24: Live Another Day – 3.00 – 4.00pm


So, where were we?

Episode 5 is a bit of a breather for Jack, who gets to do no more than sit in a room at the American Embassy, under token guard, interrupted only by private interviews with, firstly, President Heller, and secondly, First Daughter, Chief of Staff Creepy Mark’s missus, ex-lover and torture victim (this girl’s been around), Audrey Heller Raines Boudreau. Considering that she’s not seen him for three full seasons and the interregnum, and that she was last seen virtually catatonic after extensive Chinese torture incurred through looking for Jack, Audrey gives a more-than-creditable impersonation of someone who’s not even going to wait to be asked to drop them, whilst Jack plays the noble, masculine, save-her-from-herself role.

Actually, both actors play the scene with considerably more skill than it deserves, which almost redeems it whilst in play, but it’s still risible, much like the rest of the cartoon events.

The Jack role for this hour is taaken up by Barbie Doll Kate. Kiefer Sutherland’s apparently said this will be his last outing as Jack (so will we end the series with The Main Man being killed off?) but that Fox are planning some kind of spin-off. Everybody is pointing at Yvonne Strahovski’s character as the blatantly obvious choice, whilst simultaneously suggesting that she’s so damned obvious for the part that she’s going to be this half-season’s Justly Famous CST Mole: come on down, Kate!

This is the episode where Jack is proved to be right. Kate nicks the Flight Key (and as it’s known to be lost, and was last seen in a locked room that she invaded with total lack of authorisation, no-one so much as thinks of asking her of she’s got it: duh!), uploads the rest of it to Chloe. Creepy Adrian – who mumbles the unconvincing words ‘I love you’ to Gothic Chloe in a manner that suggests that even he can’t believe tis latest plot twist – spots the over-ride code, and Kate immediately convinces everyone.

Which is the most unbelievable moment 24 has ever tried to pull off.

Meanwhile, what’s going on at Terrorist Luxury Mansion Central with Mama Terrorist and her little band of tools? I could accept Margot Al-Hasari, who’s being played with fanatical steeliness and self-righteousness by Michelle Fairley, if anyone involved with writing this series could put over any suggestion of her beliefs. It’s a serious failing: Mama Terrorist is a terrorist because she’s a terrorist and does terrorist things, but what the fuck is she doing them for? We may not agree with terrorists but they are usually fighting for some cause. Mama Margot isn’t even being shown as having an unreasoning, irrational hatred of America and all it stands for.

True, she’s out for revenge for Daddy Terrorist getting killed by a drone attack, but it wasn’t that that turned her into a terrorist, so what is she about? She’s about being evil, heartless and fanatic, that’s what she’s about. It’s a fucking cartoon, that’s what it is.

After making sure that Baby Terrorist Simone, she of the four fingers on her left hand after Mama’s impromptu surgery, knows that she’s not to blame for getting her finger chopped off with a cold chisel, Mama makes sure that fearful husband Naveed knows that he is the one to blame for his wife’s disfigurement. Naveed hasn’t given up hope yet: he’s dropped a tracer that will lead the CIA to Terrorist Luxury Mansion Central. Unfortunately, he confides in his loving wife, and his loving wife confides in Mama. So, as was predictable from the moment we saw him in episode 3, Naveed ends episode 5 with a bullet in his head, with Simone’s blessing: ooch, that smarts.

And, get this, Mama Margot just so happens to have a second Terrorist Luxury Mansion Central tucked away under her pinny. Despite the fact that Naveed doesn’t confide in Simone until after the tracer has gone out, Simone’s betrayal has enable Margot and son Ian to change the tracer to misdirect the CIA hit squad to the deserted Spare Terrorist Luxury Mansion Central, where fast learner Ian directs a drone strike that’s probably wiped out CIA Station Head Steve Navarro (thus explaining why Benjamin Bratt has only been on the Guest List, and not Cast, so far).

Incidentally, I’ll leave to others to explain how, having left Central London at about 3.37pm, the CIA squad can deploy at Spare Terrorist Luxury Mansion Central – a large and isolated country mansion – by 3.55pm.

So: that’s one drone used to strike at the UK, leaving five more under Margot’s control. Heller has refused to allow Jack to go into the field to pursue the only contact, an arms dealer who can contact Mama Margot, but next episode he’s going to be forced to do so, with Bauer-manque Kate as his partner, even though she got re-suspended in this episode. Tune in next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, oops, wrong show, to find out if I’m right. Or don’t bother, because you know I’m going to be.

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