After a rather hum-drum Episode 3, I’m happy to report that Hour 4 of ’24’ amps things back up to the crazy level this series is known for. While the episode still has some leaps of logic (which I’ll go into below), it provided the thrilling fun that fans have come to expect.
During the conclusion of last week’s entry, Jack had started a protester riot in order to gain access to the American embassy. While I didn’t quite pick up on Jack’s reasoning to get inside the embassy last week, his plan is made clear this week: He wants to get the flight key used by Tanner when his drone console was hacked, because he believes it will contain evidence that the console was taken over by the terrorists. Jack manages to make his way to the room where Tanner is being held – where this presumed terrorist that both the U.S. and UK governments believe is responsible for killing four soldiers is guarded by exactly one person. Jack lies to the guard and says he has orders to move Tanner, but when the guard goes to answer a phone, Bauer has no choice except to knock him out. Jack obtains the flight key (again, we’re asked to believe that such a key would be kept in the same room with Tanner) and has a brief conversation telling Tanner that he believes his story.
Also during last week’s conclusion, President Heller spoke in front of Parliament and was shouted down with questions and accusations by the members. This week – in one of the biggest cheats so far from writers – we see Heller giving the remainder of his speech uninterrupted and to great applause. Of all the moments requiring suspension of disbelief on ’24’ over the years, the idea that the British Parliament would just sit there and remain silent is one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever seen.
Last week’s show spent a little too much time covering the domestic relationships of the terrorists, but at least that has a payoff in this episode. Naveed confesses to Simone that he has no plans to fly the drones for her mother, and wants to make a break for it, hoping she’ll join him. Simone, naturally, goes and blabs all this to mommy, who is less than happy about it. Confronting Naveed, she gives him one chance to get back in line. When Naveed tells Margot that there’s nothing she can do to him to change his mind, she has one of her henchman grab Simone, hold down one of her hands and chop off her pinky finger. Did this guy use to work for Jack? Anyway, it’s a pretty intense moment and, of course, Naveed now agrees to cooperate.
Back at the embassy, Jack holes himself up inside an office with three hostages. He works with Chloe (still back at Open Cell headquarters) to begin what must be the slowest data upload onto a computer in the history of television. When Marines try to make their way inside the room, Jack confirms that they’re wearing body armor and shoots two of them. Next, the Marines prepare to blast the door open. However, word finally makes its way to President Heller about Jack and the hostage situation, and he insists on talking to Jack personally over the phone. I expected something to happen that would prevent Jack from telling all he knows to Heller, but no – Jack has a chance to tell him everything, including the names of the terrorists. Sure enough, that weasel Boudreau talks the President out of trusting Jack, and Heller gives the order for the Marines to blast their way into the office. Thankfully, Audrey isn’t buying any of it, so at least Jack has one ally close to the President.
While all of the above is going on, Agents Morgan and Ritter are outside the office with the Marines. Kate tries to talk them out of storming the room, because she believes that Bauer’s story makes sense and he may be telling the truth. When the Marine leader refuses to listen to her, Kate figures out that there’s a ventilation duct that apparently every other soldier and officer in the building forgot about, which goes right above the office Jack is in. Pulling a John McClane, Kate climbs into the duct and makes her way above Jack. After relaying her trust in him, Jack allows her to lower herself into the room. She asks Jack to trust her with completing the upload of the flight key. When the Marines finally blast their way into the room, Kate has already pinned Jack to the floor and yells that he’s now in CIA custody, so the Marines can’t take him.
Back at the Margot’s house, the terrorists finally gain control of America’s drone arsenal. Margot asks Naveed if he’s ready to pilot them. Naveed reluctantly replies, “Yes.”
Despite its various leaps of logic and common sense, this is a really fun episode that helped me forget how drawn-out and dull last week’s entry was. ’24’ asks fans to roll with a lot of silly things, but perhaps the silliest we’ve seen in a while is the idea that President Heller wouldn’t trust Jack. It’s one of those plot points that the show needs to proceed right now, but totally out of character for Heller. (We’ll just chalk it up to his early onset dementia, I guess.) Still, this a very good week for ’24’.