24: Live Another Day, Season 1, Episode 4: “2:00 PM – 3:00PM”
Written by Patrick Harbinson
Directed by Adam Kane
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX
One of the reasons 24‘s original run came to an end is that it was no longer original. It was running out of ideas and ways to tells stories without introducing moles, double-agents, and inorganic obstacles for Jack Bauer. What 24: Live Another Day has managed to do, so far, is use familiar elements from the show and present them in a fresh way. While it doesn’t completely revitalize the franchise, it’s brought a solidly entertaining action-thriller back to the schedule.
We’ve seen many times that Jack is willing to do whatever it takes — including sacrificing himself — for the greater good. We’ve seen him take hostages before, notably in Season 4, when he held up a convenience store to stop a suspect from escaping. But thanks to tight scripting and another episode that rattles along under the direction of Adam Kane, the embassy lockdown as Jack tries to send data proving the drone takeover threat makes for a strong hour. It’s a tense scenario for the episode that builds into the broader season arc magnificently, just as all great shows should.
What’s particularly fascinating about this season up to this point is that Jack is largely prevented from any physical interaction with the main antagonists, meaning he hasn’t been able to carry out his own brand of interrogation that’s proven so effective for him over the years. Instead, others are left to commit acts of torture: first, Chloe was the victim, and this week it’s Simone. Again, 24: Live Another Day returns to the trope of using violence against a loved one to coerce a reluctant character to act. But once more, there’s a fresh spin on it, as Simone’s own mother orders the sudden removal of a finger to push the junior Al-Harazi’s husband into piloting the drones. It’s a successful scene that accomplishes numerous goals beyond the obvious; it also paints Margot as a woman who will stop at nothing, even permanently harming her own child, to achieve her goal, and ramps up the tension between mother and daughter.
Elsewhere, Kate continues to be a badass far surpassing the skill of Renee Walker as she fearlessly storms into the room where Jack is holding his captives. It once again shows the risks Kate is willing to take for redemption, and also gives further evidence that Yvonne Strahovski could anchor the franchise if the creators decide to continue it and Kiefer Sutherland moves on.
In the slightly-less-interesting thread with the Heller administration, the president and Audrey finally find out about Jack’s involvement in the day’s events (or at least the versions the CIA and Mark present to them). A slight drawback in the episode is forcing Heller to doubt Jack’s claims for the sake of advancing the plot. While it could be argued that Heller’s distrust of Jack plays into both the latter’s history with Audrey and Heller’s declining mental faculties, it’s slightly implausible that Heller would have cause to mistrust Jack after everything they’ve been through. Still, with Jack in federal custody, it seems Bauer’s set for an imminent reunion with his former beloved and his almost father-in-law. We can expect fireworks, with a different type of display lighting the sky than we’ve seen before, judging by the way this day’s gone.