Wednesday, 4 June 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY, episode 6 – '4:00PM – 5:00PM'

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

written by David Fury | directed by Omar Madha

Well, I was wrong. Agent Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) didn't die in the blast that destroyed half a mansion in last week's explosive climax, but managed to walk away with cuts and bruises. And his survival enabled one of 24's most enduring clichés to return, because he becomes Live Another Day's first 'mole'. I had to giggle at the last-minute reveal that Navarro's a tarnished figure, as the shock-value of these things wore off years ago, but I can't deny it's a reliable way to stoke a dramatic fire. The fact Navarro helped frame Kate Morgan's (Yvonne Strahovski) husband for treason was actually a nice reveal, as his character's kindness towards her now rings completely false.
HELLER: Jack wants her. Jack needs her. Jack gets her.
This midway episode revived a lot of 24 standards beyond the ridiculous number of moles the US security agencies recruit. Second on the list of its most-used tropes has to be gruesome torture sequences, and poor Kate was on the receiving end of a particularly nasty Lethal Weapon-inspired one this week: strung up by two henchmen by her arms, pulled back on chains, forced onto tip-toes, while she endured being sliced, electrocuted, and almost drilled to death. It was pretty nasty without being overly graphic, and it's always deeply unsettling when women are the ones going through such bodily trauma.

Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) was set free this week, to go undercover for President Heller (William Devane) to locate arms dealer Rask (Aksel Hennie), who might know where drone-hijacker Margot's (Michelle Fairley) whereabouts; as Jack's been working for Rask while on the run (helping sabotage his operation for the inside just for fun), and uses a tranquillised Kate as a show of goodwill when he made his return so Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) could upload a virus to Rask's computer. It was fun seeing Jack and Kate together as a terrorist-fighting duo, particularly when it dawned on Kate that being Jack's partner involves submitting yourself for nasty torture—and, thankfully, Kate's being written as someone up to the task. Did you notice Jack's impressed expression when she gave herself that neck jab with the huge needle? She's his kind of woman. They're going to have lots of fun knee-capping bad guys together.

One unexpected complication that created tension was Prime Minister Davies (Stephen Fry) learning about Heller's medical condition and deciding to operate independently of the US authorities—which led to that frustrating moment when the PM mistakenly believed Jack had conned Heller, so sent a squad of armed MI5 agents to essentially ruin his covert mission and give Rask an opportunity to commit suicide-by-grenade. How will they possibly locate Margot and her drone-control system now?
JACK: Mr. Boudreau, if I live through today, which is highly unlikely, I'm going straight to prison. I'm the last thing you need to worry about.
Less compelling right now, but warming nicely, is the situation with the Russian government. They know the President has caught fugitive Jack Bauer, and that he's signed an extradition order, but Chief of Staff Boudreau (Tate Donovan) isn't so keen to get Jack thrown into a Russian jail now. His jealousy over Audrey (Kim Raver) has proven unwarranted, and he now realises Jack's a pretty decent guy who only wants to protect innocent people, and yet he's forged Heller's signature and will have to answer for that mistake. There's always a sub-plot involved an office fuck-up on 24, and this one has potential to grow exponentially. If Boudreau comes clean about what he's done to POTUS, surely that's the end of his White House career? You don't go around signing official documents as the President of the United States without serious repercussions.

It was also enjoyable to see Simone (Emily Berrington) walk a darkening path, as her brainwashed loyalty to her mother was once again pushed to the nth degree. She's already stood idly back and watched her mum shoot her husband dead "for the cause", and here she was assigned to kill her own sister-in-law and cute niece—despite the fact they definitely don't know anything of Margot's drones plot. It's funny how sympathetic Simone's became this week, having been introduced on 24LAD a lethal assassin in a wig who likes to ram sharp objects into men's ear holes. My only annoyance is how her storyline ended; abruptly run over by a double-decker bus while chasing after her niece. A disappointing and cliched demise, but I guess this is how the CIA will trace Margot. They must surely be able to identify Simone and she would have her mother's number on her phone's contacts, right?

Overall, episode 6 was as enjoyable and propulsive as always, but it was also the first episode of 24LAD that felt somewhat generic. Maybe the novelty is wearing off with the London setting, but it's also true this hour featured more reliance on 24 standbys than we've seen previously (ugly torture, wrongdoing presidential aides, urgent wire transfers, the reveal of a mole). That stuff is still fun, but it's certainly not fresh and interesting, and thus dragged this episode down somewhat.

2 June 2014 | Fox