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’24: Live Another Day’ Review: “4:00 P.M. — 5:00 P.M.”

FOX

After last week’s table-setting episode, ’24: Live Another Day’ is back, ready to overturn that table with gunfights, stabbings, double crosses and improbable hacking. Yes, “4:00 P.M. — 5:00 P.M.” is a much stronger episode than its predecessor, but can it reach the highs of the premiere? Read on for our recap and review!

THE EPISODE:

At the scene of the drone strike, Navarro and Eric rise from the rubble, shaken but alive.

The Prime Minister is angry that the mission failed since he knows London is next. Heller agrees to give him all of the available drone info and orders his military advisors to work directly with the British Air Force to help shoot them down.

As the Prime Minister leaves, his aide drops a bombshell: they’ve learned that Heller has Alzheimer’s and that he “doesn’t have his wits about him.”

Jack is brought in to meet with Heller and once again insists that he can find Margot through the arms dealer connection. Heller agrees to give him their full support. They call Navarro, who agrees to supply Jack with the necessary equipment. When Jack requests Kate’s assistance, Navarro refuses, but Heller overrides him and forces him to put her back in the field.

Gordon tells Kate that he’s being sent to help Jack, but he has not requested surveillance. They’ll be on their own.

At the estate, Ian pilots the drone through the clouds to hide its location. He tells Margot that she shouldn’t have killed Naveed in front of Simone, and she slaps him for second guessing them. Downstairs, Naveed’s body is wrapped up as Simone looks on. Then his phone rings and they check the ensuing voice mail. It’s Naveed’s sister, Farah, and she wants to know when they’re leaving London. Margot orders Simone to go to her and find out what she knows.

Jack is gearing up when Mark enters, demanding to know why he met with Audrey. Jack won’t give him any details and Mark says he’s worried he’ll hurt her again and that he needs to stay away from her. Jack assures him that if he lives through the day, he’ll go to prison and won’t be involved in her life ever again. As Mark leaves, Jack calls Chloe and Belcheck to formulate a plan.

The Prime Minister meets with his military staff to discuss what to do next. Heller calls and fills him on Jack’s plan, asking them to avoid putting military on the streets so they don’t alert Jack’s target. Heller asks for one hour and the Prime Minister agrees … but he orders his people to track Jack’s every movement.

Jack meets up with Kate and fills her in. They’re going after an arms dealer named Carl Rask and they’ll get what they need by exploiting his greed. When Kate asks how he knows Rask, Jack is honest: he spent two years working for him. Jack gets on the phone with Chloe and she tells him the plan: if they can get Rask to log in to his system using a certain passcode, they’ll have access to his records and can track his clients down, letting them find Margot.

Mark fills Audrey in on his Jack Bauer-related concerns when he gets a call from the Russian embassy. The Deputy Minister has Jack’s transfer order (complete with Mark’s forged presidential signature) and wants to know when they’ll take custody of him. Mark says the order has been rescinded, but the Minister reminds Mark how badly his government wants Jack. Mark doesn’t want to get Heller involved and the Minister grows suspicious, demanding that they need it before the day is over.

Kate drills Jack about his history with Rask. Jack says that he’s been using his position within the organization to learn about and take down criminals and terrorists on his own time. However, he vanished when he learned about the drone threat, and Rask knows he was the leak getting his clients killed. However, he has a plan to get back in his good graces: he’ll frame his dead partner Mills and offer Kate up as prisoner, saying she was his contact. Jack says he’ll plant evidence on her and drug her into unconsciousness to deliver her, giving them enough time to get the plan in motion before they can interrogate her. Kate agrees to the plan and injects herself with the drugs, immediately falling into unconsciousness.

Back at the CIA station, Gordon speaks with the recently returned Navarro and tells him he’s discovered some missing files related to Kate’s traitorous husband. Navarro orders him to stay focused on the mission at hand.

Simone meets with Farah, who is worried about Naveed since he left her a panicked message. Simone assures her that he’s just stressed and they’re all leaving London to clear their heads. Farah’s daughter comes out of the nearby school and hugs her Aunt Simone.

From a security camera feed, the Prime Minister and his team watch Jack load an unconscious Kate into his trunk. Thinking he’s betrayed the Americans, they organize a strike team to take him down.

Jack drives into Rask’s warehouse HQ and armed men immediately shoot his tires out. Rask appears, demanding to know what Jack did with his missing $200,000. Jack says that Mills is responsible and that he was working for the CIA. Rask’s men respond by roughing Jack up. Jack tells them about the CIA contact in his trunk and they retrieve Kate, finding the fake evidence. Jack says he only wants to make things right. Rask agrees to play along and orders his men to use drugs to wake Kate up so they can interrogate her.

Belcheck watches the scene from a nearby rooftop through the scope of his rifle. Chloe reminds him that he can’t do anything until they have access to Rask’s account, but they’ve already gotten to work reviving Kate.

Simone calls Margot and tells her that Farah knows nothing about their operation, but Margot doesn’t want to take any chances. She orders her to take care of both loose ends: Farah and her daughter.

Kate, now awake, is suspended by a chain and her interrogation begins. They first torture her with a knife before moving on to jumper cables. Kate plays her part and doesn’t talk.

Across the warehouse, Jack tells Rask that he’s put his missing money in a new account that he set up in Germany. Rask demands to know if he did it with Metzger’s help. Chloe desperately searches for any information, but can’t find anything. Jack calls Rask’s bluff and says that there is no Metzger. Rask laughs and tells him he’s right. Officially trusting of Jack again, he orders his men to set up a secure line to retrieve the money.

Belcheck watches as the interrogators prepare to go to work on Kate with a power drill. He raises his rifle to open fire when a British operative knocks him out. The team of MI5 agents see Kate being tortured and move in to capture Jack.

Rask is about to log in to his account when the British raid begins, and a gunfight ensues. Chloe tells Jack that Rask entered the password but didn’t hit enter. As a battle rages around him, Jack fights his way to the computer.

Back in the torture room, Kate is now alone with one guard. When he gets distracted by the gunfire, she wraps her legs aground his throat, pulls herself down from the chain, gets a hold of a knife and stabs him to death.

Jack kills his way to the computer and hits enter. The virus is uploaded. Jack then corners Rask and disarms him, surrendering when the MI5 forces arrive. He tells them that he’s working undercover for the President. Enraged, Rask arms a grenade and detonates it, killing himself and several MI5 agents. Jack survives and Chloe begins sorting through Rask’s records until she finds the number associated with Margot’s account: Simone’s cell phone. She starts tracking it.

In Farah’s kitchen, Simone has second thoughts about her situation. With her knife hidden under the table, she demands that Farah take her daughter and flee the city. Nervous, Farah grabs a phone to call the police and notices Simone’s knife. She tries to run and Simone stabs her in the ensuing struggle. Farah’s daughter witnesses the entire scene and runs outside, Simone hot on her heels. After attempting to run across a busy street, Simone is struck by a bus and crumples to the ground.

Navarro finds an isolated corner of the CIA station and makes a call on an encrypted phone. A mysterious voice tells him that he could be implicated if Gordon finds the missing files. He framed Kate’s husband for treason, but he’s on the verge of being found out. The mysterious voice says that he can’t protect him if Gordon finds anything.

OUR REVIEW:

Ah, it wouldn’t be ’24′ without a mole in the agency. It’s tradition at this point. ’24: Live Another Day’ would have actually been more shocking and surprising if there wasn’t a secret traitor of some kind, but you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.

This was a far more exciting hour than the last one. The sheer amount of action and drama made up for the fact that the real-time aspect of the show is flimsier than ever, with Jack able to drive across London, infiltrate a criminal organization and kill everyone in about a half hour. For a show that’s so concerned about time, ’24: Live Another Day’ has seemingly given up on remotely attempting to portray events in real time. But that’s the ’24′ way, and old dogs, new tricks, etc.

That’s both the blessing and the curse of this new season. On one hand, it’s refreshing to have Jack back, him and his world completely unchanged. However, it’s frustrating that the show still functions like it did 10 years ago. This show is a dinosaur, albeit an exciting, wild and utterly crazy dinosaur. More than any hour of the show so far, this one felt overly familiar — it could have been torn, beat for beat, from a season 4 or 5 episode.

In other words, ’24: Live Another Day’ is officially preaching to the choir. But, hey, we’re pretty happy with this church.

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