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'24: Live Another Day' recap: Is Jack Bauer doomed?

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Kiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer) and Yvonne Strahovski (Kate Morgan) take aim in '24: Live Another Day' (courtesy Fox Broadcasting)

With only one hour left in this season of "24", fans who were hoping to see Jack Bauer ride off into the sunset might want to start preparing for some disappointment. Just about every character finds themselves in a precarious situation by episode's end, and with only sixty minutes to wrap things up, its hard to imagine many of them will find a happy ending, especially Jack.

He and Kate manage to fend off the Russians but are too late to retrieve the override device. Luckily, Chloe was able leave a recording of her captors for Jack to find, allowing him to figure out it was Cheng, once presumed dead, who has taken the device.

President Heller and Audrey are visibly shaken by the news, but hardly have time to react as they learn the U.S. Navy has sunk a Chinese aircraft carrier. The Chinese aren’t quick to buy that an override device exists or that Cheng is alive, but Heller hopes that an all-out war will be avoided if he can provide proof. Audrey believes that she can prevent the Chinese from taking action by talking to one of her connections in the embassy. On her way to their meeting, she receives a phone call from Jack. 

It’s a rare thing this season to see Jack in anything other than hero mode, which is what makes their phone call so heartfelt. He confesses that the only reason he came out of hiding was to save her father. He explains that things may get complicated and he hopes she won’t hate him forever. Audrey assures him she could never hate him but makes one request: When Jack finds Cheng, she wants him to kill him, by any means necessary.

Why are things about to “get complicated”? Jack has learned it was Audrey’s husband Mark who put the Russians on his trail. In a classic Bauer move, he pulls a gun on Mark right in front of President Heller. Mark confesses he forged the president’s signature on paperwork agreeing to hand Jack over to the Russians and Heller promises to arrest Mark for treason. Before Mark gets cuffed, Jack concludes the Russians are working with Cheng and decides to have Mark set up a meeting with Stolnavich to find Cheng.

Armed with a hidden camera, Mark enters Stolnavich’s home, while the CIA jams his security system, allowing Jack and Kate to infiltrate as well. It isn’t long before the glitch is noticed, leading to a shootout between Jack, Kate and the Russian guards. Upstairs, Mark and Stolnavich engage in a brutal battle that sends them both through a plate glass window. Mark survives relatively unscathed, but Stolnavich takes a shard of glass to the neck, causing him to bleed out. Right before he dies, he promises Jack that he will pay the price.

But what exactly does he mean? Stolnavich could be assuming that Cheng still has Chloe. She's a quiet captive for most of the hour, but comes to life at the very end. Trapped in the back of a truck with Cheng and his men, she grabs hold of a lead pipe and starts swinging. She takes out quite a few goons before pulling open the back of the truck and leaping out and taking a tumble down a mountain before landing hard on the ground. She regains consciousness by the end of the episode, but she’s literally not out of the woods yet.

Audrey meets her Chinese embassy contact on a secluded park bench, surrounded by secret service agents. She hands over information about the override device, asking that it be shown to her superiors. Her contact agrees, but the meeting goes south fast. A sniper fires shots at the contact, as well as the surrounding secret service agents. Audrey stands alone, surrounded by bodies, when her phone rings. Cheng is on the line. He tells her a sniper has his gun trained on her and that she should take a seat if she wants to live.

With only one hour left, its clear that no one is safe. Can Jack save Audrey before Cheng pulls the trigger or will he lose another woman he loves?

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