Kiefer submits to about five minutes of questioning from that Senate subcommittee we've been hearing about for the past year, before the FBI, in the person of Agent Renee Walker, swoops in and plucks him out. This is because a shadowy "crew" has just nabbed a high-level Homeland Security software engineer to help put together some high-tech hacking device. Kiefer's not feeling too cooperative, until the mercifully early revelation that one of the evil masterminds is none other than Tony Almeida himself, fully alive and fully evil.
Meanwhile, our old buddy General Juma is stacking up the corpses pretty high back in Sangala, and new president Allison Taylor is trying to organize an American intervention, against substantial resistance. At the same time, her husband tries to get a weaselly reporter to quash an anti-invasion story while secretly paying a private eye to look into the alleged suicide of their son, Roger, who we met in "Redemption."
Working at the FBI office (which has a different décor from CTU, but a familiar plenitude of borderline personalities), Kiefer quickly helps the Feds find a lead -- a shady character named Schechter with whom both he and Tony have history from their CTU days. Just when Kiefer gets Schechter to agree to talk by falling back on some of the old methods that landed him in front of a subcommittee in the first place, Schechter takes two sniper bullets in the chest. Seconds later, Kiefer gets a phone call from Tony telling him to stay away. Which should totally work, right? And then Tony switches gears, using that device to hack into air traffic control so he can prepare to remotely crash a passenger jet. Looks like it's on.
Oh, I do love these advance screeners that Fox keeps sending me. While you're reading this in the second week of January, which is normally the depths of my four-cap carpal tunnel nightmare panic hellride, I'm taking my leisurely time writing this on what is, for me, the week of Christmas. One of the best gifts I got. Let's see if I feel the same way after watching it.
I do have high hopes for this, the seventh season. Part of that is superstition, as the odd-numbered seasons tend to be the good ones. But it's also because for the first time, the writers have had the time to plan out the whole season in advance, like I've been after them to do for years. And if it doesn't hold up, this year there's no excuse.
One other thing: as a little experiment, and since I've never had time to do this before, I'm fully recapping each hour before even watching the next one. What this means for you is that each recap will be written from a completely unspoiled perspective. All I'm going to be doing after finishing all four hours will be going back to fix the occasional typo [sic].No previouslies in the first hour, even though they had a perfectly good two-hour prequel to draw on. We start with the simple statement that the following takes place between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. Events occur, like the man said, in real time.
The very first event is a dramatic pan down from the Capitol dome in Washington D.C., to one of the roads leading away from it. On that road is a specifically a black station wagon. Inside it, a bespectacled John Billingsley (Phlox from Enterprise) is chauffeuring his tween daughter to school and telling her to knock off the texting already. After she puts her phone away, his own cell rings, and he answers it. "How come you get to talk on the phone?" she demands. "That's not fair." "Well, life's not fair," he responds. Which is one of those parent sayings I promised myself I'd never say. The good news is I haven't yet, but the bad news is my son is only four. Life continues to be unfair, as Billingsley can't hear anyone on the other end of the line. While Billingsley's trying to get someone to answer him, and his daughter is pouting out the back passenger-side window, we can see through the other back window that a black van is about run a red light and t-bone them at full-speed. Which it does, shattering the window. It's really quite impressive, shot from inside the car like in Adaptation or those "Holy sh--" Volkswagen commercials from a few years back, made all the more jarring by the presence of a young girl in the shot being yanked violently sideways by the impact. The car spins to a stop in the middle of the intersection. Father and daughter are badly shaken but, but then another van rams them from behind, sending them crunching right up on top of a parked car. Both vans stop and disgorge masked men with assault rifles, one of whom hops on top of a cab and fires a few rounds to disperse the gathering crowd. As Billingsley and his daughter scream at each other in increasing panic, his door is pried open and he's cut loose from his seatbelt, so he can be bundled into the back of one of the two vans, both of which burn rubber out of there. This has all been so riveting that I've completely spaced on reading the names of the actors in the credits until now, when the name "Carlos Bernard" appears. Oh, don't act like you didn't know. In the back of one of the vans, Billingsley begs his captors, "Please don't hurt my daughter. I've got money." One of the masked men, whose mask can't hide a familiar voice or even more familiar patch of distinctive facial hair, calmly responds, "We don't want your money, Mr. Latham. We just want you to fix something for us."