A couple week’s back, I remarked that in one fell swoop, it appeared 24 had found itself ensnared in the cougar trap for good. And just like that, over the course of one hour, all missteps were erased, the plot was back on track and the writers found some devious new ways to twists the screws on Jack and the audience. A reboot like this is akin to Kim’s Season’s 2 rescue from said cougar trap – only instead of salvation arriving in the guise of Kevin Dillon’s crazed survivalist – it was big bro Matt Dillon that swooped down and saved the day. And not just any Matt Dillon. Nope, we got There’s Something About Mary’s Pat Healy. I’m speaking metaphorically of course.
On to Hour 18.
1. The big set-piece in this hour involved Jack and Wayne Palmer kidnapping a bank manager and forcing him to gain access to a secured safety deposit box containing an audio recording linking President Logan to Christopher Henderson – and thus connecting Logan to the myriad of indiscretions and treasonous acts that have rocked this day. Henderson is clued into this (I’ll get to that in a moment) and directs his men to the bank to assault Jack and co. on the way out of the bank and abscond with the only evidence linking them to the plot. Under siege, Jack employs a nice bit of gamesmanship by purposefully tripping the banks’ silent alarm – thus drawing the attention of the LAPD. Jack intuits – correctly – that Henderson will have his men engage the LAPD in a bid to keep them from gaining access to the recording – thus providing Jack and Wayne with a decent diversion to slip away. Unfortunately, the poor bank manager becomes collateral damage – mere moments after recognizing Wayne for who he is and demonstrating great resolve that his brother’s death was tragic and demands justice. This show has always had stellar production values – and the firefight that broke out nicely illustrates that – as we were treated to the small screen’s rendition of the signature bank heist scene from Heat.
2. Fortunately the First Ladies’ Aide subplot is complete – and it actually served its purpose – leading us to that crackerjack bank scene. One thing about the aide. As I wrote last week, we were suddenly, awkwardly, introduced to Evelyn’s kidnapped daughter. Having been liberated by Jack, the wounded Evelyn and her daughter were sequestered in a fleabag motel, as Jack and Wayne moved on to recover the recording. Due to an ill-advised 911 call – Henderson gets tipped to Evelyn’s whereabouts. We see him violently storming the hotel room (capping the guard watching over the room) before he muscles his way in. The last shot we see of Evelyn and her daughter, is the daughter screaming in terror. This show has never been above cold-blooded off-screen murder (see the disappearance of teenage Behrooz last season) but this sequence – if the end result is as feared – is a new low for the villains. If not for anything, Henderson’s eventual downfall will be well earned.
3. One element that I’ve been meaning to write about – and was very pronounced during this episode – is Sean Callery’s pulsating score for the series. Callery has supplied the soundtrack for the series since the beginning – and his moody, electronic compositions are as essential a character to the show as Mark Frost’s haunting chamber music was to The X-Files. This season, Callery has punctuated his themes with some wildly diverse movements that have really elevated the game. During the helipad confrontation with Desmond a few week’s back, Callery’s score was remiscent of the electronica that underscores the films of Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral). In other scenes, Callery has offered his own moody take on a throbbing James Bond vibe. In one of the more recurring aural motifs, Callery underscores scenes featuring this season’s rogues gallery with a pulsing synth-pop soundtrack that is evocative of John Carpenter’s best work – most notably his Escape from New York and Halloween selections. It’s this level of excellence in artisanship that can really elevate a work. Television (and films) are sensory experiences – and that marriage of sound and fury with flicker and light – when blended just right can sear their way into your sub-conscience. Callery’s music this season is emblematic of the season as a whole. He’s brought his A Game.
I have some catching up to do so the observations of Hours 12:00 – 1:00 and last night’s 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. will be up in the next couple of days – putting me back on track.