24:Live Another Day – 9.00 – 10.00pm

Happy Ending? Nah!

Ok, I assume you’re all waiting for another snark-fest from the the only blogger on the ‘net who thinks that 24: Live Another Day is a piece of overwrought, ludicrously written crap. Well, you’re not going to get quite what you wanted from the penultimate episode, large parts of which were well-handled, tense and, dare I say it, not merely plausible but logical. Oh, but when it went below the waterfall, it scraped the bottom of the Marianas Trench, so I’ll be making a few comments about that.

To begin with, I’ll admit to not remembering Cheng Tzi at all last week. 24 fans all over the Web were having kittens of recognition at that heavily scarred face, but not me. My only excuse is that that was Season 5, which was eight years ago: in another country, and besides the wench is dead, as the wistful phrase goes (originally from Christopher Marlowe’s play The Jew of Malta): 2006/7 was very much another country for me.

Once the episode begins, everything moves at a terrific pace, one of the bonuses of a) having only 12 hours to play with and b) upsetting allprecedent by having everyone going around believing Jack Bauer all the time. Jack and Barbie Kate hold off the Russian task force and their overwhelming numbers and firepowers without anything more than a cut eyebow on Jack’s side, in the sure and certain knowledge that the very moment the pair simultaneously run out of ammo, the back-up will arrive and shoot anyone left standing. Which they do.

However, the commotion draws Cheng’s attention to the fact that Jack’s about. He’s doing a runner, taking Chloe for no apparent reason than her place in the cast list but leaving behind the tracker. But Jack discovers who is behind everything when Chloe manages to set a leftover smartphone to recording Cheng’s dulcet tones for Jack to recognise.

Everybody assumes Cheng’s working with the Russians, and, guess what? He is: with that self-same Anatoly who’s been hassling Creepy Mark about handing Jack over all day. Cheng’s purpose is to start a War between the US and the China that turned on him, a War that will leave the Russians stronger for the damage done to both sides.

This assumes that the damage will be survivable. The President of China doesn’t believe the President of the USA and the Chinese are pretty bloody fast at setting up a military response: fleet steaming towards the US base at Okinawa, squadrons in the air to cover them,missiles knocking out the US surveillance stations and blinding Heller and the Generals, who want to edge quickly to a nuclear response.

This part of the show is handled creditably and credibly, and with some tension. Heller (who we should all remember is giving orders illegally, having resigned the Presidency wef two hours ago) is resistant, is fumbling his medication – thankfully we have nowhere near enough time to whip out the 25th Amendment YET again – and reluctantly has to concur.

Meanwhile, Jack has learned that the Russkies have been tracking him through his comms. A smoking gun aimed directly at Creepy Mark’s head materialises with breathtaking speed and, with nothing delaying him except a heartfelt phone conversation with Old Flame Audrey, during which she tells him to kill Cheng-the-equal-opportunities-torturer causing Jack to bottle out of telling her he’s en route to shopping her hubby fpr treason and the electric chair, turns up at the Embassy to speak to Heller and Boudreau alone.

Creepy Mark coughs on the spot. Heller wants him charged but Jack wants him as a decoy to get them into Anatoly’s residence so they can find out where Cheng is (he and his truck are on their way to Southampton Docks where, at about 10.15pm, a ship is going to take them away, or at least that’s what the audience thinks.

It’s one of those Sacrificial Lamb ploys: no-one really gives a shit about Mark living or dying as long as his pretencc at being on the run and wanting to defect gets Jack and Kate and their silenced guns inside. It’s all bang bang, shoot shoot until every guard is dead. Unfortunately, Mark doesn’t quite understand that he’s supposed to take the loaded gun and do the decent thing, and he fights Anatoly to stay alive, until the two crash through the glass doors onto the landing and Anatoly gets a jagged sliver of glass through the carotid artery.

As I say, it’s fast-paced, decently gripping and, if the series hadn’t ruined any chance of taking it seriously a hundred times over before now, it would be mostly a good, exciting penultimate episode. But it’s 24: Live Another Day and it cannot resist fucking the whole thing over with a bit of arrant lunacy.

As I said, Cheng Tzi, his men, the override device and Chloe O’Brian are in the back of a truck heading down a country road towards Southampton Dock. Now the thing about Southampton Docks is that it’s in Southampton, on the South Coast, in the County of Hampshire, which is just short of 70 miles and involves a drive time of 1 hour and 32 minutes in average condition, and this truck’s supposed to get there within an hour? But it’s bowling along the highway merrily when, all of a sudden Chloe – a computer analyst – grabs a shiny steel pipe that happens to be within reach and lays about her with such force and dexterity that that she downs no less than four armed professional kilers and confuses the rest into letting her open the back door of the truck, set herself and jump into the bushes before any of them can recover sufficiently to just fucking shoot her.

And out of sheer luck, she happens to jump off a embankment and go rolling downhill into the bushes until she knocks herself out on a tree (with no scratches, cuts or bruises) after falling far enough to be out of sight so far as Cheng and his minions are concerned, and they can’t stay to find her because this is apparently a no-parking country highway and there’s a handy truck driven by some bod in army camouflage slowing down to tell them you can’t park here (has there been a military takeover? Where’s the bloody Police in all this?).

So Chloe is left to sleep the sleep of the conveniently knocked out until the very end of the episode where her eyes open and she no doubt wakes up without the least concussion. And Cheng races on to his escape from England.

Except that he doesn’t. Audrey, having hung around being supportive to her Dad all day, has decided to get in on the action. She has a contact in the Chinese Embassy, a young woman who trusts her, and whose Dad is in the Politburo. Audrey’s going to pass on as much information as she can gather to prove that her country is a patsy for terrorists in all this in the hope that President Wei will be persuaded to row back on Mutually Assured Destruction. They meet after dark in the Park, or at least in a London square somewhere.

Except, this being 9.59pm, a hidden sniper takes out the young Chinese extra and Audrey’s guards, leaving a transfixed President’s daughter stood there all alone, presumably in the cross-hairs. Her phone rings. It’s Cheng: well, who else could it possibly have been? I mean, he’s in London instead of being on the Southampton road, he’s discovered Audrey’s secret mission and set up an ambush with not the slightest of clue as to how he could have done so – magic? – and he’s menacing Jack’s bird, alright?

So, no cliches going into the final muss-’em-up hour then, and no set-up, logic or even a semblance of rationality to sustain us in getting here. Even the good episodes cannot resist diving headlong into lunacy a five year old would reject as stupid.

One left, people. Twelve years ago, when the first series was running, my then-wife and I were so absorbed that, when we worked out that the final episode would fall on the Sunday night as we flew to Mallorca for a week’s holiday on the Saturday, we not only set up our video recorder and left tapes with two different people to ensure it was recorded, on arriving in the Balearics we asked my wife’s Mum and Step-Dad if they could pick up BBC2. They couldn’t, but friends of theirs in the southeast of the island could. The tape was available on Tuesday so we drove to their apartment and threw everybody – the parents too – out into the kitchen so we could watch the last episode without interruption.

That was how good it was then. This time I’m not holding my breath.

24: Live Another Day – 7.00 – 8.00pm

A spoiler?


Ater last week’s dramatic drone attack on Wembley, there were plenty of people on-line convinced that Heller wasn’t dead: that Chloe had doctored the feed, fed in a cloned loop and that Jack had spirited the President away from the centre spot in the nick of time. I hoped they were wrong. I’d rather admired Heller’s quiet dignity in going to his death and this kind of convoluted, oh so clever trickery was, in dramatic terms, flat and banal. Needless to say, the internet got it right, despite 24‘s usual trick of leaving William DeVane’s credit out of the opening titles.

At first, it looked like a success: everyone hung around in mourning, Stephen Fry paid tribute to the late President (I’m sorry, I cannot give credence to Stephen Fry as anyone except Stephen Fry, which is why he just doesn’t work as Prime Minister Alistair thingy), Audrey refused to be consoled by Creepy Mark and, most importantly, things started crashing into the sea off Dover. Yes, Mama Terrorist Margot was keeping her side of the bargain, despite Smartarse son Ian’s fanatical reservations. Five down, one to go, until Smartarse sussed out the trick. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so the wrathful Mama Margot sent the last drone to bomb Waterloo Station, where people were desperately trying to get out of London in the wake of the Wembley bomb.

Fair enough, thinks I, at least it’ll get Sky’s poisonous Kay Burley, who’s down there lending her own special branch of ignorance to the scene.

But we are failing to take into account Jack Bauer. Browbeating the still pub-bound Chloe into tracking Mama Margot to an otherwise deserted office block in Hackney, Jack calls in the Cavalry in the form of Barbie Doll Kate and the much-chastened Eric (plus an entire truck of guys with tommy guns) to clean out the guards whilst Jack inflitrates from the roof, climbinmg down the outside of the building on a makeshift rope of cables. Envisaging his making the traditional dramatic entrance, shattering glass as heswings into the room, I could think of nothing more than the legendary Stan Freberg in ‘The Banana Boat Song (Day-Oh)’ and that lovely line ‘I come through the window’.

However, Smartarse Ian, having shot the windows to buggery on sight, makes the mistake of leaning out, whereupon Jack grabs his hand and hauls him out for the fall (fifth floor). Time being tight, he shoots Mama Margot through the shoulder and, with the Waterloo bound missile already in flight, uses the override machine to divery it into a nearby lake at the literal last second.

Then, with Mama Margot screaming at him about all the deaths today that have been at his hands, he wraps up the plot by throwung her out the window too! Eight and a half hours, a new World Record!

But this show is called 24 (and there’s something like a twelve hour leap between episodes scheduled yet), so there’s time to kill (heh heh, poor choice of words there, sorry). This is not, however, to be three and a half hours of mopping up operations, do not fear, action lovers. First there is a suspiciously timely call to Barbie Kate from her Police contact, who’s just found the body of the late Jordan Reed, plus dead assailant, over in Camden.

Consternation spreads. She and Eric head over there where the total lack of any identification on the killer makes them suspect a Pro (and what was Jordan doing in Camden anyway?). Jack, who is securing the override device to bring in to CIA, suspects a connection to the now obliterated El-Harasi family (incidentally, the late Mahmoud, in whose name dear Mama has been working, turns out to have been only a second husband, stepfather only to Smartarse and Baby, in case anyone had been worrying about their genetic purity). And Mole Steve Navarro is shitting bricks over his eventual exposure.

Monotonous Adrian offers him a way out: escape, money, safety, on condition Navarro brings him the override device. This means getting it off Jack, not to mention out of lockdown in a secure CIA facility with the DoD already there to remove it for analysis. Navarro is sweating, knowing that Jack’s back-channel detection of the dead Pro’s fingerprints is going to lead to him. So what ingenious plan does he deploy? In a glass-panelled office, under the view of staff starting to look at him strangely because he’s being a bit wierd over Jordan’s death, he knocks out the DoD man with a sleeper hold, stuffs the override device into a holdall and – Station Chief that he is amd constantly in emand – walks unnoticed out of a back door. A back door in a secure, lockdown room. A back door in a secure, lockdown room that leads to deserted corridors, the basement and a fire exit (with no apparent security) into the back streets.

There are people who are taking this show seriously, who think it’s actually exciting.

Jack, of course, is hot on his heels, but just not quite hot enough. He was decoyed out of the way by a phonecall from Audrey, thanking him for saving her pa. There is an old flame seriously a-kindling there, possibly timely since Chloe, who has gotten out of that pub unmolested, after about three hours saving the world without apparently drinking even half a shandy, has finally brushed him off. Jack wants her to come in to CIA HQ to analyse the override device (a magical weapon, it transpires, that can override anything military, not just drones): that’s CIA HQ where, nine hours ago remember, Chloe was being tortured. No, Chloe’s done her bit and she’s not doing any more. Chloe’s going back to Monotnous Adrian.

Who, as the clock ticks, is driving her to Finsbury Square, to meet the runaway Steve Navarro…

Before we go, let us not forget (since the split screen reminds us in timely manner), that the President’s Lazarus-like reappearance spells all sorts of shit for Creepy Mark, in the shape of a forged Executive Order handing the now pardoned Bauer over to the Russkie’s.

And let us also not forget, since the scripters obviously have, that James Heller is no longer President of the United States of America: he resigned the post as of 7.00pm this evening. It will be interesting to see if anyone remembers that little wrinkle…

24: Live Another Day – 5.00 – 600 pm

Do NOT vote for this man.

Last week’s unexpected excursion into genuine tension and interest does carry over into the second half of 24: Live Another Day yet, in the way you know the show can’t resist being fatuously improbable, it couldn’t help dropping back into complete farce.
The first of these related to Baby Terrorist Simone, last seen having a head-on discussion with a London bus that sent her flying at least five yards in a horizontal direction.
Needless to say, the fragile-looking, pre-Raphaelite Simone was rapidly surrounded by Ambulances and all those head brace and splint thingies that prevent seriously injured people from moving any muscle still in an active state. She has multiple fractures, contusions and internal injuries, enough to have her rushed off to the nearby St Edwards Hospital in a critical condition.
Equally needless to say, Jack and Barbie are also rushing headlong towards St Edwards, anxious to keep all knowledge of Baby Terrorist’s incarceration from Mama Terrorist (some hope: Mama Margot phones Simone to find out why it’s taking so long to slaughter her sister-in-law and niece, only to find that St Edwards is the place to be).
Our anxious heroes’ only chance is to get Baby to turn against Mama, especially as little Yasmin confirms that, before killing Farah, Simone did urge them to get out of London.
But Simone is all battered and banged-up and in no fit state to speak: until, that is, Jack persuades the Doctor to administer that wonderful wake-up drug that drags patients back from death’s door with enough presence of mind to not only undergo interrogation by Jack Bauer, but also undergo torture from him.
This isn’t the bit where the episode goes lurching into improbability, though. No, this is just the bit where Simone wakes up, spits (metaphorically) in Jack’s eye when he asks her to betray her ever-loving mother, thus inducing him to unwrap her maimed left hand and start twisting Simone’s little finger: you know, the one that, not three hours ago, Mama lovingly had chopped off with a cold chisel, and which hasn’t yet been treated.
Simone’s loyalty to Mummy and the cause is impressive. Unfortunately, Mummy has no trust in her betraying daughter any more and has the next drone diverted to blow the shit out of the Hospital.
This is where it does get loony. Jack dedicates himself to getting Simone out. On foot. On Simone’s feet that is, with Jack supporting her, but she’s stumbling quite adequately out of the hospital. More than adequately, given her multiple fractures… Gah! I say, and gah!
Anyway, Mama spots that her beloved traitorous daughter has been got away and sends the drone after Jack’s car, through a wild chase through London traffic, side-streets and extreme parking that’s merely unrealistic in any practical sense and perfectly standard for 24. Jack somehow manages to avoid hitting at least fifty different cars, whilst stealing two others en route, until the last drone missile is used and Mam realises she’s still not killed her lovely child.
That’s where we’re up to in the principal plot, so it’s time to go back to the Residence and catch up with Heller and his circle. They don’t get too much play this time out, but when they do, it’s a doozy. Heller gives Stephen Fry a much needed bollocking. The Russian contact still wants Jack, ASAP, and if thwarted will use his knowledge that Creepy Mark forged Heller’s signature to an Executive Order.
And we’re on our way to major, bull goose loony notion number two. Heller witnesses the scenes of carnage at the hospital. He gets changed into a suit, and uses a hitherto wholly unsuspected backchannel to set up a Skype call with none other than Margot El-Harasi. The deadline still hasn’t passed for her ultimatum for Heller to hand himself over to her tender mercies. Heller’s been looking at the devastation caused at the hospital: he’s all set to hand himself over.
No, I’m sorry, not even in the world of 24 is that notion even remotely plausible. In a foreign country, the President of the United States of America is prepared to hand himself over to a vicious, brutal terrorist, who will stop at nothing to inflict brutal torture upon him and use him as the greatest propaganda coup terrorism has ever had. Ok, yes, he’s going to have Jack Bauer accompanying him, but even so, this one is so far-fetched it’s circling the sun somewhere outside the orbit of Pluto. Even assuming that Mama Margot’s word not to kill anyone else today can be trusted (and even if it can, she never promised not to start again tomorrow).
But let us not forget that there is now a sub-plot. For new readers, CIA Station Chief Steve Navarro has been revealed as the real traitor passing secrets to the Chinese, not Barbie Doll Kate’s disgraced and dead husband. However, puppy dog analyst Jordan, who worships Kate, is now running a retrieval program that will expose the CTU Mole (well, you know what I mean).
However, Navarro’s contact warns the baddie that his orders to ignore this are being ignored and Jordan needs to be disposed of. With a sense of shock that lasts for all of 0.2 seconds, we discover that Naughty Steve’s contact is Adrian the Monotone Hacker.
As for poor Jordan, he suddenly finds himself sent out into the field for the first time ever in of-course-not-suspicious circumstances, to retrieve a parcel from a message drop down on the canal. Where a thuggish looking thug shoots him in the chest, causing him to collapse, Dirty Den-style into the canal.
But fear not, something in all of this has triggered Puppy Dog’s sense of self-preservation and, despite having been shot at point blank range by a professional assassin, he swims hundreds of yards underwater, under canal water too thick for him to be seen, before pulling himself out with a flesh wound, a mere scratch. Currently being worked on by every kind of nasty bug ever to have lived in a British canal, so that’s him done for…
My overall verdict? One step sideways, three colossal ones downhill.
More idiocy next week, unfortunately.

24: Live Another Day – 4.00 – 5.00pm

Jack Bauer-ette

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.


24: Live Another Day – 2.00 – 3.00 pm

Baby Terrorist – quite the best thing about this show

It’s two o’clock. Jack Bauer has just shot two English protesters in the leg to create a disturbance that enables him to break into the American Embassy in London,so that he can locate the framed Lt. Tanner, snatch his Flight Key and upload the information that will prove to President Heller, and all and sundry that Mama Terrorist Margot intends to take over ten American drones and use them to attack London, sometime today (i.e., between 10.00 – 11.00pm,otherwise known as ‘thank God that’s the last episode’).

Meanwhile, Gothic Chloe mutters and mumbles behind a computer screen giving him directions, the eternal puppet caught between a love for Action Man that she cannot discuss even with herself, and the drily unexpressed feelings of her hacker-chief Adrian, a man who, over three episodes, has yet to allow a trace of emotion to creep into his diction. Zees Englis’, pah!

Meanwhile, President Heller finishes his speech to a ravening crowd of uncontrollable madmen and women (i.e., the House of Commons), who have unaccountably stopped ripping his every utterance to public shreds before he even makes it. Now is the time to reveal to Heller, and Fragile, Strained But Still Beautiful daughter Kim that Jack Bauer is in town. Heller doesn’t believe Jack’s story, Creepy and Disloyal Chief of Staff Mark has an agenda not to believe it, but Kim, who has suffered unspeakable tortures because of the damage Jack Causes In His Wake, is immediately on his side.

Meanwhile, Conscience Stricken Navid plans to run away from Mama Terrorist Margot rather than pilot the drones, taking with him Baby Terrorist Simone, his loving, pale of face and vaguely pre-raphaelite redheaded wife, but Baby Terrorist is too loyal to Mummy’s revolutionary creed (herein revealed as being “There are no innocents!”), and shops him. Nobly, Navid resists pressure to do his bit so Mama Margot, recognising that Navid is simultaneously too much of a coward to go through with killing tens of thousands of people and heroically brave enough to resist all torture upon himself, has a henchman chop off the little finger of Baby’s left hand (“Mummy loves you,” she reassures as hammer, cold chisel and fingerjoint meet, though noticeabl;y she doesn’t kiss the boo boo better), whereupon he gives in, and so would I (whilst steeling myself, at the crucial moment, to cock the whole thing up, anticipating that my loving and nine-fingered wife may have second thoughts about dobbing me in).

Apparently, Geeky Boy Terrorist has no opinion on the sudden maiming of his little sister.

And then there’s Barbie Doll Agent Morgan, steadfastedly chasing Bauer through the building, in a slim, well-fit blonde way. Aside from the obligatory, once an episode that this tactically genius analyst missed the fact her husband had been spying for the Soviets.. I mean Russians, for like, literally, forever, Kate the genius continues to show her speed of thought and perception (i.e., she believes Bauer). Single-handedly, she breaks the seige, retrieves the Flight Key (in order to herself upload it to the hackers) and takes Jack back into CIA custody, fending off a squad of marines intent on gunning Bauer down like a dog because he deliberately shot two of their number where they were most highly protected.

Now it’s three o’clock.

The only unequivocally good thing about this episode is that Stephen Fry was restricted to a single, silent, camera-pass.

This is going on till 11.00pm, but it really ought to be grounded. Very early.

24 Live Another Day: 1.00 – 2.00pm

She looks better than this in other series, folks

More of the same, only different. That was what I was thinking throughout most of episode 3, and it was true for both the episode itself, and for my reactions to it. It’s still the same high action, blitz them with it so they won’t have time to think, mavericks still playing their ends-justify-the-means bullshit, terrorists out to destroy without ever really defining why, or what might follow, and the weak one who will be killed not less than three episodesfrom the end, and probably sooner. Oh, and the President’s Chief of Staff is conspiring behind his back, yet again.

And I’m still just as unconvinced, uncomitted and ungripped with it as I was with the first two episodes, and all for the same reason. The London setting’s a gimmick since the show is just going to trample on everything pertaining to its location to enable it to perform exactly as it did for eight series back home,anddon’t believe the bit about worrying about British sensitivities because it’s as phoney as a wooden nickel.

There’s a typical lurch into melodrama as Chloe gets distracted at exactly the right moment to let the girl assassin get away. You see, what neither Jack nor any of the rest of us knows, since it hasn’t had any decent foreshadowing, is that Morris and Prescott (Chloe’s husband and son) are dead, run over by a truck, only Chloe was the target: cue tears and a gruff, manly hug from Jack, who even lets his eyesget wet at the thought of her loss. But then again, Jack’s a specialist when it comes to loss, isn’t he?

Then there’s the girl assassin, Simone (played in a very short mini-skirt with patterned tights and great legs by Emily Barrington). Simone’s resourceful and committed, but then why shouldn’t she be, being a second generation terrorist, raised by notorious husband and wife terrorists to plot, kill, and sleep with no-marks in order to get stuff off them: if it was good enough for Mummy, it’s good enough for not-so-little Simone, though it’s a point that Simone’s husband Navid is currently struggling to accept. Though, as Navid has Doubts, and Mummy-Terrorist is watching by surveillance cameras the lovely Simone tries to shag some conviction back into him, I think we can safely say young Navid isn’t going to see episode 12. Will Simone approve in view of the cause,  or will she be distraught at Mummy Darling chopping off her beloved’s bollocks?

Even in series 8, that’s something I would have cared about but no, not this time. 24 may only be 12 this time out, but I am already hanging in there hoping for the end.

But as the episode got into it’s last act, all pretenc to anything resembling reality, even in 24‘s terms, just toppled over and went down the pan. Sneaky Chief of Staff and son-in-law Mark has been warning President Heller that an address to Parliament is not wise because the MPs will howl him down in much the same manner as the demonstraters outside the American Embassy, and I’ve been regarding that idea with no little dubiety but, guess what, when everyone turns up to listen to Heller in a room that’s almost exactly unlike Parliament, they don’t even let him get past Hello before they’re shouting and slandering him.

Now I’m not overfond of our MPs and this Parliament, but this is ludicrously unrealistic, as is the whole idea of the President of America addressing Parliament against the wishes of the Prime Minister, and I can’t take this series seriously any more.

I’m going to try to keep watching it, on a Mastermind basis, though I can foresee these blogs getting less respectful by the week. This is already a disaster, but will it improve. Will it get worse? Can it get worse? Oh, that one you better believe.