By: Jamie Samuelsen
“Four score and seven years ago…” – Abraham Lincoln, 1863
“Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy, 1961
“Jack wants her. Jack needs her. Jack gets her.” James Heller, 2014
When history reflects on the greatest phrases ever spoken by a U.S. President, I surely hope that Heller takes his rightful place next to some of the other men who have held the office. Because I really don’t know if I’ve ever respected a President more than last night when Heller ditched conventional wisdom and put the safety of the planet in the hands of the one man best suited to defend it – Jack Bauer.
People can mock 24 all they want. Of course it’s far-fetched and unrealistic. Of course huge stretches of belief are taken in almost every episode. But at it’s best, 24 has your heart racing and your mind running as your try to anticipate what’s coming next. Live Another Day may not go down as the best season of 24 ever, (That’s Season 3. Enough said.) but boy, it’s been damn good so far.
The episode begins with the aftermath of Margot’s attack on her own property and on the CIA team led by Navarro and Ritter. Oddly enough, both survive even though there are American casualties. It’s funny how the main characters always seem to make it through, even Chloe (sadly).
Heller is watching the carnage unfold back at the embassy with the British Prime Minister who can’t be overly thrilled that his country is being attacked because of a vendetta that Margot has against his American counterpart. Right as this scene was unfolding, it occurred to me that Heller had shown little in the way of memory loss since the premier episode (or in other words, in a few hours). I wondered what the point of that whole exercise was in the first place. Well, we quickly found out.
Heller repeated himself as he gave orders to the General. Then he stopped and pointed out the fact that he repeated himself. Well, I guess that’s not going to sneak by. It certainly raised the eyebrows of both the General and the Prime Minister. After leaving, his aide tells him that the President is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s…but maybe she was speaking out of turn. First of all, the Prime Minister should have every right to know this! Second of all, of course she was speaking out of turn! Why? Because you know that this is going to somehow screw Jack! “God Help Us,” the Prime Minister mutters.
The President sits down with Jack and explains the situation and basically turns it over to him to solve it. (Not before again asking Jack if they can cut a deal with Karl Rask – Something tells me that Jack would not be very patient with someone dealing with memory loss.) Jack essentially lists off to Heller (and Navarro who’s been patched in from the accident site) exactly what he needs – gun, phone, communications, silence, no trail, a man bag, boots, a leather jacket and bad sunglasses. You know, the Jack Bauer Starter Set. (I’ve already asked for it for Father’s Day!)
He also asks for Kate Morgan to accompany him on his mission. Navarro relents telling Jack that Kate has already been decommissioned and is heading home. This is when Heller steps in and delivers his line. Whatever Jack wants, Jack gets. Well it’s about damn time!
The sinister plot to destroy London is still brewing back at Al-Harazi manor. Ian tells Margot that he’s worried about Simone. I’m not sure why he should be. In the past four hours, she’s murdered her lover in a bar bathroom, stabbed herself in the leg, got a finger chopped off by her mother, and then watched as her mother put a bullet in her husband’s head. All in all, I’d say that’s a pretty stress-free day for most people. Margot responds to the sibling concerns by slapping Ian upside the head. Nice. If she wasn’t “Mommie Dearest” already, she’s quickly morphing into it.
Her henchmen are busy wrapping up Naveed, for a proper burial I can only assume, when a cell phone goes off. It turns out to belong to Naveed. Given Margot’s quick-trigger temper, I likely would have kept that thing on mute. But the call goes to voicemail and Margot listens to the message (very rude). It’s Naveed’s sister Farah calling to see if they still plan to meet up.
Whoops! Loose ends! Margot tells Simone to go find Farah, find out what she knows and then eliminate her if possible. Simone protests a bit but Margot tells her, “Think about what YOU’VE sacrificed!” Hmmm. A husband. A finger. Her dignity. Margot makes a good point. What are one (or two) more casualties at this point?
Jack is busy getting ready back at the embassy when he gets a surprise visitor – Mark. The man who is married to his ex AND the man who unbeknownst to anybody, has already preemptively turned Jack over to the Russians for that…um…thing he did back…um…at the end of last season.
This is not exactly a fair match in terms of men. It’s a little like Creed-Drago. Jack sneers when Mark asks him what Audrey said during her little visit. “Maybe you should ask her,” Jack seethes. Mark is basically trying to figure out what Jack has planned for Audrey (even though in the back of his mind, he knows Jack is headed for the gulag). Jack pretty much cuts Mark down to size with this line.
“Mr. Boudreau. If I live through today, which is highly unlikely, I’m going straight to prison. I’m the least of your worries.” Bam. All if that is technically true, except for the last part. Jack will be the biggest of Mark’s worries for as long as he remains married to Audrey. Talk about a tough act to follow. It’s kind of like Lois Lane “dating” after breaking up with Clark Kent.
Jack meets up with Kate on the street outside the embassy. They exchange pleasantries and take off in their Audi. The small talk is expected. Jack reveals to Kate that he actually had been working for Rask for the past two years and had used his power to stop some of Rask’s crime operations in human trafficking. His idea for getting into Rask’s operation is rather simple.
He’s going to tell Rask that Kate is a CIA operative. She flipped one of Rask’s boys, who was working with Jack. And that Jack was there to turn back over the money that Rask had given him to pay off the CIA. Simple enough. Once Rask checked to make sure that the money was in a German bank where Jack said it was, Chloe could put a virus into Rask’s computer and use that to track down Margot because Rask and Margot had been in contact. Makes perfect sense, right?
Kate’s not thrilled with the prospect of being interrogated by a chain of arms dealers, but Jack tells her not to worry. He’s going to go all Michael Jackson and give her propofol to knock her out cold, so there’s no way to question her. For some unknown reason, Kate doesn’t seem thrilled by this plan. Not totally sure why. Jack rationalizes though – hey listen, we’re all going to die anyway if my plan doesn’t work. So, let’s shoot you up!
Jack is supposed to be doing all this under the cover of secrecy. He insisted to Heller that nobody track him or follow him. I don’t know about you, but I took that to mean, “Mr. President. Don’t tell anyone anything.” But Heller took that to mean, “I have to at least tell the Prime Minister to keep him in the loop.”
Alistair was not happy to hear that a President who may or may not be losing his faculties was putting all of his faith into Jack. Apparently, Alistair didn’t see seasons 1-8 of ‘24’. So he orders the British military to track Jack on his mission to meet Rask. Along the way, they pick up heat sensory images of Jack putting a clearly heavily sleepy Kate into the back of his car. This seemed odd to the Brits, so they sent out the infantry to stop Jack and bring Kate back. Perfect. Those Brits are always messing things up – taxation without representation, the Spice Girls, and now this?
While all this is going on, Mark gets a phone call from the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister who’s following up on the extradition plans that “Heller” had put in motion for Jack. The Russian guy (who looked to me like a younger version of Chef Boyardee) wants to ask the President a few questions about the process. Mark tries to put the brakes on, realizing just how screwed he is. Not only did he forge the President’s signature, but he forged the President’s signature to turn over a man who the President is now trusting to save the world. Nice play Mark. The Russian seems deeply suspicious as he gets off the phone, even looking extra hard at the signature to see if it’s a fake. Do we really think that the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister can tell if Heller’s signature has been forged?
Navarro arrives back at the CIA office with blood still trickling down his head. He’s greeted by a rather overzealous Jordan who tells him that he’s found some inconsistencies on the files on Kate’s husband Adam. Something about files and borders and blah, blah, blah. I’m convinced that the producers make up the computer language because it never makes complete sense. Navarro tells him not to worry about it, to focus on the crisis at hand, which makes perfect sense. But Steve later gets a mysterious call from a mysterious voice. Steve tells “the voice” that Jordan might be onto him and the evidence they “planted” on Kate’s husband.
And there it is. The mole.
If anyone had hour five as the hour where we’d find out who the mole in CIA/CTU was, congrats! You win! Pick up your prize at the end of the blog. First rule of 24 – there’s always a mole. Second rule of 24 – when there’s not a mole, read the first rule.
Jack and a comatose Kate pull up to Rask’s headquarters. They are immediately met by a hail of bullets and yanked out of the car. Rask doesn’t believe Jack’s story right away, even when he produces Kate’s body in the trunk. Rask announces that he has something that can counter propofol so they can get our girl talking. If only Dr. Conrad Murray had something that could counter propofol. Too soon?
Kate is woken up and quickly placed on a meat hook for a little Q and A. The meat hook is an homage to past 24 torture scenes and, as we’d see in a minute, to Lethal Weapon. They stab her, they electrocute her (Lethal Weapon!) and pull out a drill to find out exactly what she knows or if she’s a total fake.
Jack meanwhile is desperately trying to get Rask to hook up to the computer so he can plant the virus and hightail it out of there. Rask remains highly suspicious and asks Jack who he worked with at the German bank to plant the money. Was it Metzger? It was Metzger, wasn’t it? What did Metzger look like? What was his first name? Did you guys have dinner together? What is his favorite cocktail? Rask may be a ruthless arms dealer, but methinks he oversold the Metzger thing. Even I knew he was bluffing. Jack called him on it and Rask smiled. “Didn’t even break a sweat.”
Apparently Rask hasn’t seen seasons 1-8 of “24” either. Hopefully Metzger has.
While all this is happening, Simone has gone on a field trip to London to check on her sister-in-law and (as it turns out) her niece. She assures the two that Naveed is fine, just stressed out. And seems assured that they don’t know anything about Margot’s plans, Naveed’s double-life or the fact that Naveed won’t be coming for supper anytime soon. But Margot isn’t convinced and orders Simone to kill them…both. Instead of killing them, Simone instead tries to warn them to leave London. That doesn’t go so smoothly. Farah takes a knife to the gut. Her daughter takes off running. Simone chases after her. And then gets hit by a double-decker bus.
To recap her day so far –
1 PM – Stabs her lover in the neck
1:20 PM – Stabs herself in the leg
1:50 PM – Has sex with her husband
2:40 PM – Mommy cuts off finger
3:55 PM – Watches husband get shot in the head
4:55 PM – Gets hit by double decker bus
So please spare me the next time you tell me you’re having a bad day. Okay?
The British cavalry arrives at Rask’s hideout just as two things are about to happen. First, Kate is going to take a drill to the forehead. Second, Rask is going to hit the “continue” button on his transaction that will put the virus into his system. Well, timing is everything. The soldiers enter right at this moment. Kate’s captors run for their guns. Rask doesn’t hit “Return”. And a huge firefight breaks out.
Some of the highlights –
– Kate goes all Mel Gibson and wraps her legs around one of the bad guys, frees herself from the hook, and then stabs him. The Kate 24 spinoff might actually work. This woman is badass.
– Jack hits the computer and the virus infects the computer allowing Chloe to start tracking Margot’s phone.
– Jack finally starts killing people! (We’ve waited SO long.) Two by my count, one by gun, one by an explosion that he caused with a bullet.
– Rask drops his gun at Jack’s request, but then kills himself, and others we assume, with a body grenade. Good criminals never leave home without it.
– Anyone else find it odd that Rask didn’t change his security code? Jack just punched it in and drove right into the garage.
– Along those lines, huge oversight by Rask not to check for an earpiece for Jack. Sure helped that Chloe could communicate with him during that entire siege.
– Jack did a LOT of whispering in the conversations with Heller and Mark. You’d think given all the explosions he’s lived though that he’d be one of those yellers, not whisperers. The man must have titanium eardrums.
– It was hard to watch Kate getting stabbed and tortured and not think of her role on ‘Dexter’. All that was missing was the clear plastic and the kill shirt.
– The scenes from next week look glorious. Basically, Jack and Kate go after Simone in the hospital and Margot TARGETS JACK WITH A DRONE! No human can take out Jack Bauer. Perhaps a drone can.
JACK KILL COUNT – Episode – 2. Season – 2. It’s about f—ing time.
KATE KILL COUNT – Episode – 2. Season – 2. I’m keeping tabs on this. She could give Jack a run for his money in this department. Did I miss any from the first two hours?
STEVE NAVARRO LEADERSHIP AWARD – I normally give this award out sarcastically. But in this case, I have to honor President James Heller for ignoring all aides and advisors and asking the question we all should ask more often – WWJD. What Would Jack Do? (Isn’t that what the bracelets stand for?)
ANNOYING TIME ISSUE OF THE WEEK – This one seemed pretty clean to me. Travel times were brief as always, that’s the nature of 24. It did seem odd that an extradition order was filed so quickly from the American government to the Russians. But I can’t complain too much.
I’m sad to report that 24 is already halfway over! But it’s getting really, really good.
Let me know what you think! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading.