Spoilers will follow, so if you haven't seen the first four hours of day 6, stop here.
The biggest letdown for me was not doing anything with the Chinese angle (at least not yet). Jack spends two years in a Chinese prison, abducted from US soil, and nothing expands on that subplot. Oh well, Jack is free, apparently the US paid a big price to get him back, just to turn him over to the terrorists.
First three hours, fifty minutes was pretty standard 24. Jack is going to die, Jack escapes, Jack disobeys the President, Jack single-handedly stops a terrorist attack, yada, yada, yada. And all this within a couple hours getting off a plane from China. Apparently the Chinese fed him well.
The last 10 minutes was awesome. Two stunners (one predictable, one not) to close out the first four hours. Too bad on Curtis being killed by Jack - I really liked Curtis. Next to Jack, he was my favorite character over the first five seasons. This too is becoming a pattern (Bauer's sidekicks getting killed when confronting their archnemesis... in season 5, Tony met the same fate when confronting Chris Henderson). And, of course, what better way to close out the season premier than with a tactical nuclear weapon explosion. Too bad it didn't happen in Green Bay.
What I liked about the first four hours:
- CTU/the US served up Jack to the terrorists just as they have served up others. At least the show is consistent and maintains a certain standard. I like that.
- I thought the scene with Jack breaking the bad terrorist-turned-peacemaker out of the house was very well done. Suspenseful and realistic (well, as realistic as this show can get).
- I liked the way the Curtis deal played out, even if I don't like him off the show. A little foreshadowing, a quick confrontation (not long and drawn out). That's one of the keys to 24's success, IMHO. Good guys don't always win, good guys aren't always good guys, etc. That's what makes it suspenseful and keeps you glued.
- The head of the Muslim organization stepping up and doing what's right instead of what can be gotten away with. That is going to be an interesting twist that really has potential. I foresee a future Jack ally.
- Some people are complaining that the show is becoming politically correct. I don't see it that way. If anything, the show is pointing out that political correctness comes at a steep price (loss of life of lots of innocent people).
- I like the fact that Jack has changed from his two year stint in a Chinese prison. Not quite as effective as he was, and that's clear. Although still amazing he can physically do what he can do now.
What I didn't like:
- the whole Jack and terrorist-turned-peacemaker splitting up and finding each other again within 10 minutes while Jack stops a terrorist attack. Way over the top and way, way too convenient. Gag.
- Tell the attorney for the Muslim org to bag it. Really annoying. Apparently the President's daughter thinks she can get away with anything.
- Enough with the side romance thingys. If you want a show tailored for women, write a show tailored for women. I really don't think women are watching the show waiting for the token one minute soap opera.
Looking forward to the rest of the season. I suspect the plot will have the same formula as season 4. That's fine by me, as long as its not a rip off of the content (and so far it hasn't).