Leading up to the series premiere of "Designated Survivor," TV fans everywhere were hyped for the return of Jack Bauer to the small-screen. Sure, he was to be disguised as the unprepared -- and mild mannered (those glasses, though) -- President Tom Kirkman.
Yet, every article that went up about ABC's new series had a "24"-related headline or Jack Bauer-style quip -- we did it too -- hailing the new series as Bauer's return! He was with us once again to reprise his role as America's one true hero. But alas, Jack Bauer is merely a fictional character and Kiefer Sutherland can't always bite a man's jugular out, just to chock it up to a hard day's work.
After a strong premiere, our interest in "Designated Survivor" began dwindling. Suffice it to say, with a "24" spinoff looming on the horizon at FOX, thoughts began to surface in our heads that Sutherland should've waited a bit longer before taking on a different series role. As selfish as that idea is, sometimes fans need to shake off their firm grasp of one iconic character before trying to engage with another. Especially if those two characters have the same face.
It's a similar issue we've had with another ABC series: "Conviction." Sure, an actor's got to work. And we don't fault Hayley Atwell, Kiefer Sutherland or anyone else for that matter, on hunting for the next job. All we're saying here is, whether it's Jack Bauer or Agent Carter, fans need some time to grieve.
That being said, it looks like "Designated Survivor" may finally be showing its teeth. In Wednesday's (Oct. 12) episode, titled "The Enemy," not only does Kirkman step out from under that rain cloud of uncertainty and doubt that has been following him since the pilot episode, he does so with some surprising assertiveness.
Maybe President Kirkman needs to go without his glasses for the rest of the season because as soon as he takes them off, the smackdown cometh. Not only does he fire General Cochrane (Kevin McNally), he surprises everyone by arresting Governor Royce (Michael Gaston) for treason. Oh, and then he decides to go to war. Talk about a 360!
Throughout his TV tenure, Jack Bauer has received far worse punishments -- getting fired and going to prison is old hat for Jack -- but it's an interesting exercise to watch Kiefer take on this role. He's practically flipping the morals and actions of his previous character to take charge of America, instead of operating as an unpredictable rogue in the country's shadows.
If you haven't been able to tell by now, we miss CTU's finest agent with all our hearts. It may have taken its sweet time for "Designated Survivor" to grow some balls -- it is ABC, after all -- but we're starting to have faith that Tom Kirkman won't simply be a doormat president... even if there isn't any jugular biting in the show's foreseeable future.
"Designated Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.