By Chaz Lipp

The second half of 24: Live Another Day ‘s 12-episode run began with, for the second week in a row, a small uptick in ratings. That’s great to see, as it suggests more people are getting caught up online, On Demand, etc. The seventh episode was predictably a little laidback when compared to last week’s pulse-pounder, though William Devane continues to steal scenes as President Heller. His chewing out of Prime Minister Davies (Stephen Fry) over the disastrous MI5 interference in Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) covert mission last week was forcefully convincing.

Of course the main thrust of this hour was the fallout from Simone’s (Emily Berrington) accident. Struck by a bus last week, the daughter of terrorist mastermind Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley) begins the hour near death in a London hospital. Her young niece, whom Simone was chasing when she got hit, gives up plenty of valuable dirt about the Al-Harazis. Realizing that Simone was initially trying to warn her sister-and-law and niece to get out before Margot’s attack, Jack and Kate (Yvonne Strahovski) manage to get Simone out of the hospital before Margot can have her snuffed out. Yes, Margot is one ruthless baddie – determined to let nothing stand in her way as she exacts revenge on President Heller for the drone strike that claimed her husband. The hospital staff did an exceptionally poor job of locking things down, with Margot’s hitman having no problem infiltrating the premises.

Margot and her son Ian (Liam Garrigan) essential play a real-life video game, using a drone to target Jack, Kate, and Simone’s vehicle. Jack zipping in and out of traffic, managing to avoid the punishing bombs being sent his way, and switching cars is one of those 24 sequences that – while visually exciting – stretches credibility more than a bit. Still, it was the action highlight of an episode that felt a little more like a place-holder after the more plot-advancing sixth episode. Once again, Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) gets short shrift with very little to do. But (big spoiler alert if you still haven’t seen it) her main squeeze, the hacker extraordinaire Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) is revealed to be part of the developing subplot involving CIA honcho Steve Navarro’s (Benjamin Bratt) framing of Kate’s supposedly traitorous husband.

The fact that the Steve/Adrian/Kate’s deceased husband storyline just kind of hangs lifelessly over the proceedings is more a result of the compressed timeline this season than anything else. It’s not a bad or boring thread, but with a full 24-episode season this is one of those subplots that would likely unfold more organically. The plus side is that we’re hit with twists and revelations nearly every episode, so by no means does it really negatively impact things. Heller, up against the clock with a deadline imposed by Margot, ends the episode on a cliffhanger with his forthright decision to surrender to her as she asked.

24: Live Another Day airs on Fox on Mondays, 9/8c. Visit the official website to view full episodes.

Photos: Chris Raphael/FOX
Chaz Lipp

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