After a four year absence, 24 is returning to TV in the form of a “limited series.” Shortened seasons for broadcast shows are in right now. Big-network programs like Hannibal, The Following, Sleepy Hollow and Under the Dome are taking a page out of the British/Premium Cable model, offering shortened seasons of around 12-15 episodes without the traditional option of extending the season. 24 is embracing this model as well, cutting Jack Bauer’s “day” in half to (theoretically) tell a tighter story and keep costs down. How well 24 translates into 12 remains to be seen, but there is no denying of the excitement of having Jack Bauer back on the small screen.
As a limited run companion piece to our series-spanning Dead Series Discussions we – Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix -will be posting reactions to each episode of Live Another Day as it airs. These “ReJacktions” are not as long or formal (ha!) as our other posts on the series, but instead give us a chance to add some reflections and observations for each episode. Once the season has ended, we’ll give Live Another Day a proper Dead Season Discussion before bidding farewell to 24. At least until Jack comes back again.
This week’s ReJacktion is focused on Episode 6 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.”
It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.
Jordan randomly finds some suspicious files connected to Kate’s husband, Adam, and Steve tells him not to waste time looking at them right now. Mole much, Steve? That was a groaner moment for me, along with Naveed’s “surprise family member(s)”™, Heller’s sudden decision to give Jack carte blanche and Rask’s “magical wake-up juice.”
But guys, this episode was really good.
Why? Because it rediscovered the breakneck pace that made the best seasons of the show hum. More importantly, it subverted my expectations on several occasions, and that’s really saying something for a show like 24, that has been repeating itself since Season 2.
First, almost everything Kate. She’s tied up and tortured and I’m thinking “oh great, Belcheck is going to rescue her at the last minute with a well-placed bullet.” Nope. MI-5 knocks Belcheck out cold. That starts to get me really excited that the show might actually let Kate get out of this situation on her own (props if they killed her, but they wouldn’t). Then MI-5 starts a gunfight and I’m thinking “great, saved by someone else.” But no, one guy sticks around and Kate takes him out and frees herself. Let me repeat: a female agent got out of a deadly jam without help from Jack or really anyone else (two episodes after she basically saved Jack’s ass with a convenient air duct). Is this really 24? Sure we’ve seen Jack (and Sarah Walker) do this before, but he’s Jack.
Second, Jack makes a blind guess about Rask’s testing him on the name of the account manager. Of course he guesses right, but how often have we seen Jack just take a 50-50 shot (and Chloe fail to find the information in time)?
Third, MI-5 bungling everything. Yeah, we’ve seen other official parties–numerous suits from Division, Marvin the earless cop, Herc from The Wire–get in Jack’s way before, but the thing is, almost none of them have been this believably well-intentioned. Sure, it’s all based on dementiaphobia, but the Brits’ plan was valid enough for me (especially as it came from Jo from Spooks!)
Fourth, Simone. It’s stupid to replace Naveed’s cold feet with Simone’s after last episode, but her story takes so many twists in its few short scenes that I didn’t mind. I wish we knew better how/why Simone stabbed Farah, and it might have been more interesting if Jasmine had been hit by a car, neatly accomplishing Simone’s mission. Still, I half expected Jasmine to get hit or get away, so having Simone get pasted by the bus was nice. Of course, the real twist would’ve been if Simone was killed by the bus. Not the case.
Lastly, Steve. Yes, I know that Moles is the alternate title for 24, but until we know who he’s really working for, I’ll go with this one. Had he straight up called a known bad guy (a la Nina, Marianne, Logan, Sean, Dana) I wouldn’t be so forgiving. As it stands, it looks like Steve is somehow connected to framing and “killing” Adam (I don’t think he’s dead), and may not be connected with terror family (fingers crossed).
On top of this, Jack lies to Mark about Audrey’s happiness in marriage, Mark gets a call from the Russian minister, Rask blows himself up (along with the entire MI-5 team) rather than face capture and we find out that Jack has been a “freelance badass” for the past couple of years (awesome). There’s so much going on in this episode, and for me the good is trumping the bad.
What do you guys think? Is this episode “a mole too far,” status quo for late-era 24, an exciting throwback, or something else entirely?
As I emailed ya’ll immediately after watching this episode (cleaned up for our army of loyal child readers):
This episode was great. Maybe I’m just overly hyped up because the show finally hit its stride, but I did genuinely enjoy almost every minute of this episode. In fact, I giggled out loud at how glad I was to see it back “the way I remembered it.”
Heller’s opening line (“Oh mmmy god it was an AHYMbussh”) and the PM’s reaction to the news of Heller’s condition had me immediately slip into assuming this was gonna be another yadda yadda lame-o episode, Most of the opening action was less boring than previous episodes, but still not great (notable exception: Jack and Boudreaux Boudreaux Golly!’s meeting was a poignant bit), but it didn’t really get kicked off until Jack and Kate start teaming up.
“Unfortunately for us, I think the second he sees me he’s gonna want to kill me — get in the car.”
And of course Kate gets in, because as Jack knows, there is something of him in her. She can handle anything that comes her way, which is good, because as long as we just focus on the two of them, we gon see some stufffffff.
The Russian moustache ambassador is ridiculous.
The sequence between Rask and Jack is just so badass. Jack’s bold face gamble with Rask is the sort of no-deus-ex situation that hasn’t been a part of the show since Chloe showed up (no offense to her, but her super l33t haX0r skillz have been used to diffuse tension when scenes like that Rask standoff would have done). Kudos to real-world Rask; he played the shit out of that guy. I love that he so spontaneously offs himself, right as the din of the fight seems to have faded. It directly confirms Jack’s suspicion that there was no way you’d get him to make a deal. A fitting end to a story that also boosts Jack’s credibility? Where has this been the last few years?
Finally, Kate barely escaping (for tension) and then TOTALLY ESCAPING SO HARD (for FREEDOM), was a great moment. The whole shootout was tense and interestingly choreographed and, as you mentioned above, Jeff, didn’t require some guy swooping in and saving Kate — a major win for the viewer and the show.
I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that I’ve been Live Another Day’s primary torchbearer around these parts, but if it is, I’m just glad to have someone to hand it off to. I’m really conflicted about this episode.
On one hand, I would agree with everything stated above. It took Kate Morgan six episodes to reach FemBauer levels that other characters required full seasons to attain (please consult my FemBauer power rankings at the end of the season). Did you guys see the “What the fuck is wrong with this woman?” look on Jack’s face when Morgan sedated herself with a needle to her own neck? And then she tops it off with the Vladimir Bierko Memorial Headscissors Chokeout, with a bonus Actualscissors Stab. Excuse me, I need to sit down for a spell.
Even if Terror Stark finally went the full Hodges, slapping around concerned sons and ordering unnecessary deaths, it was nice to see her ruthlessness backfire. You never go full Hodges!
Even if Rask’s presence was an all-too-convenient plot device, it only consumed one episode and the payoff was good. Did he say Metzler or Metzger?
Even if the disconnect between Steve Na-Mole-o (Man, I am not as good at this as Zach) and Terror Family is a subversion of the so-tired-I-can’t-even-call-it-a-trope mole cliché, 24’s history since Nina in Season 1 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
On the other hand, notice how those last three paragraphs began. The story is picking up steam, a bunch of the characters are pretty great, and the writers are doing the best job of subverting our expectations since Season 3. However, subverted bullshit is still bullshit, right? This might be a fresh spin on moles, but the freshest spin would be NOT HAVING A MOLE. These were fresh plays on “surprise family members” and “convenient leads,” but the freshest plays would be tightening the damn story and cutting out the recycled ideas.
I’m not sure if this problem is 24’s for leaning so heavily on established plot devices or if it’s mine for expecting them not to. The good news is that no matter the answer, the Warp 8 pace of LAD means we’ll be on to the next thing in no time.
If we’re choosing sides on whether or not this was a good episode, you can mark me down for the FUCK YEAH column.
I will agree with enjoying the overall pace increase and the fact that there really isn’t a story arc that by which I’m not somewhat intrigued. That simply doesn’t happen very often in the 24iverse.
For me, this episode did one thing more than anything else. It lead me to believe that the Bauer/Morgan storyline may be completely unique to any other “partner” arc that we’ve ever seen on the show. The aspect that makes it all so interesting is that Kate is (seemingly) already as fucked up and has equally given up on life as JACK FUCKING BAUER. Now, is that actually true? Probably not, but it sure feels that way.
So, why does that matter? It matters, because almost every person that Jack has partnered with over the years has been tainted to the point of no return (i.e. death) by Bauer himself. However, with Morgan we see a character that we were introduced to as already completely fucked. Interesting…
This then begs the question of what the play for Bauer (and the writers) becomes. It’s pretty simple as far as I’m concerned. Jack can actually help someone “get better.” And THAT is something for which I’m REALLY excited.
The baddies are about to drill Kate and Belcheck decides she’s in such immediate peril that it’s time to take action, Rask’s account access be damned. Then he gets knocked out by MI-5. Oh no! The drill is on its way! Naw, it’s cool, we’ll just take a 5+ minute commercial break and they won’t have touched her at all during that time.
When does Heller become a drooling buffoon, leaving Audrey and Boooooooooooooo-dreaux in a room playing puppet president? Or better yet, Weekend at Heller’s? My money is on E10
I Mustache you to hand over Jack Bauer.
The biggest question we’re left with at the end of this episode is who is on the other side of the phone call with Agent Navarro. I really want it to be some cool tie-in to a previous baddie, but only if it makes sense. Either way, my interest has been piqued!
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Live Another Day ReJacktions – Live Another Day – Superlatives