After a solid 8 million fans tuned in for its debut last week, 24: Live Another Day - the revival of the beloved Fox drama that aired for eight seasons and went off the air four years ago - fell into its comfortable holding pattern of vague tech hacking, random life axioms, and split screens right out of the classic bank-robbery film The Thomas Crown Affair (the original, not the remake.) No longer hiding out in Serbia, Jack is back! The streets of London were never more frightening than when Jack Bauer, bedecked in his H&M-worthy jacket and messenger back, is trying to stop an assassination on the president and keep the drones out of the hands of the enemy. Let's get into this episode.
Like the opening credits of The Love Boat, or the beginning of a cheesy murder-mystery, this episode started with a "previously on" sequence that not only caught the viewers up on the essentials of the story, but also gave us the character names as their respective faces appeared on the screen. I can only guess Fox knows the shows characters are a little all over the place and therefore we needed reminding. It sort of helped, but it was also a wee bit laughable.
The first bit of plot arrives when Jack finds the body of his current target Derek Yates dead on the bathroom floor of a pub, continuing the tradition of being forced to follow dead bodies to get to the top terrorist food chain. To quickly recap, Derek has just been killed by his Eastern European girlfriend who turned out not to be Eastern European at all but Simone, the daughter of Margot Al-Harazi, an English woman who married into Al-Qaeda and has a real thirst for drones. Simone also turns out not to be Eastern European because "Eastern Europe" is a Western construct based on stereotypes many Americans have invented regarding any European country that isn't Italy, France, or Spain. But, I digress. Jack is pretty sure he and kohl-eyed Chloe are going to catch Simone, having just killed Derek, as she's leaving a tube station, but just as luck would have it, Chloe is distracted by a young family that reminds her of her husband and son (both dead due to a car accident) right at the moment Simone gets into a car and gets away. Jack, who's rocking a major "man-orexic" look this season, isn't pleased. After Simone gets away, Chloe tells him about her husband and son, to which Jack exclaims: "You can't bring back the ones you love. Trust me." Ah, I was waiting for Jack's minimalist waxings on life. Because this is 24, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there's more to that story than meets the eye, to use two clichés.
Meanwhile, Simone has made it back to the country estate where her mother is plotting. At the estate, we meet Simone's brother (hubba hubba) and her husband, Naveed, who seemingly has a problem with the fact that his wife, an Al-Qaeda operative, must sometimes have sex with other men as part of her job. Margot, his mother-in-law, reassures him that it's all part of the game and that what they're doing is worth it, so he just needs to chill the fuck out. Within this storyline, the implication is that female sexuality is the greatest weapon a militant religious group has. Sure, it's going to be great when they gain control of the drones, but really, the fact that Simone can seduce men with her model good looks is really what will get this jihad rolling.
Back at not-Wikileaks, Jack decides the best course of action is to find his way into the American embassy and prove that the drone killing in last week's episode was due to a computer hacking and that the illegal drones exist. Chloe and her boss agree to help him get into the embassy by making him false credentials. When it comes to identity, Jack Bauer's got it tough. He fits that classic conundrum of always having to convince people of the truth, more often than not failing. He can never be himself, must always assume another identity so others will believe him and the truth can be heard.