24: Live Another Day, Season 1, Episode 7: “5:00 PM – 6:00PM”
Written by Tony Basgallop
Directed by Jon Cassar
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX
For decades, summer blockbusters skated by with having just one incredible set piece to implore viewers to tell their friends about, the kind of scene that you simply must see on the big screen. That’s not typically enough for moviegoers anymore (the Transformers series notwithstanding). We demand more from our entertainment, literally more bang for our buck, as we want to be told compelling stories to nestle alongside the whizzbang of CGI and explosions.
This week’s 24: Live Another Day is anchored by a fairly astonishing, extended action sequence in which the terrorists try to chase down Jack with the missiles hooked under one of the drones they control. It’s the type of set piece one might expect the show to pull off (as it has many times) in, around, and over the sprawling Los Angeles cityscape — part of which was vaporized with a nuclear bomb, for instance. But with winding London streets to contend with, it becomes much more intricate to pull off a car chase with an aerial component. It’s the type of hair-raising stunt that’s become a hallmark of 24, and while it shouldn’t be surprising to see the producers pull fancy tricks like this from under their hats, this comes as a welcome addition to what would have still been a speedy, enthralling hour without it.
The main thrust of the outing, as ever, focuses on what Jack’s up to. He’s on the hunt for Simone, and quickly traces her to a hospital. He tries valiantly to get Simone to spill everything she knows — including with his first use of torture this year — but as soon as Margot learns of Jack’s contact, she sends in the drones, ready to raze London (and a hospital, without compunction) to snuff out her daughter and protect her diabolical plan. That Simone’s own brother is sending those missiles in her direction is another twist of the knife in a day that’s seen her lose her husband and pretty much everyone else in her life.
Jack’s use of physical force, meanwhile, drives a wedge between him and Kate. She’s positioned as the yin to his yang, seemingly ready to put her own body on the line before harming others with the belief that she needs to do whatever’s necessary to save lives, but his use of torture compels her to leave the room.
The mole subplot, sadly, continues to prove disappointing, with Cross now rolled into the conspiracy since it was he and Navarro, and not Kate’s husband, who sold state secrets. The thread will surely funnel into the larger story at some point, which offers some hope for making it worthwhile, but the longer it takes to stitch to the main narrative, the harder it is to accept. However, Cross’s ties to Chloe suggest that his skeeviness will impact her immediate future as well.
The face-to-face (albeit over video chat) between Margot and Heller is a decent conclusion, with the slightly unexpected kicker that he would turn himself over to her and meet her demands. The search for Margot is almost at a dead end, with Simone on the verge of death. With parts of London in rubble and Heller’s mental faculties declining, he seems to take comfort in having the chance at the type of big save-the-day moment that George Mason had in Day 2. However, his call to Jack does suggest that he has more than a kamikaze ploy ready, thankfully.
There’s plenty of intrigue and mystery happening this week, most good, some poor. But all that’s really worth talking about is the drone attack. Sure, the show’s politics and morals might cause concern for many viewers, but we all tune in to see action man Jack. He barrels through those small streets, switching cars and punching out innocent civilians in the process. It’s batshit bananas and ridiculously over the top. It’s an uppercut to the jaw harder than 24 has landed in many a year, and that’s cause for celebration.