Tuesday, May 6, 2014

24: Live Another Day- Episodes 1 & 2

11:00 am to 12 pm

Welcome Back Bauer 
It’s been four years since Jack Bauer went off the grid, and quite a while since I have written a commentary/recap about his exploits. Tonight we are both back. They decided to throw two episodes at us right off the bat, so there’s a lot to cover.

From the looks of it, Jack Bauer has not lost a step in the layoff; in fact, he looks like he’s gained a step or two. Strap yourself in, the clock is ticking and the ride is about to begin.

We open with some thugs casing out a marketplace in East London. We see a variety of items at the booths including clothing, jewelry and handbags… and I wonder, are there any Jack Sacks hanging on those racks? As the camera roams the area, more and more thugs begin to gather until finally they converge at the door of a ratty old building.  A homeless man throws off his blankets and sends a roller robot cam into the building and spots their target… a man sleeping on the floor among the debris. It’s a high value suspect that had been spotted in the area.

The thugs are actually CIA agents under the command of Steve Navarro of the CIA London Station. This place looks a hell of a lot like CTU, with the all the monitors, glass walls and endless suspicious, dirty looks being shot back and forth between the agents. But it’s not CTU. I guess they use the same interior decorator.

We also meet Kate Morgan, the insanely hot agent who spends most of the first half of the episode packing up her desk. You see, it’s her last week at CTU, I mean the CIA. It turns out her stupid husband was selling secrets to the Chinese, and although she claims she did not know anything about it, it does not look good for her. It’s about the only thing about her that does not look good, by the way.

The CIA dudes storm the building, but the suspect was on to them and is on the run. One of the agents gets too close and gets taken out by the hooded fugitive and that’s when the robot cam catches his face. Holy crap! It’s Jack F*cking Bauer.

And like Batman, he starts to mop up the place with the agents.

As the action unfolds, Kate watches on the monitors and questions why Jack does not flee to the roof, where he surely could have escaped. Instead, they chase Jack out to the shores of a river where he is surrounded and captured. But the smirk on Jack’s face makes us wonder what he’s really up to.

Meanwhile, we learn that former Secretary of Defense James Heller is now the President. We also meet his Chief of Staff, Mark Boudreau, who immediately puts a gag order on the Bauer news. Heller already has enough to deal with today with his drone legislation and attempts to establish a new base in the UK. We also learn the real reason Boudreau wants to keep the Bauer news quiet. He’s married to Audrey Heller, the President’s daughter and former lover of the high value suspect himself.

Boudreau orders Navarro to hand over Bauer to the “Special Activities” people for some hardcore interrogation. But before the orders come through, Navarro decides to have a quick chat with Jack first, since no one ever comes back from Special Activities. Kind of like when a kid breaks the rules at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. You never hear from them again. (Oompa.) 

So Navarro questions Jack and tells him his best bet is to cooperate. Jack Bauer’s EKG remains flat lined as Navarro questions him. You see, Jack has superhuman, ultra-steady readings. He can’t be rattled. 

Also, it’s like 15 minutes into the show and we have not heard a peep out of Jack yet.

Then the order to take him to Special Activities comes in. But Kate is convinced Jack wanted to be caught, so she locks herself in the interrogation room with him. She starts to question him and she actually gets the needle to move. But that’s no surprise. That’s freaking Yvonne Strahovski.  She gets men's needles to move all the time.

It does not matter though, as they break into the room and have Jack transferred to Special Activities, where a Slugworth looking guy named Dean is working on another patient, and he is not playing nice. But wait, who is the goth looking chick on his table? Holy crap, it’s Chloe f*cking O’Brien.

By the way, it’s 11:40 am and Jack has still not uttered a word.

We also meet Lt. Tanner, a drone pilot who clashes with his mean Colonel who is on a mission in Afghanistan. They have an argument and Tanner gets his weekend leave revoked over nothing and is pretty upset. More on him later.

Jack is being escorted to Special Activities when he presses the skin on his wrist and signals a guy outside the building who has been hacking into the system. Soon the lights go out and Jack is loose. He quickly overpowers Slugworth and utters his first words, “Take me to her now.” In no time he has laid the smack down on Slugworth and rescued Chloe.  But Kate, who was told to leave the premises, was onto Jack and disobeys her orders again and pursues Bauer, with a little help from Jordan, who is her version of Edgar. (Moment of silence. Drink a social for Edgar.) 

Ironically, in order to capture Jack Bauer, she ends up pulling a Chloe and tazes a guard. (It wouldn’t be 24 without someone getting tazed. Take a drink, the 24 drinking game is full on.)

Kate chases Jack and eventually catches him, even though he blows up half the building with a gas explosion. She forces him to drop his gun, but he signals his buddy, who is on the street above them with a rocket launcher and he blows a hole in the ceiling. Jack and Chloe escape. This is the greatest “get caught on purpose and then break out” stunt since the Joker did it in The Dark Knight. And speaking of that, did you realize that President Heller was also the President in The Dark Knight Rises. Hmmm. Maybe Jack Bauer really is Batman.

So then, to be safe, Jack and Chloe split up, but Jack promises he’ll find her later.

We go back to Tanner, the drone pilot, who has just completed a successful drone mission. Then, suddenly, Tanner’s loses control of his drone and it fires on the Colonel and his men. Tanner screams for the Colonel to get out of there, but it’s too late. Boom. The military convoy is in flames. Tanner is in deep doo doo.

We zoom in on a bad guy watching a monitor who proclaims, “It’s done.”

On to episode two.

24: Live Another Day- Ep 2. - 12:00 pm to 1 pm

The Yates of Hell
We open with Chloe walking the streets of London and breaking into an abandoned building. She heads up stairs and punches a keypad. When the door opens we discover we are now in the secret lair of Chloe’s computer hacker team. You see Chloe has been working for a Wiki Leaks like group, led by the creepy Adrian Cross.

While Cross is debriefing Chloe on her last three days in captivity, Jack busts in (along with his Serbian mob sidekick) and starts to threaten Cross. Take notice that Adrian Cross is played by Michael Wincott, who was also a bad guy in the version of The Three Musketeers with Keifer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen. So now it’s officially “all for one and all for love” on 24. 

We find out the reason that Jack is being so rough is that he is tracking one of Cross’ hackers named Derek Yates, whom Jack suspects is involved in a plot to kill President Heller with a US drone. Unfortunately, Yates is not there.

Meanwhile, Tanner, the pilot of the drone, insists that he did not shoot the missile and that someone else was in control of the drone, even though his key thing says that he did it. We find out that four people were killed, including two Brits. That’s’ not good for Tanner and it’s not good for President Heller, who is at a party with the British Prime Minister when the news hits. So much for the new base… unless Heller can get in front of Parliament and apologize.

He orders that Tanner to be brought to London and turned over to the British for interrogation, even though that is against protocol.

Boudreau is totally against all of this, especially the Parliament part. You see, Heller is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and is slowly losing his memory. It should get worse in about a year, but this is 24, the show where Jack Bauer once kicked a heroin addiction in like four hours, so Heller should be drooling and not know his name by week five.  

So Boudreau preps the President for his meeting and pushes him hard, until Heller can’t remember the number of people killed in the blast or their names. Audrey is shaken up by this, but she ain’t seen nothing yet. She still doesn’t know that Jackie’s back in town.

We finally meet Yates, a junkie programmer who is holing up in a housing project with a big dude named Basher and his crew of drug dealers. Yates is the guy who commandeered the drone. With him is his slutty, Russian, blonde girlfriend. She’s all over him, even when he’s on the phone with his client, a mysterious woman named Margot. She is pretty shady, both figuratively and literally, as she is hidden in shadows when we first see her.

Back at CTU, I mean the CIA, Kate has been reinstated by Navarro, much to the chagrin of Erik Ritter, the agent that has designs on Kate’s job once she’s gone. Tough darts, baby. Kate’s the only one who has had any clue as to what Jack is up to, and she does it again when she has Chloe’s phones checked.

Back at the hacker lair, Chloe assembles the Geek Squad to track down Yates. They locate him at the projects and Jack and Chloe head out to get him. Chloe busts out some comms for them to stick in their ears so they can talk and she brings a couple of special phones. The same phones that Kate is tracking!

Once they get to the apartment building, Chloe temporarily disables the surveillance camera… because she’s Chloe and that’s very easy for her to do. It puts Basher’s men on alert, just like Jack wanted and now they are on the move and easier to pick off, one by one. Finally, after taking out a bunch of goons, Jack makes it to Basher’s flat. (Please note that “flat” is the English word for apartment. I know that because I am wicked smahhhht.)

The best thing about this assault is not the awesome ass-kicking that Jack Bauer performs. It’s that Jack is wearing a Jack Sack in this scene… and this time it’s black. Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce you to the BLACK JACK SACK. (BJS)

Jack tells Basher that it may look like he has the upper hand, but that Jack really does and he should just surrender and give him Yates. Naturally Basher does not listen and instead does what comes natural to him, he tries to bash him. This is a bad idea and Jack really does a number on Basher’s men, especially one guy who gets the Ginsu knife treatment… BIG TIME.

While this is happening, Yates and his mail-order bride bust out a window and take off. Jack is just about to apprehend him when Kate and her men arrive and surround Jack at gunpoint. Yates walks right by Kate and even speaks to her before he gets away. Jack begs Kate to stop him, but suddenly he is shot at and grazed by gunfire from Basher, who is still upset about the knife incident in the flat. (Again, that’s the apartment, for you Yanks.)

Jack takes off into the underground garage and manages to capture Kate. She seems smart, so he tells her that she’s after the wrong guy and informs her about the Yates plot. Kate tries to hit him and get away, so Jack goes all Ike Turner on her and clocks her right in the head. Then he escapes from the garage and Chloe picks him up in a stolen car. He’s impressed when he hears she hot-wired it. I love these two.

Jack had managed to get a thumb drive from Yates and Chloe puts it in her computer. It reveals the secret plans for the drone plot, but it also kicks off a program that erases the drive and starts to attack Chloe’s computer. This forces Chloe to shut it down and makes Jack Bauer utter that magic word we’ve all been waiting for. DAMMIT!

Woo hoo! (Now please drink.)

Meanwhile, Yates and his Russian beauty are hiding out, having a pint at a pub. (That’s English for having a beer at a bar.) Yates goes to the men’s room to take a leak and his dirty girlfriend sneaks in. Apparently all this excitement has made her randy and she’s ready for a go. (That’s English for “she’s horny.”) But instead she pulls a knife and gives him the Q-Tip treatment. She leaves him dead on the floor and exits with his case of drone stuff. Then, in true 24 fashion, she pulls off her blonde wig and ditches it, along with her fake Russian accent.

Then she calls shady Margot to let her know that Yates is dead and she has the package. Turns out, Margot is her mom. It also turns out that Margot is Catelyn Stark, Ned Stark’s wife from Game of Thrones. She must have had enough of the weather in Winterfell, but it can’t be much better in England. 

So now Margot and her daughter have the drone technology. Things are looking bad, but if you know Game of Thrones, you know it could be worse. Imagine if she got control of a few dragons instead? Then Jack really would really have his hands full.

See you next week. 

What did you think? Leave a comment if you'd like to chime in. 

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