I haven't loved Live Another Day
, but I've enjoyed quite a bit of it -- even this week's finale.
But that ending. I. Hate. It. I way prefer the original series ending, which was almost as depressing in its own right, but also at least held out some hope or acknowledgement that this is what Jack deserved. Or maybe even wanted.
This week? He didn't deserve nor need that punishment. Hadn't he been punished enough? It's probably more likely that the show needed it so they had a good case for "Day 10." But we're getting ahead of ourselves...
Audrey Meets Her Fate
The episode opens with Audrey's friend being killed (again) in front of Audrey to keep her pinned down to the bench.
Jack, Kate and Mark are searching the Russian guy's house for any sign of clues and Jack finds a series of e-mails that will lead them to the tanker Cheng is heading for. In that moment, though, Mark gets a video of the sniper's target pinned on Audrey. Cheng calls Jack and threatens to kill her if anyone comes near him.
While Mark and Kate argue over what to do, Kate offers her help in securing Kate, while Jack heads to the freighter to stop Cheng. On his way there, Chloe calls Jack and offers to help. He's hesitant but ultimately picks her up.
Heller, meanwhile, has arrived at CIA HQ in London as Chinese ships are 30 minutes out from reaching Okinawa. Heller calls Wei to get him to back down, but winds up having to threaten war when Wei refuses to turn his ships around.
In the car on the way to Cheng, Jack asks Chloe why she was with Adrian. She tells him she tried to get the override device away from him and was feeling very guilty that her knowledge helped created the device. "OH GOD DON'T KILL HER," I wrote in my notes.
"At this point," Chloe tells Jack, "I think I'm the only friend you have left." It's a nice moment, just like many of the other Jack/Chloe ones have been in this new "season." If there's one thing they've nailed with this miniseries, it's their acknowledgement of how central that relationship has become to the show, even more than Jack's various love interests over the years.
Kate then arrives at Audrey's location and calls her secretly. She wants Audrey to draw the sniper's fire so she can figure out where he is. Audrey does it and is safe afterwards, leaving Kate with the location in the office building the sniper is heading in.
Jack and Chloe arrive at the docks and meet Belcheck. Jack tells Chloe, 'Thank you ... for everything." And I once again write in my notes, "OH GOD DON'T KILL HER."
Chloe settles in to provide satellite assistance while Jack/Belcheck kill every single guard on the ship. It's pretty thrilling to watch and makes me hope Belcheck, this kind of random character, re-appears next year to team with both Jack and Kate.
Cheng figures out what is going on and calls the sniper, telling him to kill Audrey. Kate starts shooting just in time and kills the sniper. She then calls Erik to tell them she's got Audrey. Chloe then calls Jack to say Audrey is safe as well, but she's lost the satellite feed.
Another sniper then comes out of nowhere and starts firing at Kate and Audrey. Even before the show tips its hand, you just know Audrey is going to get hit. She dies not along after and we know it because we get the silent clock.
I'm not sure how I feel about this development as I quite liked her as a character. But I will say that I'm awfully surprised Mark survived the season and not Audrey -- there's no way I would have thought that was a possibility at the beginning of the season, let alone even three episodes ago.
Cheng Meets His Fate (and Jack's Sword)
Mark's aide (did we ever get his name?) is told about Audrey's death, but he wisely doesn't tell the President in the middle of a crisis.
Kate, however, is a moron and calls Jack and tells him. Maybe it's because she's raked with guilt or maybe it's because producers wanted Jack to go ape-shit on Cheng's remaining terrorists -- which he does.
(I will say that while the act of telling him is simply idiotic, the resulting work by Kiefer Sutherland in that moment, conveying the grief followed by the anger, is simply stunning.)
Belcheck gets the engines shut down and Jack makes his way to the bridge where he fights hand to hand with Cheng. Cheng is a very strong fighter. (Did I forget this from past seasons?)
The Chinese, meanwhile, have breached the perimeter to Okinawa and Heller gives the United States' forces permission to engage. At that very moment, Jack calls Heller. He has Cheng alive.
Once the US intelligence community verifies it's him, Jack tells Cheng, "This is for Audrey, you sonuvabitch," before he chops Cheng's head off with a Samurai sword that happened to be in the freighter. We got two amazing villain deaths this season with Margot being thrown out a window and Cheng's head getting chopped off, that's for sure.
Heller calls Wei after sending the Cheng file. Wei hesitates, but ultimately decides to turn his ships around and World War III is averted.
Mark's aide then has to tell Heller about Audrey, who doesn't believe it at first, but then faints as it kicks in.
Jack and Belcheck, meanwhile, arrive at Chloe's location and find she is missing. There is a drop of blood on the floor. Jack then gets a call, but we don't hear the other person's voice. They tell Jack that he has to meet him to get Chloe back.
Jack Accepts His Fate
When the show returns from its final commercial break, it's 12 hours later. So, what happened to the producers' plan to skip hours throughout the season? Apparently, it went out the window and we waited until the final 10 minutes of the season to skip ahead. Lame.
Kate, as she tried to do nearly 23 hours later, hands in a report, her gun and her badge. Erik tells her it's not her fault about what happened to Audrey, but Kate is done with the CIA.
Mark is in custody and Erik tells him, per the President's order, he's being taken to the United States. Erik tells him the President is boarding Air Force One and I start to wonder if Heller is dead.
When we cut to an American flag-draped coffin, I believe the fake-out until I see Heller standing with the Prime Minister.
William Devane absolutely kills it when he delivers a monologue about how he looked at a picture on his desk before he left for London of a beautiful woman that he took a few moments to realize was his daughter. "I won't remember anything that happens today. I won't remember anything that happens, period. I won't remember that I had a daughter that died in such a horrible fashion." Wow. So sad. So powerful. Great work by Devane.
The final scene takes place outside of London as Jack and Belcheck arrive in abandoned ruins. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Belcheck asks.
A chopper lands and Chloe is lead out. The man who seems to be in charge doesn't look familiar -- if he's been on in a past season, can someone say so in the comments?
It's an exchange and, yes, now the Russians are taking Jack prisoner. In the brief moment Jack and Chloe share together, he tells her she is his best friend and asks her to look in on his family.
Isn't this sort of how the previous show ended? Jack gets a sad, depressing ending? Though in the original series, at least he had hope that he could run. Please, please tell me this "show" doesn't end with Jack in a Moscow prison for the rest of his life.
Also, why did this exchange have to happen 12 hours later? Why wouldn't the Russians want the exchange immediately?
And why didn't the Russians kill everyone and just take Jack? Again, narratively speaking, I get that Chloe/Belcheck now get to rescue him, but it doesn't make sense plot-wise.
And finally, why did we get a silent clock at the end of the show? Are we supposed to assume Jack is going to his death?
Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we get an announcement of a "Day 10" and we get the answers to that final question as we see the inverse of how Live Another Day kicked off -- but this time, it's with Chloe rescuing Jack.