24: Live Another Day, Ep. 1.03 “1:00 PM – 2:00 PM” offers streamlined chaos

24LAD E03 promo pic 2

24: Live Another Day, Season 1, Episode 3: “1:00 PM – 2:00 PM”
Written by Sang Kyu Kim & Patrick Somerville
Directed by Adam Kane
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX

After a frantic two-hour premiere in which we barely stopped to breathe, the season’s third hour is a much more taut and streamlined affair. There’s plenty of action, but the focus is on pushing the plot forward. Jack is hunting the young lady who we saw take off with the drone override at the end of last week, Kate uses her interrogation nous to get closer to Jack, and Chloe has a startling reveal that explains much of why she’s an outsider.

After finding the location of Derrick and his murderous girlfriend, Jack is chasing her on the London Underground. This leads to a neat moment for Emily Berrington as Simone Al-Harazi manages to weasel her way out of a tight spot with Jack closing in. Her distraction is pulled off well and she’s able to escape when Chloe is distracted by a family she mistakenly believes to be her husband and son, who were killed in an apparent attempt on her life. The heartbreaking story (and Mary Lynn Rajskub’s powerful performance in telling it) does much to fill in the blanks of how a former government operative turned against her country.

The episode is a great showcase for Berrington, overall. She’s terrific here as the young woman following her mother’s passionate plot for revenge (we now know Al-Harazi Sr. wants revenge for her husband’s murder via drone strike) and as the wife of a man who is questioning his place in the terrorist activity. Michelle Fairley gets some nice beats as well as she interrogates her daughter to find out whether she screwed up in letting Jack follow her to the safe house, and again as she spies on her daughter and son-in-law just as they’re about to sleep together. She’s a creepy, overbearing mother, but some might find it hard to blame her when she’s already lost one close family member to the enemy.

24LAD E03 promo pic 1

Meanwhile, Kate is using her skills to find out where Jack is and what he’s up to by questioning some of the men involved in the apartment bloc shootout. The leader goes a little heavyhanded on the Englishisms, but it’s fitting for a gangster’s character. Elsewhere, Mark further shows he’s a bit of a bad egg by forging Heller’s signature on the document that would allow the U.S. to send Jack to Russia. He may be acting with good intentions in trying to protect his wife and boss from having to know Jack is causing havoc, but it seems he has some ulterior motives in hand.

Back with our heroes, Jack and Chloe return to Open Cell (terrible name, that) to hack their way into the U.S. embassy so Jack can get more information on the terrorist plot. However, Adrian Cross plants some information that will flag Jack as a suspicious character as he uses a forged ID to access the embassy, with Kate and the CIA closing in on him. All of this (including Heller’s disastrous attempt to speak to Parliament about the drone attack earlier in the day) plays out with an easy flow. Director Adam Kane darts between locales breezily and gives each scene just enough time to serve its purpose without over-egging the goose.

That is, until the denouement. Kane’s camera has to bob and weave through the chaos as Jack realises he needs to force his way into the embassy after his plan is rumbled. A cadre of protesters gives him adequate cover to instigate a riot and sneak inside. However, it’s a little concerning that Jack starts the battle by shooting a couple of innocent demonstrators in the leg. While it plays into Jack’s mantra of doing whatever is necessary for the greater good and to save as many lives as possible, it rings a false note. Granted, this is a man who has committed the most deplorable of acts in the name of stopping terrorists, but it seems out of place even for him.

Nonetheless, this is a rollicking escapade with just about everything you could ask for from 24: political intrigue, strong action beats, top-notch performances, and highly skilled terrorists and opponents doing everything in their power to achieve their goals. It’s a shame it falls apart a little at the end with Jack’s act of desperation.

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