24: Live Another Day is moving at a frantic pace now. With only two episodes to go, this hour provides more plot points, action and reveals than perhaps all the previous combined.
Having stolen the override device, it’s not long before Navarro finds himself fleeing for his life, as he and Jack engage in an exciting foot-chase that once again makes fine use of the London setting. While Navarro is caught, the override finds its way into the clutches of Adrian Cross when it turns out that even Jack Bauer can’t outrun a moving train.
Cross reveals his plan is to disseminate the override device tech to every nation on Earth, essentially negating everyone’s military arsenal, thus ending all war. A lofty, if wildly implausible notion…
The episode leaves us with pretty much all of the cards on the table, and all the secrets out in the open. Kate’s husband has been exonerated – albeit too late to save his life – and Kate’s career is presumably saved.
Chloe also gets peace of mind, as Cross reveals the truth behind Morris’ off-screen demise. We also now know what Cross was planning, and who he was working for. Cross doesn’t make it out of the episode alive, and it’s a shame that Live Another Day couldn’t really explore the Julian Assange freedom of information angle better over its run.
However, the return of classic 24 baddie Cheng as Cross’ contact was a welcome surprise, as his long history with Audrey and Jack should provide plenty of sparks in the final two hours. Introducing a nemesis with personal stakes for our heroes, rather than the more ambiguously motivated Cross, should definitely provide a more satisfying climax. Now we’ve got a proper baddie in the field of play.
The one big secret that’s yet to come out is Mark Boudreau’s forging of the president’s signature, which also brings the Russians into play, as they attempt to neutralise Jack for past ills against their country.
This episode puts Jack and Kate back together, and they continue to be a brilliant duo. Their take-down of Navarro is superb, using Kate’s genuine fury and erratic state of mind as a convincing play to get him to talk. And it’s a play that neither of them would have been able to achieve on their own. What a team they make – it’s just a shame that Live Another Day has kept Jack and Kate apart for such long stretches of the season.
More disappointingly, there’s absolutely zero fallout from Jack’s cold-blooded murder of Margot Al-Harazi last week. If the show is suggesting that Jack’s actions there are okay, then that’s a serious issue, and it’s one that compromises the entire ethos of the series. It’s okay to have long-damaged Jack take such a severe action, but the show has to address it and explore it in order to justify it.
And, of course, there continue to be numerous plot holes in the story – this week’s glaring impossibility is that Navarro would ever have had a chance to put a tracking device on the override – but they’re easy to overlook when it’s all so deliriously good fun. Benjamin Bratt is far more interesting as a smug villain than he ever was as a good guy, and putting Chloe with the Dragon Tattoo in the custody of the Chinese finally gives Mary-Lynn Rajskub something to do after being dumped in a pub for a third of the season.
The episode also gives us perhaps the funniest line of the season, as Jack tells CIA Station Head Ritter that he’s going to interrogate Navarro: “Just so we’re clear – I wasn’t asking. That was me being courteous.” Me-ow!
So, two episodes to go, and things have certainly escalated from the one lone terrorist family, haven’t they? Now we have the Russians, the Chinese and a nuclear submarine in play! That’s a lot to resolve in just two episodes. Will some threads be left hanging for a potential sequel season?
Live Another Day has been so much fun that another twelve hours would be no bad thing should they decide to leave it open ended
Aired on Wednesday 2 July 2014 on Sky1.
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