Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fox's "24: Live Another Day": "7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m." (aka episode 9)

With just four episodes left, "24: Live Another Day" is rushing toward the end of the drone terror plot, or is it?

Last episode ended with the stunning death of President Heller in the middle of Wembley Stadium, due to a direct strike by a missile from a Vanguard drone controlled by Margot al-Harazi. Yet, there was no "silent clock" at the end of the episode, a tribute typically offered upon the death of major characters. It turned out that this was a big clue as to how the next episode would start....

Remember how Chloe O'Brian had hacked into one of the three drone feeds, just not the one that controlled the drone's flight? She had somehow managed to "loop" an image of the President to fool the remaining al-Harazi's into thinking that Heller was still on the ground when the missile hit. Heller is still alive, and Bauer sends him off with his trusted Serbian assistant to stay "dark" until the threat from al-Harazi is defused. Ian figures out that the image was looped - just in time, as he's about to crash the last drone. Margot has him bring the drone back toward London and selects a crowded subway station as the target. Chloe is able to locate Margot's hideout (with some help from the Julian Assange-ish hacker Adrian Cross). CIA agents Kate Morgan and Erik Ritter get there first, followed shortly by Bauer (via helicopter). Many bad guys outside are killed. Jack can't get through the chokepoint inside, so he heads back up to the roof and improvises a makeshift rappel. Ian sees him, shoots, and comes closer to the window to see . . . ? As you would expect, Jack grabs Ian and pulls him out of the window and drops him to his gruesome death stories below (GIF courtesy of SB Nation's Jon Bois).

Margot tries to get to the computer (presumably to smash it so that Jack can't stop the drone), but he shoots her non-fatally, incapacitates her, and with Chloe's help is able to re-direct the missile into the Thames River. Margot then hisses to Jack that the deaths of hundreds of people are still on his hands. Jack growls back, "The only death on my hands is yours" -- and then throws her out the window, where she plummets to her death right next to Ian.

End of the threat, right? Not so fast . . . . Jack brings the override device that the al-Harazi's used to take over the drones back to the CIA headquarters. He asks Chloe to come take a look at it, but Chloe declines, says it was good to see him, and hangs up. She gets into a waiting car, driven by Adrian Cross. Meanwhile, a London detective is at CIA analyst Jordan Reed's death scene and calls Kate Morgan. She and Erik Ritter head over and identify Reed, and she gets the fingerprints of Reed's killer. CIA station chief learns about this and realizes he's about to be implicated. He calls Cross and asks to be smuggled out of the country. Cross says he'll do it, but Navarro needs to bring the override device. A DOD analyst shows up to look at the override device; meanwhile, Jack has a CIA contact of his try to figure out who the fingerprint belongs to, because normal checks have suggested it was a covert operative. When Navarro is left momentarily alone with the DOD analyst, he chokes the analyst unconscious and steals the override. At that moment, Jack's contact calls back and identifies Reed's killer. Jack doesn't recognize the name, but among the known handlers is . . . Navarro.
"DAMMIT!" Jack gives chase but loses track of Navarro outside the building. . . .


* I'm not sure how looping the image of Heller would've worked. The drone wasn't a stationary camera with a fixed view of the target; it was a moving platform, so the image would change constantly as the perspective shifted.

* Did Chloe also hack the drone so that its computer flashed "Target Destroyed"?

* If O'Brian could loop an image, why couldn't she basically "blind" the drone?

* When Jack said that Margot's blood was the only blood on his hands, what about the other people he killed today? The Jack Bauer kill list tally is up to 9 for "Live Another Day."

* I suppose I should have been shocked at how cold-bloodedly Jack murders Margot (and it pretty much is murder, since he had her restrained by then), but we have seen him murder helpless female antagonists before: ex-lover/former loyal assistant/treacherous backstabber/murderess of his wife Nina Myers in season 3, when she was already badly wounded and defenseless; and Dana Walsh in season 8.

* But while I might not be shocked, how come no one at the CIA, or London police is shocked? If nothing else, isn't the fact that Margot's corpse still has her hands tied behind her back a clue that it wasn't self-defense?

* The all-powerful override device that can apparently control more than just drones is reminiscent of the CIP module from season 7, which was able to take over flight control towers, pesticide plants, and other control systems.

* I liked how Navarro made a couple of plays to get the override device from Jack and to bury the fingerprint from the assassin he sent after Jordan Reed, and how Jack eluded both efforts. I don't think Jack knew what was up, but it made sense that he would want to rely as little as possible on others. "24" has never been believable, but it would have been outrageously stupid if he'd given in on either of those points.

* The kiss between Adrian Cross and Chloe at the end ... well, in an earlier hour, when she refused to go with him during Open Cell's bugout, he did say that he loved her. This certainly explains why he kept helping her despite his disdain for Bauer. But of course, I don't expect things to end well for Cross.

* 9 episodes down, 3 remaining . . . and 15 hours left in the day. There will be some big time jumps coming up. Maybe Jack will get some sleep! (And make himself a sandwich!)

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