24: Live Another Day: 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

A normal episode of 24 cuts continually between three or four story lines, many of them not connected. Or rather, not connected yet. This episode defied that trope by concentrating on one. It worked.

The entire hour was about Jack and the fact that he is inside the embassy trying to gather proof about the drone attack. There was a fair amount of watching people sit around and play with computers, but what gave this episode its punch was the emotional connections among the players.

The relationship between Chloe and Jack has been the heart of this show for a long time. Their friendship, the respect they have for each other, the trust they have in each other is compelling. What makes it work even better is that these two struggle to interact with anyone other than each other.

Jack is driven and completely focused on his objective. He will do whatever it takes to accomplish his mission, including shooting Marines and taking hostages. Underneath that drive, however, is a human being. He may have taken hostages, but he assures them that he will not harm them and he tells them how to protect themselves before the door gets blown in.

Chloe is driven as well, but her mission is to protect Jack. She becomes so focused on that single task that she is oblivious to everything else around her. She lashes out at Adrian when she realizes that he is part of the problem, and she looks absolutely shocked when she realizes that he has feelings for her. It has never occurred to her that jealousy might have been in play.

Jealousy also rears its head in the Boudreau marriage. Mark has kept what he knows from Audrey and she is less than pleased. The look on Audrey’s face when she realizes that not only Jack, but Chloe as well, are part of this scenario tells us everything we need to know. She is going to put her trust in them before even her husband or her father. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

The conversation between Heller and Jack was classic 24 and contained the exchange of the episode:
Heller: “I’m told you shot two people outside of the embassy.”
Jack: “I barely grazed them, sir.”
Heller: “How do you know that?”
Jack: “Because I pulled the trigger.”

These two men hate each other, for good reason, and can’t keep a simple conversation from getting personal. Jack, emotionally exhausted, snaps at Heller, spilling emotions that I am sure have been part of his psyche for four years. Heller, unable to get past what Jack did to Audrey all those years ago, allows Mark to convince him of something he knows isn't true. Keeping in mind how often Jack has proven to Heller that he is right, the President’s disbelief requires a fair amount of the audience being willing to go along for the ride, but it does keep the Marines at the door.

It also allows for Kate’s character to become much more interesting. While I don’t think we need to keep being reminded that she missed the fact that her husband was a spy, this is a woman who does what she thinks is right, even if it means going against orders. Jack recognizes this trait in her and allows her to be the one to finally get him out of the mess he’s been in for the past hour.

The fact that we do keep being reminded about the mistake in her past makes me suspicious. Did she know? Is she this season's Nina Myers? I hope not, because I like her. Let's just say it wouldn't completely surprise me.

Mark is an interesting character. He is being set up as one of the villains, yet his motivations are understandable. He wants to continue to be Chief of Staff to the President, yet his boss has health issues. He loves his wife, but knows that she is probably not over her ex. He’s making bad choices, but why he is making them is clear.

Similarly, the motivations of the true big bad become clearer. While we have had hints in the previous three episodes, it becomes clear in this one just how committed Margot is to her cause. And, not just committed. She is a crazy lady. Yet, in a throw-away line, we learn that her husband died in a drone attack. She is driven by grief and the need for revenge. Plus, as I said, she is crazy.

As soon as Simone told Margot about the escape plan, I just knew that she would be the one to suffer. Naveed understands the sick dynamic between Margot and Simone and just wants to get his wife out of harm’s way. That particular plan may have failed, but I am sure he has another trick up his sleeve. The episode went out on the face of a very determined young man.

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I do hope Naveed has something up his sleeve, or we're going to have another Valencia. :)

You're right about the focus on the one plot, Chris, which I'm sure is because they only have twelve hours to tell the story and they don't need a myriad of subplots and villain layers to fill up an entire season. It might make for a better whole, too.

Finger. Gahhh.

J.D. Balthazar said...

I think the reason for the focus of this episode was because of the limited run. They want to tell one singular story, and they don't have the luxury of the usual filler.

I hope Kate isn't a villain, not only would that be a touch predictable, it would also undermine a lot of the build up for the character. They are investing time into getting us to like her, and patterning her behavior like a female version of Jack. I seriously think that she's the potential spin-off character, but I've been wrong before.

Margot is chillingly evil, that scene with the finger was soooo cold. I mean who would do that to their own child? Yesh.

WADEZILLA13 said...

"With all due respect Mr. President, it was your State Department that labeled me a terrorist and made me a wanted man, a man who was never even offered an opportunity to tell his side of the story which by the way sir, I felt I had earned..."

The whole conversation between Jack and Heller was just perfect, but that line in particular gave me chills - Jack never looks for credit for all of the good he's done, all of the lives he's saved, but here he is absolutely right to do so. Perfect line, perfect delivery.

Saying he and Heller hate each other though is a bit extreme; despite how their relationship has deteriorated from the beginning of Season 4, there still is an underlying current of respect there - you can see it in Heller's indecision and Jack's outright honesty. Frankly, Audrey was more responsible for her treatment at the hands of the Chinese than Jack was, and Jack's amazing rescue at the beginning of S4 (one of the series' greatest moments) should be enough to earn him at least 15 minutes to complete an upload...

In closing, I loved this episode, and pretty much everything that's happened so far this season (even Audrey wasn't that annoying this week!).