Jack Bauer kicks ass by sitting in a room for an entire episode!
Let’s bitch it out…
Things are escalating pretty fast, which is a staple of 24. We’re not even halfway through the season, but the presumed big bad, Margot Al-Hazari (Michelle Fairley), has already taken control of the drones (six, instead of her desired ten), and at least one of them is already over British soil. Even if she waits the full three hours for President Heller (William Devane) to turn himself in, that still leaves a number of hours left for more plot. 24 likes to keep the viewer on their toes with plenty of plot twists and misdirection, so it seems that this season is no exception.
I joked about it in the teaser above, but the main appeal of 24 (to me, at least) is Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). As a result, the odd hours here and there where Jack is minimally involved usually tend to be less exciting. in ‘3:00pm – 4:00pm’ Jack spends the first thirty minutes en route to the President, and the next thirty minutes sitting in a room. And this episode suffers for it. There is a little flurry of excitement in the last ten minutes, but everything leading up to that is a bit duller than usual.
We do, at least, get to see a bit of badass Jack when he refuses to bend to the President’s demand for the name and location of a weapons dealer that Jack thinks can get them to Margot. Ignoring that rather convenient plot detail, it always annoys me when whoever is in charge doesn’t trust Jack to go back in the field. I made a similar point last week, wondering why Heller couldn’t wait fifteen minutes to let Jack download the flight key, and it’s the same issue this time. Heller doesn’t seem to be very good at weighing the pros and cons of a situation. On one hand, some crazy woman has six drones en route to the U.K. and means to kill tens of thousands of people. On the other hand, the Russians might get upset if they find out that Jack is in U.S. custody. Obviously, the correct play is to have Jack sit on the sidelines even though he was the only one even working this threat only an hour before – can’t piss off those Russians!
Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) does the same thing with Kate (Yvonne Strahovski). He makes some vague reference to Division asking why she’s in the field (and then strangely stops her from calling Division for herself), and makes her stay back at the office filling out paperwork. Memo to Navarro: there’s an imminent threat! Who cares what Division thinks? Wouldn’t you let your best people do their jobs? If she contributes to preventing the attack, isn’t that worth the slap on the wrist from Division? And if they fail to prevent the attack, I think Division is going to have much bigger things to worry about – like packing up the entire British office. I think there’s a bit of “maybe Navarro’s a mole” going on here, but still.
I was glad to see President Heller show a little fire this episode. When he found out about the drone strike killing innocent civilians he took action (in theory grounding the drones is admirable, though ultimately futile). Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, I was expecting him to solicit suggestions before making a decision. 24 is definitely playing up the drone debate more and more, which I like. It’s easy to say that collateral damage is inevitable, and all of the usual talking points, but when you see the dead bodies of children you’re responsible for killing, I imagine that it resonates a little deeper. I would be very impressed if the season ends with Heller announcing he’s dismantling the U.S. drone program (24 usually has a pro-military stance, though, so I’m not holding my breath).
There was some more family drama with the Al-Hazaris this week. Naveed (Sacha Dhawan) is still trying to undermine Margot, which is pretty ballsy based on what he’s seen of her so far. Unfortunately, he underestimated Margot’s Jedi powers, as she has her children so thoroughly brainwashed that they’ll go along with anything she says – even after Simone (Emily Berrington) is down a few fingers. Naveed’s brains end up splattered across the wall for his efforts, which is disappointing.
The big climax of the episode occurs when the CIA team races into a building that they think Margot is hiding in (thanks to Naveed’s embedded IP). It’s a trap, because, of course, Margot is watching everything Naveed does and uses his attempted tip-off to try and blow up the CIA. Luckily, Kate has the good sense to enlist Goth Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub), who takes all of a minute to discern that it’s a trap (even though the CIA analysts never suspected a thing). I’m assuming that Jack will be back in action next episode, given that the good guys’ only lead just blew up, in a rather sensational explosion.
- Is Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) really Neo in disguise? That was some real Matrix-style skill there in reading the code that was flashing across the screen. Especially since it was broken into three separate sections, and he was able to put them all together that fast? Nice.
- Speaking of Cross, it looks like WikiLeaks is packing up. I was hoping that we’d get more into this storyline, but I guess I can’t be too greedy – after all, 24 is about running and yelling and shooting, not social commentary.
- How awkward is that scene when Jack and Audrey reunite? I wasn’t a fan of this pairing the first time around, and their little head bumping did nothing for me this time around.
- I don’t know a lot about drone piloting, but I’m assuming that it takes a lot of training to learn to pilot a drone (probably years?). But, hey, Ian (Liam Garrigan) is a quick learner!
Your turn: did you enjoy watching Jack sit around for the hour? Happy that Kate is taking the initiative? Is Navarro a mole? Will Adrian be back? And will Heller discontinue his drones by the end of the season? Sound off below
24: Live Another Day airs Mondays at 9pm EST on FOX