Scott Davis continues his look at the newest incarnation of 24, as the clock winds down on Live Another Day…
What’s the old Al Pacino quote: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”? While paraphrasing and changing the context slightly, a similar conceit could be attached to the latest episode of 24: Live Another Day. After the shock finale of episode eight, it seemed as though the show had not only outdone itself, but had outsmarted its viewers once again. But what transpired in the last episode only left those same viewers feeling cheated and slightly letdown. But once again, we were outsmarted, and hour ten is quite something.
The main thread to come from the aftermath of Margot Al-Harazi’s (Michelle Fairley) death was that she wasn’t the “ultimate big-bad” that everyone thought she was. Sure, she was responsible for hundreds of deaths and catastrophic fall-out on the streets of London, and was the integral part of the drone override device being in play, but some larger, more ominous villains lay-in wait.
Chief of those is Adrian Cross (a suitably slimy Michael Wincott), who has been using his leverage over CIA Head Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) to help take control of the override device. Previously, Navarro had successfully negotiated retrieval of the device from CIA headquarters, and was running and hiding through the streets of London whilst being pursued by Jack (Kiefer Sutherland).
We pick up the action with the continued pursuit, which leads to Liverpool Street station, where Cross has determined the exchange to take place. His plan is to utilise it to its true potential, provoking panic throughout the world with the news that the device can take control of any enemy drone, or indeed military device, and use it against them. The Chinese are apparently the most likely investors, but of course Russia are still in play, desperate for Jack’s blood.
A frantic exchange later, and the device is gone despite Jack’s best efforts, but Navarro is captured. But his crimes don’t end with the device, but with the death of his Tech Bod Jordan Reed (Giles Matthey), killed in the previous episode for his snooping. Turns out Navarro purposely implicated Kate Morgan’s (Yvonne Strahovski) husband, who was charged with selling secrets to the Chinese, when it was Navarro all along. Cheap plot device? Sure, and any other show may not get away with it (and what follows) but it’s typical 24, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Navarro talks soon enough, though not before Jack has time to break his hand in a classic Bauer moment (“Immunity isn’t on the table. But your arm is…”), and Morgan threatens to kill him. His information leads them to tracking the device through the night streets of London, as they try desperately to keep it out of the wrong hands. They’re too late….
Across London, Cross and Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) return to Open Cell headquarters to find the entire Open Cell team brutally murdered. The perpetrator? Drum roll…. 24’s favourite Chinese baddie Cheng (Tzi Ma), who is seemingly who Cross and Navarro have been trying to play all along. Cheng needs a code to make the device fully operational, and forces Chloe to help him. Chloe being Chloe tries to screw Cheng, who duly offs Cross in front of her. With the device online, Cheng utilises its massive potential, sending an order to a U.S submarine to fire upon a Chinese aircraft carrier. They fire, and a World War may be on the horizon….
Many may criticise the show for how it has progressed the story since Al-Harazi’s death, particularly now that old-bad Cheng has been reintroduced. Sure it seems rushed and ridiculous, but this is 24, and with the new format, the creators and writers the opportunity to throw things in when they like, in-keeping with the rapid pace of the new show.
It’s a stroke of genius bringing an old foe back, and adds a wonderful sense of excitement to the remaining hours, with so many unanswered questions left to resolve? Will World War III really start? Will the Russians capture Jack? Is Jack going to survive? Time, as always, is ticking.