After a handful of episodes that seemed to take place at a breakneck speed, ’24’ was bound to slow down a bit before wrapping up. This week’s episode is very much a transitional entry as viewers learn who’s really after the drone device… and it’s someone that Jack (and viewers) are acquainted with.
The tenth hour gets underway with Jack still in hot pursuit of Navarro. Navarro is still in contact with Adrian Cross, who continues to assure him that once he has the device in his hand, he’ll make sure that Navarro receives safe passage out of the country. Navarro follows Cross’ instructions and drops the device through a slot in a wall, and Cross picks it up on the other side and walks away. Navarro quickly realizes that Cross never intended to help him. He’s been double-crossed and not long afterwards gets cornered by the police.
Jack doesn’t have time to interrogate Navarro just yet, though. He goes racing after Cross, then chases him down into the London Underground and just misses him as he boards a train. Jack notices that Chloe is with Cross, and while he doesn’t think his old friend betrayed him, he’s not a hundred percent sure of anything anymore.
With Navarro in custody, Erik Ritter is now the senior officer at CIA headquarters and takes command until further notice. He allows Jack to question Navarro, which – of course – won’t go well. Jack wants to know everything that Navarro knows about the device, but Navarro’s not telling Jack anything until he gets full immunity. Jack’s got Navarro’s “immunity” waiting for him, as he pins his left hand down on the table and smashes it relentlessly with the butt of his gun. Ritter’s men have to storm into the room to drag Jack away.
During this time, Kate is told that Navarro framed her husband (who later hung himself in prison) for selling secrets to the Chinese. She goes to the room where Navarro is being held, pulls out her gun, and tells the guards in the room to get on their knees. She then points her gun at Navarro and demands that he tell her what he knows. Jack makes his way back into the room and screams at Kate not to shoot him. Panicked, Navarro gives up a code that will allow Jack to find the location of the device. Now having the info they need, Kate and Jack both lower their weapons as Navarro realizes that he’s just been tricked in the best game of “Bad Cop/Worse Cop” ever played. Kate then tells Navarro that there will be no deals – he’s going to get the death penalty.
Meanwhile, over in President Heller’s residence, things are getting worse and worse for Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau. Audrey storms out of his office complaining that she just doesn’t understand him anymore, and the Russians are on him about turning over Jack Bauer. Aware that Jack and Kate have been sent out in search of the drone device, Mark gives the Russians access to a code that will allow them to track Jack’s location.
Now knowing that Cross is up to no good, Chloe tries to make a run for it with the device in hand. She doesn’t get very far before Cross catches up and points a gun at her. Cross’s plan is to reunite with his Open Cell team, who are at an undisclosed location. However, when he and Chloe get there, they find the entire team murdered. Before they can get out, the room is stormed by a group of Chinese, led by Cheng Zhi (Tzi Ma). For those of you not familiar with ’24’ history, Cheng is the former head of the Chinese consulate who captured Jack at the end of Season 5 and spent the next year torturing him. Cheng was also responsible for torturing Audrey (which would put her in a catatonic state) in Season 6. Cheng is, to put it mildly, not a nice guy.
Cheng wants control of the drone device, which we learn can be used for a lot more than just drones. If properly calibrated, it can control any military weapons in the world. When Cross confesses that he’s not knowledgeable enough to reprogram the device, Cheng knows that Chloe is and shoots Cross in the leg, telling Chloe the next one will be in Cross’s head if she doesn’t help him. Reluctantly, Chloe reprograms the device.
Outside, Jack and Kate arrive on the scene, but before they can get inside, they’re ambushed by Russians who have followed Jack to the location. A shoot-out begins. Back inside, an injured Cross confesses to Chloe that he learned that the car crash that killed her husband Morris and son Prescott was really just an accident – no one was out to kill Chloe, as she believed. When she asks him why he withheld the information, Cross tells her that he didn’t want her to leave Open Cell. Before things can get too mushy, Cheng comes over and puts a bullet in Cross’ head. Once again, ’24’ quickly disposes of a character it no longer has any use for.
Cheng programs the device to send orders to the submarine U.S.S. Massachusetts, instructing its captain to fire on a Chinese aircraft carrier. Unfortunately, when the sub captain gets his orders, Denzel Washington is not on board to talk him out of it. The captain immediately fires two torpedoes, blowing a huge hole in the side of the carrier as this week’s episode concludes.
While not as exciting as the last couple of episodes, this week’s ’24’ gives us a nice surprise in the return of Cheng – even though probably only the die-hard fans remember much about his character. (The season in which he was primarily featured – Season 6 – is widely considered to be the series’ weakest.) Only two episodes remain, and we’re still waiting for a time jump that will run the clock up to 24 hours, which one presumes at this point will just happen as an epilogue to all these events in the show’s final hour.
The season should have ended with the death of Margot, Kate discovering the truth and to provide an entry into next season, Cross running off with the device (which has now turned into a literal super McGuffin) . Instead we’re off on new plotlines that rather than being fresh are really only an extended denouement. Denouements that never end (e.g. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ) are becoming the bane of US TV. I’m wondering if that is deliberate because the writers were hedging their bets not knowing at the time if there was going to be another season and didn’t want to leave any loose ends as so many cancelled series get away with doing today..
I think this is more a case of wrapping up some lose ends – Jack being wanted by the Russians and getting revenge on Cheng are the two biggest loose ends remaining from the original series. I suspect that’s why they’ve been brought into play now.
I don’t really think this one let up all that much from the frantic pace of the previous couple of episodes. And *another* classic Bauer line – “I wasn’t asking. That was me being courteous.” I love it!!! I don’t know if there’s any chance, but I really hope they’re able to bring it back again for another season (be it 12 hours or 24 – in a weird way, I think the 12 hours lets them tell a more concise, tension-packed story…)