24: Live Another Day Review “2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.”

24: Live Another Day Episode 4 Day 9: 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (3)

When the latest installment of 24 was set to debut, a lot was made about the shorter episode order, and the flexibility it would allow the show to have. The problems with the 24 episode order turned out to be too difficult to overcome. Even when the show was running at its Emmy-winning peak, there were still holes to be poked and nits to be picked. With 12 episodes, the show was supposed to be able to make seamless time jumps in between installments that would allow to not have to get bogged down in certain situations. In short, it finally had the option to yada-yada over the worst parts. What’s been strange about the first four installments is that the show has yet to take advantage of that flexibility. Four hours in and we’re still waiting for our first time jump. Without knowing the innermost thoughts of the creative team, it’s hard to understand the thoughts behind saving the time jumps for down the road. However, in the short run, it causes similar problems to ones we’re use to seeing from 24.

Jack’s move into the embassy and his subsequent barricade in the communications room was really cool. Even with four years on the run, it’s nice to know Jack Bauer’s game doesn’t slip. However, once the show puts him into the room with the hostages, it becomes Problematic 24. While Kiefer Sutherland can make a dental cleaning seem intense, Jack Bauer staring at a computer screen waiting for a file to download is not a great use of Jack Bauer’s considerable talents. I understand the notion Jack can’t run around for 24 hours shooting everyone in sight (I guess), but to constantly return to Jack in the seated position seems like an odd choice. Either the show doesn’t trust its other characters to carry significant parts of the episode, or it thinks we will watch Jack Bauer do anything. While that may be true for some, we could have intercut shots of me installing a new printer and gotten the same effect. Believe me, that’s not a good thing.

While Jack’s run through the embassy didn’t enthrall me, I was pleased with the fringes of the show beginning to come together. The potential terrorist attack is no longer a mysterious thing no one knows except Jack. It’s now a full-fledged conspiracy with all the pertinent people in on it. Yvonne Strahovski has acquitted herself well in these last few episodes, and her moments in this episode were solidly played. Not all of the scenes were totally earned, but we’re here now so we as well go with it. Why Kate Morgan believes Jack is anyone’s guess. Why Open Cell would vacillate between sabotaging Jack and assisting him is anyone’s guess as well. It’s sloppy, but the nature of the show’s construction necessitates a speeding up of the narrative. It always has. Ultimately, that’s the biggest issue with these first four episodes: The show promised us something a little bit different with this season of 24, but right now, we’re all just staring at the screen waiting for the download to happen.