24: Live Another Day Review by John Keegan

24: Live Another Day 9.06: Day 9: 4PM - 5PM

24: Live Another Day 9.06: Day 9: 4PM - 5PM

Written By:
David Fury
Directed By:
Omar Madha

24 had gained a reputation for taking a bit of pleasure in glorifying torture, despite some attempts to make the use of torture in counter-terrorism a topic of debate.  So far, this season has been fairly targeted in the use of torture or extreme means; Chloe had been undergoing some intense interrogation, but we didn’t actually see that.  Kate gets the dubious honor of being the first one to get the full treatment, and I have to say, I felt bad for Yvonne Strahovski as the scenes unfolded.

 



That’s actually the strongest point of the episode, in the sense that it is gripping and disturbing in all the right ways.  It’s the bad guys doing the torturing, but Jack isn’t entirely absolved; he had to know that this was a distinct possibility, and he uses Kate as a pawn in his plan without really telling her what that is going to entail.  It adds some layers to the impression that Jack might have learned a few things in the four years on the run; he may be less likely to kill or harm indiscriminately, but that doesn’t mean he won’t stomp all over personal agency when he feels that the end justifies the means.

 

It’s also worth noting that this episode seems to verify something I thought I heard and perhaps misinterpreted.  I was left with the impression, after the premiere, that Jack was concerned that he would be implicated in the terrorist plot.  Otherwise, one gets the sense that he would have stayed out of the picture completely.  In fact, that is one of the main questions of the season: why is Jack risking his freedom to stop this plot, and how did he find out about it in the first place?  Now it all seems to fit together: Jack was working for Rask.  And that’s another layer of complication in terms of where Jack stands as a character right now.



 

In a perfect world, the writers would focus almost entirely on that aspect: what has Jack been doing in the past four years, how has he changed as a result of his descent at the end of the eighth season, and how does it inform his actions with regards to Margot’s terrorist plan?  By now, any deviation from that clear narrative is starting to feel extraneous.  I can understand spending time on the Hellers and Mark’s drama with the Russians; it speaks to Jack’s fate as a whole.  And Margot’s family drama informs her motivations.

 

But what does Kate’s husband, Jordan’s crush on her, and Navarro’s role as someone hiding the truth about why Kate was being railroaded have anything to do with the main plot?  It could pertain eventually, of course, but therein lies the problem: it seems so disconnected that dragging it in during the second half of the season is going to feel overly convenient.  Having it serve as a background reason why Kate was in a unique position within the CIA station on this given day felt like enough.


It also underscores any feeling on the part of the audience that 24 truly had run out of ideas.  How many times are they going to have someone in a key position serving as a mole within the organization?  It’s such a trope that I was waiting for Navarro to turn to the camera and wink to the audience!  It dilutes the streamlined nature of the story, and does so halfway through the season.  Flashbacks to unnecessary plot complications on Homeland have begun in earnest. 



 

Equally confusing was Simone’s sudden squeamishness.  This is someone who seduced and killed in the premiere, betrayed her husband twice in the name of her mother’s cause, and suddenly she can’t bring herself to kill Naveed’s sister and niece?  The drama felt forced, and this was only underscored by Simone’s sudden death by bus.  It seems sloppy, especially when it feels like meandering, when Margot herself could have killed Simone for her own crazy reasons with more impact.

 

I feel a little bad for David Fury, because it’s almost as if he was tasked with following up on two strong episodes with an hour filled with some of the most egregious 24 tropes on the list.  The final product isn’t terrible, to be fair, but it is a distinct step down from the previous effort.

 


Our Grade:
B-
The Good:
  • More shades to Jack’s character
  • Kate continues to grow in interesting ways
The Bad:
  • The introduction of the mole seems extraneous
  • Simone’s death could have meant more

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 - 6/4/2014 7:07 AM219 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: B
A lot of good points about this week's episode, especially the eyerolling reveal of the mole. But the action at Rask's hideout was fantastic and while they did revel in the torture porn a little, I still like that torture is only being used by the "bad guys" this season. Regarding Simone, she hasn't been the same since Margot lopped her finger off, and just because she stood in silence while her husband was offed didn't mean she was suddenly back to drinking the Kool-Aid. I think she was scared.

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