24: Live Another Day, Season 1, Episode 5: “3:00 PM – 4:00PM”
Written by Sang Kyu Kim & Patrick Somerville
Directed by Omar Madha
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX
And so it is that one of 24‘s top love stories enters a new chapter. Jack and Audrey have an incredible history together, even by Jack’s standards. He killed her ex-husband, for heaven’s sake. They haven’t seen each other for years, and now they cross paths once again, with Jack a suspected terrorist (which everyone with half a brain in this universe should know is hogwash) and Audrey firmly entrenched in her father’s administration. Before the star-crossed lovers finally reconvene, there is plenty of other business to get through, most of it related directly to the impending terror attacks.
After saving Jack’s life, Kate manages to slip away with the flight key and send the data to Chloe. It’s a bit of a stretch to believe that Cross is able to spot the precise strings of data required to build the override code amid that jumble of numbers and letters, but we’ll roll with it. The proof of the code’s existence is enough to run the drone hijacking information up to Heller. But the president is too late to ground all the drones, as Margot still manages to take over six. The hunt for the Al-Harazi cell ramps up as Margot demands Heller hand himself over to her, lest she kill thousands of others. It’s a tense sequence that uses the real-time structure to strong effect, even if it is people talking at screens. All involved play the high stakes of the situation well, especially William Devane, who does so much to bring the required gravitas to everything he does on the show.
The real meat, though, is in Jack’s one-on-ones with the Hellers. His encounter with the President is decidedly low-key, as they discuss business and Jack’s involvement going forward. Of course Jack knows a guy who might help, and of course (despite Heller’s concerns over how the Russians might react) Jack is restored to field status, because that’s how 24 works. But the meeting between Jack and Audrey, however brief it is, hits us right in the gut. Good actors can convey a lifetime of hurt, regret, and angst with few words. Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Raver have always shared a strong chemistry, and they’re terrific in their few moments together.
Aside from the final set-piece (an impressive visual, albeit a predictable close), this is a mostly small-scale episode, but it is very effective in how it increases the stakes and makes them more tangible. There are some excellent moments and punchy in-jokes (Chloe offering to walk Kate through the 24 staple of opening a socket is a particular highlight) punctuating the broader narrative, which invariably makes for a strong outing.