written by Robert Cochran & David Fury | directed by Jon Cassar
Owing to the 50% reduction of episodes for 24: Live Another Day, the storyline's benefited from giving us a concentrated blast of Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) chaos, and I'm enjoying this climactic batch of hours more than the opening nine, in some ways. Until last week, 24LAD was telling a straightforward tale about a terrorist's widow with a vendetta against the President of the U.S, but now the narrative's fractured to involve the Russians, the Chinese, and Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau's (Tate Donovan) well-meaning treachery. It's great fun! I only wish Kate Morgan (Yvonna Strahovski) felt more central to the plot, as she's devolved into "Jack's buddy" since episode 5, now indistinguishable from previous action-girls like Renee Walker.
HELLER: You're working for the Russians and you tell me you're sorry?
As the story races towards the final bleep of the clock, I like how events now have a deeper personal resonance for characters. Margot's Al-Harazi's back-story with Heller was just an info-dump (24 can't elucidate with flashbacks, given its rigid format), so it thrived on being gloriously insane and action-packed. But now there's a human level to the drama that's working nicely. Jack's relationship with Audrey (Kim Raver) is being rekindled (loved their heart-to-heart phone call), and it would certainly be great to let Jack have a love-interest again; Heller feels understandable revulsion for his own son-in-law doing a deal with the Russians behind his back; Cheng has a twisted history with both Jack and Audrey that fans of 24 have a connection with; and loyal hacker Chloe's (Mary Lynn Rajskub) life is in jeopardy. 24LAD could have done with more of this human quotient to the action, to be honest, but I'm glad it's in full affect now.
JACK: Some things are going to happen and I just don't want you to hate me forever.And this episode tee'd up next week's finale very well, although the eagerly-anticipated use of a format-breaking "time jump" during 24LAD has been kept for the very last episode? That suggests part of the story will happen overseas (the time-skip is to avoid travel time?), or the season's denouement will take place the next day when the dust has settled.
AUDREY: Jack, stop. I could never hate you. I never have.
9 July 2014 | Sky1