The seventh season of 24 is one of the most hyped television events of the mid-season, and with great hype comes great expectations. To say 24 is beyond the honeymoon phase with fans and critics is an understatement. Even the most dedicated Bauer zealot was tearing into season 6 by the time it was all over — allegations in the press were that Kiefer Sutherland’s Bauer had finally met an enemy he couldn’t defeat: viewer apathy. While a lot of this is just hyperbole for sure, 24 does need to make a strong showing to recapture it’s fan base and silence entertainment writers who have already written the show off. So did it? We have the answers ahead.
Watching the first 4 hours of 24 proved to be a nostalgic experience. This seventh day has been anticipated to be some sort of reboot for the series — that assumption based largely on the changes forecast by the network themselves: Jack Bauer standing trial for torture, the dissolution of the CTU, the involvement of the FBI in the central plot. After watching the first four episodes, however, you get the sense that all of these factors are merely overarching plot elements, rather than signals of a new beginning.
As usual, Jack has a black cloud hanging over his fate from the beginning, this time in the form of a senator (Played by Robocop’s Kurtwood Smith) intent on charging Bauer with torture charges. Surprisingly, the show takes the politically incorrect maneuver of having Bauer be unapologetic. Yeah, he tortures — so what. He also saves lives, lots of them, and the enemy isn’t exactly playing nice either. You can almost hear a little cheer in the background when Bauer defiantly tells the senators that he doesn’t regret anything he’s done.
So, yeah — Bauer is as hardcore as ever. At first he is tempered by his FBI handlers, particularly FBI Agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) — but it isn’t long before they start playing around with Bauer’s extreme tactics themselves.
The drama of the day revolves around a technology theft being used by an African warlord to strong arm the US into backing off a military intervention. The device allows the user to hack through the nations security firewall and gain control of all vital systems. The man supplying the hardware is none other than Tony Almeida.
Over the first four episodes 24 manages to do exactly what it does best, set up a scenario you think you have squared away and precede to totally scramble your brain. Good guys are bad guys, bad guys are good guys, and all the while there is a an layer of plot pulsing just outside of your range of understanding — an indication that even the messed up, twisty version of what you thought you knew is about to be turned upside down itself.
At the beginning of the four episodes I was looking for change, by the end of it I was glad that — after all the hype — nothing had changed at all. 24 Day seven is old-school Jack Bauer showing the new-school how it’s done.