THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS BETWEEN 7:00 PM AND 8:00 PM
7:00:01 – 7:00:02 – 7:00:03 – 7:00:04
Take notes, True Blood. This is how you do a character death fake out.
This is definitely the beginning of act 3, the moment where the first central antagonist is dealt with and a related new thread/threat emerges. It’s another moment in the show that demonstrates the tightening effect that halving the season length has on the amount of story threads and character interplays. The final 3 episodes of Live Another Day are going to be a nonstop nail-biter, I can FEEL it!
So, Margot Al-Harazi and her son Ian have bullied President James Heller into surrendering himself to her by appearing alone in Wembley Stadium, where she plans to kill Heller with a drone missile. With no apparent lead materializing fast enough, Jack Bauer and Mark Boudreau are forced to go along with the President’s surrender and they watch in horror and Margot herself pulls the trigger on the drone, obliterating the center of the pitch and Heller with it.
Back at the American Embassy, Prime Minister Davies, Mark, and Heller’s daughter Audrey and the CIA London chapter watch as the reports start coming in of an explosion in Wembley Stadium and Kate starts telling everyone about Bauer helping Heller carry out his surrender. Then the reports start coming in about aircraft crashes in the sea and it is indeed Margot abandoning the drones like she and Heller agreed to.
Well, this is rather neat and tidy. Who ever heard of a President and a vengeful extremist terrorist actually making and honoring a deal the end a terrorist threat? And on 24 no less?
BUT WAIT. Ian is reviewing the footage of Heller from the drone moments before the missile impact. It was looped! And Heller escaped! Realizing that they’ve been tricked and that somehow their drone feed has been hacked, Margot orders their last drone back into the air and directly back to the heart of London, waiting until they approach Waterloo station to target it.
So turns out the limited access Chloe gained into Margot’s drone was enough to loop their targeting footage, must have been long enough before the missile was launched for Chloe to tell Jack what she’d done and for Jack to shoo Heller out of the pitch. Close shave Chloe, well done!
Their tap into the drone tells that that Margot recovered one of the drones and that she’s seen through their ruse so now the race is on the locate Margot before she can launch a retaliatory strike. CIA and Executive resources are being poured into it, but as usual, it boils down to the finagling of our chief heroes. Chloe calls Adrian Cross (shady string puller) to help her pin point Margot’s exact location, and he agrees with his (say it with me) TECH-SPER-TISE. Why exactly Adrian is so resourceful in helping Chloe at this moment, we do not know.
Ian knows that the CIA will be crashing their doorstep momentarily and advises they leave, but Margot insists on staying until the missile hits its target. After Heller slipped so narrowly form her fingers, she wants to make sure she sees her threats follow through, she wants Heller to know that all the deaths that are to follow are due to his cowardice. Ian gets up to go, but Margot draws on him. “You’re step father was prepared to die for a cause he believed in,” she yawps. Ian stays. Margot tells him that no matter what happens, she loves him. Going form drawing a gun on your son to telling him you love him? That’s Margot for you.
Agents Morgan and Ritter pull up the Al-Harazi’s building and the posted guards immediately open fire. Morgan pulls and impressive drive-by shot on one of them but there are way too many others in the streets and on the roof tops. Jack is on route in a chopper telling Kate that she needs to blow out the electrical box for the building so that Chloe can use the momentary blackout to pin point the room where Al-Harazi is. Ritter takes the wheel of their minivan and pulls up close enough to the junction on the street for Morgan to lob a grenade at it. The box goes up in showers of sparks, power is cut to the building and Chloe traces the Al-Harazi’s independent power source to their room.
Jack lands on the roof out maneuvering two guards and makes his way to the floor where Al-Harazi is, but the hall is covered by a guy with a shot gun, impassible. Bauer tries to find a different approach. CIA back up arrives and Morgan and Ritter steam roll up the front door and too the same choke point, little by little inching closer to take out the mook with the shotgun. But there are running out of time fast with minutes to go before the drone reaches Waterloo.
Back on the roof, Jack wrenches free a few electrical lines and builds a makeshift rappel to scale down the to the window of Al-Harazi’s room, Ian spots him and opens fire with an automatic pistol but Jack swings out of the way. Ian edges towards the window to investigate, and Jack, hang right outside it against the wall to the side, reaches in and pulls Ian out through the window, hurling him to his death. Margot screams and makes to return fire as Jack vaults into the room, but Jack is too sure a shot. He caps Margot in the leg and frantically asks Chloe for instructions as he holds Margot still and takes the controls of the drone. The missile launches. Jack takes manual control just soon enough to send the missile crashing safely into the Thames.
Margot is furious, she writhes in Jack’s grip, screaming that this is not over, that all the death and destruction today is on Jack’s head. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Least of all Jack Bauer. “The only death on my head tonight will be yours,” He rumbles. Jack takes Margot, strides to the window and sends Margot Al-Harazi unceremoniously through it where she joins her son on the pavement in a broken, bloody heap many stories below.
Whew. Give me a moment while I catch my breath.
That was a pretty decisive turnaround from Margot looking like she was going to win, to Heller slipping from her crosshairs and getting tossed out a window like trash by Jack. As awesome a first half of an episode as it was, I have mixed feelings about it (because we know by now I’m incapable of just tuning out when watching 24 despite thinking I should know better).
On the one hand, this is a bit more like the traditional last minute save where somehow, some way, despite the situation being hopeless, Jack (but really Chloe’s techspertise) saves the day, this time especially desperate due to an imminent main character death. Also, the potentially unexpected commentary of Margot and Heller’s deal being adhered to and the threat ended would have really been a new and interesting narrative for the show. Not necessarily “kosher”, but interesting. Instead Jack ruins this possible end and risks more lives by tricking Margot and making her strike again. Heller even tells Jack that he would have been prepared to die and that it looked like Margot was keeping her end of the bargain. But that was just unacceptable for Jack. And the fact that Jack heroically does prevent Margot from carrying out her final strike because she was tricked negates the possibility that Heller’s death could have been the end of it, however bitter, if Jack had allowed it. But in the end it didn’t matter because Jack saved the day. Just like he always does.
BUT on the other hand. It was a pretty great and thrilling sequence. Heller’s survival was a genuine relief and it was a pretty epic way to go for the Al-Harazi’s (Michelle Fairley’s getting some great TV Deaths!) And the episode did a great job of wasting no time in leading us into the third act’s mystery with nail-biting twists and turns.
With the Al-Harazis dealt with, Jack and the CIA recover the Drone override device used to hijack the drones and are bringing it back to base. Heller arrives back at the Embassy and immediately tells Audrey that he’s sorry he put her through that. Mark says he’s just happy to see Heller and thanks him for his brave fool-hearty move, saying all of England is grateful. Heller says he’s sure Davies would have done the same. AH HA HA eh ha, eh, heha, ah. Yeah, not funny Jim.
Meantime, Kate gets a call from her local police informant that we met earlier in the season. Turns out he has found the body of Comm Analyst Jordan Reed and another unidentified bloke. Kate and Ritter arrive on the scene to confirm and despite being a bit choked up about it, Morgan has the wits to scan the unidentified hitman’s finger prints and see if CIA or Jack can identify them. Kate calls Navarro let him know what she’s found, and he has no problem acting shock, because his treacherous hide is about to get busted wide open.
Navarro calls Adrian telling him that he needs an out, immediately. Adrian says he’ll help him flee the country, if he recovers the drone override device from the CIA’s hands and brings it to him. Adrian Cross, you sneaky little $#!@. It’s hard to tell if that’s a serious request of if Cross is in fact subtly telling Navarro that he’s hanging him out to dry in a sun named JACK BAUER.
Jack has one of his old contacts in the states run the finger prints in some super-secret database while Navarro’s techs analyze the override and run their own print searches. Turns out that this override is capable of hacking any defense system, uh oh. Just then, Audrey gives Jack a call, and Jack bows out to take it. Audrey thanks Jack for saving her father, but it gives Navarro the chance to incapacitate the tech working on the override and bag it. Just then Jack’s contact calls him back and tells him that one of Jordan Reed’s hitman’s employers is Steven Navarro (GASP).
Jack wastes no time. Tearing after Navarro through hoodwinked guards and locked doors, even though the very same underground hall way that Jack and Morgan trade gun shots in earlier in the season. Navarro ultimately gives Jack the slip, tells Cross he’s got the device and Cross tells Adrian that he’ll meet with him.
Then we see Chloe, who’s recently told Jack a perfunctory goodbye over phone which Jack is suspicious of. She gets into a car with Adrian and the two peck each other on the lips and drive off. URGH!!!
QUESTIONS! Adrian keeps telling Navarro that he’s just a middle man. If that’s true, then who is pulling Adrian’s strings? Why does he want this override? Also remember Derrick Yates? The original designer of the override that was testing it for Margot? He was supposedly originally part of Open Cell, but left due to “differences”. What could those have possibly been? If Adrian wanted to get his hands on this override device all along how different could his intentions possibly be? Are we really going to have to put up with some trumped up excuse that Margot was worse than him because she was using it for personal vendettas and Adrian’s going to use it to serve the greater good or something? Pfft.
Just how close are Adrian and Chloe? How loyal and loving is she with him? Enough to go along with manufacturing launch commands to a US Nuclear Submarine, by the looks of the previews? I hope not!
BTW, the award for the season’s favorite out of now where comedy bit goes to Stephen Fry as Prime Minister Davies; “There’s no better way to make people panicky than telling them not to panic.” (or some quote to that affect).
Another issue with the Al-Harazi’s demise is Simone’s fate. With her family now neutralized, it seems like Simone’s role in the show is complete and she might as well die. I can’t really think of a reason for the show to squeeze her survival back into the main story in any important way at this point. I hope we see that she makes it. She was a good character.
I have a niggling suspicion that since Heller cheated death so spectacularly that another main character is going to bite it for real, because that’s just how drama works. Maybe even Heller for real this time. I guess we can only wait and see where the final three episodes of 24: Live Another Day go.
7:59:57 – 7:59:58 – 7:59:59 – 8:00:00