Monday, May 26, 2014

REVIEW: '24: Live Another Day' - Jack & Audrey Reunite as Margot Launches a Drone Strike in 'Day 9: 3:00PM - 4:00PM'

FOX's 24 Live Another - Episode 9.05 "Day 9: 3:00PM - 4:00PM"

As Jack deals with unforeseen circumstances, an unlikely duo joins forces to prevent an impending attack in London. Meanwhile, Margot reveals her demands. Also, President Heller orders a lockdown of military airspace, but it may be too late.

24: Live Another Day has been on a roll and gaining momentum throughout the last two episodes. Yes, I concede that I was a bit too harsh in my initial review of last week's episode. In hindsight, what it did was much better than I thought at the moment. It still bugs me that technology snafus are still being used to drag out plots to a full hour. But I forgot to applaud the series for its forward momentum. That trend continues here as literally every important figure in this season is now working towards the same thing. That is both exciting and gives the more frivolous elements something actually interesting to do. The season is almost entirely about Margot's pending terrorist attack now. Action is what 24 has always done well and there is loads of action in "3:00PM - 4:00PM."

A common misconception for 24 has been that it needs Jack Bauer at the center of each and every episode in order to feel tense and meaningful. Here, the exact opposite holds true. Jack is in very little of this episode and when he does pop up he's either stoically silent or just having a brief reunion with Audrey. He's not the one driving the action. That's the CIA and Kate and President Heller and Margot. It's a very talented ensemble 24 has established this year. And now, all the various threads are working. Heller and Prime Minister Alastair talking about drone policies wasn't interesting until the moment that it was - when Alastair is fully brought into the loop here with the threat to his city. The family drama at the Margot house of terror wasn't interesting until she severed her daughter's finger and then was pushed even further by having to kill her son-in-law. Sure, I'll never remember his name in the grand scope of things but he was a tragic character here. He allowed the CIA characters to have an actual moment of smarts as well as a devastating conclusion to everyone involved.

And at least initially, it seems like the CIA has suddenly gotten smart and capable. And then, it's revealed that, nope, Kate is still the only smart one. Seriously, it's so obvious that the show keeps setting up the rest of the CIA characters so that Kate seems smarter in comparison. Was there really anything that Chloe did to determine that the IP address was false that Jordan couldn't have done? Other than that though, centering the episode's last third around the raid on the compound was a really strong action sequence. Everyone was on pins and needles praying that they would find Margot and her family and be able to stop these attacks before they happened. Margot was confident that they wouldn't be found and she had a much bigger surprise waiting for them. She's turned our own technology against us. And that finally gets some physical repercussions. She uses one of her missiles to destroy the compound Steve and Erik led their team into. I really don't care if either of them were killed by the blast because they are largely extraneous characters - even though they are played by actors I genuinely like.

By hour's end, hope is lost - a quality that often exists sometime within a season of 24. Now, Heller will have to work with Jack in order to find Margot within the 2 hour deadline. Jack always has a plan where he seems like the country's only hope at stopping the season's terrorists. That's how many characters have justified their actions over the years. But there is a very sincere moment during "3:00PM - 4:00PM" where it seems like Jack is no longer necessary - and that's a really potent idea. In their first interaction of the season, Audrey visits him in his loose custody to inform him that they've found another lead. They trusted their intel and no longer need to release him back into the field. Jack remains stoic but is also at a loss. He's standing in front of a woman he loves as she tells him the government doesn't need to explore his option. It's over and Jack will now have to face what he did. And he doesn't deny that fact at all. He lives up to what he did. But he really just wants to know if Audrey's happy. He hasn't done all of the actions of this day to win her back. Clarity is what he seeks. Of course, next week he's gonna be needed. But for right now, a Jack sidelined is a pretty great story.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Day 9: 3:00PM - 4:00PM" was written by Sang Kyu Kim & Patrick Somerville and directed by Omar Madha.
  • Even after all these years, a socket still needs to be opened in order to get onto the government server. And the government still uses sockets that Chloe knows how to open!
  • Chloe's reaction to learning Jordan found the IP address: "Wow, you should give him a raise."
  • Kate and Chloe is just a really fun duo. I'm hoping for a lot more.
  • Still not feeling Adrian at all.
  • So, the download of the flight card took a long time last week and only got to like 70% but it's able to finish within a few minutes this week?
  • Wouldn't Heller and company be on the com as Steve and Erik lead the assault on the compound? Then they would have heard Kate calling them back.
  • Lastly, everyone gets the evidence that Jack was telling the truth and that Chris Tanner is innocent and yet we don't get an update on Tanner at all? Is he at least out of government custody?