There’s an assumption we make as 24 fans that the whole point of the show is that each season takes place in the midst of a national or international catastrophe that only Jack Bauer can fix, a crisis which will require exactly 24 hours of Jack’s time, not 23 and certainly not 26.

On Monday (April 9), though, an odd thing seems to have happened: Jack Bauer appears to have completed all of his major objectives for the season and he seems to have saved the day in record time, in only 17 hours. Given that it’s been an exhausting day and given that he did just complete 18 months in a Chinese prison, you’d think that Jack could just spend his bonus seven hours taking a nap, eating several Double-Doubles from the nearest In-n-Out or perhaps giving Kim a call, just to make sure the cougars haven’t attacked lately. But noooo… As Monday night’s episode ended, Jack was gearing up for a whole new (albeit tangentially related) adventure, though even he has to have a hunch that this one will be resolved in seven hours.

[Here come the spoilers. Duck!]

Monday featured an awful lot of the things that fans love from 24, particularly fans who have felt that the past month or so has been lacking in the proper quantities of Bauer-administered butt-kicking. After taking some rare in-season recuperation, Jack was back this week. He faked his own execution, buried the latest batch of disposable CTU back-up agents, stowed away at the bottom of a sanitation truck, stormed a warehouse full of terrorists without support or proper Intel and finally engaged in a classic brawl with the season’s alleged Big Bad, Fayed. At the end of a knock-down, drag-out fight that featured guns, fists, wrenches, knees and chains, we’d reached a strange impasse. President Palmer avoided bombing Anonymous Middle Eastern Nation #531. Fayed’s dead. The rogue nukes are all under CTU control.

Even Jack looked perplexed. I half expected him to turn to the camera like Robert Redford’s character at the end of The Candidate and say, "What do we do now?"

Fortunately, Mike Doyle got a call, a call intended for Jack. Who else? On the other end? Kim Raver, saying that with The Nine officially deceased (R.I.P.) Audrey Rains can come out to play. And who’s got her? The Chinese, duh.

And we’re off on the 24 mini-season.

Other quick thoughts on Monday’s episode:

  • Glad to see 24 keeping up its reliable "Ends justify the means" ideology. President Palmer learned a valuable lesson that it isn’t necessary to actually nuke foreign nations. You just have to totally tell them you’re going to nuke them and then yell "Psyche!" really loudly at the last second, because games of atomic chicken are the only way to get Middle Easterners to tell the truth. Let us now take a minute to ponder the Cuban Missile Crisis if JFK had followed the President Palmer Doctrine.
  • No mention of President Logan. No mention of Daddy Bauer. Instead, however, we got the first reference in months to Wallid. I guess that’s something. Good ol’ Wallid. I hope Harry Lennix was able to buy himself a new car or something.
  • Milo getting jealous and testy with Nadia because she asked after Mike Doyle’s well-being? Can I hear from a single person out there who thinks that’s an interesting subplot?

    Thoughts on this week’s episode and where it looks like the season is going from here?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg