People have survived all kinds of crazy stuff on “24.’’ Jack kicked heroin in about fifteen minutes and killed a man while having a heart attack. George Mason – no, not the NCAA tournament darling – managed to successfully pilot a plane with his molecules dripping with radiation. Tony Almeida was blown up and returned. Hey, this season, Navarro and Ritter came about okay after they visited an explodin’ house.
So, it’s really not that big of a surprise that Simone Al-Harazi has somehow survived her case of double-decker London bus poisoning. She’s not in good condition, but she’s alive. The London authorities bundle her off to a jolly old hospital, along with her niece – the daughter of the woman Simone just killed. Jack gets the information about their destination from Chloe, before she has to book it after a GET OUT OF HERE NOW instant message alerts her to more approaching authorities. Who sent the IM? Would have been funny to see an old-school AIM program for this one, complete with emo away message and member info. Ah, memories. Anyways, Chloe books it out of there; Jack and Morgan trek out to the hospital to see if there’s any information they can squeeze of of Simone’s body.
Jack doesn’t get too much out of a dazed Simone, but Morgan manages to get a whole bunch of information from young Yasmin (played by a heartbreaking young actress named Nikita Mehta). Unfortunately, Margot has discovered the circumstances of Simone’s accident from a particularly helpful British paramedic and dispatches a local killer to Winston Wolf-up the situation. The man they dispatch is an excellent eavesdropper – he relays to Margot all of the information Yasmin shared with Morgan – but as an assassin? Something a little to be desired. He manages to get Margot her daughter’s hospital information before he gets gunned down. Friendly visit with an armful of flowers and a Nicholas Sparks book to pass the time with? Nope. Hellfire missile from one of the drones. Man, Margot certainly does have one heart of stone (check back in with me on that reference after next Sunday).
Morgan and Jack manage to clear most of the hospital before the missile hits, exploding in a shower of debris and crappy CGI. They escape with a fading Simone in the backseat, dodging more missiles from Margot’s drone in full “Bourne Identity’’ fashion. It’s one of the great action sequences in the show’s history, featuring Jack punching out a confused English bystander to switch cars and the old heavy-rock-on-the-gas-pedal trick, one that fools Margot into destroying an empty car with her last missile (Margot’s son celebrated a little too much there after incinerating his sister). They race back out to get Simone back to CIA care and save her life. She’s got to talk now, right? This is generally the last straw in any fraying mother-daughter relationship, when one of them tries to kill the other with a drone’s missile? Certainly was in my family.
Over at the American hang-out, the deadline Margot imposed for Heller’s surrender is fast approaching. Heller gets the English off of Jack’s back – thanks to a verbal beat-down delivered to the PM – but begins to realize his mental limitations are starting to hamstring things. He starts to make arrangements with Boudreau and Audrey to go full Nixon resignation once the crisis is over. But he’s not done with this presidency. He calls Jack in for a little one-on-one time, and then makes another call on a secure line to Margot. We’re left wondering if Heller might actually surrender – and what that secret mission for Jack might be.
The intrigue level over at the CIA is ratcheting up, as the technician Reed is poking around in the files, getting dangerously close to finding out that Navarro was the one who had planted the evidence that brought down Morgan’s hubby. How does Navarro know this? EVIL, TURN TO THE CAMERA BAD GUY REVEAL – it’s Cross! That freedom-loving hacker we all know was conspiring with Navarro to sell secrets to the Chinese. I knew he was up to no good. Navarro thinks up a plan to get rid of Reed, sending him off to drop off some information to a contact – an obvious ambush. Unfortunately, the assassin he uses is even worse than Margot’s. The killer takes a chunk out of Reed’s shoulder, leaving him and his Orlando Bloom from “Pirates of the Caribbean’’ haircut to wash up on shore. He’ll be heard from again.
So, the drones are coming, the U.S. government might be giving in to terrorists and its premiere intelligence service is riddled with scandal and ineffectiveness. Certainly a lot of storylines to cover over these last seven episodes, but considering the craziness that’s happened over the last three weeks, it’s going to be 11-level exciting right up until the end.
Other thoughts, as I wonder why “Live Another Day’’ couldn’t have had a visual effects budget like “Game of Thrones’’ does:
– This is definitely the highest “Dammit!’’ to episode time ratio in the history of “24.’’ That’s saying a lot. We even got a “We’re running out of time!’’ I had missed those expressions. People playing the “24’’ drinking game are probably going to be staring at the lights in their office with hatred tomorrow morning.
– Didn’t need to see all those squirmy fishy things on the “MasterChef’’ “next week on…’’ promo right before the episode, FOX. Yuck. I know this makes me a bad New Englander, but seafood freaks me out.
– The Russian ambassador with the amazing mustache is back and demanding Jack’s return from Boudreau. While we’re at it, shout-out to French-American characters on television. We need more of them. In fact, “Boudreau’’ is only four letters from my last name, darn it. My Quebecois surname needs a better representation in the media than a character played by Keanu Reeves.