Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 9: 5:00 - 6:00 PM

This week's installment of 24 was a whopping four-and-a-half drink hour (four Jack "dammits" and one drink-adjacent "in less than an hour") that really brought the fun back after the previous lackluster episode.

Okay, so Margot al-Harazi has definitely left ruthless for crazy, but the sheer idea of a villain using drone missiles to kill her own daughter is just so wildly different that I have to give props to the writers for going there. And that choice led in turn to perhaps the best extended action sequence the series delivered in its last several seasons. Sure, 24 has had its share of car chases over the years, but Jack Bauer trying to outrun drone missiles? That's pure awesome.

I also have to give some grudging respect to the idea that we don't just have one mole this season, we have two, each in a different organization! And they're working together! It's kind of nuts, but in a way -- like the drone chase -- it's just the sort of over the top nuts that brings the fun back. It's the sort of zaniness you could never top if you were having to worry about doing another season after this one, but just the sort of thing you can do when your show is having a limited run, coming back from the dead.

I also enjoyed how the show, having now firmly established Agent Morgan as "the female Jack," is now in some ways making her better than Jack. Call that sacrilege if you like, but Kate endured torture with the best of them last week, and then this week was shifting into a softer gear to get valuable information from a little girl. Meanwhile, in this very episode, you saw what happens when Jack tries to be tender and doesn't get instant results: he grabs hold of the stub of your severed finger and squeezes.

Not that you didn't have to overlook some less fun ridiculousness along the way. The idea that Simone can be carried from a hospital even slightly under her own power, minutes after being hit by a bus? Come on, "I feel like I've been hit by a bus" is actually the go-to metaphor for "I can't function."

For sheer audacity, I might have to call this episode an A-, even acknowledging the silly, sugary calories of it all. It's hard to believe, but we have only five episodes left. Perhaps even more interesting, we have not yet had any jump ahead in time, as the interviews published when the season began told us to expect. We'll see what's in store next week.

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