TV Review: 24 – 1:00-2:00 AM

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“24” airs 9/8c Monday nights on Fox

Synopsis: Jack and Renee get the go-ahead from President Taylor to run a covert operation utilizing Tony on Starkwood’s headquarters, while Jonas Hodges meets with the President to discuss his requests. And…hello Kim Bauer!

Review: “I am dying. I can handle it. You’ve put in front of me the one thing, the one thing that’s gonna make this unbearable.” That pretty much sums up Jack and Kim’s (Elisha Cuthbert) relationship. But for those of you who are new to “24” this year let’s do a quick re-cap: Season One began with Kim getting kidnapped and Jack juggling rescuing her with having to save the future President. That season ends with Jack’s wife and Kim’s mother, Teri, being killed by Jack’s arch-enemy Nina Myers; Jack blames himself for everything. Season Two, Kim gets embroiled in a startling number of chaotic events (including a sequence where Jack has to instruct Kim how to kill a man over the phone), and for the first time Jack has to tell his daughter that he’s dying – sacrificing himself to set off a bomb in the desert (only to be saved by George Mason at the last second). Season Three, Kim is working at CTU and is dating Jack’s partner Chase. She has a few more meaningless run-ins, but basically the season ends with Jack having to cut off his daughter’s boyfriend’s hand. Season Four, Elisha Cuthbert is gone but during the course of the season we learn things aren’t terribly good between he and Kim. Jack has to fake his own death and leave the country. He can’t tell his daughter. Season Five, Kim comes back after learning her father is alive and is so shaken she needs the accompaniment of her therapist. In the two hours they’re together, Jack almost gets her killed and she has to watch several people at CTU die from a poisonous gas. Things end badly and by the end of the day Jack is kidnapped by the Chinese so there’s no time to work things out. Season Six saw very little in the way of Jack-Kim development because Jack was too busy killing his father and brother, while flirting with his brother’s wife whose child looks shockingly like Jack. But here we are. The Jack-Kim relationship has always been the heart of the series, and they’ve kept Elisha Cuthbert away for a few reasons: A.) Having Kim around makes Jack behave more rationally (unless she’s in danger, which is often), B.) Cuthbert thought she would have a bigger career away from “24” (which hasn’t happened), and C.) Because Cuthbert is not the strongest actress, implying how guilty Jack feels is more powerful by her absence. So bringing back Kim now is a great move. Jack and her will get to iron out their differences, she may even save his life, and she won’t be around long enough to be attacked by any wild cougars or tattooed boyfriends. Or maybe they’ll have one scene together and Jack will be stubborn and sad. Whatever.

As for the rest of the episode, it’s ok. I think Hodges plan to try and bully President Taylor was a stupid idea and I think Tony was able to blow up the rockets a little too easily. Of course, as is the case for most seasons of “24”, before the episode is over we see our true villain! Gotta say I didn’t see that one coming.

I do have to give extra props to Keifer Sutherland’s performance. His scene with Kim could’ve devolved into major melodrama, but Sutherland doesn’t let that happen. He gives out some raw emotion. Say what you will about Cuthbert’s performance or Kim as a character, but she’s really always brought the best out of Keifer. Think back to Season One when Nina tells Jack that Kim is dead to set him off. Boy, does it. At the mere mention of her death, even though it’s unproved, Jack ends up killing Dennis Hopper’s entire gang. Kim is the driving force behind Jack: She can make him crumble on moment; make him uber-badass the next.

What did you think of this week’s episode of 24?