Jack is back, and it takes all of two minutes to realize he’s lost none of his badassness. Is that a word? It should be. During Season 1, Episode 1 of “24-Live Another Day,” his words are few, but his intense camera staring glares require no words. It may be four years since we’ve last seen Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), but he hasn’t aged a day, and hasn’t lost a move, including the ju-jitsu like choke hold while secured with handcuffs behind his back. The precise takedown he puts on Erik Ritter (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is no joke and takes the most dedicated fan right back to the reason they fell in love with Jack to begin with. But I’m getting ahead of myself. . .
Although initially led to believe that Jack has carelessly emerged from thin air, and lost his ability to escape and evade, Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski), the down and out field agent, catches a bogus email that has evaded all the other techy folk including her boss, Steve Navarro (Benjamin Blatt). Although clued in that something is definitely amiss, it’s not enough to prevent Jack from being led into the bowel of the CIA for some “enhanced interrogation,” where he proves once again that his hands should have been registered weapons years ago. After a quick injection to get the heart pumping, everyone’s favorite hacker, Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is rescued from the basement, and it’s apparent that her time in Europe has made her go all Lisbeth Salander. Gone is the girl next door with the computer savvy; Chloe’s gone Goth and has discovered some much more intense eyeliner.
After proving that the only person Jack initially trusts is his new Serbian mob friend, he tracks and invades Chloe’s new hacker home, where the next 12 hours’ purpose is quickly unveiled. A “friendly fire” drone attack has taken out two Americans and two British soldiers. An American drone pilot is being faulted, but it’s the hacker across town, Derrick Yates, who’s really the culprit; and he’s got much more sinister ties than anyone can imagine in the form of Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley).
Jack Bauer hasn’t come out of hiding for a random drone attack; it’s the 10 that may be hacked into and heading to London to take out former Secretary of Defense, and now President James Heller (William DeVane), along with his never-far-from-his-side daughter, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), no longer catatonic and now married to Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan), the President’s Chief of Staff. The fact is, Jack owed the family a solid after Audrey spent three years mentally unable to function thanks to what could be called one seriously bad break-up with a side of Chinese torture. But things aren’t exactly easy for her now either, as she tries to come to grips with her father’s mental demise into Alzheimer’s, and as she coaches him as he prepares to face an angry Parliament or risk losing support for the Drone base he needs. The seemingly happy couple of Audrey and Mark now have a tragic flaw, as Mark Boudreau peppers the President with stressful questions that exploit his downward spiraling memory loss, making this relationship ripe for the exploitation of Jack Bauer.
As Jack tracks down the heroin base camp protecting Derrick Yates, Kate Morgan, reinstated for being right all along, arrives with a team from the CIA to capture Jack. Gunfire ensues, Yates escapes with his girlfriend Simone, and Jack reveals to Field Agent Morgan in an underground parking garage that she has chosen the wrong side, before helping her along with a brief nap.
Always the expert at escaping, Jack finds a source of light, follows it out a high window and nearly onto the trunk of the hot-wired and ready to go car of Chloe O’Brian, the arrival van having been compromised, the leftover computer equipment properly hot-wired itself courtesy of Chloe. While Jack races away from the scene, Chloe confirms with a flash drive that the device they’re chasing is indeed capable of sending 10 armed drones anywhere at any time.
Meanwhile, in a pub in London, Simone proves herself to have ulterior motives as she kabobs Yates through the head in the bathroom, disposes of her wig, and reveals she’s been working with Margot Al-Harazi all along. In true 24-style, plan to spend another exciting season on the edge of your seat; Jack didn’t come out of a 4-year hiatus for nothing.
Jessica Bauer (yes, that’s her real name) is a married mom of three, who lives in the suburbs, runs a non-profit USA Swim club, and answers “like ‘Jack Bauer’” whenever asked how to spell her last name. She credits Kiefer Sutherland for the extra push she needed to obtain her black belt in Okinawan Kenpo and Kobudo, and dreams of writing the perfect memoir someday. In the meantime, you can read more of what she writes on her blog, Black Belt Mama (www.blackbeltmama.com), or follow her on Twitter @blackbeltmama.