24: Live Another Day Review by John Keegan

24: Live Another Day 9.03: Day 9: 1PM - 2PM

24: Live Another Day 9.03: Day 9: 1PM - 2PM

Written By:
Sang Kyu Kim and Patrick Somerville
Directed By:
Adam Kane


One of the claims of the 12-episode format for 24: Live Another Day is that it would cut out much of the “filler” and tighten up the storytelling.  But what, precisely, should be considered “filler”?  It can be a fine line between character development and navel-gazing, and there were a few moments in this episode that made me wonder if the writers stepped over that line.



 

The episode started off with promise.  Simone (the gorgeous Emily Berrington) is trying to get back to her mother, Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley), with Jack in pursuit.  Meanwhile, Kate (equally gorgeous Yvonne Strahovski) and Erik (Gbenga Akinnagbe) are chasing down Jack.  All of which ought to make the whole situation tense and exciting, but it stretches out in some strange ways, making it feel a lot slower and longer than the “real time” ticker demonstrates.

 

Even so, it was far better than the revelation of what sent Chloe off the edge in hacktivism.  Here’s where the writers show a distinct lack of common sense.  While I acknowledge that there is a populist angle to the whole WikiLeaks concept, there are some legitimate criticisms of their operations.  The biggest one, in my mind, is what Jack pointed at in the premiere: very often, releasing confidential documentation means exposing deep cover intelligence agents, their families, and their contacts with no regard to the consequences.  There are several examples of how WikiLeaks has done this without a shred of remorse.



 

The idea that Chloe, a character that spent more than a decade fighting terrorists and others who very often were explicitly trying to expose the identities and details of intelligence agents, would overlook or justify doing the same is ridiculous.  But now the writers are telling us, plain as day, that Chloe’s current status is the direct result of her husband and son being killed, presumably because someone who knew her identity went after her loved ones.

 

If anything, wouldn’t that make Chloe even more cognizant of the impact that intelligence leaks might have?  Wouldn’t someone with Chloe’s moral compass, ready to jump right back into helping Jack save the President in a matter of minutes, have considered the consequences before jumping in with both feet?  Unless it is revealed that the hacktivists have something over Chloe that has compelled her to work with them, it is a completely ludicrous character development.



 

If I had more trust in the writers, I would point to the fact that Chloe’s justification for her activities (which she herself would once have labeled as “terrorist”) is not all that different from Al-Harazi’s rationale.  It’s merely a matter of scale of response.  Margot truly believes in what she is doing, has taught Simone to act according to that same philosophy, and is willing to sacrifice anything in the process of gaining her revenge.  It would make for a compelling comparison and philosophical discussion, but that’s not something that 24 has ever been able to handle well.

 

Meanwhile, there is the all-too-familiar machinations taking place in the Heller administration.  Mark is setting up Jack Bauer to be renditioned, which is ostensibly to ensure that Audrey doesn’t go back into a mental institution, but is likely more sinister in scope.  Because that’s how things work in the 24 universe.  Similarly, Heller wants to give a conciliatory speech to Parliament, and it goes hilariously wrong.  As in, members of Parliament actually heckle the President of the United States in public.  How would this not create an international incident, by the way?



 

On the CIA front, Kate continues to be the latest Jack Bauer-in-training, yet even the characters are tossing a lampshade on the ridiculousness of her character history.  Kate is supposed to be one of the most perceptive agents around, and yet her husband was supposedly selling state secrets.  This is supposed to be her last day on the job, after all!  But even if Kate is as awesome as she’s supposed to be, who can prepare for Jack Bauer shooting protesters in the legs as a diversionary tactic?

 

I’ll just close that the moral ambiguity of Jack shooting innocent protesters in the name of the greater good is still easier to reconcile than Chloe’s character decisions.


Our Grade:
C+
Your Grade: B+
(Based on 2 grades)
The Good:
  • Simone is going to be a lot of fun
  • Jack isn’t back to being entirely sympathetic
The Bad:
  • Odd lack of action until the very end
  • Chloe’s ridiculous character turn

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 - 5/13/2014 9:00 AM336 views

Your Responses

Degenerate Johnny
Degenerate Johnny
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: B
Sometimes, you need an episode that answers the questions that many of the audience wish answered. The timing of addressing Chloe's family was perfect even if its delivery left much to be desired. I think the writers are trying to make Kate out as a stronger version of Renee. I loved the warning that the Prime Minister gave Heller as if Parliment was a bunch of drunks (wait, isn't there a 2 drink min. in Parliment?). BTW, Margot watching her daughter and son-in-law have sex on camera? Creepy!!
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Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: B+
I'm still very engaged in this season. Chloe's turn is a weaker element for me, but I don't think an identity revelation had anything to do with Chloe being targeted as it's much more likely someone high up that's after Jack (like Mark) killed her family causing her to go rogue. As far as Jack capping protesters, I found it hilarious that he shot the guy that yelled at him earlier. And I don't know a lot about Parliament, but don't they yell at everybody? I thought that was their thing.

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Comments

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/13/2014 10:01 AM

1 0

Reply
What, Gbenga Akinnagbe isn't gorgeous too? Erik is really cracking me up as he is definitely going to get his comeuppance for being so mean to Kate. Maybe that's why I still like this show. I've always seen it as a guilty pleasure and not taken the characters/plot so seriously.
criticalmyth
criticalmyth
5/15/2014 12:24 PM

0 0

Reply
I'm sure Mr. Akinnagbe is gorgeous to many people. I can't tell, given that I am staring at one of my favorite Aussies...;)
criticalmyth
criticalmyth
5/15/2014 12:30 PM

0 0

Reply
Oh, and for the record, C+ equates to what we would call 7.0 on the show, or "average". So...still like it, just not knocking it out of the park...
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