Belated "24" spoilers coming right up...
Let's begin at the obvious love-it-or-hate-it twist: Evil Bluetooth Man, the mastermind behind all of last season's mayhem, is Jack's brother? Um... uh... really? They're going there? Ooookay...
This obviously wasn't something that was planned last year, any more than I believe that the writers knew President Logan was evil any more than a month before they did that script. For the last few years, they've only been working a few weeks ahead at any given moment, nevermind saving stuff for later seasons. I can't find the link off-hand, but I remember Howard Gordon doing an interview after the spring finale where he was asked what happened to Bluetooth and admitted that they just forgot about him.
Do I think it's silly? Yes. Did I groan when they revealed it? Absolutely. But here's the thing: I had almost the exact same reaction to the Logan reveal, and while I never felt like the show explained or earned the twist, I learned to live with it, because Gregory Itzin was such a good actor and because the writers got so much mileage out of the twist. Paul McCrane is also a terrific actor, and while I think the Evil Brother gimmick is even cheesier than Evil President, I expect McCrane and Kiefer to really sink their teeths into this stuff. The genius of "24," as I've said so often in the past, is that it never stops moving, and the bad ideas can be left behind quickly. We forgave them for the amnesia, and the cougar, and that thing with Chase and Chloe and the baby that I never saw in season three but heard about later, and whether this latest idea works or not, the show is very quickly going to be on to five or ten others. We're only at episode five and already we seem to have abandoned Jack Bauer, Reluctant Torturer. Time to move on to somthing else. It's what makes the show fun, and it's what arguably makes it shark-proof.
Since I'm coming so late to the party, others have already commented on the possible Rocket Romano vs. The Helicopter shout-out, as well as the probability that McCrane and Rena Sofer's son is really Jack's.
I'm disappointed that Assad is being shipped off to Washington, as that will A)take him out of action for at least four episodes, and B)probably eliminate any future Jack/Assad team-ups. I'm intrigued by how the Peter MacNichol character was written far more sympathetically this week; maybe he's not this year's token Disloyal Presidential Subordinate. And I continue to love Bill Buchanan's absolutely deadpan reactions to whatever crazy stuff Jack tells him each week. "I thought you were out." "I'm back in." "Um, okay."
What did everybody else think?