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 10 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.”
It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.
Damn it™, you guys. Why can’t this show make up its mind about whether it wants to be awesome or suck? Two weeks ago, they delivered an episode I called one of the best of the series. Last week, they completely negated it. This week, they completely redeem themselves.
Expecting a Dumb & Dumber clip? I hated that movie, so find it yourself.
Not this episode, though. In fact, there’s so much I loved that it’s list time:
1) This episode subverted three of the worst moments in 24 history. First, who didn’t think Kate was going to pull a Theresa Ortega when Navarro was brought in? Or an Olivia Taylor when she found out about the immunity deal? Or get Curtis-ed during the interrogation ruse? My internal monologue went something like “OH FUCK! THEY’RE GONNA CURTIS HER! DON’T YOU DO IT, 24! DON’T YOU FUCKING DO IT!” Yes, my internal monologue is Brenda from Scary Movie.
2) I was pretty torn about Cheng’s return. It is a little too cute, even if I jokingly called it as soon as a biggest bad was revealed. But who among us would have thought Live Another Day would actually try to wrap up all of 24’s major loose ends? Love it. Although I reserve the right to change my mind if Mandy parachutes in.
3) Cross’ horrified, nauseous reaction to seeing all his people dead. He cared about those people.
4) The beautiful reversal of Jack & Navarro’s interrogation scene from the premiere.
5) I’m sure Jeff will point out some things that were just too convenient, but the episode didn’t give me time to suspend my disbelief. Or breathe.
6) Boudreau’s “Oh, shit…” face when he was told Jack was tracking down the device.
7) I mentioned during Episode 5 that at they were setting up Erik to have to choose between Jack’s methods and his career. I didn’t like his choice (how awesome would it have been for Erik to walk in afterwards and say, “Who’s too worried about his career now, bitch?”), but the writers didn’t leave that idea hanging.
8) MORE YELLING!
9) Navarro immediately transforming into Überasshøle.
10) Jack and Kate’s carpool conversation. Even if Jack’s still showcasing some world-class cognitive dissonance, I love his character development. In Season 7, he had no clue how to respond like an empathetic human being when he had this exact conversation with Renee. He was repressing his emotions, like any good German would. In Season 8, he goes on a rampage because he finally blows up. Now, he gets it. And well enough to compassionately communicate it to Kate.
11) Mark and Audrey’s conversation seemed like a conversation that would actually happen in real life. Sometimes apologies and arguments don’t have immediate resolution. And even if the timing of Mark siccing the Russian dogs on Jack was a little too cute, it makes sense given his personality and his glaring insecurities when it comes to Audrey and Jack.
12) Adrian’s plan to create world peace by giving everyone everyone’s weapons made no goddamned sense, but it was in-character, as was his terrible decision to withhold the truth of Morris & Prescott’s death from Chloe. I can accept a lot of bullshit from a television show if it bothers to establish its characters and have them behave in ways rational to them.
My complaints are of the minor military variety, such as why China is sending their shiny new aircraft carrier on a mission of global intimidation without ANY KIND OF ESCORT.
For realz, though, guys. This episode was good enough to crack at least the top 10% of the series. At least until next week when we find out that AMERICA AND CHINA WERE ON TO CHENG THE WHOLE TIME SO THEY REPLACED THE TORPEDOES WITH FAKE ONES BEFORE THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPLOYED!!!
I had S6 acid flashbacks; that’s how much I hated this episode. I had an exasperated moment where I picked up the remote, ready to turn off the television, but I watched on anyway because I just couldn’t put up the struggle; that’s how much I hated this episode. I was like BM in RT.
Basically, Cheng. I don’t know if I said it earlier this season or not, but don’t you fucking dare bring back Cheng, writers. I don’t know if I said it because, in part, that thought is so ingrained in my consciousness that I feel like every conversation I ever have — 24 related or not — at some point, is really, deep down, about how much I don’t want them to bring Cheng back, ever. I simply didn’t care if they never wrapped up that storyline. Cheng is the boring monolithic thoughtless irrational terrorist-ex-machina of 24, brought in when stories are about to die, because #YOLO. At least, I guess, this time they seem to have planned this all along. Gotta love how they have the Russians, Chinese, and Americans all converging like S6 (not S9) iDrones on the final resting place of The Chode Code Club. I hope that during next episode President Logan rolls in on the exact wheelchair that Milliken had in S3 only to announce that he’s been working for Phillip Bauer’s brother Billip Power all along and the camera pans even further back to reveal that Billip Power is NONE OTHER THAN FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT AARON PIERCE!!!!!11!!!
Sorry. I’m really emotional right now.
Why, guys? Why did they bring Cheng back? Did the ethnic stereotype quotient not get pushed high enough with the Ambassador to Mustachistan and the unruly-but-easily-kowtowed House of Common (Courtesy)? Did they really only have enough villain for 8 episodes, and decide to just Cheng it™ for the final 4?
I thought Jack’s conversation with Kate was great — a real character advancement, as Patches mentioned, and well played by both actors. It felt like the sort of rage-sensei moment that Jack used to have with Chase, trying to impart full knowledge of the life that he and people like him must lead.
I also thought that the conversation between Mark and Audrey was well scripted, and immediately shunted by Mark’s ridiculous and childish decision to basically pay international hitmen. I personally thought Mark taking the high road and losing Audrey to Jack was a super compelling story arc, but not as compelling as “ewwwwwwww he’s totes a dbag!”
Adrian’s reaction was brilliant, but the whole “truth on your terms when you see fit” shtick felt like the limp-wristed-est rebuttal of Julian Assange in ever.
So yeah. Suffice it to say that this is about as upset as I’ve been with the show since last episode, which is a good deal worse than the episode before that… I have the faintest memory, in the back of my mind, of an episode in which they… what was it?… didn’t (!!) try and do the most shocking thing possible at every turn, but rather had a highly tense standoff that featured Jack and Kate being stone cold badasses? Was that this show? Or am I thinking of Law and Order: Criminal Intent?
These four words probably kept me from going full Zach, though I’m only slightly to his right on this one (sorry, Patches).
When I saw them in the opening credits, I knew immediately that Cheng would be back. Whatever explosion of shock, disappointment, hatred or happiness I might have had at the 45-minute mark was defused less than two minutes in. Couple this with the multiple mentions of China peppered throughout the season and I feel like I was already prepared for this to happen.
I get the fear of “season sixing” LAD, but considering there are only 2 episodes left and we’re just now seriously talking season six parallels, I think we’re pretty safe (though Zach’s plan for the next couple of episodes is genius). I just wish they would have brought back someone more interesting (which can only be Tony) or just done something new.
I’ll third the motion on the Jack/Kate scene in the car, and the reveal of the Open Cell massacre.
I can’t quite get behind Mark flip-flopping (again) in this episode. I understand that arguments, even between “grown-ups” can be childish and lead to rash decisions. Still, Mark calling in the hit on Jack and then trying to reverse it is too much. That said, his internal conflict is interesting if they had the time to explore it, and his insecurities about Jack and Audrey along with his general douchebaggery are well founded. I mean, the guy did forge “Ol’ scotch-and-a-thumbs-up” Heller’s signature.
The Kate-Steve twist? A delightful avoidance of the two stupid things Patches mentioned above. However, it was basically just moving Steve to another room before pulling out the (big) guns. I, like Patches, kind of wish non-character-in-charge Erik would’ve been in on it.
Cross’ plan? Mind-boggling, convoluted and ultimately stupid. He’s created the logical extreme in miracle ridicu-tech (it controls the defense systems of EVERY NATION!) and is making it open source to promote world peace. It fits with his most basic character sketch, but a man as careful as Cross shouldn’t be making mistakes like these. Then again, he did believe that Chloe wanted to take a (wiki-)leak in a port-o-potty at the edge of a construction site on a darkened London street. That’s great writing. No wonder he’s dead now.
Also great writing (paraphrased by me):
Steve: I planted a tracker on the override in ALL OF THE SPARE TIME I HAD WHILE BEING CHASED AND HAVING A RUNNING GUNFIGHT WITH JACK because leverage and narrative necessity.
I’m a bit higher on this episode than the last, mostly because I feel like the writers didn’t have as much contempt for the audience this time. Even so, I think the wheels have come off of this season. It remains to be seen whether the show will steer to a controlled stop or blow up in an all-consuming fireball of illogic and repetition.
Well, I’ll bookend this ReJacktion with a similar love fest to Patches’.
THIS EPISODE WAS PHENOMENAL!
Something I’ve mentioned in previous posts is that I thoroughly enjoy a cliff hanger. Just below cliff hanger on my boner inducing list is HOLY FUCK moments just before commercial breaks. This episode had a bunch of the HOLY FUCKs and one big of cliff hanger.
I’ll join in the applause for the Jack/Kate moment, but I’ll disagree with the Mark/Audrey beat. That whole storyline is boring to me. I could care less about Mark. This show is about to end, so it had best be ALL JACK, ALL THE TIME from now on or I’m going to be pissed. (Okay, more Kate is okay too.)
Here’s what I wanted to talk most about after this episode. Did anyone else start to get a “this feels a bit like the end of Breaking Bad” vibe during this hour? (WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS TO FOLLOW) All of the sudden I see the end of this show being a huge shootout with Jack in the middle trying to save/set free Kate from the wrath that he has coming to him.
I now picture the final moments of LAD being the Russians, Chinese, and Americans all out for Jack’s blood and he just accepts it. He (metaphorically) “lays down” and pays the price for his sins just after helping Kate get away to live the rest of her life now that she can be free of her own history and potentially move on.
Although I don’t see myself hating this ending, I’m just worried that it won’t be as powerful as I want it to be. When we first started writing the LAD pieces, most of us wanted Jack to die at the end, as we felt it was only fitting. Now I’m beginning to wonder if that will be enough. Will we also need him to die justly? Fairly? In character? Saving someone else?
I guess we’ll see soon enough…
Jack Bauer: Casual Dick
Why do I insist on lingering on the dial after the show long enough to see the “next week on 24”? Every time so far I have seen something happen that wasn’t even a teased moment — this time it was a major reveal from what is clearly a highly dramatic moment in the next episode. The folks who put this together for 24 should take a page from the Mad Men gang; I swear every time I see a “Next Time on Mad Men” montage I forget what happened this time on Mad Men.
So Morris and Prescott just died in a normal, everyday car accident? Feelings about Morris aside, there’s something really sad about that (if it’s true). Sure, it wasn’t depicted, but how often to TV shows kill characters in such a mundane way (without it being a cover up for an actor fired from a show)?
Also, Jack is the most shat-upon (living) character in the entire series, but Audrey has a hell of a case for runner-up.
So, if Jack dies at the end of LAD, Chloe is basically going to be COMPLETELY alone and potentially the SADDEST person on the planet. Will she then become the ultimate casualty of the 24 universe?