24: Live Another Day (2014) season 1, episode 11
"Day 9: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m."
WRITERS: ROBERT COCHRAN
DIRECTOR: MILAN CHEYLOV
AIR DATE: JULY 7 2014
Just when it looks bad, it gets much, much worse. This is always the way with 24, which has specialized in nightmare scenarios and worst case storylines that can't possibly end well.
Last episode ended with Cheng using the override device to manipulate a US torpedo attack on a Chinese carrier. He's definitely gone rogue from his former country, looking to start a war. He was given up for dead by everyone - but he's very much alive. And he's working with partners. Stolnavich (Stanley Townsend, who may come from an Anglo Saxon background but definitely comes across like a Russian), the Russian politician (and career spy) who has been lingering about trying to have Jack Bauer turned over to him is revealed this time out to be working in cahoots with the nefarious Chinese agent and his men. They're out to start a war, and it doesn't matter who gets in the way.
Cheng hasn't quite covered his tracks well enough though. Jack and Kate survive the attempt on their lives by Russian gunmen, and learn Cheng is alive, even though he's evaded capture (with Chloe as a hostage). They realize he's been behind everything, brief the President, and set out to find their quarry.
President Heller (William Devane) has problems of his own. He's trying to talk down the Chinese, who are rightfully angry at the attack. He also has his own generals suggesting they up the alert level given the potential for hostilities. And he finds out his son in law Mark (Tate Donovan) forged his signature on a release warrant to hand Jack over to the Russians. Heller's ready to have him arrested for treason, but Jack has another use for Mark. That could mean redemption, or it could mean Mark meets a bad end. Lots of people over the years who have been co-opted into helping Jack Bauer meet bad ends. In this case, Mark is meant to be the proverbial trojan horse to make an entry into the residence of Stolnavich.
on the verge of death
Audrey has work of her own to do. Infuriated with her husband, she nonetheless feels she might have a backdoor with the Chinese government through a local contact, and moves to see what she can do. It might seem like a good idea, but she's in for a voice from the past.
The entire episode moves along at breakneck speed - we're still wondering occasionally why American agents have free rein on British soil, but there you have it. Jack makes the link between Cheng and the Russians pretty fast, but that's Jack for you. It's when he's alone with Mark and the President, displaying his anger at Mark in one moment and throwing him a lifeline the next, that we see some of that complexity of the character. He could just hang the man out to dry... but instead he offers a second chance - even if it might end in a bloody way.
Tensions persist to mount in this second to last episode of the limited series. The Very Bad Day continues. Blood is shed in some very violent ways. And all the while, two nations find themselves on the edge of all out war.
One hour to go? There's too much happening to just leave it at one more hour!