Kiefer has returned. So has Potato Face. So has Keeler, the new POTUS. But everyone else is new. Kiefer's no longer working at CTU, since he got fired for being an ex-junkie. Now he's got a job where nobody cares about that. Yes, he's a top aide to Secretary of Defense William Devane. And now he's doing something even more dangerous than heroin on company time; he's doing the boss's daughter in secret. Remarkably enough, his new gig puts him in a position to be at CTU on The Morning In Question, where he butts heads with Driscoll, the new CTU boss, just as the agency is dealing with a train bombing/wanted terrorist/potential major internet attack. Kiefer helps nab the terrorist remotely, which apparently reawakens his jones for counter-terrorist activity. Meanwhile, the guy who alerted CTU to the internet threat (who happens to be a hacker friend of Potato Face) is on the run from Very Serious People who are connected to everything. Including this year's main terrorists, who appear to be taking the form of an entire Muslim family. Yeah, I know. Interrogating the suspect he helped arrest is taking too long for Kiefer, so he starts cracking skulls and shattering femurs. Clearly, the show's protagonist is yet again present. He finds out what's going on in time to learn that Devane is the target, but too late to prevent anything. While Kiefer listens helplessly on the phone, heavily armed terrorists swarm over Devane's motorcade and bundle him and his daughter into a van, and it's awesome. This show really does urban paramilitary engagements a lot better than it has any right to. In any case, this Bauer person that Kiefer Sutherland has been playing on this series for several years is once again in the house. If only there were a snappier way to say that.
For you skeptics who have trouble believing all the stuff that happens in twenty-four hours on this show, take a look at real life, where an entire sixth of a network television season can air in just twenty-six hours. Yes, the poobahs at 24 or at Fox or something decided, hey, let's run the first four episodes in two days. Then, somehow, they heard my head exploding all the way from Minneapolis. And they took pity upon your humble recapper, and arranged to have a DVD of what purports to be the first twenty-four minutes of the season premiere included in my copy of Entertainment Weekly, two weeks in advance. Thanks for the head start, guys. Now, I do realize that there may be some minor differences between what's on the preview DVD and what actually gets aired. The extent to which I do not care is epic.
So I heard there were going to be some big changes on the show this season. Most of the cast is gone, Kiefer's no longer working at CTU, and he's even in a relationship now. Let's sit back and watch the intimate, emotional, living-room drama that this show has no doubt become, shall we? Whoops -- explicit violence warning. So much for that. I wonder how many Arrested Development fans tuned in, saw that, and thought, just for a second, "Awesome!"
A commuter train rolls through the predawn darkness. To the disappointment of many viewers, it does not disappear into a tunnel when Kiefer Sutherland's name flashes on the screen. In the dining car, two men look up nervously as a third man enters the car. A dark-haired man tightens his grip on the briefcase that's already handcuffed to his wrist, while a blond man at a separate table reaches into his inside coat pocket to grasp what looks like a gun butt. The new arrival sits down at yet another table. The other two men relax. Why not just stand up and shout, "We are not couriers transporting something very valuable and/or secret and/or dangerous. By commuter train." Briefcase Man peeks out the window and checks his watch.
Up in the front of the train, the engineer sips his coffee and looks up just in time to spot a pickup truck parked across the tracks. He hits the brakes, but you know it's going to be way too late. It's chaos in the dining car as everyone jerks forward, and Briefcase Man leaps to his feet. The truck must be loaded with explosives, because when the train hits it a mighty blast lights up the night, as well as the masked and helmeted face of a figure on a dirt bike. The biker, who is not NakedMandy, guns his ride to the crash site, where people are screaming, train cars are burning on their sides, and a crippled Briefcase Man is trying to crawl away across the ground. As post-crash scenes go, it's not exactly Lost. NotMandy curiously approaches a woman whose entire lower half is under a train car, but who is still able to beg him for help. Anyhow, NotMandy is more interested in Briefcase Man, whom he shoots once in the chest, and relieves of his burden using a pair of bolt-cutters in his messenger bag. The briefcase goes in the bag and the new Briefcase Man revs his bike off into the sunrise. I don't know about that. Obviously it worked out okay for NotMandy this time, but if you really want to get a particular item off of a moving train that badly, blowing up the whole train seems a little iffy.
And then we're at CTU, which is apparently being used as the set of a shampoo commercial, judging by the looks of the brunette model showing off her kicky, above-the-knee skirt as she walks across the floor. No, wait -- she seems to belong there. Do I call her Bitchelle 2.0? Because Bitchelle was originally Nina 2.0, which would actually make this woman Nina 3.0. Screw it, I'm calling her Special Agent Breck. And guess who's back? None other than Potato Face, who comes up to Special Agent Breck and tells her to drop what she's doing and get on something else. Apparently Potato Face has pissed off somebody in the wardrobe department, because they've put her in this lavender blouse with all the material gathered in the front along a ventral seam. Hey, if you're going to wear the same unattractive clothes all season, why not make them uncomfortable as well? Potato Face expositions that a Turkish terrorist may be in Los Angeles. She pulls up a computer photo of a bald, vaguely Middle-Eastern-looking guy. Special Agent Breck puts two and iki together and mentions that some "chatter" indicated that a terror group out of Ankara was going to strike at 8:00 AM on the East Coast, but it's already after 10:00 there. Potato Face asks what if they got the target wrong and it's on the West Coast? Special Agent Breck obviouses that it'll happen within the hour. Also, it may convince the international anti-terror community to get into the habit of using Greenwich Mean Time or something. Potato Face starts to take the news to whomever is in charge of CTU this hour, who appears to be someone named Driscoll. Special Agent Breck offers to do it for her, but Potato Face tells her to quit trying to be "Driscoll's pet" and flounces off. I guess that when she's wearing that shirt she's got to find other ways to project. Special Agent Breck mildly rolls her eyes as if she's already used to Potato Face's bullshit.