“24” began its sixth season tonight in a bit of a different way. It showed a United States being defeated; not on some foreign shore, but right here at home. Neverending terrorist attacks have turned the country into an Israeli-like state.

The President and his advisors are at their wit’s end, toying with the idea of opening detention centers for Muslims that fit a “certain ethnic profile”. Talk of circumventing the Constitution and picking up the pieces later are rife.

Citizens are wary, to say the least. They look with suspicion on anyone they feel could be threat; in other words, anyone who looks Arabic. Riots and chaos are beginning to become the norm.

Who can turn the tide? Why, Jack Bauer, of course!

Sunday night’s “24” premiere was a nice intro to a season that promises to be very different. Nothing so different than Mr. Bauer himself.

In the two years that have passed since the last season, Jack has been through hell. At the end of Season 5, Jack was abducted by the Chinese government, seeking revenge over the accidental killing of an embassy official. Two years in a Chinese prison, two years of torture and abuse, and Jack is a changed man. To start with, he hasn’t spoken. In two years. He is visibly scarred, almost to the point of mutilation. But that is nothing compared to his mental state. He’s unsure of himself, hesitant. In fact, when the Chinese release him back to the Americans, Jack looks at his former captors with something we haven’t seen before…fear.

The episode had sufficient pacing and plot to keep it going, but it did take a bit to get started. While I enjoyed the episode a great deal (Jack has some kick butt moves with a guys neck and a necktie on a subway), it took a bit to get going. But once it did, I was naturally hooked. The best part of the episode was seeing the changed Jack. Keifer Sutherland shows why he won the Emmy for Best Dramatic Actor, in a nice turn we see a man once totally in control, now…well, not.

This season has promised to be full of incredible surprises and twists. And I’ll be along for the ride.

Rating (out of 10) – 9

— Rob, Editor-in-Chief (the “geeksinger”)