BWW Spoiler Alert!: 5 Major Takeaways from this Week's 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY
Welcome to BWW Spoiler Alert! In this new column, I am going to share five questions and takeaways from the most buzzworthy television episodes of the week (a.k.a. whatever shows I watch). By definition, these columns will contain spoilers if you have yet to see the episode in question, so don't say that I didn't warn you!
After four years of radio silence, FOX has brought back the indomitable Jack Bauer for another harrowing day on 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY. Despite four years in hiding, Jack (and 24) quickly fall back into the same unrealistic tropes. However, once you are able to suspend your disbelief, 24 is as enjoyable as ever.
SPOILER ALERT! I will be discussing things that actually happen in this episode, so if you haven't gotten around to watching it yet, click on another one of my interesting articles instead; like this, this, or this.
1) In the old 24, we were often subjected to unnecessary interpersonal stuff that had no real impact on the larger story, but I hope in the slimmed-down 12-hour version we aren't subjected to too much of the Audrey long-lost-love rigmarole, especially because it is pretty clear that her husband/President's Chief-of-Staff is going to end up being not a good guy.
2) It was over a half-an-hour (in real-time mind you) before Keifer Sutherland uttered a word. He just stared his patented Jack Bauer stare, and let all of the new characters introduce themselves and carry the weight of exposition. As unusual as it might appear on paper to have the beloved series-lead silent for 30 minutes of a season's first episode, I think this was actually really smart on the writers' part. It allowed us to get a better understanding of who all of the new players are before the shooting and craziness began. It also made his first words, "Take me to her, now," even more impactful.
3) Despite all that was spoiled in the media ahead of time (Chloe's GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO look, Jack's terrorist status, and the topical plot points of drones and Wikileaks), my heart genuinely raced multiple times during the episode, none as much as when the hijacked drone dropped its bomb at the end of the first hour. This is what 24 has always done best, create exciting television with the underpinnings of real-world political hot-button issues. I, for one, hope that Howard Gordon and company take the lessons learned from HOMELAND and strike a balance between intrigue and action.
4) The amount of leeway that Chloe has given Jack over the years has always bordered on ridiculous, but it seemed especially disconcerting after Jack broke her out of CIA custody, in order to lie to her, track her to her group's safehouse, only to burst in with guns drawn, threatening everyone. It was almost as if she just rolled her eyes, said, "Oh Jack, you're so silly," and jumped right back to being his tech-savvy wingwoman. As I said before, I am willing to suspend my disbelief in terms of Jack's superhuman ability to withstand gun shots and take out a room full of drug dealers on his own. However, in return, I want at least a modicum of realistic character development; even if it only lasts until they turn out to be the newest mole in the agency.
5) There were so many items of note in this two hour premiere, I decided the fifth entry would consist of five of my favorite superfluous questions from the episode:
Is it at all possible that Benjamin Bratt opening the episode asking, "Where are we on real time tracking?" as just a coincidence? Did anyone else see all of the scars on Jack's body and think that that was the most appropriate image and metaphor for 24's return? How cool is it that recently minted Tony-nominee is playing the British Prime Minister for this day? Was I the only one geeking out when Chloe uttered the word "coms" for the first time? When President Heller said that he was five points down in the election before a sudden turn-around in Ohio, did anyone else wonder if the town-hall he mentioned was in Defiance?
So, what did you think of the episode? Are you glad to see Jack and Chloe back together? Have the last four years made you willing to overlook the unrealistic nature of 24? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and on Twitter @BWWMatt.