As I said in my review earlier today, it’s as if 24 never went off the air in so much as Live Another Day takes the best (and worst) parts of the show and brings them forward four years later.
What’s different, however, that I avoided spoiling in that review? Jack Bauer is unhinged and is not only working to stop a terrorist attack, but he’s actively working against the United States government for the first time ever. His reason for stopping it is more personal and less about duty, but it’s no less exciting or thrilling — just as you’d want it.
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We open the new season — or miniseries, if that’s how you choose to look at it — in the midst of a CIA operation in London. The CIA had gotten a tip on the location of Jack Bauer, who is still seen as a traitor after the events of season 8. He’s captured relatively easily within the first six minutes before we hear the awesome voice of Kiefer Sutherland reminding us that the “events occur in real time.” (God, I missed that.)
Elsewhere in London, former Secretary of Defense and now President of the United States James Heller is meeting with Mark Boudreau, his Chief of Staff, preparing for the day’s events. Mark is a little concerned about the President after he mistakes an easy Presidential fact during a staff meeting, but Heller tells him, “Don’t worry about me.”
Mark gets a call from Steve Navarro, who’s the head of the CIA unit in London, to tell him that Jack Bauer is captured. Mark, who very quickly is in the running as this season’s “mole,” doesn’t want anyone else, least of all the President, to know Jack is alive.
Besides finally capturing Bauer after four years on the run, Navarro is also dealing with the fact that one of his best agents, Kate Morgan, is leaving. Clearly, something happened and some folks think it wasn’t her fault, but for whatever reason, today is her last day as a field agent.
Even though Kate is leaving today, she’s interested in Bauer and doesn’t quite believe that he was captured that easily. She drafts Jordan, another CIA analyst, to help give her the intercept that led to Bauer’s capture.
We, the viewer, quickly realize why he would want to get captured: the CIA is holding Chloe! I really, really wish the episode had waited to show that since the next few minutes that are wasted with Kate and others trying to figure out why Jack would want to get captured are really, really predictable. It would have been so much more rewarding if we see Jack enter a room to find that he had come looking for Chloe.
Meanwhile, we learn that Mark has married Audrey in the many, many years since we’ve seen her on the show. He also clearly wants Jack out of the way and even suggests having him handed directly over to the Russians.
Steve is interrogating Jack back at CIA HQ. He offers to let him see Kim again, who has had yet another baby. When Steve leaves, Kate locks herself in with Jack and accuses him of getting caught on purpose. He refuses to speak — in fact, Jack has not spoken in the 30 minutes or so of the episode yet, which is kind of incredible.
Kate gets thrown out by Steve, and while she and Jordan continue trying to find the reason why Jack was captured, Jack starts to escape when the lights go out. We then hear him speak for the first time when he barks to one CIA guard, “Take me to her now.”
Chloe is knocked out when Jack finds her from all the enhanced interrogation that has been done to her. He wakes her up and they start to escape. Kate tries to give chase, but Jack and Chloe are able to escape when Jack’s partner — who we won’t see again — blows the roof.
Chloe isn’t that happy to see Jack and they’re both very cold to each other. Jack also reminds her that he didn’t save her because he’s her friend. “I don’t have any friends.” Why he freed her — that will have to wait until the next episode.
In the closing minutes of the first hour, we get confirmation that something is wrong with Heller, as he tells Audrey in a limo that things are “regressing a lot faster than I anticipated.”
And then we learn what the true threat of the season will be: what happens if a terrorist gets access to one of our drones? A one Lt. Chris Tanner is piloting one in Afghanistan (he’s not in Afghanistan, of course) and unknown forces hijack it. The drone then opens fire on American and British forces.
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In the first episode, we learned that Chloe was captured by the CIA because she released more than 10,000 DOD documents. In the opening moments of the second hour, we also learn she’s part of a team run by a man probably meant to evoke WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: Adrian Cross.
Her team is overjoyed to see her back, but it’s quickly broken up by Jack who busts in, giving me one of the premiere’s only surprises. I did not expect that at all.
Bauer is looking for Derek Yates, who Cross claims is no longer with them. As things continue to get tense and seem ready to escalate, Chloe offers to help. Yates is apparently involved in an assassination attempt on Heller and Bauer is determined to stop that.
“You’re my friend,” Chloe says. “If you wanted my help … you should have just asked.”
Yates, we learn, is laying low in a drug dealer’s den. He’s the one who controlled the drone in the last episode and he’s talking to the woman who hired him, played by Michelle Fairley. Yates claims he’s still on schedule, even with the modifications she wants. He also lies about his girlfriend, Margot, knowing what he’s been up to.
Lt. Tanner, the one who originally piloted the drone that Yates hijacked, is being interrogated. He’s been framed, with some fake evidence turning up that shows he hates his country.
President Heller is informed of the attack at an event with the Prime Minister of England. Before he can tell him himself, the Prime Minister is whisked away, having just learned the news himself. At that event, Mark also receives a call from Steve telling him that Bauer escaped, with Chloe.
Back at Chloe’s hideout, Chloe and Jack continue to argue about the life choices they’ve made in the last four years. “You don’t get to judge me, Jack,” she tells him after he accuses her of betraying their country.
Just after they learn of the attack, Adrian enters with Yates’ location. Chloe offers to help Jack and even recruits some of her team members to assist.
Across the city, Heller is telling his staff he wants to speak directly to Parliament and accept responsibility for what happened. He even wants Tanner brought to London to be interrogated by British officials. As for his speech, “I’m not going to prepare a speech,” he says. “I’m going to apologize from the heart.”
As he’s rehearsing later with Mark and Audrey, Heller seemingly pulls it off. Until he can’t remember the correct number of dead soldiers or even the name of one of the British ones.
As Heller goes to do some more research, Jack arrives at Yates’ location. A firefight quickly erupts, and Yates and Margot are able to escape with the machine that allows him to hijack the drones while Jack gives chase. Unfortunately, the CIA arrives to find Chloe gone and her equipment destroyed (to prevent them from learning what she’s up to.)
The CIA catches up to Bauer, which allows Yates and Margot to escape. Jack knows he’s captured, and he’s even okay with that, but he also wants the CIA to stop them. They don’t, and suddenly, one of Yates’ drug friends starts shooting. Jack is shot in the shoulder but is able to escape with Chloe after he knocks out Kate who is giving chase.
Chloe and Jack quickly get in a stolen car and are off to find Yates. His data, of course, self-destructs, but not before they learn about his plan to hijack more drones.
(We also get the first and long awaited “Dammit!” from Jack during this scene.)
The episode ends with Yates being murdered by Margot, who turns out to be the daughter of the woman who hired him. Jack thought his lead was dead before — now it literally is.
24: Live Another Day moves to 9pm starting next Monday on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)