Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 9: 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Last night's 24 was a drink-light affair (they set up one "perimeter"), but was still a pretty fun episode throughout. It was a rather clever construct by the writers to slow the plot without making it look like the plot was being slowed, locking Jack up in a room for most of the hour. Where past episodes have given us a lot of action, this episode served up tension instead, and was one of the best so far.

If there was a weak part of Jack's storyline, it was that the military people were rather dumbed down in order to make Jack seem smarter by comparison. Still, that's hardly a new conceit for 24, and at least this time Kate got to be lifted up by it as well. It's unthinkable that no one would be guarding an air duct leading into the sealed room, if for no other reason than the possibility (however remote) that Jack might have used that method to escape. Still, it was fun to see Kate (have we reminded you lately that she didn't know that her husband was a mole?) put all the pieces together and make a big move to trust Jack.

For his part, it was fun to watch Jack whiplash back and forth from menacing to comforting, as he'd threaten people on the phone and then moments later assure his captives that he had no intention of harming them. Also, the so hilarious, so awesome, so Jack way in which he declared that he'd only grazed people because he shot them. I have to say, I like the show universe acknowledging that Jack's a badass in the way the audience knows he is.

President Heller found out what his weaselly chief of staff Boudreau had been keeping from him for the past three hours, but the weasel maneuvered it all in such a way that it didn't matter. Even though Heller spoke directly to Jack on the phone, in the end Boudreau got want he wanted and convinced Heller to give the kill order. This is also rather good writing, because it all seems genuine. Even though we the audience are all rooting for Jack, of course, Boudreau's hatred for Jack seems rational, given his back story. He's trying to protect Audrey (and maybe, not-so-deep down, personally threatened). Heller's dementia might provide the justification for why he trusts Boudreau's analysis more than his own personal history. In short, it's nice to have "direct line to the president" not be the answer to everything on 24 this time.

But the surprise fun came in the villain story line. At first, I was just as bored with it this week as I was last week, with silly Naveed blathering on about not wanting to go through with the evil plan and stupidly trying to get his wife to run off with him. But things took an awesome turn when we got to see just how villainous Margot is. You won't do what I want? I'll start chopping off my own daughter's fingers! It certainly rockets Margot into another league among 24's long history of villains.

I say this episode gets a B+. It was great to see 24 shift gears a bit. Perhaps they'll show us yet another next time.

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