Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Good & Bad: '24: Live Another Day' (5/26/14)

Last week’s “24” ended with Jack Bauer about to be murdered by marines until CIA Agent Kate Morgan swooped in and was all “No way brah,” and made Jack her prisoner.
                This week’s episode opens with Jack still not murdered by marines, but Kate seems to have a pretty loose interpretation of what it means to make someone your prisoner. In Kate’s world, it means dramatically announce that you’re making someone your prisoner and then immediately give that person to someone you don’t know and abandon the area.
Jack survives Kate’s indifferent style of prisoner-taking, but he doesn’t do a heck of a lot else. He spends most of it off-screen, in transit from the US Embassy to where the President is hanging out. When he arrives, Jack gives President Heller the old “Bauer Way or the highway” speech about how to handle the whole killer drone situation. Jack’s way, in this instance, means letting Bauer get in touch with an arms dealer who works with Mama Stark and who probably knows where she is. Rather than put Jack back in the field, Heller chooses highway.
Jack is sent off to pretend to be cats with his former lady love Audrey and the pair rub their faces all over each other for an extended period of time.
Over in Mama Stark’s terrorist lair, she’s kinda bummed about that whole cutting off her own daughter’s finger to force her son-in-law to pilot the drones thing. Daughter Simone and son-in-law Naveed ain’t thrilled about it either. First chance he gets, Naveed scurries away to tell Simone he has set up a trap for Mama Stark: Apparently he left a video she made unencrypted so the Feds should be able to find their whereabouts pretty easy. Simone seems on board. But when the Feds, led by Kate’s ex-partner and also Benjamin Bratt, show up to raid what they think is Mama Stark’s terrorist lair, they’re drone-striked all to hell. Mama Stark totally knew about the double cross and she kills Naveed, putting an end to countless more hilariously doomed-to-fail plots. Simone has a chance to save her husband, but she doesn’t because Naveed is/was a miserable judge of character.
Mama Stark is pretty pleased though, as she has successfully managed to take control of six drones before the Feds, with help from Chloe, Michael Wincott and that flight key Jack liberated from the embassy, realize what’s up. Now she wants President Heller to turn himself in or she’ll drone-strike more stuff.
Sadly, Michael Wincott and Chloe part ways when he wants to stop helping the Feds, but Chloe is just too happy to be back into her old role as the voice in an attractive blonde person’s ear, only this time it’s Kate’s not Jack’s.
In one hour, President Heller loses control of six untraceable and heavily armed military drones to terrorists, has to admit this to the British Prime Minister, learns that his Chief of Staff has been keeping the downside of drone warfare (dead babies) from him, then has to watch on TV with said Prime Minister when one of those drones blows up the team Heller sent to reclaim them.

Bad: Naveed, Double Agent. I like Naveed. Liked him. But seriously no respectable terrorist group should have ever hired him. He was the worst at everything. “Let’s see, so Mr. Naveed, it looks like your compassion levels are off the charts, you’re a horrible judge of character, you’re easily swayed and blackmailed and your only discernible skill is playing video game flight simulators. Well, we definitely want you on our team. Let’s get you over to HR.”

Bad: “24” without Jack is like meeting an old girlfriend on the street and not immediately rubbing your face all over hers. It’s just not American.

Good: Mama Stark is cleaning house. In one episode she ended Naveed’s hopeless scheming and may have taken out two of the show’s more useless characters in Kate’s skeptical partner and Benjamin Bratt.  If she finds a way to snipe Johnny Depp-bearded tech next week, I may propose marriage.

Good: I love her plan. “America, turn the President over to me or Britain gets it.” I love the idea of her picking a coffee shop in downtown London where the US can just leave its President so she can walk in and nab him. I also love that she thinks this can happen without a fleet of warships, secret service agents and Stinger missiles dropping out of the sky on top of her the second she shows her face. Just because it’s nonsense doesn’t make it not fun. She’s a dreamer. A dreamer with drones.

Good: Chief of Staff needs some Daniel Powter. And you thought the President’s day sucked. This dude is so insecure about Jack he successfully argued against listening to the one guy who is always right. Now, Britain is about to become home to several million sea cucumbers at the bottom of the ocean and everyone is going to die. Also despite his best efforts, his wife Audrey is clearly still smitten with Jack. It gets a “Good” because he is such a slimy a-hole, all of that basically balances the scale.  

Bad: Heller. In addition to his knack for listening to the wrong people, the President seems to have developed the mildly annoying habit of smiling when he’s telling people horrible news. “Mr. Prime Minister, your country is about to be hit with so many bombs that it may just sink into the ocean,” all while fighting back a grin. Maybe it’s just that William Devane has big teeth. Either or, but dude, just suck on a sour candy or something while you’re talking.

Good: Stephen Fry, dialogue-speaker. How about that? The Prime Minister gets some stuff to say while his country faces obliteration. I mean, not too much stuff, but those were definitely words I heard.

Good: Michael Wincott. Everything. Everything from him solving the drone issue in like two seconds while only half paying attention to his refusal to go straight and help the Feds to his quiet, “I love you, Chloe” line.  

Bad: The Jack/Audrey thing. It made me feel … uncomfortable.

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