Things are starting to get clearer as the threat becomes ever more tense.
The third episode of 24: Live Another Day featured a bunch of background layered with riveting plotlines that converged to set up a must-see episode next week.
We learned last week that Jack Bauer's butt-kicking ability hasn't waned, this week we see that the Jack and Chloe tag team can catch up to a threat in record time. Literally minutes after Yates' girlfriend kills him in a pub bathroom, Jack is standing over his body and is hot on her trail into The Tube subway system. Even with help from Chloe, Jack loses the girl after Chloe gets distracted by a family with a child walking along the street.
Chloe's sorted tale is now finally explained. She tells Jack that Morris and Prescott, her husband and son, are dead. They were killed in a hit and run that was meant for her, because she knew how Jack escaped at the end of season eight. Hearing her retell it to Jack, it's no wonder she became a Goth-looking, "free information" freak. It's easily the most emotional moment of this season thus far.
After that tearjerker, Jack and Chloe get a facial match on Yates' girlfriend. She is in fact the daughter of Margot. A woman who was once married to an al-Qaeda terrorist who was, you guessed it, killed in a drone strike authorized by Heller. She is out for both personal vengeance and jihadist ideological fulfillment. Simone is the daughter's name, and she has a brother who will reconfigure the drone override in the coming hours. Simone also has a husband, Navid, who is simultaneously none-to-pleased with his wife getting romantic with Yates and is having second thoughts about blowing London to pieces.
Back over to the CIA where Kate Morgan is clearly being groomed as the character most like Jack. She basically kidnaps Basher (one of Yates' associates) and threatens to turn a gang on him unless he tells her information. Basher knows just enough to wet her appetite, but not much more. Morgan then heads to the U.S. Embassy to question Tanner, the drone pilot being held there after being framed by Yates.
The Mark Boudraeu weasel alarm flashed again when he forged the President of the United States' signature on a rendition document for Jack if/when he's caught. This after he fails to dissuade President Heller from an address to Parliament. We start to see some cracks in the Audrey/Mark façade as well when Audrey gives Mark a tongue lashing about being controlling. Heller begins his speech and gets a tongue-lashing of his own from the MPs who heckle and shout him down as he speaks.
Finally, we get more insight on "Open Cell," the Wikileaks group Chloe is a part of. Its leader, Adrian Cross, has an issue with Jack too and is scheming in a much more sinister fashion than Mark. Jack determines that all he can do is get concrete information on the threat to Heller personally. So he asks the geeks at Open Cell to help him forge his way into the U.S. Embassy.
Jack arrives on the scene, as does Morgan, the CIA, and hundreds of protesters. Cross fiddles with Jack's ID code to get him flagged so Jack fires into the crowd to cause a panic. The chaos allows Jack to slip into the embassy.
The danger in a 9th season of the series was that viewers would figure out the formula. In certain aspects this fear is well placed, as Mark Boudreau, Simone's husband Navid, and Kate Morgan all have played the same part in relation to Jack in the past. Conversely, we haven't seen an enemy like Margot. Her motives are easy to understand, but I don't think we've fully grasped the true depth of her malevolence.
In the end, none of my concerns changes the fact that the ending to this episode sets up a hostage situation at the U.S. Embassy where all the major characters are in the same location. So, '24' has yet again conjured a must see, game-changing episode next week.
The show still has it.