Plot: Simone al-Harazi (Emily Berrington) is transported to the hospital after being hit by a bus. Her mother (Michelle Fairley) is made aware of her condition and realizes that, in order to save her mission, she must send a drone into to obliterate her daughter, who may blow the whole operation. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) head to the hospital to squeeze any info out of her as well as protect her from her murderous mother. Meanwhile, President Heller (William Devane) realizes his Alzheimer’s has become a detriment and will resign as soon as he returns to America, but not before making a huge, life-altering decision. Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan) keeps the wolves of the Russian government at bay by promising to deliver Bauer once the mission is over. And the big CIA cover-up including Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) goes to the next level.
Sometimes you have to accept a show for what it is.
After hoping, beyond hope, that 24: Live Another Day would evolve into an intelligent Bourne Idenity-esque cat-and-mouse political thriller, we realized that this is not and will not be the case. The series has devolved into a run-and-gun series that only works when its main character is onscreen and crumbles into a wasteland of unnecessary and overly complicated subplots when he’s off camera.
When Kiefer Sutherland is the focus of the show, boy does the episode kick it into high gear. Say what you will about his “Jack Bauer-isms” but Sutherland gives the most emotional, intense and focused performance of the series. You can tell the actor relishes playing this rogue government agent and his charisma just leaps out of the television and grabs you by the throat. You want to watch this series when he’s on screen.
This seems like an obvious statement, but the reason it’s being made is because no other character has been developed enough or no other performance is strong enough to keep your attention. And this could’ve been avoided. One of the biggest sins of the series is that it has taken two very strong, intelligent female characters Yvonne Strahovski’s Kate Morgan and Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Chloe O’Brian and rendered to be inconsequential lackey’s of Jack’s. Normally, this would be fine, but the series took the time to give these two women a back story that was both interesting and emotional. The performances of these two actresses were strong as hell and even overshadowed Sutherland at points. But now, all of that has been dropped and they’re merely tools at Bauer’s disposal. If they had started out this way, that would’ve been great, but right now it’s almost a waste of having them onscreen. Yes, their respective stories will be resolved by series’ end, but honestly they’ve been so downgraded that one barely even cares.
Speaking of back stories, why do we even need them at this point. There’s a terrorist controlling drones that are going to incinerate London — that right there is a pretty compelling story. Why over-complicate things by throwing in all these added conspiracies? Now some might say, “Well, you want to make things interesting, right?” Sure, but if you’re going to add these subplots, write them in a more intelligent, less plodding and ham-fisted way.
So, let’s call 24: Live Another Day for what it is — an action series that, when correctly focused, is fun and adventurous and when it takes its eyes off the prize, just bores the tears out of you. So, take it for what it’s worth — a fun distraction that you can keep on in the background and focus on when things go boom.
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and he always plans to live another day. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom