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

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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

The Narrowly Avoided Strahovski-pocalypse

If you recall my introduction, the golden rule for playthrough number two was that I would make every decision as I would in real life. I am Commander Shepard. Or not.

Originally, I considered wooing Lt. Ashley Williams. However, her space racist act quickly wore thin. A highly competent, attractive racist might be attractive, but a highly competent, attractive racist is also racist. Not happening. So, my Commander Shepard made his moves on Dr. Liara T’Soni, just like my original playthrough.

However, unlike the first time, I was going to stick with my original choice through all three games. No way I’m letting little things like being dead for two years and working for a sworn enemy to come between me and my girl. Or something…

But, as Mass Effect 2 started, I found myself drawn back to Miranda Lawson. I went into round two determined to make Commander Shepard my avatar. My assumption was that this would lead to different results than my first playthrough.

This, however, was rather foolish when one of the romance options is the brunette version of my no-longer-secret crush.

Also, I think the game is trying to tell us something…

miranda

I think that thing is “Objectification, bitches!”

In the end, things worked out. I stayed professional with Miranda. I played the Shadow Broker DLC earlier than the first time, reigniting the flame with Liara. And I kept this quick hitter from deteriorating into a creepy Yvonne Strahovski-fest or from bogging down into an exploration of sexism in video games.

Tell us something we don’t already know.

I went into my second playthrough with the expectation that things would be different. It wasn’t, mostly. I guess I did a better job playing as myself than I thought.

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 4 (2PM-3PM)

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 4 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 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 I will always remember this episode for the most incorrect statement ever made on 24, courtesy of White House Chief of Staff Richard Weed.

“That is not the same Jack Bauer you knew.”

I don’t know how to break this to you, dude, but there is only one Jack Bauer. That’s the Jack Bauer who puts his country before everything else. The Jack Bauer that stops at nothing to achieve what he believes to be the greater good. The Jack Bauer that lays waste to anyone who comes between him and that goal.

That’s the only Jack Bauer that’s existed since Teri’s death.

In other news… Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 3 (1PM-2PM)

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 the Episode 3 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 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
JACK BAUER SHOT TWO PROTESTERS IN THE LEG TO USE A RIOT AS COVER.

Let me back up a bit.

A concern I had going into Episode 3 was that Live Another Day would lose some of it’s oomph after the novelty of new 24 wore off. Last week, we all expressed degrees of excitement ranging from cautious optimism to 24 IS BACK, BITCHES! But what would happen after the thrill is gone?

I’m still on board. However, Jack’s inability to grieve with Chloe is reminiscent of his hospital conversation with Renee in Season 7. Audrey is still boring as shit, reminiscent of Seasons 4-6. And Catelyn Stark’s terror family brings back memories of Season 4’s Araz Family, especially after they ditched the cool “I don’t like my wife fucking other dudes for the cause” conflict in favor of a more generic “cold feet” angle. I’m sure Jeff, our local 24 historian, could give additional examples.

Worst of all, Jack might be turned over to the Russians and it’s implied that someone in the US government took out Chloe’s family. It’s like Jack’s day can’t just be about stopping a terrible thing from happening. He also needs to evade his own government while doing it. My hope was that they would cut that sort of padding in a shortened season, but I was wrong.

Thankfully, Live Another Day is trying some novel ideas. Continue reading

24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episodes 1 & 2 (11AM-12PM & 12PM-1PM)

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 the premiere episodes of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.” and “Day 9: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 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 tell you what, guys. It took me about five minutes into the premiere to get me jacked (*wink*) for Live Another Day. And true to form, the two-hour premiere had “dammits,” torture, sweet accents, and recycled plot points. Overall, I’m pumped, mostly because 24 is back, but also because I like this season’s characters so far.

Jack is still Jack. Chloe is still Chloe, except that she’s got some Goth Edward Snowden/Julian Assange thing going. I hope her whole family died because I can’t think of another reason for her to abandon them to use her hacking skillz for evil.

Benjamin Bratt’s Steve Navarro is the CTU Director equivalent for the season. He’s smart, empathetic, and reasonable, but a little too smart for his own good sometimes. Chris Partlow is a good field operative whose ambition might get in the way. I hope he has a protege who shouts “Yerp!

Yvonne Strahovski is this season’s FemBauer. She quickly figures out the situation but no one believes her, causing her to go rogue. Have I mentioned I’m in love with Yvonne Strahovski? (Hopeful reaction)

James Heller is now President of the United States because no one can become president on 24 without being tangentially related to some other president. Also, he has Alzheimer’s or something. 25th Amendment, anyone?

Audrey Raines returns as the Prsadkn.hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sorry, I must have dozed off there.

So, gentlemen, what did you think of the premiere of Live Another Day? Continue reading