Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fox's "24: Live Another Day," episode 6 (aka "Day 9: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm")

It's late Monday evening, which means I just finished watching the latest episode of "24: Live Another Day." As usual, I had to wait until my kids were asleep, because the last thing I would want is for one of them to wander downstairs and ask, "Daddy, can I watch '24'?"

Anyway, this was an action-packed episode with a lot of long-term impact, some new subplots, and an important revelation. Let's get to talking about it!


Where we left off, a drone controlled by terrorist Margot al-Harazi had just blown apart the building that the CIA strike team thought she was hiding in; CIA station chief Steve Navarro and agent Erik Ritter narrowly escaped death, but many other nameless redshirts, er, agents weren't so lucky. With the CIA strike having failed, President Heller was forced to turn back to Jack Bauer's plan to find al-Harazi through arms dealer Rask. Bauer wanted CIA agent Kate Morgan to accompany him. Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister demanded access to the technical details about the Vanguard drones, which Heller agreed to, as well as coordinating U.S. military efforts with those of the Royal Air Force to find and destroy the drones. (This last point was so important he repeated himself, much like Captain Kirk in the episode "The Deadly Years," when an aging disease turned him senile.)

Subplot 1: The Russian consul called Chief of Staff Mark Boudreaux to find out when they could expect Bauer to be turned over per President Heller's executive order that Boudreaux had forged a few hours ago. To get out of this jam, Boudreaux said they should meet in person elsewhere - another well-used "24" trope (particularly by former First Lady Sherry Palmer).

Subplot 2: The late Naveed's sister called his cell phone, trying to find out more about his suggestion that they leave London. Margot sent daughter/widow Simone to determine whether the sister knew anything about the terrorist plot. Simone cleared the sister, but Margot ordered the sister - and her little girl - killed anyway. Simone reluctantly agreed to do so, but instead instructed the sister to leave London. When the sister asked why and then picked up the phone to call the police, Simone stabbed her by accident. The little girl ran out of the house with Simon in pursuit, only to be - yes, you guessed it - hit by a bus.

Meanwhile, Bauer revealed that he had been working for Rask the past two years, only he was secretly undermining the arms dealer's clients by getting them arrested. However, he abandoned Rask when he learned about the plot against Heller, so now Bauer needed to earn his way back. The plan was to get Rask to access a bank account containing money that Bauer had stolen, which would then implant a virus created by Chloe O'Brian so that they could track Rask's financial transactions, including with al-Harazi. To earn his way back, Bauer intended to deliver Kate Morgan, who would be knocked out by a drug long enough that by the time she regained consciousness, the virus would already have been implanted.

However, Rask turned out to have some counter-agent to the drug that Bauer used, which meant that Morgan was subjected to some very unpleasant torture (shoulder-wrenching hanging position, knife cutting, electrical shocking, and the threat of drilling). Meanwhile, unknown to Bauer, the British were on to him and interrupted the meeting just as Rask was about to complete the financial transaction, which would set the virus in motion. Much shooting and killing ensued. I was expecting someone to shoot the laptop and ruin the virus-plan, but Bauer managed to complete it while fighting off Rask and his henchmen. Morgan took advantage of the chaos to do that leg-choking maneuver that you see all the time when people are strung up with legs free; then getting herself unhooked, she was able to grab a knife behind her back and plunge it into her torturer! Yikes!!

Oh, and the important revelation? CIA station chief Navarro is the mole! The episode ended with Navarro on a scrambled call with a mysterious voice, with the conversation revealing that Navarro planted the evidence against Kate Morgan's husband (who was said to have sold secrets to enemy nations).


* So . . . if Kiefer Sutherland gets tired of "24" but the ratings are good enough for another "special event mini-season" next summer, I'd say that Yvonne Strahovski can take over.

* Jack Bauer uses a cell phone while driving. And not on speakerphone, either. Hmm, that is against British driving rules. It'd be funny if he got pulled over during a crucial moment. ("Dammit, there's no time for this!")

* The Russians are still pissed at Bauer for his murderous rampage four years ago. Just like the Chinese; at the end of season 5, Bauer was abducted by the Chinese at the end of the season, and the head of security of the Chinese consulate told him that China remembered the outrages he committed on their territory 18 months.

* The British special forces seem about as inept as regular CTU agents. First, they're lined up along a wall, with one or two taking shots at the arms dealer's henchmen (most of whom seemed to have been killed by Bauer), and then Rask starts shooting the Brits one at a time through the walls before Bauer disarms him. Then the British rush in and Bauer surrenders. The British then somehow allow Rask to grab a hand grenade and pull the pin! Result: more dead British soldiers.

* The mole trope lives! Of course, one of the things about "24" is that there aren't always going to be clues about who the mole might be. Sometimes the writers just make it up as they go along (though they tried to explain how Nina Myers was the mole)! Still, Navarro was a popular pick on the TiVo Community Forum.

* But wait, could there be another mole? I'm somewhat suspicious about the British PM's aide, Caroline Fowlds, played by British actress Miranda Raison. Raison previously co-starred for several years on the British counterterrorism thriller "MI-5" (aka "Spooks" in Britain), and I assume she has a reasonably high profile. It'd be odd to waste her in a minor supporting role as a prim and proper aide, and she was subtly pushy about getting the British PM to interfere with Jack Bauer's mission.

* Halfway through the mini-season already! I love how the season is still tight in the plotting; the subplots are all related to the main plot.

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