Last week, I watched 24: Live Another Day the day after it aired. I was on vacation and couldn't recap the episode. Of course -- of course I would happen to miss the one episode that re-introduced Cheng!
While I was disappointed I missed the chance to write a recap on that great twist, I was excited that I would get to cover the next episode. But after this week's, I'm feeling pretty meh. I kind of don't like the direction the story takes in this episode. I'm now way less enthusiastic about the finale next week, even if I am intrigued to see how they'll cram 10+ hours into one episode of television.
Jack and Cheng Learn the Other is Involved
The episode opens with President Heller and his team learning of the sinking of the Chinese aircraft carrier at the hands of a US sub, while Jack and Kate continue to shoot it out with the Russians. They're almost done for until their back-up team arrives.
Cheng, meanwhile, saw Jack engaged in a firefight over a surveillance video and destroys the tracker on the override device. He snags Chloe as a hostage, but not before she grabs a cell phone -- that Cheng discovers and tosses aside almost immediately. Shortly after Cheng and his team (with Chloe) leave, Jack arrives and finds all the dead bodies, including Adrian's.
And we discover Chloe was totally fine with Cheng discovering the phone because she had its microphone turned on. So when Kate finds the phone, she plays the voice recording and Jack recognizes Cheng's voice. (Why didn't Cheng just destroy the phone instead of tossing it aside?)
The Two Plot Lines Converge
The next few minutes of the episode ask you to take an awfully big leap of faith. After Jack calls Heller to tell him about Cheng and the President tells Jack about the sinking of the aircraft carrier, Jack realizes the Russians are working with Cheng. That's a logical conclusion for him to make since the Russians just tried to kill him and Kate. Erik then informs Jack, with the help from the CIA tech that replaced Jordan, that the Russians were able to track Jack because Mark had given them the ability to do so.
But then it turns out -- the Russians are working with Cheng. That's right. This nonsense with Mark committing treason to get Jack sent away is completely connected to the main "override" plotline and not separate like I assumed.
I kind of hate this idea. It's way too convenient and feels like the writers are making this stuff up as they go along. And that's totally fine in a 24-episode season ... but wasn't the point of this shortened season to plan everything out ahead of time?
Anyway, Heller calls the President of China and explains what's happened and what's going on. The President of China refuses to believe the "nonsense" that Cheng is alive. Heller offers him both the override device and Cheng, but the President basically threatens to obliterate America. After getting off the phone, Heller instead takes that to mean if they can just produce both the override device and Cheng that everything will be jussssst fine. Unfortunately, China begins moving military troops and vehicles into position for an attack.
Heller's military advisers think China is preparing to attack Okinawa. One of the advisers wants Heller to raise the Defcon level, basically threatening the use of nuclear weapons, but Heller refuses.
Jack and Mark Work Together
Jack soon arrives at Heller's location to confront Mark, with a loaded gun, about turning the Russians on to him. Mark confesses to Jack and Heller pretty quickly, but he tries to legitimize what he did. Heller tells Mark he's under arrest for treason. Jack, however, wants to use Mark to trap the Russian bad guy. (I tried Googling five times for his name but have been unable to. I think it's something like Slovonich or Stonovich. Anyone want to help me out in the comments?)
He wants Mark to take a hidden camera into the Russian guy's compound so Jack can plan an attack with Kate.
Chloe, meanwhile, is able to escape from Cheng by beating up some of his associates with a lead pipe. She then jumps out of the moving truck they were in. Cheng gives chase but has to give up when some British troops just happen to be driving by.
The Chinese then launch their missiles to take out the US surveillance assets. Heller, in responses, raises the Defcon level.
Mark, Jack and Kate arrive at the compound. Mark asks for asylum and is able to successfully talk his way into the building. As he walks inside, he's capturing footage with a secret camera so that Jack can begin to build his plan.
Jack and Kate storm the compound and the Russian guy immediately figures out what is going on. He grabs a gun from his desk and Mark wrestles with him. By the time Jack and Kate kill many, many Russian operatives and get to Mark, the Russian guy is bleeding from a very bad neck wound.
He refuses to say where Cheng is and then dies.
Audrey is Now a Hostage
I'll admit, I didn't see this coming -- but that doesn't mean it's going to be a thrilling plotline next week.
Audrey told Heller she wanted to meet with a Chinese contact whose father is a well-known politician. Audrey is able to convince her friend to lobby her father to try and stop any further attacks from China.
As they're about to part ways, shots ring out. The Chinese woman is killed, as are Audrey's Secret Service agents.
Cheng calls Audrey and orders her to sit on the bench. As she does, looking nervous and scared to once again be under his clutches, the episode ends.
Other Odds and Ends
-- Audrey again basically confesses her love for Jack to him and also asks him to kill Cheng. Jack has had no problem straight-up murdering bad guys like Margot this season -- but can he go through with this? I think he won't and Audrey won't forgive him for it. If she survives, that is.
-- At one point during the episode, Heller spills his pills in front of his military advisers. He's going to get impeached, isn't he?
-- Was I the only one convinced Mark was going to die in his fight with the Russian?
24: Live Another Day
airs Mondays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)