24: Live Another Day Review “7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.”

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Kate (Yvonne Strahovski, L) and Erik (Gbenga Akinnagbe, R)

This experiment with 24 has been an interesting one to track. With no substantive change to the format to this point (a massive time jump is obviously coming at some point), it’s been difficult at times to get a handle on how the shortened season benefited the show creatively. All the beats look familiar. Some new characters have popped along the way, but these first nine hours have simply been a return to the world of Jack Bauer after a four year hiatus. For the majority of people watching this show, I’m sure that’s not a bad thing. Still, I find myself mildly disappointed the shortened order didn’t embolden anyone on the creative team. Instead, it’s just season nine of 24, for better or for worse.

Since we’re nearing the end of the season, it was time for the added layer of the story to surface. Poor Jack just can’t have one straight-forward mission. The end of Margot al-Harazi’s reign of terror only begat an even larger clusterfudge as Navarro was finally forced out into the open. At this point, it does seem like a different threat entirely as opposed to a larger part of the al-Harazi plan. Still, watching Navarro make his move on the override device before escaping the CIA black site was a real bummer. I appreciated Navarro not killing everyone on his way out the door. He’s doing bad things, but he didn’t toss someone out a window or knock a security guard unconscious in this episode.

(Quick aside: Why is there a security guard covering that door? Given everything that’s going on at that place, why would you trust the guy from Smith Security with that detail? Doesn’t that seem like a job for trained, military personnel? Should I stop asking rhetorical questions and just move on? Fair enough.)

Of course, Jack’s biggest magic trick came in the form of rescuing President Heller from a missile to the face. While I’m thrilled to get more of William Devane in this series, it really makes the big moment at the end of last week’s episode seem cheap. We built an entire episode around President Heller confronting his own mortality and making the heroic decision to trade his life for lots of Londoners. It was really moving stuff, and Devane was outstanding throughout the episode. To have them pull the move from Speed as a work around takes a lot of the power from those scenes last week. More Devane is great, but President Heller’s death really meant something. Now, it feels like that hour was a waste.

Fortunately for us all, after Jack rescued the president, he did allow him to do what he does best. In addition, we’re also continuing to learn that it also happens to be what Kate Morgan does best. It would be so easy for her to be the female Jack, but Yvonne Strahovski has real skills that enable her to rise above that simple moniker. She’s asked to do a lot in this episode, and she has to do it with the kind of cold efficiency we’d expect from agents in the 24 universe. Strahovski can certainly handle herself in this world, and we’re all the better off for it.

This episode was one of the sillier hours of the season, but it did set in motion the events to conclude the run. The chase is on, and Jack has carte blanche in the streets. What more could you ask for on 24?