Margot makes her move, Jack and Audrey finally reunite, and Heller ponders America's moral authority in the fifth episode of 24: Live Another Day.
Spoiler Warning: If you have not watched episode 5 of '24: Live Another Day', stop reading now...
The 24 franchise has made its name out of the ever-present notion that nothing on the show was what it seemed. There are no easy solutions or realities, just bad and worse ones. This concept reared its head again and was paired with the national security debate on the use of drones.
After the marine raid on Jack's embassy hideout, Kate takes the flight key from the scene and calls Chloe of all people for help in uploading the rest of it. Chloe then deciphers the override code used to take over Lt. Tanner's drone and quickly makes the case to Navaro and then President Heller. Heller orders the unprecedented grounding of every drone the United States has flying around the world. But Margot spots this and order Navid to take over as many drones as he can before they're all grounded. They get six.
Margot then records a video that is disseminated onto the CIA servers as well as terrorist websites. Originally, it seemed the villain Jack and the CIA were dealing with was simply a radicalized widow, inspired into terrorism out of the death of her al-Qaeda husband in a drone strike. But, as Margot made clear in her video, the drone strike that killed her husband (and nearly herself) also included 23 other civilian casualties and six children. Margot then demands that Heller himself surrender himself to her within three hours or she'll fire hellfire missiles into London.
Heller then launches into an interesting soliloquy. He was never told of the civilian casualties in the Al-Harazi drone strike. He reams Mark for again shielding him from the truth. But his broader point is his apprehension to use drones because the civilians they kill undermines America's moral authority. Heller says Margot knows he'll never surrender himself and that after she bombs London, half the world will agree with why she did so.
Meanwhile, Jack is called to Heller's residence and is briefed. As in nearly all previous seasons, Jack again asks the President to be put in the field to track an associate of Margot's that he believes can contact her. But unlike his previous asks, Jack is rebuffed by Heller. Jack being in the residence does give us a chance to see Jack and Audrey reunite for the first time in more than five years. They cry, get close, and clearly still love each other. Keep an eye on the dynamic between Mark, Jack, and Audrey. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this plotline.
The Al-Harazi intra-family woes continue as a seemingly compliant Navid again spills a plan of deception to Simone. He inserted an IP tag onto Margot's video that made it traceable and they'd be saved by authorities. But yet again, Margot finds out. Her henchmen take him away and replace him with an understudy. The CIA easily finds the IP tag and launches a raid on the country house with station chief Navaro leading the tactical team. Having discovered Navid's deception, Margot provides a fake code leading the CIA team into an ambush. Margot orders one of the drones to fire on the house, obliterating it. There's no immediate indication of which members of the team made it out alive.
Margot then goes to Navid, tells him the understudy is just as capable as he was. He begs her to not kill him, citing Simone's loving him. Simone then walks in, and doesn't bat an eye when Margot asks her if Navid should die. Margot then does the honors, shooting him. Simone is just as vicious as her mother.
This episode certainly upped the ante in terms of action and featured twists and turns in terms of plot. It also brought the show into the debate over the morality of drones and the civilian casualties that too often accompany their use. Heller even admits that "half the world" will think Margot's actions are justified. Is he right?
Nonetheless, the clock is now ticking on Margot's threat. Jack and the CIA have less than three hours to find Margot before she tears up London with drones. But, with the station chief wounded or even killed and Jack's offer of assistance being rejected, the good guys have a long way to go in three hours.