24: Live Another Day "3:00 PM - 4:00 PM" Review: Never Trust an IP Address

By Cory Barker

May 27, 2014

24: Live Another Day S09E05: "3:00 PM-4:00 PM"

Happy Memorial Day to those of you from the States (and happy Monday to those of you who live abroad). Apparently Fox thought that the best way to honor those serving in the American armed forces was to give us another hour's worth of Jack Bauer trying to stop a British woman's terrorist plots. And while it's silly to say that airing 24 was technically the best way for the network to observe the holiday, "3:00 PM–4:00 PM" was another strong episode of 24: Live Another Day, and that in itself is something to celebrate. 

I wrote a bit about this last week, but Hour 5 further exemplified how Live Another Day seems dedicated to telling a traditional 24 story without some of the more familiar histrionics and broad (read: stupid) character types. Sure, many of them are still present in Live Another Day, but whereas the weaker seasons of the show (and even some of the good ones, frankly) tended to let characters like Mark, Erik, Navarro, and Cross devolve into incompetence, evildoing, or both, Live Another Day continues to hustle to make sure we know these folks are multifaceted people—or at least as multifaceted you can get in this universe. I've been trying to come up with an adjective that I think best describes this approach, and I keep returning to "measured." 24 will never be Mad Men, but it's displayed a certain amount of care in developing Live Another Day's supporting characters—a care that was absent during 24's last few years on the air—and that has made solid episodes like this one just a smidgen better. 

For most of this hour, characters reacted logically and with the right mix of self-centeredness and wider awareness. Take the big moment early on, when Kate revealed to Navarro that Tanner's drone was hacked by Margot and Mr. Bossman passed her call along to President Heller. After watching her disobey orders for a few hours, Navarro could've easily launched into a tirade about chain of command, protocol, etc. in lieu of actually listening to her. But he didn't! Navarro recognized the problems that Kate had created, particularly because she was supposed to be transferred out of the office anyway, but instead he made the right call to try to stop a major terrorist plot. And even though that was a brief moment in the episode as a whole, it was an important one. The same sort of thing happened again later, when Navarro reprimanded Kate for her behavior but also acknowledged her great work (and of course noted that she was doing this all to make up for her traitorous husband), as well as near the end of the episode, when he listened to Kate's advice about Margot's trap. The more the show lets characters trust or value one another, even if they're doing so begrudgingly, the better. 

Somehow, this episode also featured two different characters admitting they were wrong—and before the world was fully burning, to boot. I mean, no one on this show ever fully admits they were wrong or acting selfishly. I really enjoying what Live Another Day is doing with Mark, a character we all expected to be awful, duplicitous, and just an obstacle for Jack and Audrey. While he's still all those things in a number of ways, this was the third or fourth episode in a row that went out of its way to rationalize Mark's behavior without being especially sympathetic to that behavior. He did conceal some of the information about the Al-Harazi assassination attempt from President Heller, but as he said, that's his job, especially considering that major policy was on the table. And while he bungled some of the operation with Jack in London because of very selfish—but logical—reasons, he 'fessed up to it. Meanwhile, Cross set aside his issues with the government for a second to apologize to Chloe for screwing Jack over in Episode 4. Cross isn't as fully formed a character as Mark, but this hour did a solid job of illustrating that he doesn't want to get wrapped up in this mess because of what the government did to Chloe. That's not the worst reason, right? 

Anyway, I know I'm keying on some pretty minor elements in what was ultimately a moderately eventful episode, but these minor elements tell us that if 24's writing staff learned anything from the show's last few seasons and four-year break, it's that they have to make the supporting characters better if they want the whole enterprise to work. It can't be all Jack, all the time, and we have to both understand and care about all the machinations that eventually result in worldwide meltdowns that require Jack's superhuman abilities. For the first time since Season 5, I don't want to immediately skip through the non-Jack stuff on 24; that's a very good thing. Plus, the improved character work makes it easier to forgive Live Another Day when some of the sillier stuff happens. For example, we all knew that Margot's video was intended to draw the CIA (or whomever) into a trap; it was supremely dumb that Navarro and company loaded up and entered the building without some additional thought. But those things have to happen on 24, particularly when they lead to a big, deadly explosion near the end of an episode. 

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten Jack! This was a quiet but meaningful episode for Mr. Bauer as he shared reunions with the Hellers, and both went pretty much as we expected they would. President Heller wasn't too fond of Jack's plan to go back out into the field to meet up with a mysterious and dangerous man who could lead them to Margot, which makes him approximately the 900th person to incorrectly shoot down a Jack Bauer Plan™ that Jack will likely carry out anyway. However, the biggie here was the Jack-Audrey scene, a moving encounter that featured a lot of breathless, nose-to-nose talking. That moment was about a decade in the making for those two characters, and depending on your investment in Jack and Audrey's relationship, probably worth the wait. Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Raver share an interesting but good chemistry, and even though I'm not entirely concerned with Jack and Audrey the OTP of 24, it's always nice to have characters who keep Jack tethered to his humanity. 

Live Another Day is bound to get nuttier as the clock ticks toward a conclusion. However, if 24 continues to turn in episodes like this one for a few more weeks, the nutty stuff is going to be much more satisfying. 


– Goodbye Naveed, our sweet, conflicted prince. Never underestimate a sociopathic terrorist's ability to convince her young daughter that it's a good idea to execute said daughter's husband by shooting him in the face. 

– The aforementioned explosion at the fake safe house looked... okay. Scenes with drones flying in the sky and dropping missiles are never going to look good on TV budget, but the mix of CGI and practical effects in the explosion was also a bit rough. Speaking of that, who do we think made it out alive? I think I saw Erik moving around, but I could be wrong. Is Navarro a goner?

– Jack really hammered home that the mysterious dude he wants to work with is super dangerous. What are the chances that this person is someone we already know? Is it Tony?

– Our DAMMIT TRACKER and KILL TRACKER have stalled out. I don't want to say we need more murder on this show, but would it, uh, kill Jack to give us the one word that we want? I choose to believe that this is all part of Live Another Day's strategy of early restraint. It's the only thing that keeps me from weeping over the lack of DAMMITs. DAMMIT. 

– If you haven't yet, please check out edshrinker's episode-by-episode .GIF parties for Live Another Day. They're fun. 

What'd you think of Episode 5? How'd you feel about Jack and Audrey's reunion?

  • Comments (80)
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  • kevbuffylost108 Jun 01, 2014

    "24 will never be Mad Men" It doesn't aspire to be a character study like Mad Men. Why is it that people have a snobbery when it comes to comparing adrenaline fueled shows like 24 to character studies like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and True Detective?? It really boils my piss. I think a 24 fan should review 24 on TV.com instead of Cory because he really has no idea what he's talking about.
    I'm fine with critiques, but i'm sick of snobby TV critics thinking that every other show on TV aspires to be as good as shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad in terms of building characters like those do.

  • yeldarbn Jun 01, 2014

    As late as this is, I have to say this: To ALL network execs who have been following the ratings for the quote-unquote 'renewal' of 24: If Fox don't want to continue it, then, for the love of god, TV ratings, and money...PICK UP THIS SERIES!!!

    I can't understand how, but this series, and, specifically the writers and actors/actresses, make one of the most entertaining TV series on the planet, along with Sleepy Hollow and Supernatural, and I suspect that Supernatural is nearing its end, leaving two.

    For ALL that is good, and just, if Fox don't pick this up, then another network better, and DAMN YOU ALL if no network does...I'll be relying on piracy from then on!!!

  • arodriguez78 May 30, 2014

    So....i have a theory...about Kate's hubby...so with all the mention about how she didn't see he was a spy and she is supposedly a world class agent with awesome instincts...could it be that he wasn't a spy? that it was one amazeballs frame up job and he killed himself rather than drag his family through the drama and clusterf**k of a long miserable trial to prove his inncence?...maybe that tech guy who clearly has an unhealthy attraction to her framed her husband to get him out of the way...maybe i'm just overthinking it and he was a spy...but meh what else am i gonna do until monday??...

  • woz22 May 28, 2014

    Best episode of the season so far love the crazy family of Margot who are ranking as the most batshit family in TV against the Lannisters. I liked the moment between Jack and Audrey nice also I agree with the review above the season is less on Jack and better for it . Actress who plays Kate does a better job on this then dexter she was wasted on that , I am not sure how they can string out the drones for seven more episodes I suspect their are more twists to come. Keep up 24 best thing on telly with GOT!

  • c07111 May 28, 2014

    Naveed should've known his wife allegiance was more to her mother than him when he blabbed to her the first time. It's good to have an action adventure show back in tv programming and 24 delivers all the time. Never been a fan of Jack and Aubrey, but that was a very good scene between them and I like the fact Jack didn't hide from what he did, he admitted it. I want to believe Kate and Navarro are legit, but the history of 24 makes me suspicious of CTU/CIA agents in general. Love Chloe's loyalty to Jack

  • Kerkesh May 28, 2014

    Frankly, I am glad they went with the shit crazy insane degenerate Big Bad that is Margot and not the more simplistic Islamic, White Supremacy or whatever big baddies are usually made off. I know she is a white widow to an Islamist, although even that point is not entirely clear and of course there are the innocent children who died from that drone attack.
    The drones military use is a very immediate issue to me and I am glad it is raised here.Unfortunately, this is not a political forum and we shouldn't get into the heated arguments that are bound to be ignited by such a discussion; but the series is, again, doing a good job on that subject.
    But we can , I hope, discuss the control that such drones are subject to and whether these do not make it easier to make more collateral damage than the accurate targeting they claim. Can these programs be hacked, and the answer is an undeniable yes. Any software, given the means and effort, can be hacked. Knowing that, and whatever arguments favorable for its use, should these be used as innocent lives are more than less at stake? I personally think not.

  • Kerkesh May 28, 2014

    Could they have simply gone Manchurian Candidate and make Audrey the mole? Nah! ;-)

  • joejak May 28, 2014

    So far this season has been really great. I'm excited for next week!

  • edshrinker May 28, 2014

    Hey gang! The hour 5 Party is now up: Kate's 24 GIF Party (Hour 5)

    @TVcom_Editorial has not promoted it yet, but you can find it at that link!

  • DrAries May 28, 2014

    The raid scene was dumb and not well written ,if they have satellite feed doesn't this satellite have an IR technology to determine if there are people inside the house or not ? and the strike team of supposedly professional CIA agents doesn't find it odd that there isn't a single guard to be seen on the ground or on the roof ? and they didn't even use an under the door cable camera to see inside before storming in.

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