It sucks to be the President of the United States when a powerful hacking device is making the rounds with your enemies. For the first portion of the season, the override device, which can hack into military equipment, was with Margot Al-Harazi. As Margot and her son sent American drones to London, she reminded President James Heller that any bloodshed was on his hands. Now, Cheng Zhi has the override device, and used it to prompt an American sub to fire at a Chinese ship. When President Heller tries to explain what happened, the Chinese president’s response is, “Whatever happens today is on your head.” President Heller can’t catch a break today.
To backtrack a bit, Cheng Zhi is an old 24 villain and one who can do a lot of damage. In previous seasons, he was responsible for kidnapping both Jack Bauer and Audrey Boudreau. Word on the show is that he was presumed dead three years ago. Both the U.S. and China claim they saw proof of this, but in 24, much like an afternoon soap, proof means nothing. The point is, Cheng is back and he’s gone rogue. When Chloe asks Cheng why he would want to start a war between the U.S. and China, he responds, “China turned its back on me. It’s not my country anymore.”
Meanwhile, Jack and Agent Kate Morgan get ambushed by Russians. An epic gunfight goes down and, with the thanks of some backup, the two escape. They find the tracker for the override device, but the piece of equipment is gone. Kate stumbles upon a phone that was recording not long before they arrived. She asks Jack if he recognizes the voice. His response? “I’ll never forget it.”
Audrey, too, is spooked when she learns that Cheng has resurfaced. It took her a long time to recover from the damage that occurred when she was his captive. Now Cheng has captured Chloe because he needs her computer wizardry.
At the CIA, Erik Ritter tells Jack that the Russians have been tracking him. He also mentions that the only two people who were able to track the agent were the CIA and the White House. The White House has the code because Mark Boudreau requested it. Now, the ambush makes sense to Jack. Mark sold him out to the Russians, who are still livid with Jack for things that transpired in the eighth season of 24. Conversations go back and forth, and there is one thing that the American officials and agents understand: if the U.S. goes to war with China, Russia benefits from it. President Heller tries to talk the Chinese president out of striking back. So far, that’s not working. Maybe, if they can produce Cheng, someone will listen to Heller. Until then, they’re grasping at straws. Audrey will meet with a friend at the Chinese embassy with the hope that she will be sympathetic. If they can locate Cheng, they’ll need him long enough to prove to China that he’s alive and still evil. After that, Audrey has a special request for Jack: “Kill him.”
Jack tells Audrey that the only reason he came above-ground was to protect the President. Partially, this was because of Audrey. Years after their relationship has ended, the connection between the two is still strong. More importantly, Jack says that he believes that President Heller is a good person. That much is obvious when Heller is in meetings with military commanders. China appears ready to strike Okinawa. The President insists that he doesn’t want to escalate the mission. Despite advice to the contrary, he doesn’t want to have the nukes ready to go. Jack interrupts this meeting to talk to the President and Mark. He pulls a gun on Mark before explaining what’s going on. Mark insists that he’s not working for the Russians. He repeatedly states that he only did what he had to do to protect the President. “My job is to keep your hands clean,” he says. Of course, he didn’t mention the part about wanting revenge on his wife’s former love. The President arrests Mark for treason, but Jack says the Chief of Staff still could be useful.
Jack and Kate send Mark to infiltrate Anatol Stolnavich’s place. Mark gives the story that he needs amnesty that, because he worked for the President, he has loads of information that Russia would want. Once inside, a camera wired to him captures information about the home’s alarm system. The CIA is able to jam the system from their office. Jack and Kate move in, but Anatol realizes what’s happening immediately. He pulls out a gun on Mark. The two struggle. Ultimately, Anatol is cut in the neck. He dies before Jack can convince him to spill on Cheng’s locations.
Chloe pulls some fierce moves when she attacks Cheng and his men before escaping the vehicle. Unfortunately, she’s injured as she tries to flee. Cheng, though, has moved on to another victim. When Audrey meets with her friend from the Chinese Embassy, a sniper takes out everyone but the President’s daughter. She gets a phone call from Cheng. He has a weapon on her. Back in the middle of nowhere, Chloe comes to after her fall.
This is the second-to-last episode in 24:Live Another Day, and the show did a great job of stepping up the pace to tie together a lot of loose ends. This episode ends on a suspenseful note for all. Will Audrey survive? Can Chloe get herself to off the roadside? Will Jack and Kate find Cheng? We won’t know until next week’s finale.