TV

’24: Live Another Day’ Premiere: 24 Questions About Jack Bauer’s Return

Special Activities? Special Activities.

Jack Bauer is back — but why?

The “24: Live Another Day” premiere offers a few answers to that tantalizing question: after four years in exile, Bauer has resurfaced in London to stop an assassination against President James Heller. Heller’s execution on foreign soil would spark an international incident, and beyond that, Jack owes a debt to the man he once looked at as a father.

That’s just one of the many questions that spun out of the “Live Another Day” premiere. Here are 24 more.

1. What happened to Jack?
And we don’t just mean that in the “why have you been gone from our lives for so long” sense, although we totally mean that too; the first two hours of Jack’s latest very bad day proved how much television missed this character. On a more practical level, what was Bauer up to in the years since “24″ last ended? It appears he’s enjoyed his share of shady shenanigans since fleeing the country on Day 8. Should we be worried about Bauer’s recent past?

2. What happened to Chloe?
Clearly, helping Jack evade U.S. authorities on Day 8 didn’t work out so well for her. She’s now a fugitive in her own right, rocking a punk-rock aesthetic that would make Lisbeth Salander roll her eyes. What happened to turn the normally friendly Chloe into such a counter-culture ice queen? What happened to her husband, Morris, and their son, Prescott? Will we see them again?

3. Where’s Tony?
Don’t know. Probably pounding Cub’s mug beers in prison somewhere.

4. Where’s Agent Pierce?
Also don’t know. Probably smoldering with Martha Logan somewhere.

5. Is Heller going to be okay?
Not only is the former Secretary of Defense now acting as the Commander in Chief, but it turns out that James Heller has another secret: his mental faculties are deteriorating, much more rapidly than initial diagnoses suggested. Very bad timing, considering that Heller has crucial legislation to discuss with the British Prime Minister, not to mention that there are assassins on his tail.

6. How is Audrey okay?
When last we saw her, Audrey was in a catatonic state, absolutely traumatized by her experience as a prisoner of the Chinese government. Now, she’s not only stabilized; she’s also remarried. How was Audrey able to return from the brink of total loss? The passage of time certainly helped; in “24″ continuity, about eight years have passed since the end of Day 6, Audrey’s final appearance. But are there other secrets to her recovery that we’ve yet to find out? And speaking of Audrey’s new husband…

7. Tate Donovan is the mole, isn’t he?
As Mark Boudreau, White House Chief of Staff, Donovan delivered a character equal parts charming and scheming. He’s already keeping secrets from Heller and Audrey. Who knows what other darker secrets he holds close to the vest?

8. Or maybe Benjamin Bratt is the mole?
Otherwise, Bratt’s CIA director Steve Navarro is a bit of a bore. We’re only two hours in, so there’s plenty of time to flesh out the character. But making the head of London’s CIA branch a deep-cover traitor would be one way to add some spark to Bratt’s performance.

9. Actually, it’s probably that one CIA analyst who didn’t really have anything to do, right?
It’s always the quiet one.

10. But really, it’s Tate Donovan.
Not really a question. He’s clearly the mole, or a traitor of some kind. At the very least, Jack’s going to torture him. It’s just a matter of time and opportunity.

11. How awesome is Kate Morgan?
Pretty awesome. Yvonne Strahovski looks eerily like Kim Bauer, and that’s surely not a coincidence; the veteran CIA agent is a capable badass, competent enough to go toe-to-toe against Bauer. In a way, she’s almost an idealized version of Kim. Perhaps the resemblance signifies an upcoming father-daughter modeled mentor relationship between Jack and Kate in the coming weeks.

12. How awesome is Erik Ritter?
Not as awesome. Still, it’s always great to see a veteran of “The Wire” getting work, and it’s no different in the case of Gbenga “Chris Partlow” Akinnagbe.

13. How awesome is Belcheck?
Really awesome. Jack Bauer’s mercenary pal, played by Serbian-German actor Branko Tomovic, is a man of few words, and that totally works for us.

14. How awesome is Silent Bauer?
Speaking of men of few words, how about Jack’s vow of silence through the first 40 minutes of the premiere? Not a single word uttered, until his plan revealed itself. A pretty gutsy way to reintroduce Bauer into the mix after four years off the air.

15. Special Activities? Really?
Special Activities. Really.

16. Did you notice Oliver Queen’s step-father?
Colin Salmon, frequent guest star on “Arrow,” plays one of Heller’s close confidants in the premiere. Like Boudreau, he’s probably a mole.

17. Did you notice Luke Skywalker Junior?
John Boyega, the star of “Attack the Block” and J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII,” is all over the “24: Live Another Day” premiere as the drone pilot framed for bombing American and British troops in Afghanistan. Considering he has “Star Wars” coming up, he probably won’t be hanging around the “24″ set for too long, so enjoy him while you can.

18. Did you notice Catelyn Stark?
If you’re a “Game of Thrones” fan, you couldn’t miss her. Michelle Fairley plays the villain of the new season of “24,” but sadly, she has no Lannisters to take her anger out on. As of now, Fairley’s character’s motivations are unclear, but three seasons on “Thrones” made it clear that the erstwhile Catelyn Stark is not someone to be taken lightly.

19. Did you notice Sansa Stark?
Okay, it wasn’t really Sansa, but it’s close! The Catelyn Stark terrorist has a chameleonic daughter-terrorist, who looks like the spitting image of Sophie Turner — except, you know, evil. A fun parallel for “Thrones” fans.

20. What year is it, anyway?
The drone technology, not to mention Jack’s surgically implanted tracking devices, make it seem like “24″ has moved into near-future territory. According to this handy IMDB timeline, it has; “Live Another Day” takes place in 2022, give or take a couple years. That makes it official: “24″ is gently sci-fi!

21. When will Jack and Audrey make out?
Like Jack torturing Boudreau, it’s a matter of when, not if.

22. When will Charles Logan show up?
Probably never, considering a self-inflicted gunshot to the head turned him into a vegetable at the end of Day 8, but we can dream, because it would mean this.

23. But seriously, Special Activities?
Seriously. All of them.

24. Really, that was pretty great, wasn’t it?
It sure was. Listen, even when it’s bad, “24″ is good. Unless it’s season six, in which case, bad is downright awful. But not only was the “Live Another Day” premiere not bad, it was actually top-form “24.” It was the best premiere since season five, frankly. If the two-hour debut was any indication, “Live Another Day” will be a worthwhile addition to the legend of Jack Bauer.

What did you think of the “24: Live Another Day” premiere?

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