Four years ago I watched with a mixture of sadness and contentment as my favorite show, about a renegade counterterrorism agent, came to a generally satisfying conclusion. Jack was on the run, having lost pretty much everything and everyone save for his loyal companion Chloe. Tonight Jack and Chloe returned and it felt like no time had passed at all. Jack still kicked ass, Chloe still handled all things tech like a boss, the government was still drowning in secrets and traitors, and I still loved every ticking minute of the two-hour premiere.
What you need to know:
Hour- 11:06 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Jack is back: The head of the London CIA Station, Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt), has a team follow-up on a lead about a high-value suspect in London. They’re worried it has to do with the President’s visit. After a brief fight in a warehouse the agents mange to nab Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) himself. They bring him back to the station where Navarro stupidly thinks he can get Jack to talk before his transfer to Special Activities comes through. Jack ignores all of Navarro’s offers, including the promise to let him see his daughter, Kim, and her new baby boy. In fact Navarro is so convinced of this he ignores CIA Agent Kate’s (Yvonne Strahovski) questions why Bauer let himself get caught when he could’ve escaped via the roof.
The return of Audrey: President James Heller (William Devane) aka Audrey, Jack ex’s, father, is in London for a treaty meeting with the British. His Chief of Staff, Mark (Tate Donovan), takes a call from Navarro, who reports they have Bauer in custody. Mark thankfully recaps the final season of 24 for us all by saying Bauer killed two Russians and nearly assassinated their president before going on the run. He tells Navarro to send over the case file and keep Bauer’s presence on a need-to-know basis. You see, Mark is married to a no-longer-mentally distraught Audrey (Kim Raver) and he doesn’t want her to find out about Jack. Later, President Heller admits to his daughter his illness, which I’m assuming is Alzheimer’s since it has to do with memory loss, is progressing faster than he thought.
Kate figures out Jack’s plan: Proving she’s going to be the smart one this season, Kate has nice CIA tech guy Jordan get the data that originally led them to Jack’s location. She notes the data was clearly planted, meaning Jack wanted to be caught. She reports this to Navarro but he doesn’t listen to her. She refuses to take no for an answer, barging into the interrogation room herself and finally getting a reaction from a previously passive Jack when she accuses him of getting caught so he could find someone. Again, Navarro ignores this information, choosing to have Kate escorted out of the building, but she tazers her guard and finds out from Jordan that Jack has a connection to someone in Special Activities holding: Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub).
Don’t piss off Jack Bauer: Arrogant Agent Erik escorts Jack to Special Activities and makes the mistake of telling Bauer he was “really something back in the day.” A moment later the agent is on the ground and choked into unconsciousness by Bauer. Then Jack speaks his first words of the episode to the Special Activities agent, “Take me to her now.” He rescues Chloe, who was being tortured about the whereabouts of her “group.” Kate catches up with them and corners Jack just before his man on the outside blows directly above them, allowing him and Chloe to climb out and into a van. Some way away, Jack lets Chloe out to find somewhere safe to lie low. Once she’s gone, he tracks her via the burner cell phone he gave her because, in true Jack fashion, he needs her help with something.
The catalyst: As the hour ends, someone remotely takes control of a US drone at the Air Force Base and uses it to destroy an American convoy in Afghanistan.
Hour- 12 – 1 p.m.
Just like old times: Chloe returns to her hacker base of operations where a ragtag group of likeminded computer geeks greet her. When she tells their boss, Adrian Cross, about Jack, he has everyone start packing up for fear they’ll be found out. Just as Chloe is protesting that Jack is her friend, he bursts into the room. Turns out he intercepted intel about a planned assassination attempt on Heller but the only name he could find in the info was Derek Yates. He thinks Yates is with Chloe’s hacker group, which they deny. Before Jack gets too upset, Chloe intercedes and has her team to start searching for Yates but not before angrily telling Jack he could’ve just asked of her. Later she accuses him of trying to save Heller to get himself back in good graces with Audrey. He denies this, saying only that he owes Heller, and fires back at Chloe for releasing classified files. Their argument is sidetracked when Chloe’s hacker buddies find the info on the drone attack, which Jack correctly assumes was a dry run. Hoping to get Jack out of his hair, Cross tracks down Yates but just as Jack is heading out, Chloe decides to help her old partner by providing some comm. support.
Foreign relations nightmares: After the successfully demo of his drone control device, Yates is all set to sell it to a mysterious woman, whom we later learn is named Margot (Michelle Fairley), for a hefty price. Afterward, he plans to hightail it to Greenland with his girlfriend to watch the world burn when Heller is assassinated. Speaking of the President, at a reception with the British Prime Minister (Stephen Fry), Heller is taken aside and told about the drone attack. When the Prime Minister finds out, he storms off. More bad news comes when Navarro phones Chief of Staff Mark to say Bauer escaped. To try to smooth over the foreign relations nightmare he’s facing, Heller wants Lt. Tanner, the guy who was at the drone controls when the attacked happened, to be interrogated by the British. Mark protests this decision as well as Heller’s desire to speak to Parliament but the President won’t be deterred. Even a run through of his speech, where Mark goes on the attack, doesn’t slow Heller down.
Yates escapes…: Over Agent Erik’s objections, Kate has been put in charge of hunting down Jack. She gets the local police’s help tracking Chloe while Erik pouts. She ends up pinpointing Yates’ building as a possible location and takes a team to investigate. At the building already are Jack and Chloe. She guides him to Yates’ room, which is being protected by some random thugs. Jack tries to negotiate for Yates but when that doesn’t work, he goes starts shooting and stabbing. Chloe is alerted about the CIA convoy heading her way just in time to escape. Yates and his girlfriend walk right past the CIA but Jack isn’t so lucky. He screams for the CIA to stop Yates but he’s cut short when one of the thugs shoots him in the shoulder, starting a firefight with the CIA in the process. Kate and a few other agents pursue Bauer back into the building. He silently tries to convince Kate he’s not the guy she should be chasing but to no avail. Jack escapes with some help from Chloe and a stolen car. He managed to grab a drive from Yates’ room, on which Chloe finds evidence that Yates’ device can commandeer up to ten US drones. Before she can learn any more, the drive starts erasing itself.
But not for long: At a bar, Yates’ girlfriend turns on him. In the bathroom, she brutally stabs in through the ear, takes the device and phones her mother, Margot, to say she’s on her way home.
Mark about his wife: “As long as she’s alive, she’ll never hear the name Jack Bauer” So this means Audrey’s going to die now right?
As someone used to seeing Yvonne Strahovski as the amazing Sarah Walker on Chuck, I was worried at first she would be resigned to weepy face all season. But thankfully she shed that pretty quickly and became the woman of action we all know and love.
Agent Erik is in for a season of hurt I think after twice acting smug in front of Jack. Because when one of the most dangerous men on the face of the planet is in your custody, you should definitely taunt him.
Chloe’s hacker rap sheet includes releasing 10,000 D.O.D. files. She doesn’t mess around!
Jack, expressing his disbelief in Chloe’s freedom hacker persona: “I can see you talking but all I can hear is Adrian Cross.”
One of my favorite scenes tonight was just of Jack Bauer, strapped to a lie detector and acting so cool they couldn’t even establish a baseline. Who else wants to see him take the uber lie detector Nick Fury whipped up on SHIELD?
After playing the super righteous Lady Stark, I love seeing Michelle Fairley as someone menacing.
With four guns pointed at him, Jack reminds us all why he’s a badass. “If you think I’m at a disadvantage, I assure you I’m not.”
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