Last night, on 24: Live Another Day, Jack Bauer set the standard for all future TV car chases. It was a move so ridiculous that even Jack’s escape from the nuke-toting plane in Season Two seems reasonable in comparison. It’s not 24 unless our hero/fugitive/daredevil pulled at least one impossible feat. In the five o’clock hour, Jack did just that when he outran two drone attacks and outsmarted a third one. With partner Kate Morgan and a dying Simone Al-Harazi in the car, Jack somehow managed to escape a spot in a hospital parking lot right before the first strike. He weaved in an out of traffic at a speed that should have caused an accident, but didn’t. He managed to miss one more strike, which hit a London building. When it seemed like they had reached a traffic jam that certainly would result in their demise, Jack’s cries of “Damnit!” grew more frequent, yet he sill had a few more tricks up his sleeve. The old swipe-a-car move worked, but putting a brick on a brake to let it roll without a driver worked better—and Jack temporarily evaded Margot Al-Harazi’s attack.
The chase was exhilarating, but the story of how they got into that situation is better. To recap from last week, Simone went to visit her sister-in-law, Farah, on her mother’s orders. Margot believed that Farah might know a little too much about their plan and Simone was to keep her quiet. While Simone is a dutiful daughter, she couldn’t go through with killing her sister-in-law, let alone her young niece. She begs them to get out of London. When the talk gets heated, Simone stabs Farah and leaves her for dead. Farah’s daughter, Yasmin, runs out of the house. Simone chases her, but is hit by a bus. At the start of this week’s episode, Simone is taken to the hospital. Chloe catches wind of this and calls Jack, who gets word to the President.
Meanwhile, President Heller and Prime Minister Davies are meeting. Heller calls out Davies for sending MI5 in on Jack’s mission and basically screwing up the whole deal. Davies lets Heller know that he’s aware of the President’s health problems. Their friendship and mutual respect for each other appears to trump the current squabble, and Davies agrees to make sure that Jack can get what he needs to try and halt the drone attacks. Time, however, is running short. Chloe isn’t the only person who knows that Simone is in the hospital. Margot knows, too, and Simone’s mother is not too pleased with her daughter’s antics. She sends one of her henchmen, Kareem, to find out if anyone knows who Simone is. Her concern isn’t for her daughter’s well-being. It’s for her own mission.
Inside the hospital, Kate talks to Yasmin, who explains their relationship to Simone: “She said she was trying to protect us from her mother.” Kate relays the message to Jack by phone and, of course, Margot’s spy hears this and gives her the info. Margot’s motherly response is, “She betrayed me once. I won’t let her do it again.” She gives the orders to Ian to release the drones.
If there was ever a good time for Simone to sell out her mother, it’s now. Margot has abused her, coerced her into commit multiple murders, and she still killed the young woman’s husband. Still, Margot is her mom. Simone won’t talk, even when Jack not-so-gently reminds her that her mother is responsible for maiming her. Kate isn’t thrilled with Jack’s methods of persuasion and even he can admit that he’s wrong at this stage in the series. They’re then distracted by the henchman who opens fire inside the hospital. After the henchman is killed, they discover texts from Margot on his phone. A drone will strike the hospital in a matter of minutes. The attack on the hospital is brutal, and its aftermath is shown in gruesome detail. People try to dodge the chaos, but fail. We see rubble and blood and at least one person with a missing limb. It’s a poignant depiction of the damage that a drone can do. One can only assume that such a nightmarish scene exists to force the audience to think about the impact of drone attacks.
Political commentary aside, Margot has turned the drones on her daughter. Simone’s health is quickly fading and she still won’t betray her mother. Yet, Margot is hellbent on destroying her. Frequently in 24, characters on both sides of the good-and-bad divide have an emotional soft spot, like a loved one, that’s used as leverage. That’s the premise of the show’s first season, and it’s a tactic that’s reused multiple times in the show. What makes Margot such a compelling villain is that, so far, she has no weakness. She may go on about the children killed in Heller’s drone attack, but that’s merely a ploy for sympathy. This is someone who will kill her own daughter to further the revenge plot. That’s pretty cold.
The car vs. drone segment is so action-packed that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on in this episode. Steve Navarro over at the CIA has been leaking secrets to China. As you may recall from earlier this season, Kate’s problems on the job stem from the allegations that her husband supplied the Chinese with information. This may cause further problems for the smart and tough agent. It’s definitely causing problems for Jordan Reed, who recently figured out that their system had been compromised. Steve sends Jordan out on the field, telling the agent that he’s to pick up something related to the case against Margot. It’s a set-up. Once Jordan arrives at the destination, he’s shot and falls into the water. Fortunately, he survives. This development may also cause problems with Chloe. It appears that Steve is connected to Adrian Cross, leader of hacker group Open Cell, of which Chloe is a member.
This week, we also learn Mark Boudreau’s secret. We knew from the start that he wanted to keep Jack out of the picture and away from his wife, Audrey. Now, we also know that he forged the President’s signature on an agreement to hand over Jack to Russia. With the Russians piling on the pressure to make good on that agreement, there may be some added drama in the next few episodes.