24: Live Another Day Review by John Keegan

24: Live Another Day 9.10: Day 9: 8PM-9PM

24: Live Another Day 9.10: Day 9: 8PM-9PM

Written By:
Robert Cochran, Manny Coto, Evan Katz, and Adam DaSilva
Directed By:
Milan Cheylov

Well, that escalated quickly!  In a very nice twist that actually serves to cement this season as a solid continuation of Jack’s character arc, an old villain emerges as the true architect of the threat to the world.  That’s right: Adrian Cross’ Chinese contact, the one who funded the creation of the McGuffin device that allowed Margot to commit her acts of terror, was commissioned by none other than Cheng Zhi.  And yes, this is the same Cheng that tortured Jack for over a year and did significant damage to Audrey during the heyday of the series.

 



This twist underscores one of the themes of the season: how dangerous idealism can be when unrestrained by consideration of potential risk or even common sense.  Adrian Cross isn’t necessarily an evil man; he’s just let his crusade get the better of his judgment and went too far.  The ends came to justify the means, and he couldn’t see that his actions were just as problematic as the actions of the government agencies he deplored.  (See also: Assange and Snowden.)

 

Even so, Adrian does enough in his desperation, and admits to enough extremely ugly emotional manipulation, that Chloe’s concern for his welfare seems like a character being driven by plot demands more than anything else.  Of course, the entire basis for Chloe’s current status quo has been problematic, so I can’t exactly say it’s inconsistent.



 

At any rate, the theme of the episode seems to be “unintended consequences”.  In theory, putting the entire world on an even playing field sounds good.  In practice, this is precisely the worst-case scenario: game-changing technology ends up in the hands of those ready to use it before anyone else to press advantage.  Cheng has been enough of a wild card over the course of 24 for his actions to be all too believable.

 

And of course, Jack couldn’t get to the scene in time to stop Cheng, because Mark’s previous actions had the unintended consequence of putting the Russians in the position to ambush Jack and Kate at the worst possible time.  Setting aside the question of how Kate survived the crash, let alone remained in good enough shape to help Jack mount a defense, this puts all the central conflicts in place for the final two hours.  After all, the Hellers have as much reason to want revenge on Cheng as Jack does, and there’s little doubt that Jack’s little talk with Kate about the cost of revenge and going too far is going to play into the final showdown.



 

Due credit must go to the writers, who managed to bring this season to a close by centering on Jack’s two biggest loose ends: his history with Cheng and the Russians.  It’s probably not going to be enough to represent a true redemptive moment, since it would take a lot more than this season to overcome how fall Jack fell as a character at the end of the eighth season, but it’s a step in the right direction.  Right now, this feels like one of the strongest seasons of 24 in the entire run, which is saying a lot.  It also makes the relatively low ratings, and the subsequent doubt of a future follow-up, all the more unfortunate.


Our Grade:
A-
The Good:
  • The identity of the true villain is a huge twist!
  • Cross gets his just rewards
  • The series is actually wrapping up loose ends
The Bad:
  • Chloe’s motives remain the weakest link

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

24: Live Another Day by - 7/1/2014 6:11 AM326 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: A
Fantastic episode and a great cliffhanger ending. Is all-out war with China eminent? Really hoping Cheng gets a personal visit from Jack. I don't remember what happened to his character and if he "died" on the show or if it happened between seasons.

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Comments

Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse
7/1/2014 9:49 AM

0 0

Reply
With two episodes left (and maybe a fast forward a few hours in the last one), what's going to come next? This episode actually got me excited about 24 again.
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