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 5 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.”
It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.
I think we have run into the problem that plagues any weekly assessment of serialized television. We are watching a forest planted tree by tree.
We’ve all been down on Live Another Day thus far. We’ve found it slow, inconsistent, or samey. But maybe they just needed a few episodes to set everything up. If a couple boring episodes are the price we pay for a tight story and a classic Bauer rampage once the ball starts rolling, I bet we’ll look back more favorably on those first four episodes.
For what it’s worth, I think this was the best episode of the season so far. We got great conversations between Jack and Heller and Jack and Audrey, with the latter being particularly difficult to watch. The two have incredible chemistry and I buy their unresolved affections, even if Audrey should hate Jack’s guts. The only way that scene could have been better is if Audrey wasn’t the least interesting character on the show.
Both Mark Boudreau and Steve Navarro came around to Jack’s point of view. Even if they did those things to save relationships or bogart glory, respectively, they finally felt like characters, not obstacles.
Best of all, we experienced the sort of suspense that made me fall in love with 24 in the first place. The twists were surprising enough, the trap teased enough, and the realization late enough to keep a lump in my throat and my brain shouting “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck” for the entire CIA raid. Seeing those helmet cams turn to static was a powerful image, as were the clear parallels between survivors crawling out of the rubble in London and in Yemen three years earlier.
I’ll reserve my judgment on the forest. But this episode belongs with 24’s proudest oaks and tallest redwoods.
Elsewhere… Continue reading