In previous seasons of 24, I usually forgave terrible middle episodes because by the time we were four or five episodes away from the finale, it picked up the pace. Now that we're in a much, much shorter season, we shouldn't have to get terrible middle episodes, right?
Wrong. And that's kind of what we got tonight as we arrive at the mid-point of this shortened "season."
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Jack and Kate Rescue Simone
The bulk of the episode is all about Jack and Kate rescuing Simone--and Yasmin, I guess.
After chewing MI5 out for ruining his last operation, Jack heads over to the hospital where Simone is being treated for hit-by-a-bus injuries. On his way there, he informs Heller of his plans, who then promptly chews out the Prime Minister for getting involved and mucking everything up. Davies said he wouldn't have gotten involved if he felt confident that Heller wasn't dealing with a health issue. Heller then says he would resign if he thought his health was a factor, which is a big portion of the third plotline of tonight's episode. (But more on that in a bit.)
Jack hopes to get to the hospital before Margot discovers what happened to her daughter, but unfortunately, Margot reaches the paramedics taking care of Simone when she calls her daughter's phone. She then sends someone to snoop around the hospital to find out what's going on.
At the hospital, Jack orders the doctor to make Simone conscious, while Kate goes to talk to Yasmin. She finds out everything that's happened and Yasmin even says, "I hope she dies," when asked about Aunt Simone. Kate and Jack start talking about how they can turn Simone, while Margot starts planning to murder her own daughter before she can open her mouth by firing one of the drones she stole from the United States.
Bauer finally gets his chance to question Simone, but she tells him she only took pity on Farah and Jasmin and won't betray her mother. Jack, being Jack, then decides to pull on her cut finger to torture her. It doesn't work ---but even more crazy, he then apologies to Kate by saying, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that... I just hate these people." Wow. Does our new Jack not even torture anyone any more?!
Before we can really swallow that development, Jack gets into a shooting match with Margot's "man in the hospital." He's killed by security forces, but Jack recovers his phone and realizes Margot alerted him to the drone's pending attack on the hospital. Jack picks up Simone and starts to help her out of the hospital, while Kate goes to rescue Yasmin. Simone refused to go at first, refusing to believe her mother would try to kill her, but Jack starts to walk out without her before she decides not to take the chance and asks him to help her.
The drone fires just as Kate, Jack, Simone and Yasmin make it out of the hospital. As they flee via stolen car, the drone continues to fire at them. Simone has to watch all of the very, very hurt victims as they drive away. I'll admit it's a fairly thrilling sequence as Jack is able to evade each of the three remaining attacks from the drone. He uses an old trick to fool Margot by parking under a bridge, stealing another car and then putting a brick on the accelerator of the old car so that they fire their last shot on that empty car.
Margot, however, is smart enough to check the car afterwards to see if anyone was inside. She knows her daughter is not dead and she'll probably try to kill her (and Jack and Kate) again next week.
Steve Tries to Assassinate Jordan
The second big plotline of the episode is all about Steve, who we now know is some sort of traitor. Whether or not he's connected with Margot's operation is still TBD.
His boss calls to tell him that Jordan is still investigating and he might discover Steve is the source behind intel that made its way to China. I figured we wouldn't learn Steve's boss's identity for a while, but no, we find out even without a commercial break that it's Adrian Cross! I definitely did not see that coming. Mostly because it kind of -- at least for right now -- doesn't make a lick of sense. How on earth could Steve not realize who he's really working for?
Anyway, Steve eventually decides to send Jordan out on a mission, even though it's clear he never does that, and picks up a dead drop. So that he can, you know, drop dead. (Sorry.)
During that dead drop, however, the dumbest assassin in the world completely misses and hits Jordan in the shoulder, knocking him into a nearby river/canal. He eventually swims to safety, probably very aware that his boss most likely just tried to kill him.
Heller Decides to Surrender... Or Does He?
It's no surprise that the final scene of the episode has Heller directly calling Margot after Heller discusses with Mark how he could talk to her at the beginning of the episode.
Over the course of his conversation with Margot, Heller seeks to get her to one last time, swear she won't kill more people if he actually surrenders to her. She promises it and then asks for his decision. "As you suggested," he said, "my decision has already been made."
But is Heller really going to surrender? He did, after all, tell Mark and Audrey earlier in the episode that he wanted to meet with the VP when he gets back to Washington -- I'm awfully curious if we'll meet that person this season -- to talk "transition."
Perhaps Heller plans to surrender, only to have his power have first shifted to the VP anyway.
Other Odds and Ends
- Mark found time to meet with his Russian counterpart in this episode. He basically calls Mark out for forging the Presidential signature on Bauer's transfer document, which is an act of treason. So while Mark and Audrey as a married couple at the end of this season sounds implausible at this point, the Russians aren't going to just let Jack slink away, right?
- Erik is apparently "hurt" after the explosion in an earlier episode. Hopefully he comes back soon. I actually quite liked that character.
24: Live Another Day airs Mondays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)