24: Live Another Day Review by John Keegan

24: Live Another Day 9.04: Day 9: 2PM - 3PM

24: Live Another Day 9.04: Day 9: 2PM - 3PM

Written By:
Patrick Harbinson
Directed By:
Adam Kane

Now that the writers have stopped trying to convince the audience that Chloe would willingly choose to help terrorists expose the families and associates of intelligence agents to retaliation, they can focus on bringing the introductory phase of the season arc to a relative close.  This episode accomplishes that task, which underscores the difference in the pacing for this 12-episode season far more than the premiere managed.


In previous seasons, Jack’s activities in the embassy would have led to a last-minute escape, with Chloe’s help, and further meandering before a meaningful conversation or confrontation.  That’s not how this plays out, and that makes this a much more interesting turn of events.  In particular, the critical conversation between Jack and President Heller doesn’t go the expected direction at all; Heller avoids letting personal opinions of Jack override the very real concerns that Jack is not the same man he used to know.  As Mark points out, Jack is wanted for going on a killing spree, a set of charges that are entirely justified.


At the very least, the writers aren’t ignoring the corner they painted Jack’s psychology into at the end of the eighth season.  They acknowledge that even those who know and trust Jack can’t be sure if and when he will snap and start killing people again.  That’s the result of the character destruction that the writers chose to commit.  So can Jack’s judgment still be trusted?  Oddly enough, the evidence suggests he can.  Consider that the body count in Live Another Day has been remarkably low, and Jack has taken precise pains to minimize not only casualties but the severity of whatever wounding he deems necessary.  That implies, on a certain level, that Jack knows he went off the deep end and is trying to restore his sense of proportional response.


Under normal circumstances, Mark would be a clear villain with an agenda, but I have to say, his interpretations aren’t unreasonable.  He doesn’t sugarcoat Jack’s activities in the slightest, and doesn’t exactly give Jack a lot of benefit of the doubt, but why in the world would he?  As Chief of Staff, he has to give a realistic threat assessment, and on a personal level, he’s the one who had to repair the damage Jack did to Audrey (however unintentional).  And Jack’s decision to break Chloe out of CIA custody and work with Open Cell is awfully questionable, even in context!


Meanwhile, we got to see exactly how far Margot is willing to go to get what she wants.  It was a little convenient for Naveed to be stupid enough to attempt convincing Simone to run away with him, just moments after she tossed him into bed with a lecture about doing what was necessary.  Reprisal was expected, but I never suspected that Margot would maim her own daughter as leverage against Naveed!  It’s a statement on several levels.


The weakness of the episode was all on the CIA side.  I’m grateful that Kate is dedicated to her gut trust in Jack’s motives, as it means lots of Yvonne Strahovski, but there’s following a hunch and then there’s going well out of your way to put everything on the line.  Is this because of the impact of her recent mistake on her career, and a desire to prove herself again?  Who knows, but the character motivations are a little weak.  But that’s far better than the painful exposition in the scene between Jordan and Navarro, which was so terrible that it all but took me out of the episode to grab a red pen to rewrite the dialogue!

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • ”Show, don’t tell” examination of Jack’s current mindset
  • Margot is suitably insane
The Bad:
  • Much of the CIA-related material

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 - 5/21/2014 5:47 AM275 views

Your Responses


Grade: A-
Best episode of the new season yet. I did not see Simone's fate coming, so that was a decent twist. Notice how only the "bad guys" have been using torture in this new season so far? I'm only sad that Erik couldn't find time this hour to remind Kate that she's on her way out, but at least somebody at the CIA pointed out, once again, how she didn't know her husband was a spy, but at least not to her face this time.

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