I must admit, I didn’t get into 24 until after 2007, when I moved to Toronto and my friends had the first two or three seasons on DVD. It was really the first show that I remember binge-watching. From there, I ran through it to catch up to the beginning of season 7 (I still haven’t seen the “Redemption” TV movie that came out before that season; I might at some point). By the time it wrapped up after season 8 in May 2010, it definitely wasn’t touching its heights, but throughout the cheesiness and downright impossible scenarios, it was entertaining. I feel the same way about Sons Of Anarchy, but 24 is a little more well-done.
Kiefer Sutherland is back for a 12-episode run because I assume someone needs money (who doesn’t?), and that Touch show got thrown in the bushes, so here we are with “Live Another Day”, which takes place in London four years after the series supposedly concluded. It is being overseen by Howard Gordon, Evan Katz and Manny Coto, who all worked on the show in the past, and Gordon went on to help create Homeland, which explains why the second season of that was a bootleg 24.
Jack Bauer is now a fugitive from the American government for some fuckery, even though he has saved them countless times. Really, that’s it. If you have ever watched 24, you know it’s true. Ready? Let’s go….
-The show opens with the CIA’s London branch tracking someone, which we quickly learn is Jack, and it felt pretty good to see the split-screen action that 24 is famous for. They close in on their target, but of course, Jack is hip to them and gets outta dodge and kicks some ass along the way, but eventually, there are just too many agents for him to outrun. I noticed one thing, though: no one runs through gunfire as calmly as Jack Bauer does.
-In the CIA office, we meet Steve Navarro, the head of the show and played by Benjamin Bratt from Law & Order and some other stuff. Yvonne Strahovski plays Kate Morgan, and I know her from Dexter, where she played the lead character’s girlfriend until the end of the show. Kate is leaving the CIA because her husband, Adam, was caught selling secrets to the Chinese (we don’t meet him this episode). Kate comes up with the theory that Jack wanted to get caught, because she knows his history and Jack Bauer doesn’t get caught, unless he wants to, but Navarro brushes her aside because no one in the 24 world listens to anyone, ever.
-President Heller is in London to meet with the British government about drones. We last saw Heller as the Secretary of Defense, but has since moved up in the world. We also meet his Chief of Staff, Mark, who corrects the President on a joke he made in a meeting, and his COS is named Mark, who I have in my notes, “looks shady from the jump”. We learn that he is married to Audrey, Heller’s daughter, who was involved with Jack, but suffered a breakdown and went into a catatonic state. Jack Bauer’s love life could probably end up being a spin-off. A sad, death-filled spin-off. Anyway, I was right because he is the first person Navarro calls, and Mark sets the wheels in motion to have Jack sent to Special Activities, a nice name for “We Gon’ Torture The Shit Out Of You Until You Tell Us Something”. He definitely knows of the Hellers’ history with Bauer.
-On the military side, we meet Lt. Chris Tanner, who is in charge of controlling a drone, but fails to follow orders and gets a weekend pass with his wife revoked. Hus superior is a bit of a dick, but we’ll get back to these guys later.
-Jack is brought into the CIA office. We meet another agent, Erik Ritter, played by Gbenna Akinnagbe, who played stone-cold killer Chris on The Wire (y’all know how I feel about The Wire). He isn’t a fan of Kate because of her husband, and like most of the characters on 24, he’s kind of a dick. He snitches to Navarro about her asking questions about Jack, and it is because he is getting her job when she leaves at the end of the week. There is a solid chance he won’t make it out of the day alive. Navarro tells him to cool his jets; he was Adam’s friend as well, and believes that Kate didn’t know about the betrayal.
-Navarro then goes to Jack on some, “tell us if you’re here to kill the President and we won’t send you to get tortured”. Jack doesn’t flinch. Have they not read any files on him? No one has tortured or been tortured more than Jack Bauer. He even calls Jack a terrorist, and he still doesn’t move. Then we go to this Special Activities place, under the CIA office, and who do we see, getting injected with liquid pain? Chloe!!!!!! Turns out Kate is a smart one.
-Mark, the COS, is looking at Jack’s file, which says that he has killed at least 59 people officially, but that number is probably closer to 7,000. We also get to see Audrey, who is recovered from her breakdown, we think. Mark gets word of Jack’s capture and is advised to tell the President, but he keeps it to himself. See? SHADY. He gon’ learn today, though.
-Kate puts the pieces together that Jack wanted to get caught and when Navarro won’t listen, she locks him out of the interrogation room and confronts Jack, who finally flinches a little when she says he is after something or someone. That gets her booted out of the office immediately, and Navarro continues to tradition of mufuckas not listening on 24. That should be the tagline: 24 – Mufuckas Still Not Listenin’.
-But she has some Jack in her (which she will later, HI-YOOOOOOOOOOOO) and tasers the shit outta the security guard escorting her out. She finds out Chloe is down in Special Activities and it all becomes clear. We see a guy messing with a power station outside the CIA, and he is either helping Jack somehow, or plotting against the CIA, hell, could be both. We get some more split-screen action and Ritter is being cocky, telling Jack he read cases of how bad of a man he was back in the day. Suddenly, the lights go out and Jack gets his Bauer on, while handcuffed and chokes Ritter unconscious. After he is free, Jack rolls up on the dude who was torturing Chloe and gets him to take Jack to her. We finally hear Jack talk, and around 32 minutes (with no commercials), we get our first “Dammit” of the series, which means it is OFFICIALLY on, even if it is under his breath. He gives Chloe the Pulp Fiction treatment with a needle to the chest and they peace out, until they are caught by Kate. She almost gets them, but Jack alerts the guy above ground and he shoots a hole in the ground to get them out. Kate is good, but she ain’t fuckin’ with Jack, not yet. This is the sequence 24 fans have been waiting to see.
-The President is in a limo with Audrey, and we learn he has some sort of disease, similar to Alzheimer’s where the mind starts to go. He tells Audrey not to tell Mark; he just wants to get through this meeting with the British to get this military base built and get these drones poppin’. Keep that in your back pocket.
-Navarro and Ritter are trying to figure out what the hell just happened, with an explosion in the building and no sign of Jack and Chloe. Kate is like, “I told y’all mufuckas to LISTEN”, and Ritter is mad as shit. Kate and Navarro step to the side and she pleads to go back into the field and find Jack, and she was getting somewhere before basically threatening Navarro. So yeah, she’s turning on the agency at some point. Mark my words.
-Jack and Chloe split up, and Jack gives her a phone to basically track where she is going, which we find out in the next episode.
-We get back to Tanner, who runs into a major problem when someone takes over his drone, which targets where his superior and a bunch of other soldiers are and blasts everything to hell. Some dude says into an earpiece, “it’s done”, and we get the clock signalling the end.
I’ve said to a couple people that watching this episode of 24 is like putting on an old shoe: it was comfortable, it fits everything we’ve seen from the show to date and even though it is formulaic as hell and borders on ridiculous sometimes, it is wildly entertaining and sometimes, that is all that counts. Let’s do this.