In a crucial scene, when Jack finally explains his risky plan to Kate, he says, “If you don’t want to do this, I can’t force you. It’s a lot to ask.” This episode, along with some important reveals in other plot lines, juxtaposes two scenarios where someone asks someone else to do something very risky: (1) Jack’s request that Kate put her life on the line to get a lead on the Al-Harazis, and (2) Margot Al-Harazi’s request that Simone “take care of” her sister-in-law and young niece to protect the revenge attack on President Heller. The two plots provide counterpoint to each other and ask us viewers to consider the commitments that motivate these characters. We wonder how far each of these women will go.
President Heller does not resist this time when Jack requests to go into the field, or when Jack requests that Kate Morgan be assigned to work with him. As viewers have seen this season, the writers have shaped Kate to be a similar character as Jack; it is not unusual to see them finally working together or to learn of their mutual respect for one another.
Once Jack reveals he has been, on his own, sabotaging the clients of an arms-dealer named Karl Rask, he finally reveals his plan to use Kate as the bait to get back in with Rask so that Chloe can load a tracking virus into his bank account. It is here Jack admits he is asking a lot of Kate, but then she surprises him (his eyes opening wide) by injecting herself with the coma-inducing drug.
Torture sequences often appear in 24, and this episode puts Kate in the crosshairs. Rask has a drug that counters Jack’s, so suddenly Kate is awake and available for intense interrogation. The dramatic tension of the episode largely rests in how far the thugs will go, particularly when MI5 incapacitates Jack’s backup, his partner Belcheck. Kate suffers, almost to the point of death, in Jack’s effort to find the Al-Harazis.
On the other side of the story, Margot Al-Harazi assigns her daughter another extreme assignment, to check on Naveed’s sister to learn how much he told her: “I trust you to do what needs to be done.” Despite Simone’s report that all is well–and Ian’s report of his concerns about Simone–Margot orders her to tie up the loose ends, which now include Yasmin, Simone’s niece.
Margot has pushed her daughter too far. In a moment of doubt, seeing a picture of Naveed, she warns her sister-in-law to leave London immediately, but when her sister-in-law starts to call the police, there is a scuffle, and Simone in a panic does end up stabbing her. Yasmin witnesses the murder and runs out into the street. While pursuing in desperation, Simone overlooks a bus, which hits her.
The preview for next week shows she’s still alive. Simone has doubted and “failed” in her assignment; now her mother will be coming after her. Margot asked too much of Simone, coerced her into making horrible sacrifices, ones she ultimately did not want to make.
Three other plots show characters who wonder whether they should do what is asked of them: First Prime Minister Davies thinks President Heller is asking too much of him to wait on Jack Bauer, leading to the involvement of MI5. Second Jack shoulders Mark’s request to stay away from Audrey and then lies for Mark, claiming Audrey said she was happy with Mark. Third Navarro doubts his partnership with a yet-unrevealed player, who tells him “they” will not be able to protect him if Jordan discovers the evidence against Kate’s husband was planted (by Navarro).
The show continues to display the sacrifices different characters make for their commitments. Some, like Simone, find themselves pushed too far; they cannot embrace the darkness. Even Jack and Kate will regret certain choices, but they can look to the larger picture, the saving of thousands of lives. Characters discover who they are when they find the line–do they willingly cross it? What are they willing to sacrifice, and what they are not?