(My review of the first half of Day One can be found by clicking HERE)
After a stressful twelve hours it’s safe to say Jack Bauer and his family retire to their home, have a nice cuppa and go to sleep peacefully… What’s that? The show’s called “24”? Oh, in that case, they’re in for second course of twelve hours full of terrorist plots and kidnappings! Let’s take a look at how Day One ends, shall we?
With his family back and safe Jack is confronted with accusations of being in on the attempt at David Palmer’s life, but he soon convinces everyone of the opposite, especially when the masterminds behind the whole incident turn out to have a keen interest in wanting both Palmer AND Bauer dead…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“My daughter has been kidnapped again and I’ve already been sent to kill you once today, but I promise you, I’m not here to hurt you.” “Fine, security, leave us.”
The big reveal in the early parts of this half of the series revolve around who was behind the attempted hit on Palmer and why they specifically wanted to use Jack Bauer to do it, and it turns out it was all due to a covert mission from two years prior titled “Operation: Nightfall” that saw Palmer okay the op. and Jack carry it out. During the operation terrorist Victor Drazen was killed alongside his wife and young daughter, and his two sons Andre and Alexis Drazen (Zeljko Ivanek and Misha Collins, respectively) are the ones behind this plot, to get revenge on those who took their family away… but is there more to it? Well, they soon captur Alexis during a really tense undercover situation after finding out he was sleeping with a member of Palmer’s inner circle, and although it went wrong when the woman in question stabbed Alexis out of anger and fear rather than putting a tracker on him, they still find out about a contact he was set to meet. Jack meets that contact and although the person ends up dead thanks to a CTU member who Jack had wronged a good friend of in the past being on sniper duty, they get an address where the contact was supposed to cut the electricity to. Long winded, but they do have to stretch the plot over 12 hours here, so…
Jack eventually finds what turns out to be an off-the-books prison facility at where the power was due to be cut off and wouldn’t you know it a new prisoner was flown in and it turns out to be Victor Drazen (Dennis Hopper), alive after all. With a slightly altered plan Andre and his hired men break into the prison and both free Victor and capture Jack, eventually letting him go in exchange for Alexis, unaware of just how near-death he was, but with the caveat that they have his daughter held hostage… again. This leads to another “use Jack to assassinate David Palmer” story where Jack once again saves the Senator rather than kills him, but pretends he accomplished his mission in order to get to his daughter, though thanks to a second CTU mole they find out Jack’s lying. This is where the big reveal happens: the second CTU plant is none other than Nina Myers, the agent who had been directly helping Jack the whole time and even been saved by Jack earlier in the season, in fact Jack trusts her so much its only her he shared the information on a second mole with, ironically. Kim Bauer manages to escape so the terrorists tell Nina to tell Jack his daughter is dead to draw him out in the open…
Pappa Drazen points a gun a Jack, a rare thing…. wait, no, hang on, it may happen one or more times throughout the rest of the show.
As promised Jack does lose it and attacks the remaining Drazens head on, managing to kill them with only one minor wound, full on 80s/90s action movie style. He asks to see Kim’s body and that’s when he finds out that Nina lied to him, and the only reason she’d do that is if she was the mole. Nina desperately tries to make her escape from CTU before the ball drops, but is sadly spotted burning her files and speaking German by Jack’s wife Teri. Jack arrives in time to stop Nina’s car from escaping and then hugs his daughter before searching for Teri, only to find her dead. They lay it on a bit thick with some sentimental flashbacks playing in separate screens as he cradles her, but it’s still an emotionally impactful moment.
There are some other good moments sprinkled across these hours. Palmer’s wife Sherry gets worse and worse in her arrogance and the stuff she’s willing to do to keep her future position in the White House safe, and while a lot of it is really annoying, it’s so satisfying to see David figure them out and outsmart her, the final scene of him basically telling her that he doesn’t want to see her again and her White House dreams are dead is the ultimate air-punching moment that makes all the anger towards the fictional character feel justified. Tony Almeida is put in some awkward situations by CTU boss George Mason (Xander Berkeley) and as per usual sarcastically “Yeah”-s his way through them, and before the big reveal Nina and her struggles juggling everything is good, though weird the second time knowing the truth!
Kim in her natural habitat: kidnapped.
So once again the bad falls on Kim and Teri Bauer. They’re in a safe house to start with and Teri starts acting like a bitch to Nina after sussing out she slept with Jack when he and Teri were separated, then the safe house is hit causing the two Bauer girls to go the run. The car crashes and Teri thinks Kim died in the blast so collapses and wakes with amnesia (yes, really) while Kim ends up going to a friend who was involved in the kidnapping of her and her mother than morning (again, yes, really) and ends up arrested during a drug bust. Teri regains her memory and is brought back to CTU to eventually be killed, while Kim, as mentioned, is re-kidnapped. None of this was remotely interesting, and the fact they added a twist that Teri is pregnant retroactively feels like a bit of a scummy way to make the impact of her death have more… well, impact. One of the only things I remembered about the first two seasons of 24 is how annoying Kim Bauer was and how uninteresting her subplots were, and I can say I was definitely remembering right for Season 1 anyway!
It’s funny, in a sort of not very funny cynical way, that with all this crazy action movie stuff going on the one thing I really didn’t buy was when David Palmer made a speech where he admitted in public that his son had killed someone while protecting his sister from rape and that was being used to blackmail him and his son to cover up something else and that he didn’t know this was going on until recently, and it made his opinion in the polls skyrocket. I had to agree with now-classic Presidential advisor Mike Novak (Jude Ciccolella) that as much as it might have been the right thing to do, it should have ended his Presidential ambition right there! Nice to see a world where an honest politician was voted in for being such a nice guy, but… yeah. I’d find it easier to believe one man could take out an entire harbour full of armed thugs with only a scratch.
The ultimate shock reveal! (plus the old style clock from the pre-upgrade days. Weird!)
24’s first set of twenty-four hours ends like it began, with some great action, tense scenes of undercover work, the threat of an unknown mole and some fun twists, but also features a lot of really underwhelming side-stories with the Bauer girls that can drag some episodes down a peg or two. Still, a good watch overall, and it’s amazing how much they got right the first time, even if it’ll be a while until they perfect the formula.