Television: 24: Live Another Day, "11:06 a.m.–1:00 p.m."

Last night saw the return of the FOX television hit 24. Except this new series will only cover 12 hours. Shouldn't it be called "Half Day" or something?

The fun of watching 24 is partially the thrill of the action and, in equal part, the utter ridiculousness of the action, dialogue, situations. And if you're not watching with Dave Barry's commentary, you're really missing out on a whole other level of fun. (Admittedly it was more fun when we were on the East Coast and could follow along live with Dave's blog, but still a good time in other time zones so long as you restrain yourself from reading ahead.)

For the uninitiated, 24 has followed various, singular days in the life of Jack Bauer, once an agent for the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), now "off the grid" or "rogue" depending on which Wooden Dialogue Generator you're using. He's wanted for crimes he didn't commit, of course, falsely accused and yet still determined to stop terrorism wherever it may lurk. Which this time around is in London, where President William Devane is trying to get Prime Minister Stephen Fry and Parliament to agree to drone warfare tactics in Afghanistan.

Clear as mud?

The day starts just before midday with Jack being captured by CTU. Anyone who's watched the show knows (a) Jack, if captured, never stays captured very long, and (b) he's usually only captured because he needs to get into a place and the easiest way is to have people escort him in. Yes, even in handcuffs. For Jack, things like handcuffs are not a problem.

In this instance, Jack wants into Special Activities because they are holding Chloe, also now "off the grid" which is ironic since "the grid" is her particular strength. She's a tech analyst, once Jack's right hand gal, now working for the Assange-esque Adrian Cross in helping disseminate classified documents. She'd been picked up on a supply run, tortured, and now Jack's there to save her—not because he likes her or anything, but because he needs Chloe and the other underground techlings to help him find Derrick Yates, a man Jack believes is planning to assassinate the president while he's in London.

Got all that?

For the first 40 minutes, Jack doesn't even speak.

Meanwhile, B Story features some CTU chick named Kate who is on her way out after her husband Adam was caught selling secrets to China. Kate was cleared but she might as well be radioactive; no one wants to be tainted by having to work with her. So she's being shipped back Stateside to warm a desk chair. Except of course she's the only one who figures out what Jack is up to and talks her boss Navarro (Benjamin Bratt, still hot at age 50) into giving her a shot back in the field to find Jack and Chloe after their escape.

Other subplots: One of the drones in Afghanistan fires on U.S. and British troops, making it that much harder for the president to argue that using them should continue. Also making it difficult for the president to argue much of anything: He's in the early stages of Alzheimer's. The poor military officer who is on the chopping block for the drone incident is about to be delivered by the president to the British military so they can question him (since two of the four men killed were British). Worst. Gift of State. Ever.

What actually happened was Yates has developed a "device" that allows him to take control of the drones remotely, even though it will look like all the commands came directly from your computer. Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones is planning to pay Yates a ton of money for this device. But when Jack nearly catches him and spooks him, Yates talks of finding another buyer, prompting Wannabe Sansa Stark to stab him in the ear and kill him. As of 1:00 p.m. she's taking the device to Mummy.

Or something like that.

Thing about 24 is, situations change and develop rapidly. Like, when a writer for the show realizes he has no way out of whatever he's just written, he just has Jack shoot some people and then we move on. There's no real need for logic; 24 is about jumping from one insane moment to the next as the seconds on the clock tick by. You don't care about where you started or the destination; you're too busy simply enjoying the ride.

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