This review contains spoilers
Anyone with high-level government clearance should know Jack Bauer’s face.
At this point, the man has saved multiple presidents from untimely deaths along with thousands of other unknowing civilians. Even if you’re not familiar with Jack for his heroics, check the papers, he’s now officially labeled a terrorist.
Jack entering a United States Embassy should be like William Shatner entering a Star Trek convention or Robert Plant showing his face anywhere in the beautiful city of London. He has to be immediately recognized. Instead, known “terrorist” Jack Bauer is able to waltz into what is essentially the US government’s London hub and cause havoc. Jack’s crashing of the embassy is the main attraction of tonight’s 24: Live Another Day, as hours 2:00 – 3:00 were equal parts head scratching and explosive.
Once Jack enters the embassy, he drops by Chris Tanner, the drone pilot being held responsible for the attack, to get his flight key because it is the only chance Jack has to stop the potential terrorist attack. Jack is able to get access to Tanner rather easily, because clearly no one bothers to look at the pictures of the terrorists on the CIA reports. Jack tells Tanner that he believes his story and that’s really all the time Jack has to spare for the young drone pilot (and future Jedi).
Time isn’t the only factor working against Jack. Chloe is doing her best to assist Jack through the save-the-world Bluetooth hotline, but she can’t do it alone. So she asks Adrian Cross for help but he fails to muster up any sympathy for Jack’s, or Chloe’s, cause. He put the free information movement group together to expose governments, not assist them.
With the marines in hot pursuit and no way out of the building, Jack is forced to barricade himself inside the US Embassy with hostages. Based on the events of prior seasons, Jack has to outrun the government. That’s a necessary wrinkle in this season that we’ll have to accept. But there’s a clear lack of respect for Jack’s past accomplishments. Leave it to a man with a rapidly deteriorating memory to be the only person in the government to recognize what Mr. Bauer has done for this country. President Heller is curious of who is taking hostages at the embassy. He learns it’s his old buddy, Jack Bauer, and he immediately wants the chance to talk it through with Jack. The phone rings and the old pals yuck it up for a second. Then Heller addresses Jack like a disappointed grandfather would lecture a grandson who was busted for smoking pot.
The good news is the president and his advisors now know the truth. And what’s the bad news? Well, no one is exactly sure if they should trust Jack. Mark doesn’t. He’s had it out for Jack through all four episodes. Heller? He seems like he wants to trust Jack, but who knows what he’s thinking. Audrey? She took the news that Jack is in London better than we thought she would but I guess it isn’t all that surprising that she takes Jack’s side.
What’s even less surprising is how quickly Kate Morgan comes in to save the day. She’s a CIA rock star and the agency is going to rue the day they let her go. For now, she’s gained Jack’s trust and prevents a group of marines from ending Jack’s life and halting the upload of the flight key. Her big test will come when Jack needs to escape detention.
Lastly, we have the terrorists. With all this government infighting, I almost forgot about them! They are safely out of Jack’s reach and will be able to take them over the drones in less than an hour. Their remote location might physically separate them from Jack, but they are always on his mind. As for me, I can almost do without them. There’s no bite to these 24 terrorists, mainly because they managed to turn the backstory behind Jack’s adversaries into a family soap opera. I could assign blame to the remote location and transformed, highly technological nature of modern warfare. But the writers of the show have lost their grip on what makes a compelling 24 villain. Bat-shit crazy isn’t a substitute for enthralling, hardened terrorists.
Best of the Rest:
It’s never a struggle to catch up on 24 when things get a little out of hand. We usually have a character, in this case Jack, Mark and Audrey, spell out the cliff notes for us at a key moment in the episode.
Simone’s husband wants out. He could have left a week ago but he waited for Simone. He’s a stand up guy, except for the initially agreeing to kill innocent people thing. I have to say he has some major in-law problems. Any mother-in-law willing to cut off her daughter’s fingers is not someone you want to share a Thanksgiving dinner with.