I have not sat down to do the math, but I think it has been 8 years since FOX ran a new episode of "24." Last night, they finally relented and gave us a 2-hour sneak preview of the upcoming Season 7 (which begins in January, Dammit!). Between the hours of 8:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M. last night, I had no clue what the heck was going on- there was a deflated soccer ball, a sarong, a claymore landmine, some English dude that sounded Irish but was supposed to be an old American buddy of Jack's, and some skinny kid hooked on pain pills, getting the Jimmy Hoffa special at the end.
Seriously, what the heck was "24: Redemption" about? In a vacuum, this is a very strange "movie." But despite it being barely comprehensible, I loved every earth-tone minute of this show. Why? Because last night was like running into an old flame you hadn't seen in years. The second you see that person, you go "Oh yeah, now I remember!" Afford me some wiggle-room here on the obvious homoerotic corner I've painted myself into, but seeing Jack Bauer carrying on in the fictitious African nation of Sengala was a moment of revelation- Jack Bauer lives, and so does "24."
While Sutherland is by far the best thing about this show, its weakest elements are still nagging. "24" cannot write politics. I'm sorry, but the Noah Daniels/Alison Taylor stuff was dreadful. And even though it was only a few minutes total, their scenes were grinding and painful to sit through. Gone are the days of David Palmer and his charismatic handling of his two-faced First Lady. Now, we get people sipping the obligatory scotch and talking in hushed tones about absolutely NOTHING. I drink scotch. Scotch is my friend. You, "24" have no clue what to do with scotch.
Other notes: Gil Bellows was pretty good as the morally ambiguous Embassy dude with the thick glasses. I wear thick glasses myself, so I identified with his difficult choices. And I think he wanted to take up the lady on her offer to do "anything" to let her into the Embassy (a wacky moment only "24" could dare to seriously portray). As for Jon Voight... well, there are 2 Jon Voights, I've realized: There's the one that eats snakes and the one that lies on his taxes. While it would have been cool to get the "Anaconda" Voight for "24" I had a feeling we would see the "Enemy of the State" version instead. Too bad... but I'll take any Voight they can spare us.
We got to see a lot of "The Jack Sack" last night. And how about his new friend, "The Jack Satchel"? That bag can hold everything! Bauer looked like a surfer dude walking home from Trader Joe's after doing a week's worth of grocery shopping. But that's all gravy. The gap between last season's emotional breakdown and this year's newly-energized ass-kicking machine Bauer was accomplished last night. Thank you for the 2 additional hours of Bauer. Now, let's bring on the new season.