There are a lot of great action scenes set in embassies – the first “Bourne Identity’’ comes to mind right away – and the fourth episode of “24: Live Another Day’’ carries on that fine bullet-slinging tradition. It’s a rousing hour, easily the best of the season so far, with the same sort of absurd turns and “Holy #*%&’’ action sequences that marked the better seasons.
This episode begins just as Jack Bauer has gone all sorts of opening-scene-of-“Argo’’ on the embassy in London, in search of the drone pilot, Tanner. Jack Solid Snake sleeper-holds one guard and pistol-whips another one in order to get the flight key from Tanner’s drone, which appears to be just a larger flash drive. Side note – remember when it was groundbreaking when you got a flash drive just like the one Jack Bauer would literally kill for on this show? Now they give them away at every crappy event. All the magic’s been lost.
Anyways, Jack’s pretty much screwed as far as escaping from the embassy goes, but Chloe C-3PO’s him into the communications room so he can upload the drone data. Just like the those bad days of Kazaa and Limewire, the file goes all corrupt before it can get through. That shifty evil hipster in charge of Open Cell sends him some sort of program to upload the file, but it just takes forever to load. Like, longer than any iTunes update. So, how’s Jack going to buy some time? A few strategically placed bullets to the body armor of some Marines and “I’ve got hostages!’’ screamed out to the rest of the authorities. Suddenly, it’s the highest of high-tech “Dog Day Afternoon,’’ drone data replacing the money for a sex change operation.
Over at the terrorist hideaway, Margot Catelyn Al-Harazi Stark and the Terrorist Family are getting ever-so-close to unleashing panic on the streets of London (if you don’t get that reference, listen to this and broaden your musical horizons). Her semi-terrorist son-in-law – apparently, being relied on as the pilot of the drones – is having some second thoughts about the whole thing, making plans to amscray with daughter Sophie from this seriously awkward family situation. She initially agrees … and then, of course, betrays him right away, running away to tell mom. Not the greatest idea in the world, as Margot orders the chopping-off of her own daughter’s finger to secure her son-in-law’s collaboration. I’m not married, and I don’t think I will be anytime soon, but if I ever do get hitched, I’m certainly going to keep this in perspective when the mother-in-law starts demeaning my life and career choices.
President Heller gets himself through the address in Parliament with flying red, white and blue colors, even as the slimy Chief of Staff Boudreau is trying to control the situation behind the scenes. Boudreau is finally forced to reveal that Jack’s been behind the whole thing, much to the jaw-droppingness of ex-girlfriend Audrey. Heller finally gets through to talk to Jack one-on-one, setting up a clear matchup – current husband Boudreau’s influence against the nostalgic thoughts of Heller (and Audrey). Son-in-law wins out this time, and Heller orders in the Marines in a rather rash manner; this isn’t exactly playing out like “The Negotiator’’ (totally underrated movie, too).
Luckily, Bauer has a newly-christened ally. Morgan sneaks into the room through the ceiling ducts, not like one of the aliens in … well, Aliens, right before the Marines storm in, promising to finish Bauer’s upload. I wasn’t too sure about Yvonne Strahovski in the role before this, but she seems to be getting more comfortable with the action-star necessities with every episode. She’s got a long way to match the Annie Wersching’s superb Agent Renee Walker – probably what they’re trying to turn Morgan into – but she’s getting closer and closer every week.
Finally, we get one last shot of the Al-Harazi collective, as the drones certainly seem about ready to start the second Great Fire of London. Could this be the explosive-laden breakout that we saw in that unforgettable trailer for the new season? That would be one way for Jack to escape his new captors’ clutches.
Final thoughts, as I sing some more Smiths songs, much to the chagrin of my roommate:
– Speaking of flash drives, I may or may not have had one with a CTU label during my freshman and sophomore years at lovely Ramapo College of New Jersey. Then I dropped, stepped on, and broke it while running to class one morning. Such a tragic day.
– That goateed Eastern European actor in the show? His character is named “Belcheck.’’ Wonder where they got that name from?
– Speaking of Renee Walker, I forgot what a heartbreaking scene her death was. Matter of fact, almost the entirety of season 8 was underrated. Maybe I’ll have to move that season up in the rankings.
– I was watching “Hitchcock’’ the other day when I noticed Michael Wincott – the actor who plays Adrian Cross, the head hacker – in a little role as Ed Gein, the inspiration for “Psycho.’’ He’s easily the creepiest part of the whole picture. Wincott just seems to have one of those Willem Dafoe-type permanent villain features.
– Really disappointed that I couldn’t work the lyrics to “London Calling’’ into the recap this week. Next week, hopefully. I promise I’ll stop before I get to that awful “London Bridges’’ song by Fergie.