"We've done so many secret things over the years in the name of protecting this country, we have created two worlds. Ours and the people we have promised to protect " - Jack Bauer

Sigh. There is nothing like that great feeling of a brand new season of 24. Jack Bauer is finally back after an 18 month hiatus. The 24 TV Movie Redemption helps set up the premiere, and is recommended prior to watching season 7. So, was it worth the wait?

Before we delve into part one of the four hour premiere, why don't we take a look at an article that was written awhile back that established some guidelines to help make season 7 successful.

Essentially, 24 needs to avoid the pitfalls that plagued last season, which were rehashed story lines and subplots. Some of them include:
- The Mole/Fake Mole - Come on already with an agency being compromised!!
- The Power Trip - Newly appointed person goes power hungry and is void of logic.
- Overthrowing the President
- Important Government aid being manipulated
- The Important Person/Witness gets assassinated
- Bad CGI
- Storylines/Subplots left unexplored/unexplained

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Obviously, there was some concern after season 6, which seemed to run out of steam right around the half-way point and easily ended up being the worst season of 24. The question that was raised afterwards was, has the show run its course? You can only work with so much in a real-time format. It also does not help that co-creator Joel Surnow has left she show, but from what we see in this premiere, 24 still may have some legs left.

The story starts off four years after season 6, with Jack Bauer being at a Congressional hearing for his questionable actions during his CTU days. Shooting terrorist's knee caps off, pretending to kill their families, fun stuff like that. Congress is pretty peeved and they view Bauer's method of going and above and beyond protocol to get results as a violation of basic ethics and good moral standing. Not only did he break the rules, but Jack isn't remorseful in the slightest. He quickly gets pulled away though when FBI Agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) informs the court Bauer is needed in a matter of national security. They should just have a signal for him at this point, sort of like the Bat signal.

Agent Walker informs Bauer that his buddy Tony Almeida is alive and well, but on the wrong side of the law. Walker obviously thinks that Bauer will be a huge asset on tracking him down. As a viewer, this is extremely difficult to swallow. How can a man so close to Bauer for so long, fake his death when we clearly saw Christopher Henderson stick a poisoned needle in his neck, and carried out of CTU in a body bag? If Henderson was in on Tony's death, than Tony contributed to the deaths of his own wife, as well as President Palmer. What is Tony's motive for turning into a terrorist and what does he hope to gain? It obviously was heartbreaking when Michelle died in that blast, so are we supposed to believe that Tony somehow faked his own death, and has turned up 3 years later to wreak havoc as a terrorist solely motivated by his late wife? Does he not know that he will have to face the wrath of Bauer at some point? How does Tony still have contacts that want to help him on both sides of the law? There are many questions to be answered with his storyline and the writers better have done their homework to make this believable. Carlos Bernard definitely seems to possess the ability to turn Tony into a villain, but the question that remains to be seen is why? How can the writers pull this off without just looking like the obvious, a tactic to bring back fans they angered after season 6?

FBI Agent Larry Moss (Jeffrey Nordling) is Renee's boss and is apprehensive about approaching Bauer in the first place. He is not as gung ho on his dislike for Bauer as say, George Mason, but he knows of Bauer's past through his file and lives by a very different ethical code. Moss even tells Bauer "We are the FBI, not CTU". The dynamic between Moss and Bauer could become interesting down the line.

The political angle is woven with female president Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). Her plate seems full from the get go as she has to balance this emerging national security threat with Tony, the rising conflict in Sengala, and the mysterious death of her son. First man Henry Taylor seems to be digging in the past for an explanation on their son's suicide, in which he believes foul play was somehow involved.

FBI computer tech Janis Gold (Janeane Garofalo) is quirky and sarcastic, and her character has the potential to bring something 24 really hasn't had before: a real sense of humor. In her brief scenes, Janis is working at FBI head quarters where we observe that she is awkward and witty and could be a good change of pace with everything else going on in the show. She isn't nearly as awkward as Chloe, and seems to have more than a single expression on her face throughout the episode. The last thing we want to see though is her bicker with co-workers, something that is annoying by now and a presence in 24 since season 1.

While this two hour block may have not been as strong as season 6, that may not be such a bad thing. There are a handful of plots at work, and the end of the episode surprises us with the capture of Tony Almeida, who went down rather easily. The president's staff seems too interested in this Sengala situation and reeks of some shady back door deal. As we saw in 24: Redemption, one of the president's son's friends found some confidential information on Sengela and was murdered for it. Prior to his death, he talked to Roger Taylor, President Allison's son. We now know that Roger mysteriously committed suicide. It definitely seems like the writers have some time of season long plan on how this will all work out, and it is structured quite nicely in these first two episodes. What isn't so nice is a key suspect being killed just prior to questioning and a possible mole in the FBI. These are things that helped kill last season and need to be put to a rest. This was a good start to the season, and the writers have put themselves in a good position because the plotlines from here could go anywhere.

Grade: 8 out of 10

Story by Anthony Liccardello

Starpulse contributing writer