This isn’t that big a surprise as they never use the end of one season to begin another.

Just because Jack Bauer is on a slow boat to China, that doesn’t mean he’ll wind up there.
That’s the word from Howard Gordon, executive producer of “24,” who acknowledged this week that the challenge of bringing Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) all the way back from China next season would wreak havoc with the suspense series’ “real-time” format.
Following the surprise cliff-hanger which had Bauer being shanghaied by Chinese government agents at the conclusion of the season finale of “24” Monday, fans have wondered how Bauer would ever get back to the United States in time to participate in next season’s 24-hour adventure, given the great distance between the two countries.
In an interview with the TV trade publication TV Week, Gordon revealed that Bauer won’t be trapped in China when the new season begins next January.
“It’s just an impractical thing given the real-time constraints because, even by the time we concluded that story, it would take Jack 16 hours – you know, three-quarters of the series – to get back to L.A.,” Gordon said, inadvertently revealing that, somehow, Bauer escapes from the Shanghai-bound cargo ship in which he was last seen long before it gets to China.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think much of the story will take place in China,” Gordon said.
He revealed nothing else about how the next season of “24” will play out. “I just started writing the first [episode] this morning,” he said.