Last week’s episode of 24: Live Another Day ended on a heavy note: a President sacrificed his life to save the people of the United Kingdom; a woman motivated by revenge willing to take his life from a distance; both came to a mutual understanding of justice and honor to end the terrifying drone attacks on London. Margot Al-Harazi releases a drone on Wembley Stadium. The President stands in the center of the field. The explosion that follows is a gut-punch. The weight of President Heller’s sacrifice could stick with the audience for the rest of the season. It wasn’t just an unexpected sacrifice, but a thoughtful one. Heller’s death and Margot’s response would prompt the audience to think about honor and sacrifice and justice.
But that’s not what really happened.
The 7:00pm hour opens with the aftermath. News channels report on the explosion. Prime Minister Alastair Davies offers his condolences to President Heller’s daughter, Audrey. Over at the CIA office, Kate Morgan explains that Heller surrendered and he’s now dead. Margot and her son Ian turn the drones towards water. Margot is insistent that they will go along with their end of the deal: “Heller kept his word, so must we.” That is, until Ian realizes that someone has hacked into the drone feed. That image of President Heller in the middle of the field wasn’t quite accurate. The President lives.
It was a disappointing revelation. 24 hasn’t shied away from big, moving deaths in past seasons. In fact, you could argue that the murder of Teri Bauer at the end of the first season was so shocking that it helped keep invested in the show. Now, in the age of Game of Thrones, the idea that any character can die hooks the audience into the series. 24 did something unexpected last week. This week, they reverted to a TV cliché. All our mourning was for nothing.
Jack and Chloe created the ultimate fake-out to save the President’s life, but Margot and Ian are onto them. By the way, the Al-Harazi’s have one drone left, and they are so willing to use it once they know they’ve been duped. President Heller is, at first, upset: he says he won’t listen to Jack ever again, but immediately does just that when he gets into the car with Belcheck. Meanwhile, since Chloe hacked into the drone feed, she’s trying to track down Margot and Ian. The mother and son are well aware that they will soon be found, but they are not giving up. Margot wants Heller alive. She wants him to see what kind of damage she’ll do with that last drone: “Every life lost will be on his conscience.”
Desperation is central to this episode of 24. Margot and Ian go forward to the plan even though they know they will be found soon. It’s their last stand. Jack and the CIA move in on the Al-Harazis. Chloe gets some help from Adrian that will aid in pinpointing their location. Guns fire and Kate follows Jack’s instructions to take out the power. This reduces the “noise” so that Chloe can identify exactly where the mother and son are. Margot and Ian are seemingly aware that this is their final hour. Ian tries to leave. Margot pulls a gun on him and then lectures her son on her husband’s—his stepfather’s—cause. They have to fight to the end. Ian agrees, “We succeed or die together.”
Jack shimmies down a rope to sneak in on the pair. Ian notices and shoots. Jack throws Ian out the window and fires at Margot. With every bit of self-righteousness left in her, Margot lectures that “hundreds of people are dead because of you and Heller!” as Jack maneuvers the drone out of harm’s way. Margot goes on about the deaths that will be on Jack’s head. He responds, “The only death on my head tonight is yours.” He throws Margot out the window to join her son in a bloody pull on the ground.
As if the revelation that Heller survived Wembley Stadium weren’t disappointing enough, 24 throws the audience another easy outcome with the demise of Margot and Ian. Margot was such a compelling villain, one with a commitment to perceived justice that became all-consuming. She was brutal, but a simple toss out of a window doesn’t seem like a worthy end for someone who was such a big part of this season. Meanwhile, President Heller reveals himself to his allies. Prime Minister Davies thanks him for the help. Heller remarks that he’s “sure” Davies would do the same if the scenario were reversed. Davies gives the look of the season, a single glance communicating that, no, pretty much no one else would do that. Now that the President is safe and Margot has been foiled, this season’s subplot moves to center stage.
Kate has been wondering where tech guy Jordan Reed has gone. Her boss, Steve Navarro, tells her not to worry about him. He’ll handle the situation. Of course, that’s why Reed is missing. Kate gets a call from a source telling her that Jordan has been found. He was killed. Kate and partner Erik Ritter head to the location to find out what’s going on. After Erik identifies the body, they learn that Jordan died in a struggle, that he and the anonymous man with him had essentially killed each other. They need to identify the other man in order to figure out what happened to Jordan.
Steve Navarro, who put the hit out on Jordan, is now feeling the stress of desperation. He calls Adrian Cross for help. Steve asks for money, papers and a way out of London. Adrian will help if Steve can get him the device that Jack is bringing to the CIA office.
As Jack Bauer and the CIA were busy putting an end to Margot Al-Harazi’s war, Steve Navarro was busy covering his own tracks. He has let some sensitive information out into the world, but the blame was placed on Kate’s late husband, Adam. Jordan had stumbled upon suspicious activity, which is why Steve had him killed. Recently, we learned that Steve has been in cahoots with hacker mastermind Adrian Cross. All of this is now coming to the forefront of 24. Now, Steve is powerless to stop this. He needs to escape.
Jack calls Chloe for help with the device. She brushes him off: “It’s not my problem anymore.” Adrian picks up Chloe and thanks her for giving him “another chance.” They kiss. Whether or not Chloe has much knowledge of Adrian’s activities is vague.
Over at the CIA office, a DOD agent checks out the device. Jack starts working with Kate and Erik to identify the anonymous man who turned up dead alongside Jordan. Erik sends over fingerprint information, which Jack has an old buddy identify. The pal interrupts Jack’s phone call with Audrey (she wanted to thank him) to share that information. As it turns out, the guy was a covert agent with ties to Steve. Jack races back to the room only to find that the DOD agent is dead and Steve has disappeared with the device. Jack punches and shoots his way through hallways as he pursues Steve. Still, Steve manages to escape. The next chapter of one messed up day has begun.
Hopefully, 24 will keep up with the surprises and leave the clichés confined to this episode.