*This review contains spoilers.
Perhaps it was only a matter of time on 24: Live Another Day, the newest incarnation of the harrowing days lived by protagonist Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) that the chickens would come home to roost. Meaning simply that loose threads left dangling over eight seasons would rear their ugly heads. We knew that the Audrey (Kim Raver) storyline and that of her father, now President James Heller (William Devane) would be addressed, and we also knew early on that Audrey’s snaky husband Mark (Tate Donovan) opened up the old wound of the Russians and their need to get Jack, but the coup de grace came in in episode 10.
Once pernicious terrorist Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley) and her brood were dispatched, many of us assumed that the in the shadows bad guy was Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) who had somehow seduced our intrepid girl Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) while also employing her impressive tech skills to further his nefarious schemes. When Adrian double crosses on the run former CIA Head of Station Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) in order to get the override device that has thus far been responsible for U.S. drones launching attacks on London via the hand of now dead Margot, we figure Adrian is the man.
There is a cool opening sequence of Jack chasing Navarro, eventually catching him, but not before Navarro has passed off the device to Adrian and the unsuspecting Chloe. As Jack races into the tube (subway for those who don’t know London), he catches a glimpse of Adrian’s cold face and they exchange glances. Score one for the slimy little devil who has bested Jack for now.
Adrian’s “victory” is short lived as he takes Chloe to the new secret lair of his anti-government Open Cell organization, only to find them all tortured and left for dead. Moments later the true villain arrives on the scene – and my heart literally dropped as it is revealed to be Cheng Zhi (Tzi Ma), the Chinese diplomat who went rogue, kidnapped Jack and Audrey in the past and tortured them, and now has come back to cause more mayhem.
Chloe gives Adrian a quick refresher about Cheng (for the uninformed viewer no doubt), but the true 24 fan knows him as the despicable guy who has thus far escaped justice. Cheng’s desire for the override device is quickly revealed – he plans to launch a U.S. warship attack on a Chinese aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea (take a breath before you can say “World War III”).
Meanwhile, Mark and Audrey have a confrontation after Audrey has found her father POTUS having a drink which is no good with his medication. Heller is ready to leave on Air Force One, but the situation with Navarro is revealed and now he decides to stay on in Jolly Old England until the crisis can be handled. He puts Jack in charge of the operation, and Jack’s increasing prominence has Mark nervous because he has sold Jack out to the Russians. Audrey doesn’t know this yet, but Mark is sniveling about how she’s changed since Jack came back on the scene. Can we blame Audrey for wanting a man with a spine?
There is also a cool interrogation scene which turns around the scene earlier in the season when Navarro had a bare-chested Jack in for questioning. Now it is Jack’s turn, and the smirk on Navarro’s face lets us know that he thinks he has all the cards in the hand. Unfortunately for him, Jack loses it and his hand is in need of surgery. Still, he has not revealed anything until he gets a deal for immunity.
Meanwhile, the truth about Navarro framing Agent Kate Morgan’s (Yvonne Strahovski) husband for giving secret files to the Chinese comes full circle (which also explains Cheng’s appearance perhaps). Kate wants blood, but she and Jack concoct a good-cop, bad-cop scenario as they ambush Navarro in the infirmary where they finally get the information they need to track the device and lead them to Chloe and Adrian.
Back at the obliterated Open Cell, Cheng enlists Chloe to get her to “open” the lock on the override device. Since he doesn’t need Adrian anymore, Cheng puts a bullet in his head, thus ending his idealistic campaign against government. Before he dies Adrian reveals the true depth of his deceit and evil; he lied to Chloe about her son and husband being killed by terrorists. They simply died in a car accident but Adrian used that moment to recruit Chloe. To say Chloe’s eyes are now open (even despite the Goth makeup) is an understatement; she is squarely back on Team Jack.
Unfortunately, Cheng gets Chloe to do the task and then one of his lackeys takes over and punches in the code, forcing the U.S. warship to launch a missile strike on the Chinese carrier. Cheng tosses Chloe aside but plans to keep her alive because she could be “valuable.” True fans will remember his famous line to Jack on the slow boat to China that he wouldn’t kill him because he was far too valuable. Gee, that Cheng hasn’t changed his stripes.
While this is happening Jack and Kate are racing to the Open Cell location, but are rammed by a truck driven by those pesky Russians. Though they survive the accident, we last see Jack and Kate engaged in a gun battle. Of course, even though their opponents are equipped with machine guns, we kind of feel Jack and Kate are a pretty unbeatable team, sort of like Superman and Wonder Woman. Pity those poor bad guys, ladies and gents.
Episode 10 ends literally with a bang, a sinking Chinese ship, and the promise of more excrement hitting the fan in the last two episodes. For my part I am hoping that Jack finally kicks Cheng Zhi’s ass, dispatches the Russians, and teaches Mark some manners. The promo features Audrey telling Jack to do whatever he has to do. We all know what happens when Jack is unleashed, but can he stop World War III?
Until next time, Klaatu Barada Nikto!
Photo credits: FOX Television
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