Last week, I praised ’24’ for providing us with one of the most entertaining episodes viewers had seen in this new season. Well, I should have waited to do that, as this week’s episode was not only more exciting, it’s arguably one of the most action-packed entries ’24’ has had during its entire nine-season run.
After running straight into a double decker bus at the conclusion of the last episode, Simone is in serious condition. As she gets loaded into an ambulance, Simone’s cell phone rings and one of the EMTs answers. It’s Margot checking in on her daughter. The EMT explains that Simone is en route to the hospital and she should get there as quickly as possible. Of course, Margot has no plans to go to the hospital, but she sends one of her henchmen – Kareem (sadly, not Abdul-Jabbar) – to make sure Simone doesn’t spill the beans regarding the terrorists’ hideout.
Jack and Kate also head to the hospital to see Simone. Jack talks to President Heller on the phone and tells him that things would have gone more smoothly at Rask’s warehouse if MI-5 hadn’t shown up and ruined everything. Heller learns that MI-5 was ordered there by the British PM, who arrives at Heller’s residence just as he’s ending the phone call with Jack. Heller loses his cool with the PM, who in return asks Heller about his health status. While the PM agrees not to question his judgment anymore, Heller comes to the decision that he’ll resign when he returns to Washington. He realizes that once word about his early onset dementia hits the press, those around him will constantly second-guess his decisions.
We learned last week that CIA chief Navarro may have been responsible for framing Kate’s now-deceased husband, and was talking to some mysterious man on the phone as the episode ended. This week, we find out that the man he was talking to was none other than Chloe’s Open Cell boss, Adrian Cross, who informs Navarro that Jordan is still searching through the old files on the case, even though Navarro told him not to. We also find out that Cross is just a middle-man in this operation. Who’s really behind all this we aren’t told yet.
Navarro knows that he needs to take care of Jordan, so he sends him out to pick up a supposedly important package from a dead-drop on a boat, telling him that he’ll have to go into the field since they’re short-handed. Of course, Jordan isn’t suspicious of Navarro at all and seems excited about his first field assignment. When he gets to the boat, however, Jordan is shot by an assassin sent there to take care of him. Jordan’s body drops into the river, but it’s clear to viewers that he was only shot in the shoulder. Sure enough, at the end of the episode, we see Jordan emerging from the water – wet, bleeding, and no doubt really pissed at his boss.
Jack and Kate arrive at the hospital, and Jack manages to get some alone time with Simone. When it’s obvious that she isn’t going to talk, Jack uses the ol’ “Let me aggravate your already half-missing pinky” torture trick on her, which Kate witnesses. Jack apologizes to Kate for the tactics, but we know that he’s not really sorry, don’t we? Jack spots Kareem loitering outside Simone’s room, and quickly realizes that he’s not supposed to be there. A gunfight and chase begin, but the armed guards for Simone kill Kareem before Jack can question him. However, he leaves behind a cell phone with text messages to Margot, and Jack figures out that she’s about to launch a drone strike on the hospital – just to prevent her daughter from talking.
This is the start of the wildest – and, honestly, at times wildly hilarious – scenes I’ve ever seen on ’24’. Jack immediately yells for the hospital to be evacuated, and viewers are treated to a range of poorly-trained extras running all over the place and looking like they’re supposed to be panicked. (Fortunately, director Jon Cassar doesn’t linger the camera on any of them for too long.) Jack runs into Simone’s room and picks her critically injured body up off the bed and literally drags her with him. When Simone protests, Jack just dumps her body on the floor and asks her if she’d like to stay there and die. (Always the ladies’ man, aren’t you, Jack?) Simone relents, so Jack picks her up again and makes his way to the exit.
Jack, Kate and Simone make it out of the hospital just as the first drone strike hits, leveling a big chunk of the building. Others aren’t so lucky… but hey, they’re already at the hospital! I know, I know. Fortunately for Jack, the one car waiting for him is the only left-side steering wheel car in the lot, not that Jack is about to obey any traffic laws. The three speed off in the car just as another drone strike hits the parking area.
Now we have Jack racing through the streets of London crashing into things while Margot’s son Ian tries to target their vehicle with another drone rocket from terrorist headquarters. Stuck in a traffic jam, Jack realizes that they’ll need to switch cars. He notices one guy already out of his SUV and knocks him cold with one punch, then takes off with Simone and Kate in the vehicle. But Jack’s not getting away so easily, as Ian figures out what they did and tracks them again. Jack decides to switch cars a second time and goes underneath an overpass to do so, this time just pulling out his gun and demanding a driver to get out of his car. Once again, they switch vehicles, but this time Jack is smart enough to send the now-empty SUV back out of the overpass. Ian uses his last drone rocket on the empty vehicle, and Jack and the gang are able to escape. At this time, Jack gets a call from Heller, telling him that he needs to see Jack immediately.
The episode concludes with Heller having a one-on-one video conversation with Margot. He wants to know if Margot was telling the truth about not attacking London if he turned himself over to her. After some back and forth, Margot more or less gives the President her word. Heller appears ready to give himself up to the terrorists… but let’s not forget that he’s asked Jack to come see him.
This episode is a thrill ride from beginning to end. ’24’ may have had better acted or more shocking episodes in its past, but I can’t remember one (and certainly not one mid-season) that packed so much punch. Those who’ve waited for Jack to burst into action have really gotten their money’s worth the last couple of episodes. The only question now is whether the show can possibly top itself after the last few weeks.