Plot: So…was President Heller (William Devane) actually killed at the hands of Margot Al Harazi’s (Michelle Fairley) drone strike or did Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) pull a fast one? Well…you guessed it. Realizing she’s been duped, after having sunk the majority of the drones (which was part of her arrangement with Heller if he surrendered), she saves the last drone from the drink and sets it on a collision course with Waterloo Station. So Jack, Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski), Erik Ritter (Gbenga Akinnagbe) and a group of operatives must launch a strike on Margot’s hide out in order to stop the mass attack. Meanwhile, the death of analysis Jordan Reed (Giles Matthey) has been uncovered and it begins to trace back to Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt). Desperate, he contacts his “middle man” Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) to get him out of Dodge…but to do so, Navarro must steal an important piece of equipment for Cross.
Ah, that’s better 24.
This week’s installment, ‘7pm-8pm’ was all killer and no filler. It was non-stop action, doing what “it does best” — filling 60 minutes with run-and-gun action, scene chewing theatrics and leaving a whole trail of bodies in its wake.
The whole “Heller’s not dead” twist was a nice, but not an unexpected one. Were they really going to kill POTUS? Come on. The way they did it though was a little too reminiscent of a twist used in the movie Speed, but hey, that gimmick hasn’t been used in nearly 20 years, so we’ll let that one pass, right? Keeping Heller alive keeps the monkey wrench firmly entrenched in the Boudreau/Bauer betrayal plot and it sends the action into the stratosphere. So, smart move keeping him around.
The assault on the Al Harazi compound was extremely messy, but fun. First, how is Kate Morgan the single greatest shot in the history of television? She never, ever missed…amazing. Okay, snark aside, the assault was actually a lot of fun. It had a nice build up, some good moments that showcased Kate and Erik while showing that Jack Bauer is indeed Superman and Captain America in one, leather jacket wearing body.
The sloppy part of the Al Harazi assault was, once again, one of Margot’s heirs tries to leave, in order to save themselves and their mother, but is threatened with death by Margot to stay and complete the mission. This time it’s her son, whose name is lost on me, (maybe because he’s been severely under-developed). She threatens him at gunpoint, he stays and then they have a WEIRD moment of tension, which was supposed to come off as if they both realize they’re going to die, but instead plays like they’re totally going to make out. That was really, really, REALLY awkward. Margot had such potential when she started out, but they really made her out to be such a mercurial and often illogically cold woman-on-the-edge. There should have been more impassioned speeches, more heartfelt emotion from Margot, not the crocodile teared, hollow and too quick monologues/lectures she would give. To be a better villain she needed to pull at the audiences heart strings and with Michelle Fairley in place as Margot, this could’ve been executed if the role had been written better.
What was really cool about the episode was post-Al Harazi assault, is that we’re then launched into the second storyline AKA the real threat to the world. While introducing something like this so late in the game would often come off clunky and shoe horned in, it was actually done quite naturally. This plot has been building for weeks revolving around Navarro and Adrian Cross and we finally got some sort of pay-off with what seemed like “go nowhere” subplots that dragged the pacing of each episode down considerably. Not that the revelation absolves those scenes from being dreadful, but at least this new plot had roots and was logically executed.
24: Live Another Day has three weeks left and if the cards are played right, it can really leave an impact on the television world and leave the door open for a return of Jack Bauer…at least in special series form.
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 is beyond excited to be a Dad of a baby girl this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom