"Relax, he's really good at this." You said it, Chloe. Jack's back, and all is wrong with the world once again — which means my prime time's finally got the jaw-dropping, plot-twisting, rock-'em-sock-'em roller-coaster ride it's been missing since May. (Sorry, Idol
. I've missed you, too, but deep down you've always known you're just my midweek diversion until that next hour starts ticking away.) Let's sum up, shall we? Former president Palmer? Dead. (I know!) Michelle Dessler? Dead. Tony Almeida? Critical condition. Chloe O'Brian? Still the coolest cranky-pants techie around. Palmer's brother Wayne? Grieving, willing to help Jack, and hot-hot-hot as ever. (Helloooo
, D.B. Woodside
!) First Lady Martha Logan? Nuttier than a fruitcake. President Logan? Complete imbecile. Logan lackey Walt Cummings? Dirty, apparently. And our dear friend Jack Bauer? Being framed for Palmer's assassination, saddled with a wary-yet-ultimately loyal moppet, and trapped inside the Ontario airport with a slew of (ostensibly Russian?) terrorists. And that's just the first two hours.
Damn, I love this show.
Jean Smart, if I may address you directly for just a moment: You. Are. Superb. Crazy-on-the-sidelines has certainly been done on this show before (remember Driscoll's cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs daughter last season?), but the onetime Designing woman somehow manages to bring just enough sass and savvy to the role that I can't wait for her inevitable chance to start kicking some butt. (Mark my words: It's gonna be awesome. I can feel it.) Elsewhere in the newbie report, does imperiled-teen-of-the-season Derek remind anybody else of Boy Meets World's Rider Strong? I must confess that the slight resemblance is enough to make me kinda like him. Oh, and the fact that he ran straight into an obvious deathtrap just to warn Jack. Stupid, yet endearing.
And as far as Jack's concerned, the guy's had some delightfully surly dialogue over his course of Very Bad Days, and I might have a new current favorite: "Let's get something straight, kid. The only reason you're still conscious is because I don't want to carry you. Now get in the van." Jack, ol' buddy ol' pal, promise me you'll remember that tone if and when Kim ever shows up again. No, wait — on second thought, I'd rather you just knock her unconscious on sight. — Chana Shwadlenak
Best plot tonight was the Tom and Lynette story where she wanted him to get a vasectomy after he told her he'd want to possibly have a new family if she died unexpectedly. I was so glad he decided against it. The whole episode was just another opportunity for Doug Savant to shine. That part at the end when he admitted to being unhappy — wow. Chills. Worst plot was the whole Gabrielle-having-posed-for-nude-photos-when-she-was-younger story. Like any husband would remain calm and not care whether the photos were destroyed. Like any wife would disrobe in front of the gardeners. Like any photographer would give back the photos and negatives without asking for money. But worst of all, Carlos pushing the photographer through the glass door after he said Gabi wasn't "Internet pretty"? Yeah, right. At least the other story lines kicked butt. I loved that it was Betty who drove Bree home after her DUI and jail time. How great for Bree to be the one to tell Betty that all the neighbors were talking about her. Best lines were Nicollette's and Felicity's. Edie: "I don't trust friendly women." Lynette: "That's OK. They don't trust you either." And I'm glad Susan has a new love interest after the date from hell with Greg Germann from Ally McBeal. If Dr. Ron looks familiar to you, he was one of the stars of the lackluster NBC version of Coupling, Jay Harrington. However, I will always remember Jay because he came up to me at a karaoke bar after I did my rendition of John Denver's "Annie's Song" and said "Excellent job on your song!" Scout's honor. Interesting ending with Martha Huber's sister, Felicia, being the new nurse for that dude from Shawshank Redemption. I was wondering where she's been hiding. — Dave Anderson
First of all, I was so happy they finally played the opening theme song again. Admit it — you were happy, too. OK, got that out of the way. Tonight was T.R. Knight's best episode since the one with the elevator surgery. I died when George said Meredith's new dog was trying to mount him from behind. More important, how perfect was it that George, the former Mathlete, was the intern assigned to the girl they found out was a hermaphrodite? His whole speech to her about high school being difficult for "anyone who is the least bit different" sure hit home for me since I was always picked last in gym class. When he said "then there's college and then in the real world, you'll find where you fit in," I, of course, cried. And what a great moment it was when the girl said, "You mean — I could be a boy?" and she slowly had a smile on her face, followed by a quiet "Yes." At the end, I thought the mother was going to chastise George when he was cutting the girl's hair, but thankfully, she just grabbed the scissors and took over. Elsewhere, I loved that Cristina got to bond with the pregnant Bailey (why was she flying?) about why Bailey chose to keep her baby, and I also loved when Cristina finally told Burke whether she was going to keep her baby or not. Burke: "I'm not mad. I just wanted to know. I want to know things." Awesome scene. And can you blame that guy awaiting the heart transplant for falling for the irresistible Izzie? It was a nice way for her to get her mind off Alex, and for Alex to be jealous. Also brilliant: Derek saying to Addison, "There is a land called Passive Aggressiva and you are their queen." — Dave Anderson