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24: Live Another Day “Day 9: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 a.m.” Review (9×12)

14 Jul

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“I think I’m the only friend you have left.”

Pain is a fundamental aspect of the 24 universe, whether it be physical pain due to an ass-kicking by Jack Bauer or the very real and deep emotional scars that are ever present in our characters’ psyches. From the opening sequence of Live Another Day, we see the guilt and the stress and the exhaustion across Jack’s face, and we know that the years have not been kind to him.

Of course, he understands exactly what his role is in this world. He knows that he himself has been the one dishing out the pain at one point or another, and he knows that he’ll have to live with pain for the rest of his life. What we see in Live Another Day is a man who’s living with pounds and pounds of emotional baggage, but a man who’s able to use that weight to empower himself. It’s extremely difficult, but at the end of it all, his self awareness serves more as a motivator than as a detriment.

There’s one moment, though, when he nearly loses himself, and that’s when he finds out about Audrey’s death. It’s a fantastic, moving performance by Kiefer Sutherland, and as Jack slumps down to the ground, his expression speaks of horror and grief and guilt and loss. He’s rattled to the bone, stopped dead in his tracks, and we get the sense that escape would feel like a cold drink on a hot summer day; the scene intends to evoke an image of a man close to ending his own life, after all. It’s certainly something Jack’s contemplating, but then, he’s reminded of his place in the world, and the grief transforms into rage as he mows down as many baddies as possible before decapitating Cheng.

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It’s no coincidence that the news of Audrey’s death hits both Jack and Heller at times in which they feel close to a solution, when they’re in their respective elements and confident in their abilities to rid the world of the current threat. Kate’s in a similar situation, having already taken out the sniper, and she’s on her way to safety. Yet, pain is always a risk when attempting to find peace, and when Audrey takes a bullet and dies, Kate’s faced with that heart-wrenching pain. She tearfully apologizes to Jack, knowing exactly what Audrey meant to him and the importance of the history shared between the two.

And therein lies one of the season’s greatest strengths, outside of the shortened season allowing for less filler. Live Another Day seems more reliant on intertwined personal history–between Cheng, Jack, the Hellers, etc.–being utilized to propel the narrative than the show’s other seasons are, and that lends emotional resonance to characters I weren’t particularly interested in seeing again at first.

Speaking of emotional resonance, Heller’s monologue at his daughter’s funeral is one of the most affecting scenes of the show’s run. It’s delivered perfectly, eerily calm and heavy-hitting substance-wise, and it’s the final bow for a man who’ll soon forget what it’s like to feel the pain he’s feeling right now, what it’s like to have a daughter. Jack lives with pain and Heller will forget it, but parts of both of them wish the opposite were true.

Ultimately, though, as much as Jack experiences pain, it’s an essential part of him now. He’ll offer himself up in exchange for Chloe’s freedom, and here is an example of pain tinged with hope. He’s off to Moscow, but what matters is that his only friend is safe, that she hasn’t been destroyed by Jack’s past coming back to haunt him. The finale–much like the season 8 finale–brings it all around to the central relationship of the show: Jack and Chloe, both of whom have been struggling with demons over the course of the season, but both of whom we know will live another day. As Jack walks away from his friend, he allows himself a smirk as he gets onto the helicopter, and we know that Jack Bauer’s just around the corner yet again.

“I’ve taken you at your word, but if you’re lying to me, if anything happens to her or my family, your entire world will come apart. And you will never see it coming.”

GRADE: A-

SEASON GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Kate, with her own “I’ll explain everything later.” She’s learned a lot from Jack.

-MEAT CLEAVER. WHOOOOO.

-Man, Jack’s dating profile isn’t looking so great right now. “If we date, you’ll most likely die.”

-So, what’s up with those “old friend” commercials? I was hoping it’d be Aaron Pierce, who really needs a proper send-off.

-Oh, Mark. Things aren’t looking up for you right now.

-Anyone think that smirk would lead to Jack doing something about those Russians in the helicopter?

-The fact that we got another season of 24 that could improve upon the 6th and 8th seasons was already great. Then, Jack Bauer drove a car through multiple explosions, threw someone out a window, and decapitated Cheng Zhi, and it became one of the show’s best seasons. What a pleasant surprise, and if the show can maintain this kind of quality, I hope it doesn’t end here.

-Let’s give it up for 24, folks, if this is the end. It was one of the most revolutionary shows of all time, and although it had its ups and downs, it will remain one of my favorites. Let’s let the clock run one last time:

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Silent clock, I salute you. 24, I salute you. Thanks for reading, guys.

 

Photo credit: FOX, 24: Live Another Day

 

 

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2 Responses to “24: Live Another Day “Day 9: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 a.m.” Review (9×12)”

  1. Matt July 15, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    Great review and thoughts on the season overall. Still getting my thoughts together after just watching the finale and will give it another watch to fully absorb and reflect on the finale and the season as a whole. My instant reaction is this was a great finale. The scene with jack getting the horrible news about Audrey and then his rampage right after, plus his talk with Cheng amd decapitation is going to be one of my all time favorite scenes from the series.

    • polarbears16 July 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Yeah, agreed. Those scenes were fantastic, and Sutherland was brilliant there.

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