Looking around, it’s becoming increasingly clear that I am out of step with the entire Internet, which seems to be in consensus that 24: Live Another Day is an absolute corker of a programme,rip-roaring, exciting, engaging and pretty much the best 24 since the very early seasons. True, they keep stumbling ever so slightly over some of the series’ most bull-goose lunatic notions, but things which no-one could ever sanely contemplate as being plausible are being dismissed as, well, ‘just being 24.’
Episode 10 will no doubt go down as pure heroin to the fans, even as it left deeply unimpressed little me rubbing my eyes most of the time at its tortuous logic, when there was any semblance of logic, which was not often.
So we start with a continuation of the Bauer-Navarro getaway Olympics, complete with optional cellphone conversations. Navarro’s is with Monotone Adrian, directing him to Liverpool Street Station where he can pick up an envelope and drop off the override device. Cannily, Special Ops Veteran Navarro asks if he can trust Monotone Adrian, and then, the moment he shoves his manbag through a hole in the wall, the conversation ends: betrayed.
(Mustn’t forget the truly magical moment where Navarro happens to see a British solidier, fully-armed, on the streets of London, so unaware of his surroundings that he lets Navarro cold-cock him from behind and seize his rapid-fire shooty rifle, which proves to have only about sixteen rounds left in it, as you might expect. Fuck me, what a stupid bit of writing that was.)
Meanwhile, Jack has been spreading the word about Navarro’s perfidy and organising Tag Teams (is that what they’re really called? Surely they must have more practical names.) to arrive at the precise second Navarro is shat on and caught up with by Jack. All may not be lost sinceJack recognises a very familiar manbag heading down to the Tube on someone’s shoulder but (and you won’t see this coming) Monotone Adrian and Gothic Chloe get on the Tube and the door closes before Jack hits the platform.
And even Jack Bauer can’t outrun a London Tube train, nor rip its doors open, though you should probably have seen the first draft…
Meanwhile, Adrian has let Chloe in on the fact that he’s taking his override deviceback, though it is of course for purely altruistic reasons, since he’s going to give every Government in the World the unfettered ability to rummage through everybody else’s weapons dossier and set them off any time they choose, and that will mean World Peace Forever, because no-one will actually do anything like that.
The crazy thing about that s that it takes Chloe half the episode to turn round and point out quite how demented an idea that is, but her truly feeble attempt to steal the override device back again has her ever-attentive lover leading her off to the new, secret hacker base at gunpoint. Secret? Hah!
But let’s come back to that one after a trip to CIA HQ, where Navarro needs interrogating. Hapless Eric, as Senior Agent, takes over temporary Chief-ship, putting on appropriate gravitas exactly as if the writers had forgotten that he was supposed to be a frustrated hot-head, envious and spiteful of Barbie Doll Kate (oh, wait…). Meanwhile, Barbie Kate asks Slightly Scottish Analyst Glenn to check the departedJordan’s systems for any indication of why her bessy mate Steve had Jordan killed. Despite Glenn being decidedly inferior to Jordan, he comes back with the conclusive proof that Navarro framed her late husband Adam faster than it takes to pick a shopping list off a kitchen table.
Thos leads into a very silly sequence where Jack tells Eric he’s going to interview Navarro and he’s going to do it his way. Eric approves this on the strict understanding Jack can’t actually physically torture Navarro (was he even listening when Jack was talking about his way?) Navarro, pretty smugly for a man on the fast track to the electric chair, demands Full Immunity: after all, he’s slipped a tracker into the device. So Jack smashes his left hand to buggery with the butt of his gun in the most pointless and fatuous of reactions there’s ever been, and gets hauled out.
Meanwhile, it’s all going quiet at the Embassy. President Heller (see, I told you they’d forget he’d resigned at 7.00pm) has has Airforce One wheeled up to the door and, his mission over the drone bases an abject failure, is going to go home and give THAT speech, i.e., the one about his Alzheimers, and then resign all over again in favour of the Veep. That’s until the latest plot twist gets flagged up so goodbye to all that. There’s a very carefully flagged up bit of foreshadowing about a Chinese Aircraft Carrier steaming about somewhere (was it really in the Med or did I just refuse to pay attention?) and everybody’s planning to give Navarro his Immunity.
That’s when Audrey takes Creepy Mark off into a room to offer him an olive branch, an apology for her snottiness to him over Heller’s Sacrifice. It’s honestly and sincerely meant but, instead of accepting it with relief, Creepy Mark – worried about how they’re going to bring the Russians back into the story – goes all-fired self-righteous on his wife, virtually accusing her of having her knickers on standby for when Jack comes round. This gives him a lovely, justified feeling over selling Jack out to the Russians by giving them his encrypted phone number and telling them to go out there and take him, with Mark’s blessings, PS, don’t tell anyone I told you to.
Even a piece of dreck like this is capable of impressive moments, and we get the first of these back at the CIA, as a wrathful Kate bursts into the surgery, holds everybody at gunpoint (a familiar experience, one gathers, as she’s done that once ready today) and threatens to blow Navarro’s brains out for framing her husband, and fuck the override device. With Jack’s gun virtually on Kate’s forehead, screaming at her to stand down, Navarro gives up the tracker code, only to realise he’s been well and truly scammed by the terrible two: see that Immunity? Out the wiondow, pal, and Kate promises to be there when they throw that switch.
So, Adrian’s secret base can now be tracked down, by Jack and Kate in a car and three Tag Teams in vans. The other impressive moment in this episode comes in the car, as a quiet Kate (a superb performance by Yvonne Strahovski here) admits to Jack that she believes herself to be the one who killed Adam: he’d gone to jail, they were working on his appeal, until that last visit, when she had stopped believing him. Her lack of faith caused his suicide. How can she now live with that? There are no fancy words or soft soap from Jack. Not unkindly, he tells her the only thing he can: You do.
At the Embassy, Creepy Mark’s panicking, trying to get the Russians to hold off seizing Jack in the middle of a World-Threatening Emergency but it’s too late. Enter one massive truck to smash into their car and disgorge gunfiring Russians.
And, if that weren’t enough, since 24 probably can’t even spell the word enough, let alone recognise the concept, there’s the Chinese.
What? Where the hell do they come in? Well, remember when I laughed at the idea of Adrian’s secret base? He and Chloe arrive to find the whole hacker crew slaughtered, by the Chinese. You see, Monotone Adrian was either not as altruistic or as clever as he thought he was. He’d been paid by the Chinese to develop the override, and they didn’t take kindly to the thought of it going out free to everybody else. Result, utter slaughter, including Adrian, though not before he has chance to tell Chloe that she shouldn’t be guilty over the deaths of Morris and their son, it really was just an accident. Still, lying got her to work for him, so where’s the harm?
But, and get this, the Chloe knows the guy leading the Chinese! He’s only the guy who tortured Jack between seasons 5 and 6, and for good measure, Audrey too. He’s supposed to be out of favour, in a Chinese prison, but here he is, taking his override back, despite Chloe’s attempts to sabotage it. (In a display of acute consistency of character, he shoots Adrian dead but leaves Chloe alive).
It’s getting near the end of the episode, and of the series (and I don’t believe we’re going to get this twelve hour jump at all, not between episodes, certainly. Maybe from 10.30pm to 10.30am). Mr Evil Chinese sends an order to an American Nuclear Submarine to sink a certain Chinese Aircraft Carrier (you remember it being mentioned?) and as slick as shit through a goose, and without questioning their orders, they do so.
I rather imagine that the Chinese Government will take against that, more than somewhat, but fear not. There are only two hours left and Jack will have saved the world long before that.
Sheesh. You lot seriously think this isn’t risible bullshit?