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TV Recap: 24 – Day 8, Hours 1 and 2

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Finally Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) can really work his 24-hour gig in the best venue of all, New York City. After all, the city never sleeps, and neither does our Jack. Day Eight began Sunday night in a two-hour premiere that started at the 4:00 hour mark and showcased a brand new and literally underground CTU, a divorced President Taylor, and “Grandpa Jack.”

Eight months after his exposure to a lethal bio-weapon, a now healed Jack is relishing his time with his granddaughter Teri in a New York apartment. He is so at peace, he decides to move back to LA with daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) and her husband Stephen later that evening. Because this is 24, we wonder if Jack has ever heard the phrase, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Meanwhile, President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is at the UN, involved in crucial peace talks with President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), leader of the fictitious Islamic Republic of Kamistan. Taylor is impressed with the ethics and efforts of Hassan, and wants to do whatever is possible to ease these negotiations into a signed peace accord between the two countries.

Naturally, something bad is brewing elsewhere, a plot to assassinate Hassan, and as the hour opens we see the “hostiles” (AKA “baddies”) preparing to kill an unidentified target. In fact, it’s a hostile sniper who utters the first “damn it” of the day as his red-hoodied target is temporarily obscured from his line of sight. Shield fans will appreciate that the target is Captain Aceveda (Benito Martinez). And still the questions follow him: “Is he a bad guy or a good guy?”

This time Aceveda is really Victor Aruz, an ex-con who occasionally “worked” with Jack during his Salazar days at CTU. Victor has been wounded but managed to make his way to Jack’s apartment, quickly spilling blood and the news about the intended hit on Hassan. Jack believes him and calls his gal pal Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who is using “percussive maintenance” on her stubborn computer – pounding they keyboard in frustration because she can’t get facial recognition software to work fast enough.

Poor dear girl, she’s suffered the condescension of her FBI counterpart Janis Gold, and now, although WE know she’s got mad skillz, she’s floundering in the New York office of CTU. Not because of her brain, but maddeningly because she was out of the game for a while and machinery and technology has evolved just enough to play havoc with her learning curve. No problem, we have a strong hunch she’ll shine soon.

After some job coaching by newbie Dana Walsh (Katie Sackhoff) Chloe gets the call from Jack, and immediately interrupts her boss, Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson), to transfer the call from Jack. After some hesitation, Hastings arranges for a CTU team to pick up Jack and Victor on a police helipad five blocks away from their current location.

To get the “op” running, a quick confab is needed with Hastings, Dana, head of field ops Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.), and techie whiz Arlo Glass (John Boyd). There is a moment when Arlo asks the rest, “Who is Jack Bauer?” I know, right? You could practically hear the crickets for a moment.

So, CTU dudes are off to help Jack, Chloe is still a-scowling and sub-plots are a-plenty. Cole and Dana are engaged, and Dana is already hiding some sort of secret past from Cole. A man who calls her Jenny has been harassing her lately, saying he knows about her past. This never bodes well. Also, Arlo spies on bikini-clad women with his surveillance drones. A little icky for CTU if you ask me.

At the UN there are more inferences and subterfuge. We see Secretary of State Ethan Kanin (Bob Gunton) shakily taking some pills and he offhandedly remarks to the new Chief of Staff Rob Weiss (Chris Diamantopoulos) that “he’s not dead yet.” And although Hassan seems like an upstanding gent, his brother Farhad (who bears a striking resemblance to Jason Schwartzman) seems a little too passionate. He revoked the press credentials of a Meredith Reed, a pretty blond journalist who is supposed to be profiling Hassan for an article. Farhad suspects that she and his brother the President are having more than a professional relationship. Omar protests that he’s done nothing reckless, but still reminds Farhad that although he is married, Dalia has not been a wife to him in a long time.

I too think he’s playing footsie with the reporter, but that does not mean he is not a good president. Even the beloved David Palmer had a “special” relationship with his female physician. But footsie or no footsie, she’ll be someone to watch.

Because earlier in the hour the baddies were monitoring all sorts of police and emergency frequencies they were able to track Jack and Victor en route to the helipad. After a botched attempt in opening fire on Jack in an alley, the snipers continue the hunt into a nearby building. There was a quiet but tense chase in the stairway until Jack “axed” them nicely to stop with the following. Up on the rooftop, Jack and Victor meet the CTU chopper. Unfortunately the now deceased snipers’ boss, Davros, is on an adjacent roof, and fires a missile at the chopper.

Of course there is a massive glorious explosion. Jack and Cole are okay, but Victor is injured further, and a couple of CTU agents are dead. Jack presses the dying Victor on the assassination information, and only learns that there is someone “inside” who is aiding the assassin. That means that Hassan might have a traitor in his group.

The second hour brings more intel. Dana finds that someone had some secure files were removed from the UN database. She and Chloe work together to find an IP address and yes, it matches to our footsie reporter, Meredith Reed. Quickly they identify her at the UN, and move in just as she was about to meet Hassan. She’s whisked off to CTU; Hassan is hustled away as well. But Chloe is suspicious. In the briefing meeting, she asks if this wasn’t just a little too easy. Hastings and the rest look doubtful and ignore her theory. Jack tries to intercede with Hastings, even shows him some video footage of a man going in and out of Meredith’s apartment. Hastings does not give in.

Chloe nearly begs Jack to help her follow this lead, explaining how she’s always helped him when he asked her to do questionable and risky things. He does not budge. All he can focus on is being with his family. And it’s not till Kim echoes Chloe’s plea to help that Jack decides to stay. Having her blessing must have made the difference.

But his efforts find him handcuffed and searched by CTU security while he is “borrowing” weapons from the armory. Arlo and Dana find that Chloe has hacked into Arlo’s computer, checking archived video footage in an attempt to find the surveillance video of Davro’s cab ride. Hastings orders Cole to detain Jack, but then Jack reminds him of an earlier faux pas involving Hastings’ failure to send enough back up during the chopper pick up. Hastings gives in and Jack gets his bag back, and his weapons, and he asks for Chloe to run ops for this next task.

But we get the advantage of seeing where Davros was headed. He’s welcomed into the Queen’s neighborhood home of a Jim and Maggie, and all of a sudden he’s now called “Mike” and rocks a local accent like he was born there. Maggie offers him coffee while he waits to speak with Jim. And here’s the thing. Maggie tells Mike she’s proud of him and her husband, for being NYPD cops assigned to UN security. Oh man!

“Mikey” asks Jim to trade shifts with him, so Mike would work tonight’s shift at the UN, and Jim would work the next morning. But Jim can’t, there’s a school meeting arranged in the morning for their son. Bummer. This does not bother Mike though, as he suddenly pulls a gun on Jim while trading his Queen’s accent for his native Russian. He directs Jim to duct tape Maggie’s mouth. Jim does so, and then Jim asks again about making the call to trade shifts. Jim protests – and then we see that Davros must have taken a correspondence course at the Jack Bauer School of Coercion. He promptly shoots Maggie in the thigh, and repeats his question.

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