making Republican Presidents (even fictional Republican Presidents) look like political versions of Alfred E. Neuman. Man, I tell you that Charles Logan is to the make-believe presidency what Gomer Pyle was to the Marine Corps. How many episodes have to go by during which Logan throws an incredibly inept order that kills innocent people only to slowly gaze wide-eyed into the camera in that Steve Urkel "DID I DO THAAAAAAAAAAT?" look that actor Gregory Itzin has by now perfected. Man, you’d think that the make-believe voters would call for a make-believe impeachment by now and get that make-believe president out of the make-believe Oval Office before he make-believe approves a make-believe plan to invade make-believe Iraq.

Of course the innocent people that escape Logan still have Jack Bauer to deal with. If previous seasons are anything to go by you can guess what Jack’s got up his sleeve to serve and protect the people of the USA. Why old Kiefer’s definitive character doesn’t seem quite so bad is all due to the fact that he’s surrounded by a rogues gallery so very nasty that they could out-Gargamel Gargamel himself.

In our third and fourth hour of our fifth day, Back Jauer is pulling a Die Hard in the hidden spaces of the Ontario, California Airport, which is right now overrun by Terrorists (refer to paragraph one). In a set of flipping dominoes which would have every host of "That’s Incredible" singing ratings praise, Jack has entered the Airport, the Robin to his Batman (Brady Corbet’s Derek Huxley) runs in to warn him that terrorists are entering the building, is quite logically nabbed by said terrorists, and puts Whack into the precarious position of running the proverbial gamut alone (didn’t take him long to get back into the game, did it) all because he promised his flavor of the month (Connie Britton’s Diane Huxley) that he’d take care of him.

Meanwhile the president’s wife (Jean Smart) is trying to prove that she’s not crazy and that David Palmer was able to Nostradamus his own death the night before it happened. Everyone still thinks she’s an idiot (after all, she did marry Logan), so they ignore her like most new shows on UPN. A puppet master is controlling everything, including one of the president’s TOP MEN. Chloe, Bill, and Audrey are dancing around the CTU offices like Fred and Ginger. All the while President Logan is wandering around looking as lost as a pre-Scarecrow Dorothy in Oz.

With all these factions playing tug-o-war with the logic of the 24-verse, Jack is soon grabbed by the terrorists and put into the hostage pool. See, if you thought that this whole thing happening on the day of the US/ Russian summit by coincidence, then I got a bridge to sell ya... in London. The treaty is all about fighting terror, and unless the treaty stops right there, a whole bunch of Ontario travelers are going to wish they’d settled for LAX instead.

Might I say the whole rescue attempt is as screwed as a bookshelf in Earthquake territory? Might I add… HELLO, 24?! Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles in the world of Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow. And as that cookie crumbles into chocolaty dust, President Logan looks better suited for an episode of Hee-Haw than 24!

Don’t worry though Kids, help is on the way in the form of a brilliant young Government Agent named Lynn McGill. Well, of course, he IS played by Sean Astin, so it’s all pretty damned relative. Yeah, got a terrorist problem? Send in Samwise Gamgee! Got a national security crisis, RUDY is your man. Day saved… change the name of the show to just plain old "4", because Mikey from The Goonies is here. But I kid old Sean. I could take him a bit more seriously, of course, if he didn’t immediately start up a pissing contest with Bill Buchanan (James Morrison). I’m thinking that either Bill is supposed to be Lynn’s father or his former lover. Because James Morrison doesn’t look a THING like old Gomez Addams, I’m betting on the Brokeback Ontario answer.

Needless to say, as the second day of our fifth day of our twenty-four hour show comes to a close we’ve got a rescue operation worthy of Superbowl level ratings. While this is handled well enough to prove that this is going to pan out to be another pretty damned good season, it also shows some of the Swiss-cheesed scripting that is a mark of this show. But at least they’ve added a little accountability here. If I’m not mistaken, Jack’s still under suspicion of assassinating a former President (mitigating evidence to suggest otherwise doesn’t hold water... this isn’t horseshoes and hand grenades, folks). And the band played on. There’s enough of a promise here to keep it going, especially as just a hint of what’s to come is proof enough that (like each season) the original threat is quite possibly just a ruse for a bigger threat.

Lastly, I’d like to point out that with the addition of Sandrine Holt's Evelyn to the cast, we can all be just a little pacified in relation to the loss of Reiko and Elisha. Now if we could just think of a way to keep the first lady’s makeup artist on as an asset for CTU we’ll be in the proverbial Tall Cotton! Three and One Half Stars out of Five for January 16th’s double episode of 24. Season 5 has the potential to be another good one... we hope. Cross those fingers Ladies and Germs. Now... when can we expect an episode in which Jack teams up with a six-foot anthropomorphic cartoon lion? I’m waiting for THAT one.

To the readers who keep searching for pictures of Reiko on this site...
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Twenty-Four Season 5, Episode 3: Day 5: 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. and Season 5, Episode 4: Day 5: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. {Season Premier(s) (second night)} (January 16, 2006) reviewed by J.C. Maçek III who is responsible for his own opinions and for the fact that he had to drop out of this year's Winter Olympics due to an injury.
Namely, his gut.
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