Things are starting to pick up steam on 24: Live Another Day.
Let’s bitch it out…
Most of the plots seem to be gaining a little forward momentum as we reach the midway point of the season. It’s just too bad that 24 doesn’t want to be a smarter show that challenges viewers intellectually. I know, I know, 24 is all about action and suspense. But how many times can you go back to the same well? I don’t even want to talk about the last scene, where Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) turns out to be a mole – a twist that pretty much everyone saw coming. It remains to be seen whether he’s involved in the terrorist plot, or if it’s limited to Kate’s (Yvonne Strahovski) husband’s frame job. Count me irritated by the complete obviousness of that entire storyline, though.
I was also a little disappointed in Simone’s (Emily Berrington) untimely demise – actually I guess that I shouldn’t write her off just yet. Maybe she survived being struck by a bus at full speed. I don’t see how she could still be in any state to continue with her terrorist duties, though. What disappoints me is that there was an opportunity to really explore how a person can be pulled in so many different directions: she loved her husband; she is subservient to her mother; she clearly doesn’t want to harm Naveed’s sister or niece. Having a little dissent in the ranks is a good thing for drama. But within two episodes, both Naveed and Simone have been sidelined, leaving Margot (Michelle Fairley) firmly in control. Unless Ian (Liam Garrigan) is about to flip on mommy after losing his sister (which seems unlikely),there isn’t much conflict left in the Al-Harazi household.
One of my favourite scenes in 24‘s history happened early in Season 2, after President Palmer (Dennis Haybsert) convinced a depressed/retired/lumberjack-impersonating Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) to return to CTU. Jack had to get in with someone that he had been working undercover with who (rightly) suspected that Jack was a cop. To regain that trust, Jack had to deliver something that the bad guy wanted. This led to Jack killing some scumbag prisoner right in front of his bosses and co-workers, and then declaring that “I’m gonna need a hacksaw.” He doesn’t go quite so far in tonight’s episode, but it’s the same idea – he needs to serve Kate up as bait to regain the trust of some evil weapons dealer who might know where Margot is hiding out.
The subsequent scenes are intense and sufficiently suspenseful. Kate willingly goes along with the plan, not realizing that the bad guys have a way to wake her up and torture her. The torture scenes are pretty graphic for network TV, but at least we got to see Kate kick some serious ass. She seems like an even better female proxy for Jack than Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) was.
While Jack’s plot is certainly the most entertaining, it wouldn’t have come to a head the way that it did were it not for the weird dementia angle involving President Heller (William Devane). I was impressed at how easily the President went along with Prime Minister Davies’ (Stephen Fry) request for access, even when his own general (Colin Salmon) objected. Nations are so xenophobic and secretive these days that I doubt that the scene would play out anything like that in real life. Since this is TV and TV needs to be dramatic, Heller agrees to work with Davies, but slips up and repeats himself at one point – a mistake that catches Davies’ attention. And somehow the British find out that Heller is being treated by a neurologist, potentially for Alzheimers.
Cue unnecessary interference (another common plot device on 24). The British have satellites following Jack’s movements, and watch as he dumps Kate’s unconscious body in the trunk of his car. I suppose that it isn’t a huge jump to assume that Jack has gone rogue, given his reputation and wanted status, but it would have been nice if Davies had showed a little trust in Heller, considering that the President just allowed him access to secret U.S. information. Instead, Davies orders MI5 to intercept Bauer and the weapons dealer.
This leads to a shootout, where the weapons dealer dies. Presumably, Goth Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) got the necessary intelligence from her computer tricks to find Margot, but if she hits a dead end, then the only lead just blew himself up with a grenade – a fate that could have been avoided if people would just learn to trust in Jack.
In any case, the fallout next week should be interesting. I’m looking forward to a scene where Jack yells at somebody (anybody, really) for getting in his way and screwing up his plans. We all know it’s coming.
- Some boring stuff happened between Marc (Tate Donovan) and Audrey (Kim Raver), and Marc made some pseudo-macho plea for Jack to stay away from her. Zzzzz
- The introduction of the Russians could prove interesting. Marc’s forged signature that they’ll hand Bauer over is coming back to haunt him. I’m curious to see what Heller will do if/when he finds out.
- I always find it interesting when people are doing extraneous stuff in the middle of a crisis. For one, the Russian attache calls and offers help for the ongoing terrorist situation, and in the next breath demands that Heller explain why he can’t hand Jack over immediately. Why doesn’t Marc just say: “We’re in the middle of a terrorist plot. I’ll call you back tomorrow.”
- Same deal with Jordan (Giles Matthey) snooping around the CIA’s deleted files. I get that the writers need to reveal Navarro’s mole status somehow, but doesn’t Jordan have much more pressing duties to attend to? Couldn’t the snooping wait until the next day? Or why didn’t he do it before, when they were investigating whether Kate was implicated in her husband’s crimes?
- Finally, I love it when Jack throws his bag over his shoulder. One of my other favourite lines in 24‘s history occurred when someone (I think it was Connie Britton) asked Jack what was in the bag. Answer: “These are my weapons.” Damn right.
What are your thoughts on Jack once again not being trusted? Believable or frustrating? Do you wish Davies had trusted Heller more? Do you care if Kim hooks up with Jack? Are you sad to (presumably) see Simone go? Was Kate’s torture too graphic? And did you guess Navarro as the mole? Sound off below.
24: Live Another Die airs Mondays at 9pm EST on FOX