24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 11 (9PM-10PM)

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 11 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.”

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Patches
I’ll calling it, guys. Live Another Day is the most frustrating season in 24’s run. Which is not to say it’s the worst, mind you, but rather the least consistent. Season 6, hilariously skewered by our own Zach here, was terrible, but it didn’t do much after E4 to get our hopes up. Season 8 may have been forgettable, but Dana Walsh aside, it was never downright infuriating. But Live Another Day has alternated between great and terrible so many times it feels like I’m watching Star Trek movies.

First, if I may ape Zach’s bit from Episode 7,

THIS WEEK’S REJACKTIONS BROUGHT TO YOU BY NARRATIVE NECESSITY

I swear this episode was the last one written. It’s the only explanation. The writers wrote the finale first, then went back and started from the premiere, except that when they got to this episode, they realized they didn’t know how to logically move the pieces from E10 to the finale. This week’s episode set up the finale, but did so in ways that constantly made me say, sometimes out loud, “Of course. Why wouldn’t that happen?”

Of course President Heller would escalate our military readiness. Why wouldn’t he do that? It’s not like standing down and/or taking one on the chin from China would help our case with the Chinese Premier.

Of course Audrey would tell Jack to kill Cheng. Why wouldn’t she do that? It’s not like he is the key to stopping a globally crippling war or anything.

Of course Ambassador Moustache was killed by a hilariously long fragment of breakaway glass. Why wouldn’t that happen?

Of course everyone with Audrey gets sniped. Why wouldn’t that happen? I’m sure there’s perfectly reasonable explanation for how Cheng knew the meeting’s location or why he would leave a sniper on British soil while making his escape.

Just terrible…

Speaking of Cheng, although I was initially receptive to his return, this episode soured me, mostly because I foolishly believed they would explain how he escaped. Instead, Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 10 (8PM-9PM)

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.

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PATCHES
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, Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 9 (7PM-8PM)

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 9 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.”

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Patches
So, uhhhhh… how about that noble sacrifice, huh guys?

A week after I subtitled my thoughts “How I Learned To Stop Giving a Shit and Love 24 For What It Is,” here I am to analyze the hell out of things again. It’s indicative of post-S5 24 that I continue to vacillate about each episode and about Live Another Day in general. If 24 could give me some consistency, I could probably return the favor.

But no, 24 copped out of last week’s bold decision, delivering a Jack Bauer-sized dose of revivium. I generally don’t support narrative backtracking, especially when it neuters one of the best episodes of your series.

And that’s assuming it was even possible in the time given. About 90 seconds passed between the time Heller started walking onto the field and Margot getting a positive ID on Heller. So two minutes, tops, for Chloe to finish hacking the drone, call Jack, Jack to come up with and communicate a plan, Chloe to loop the video, and for Jack to sprint out to midfield of a massive soccer stadium and escort an unwilling president off the field.

Just sayin’…

And if Season 7 stands out due to the (comparative) nuance with which it dealt with the War on Terror, Live Another Day is its antithesis. Not only has it been ham-fisted with its examination of current events Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 8 (6PM-7PM)

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 8 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.”

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Jeff
Poor Richard Heller.

Sure, it’s likely that he and his dad cut off all contact after the events of season 4. After all, when you and your dad are complete opposites politically, your dad has you tortured for hours and then forces you to reveal that you’re gay to the staff of CTU, chances are you’re not going to be happy with him. Still, the fact that this episode denied his existence and that President Heller didn’t give one thought to his only son before checking out is unfortunate.

Or maybe he just called him during a commercial break.

Bad dad-ness aside, I really enjoyed this episode. I probably enjoyed it more than I should have, considering it’s sort of a retread of Chappelle’s final hour (with a bit of Mason-like sacrifice thrown in). When you’re going to steal (even if it’s from yourself, something 24 knows A LOT about), steal from the best. It just works.

Your mileage may vary on Margot and Heller suddenly deciding and believing, respectively, that there is such a thing as a noble and honest terrorist. But of course, Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 7 (5PM-6PM)

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 7 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.”

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Patches
“I just hate these people”

It’s the first character development we’ve seen from Jack Bauer since he chatted with Senator Mayer and Larry Moss in Season 7. As Jack apologized to Agent Morgan for some “enhanced interrogation” with Simone, he says “I just hate these people…for thinking there could be anything that would justify what they’re doing.”

Every conversation Jack has ever had about ends and means has been coldly rational. They’ve been about the calculus of one tortured man versus one prevented nuclear detonation. They’ve been about the needs of the many weighed against the needs of the few.

But what if this was the real Jack Bauer the whole time? Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 6 (4PM-5PM)

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.

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Jeff
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?

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As I emailed ya’ll immediately after watching this episode (cleaned up for our army of loyal child readers):

EFF YESSSSSSSS Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 5 (3PM-4PM)

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.

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Patches
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