Out of curiosity, last week, I did a bit of searching online about what others think of this unimpressive appendage to 24, discovering to my surprise that not only do they think that this is actually good, but they’re seriously comparing Live Another Day to some of the better series of the show.
Frankly, I find that unbelievable, but after watching episode 6 – which is the halfway point, remember, inflation having done a serious number of the concept of the show – I’m forced to concede that there were elements of this episode that actually deserved to be taken seriously.
As universally predicted, Jack gets released to chase down the only lead under the sun to the ever-more ludicrous Margot Al-Hazari, Terrorist Without A Cause. Said lead is an arms dealer who does jobs for Mama Terrorist but who can’t be bought or broken, so is only vulnerable to an approach by Jack, for which Jack wants a sidekick: Barbie Doll Kate (didn’t see that coming, no sir). Jack’s Cunning Plan is to sell Kate to Rasp the Arms Dealer as cover for dropping a virus into Rasp’s systems that will allow Chloe – who is being absolutely wasted (as well as looking absolutely wasted) just sitting on the phone and twiddling her computers – to get the vital info. Kate being Kate, she goes into it headlong.
There’s just one problem with Jack’s scheme which can be summed up in just two words: Stephen Fry.
Now I’m not amongst that great majority in these islands that thinks Mr Fry to be a National Treasure (I’d rather he was buried than dug up) but his presence as British Prime Minister to date has been made tolerable by his not getting more than about three lines per episode. Here, he gets rather more than that, though as he’s not playing the PM as Stephen Fry, thankfully. But, whereas Jack has bargained a completely surveillance-free mission from Heller, the idiot Brits surveil him like nobody’s business, decide he’s really double-crossing the Yanks, and send in MI5 and the Cavalry at exactly the wrong moment: cue chaos, lots of bullets, Rasp killing himself with a grenade, but at least Barbie demonstrates her worth by killing the guy torturing her with nothing more than a well-toned pair of thighs locked fround his neck.
But the bug is in the system, so phew, lumme.
Elsewhere, Mama Margot continues to demonstrate that she’s got more balls than the World Cup, by sending dutiful Baby Terrorist, fresh from having seen Feak and Weeble Navid carried out of the plot, to deal with Navid’s sister, Farah, who has been told to get out of London. Simone, sweating somewhat through the heavy leather gloves she’s wearing to hide the fact that she’s no longer as dactyl as the rest of us, reports the obvious: that Farah (and her angelicly winsome daughter) know fuck all, but better safe than sorry, and besides someone’s got to be slaughtered every hour or we’d lose confidence in Mama Margot the Terrorist.
So Simone goes to tea with her unsuspecting relatives. But no sooner does she pull out her flick-knife than, in a moment of weakness, she tells Farah to run, get out of London. But she immediately dives for the phone to call the Police, causing Baby Terrorist to struggle with her and accidentally impale the woman just under the left breast.
Which leads to a ridiculous chase as the eight year old kids rushes from the house, screaming blue murder, with Simone in hot pursuit and a have-a-go neighbour in equally hot pursuit. I say ridiculous, because not only does the eight year old easily keep ahead of a fully grown, long-legged and very fit young woman but, when the kid hits London traffic two streets over, she weaves through it unharmed, whilst Simone gets clouted head on by a bus. Oy vey!
If it weren’t for Jack’s mission, I’d be just as scathing about this series as I’ve been so far, but it at least showed a greater dimension than earlier episodes. Otherwise, we get two side-developments that are there to set up later elements in this truncated story.
First, Creepy Chief of Staff Mark has his own private conversation with Jack about Audrey, as a result of which he fends off the Russians over the Executive Order that hands Bauer off to them. Unsurprisingly, they want a conversation with President Heller about why he’s rescinded it, which will prove awkward for Mr Boudreau, given that he forged the President’s signature to it.
Then Jordan, the analyst who fancies Barbie Doll, brings up yet again Kate’s inability to spot her husband was a Russian spy. It’s not our weekly reminder – Kate herself has already undertaken the ritual for the hard of thinking – because Jordan, in the middle of this all-consuming crisis, has investigated Kate’s computer and discovered that records relating to the late Mister M have been deleted. And despite Boss Navarro telling him to leave it until this drone-thing is done, Jordan runs a background recovery programme.
Do we have a mole? We have a Mole! We might not have a CTU still, but the glorious tradition persists. And, from the very dodgy phone-call he makes to alert an electronically disguised voice, our mole is none other than… big bossman, Steve Navarro! Oooooh.
So. It’s already halfway done, but 24 is actually starting to look a bit interesting (probably it will really hit its stride round about episode 13… no, wait). Let’s see if it continues this improvement in hour 7.