24: Live Another Day episode 4 review

Review Simon Brew 21 May 2014 - 09:56

Jack is stuck in a room, so everyone else gets to have all the fun in the latest 24: Live Another Day...

This review contains spoilers.

As the producers of 24: Live Another Day no doubt found, there are drawbacks to filming in the UK. For instance, at the point you need a go-to place to hold someone prisoner, in Los Angeles you'd just call a mate who worked at some studios down the round.

In Britain? It looks like they landed in a comprehensive school, pretended it was an Embassy, and stuck a keypad on the door to keep said captive locked down. Never mind that the door is made of wood, and the windows look barely singled glazed. Never mind the fact that Jack Bauer can walk in, and the guard has to think for a minute whether to believe him or answer the URGENT PHONE CALL coming through. All John Boyega's character would need to do in order to escape would be to lean on the door, never mind kick it in.

But then proving the innocence of Boyega's Chris Tanner is the thrust of this latest episode of the show, and thus he stays put. We're gratified too that the top secret flight data that everybody is after is held on, er, a USB stick. This leads Chloe With The Dragon Tattoo to instruct Jack Bauer that he needs to find a computer with a USB port. Yep: she explains the need for USB. To the same Jack Bauer who's pissing around with IP addresses and secure data transfers just minutes later.

He's nothing on Michael Wincott though. Snarling more and more this episode, he's firmly on Chloe's side, but not on Jack's. He's a Swiss army knife of computer programs too, helpfully sending just the right decryption tool across the secure connection to break the hugely top secret military... oh, you know. It's 24? Why am I even mentioning this stuff?

It's not as if it's a grumble: implausibility, and pointing at it while eating Doritos, is one of the pleasures of the show. And, in truth, this was a cheaper, more contained episode. For the most part, Jack Bauer was trapped in a room, waiting for a computer graphic to slide across a screen. Oh sure, he shoots two people in the chest, but they're wearing seemingly bloody good body armour, so that's okay.

The character developments are all elsewhere in this episode instead. At one stage, Michelle Fairley forgets which show she's in by ordering the finger to be cut off her daughter (just the finger mind: this isn't HBO). All so that the love of her daughter's life, who was ridiculously thinking of doing the right thing, will be forced to pilot drones that are converging on London.

Furthermore, President Heller's speech to MPs in the canteen at the Houses Of Parliament appeared to go well, although it took some time before we found out. After last week's heckling, us Brits were suddenly meek, polite and applauding in the right places. Stephen Fry sagely nodded at one point. That's proper Britishness for you right there, friends.

That said, here's where all the talk of 24: Live Another Day being standalone was a little forgotten. For Audrey now knows about Jack, and newcomers to 24 now know that something happened involving Russians, involving Heller not backing Bauer when it mattered, and involving a lot of intense, fifth Dan glaring from Kiefer Sutherland. For two minutes, anyone who skipped 24 season 8 was in trouble. But, given how 24 season 8 bumbled along, that's not a bad price to pay for two minutes of confusion. Just know that Audrey's marriage is basically buggered.

Finally too, Yvonne Strahovski got something decent to do. Yes, it was the latest part of the episode to highlight the, er, 'lax' security around the aforementioned Embassy, but at least she got to do in seconds what a military task force outside the door had thought about for a good 25 minutes. There's no easy way to say this, but she sort of saves Jack by, er, straddling him, declaring she's CIA, and promising to upload his dodgy data.

A word of praise though for writer Patrick Harbinson. The startling efficiency of some of the dialogue here was an exercise in getting to the point bloody fast. Furthermore, given the most contained episode of the series to date to write, it's to his credit that it's kept entertaining and interesting for its running time.

24: Live Another Day still, in truth, feels a good distance away from the show on top form. But it's efficiently working on putting the right pieces in the right places. A third of the way through, the really hard work is soon to begin...

Read Simon's review of the previous episode, here.

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Wow, did someone pee in your cornflakes mate? This new series was always going to be hard to sell, Jack is classed as a terrorist by the US government. The worst status a US citizen could have at the moment. I think it took them this long in the current series to make it believable that he was going to get back and start to work and be on the good side of the US government. I mean lets face it - you can't stop a terrorist attack if you're fighting a terrorist and the US Government again. Jack is going to have to team up and no one in their right mind would have believed Jack if he walked in with the information about the attack to CTU/CIA. So we have to go through this story arc to set up him working with the CIA again. The mere fact they are creating a correlation between the blonde CIA agent's husband and believing Jack's story is clever as it will make them work together better but with a level of healthy distrust...

In your review, you seem to pick on the little things rather than appreciating the bigger picture... And to be fair - when Chloe did tell Jack to find a computer with a USB - he did react quite brashly as if to say 'of course I know that - what else do I need to do' I am actually really really enjoying this season so far - and I feel these are the prelude acts to the much bigger and grander acts and it's making me want to watch it and look forward to next week!!!

Also if you think about other shows out there this season, that are all action - there isn't one that will keep you entertained and as enthralled as 24.

I'm a Weetabix man, and they come guaranteed 100% urine free.

I do like 24, and am quite enjoying this series. But half the fun of this run is poking fun at the apparent Britishisms! Hmmm, not sure Britishisms is a word though. Gah.

I'm always reminded of season 5 - flew out of the traps, rubbish for weeks, then turned into something golden. The pieces are in place for that to happen again... - Simon

If selfie is a now a word - Britishisms should most definitely be a word.

I totally agree that this is going to turn into something golden... they must be using the forsaken film ideas in this series - and I also have to give it to you... the Embassy detention area did look like an office rather than something out of AGENTS of SHIELD which I would have expected from the US Government. - Dan

Agreed. 24's occasional soapiness and implausibility is all part of the fun. Enjoyed the review, Simon and I thought it was a really solid episode this week.


So who do we think is the mole? IS there even a mole?

For somebody who uses the word 'secrets' you shout very loud.


Nice review like Simon says it's silly but it's great fun. I don't think knocking 24 for being bonkers is being negative, 24's bonkersness is all part of the enjoyment!

Great to have the Heller's involved, I think that was a wise move to bring them back and the new cast members are good. Michelle Fairley looks like she's enjoying munching on the scenery and Yvonne Stravinsky is proving a great addition to the cast although I still miss Sarah Walker. Sarah Walker would do everything Kate Morgan does but at some point she'd do it in her pants.

Still no mountain lions :(

What weeks in Season 5 were rubbish, precisely? That entire season was '24' at it's peak from beginning to end! And Season 8 did not "bumble along" as you put it, I suggest you binge-watch it again, it actually both moves along and holds together remarkably well, and has a depth and pathos that is very much underappreciated, the common consensus that it's an inferior season is just plain wrong, period.

You seem to be doing a lot of moaning and sarcasm in your reviews, nitpicking little things and ignoring the big picture, you didn't even get the current episode's writer correct; it was Patrick Harbinson not Somerville...


>What weeks in Season 5 were rubbish, precisely?

The weeks he didn't enjoy. Obviously. Does he need to preface every line with "IMHO"?

I loved Season Five, but it's not perfect. And rewatching it simply showcases that they were clearly making it up as they went along.

Great review (again) - if Stephen Fry is nodding sagely, you know you're doing something right.

Heller - I trust Jack, he's never lied to me

Aide - Remember all that stuff he did
Heller - Oh yeah! Ok, #### him then.

I've been used to the vagaries and inconsistencies in 24 from the off and they don't for me, detract from the overall experience.
The speech in the "canteen" by Heller did make me laugh though, surely they could have mocked up something better than that to resemble Parliament.

"Why am I even mentioning this stuff?"

I don't know. These cynical reviews are not enjoyable. This isn't even a review, it's a grumble and cursory review of the plot, laden with sarcastic observation as with previous weeks. It would be nice to have someone review this who likes 24 and is happy it's back after a 4 year absence. Rather than each week tiresome nitty gritty criticism of the show's credibility. 24 is not remotely plausible, it never has been. Move on and review within its fictional parameters. IMO it's of the exact same standard it always has been which is an achievement given how long it's run. And I say that as someone who bulk watched the lot of late for the first time, so am not tainted by fan viewpoints.

Edit: and I wrote this before reading anyone else's views, I see I'm not alone.

Agreed on both points!

It's sarcasm, very good sarcasm

Why have the reviews stopped?

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