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24: Live Another Day “Day 9: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.” Review (9×11)

8 Jul

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Jack Bauer has been through a hell of a lot, which is already an understatement in and of itself. Live Another Day seems intent on emphasizing the history of TV’s best badass, the way every event has taken a toll on his psyche and the way certain memories can come back to haunt him. Cheng Zhi is representative of one of the worst periods in Bauer’s life, the one and a half years of torture at the hands of a merciless villain, and you can see the flood of memories pouring through Jack’s head when he hears the voice on the recording. This stays with you.

What’s interesting, though, is that Bauer being Bauer also means Bauer using his past like he would any other piece of intel. He’s someone who needs to constantly push on and focus on the task at hand because if he doesn’t–if he allows the past to cloud his judgment–he’ll falter, and one wrong step will get you killed in this business. We do, however, see him at his most vulnerable when he’s talking to Audrey on the phone, someone who, let’s not forget, was also tortured by Cheng Zhi. So, here are two people who’ve experienced shared hardship, and one is telling the other to kill the man who wronged them both. It’s especially clever how Jack believes Audrey’s talking about killing Mark for a split second, and it’s a subtle moment that serves to illustrate the divide between past and present, the way Jack’s focus on the current task seems like his own way of glossing over what’s happened before.

And well, there’s a lot of stuff that’s happened before, and Cheng has a notorious history in the 24 universe. His more personal history with Jack and Audrey is certainly infinitely more interesting than his political history with the Chinese and U.S. governments, but nevertheless, his presence ties together the various threads of the season as we head into what should be an excellent finale. The final shot of the episode places Audrey in a precarious position, a sniper rifle aimed at her while her Chinese contact and security detail lay dead around her, and while it’s a bit too easy that we get to this point so quickly, it’s a way to bring Audrey deeper into the fold.

As for Audrey’s husband, the truth finally comes out. Of course, this isn’t a black and white “he did this because of money” or “he’s an evil douche”; although Mark deserves to face the consequences for his actions, he wasn’t doing this all because of a specific hatred for Bauer, but rather because of his desire to keep Heller safe. Now, did he enjoy going after Bauer? Yes, but again, there are more layers of complexity here than usually present in a standard 2mole.

Ultimately, Live Another Day received the kick it needed when Margot al-Harazi was thrown out that window, and what we’re getting to close the season is a wildly entertaining stretch of episodes that tie past to present and character to character. All that’s left is for the show to nail next week’s finale.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-They’ve used Strahovski very well this season. I thought she’d get involved in a romantic relationship with Bauer, but she hasn’t, and they simply make a great team. I especially love the raid on Stolnavich’s house.

-“…YOU IDIOT!”

-Philip Winchester plays one of the military guys, and while he’s not interesting here, he’s great on Cinemax’s Strike Back, which is another great action show you all should check out.

-Chloe, with the metal pipe attack and the escape into the woods. Love it.

-It’s the finale next week, and for the first time, it looks like the show will be breaking the real-time format. The episode is titled “10 pm-11 am”, so I look forward to seeing how that plays out. Predictions? Hopes? Share below. One more week, folks, and then 24‘s fate depends on the ratings.

Photo credit: FOX, 24: Live Another Day

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One Response to “24: Live Another Day “Day 9: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.” Review (9×11)”

  1. Drew July 8, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    This was one of my favorite episodes of the season so far. I can’t wait to see how they finish it. Next week’s episode looks like it’s going to be intense.

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