TV Review: ’24’ Sets The Stage For Things To Come

The latest hour of Jack Bauer’s mission to save the President is the most “24-ish” of the season so far.

For an hour with so much action crammed into it, surprisingly little actually happens between 2 and 3PM. the riot Jack instigates gains him access to the embassy in a sequence that feels cribbed from Argo and pushes the suspension of disbelief. Of course, this is Jack Bauer we’re talking about, so it should come as no shock that he’s able to move about the embassy almost freely. It’s all Bauer Power as he manages to get Tanner’s flight key and barricade himself in the tech room. It’s also no surprise that, when Jack’s existence is finally revealed to President Heller and the two share a phone call, Jack is full of intel about Margot’s plan that none of the American intelligence agencies possess.

So, Jack creates a hostage situation with the tech folks as he attempts to upload the flight key data to Chloe’s Open Cell group. But the military seems to think there’s always more nerds, and plans to strike after the green light from Heller. Agent Morgan wants to debrief Jack in case he’s telling the truth which leads to an alliance of sorts as she sneaks into the room before the army dudes go in guns blazing. It’ll be cool to watch the two of them work together rather than the whole cat and mouse game they’ve been playing.

Chief of a Staff Mark Boudreau continues to keep marriage counselors in business as Audrey discovers her hubby knew Jack returned way earlier than she or her dad. Hell hath no fury, Mark, and those icy stares from Audrey probably mean you’re sleeping on the couch in your luxury suite. Mark does manage to keep Heller on the offensive where it comes to Jack, and we can’t forget that Boudreau forged his boss’s signature last week on that order.

Predictably, the villain continues to be the most interesting thing on the show. Michelle Fairley ups Margot Al-Harazi’s evil quotient by a million this week as her plan for the drones is uncovered. Margot wants Simone’s husband Naveed to pilot her planned drone strikes, but he confesses to his wife that he plans to run and wants her to come along. Blood is thicker than water, though, and Simone tells her mom instead. Sigh, another married couple with issues on this show! It’s at this point that anyone familiar with the spy genre knows things are about to get cray.

When confronted, Naveed refuses to kill innocents, so Margot has a background henchman lob off one of Simone’s fingers. So, guess who’s gonna pilot those drones? If you said Naveen, take a shot. (We need a 24 drinking game, stat, dammit!)

You can really feel the story being stretched out to fit the format this season. Even with it cut down to 12 episodes, the plot is already getting a bit thin. I have no doubt that at least one of those drones is going to hit a target, but the real question is: What’s the bigger picture here? It may be stretched, but the drone stuff is still moving way too fast to be the only arc here. So what are we thinking? Is poor dubious Benjamin Bratt a mole? Does Mark go feral? Will the infamous cougar from season one return?

All jokes aside, I’m enjoying Live Another Day as the escapist thriller that it is. 24 isn’t asking to be taken as super serious. Rather we get to watch Kiefer kick ass for an hour each week. My only wish is that the show finds some new levels to his character so it doesn’t feel as if we’re watching him through a barrier, like a screen perhaps. And Chloe, you need to get that makeup off your face!

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