Jack’s back. It’s been four years since he went into hiding and he’s turned up in London, just in time to thwart an attack on another American president. The difference is that now he’s been labeled a traitor, a psychopath and a terrorist by the same country which he fought so hard to save for over 10 years. That’s always been the problem for Jack Bauer. While America used him on so many occasions to do what they were unwilling or unable to do, Jack put his life, his family’s lives and his reputation on the line. Each and every time, he completed his mission, but he was never really given the proper credit he deserved. Quite the opposite, actually. More often than not, Jack was used as a scapegoat and his tactics were considered not only illegal but immoral, violating every tenet that the government would have us believe makes this country the good and powerful nation it is. What he did was show us the underbelly of this ideal, baring the true nature of the business side of the war on terrorism. and, we, the viewers cheered him on through every mission. We got it, even when “they” didn’t.
When 24 first debuted in 2001, it was after a delay of a few weeks due to the events of 9/11. What we got to see was that the producers were eerily prophetic by portraying a man and a government at war with terrorists. Before we learned words like enemy combatants and enhanced interrogations, Jack Bauer was already aware of them and practicing some of those techniques. While they were often cringe-worthy, we soon came to believe and accept that they were necessary if we were to restore and maintain the types of freedoms we held dear. We learned that there were real life Jack Bauers – men and women who did the things we couldn’t do and weren’t willing to admit were done. That was what the war on terrorism was about and how it was conducted.
With this new, albeit abbreviated, season of 24, Jack is even harder and meaner than before. Those who once called on him to protect and serve have turned their backs on him and declared him an enemy of the people he gave so much to save. For that, his anger is understandable. His focus hasn’t changed, though. Despite his personal feelings, he still wants to do what he believes is right, and saving a president, even one who wants him dead, is what he’s set out to do.
His first order of business, however, was to save his dear friend and former co-worker, Chloe, who’s been captured. Having done that, we found out that Chloe, looking a lot like the girl with the dragon tattoo, has also gone underground, becoming an Edward Snowden-like figure, releasing sensitive information she considers harmful in order to help the world at large. Chloe has and will always have Jack’s back. No doubt about it.
To further muddy the waters, a former love interest of Jack’s is back in the picture – Audrey Raines, whose father, James Heller is now the President. Audrey, however, is now married to the Chief of Staff, Mark Boudreau, a weaselly looking fellow. This is sure to cause both Jack and Audrey some real angst as the season goes on. On the bright side, however, Jack will have some help from Agent Kate Morgan, who, due to her husband’s alleged treason and subsequent suicide, is being demoted and sent stateside. So far, aside, from Chloe, she’s the only one who knows how smart Jack Bauer really is. Even the new CTU/CIA station head should wake up and realize just how much he may need Kate if he’s going to outwit and outplay Jack.
If you’ve never seen 24 before, don’t let that stop you from watching this television event. The storyline is fast paced, but it doesn’t require that you know each and every detail of the past seasons. It’s written to stand on its’ own and can be enjoyed just that way. I do suggest, and highly recommend, that once you’ve watched Live Another Day, you watch all of the eight seasons that came before. If you do, watch them with an eye for the events of the times they took place in and keep in mind what the war on terrorism has turned into. You’ll become a fan of Jack’s in spite of what he does, and because of what he does.
(All earlier seasons are available on Amazon)