24: Live Another Day, Ep. 1.06, “4:00 PM – 5:00 PM” almost ends the party

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24: Live Another Day, Season 1, Episode 6: “4:00 PM -5:00PM”
Written by David Fury
Directed by Omar Madha
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX

The party’s over everyone. It was good while it lasted, and we can all just pack up and go home now. It took until the halfway point of this season, but we finally got there: we have a mole in the building.

Jeez.

24 is a wonderfully enjoyable show at its best. At its worst, it offers the same rehashed ideas over and over. While old tropes can work when they’re given a fresh twist, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, a mole working in the CIA is narratively constraining. There are usually only two ways for it to play out: the mole is successful (as Nina Myers so very nearly was) or fails miserably. There is a third option, that of the double agent, but we saw that wayyy back in Day 3 with Gael.

In addition, there’s also a complete dick move from Jack in service of doing whatever it takes to get the job done. He’s back in the field to meet with his former employer, a man with ties to Margot, and asks for Kate’s help. But he waits until damn close to the last second before revealing her plan, which will put her in mortal danger. Even by Jack’s standards, it’s kind of a dirty trick, and pulls the rug out from under Kate to a certain extent.

While these two points (the first far more than the second) are drawbacks on the generally strong season, they’re only two aspects of a quality outing.

Sure, Kate’s dropped in about six feet of crap with another ton piled on top, but she instantly renders herself unconscious. The show dumps on Yvonne Strahovski too. She (and her stunt double) are put through the ringer by getting suspended from their arms, behind their backs, locking their shoulders in place. With the CIA agent keeping eye through a sniper scope getting knocked out, it’s an effective, tense torture scene, something we’ve thankfully seen a relative lack of this season, but completely works here thanks to the context and sheer brutality.

Props to Strahovski and her stunt double for enduring what must have been a rough day or two at the office to pull this off. Kate also gets a great badass moment when she takes out one of the henchmen with her hands behind her back. If the producers are building her up to take over the franchise from Kiefer Sutherland, they are doing a terrific job.

Jack, meanwhile, gets the information he needs thanks to a virus Chloe plants in the Second-Tier Bad Guy’s bank accounts. And he kills a couple of goons, obviously. It works, and they trace Simone’s phone. But the signal comes through just as she’s chasing her niece through busy traffic (right after she’s had to kill her sister-in-law) and a London bus knocks her down. She may be dead, or may not be, but it adds a hurdle to the good guys’ mission without seeming too contrived.

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Speaking of Simone, there’s a further wedge jammed between her and Margot, as the latter orders her daughter to kill her sister-in-law and niece. If she’s alive after all, we wouldn’t really blame her for spilling her guts (figuratively) to the feds.

In the corridors of power, Prime Minister Stephen Fry wants access to U.S. military data to help track down and stop the drones. But the U.S. is all like “nope sorry national security better luck accessing our files next time!” Nice try, Brits.

Perhaps more relevant to the broader story, the Brits find out Heller has a mental impairment, so look for that to prove important in the hours ahead. Also, Mark’s forgery of Heller’s signature is coming back to bite him in the rear, as the Russians want Jack delivered to them post haste. It was a moronic decision in the first place to sign the rendition order, even if he had the best intentions. We hope you can deal with a gulag or federal prison, Marky Mark.

With an episode as strong as this, it’s heartbreaking that the producers have to, just have to, shoehorn in a mole. It’s infuriating. But since 24: Live Another Day has regained a bit of goodwill for turning its own clichés on their heads, we’ll be back next week with bated breath, fingers crossed there’s something more compelling afoot.

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