TV Review: Jack Bauer Spends The Hour In Time Out

The latest hour of 24 Live Another Day makes little use of Jack Bauer and is this season’s best yet.

During the events occurring between 3 and 4 pm show time, Kiefer Sutherland’s superspy Jack Bauer is stuck in military custody, firmly on his ass in President Heller’s hotel room. Of course, Bauer wants to head back into the field to chase down an associate of Margot’s that Jack believes can help them locate where the terrorist is operating. Instead, there’s a standoff between Heller, who wants the name of the contact, and Bauer, who refuses to give it up for fear that the CIA will make a mess of things.

Bauer’s not wrong, really. In fact, the only reason the American intelligence is this aware of Margot and her ability to hijack drones is because Jack delivered the information. So, it’s understandable that he’d want to see this thing through, but it’s also plausible there’s more going on than we know yet. Either way, Heller thinks there’d be a bigger mess if it got out Jack was in custody and was then let go, so he basically puts Jack in time out.

Fortunately, Bauer’s gained an ally or sorts in Agent Kate Morgan, who spent the earlier episodes trying to neutralize Jack’s efforts in London. Here she rescues him from what was sure to be a military execution if not an ass kicking of epic proportions. She also makes off with the flight key and gets the info to Open Cell to look for proof the drones were tampered with.

With Jack sidelined, 24 must focus on the supporting characters, which would normally be a gamble for a franchise built around him. Thankfully, everyone here is up to snuff. Agent Morgan cements her reputation as willing to pursue the truth at all costs. Margot ups her evil game even more by dispatching Naveed as Simone look on. Still, Simone is emerging as a character darker than her mother as it’s still a grey area whether she supports her mother’s actions or feels trapped. Bauer does get a romantic moment with Audrey, where we see the pain he’s endured over the past four years.

Despite the strength of this hour, there are still moments where the necessity to suspend disbelief is stretched to its limit. While it’s highly possible that the hidden code that hijacked Tanner’s drone could only been seen by fresh hacker eyes, too much of the problem solving and corrections happen off screen. I’m referring specifically to Naveed’s thwarted plan to transmit Margot’s location in her video feed. He steps away for mere minutes to check on his wife only to return and discover Ian found the information and switched it in time to plant a trap for the authorities. Similarly, the trap is discovered in time to save most of the dispatched troops and return the hunt for Margot to square one. Again, it’s plausible, but it just works out too well for my tastes.

With many episodes remaining, 24 Live Another Day is shaping up to be a strong return for the show. The stakes and execution is solid and keeps me returning to see where the show is headed next.

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